Why Do We Still Live?

It’s been long since I thought of suicide, but after writing the above poem about a week ago (Viners? Anyone?) I realized that while years ago I promised myself to see all there is to life instead of just quitting it, suicide, has all along been a kill switch of sorts for me.

True, I no longer think much upon it, but it does make my list of things to do when life becomes unbearable either from its constant never ending cycle of activity or from feelings I find futile. And in that list I have very many positive to do things before that radical step, but right at the bottom is suicide, because truthfully, there are things I still won’t stand just to have an existence.

To many people, living is a very natural thing, but to one having seriously considering suicide, it is not. You do not just live because you do; you must find good reason(s) to live. And I don’t mean a well-paying job, a great house, exotic vacations or a beautiful family. You must get down to why all these things are too important to not have or live to do.

For me, back then, it was a story I was writing and at the moment, my list goes from penning a number of works, to finding out show scary bungee jumping is and all the way to being part of the scientific breakthroughs that will see disease and other afflictions instantly treatable. Yes Elysium is a movie but a girl can dream!

And yet I sometimes wonder, when one has traveled to all the places they marked on their maps and met the sum of people to make life a fulfillment, what else is left? When one has done all they ever wanted to do and more, what’s next?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. mark says:

    “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards.”
    Albert Camus from “The Myth of Sisyphus”

    Bonjour Mademoiselle, it is I, the Pink Panther… ermmm ok, it is Mark. I have only recently found your e mail that you sent to me and although it is a long and complicated story I will reply to it at some point, but for the moment I will reply to this post. Even though I deleted my blog it seems that my gravatar account remained intact so I am therefore able to keep an eye on all my little children in blog world and come and pester them sometimes when I see fit.

    The above quote is how Albert Camus starts of his book “The Myth of Sisyphus” and when I was about 19 and discovered this I knew that I had to read the book. I did read the book when I was about 21 but it was so intellectual that my poor little mind struggled quite a lot to comprehend it. I have however read it more recently and my poor little mind struggled… only joking, it made a lot more sense and is indeed truly excellent. It is in a sense a book from an existentialist point of view that says once you realise how ‘absurd’ life is and that when you die that’s it then you must find a reason for living. Camus uses the Greek myth of Sisyphus to illustrate his ideas. Sisyphus was a naughty boy who was condemned by the Gods and sent to the underworld where his task was to roll a huge rock up a hill and once at the top of the hill the rock would roll back down and Sisyphus would have to go down and roll it back up again and again and… Life is rolling the rock up the hill but can we find a reason for doing it? Camus believed that the period in between getting to the top of the hill and descending again to once more push the rock up again was the moment to be savoured and that moment was pure bliss. Unlike Sisyphus we have death as the great releaser, Sisyphus doesn’t have such luxury and must roll his rock up the hill for eternity.

    Another book that I did at one point want to mention to you is “Steppenwolf” by Hermann Hesse. The whole book is about suicide in many respects and in it there is one part where he discusses the people that he calls ‘The Suicides’…

    “Another was that he was numbered among the suicides. And here it must be said that to call suicides only those who actually destroy themselves is false. Among these, indeed, there are many who in a sense are suicides only by accident and in whose being suicide has no necessary place. Among the common run of men there are many of little personality and stamped with no deep impress of fate, who find their end in suicide without belonging on that account to the type of the suicide by inclination; while on the other hand, of those who are to be counted as suicides by the very nature of their beings are many, perhaps a majority, who never in fact lay hands on themselves. The “suicide” need not necessarily live in a peculiarly close relationship to death. One may do this without being a suicide. What is peculiar to the suicide is that his ego, rightly or wrongly, is felt to be an extremely dangerous, dubious, and doomed germ of nature; that he is always in his own eyes exposed to an extraordinary risk, as though he stood with the slightest foothold on the peak of a crag whence a slight push from without or an instant’s weakness from within suffices to precipitate him into the void. The line of fate in the case of these men is marked by the belief they have that suicide is their most probable manner of death. It might be presumed that such temperaments, which usually manifest themselves in early youth and persist through life, show a singular defect of vital force. On the contrary, among the “suicides” are to be found unusually tenacious and eager and also hardy natures. But just as there are those who at the least indisposition develop a fever, so do those whom we call suicides, and who are always very emotional and sensitive, develop at the least shock the notion of suicide. Had we a science with the courage and authority to concern itself with mankind, instead of with the mechanism merely of vital phenomena, had we something of the nature of an anthropology, or a psychology, these matters of fact would be familiar to every one. What was said above on the subject of suicides touches obviously nothing but the surface. It is psychology, and, therefore, partly physics. Metaphysically considered, the matter has a different and a much clearer aspect. In this aspect suicides present themselves as those who are overtaken by the sense of guilt inherent in individuals, these souls that find the aim of life not in the perfecting and molding of the self, but in liberating themselves by going back to the mother, back to God, back to the all. Many of these natures are wholly incapable of ever having recourse to real suicide, because they have a profound consciousness of the sin of doing so. For us they are suicides nonetheless; for they see death and not life as the releaser. They are ready to cast themselves away in surrender, to be extinguished and to go back to the beginning. As every strength may become a weakness (and under some circumstances must) so, on the
    contrary, may the typical suicide find a strength and a support in his apparent weakness. Indeed, he does so more often than not. The case of Harry, the Steppenwolf, is one of these. As thousands of his like do, he found consolation and support, and not merely the melancholy play of youthful fancy, in the idea that the way to death was open to him at any moment. It is true that with him, as with all men of his kind, every shock, every pain, every untoward predicament at once called forth the wish to find an escape in death. By degrees, however, he fashioned for himself out of this tendency a philosophy that was actually serviceable to life. He gained strength through familiarity with the thought that the emergency exit stood always open, and became curious, too, to taste his suffering to the dregs. If it went too badly with him he could feel sometimes with a grim malicious pleasure: “I am curious to see all the same just how much a man can endure. If the limit of what is bearable is reached, I have only to open the door to escape.” There are a great many suicides to whom this thought imparts an uncommon strength. On the other hand, all suicides have the responsibility of fighting against the temptation of suicide. Every one of them knows very well in some corner of his soul that suicide, though a way out, is rather a mean and shabby one, and that it is nobler and finer to be conquered by life than to fall by one’s own hand. Knowing this, with a morbid conscience whose source is much the same as that of the militant conscience of so-called self-contented persons, the majority of suicides are left to a protracted struggle against their temptation. They struggle as the kleptomaniac against his own vice.”

    Apologies for the long long quote but I thought that it might be helpful in some way and it is certainly better than me rambling on and on about everything and a half for several thousand sentences.

    I can however impart this piece of knowledge to you and you must understand that when I say this I speak as one who has experience in such matters. The truth is that bungee jumps are really terrifying but most certainly worth every second of terror for an unforgettable experience. There is a moment after the cord stretches for the first time and you bounce back up, then right at the top of that bounce, just before you start falling back down again, there is a moment; ever so brief; when you are neither rising nor falling. I suppose there is an element of being weightless, but whatever it is, it is that moment that is absolute bliss and makes all the terror worthwhile. I would live a life day in day out with the knowledge that I could have that moment. Whether it be a bungee jump or rolling a rock up a hill there has to be a good enough reason to want to do it, it’s just finding it. Once you find it, everything makes perfect sense.

    Take care of yourself, I will e mail at some point, bye for now,

    Mark

    1. hellenmasido says:

      There you are! I did stalk you online for a while before settling for emailing 😛
      This part here:
      “He gained strength through familiarity with the thought that the emergency exit stood always open, and became curious, too, to taste his suffering to the dregs.”
      …makes so much sense! I must read that Myth of Sisyphus as well. I honestly doubt there will come a time everything will make perfect sense seeing as I am already at the level where I believe life has no point, but it is to be enjoyed now that we’re here just so it’s not a waste. Like a gift you have no interest in as it is- only as it may be repurposed to become.

      I still don’t understand why people are so accepting of death when it happens at its own time but not when one dies by their own hand.

      Thanks for rambling; I will be very annoyed if a day comes when you will write a brief comment 😀 Looking forward to your email and that long story you claim. Luckily I love novels so give it your best shot!

      Take care of you too Mark.

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