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17 December 2002 (Tuesday): slings and arrows

It's a fine line, sometimes, between wisdom and despair: between seeing the world as it is and accepting it, and wanting no part of this reality. For all we know there is no justice, no God or afterlife, no miracles beyond the occasional happy fluke. Good things happen to bad people; bad things happen to the good. I've watched a college course's attendance thin out to half its size after the first few days, once people understood what was going to be involved, what effort would result in what payoff. They realized what they were in for, and checked out.

In life, of course, "checking out" involves violence, pain, poison, wailing grief for those who've had the chance of loving you. Besides, everyone hesitates before choosing an irrevocable unknown. The price is too high, so suicide remains the territory of the desperate. But if it were painless, to choose simply not to exist? I think we'd have a much sparser planet.

No, nothing's wrong. I just think about these things sometimes.

posted by enjelani @ 05:36 PM PST

Replies: 3 comments

Hmm. Not sure if i'd have checked out yet or not if the pain of others were not involved. I'm not too concerned with the pain i'd feel... I know it'd be short-lived (heh).

I remember my Mom asked me to promise her that I wouldn't commit suicide when I was really depressed my freshman year in college. I wouldn't. I don't think she liked that answer ;)

In any case, like with most things, there is a fine line on when one should check out or push just a little more to see if it's possible to get over the hump. Some people give up too quickly, others not nearly quick enough. I'm not sure where I lie in the spectrum... Probably highly dependent on the "what" in question though.

Your topic "fits" the weather outside.

posted by syndromes @ 17 12 2002 09:17 PM PST

actually, having been there this past march, there are times when suicide makes perfect sense. it's not even about desperation any more, but your brain is just wired to think that the most logical thing for you to do is "check out."

and that's pretty fucking scary.

posted by dardi! @ 18 12 2002 11:22 AM PST

I think as long as you have some of that fuzzy stuff called "hope", then you won't get the urge to check out.

There seems to be a place of balance between desire and lack of desire where human happiness and fulfillment comes easy: too much desire causes too much suffering, too little fulfillment of desire causes hopelessness and a different kind of suffering.

posted by Bill @ 19 12 2002 05:09 PM PST