|SUICIDE:the self-selected disruption of an awareness's own life support systems|
Social attitudes to suicide have varied widely in place and over time, depending upon the extent to which religious,
political, moral, ethical, or pragmatic attitudes held sway.
Historically, certain religious groups... who are generally imbued with an absurd and uncompromising lack of realism...
have been responsible for the promotion of injunctions against suicide that are entirely remarkable for their
lack of understanding and compassion.
For them an attempted suicide was a criminal transgression and subject to severe social retributions.
In the case of a 'completed' suicide, the individual would still not escape punishment, because burial rituals would
ensure the degradation and dishonouring of the physical remains, and 'spiritual' judgements would consign the 'soul'
to eternal damnation...whatever that meant...
Even more merciless than that, was the often severe and inhumane treatment meted out to the living relatives of the suicide. The confiscation of property and social banishment had the potential and intention of further punishment to the point of destruction.
In order to attain military and political objectives, it continues to be a convenient social policy to 'justify' or even actively encourage and recruit individuals who are required to kill themselves in order to fulfil the design intentions of some form of weapon of destruction. Individuals such as these are of course 'honoured' and 'martyred' and have their spirits enshrined in a state of perpetual and venerated glory... whatever that means...
Only rarely has suicide been viewed as a pragmatic solution to an unresolvable situation... although there is some evidence that support for this perspective is managing to gain ground in some quarters.
Whatever the motive or precipitating cause of an attempted suicide, to a greater or lesser extent, suicide can be seen as the ultimate escape from a contracting universe of experience and choices. At one end of the scale, the individual incarcerated into the gross obscenity of a castle oubliette is quite literally encapsulated by a terminally reduced universe. The kamikaze pilot on the other hand, whilst ostensibly still able to fly freely with the birds, is nevertheless constrained to the suicide option by overpowering military, patriotic and obligatory imperatives. Once suicide becomes a solitary and overriding option, that fact alone indicates that the universe of possibilities for the individual contemplating the action, has contracted inwards to the ultimate point of extinction. The individual entity initiates its own end and thus the ultimate contracted extinction of its own universe. As the interactions of an individual with existence are progressively constrained and circumscribed, so do the events and conditions within that existence become increasingly influential. Minor events in the cosmic order of things, become increasingly influential within the claustrophobic confines of a contracting universe. Unless strategies for expansion can be implemented, implosion and annihilation is the ultimate consequence.
There are many circumstances where the cosmos contracts in upon the individual. When illness and suffering diminish the capacities for participating in life, suicide is an option that pre-empts the inevitable. Imprisonment is an existential constraint from which suicide may be seen as the only option. Impossible circumstances... such as inescapable poverty, malicious and unrelenting bullying, relentless and unsympathetic social, political and economic pressures... will frequently induce a despair which excludes alternatives. The precipitous development of a life-threatening situation, where the options for survival become uncompromisingly limited, may invoke a bravery that amounts to an altruistic suicide sacrifice.
Suicide can be invoked as a consequence of individual introversions, convergent focussings, and obsessive preoccupations. When love and dedication for something has been allowed to be the means of excluding other possibilities, then that something has become a constrained universe, so that its actual or supposed loss is a final contraction that is intolerable. Unrelieved introspection... about a perceived incomprehensibility and pointlessness of living... will probably eventually induce an existential ennui from which suicide presents as the obvious and pragmatic solution to an otherwise endless struggle.
Suicide can be induced by malicious and distorted social manipulation. Psychiatrically disturbed religious promoters, have acquired the skills to incrementally limit the awareness of vulnerable individuals so that concepts such as 'martyrdom' permeate the limited domain of their awareness. They are cynically induced to believe that their self-sacrifice will ensure them a glorious and eternal spiritual veneration.
In some societies, assumed norms can be so unsympathetically imposed that social pressures can force an individual to accept suicide as an escape from the 'dishonour' of transgression. Homosexuality, infidelity and commercial failure have accounted for the self-destruction of more than a few.
Most individuals encapsulated in a shrinking universe cannot escape unaided.
Whether boundaries of the encroaching cosmos are prison walls, uncontrolled illness, or obsessive pattens of thought or behaviour,
obtaining liberation and remaining alive can usually only be achieved with outside help.
Whether it comes in the form of a violent jail-break, sophisticated medical intervention, inspired and creative retraining,
or understanding, sympathetic and resourceful guidance...
assistance appears to be an almost universal necessity