In my life, there are been three suicides that have been personally meaningful to me. While each offered particular evidence and insights regarding life, in sum they communicated life lessons to be heeded.
First, when I was about 10, my close relative committed a suicide most heinous. In the moment, and with the aid of reflection and hindsight, my first experience with another’s death reflected poorly upon the philosophy of Christianity, and religion in general. By her own confession, a belief in a false alternate supernatural dimension caused her to destroy actual life in actual reality, because she held the erroneous premise of a better alternate reality on the other side of death. The revealed truths of her faith denied this abandoned wife of an adulterous husband the divorce needed to restart her life, and effectively made her guilty and punished for his sin. While she was destitute, indebted, and abandoned, the charitable institutions of her hypocritical congregation and faith turned their backs upon her and denied her aid, promised by their moral code, because of their contempt for her family’s prior good fortune.
This case sensitized me to the plight of abandoned, or otherwise abused, wives and children who require legal protections of their individual rights…which did not exist then as they do today.
In the second case, Argentine Dr. Rene Favaloro, who had performed the world’s first heart bypass operation in 1967, committed suicide during a collapse of the Argentine economy and the financial failure of his own clinic. Incensed by the suicide of a once tremendous achiever, I translated articles from Spanish to learn more about the cause of his death. For a full summary of my finding, see my YT video couplet on my autopsy of Dr. Favaloro, which has been surprisingly popular in Argentina. Cutting to the conclusion, I found that Favaloro was complicit in the economic collapse that led to his suicide, which was caused by his own altruism—literally otherism, or the moral doctrine of putting the welfare of strangers before that of yourself and those that you love. By Favaloro’s own confession, which was published in the American Heart Association’s cardiatric journal Circulation, it was his college that taught him the false altruistic ethical principles that led to his suicide and the economic collapse of his country.
From Dr. Favaloro’s suicide, I committed myself for my our selfish satisfaction to going back to school to finish my degree, to being more of an intellectual activist as a requirement of my life, and eventually to abandon my substantial contribution to financing higher education in the United States prior to our recent economic free fall.
The third case, which was particularly jarring to me, was the suicide of historian Iris Chang. Perhaps, you know her from her books The Thread of the Silkworm, The Rape of Nanking, and The Chinese in America. The abuse and death threats that she suffered from Japanese ultranationalists, over her exposing Japan’s WWII atrocities in China, demonstrated that she was a woman of admirable courage and integrity. Frankly, if you have not read The Rape of Nanking, you cannot appreciate this woman’s capacity for facing the brutal facts of reality, no matter how utterly horrific; but to suggest a small taste, I will point to her reporting the Japanese having organized and official competitions to determine which of their soldiers could chop off the most heads of defenseless Chinese civilians with a sword. Frankly, compared to the Japanese atrocities that she reported, the current crop of Muslim terrorists are pikers. Her last and unfinished project was interviewing the brutalized survivors of the Bataan death march.
Reportedly, she suffered from serious mental health issues at the time of her suicide; however, my takeaway from her experience was the need to break away from a continuous focus on evil so as to appreciate the good in life. At that time, of her death, I was already low from focusing on my study of incentive system within terrorist organizations (the topic of my thesis for a more effective counterterrorism strategy) and dealing with what I euphemistically called a “domestic terrorism” situation. Recognizing the danger of focusing too much on evil, the weekend after her death, I went to the Corcoran Gallery to see Daniel Chester French’s sculpture “Immortal Love” to get fuel for my soul; art as a selective representation of reality and experiencing one’s struggles successfully achieved before they have been actually realized in reality.
In total, what lessons do these three suicides contribute? Most importantly, life is a choice, and an affirmative one that I recommend to those NOT painfully suffering from irreversible terminal, or totally debilitating, illnesses. Secondarily, those that commit suicide have negative fallout on those at they care about that is less significant than the positive contributions made by their lives. Third, by choice, including the correction of false ideas, individuals, who see life as helpless, can change their lives for the better over time without death.
I choose life. If you are thinking about choosing your own death, please consider re-evaluation for your own selfish sake, including your selfish consideration for those whom you love. You have resources: friends and family who want to help, and who value you. This is the only life that you get and in this country even that which seems impossible in a dark moment may be resolved by your choice and conscious effort over time so that you can pursue your own purpose and achieve your values.
Finally, ideas and philosophy are critical in human life and adhering to false ones leads directly to death, so be introspective and conscious of the ideas/philosophies that you have chosen to guide your life.