Suicide & Death
It may be hard to believe if you know me, but there are times when I think to myself, “if I died right now, it would not be a big deal”. Obviously–I hope–it would be a big deal to my parents, but I’m talking about a personal capacity to feel anything about death. What I feel isn’t an absence of fear for death nor is it a longing for the big finish, but it is just an overwhelming indifference whether I live or die. Besides, I would imagine that it would take a few days before people actually start wondering, “Uy, nasaan si Carl?” (“Hey, where is Carl?”)
Death is not a light topic, though we’ve tried to assert power over it by making jokes and romanticizing death (as Brad Pitt). When somebody you know dies, a piece of the world falls away, and you’re left with a hole. People tell you to move on with your life, but as with most holes, it won’t be easy to forget that there is a hole there that you cannot fill. I think the way people “get over it” is not by filling the hole but by learning to live with that hole. Sometimes, it echoes when you peer into the hole, and these echoes sound like him or her–whoever passed away. I’d like to believe that all of us would create that hole in somebody’s life.
When I was younger, I was afraid of death because I had not yet done most of the things I wanted to do. That is true even now that I am older, but the difference now is that sometimes, I cannot find the same motivation to survive as I did when I was younger. I know I’m too young to think about these things, but the reality of death is that you’re never too young to die. Things don’t have to be bad for you to not care about killing yourself. Sometimes, things are just… meaningless. Sometimes, they’re just extremely, blandly satisfactory. Sometimes, the things that you used to be excited about don’t excite you anymore. Avolition is a lack of drive to pursue goals, and it is one of the first symptoms of depression.
People may say that it’s your fault. That if you feel depressed or if you feel a Murakami-esque ennui, then it is YOUR responsibility to find something that will cheer you up. Music, dance, travel, love. The world, as they say, is a bright and wonderful place. I’d shoot back and say that the world is a floating piece of balled-up rock and water in a chaotic universe. At any point in time, the sun may explode, a meteor may crash into our puny planet, or a higher power may decide to scrap his life’s work and just start over. Everything is temporal and easily forgotten. Who will remember our species when our species is dead?
JOKING ABOUT DEATH
Death is something we ought to consider with caution, and while I laugh at absurd death jokes and get intrigued with speculations about the afterlife, there are lines that ought not be crossed. Wishing people death, or telling somebody to go kill themselves is NOT funny at all. Sometimes, when we cannot find a rational way to end an argument, we’d say “Magpakamatay ka na lang” (“Why don’t you just kill yourself”). I’ve heard it many times, and sometimes, I see people on Twitter subtweet with “Ugh. Just go kill yourself.”
Of course, telling somebody to kill themselves–or wishing arbitrary ill on somebody, like telling them “Sana ma-rape ka” (“I hope you get raped”, something somebody actually told me as a “joke”)–is never a good way to end anything. The standard answer to “Magpakamatay ka na lang” is “Mauna ka” (“You go first”), but it still isn’t a good thing. These are threats to the person’s safety, and there is a line between joking around and being inconsiderate. For some reason, we are okay with these jokes and back-and-forth banter, and if you are “hurt” when people tell you to go kill yourself, then you are considered weak (an actual argument I heard from some people).
What if that person was actually considering killing himself and you just pushed him over the edge? His blood is on your hands. Whether or not you believe it and whether or not you know it, there are people who want to kill themselves and some of them may be in your circle of acquaintances.
WHY I’M NOT YET DEAD
They say the opposite of death is not life. However, death is the end of life, which means that if life were a straight line, death would be at the end of it. Thus, death is not the opposite of life. Death is something that ends things, breaks everything apart. It would make sense to say that the opposite of death would be something that creates things, brings things together. That would mean that the reasonable opposite of death would be love.
This might be why I’m still here. There are people I love, there are people who love me, there are things I love having, there are places I love to be, there is music and dance and all those (rare) moments when I am taken out of my comfort zone. I know it sounds cheesy and borderline new age, but while I still know how to love, I think I still know how to live.
Not that it would matter once I die. In the occasion that death is eternal nothingness, then everything we have done in life is futile. In the occasion that there is life beyond this life, everything we have done in this life will be rendered meaningless because we will be in a supposedly better place. Unless you end up in hell, which is probably the only reason why some “religious” people are afraid of dying; they are not yet ready because they acknowledge that they are sinners. Perhaps having faith that the Lord will not abandon you may be of help.
Either way, this world is a cruel place only because people are capable of all kinds of cruelty–and there are those who will not be swayed when you tell them what they’ve done wrong or how they’ve hurt you. We are unwilling to change, thinking that we are so right all the time, believing that what we are doing is okay because so many people are doing it–not minding the fact that you may be stepping on other people’s strengths, intellect, or spirit. So many people think that to be strong means to wish bad things to happen to other people. A bizarre opinion. I think discussion, no matter how “effeminate” people think it is (compared to the macho alternative: hitting each other on the head, spitting and cursing), is always the best way to solve misunderstandings. Sometimes, things are blown out of proportion before they are understood, before they are discussed. These people call themselves “strong”. No. In shutting down discussion, you are shutting down understanding, and in effect you are shutting down the other person. This is cowardice–the inability to consider the possibility that you may, in fact, be wrong.
I don’t want to die (in the sense that I am not actively seeking my own demise). But I do not feel like I care about it. I often wonder how I would die. “Old age” may seem like a comforting way to die (because it implies that you’ve lived a full life), but it isn’t really why old people die. Heart failure, sudden massive stroke, or respiratory arrest are among the things that may happen when we mean that somebody died of “old age”. I wonder how I would go. Or maybe I would die early–a car accident, a severe allergic reaction, or as a collateral damage in war. I do not know. But thinking about the fact that I’m going to die won’t really help me move forward in life. Living is a gift, a pleasure of experience. Our mere existence should be enough for us to be amazed by the incredible impossibility of the universe around us.
So that’s how I’m going from here. I know I’m going to die. Denying its looming shadow won’t do me any good. But basking in the darkness won’t either. With the limited time I have, I’ve got to accept that I’m stuck in this body and that this body is going to die, but also that this body houses some sort of spirit that is capable of loving and being loved. The discussion continues.
Originally published on sloppydasein.wordpress.com.
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