Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

A dialogue on the topic of suicide

The message below is in response to a bit of H.P. Lovecraft wrapped in a personal message from a friend. Here is what I received followed by what I wrote:

“I came across this H.P. Lovecraft quote today. It struck a deep chord within me. I have no one to share it with because it would frighten them. The last line though, definitely made me think of you and reminded me of a sentiment you and I both share. 

“It is good to be a cynic—it is better to be a contented cat — and it is best not to exist at all. Universal suicide is the most logical thing in the world—we reject it only because of our primitive cowardice and childish fear of the dark. If we were sensible we would seek death—the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.”

Ah, how I long for quiet. Twenty-**** years has been too long. I don’t want thirty. I can’t fathom thirty five and I will refuse to accept forty. 
How I long only for that blissful blank.”

Below is my response for whatever it might be worth. I’m sharing it here in hopes that my simple experience and observation might give anyone younger cause to reconsider leaving the stage before the natural close of the show.

Hi, Thank you for sharing this. I like the connecting sentiment in this which I agree resonates with a feeling so many of us can relate to. How nice to see it put to words…and such words! I hope that your own feelings and desire for that nothing might mitigate with age as mine have. I suspect it has something to do with the fact of growing closer to a time (age) when the choice will no longer be ours to make which causes life to become more dear, and the wish to stick around to experience whatever budget of time remains to be somehow more real and pressing than when that time was less abundant. I know I’ll never see 2064 or likely 2044 which sober fact causes me to scramble a bit more year-by-year to live better and with eyes more open than any year prior. Knowing with near certainty how deep, still and impenetrable that singular forever will be only heightens the yearning to live. I sincerely hope that this same experience might begin in your favor as well before the temptations you might be feeling grow any stronger, as the best part of the ride is often the part just before it is all over.

It’s great to hear from you. I hope you will keep in touch more. 🙂

And a response:

Hi Kurt. I shall definitely keep in touch! Thanks for your heartfelt message. Everything that you wrote makes a lot of sense. My personality tends to operate that way as well; I’m stubborn to want things when I can’t have them. I’m certainly aware I may eventually cling to life preciously.
But I have always had the pull towards finishing things quietly and quickly. I never expected or wanted to make thirty. I anticipated the weight of all my life to culminate and close by then. And now with two years left until that self-imposed marker, I’m eager to complete. 

That being said, I’m not very active about pursuing this. I’m more of a melancholy, wistful brooder, suffering all the plague of inertia. I was much more active in my attempts when I was younger, but I balanced out more in my early twenties. 
Anyway, sorry if I disturbed you with my comment. 
Recently, I’m back to being quite deep under everything and dwelling on the allure of the finite. 
I think some people are just born this way, aware of all this sound and fury, signifying nothing — to quote Macbeth. 

“There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day 20
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” 

I just don’t know how to reconcile this with the tedium of every day, which I do not want. It offers nothing and no one. But I understand why so many are averse to suicide. So I just fall right in line with living every day. I guess I just feel like a coward and an unprincipled person when I’m unable to own up to my feelings. But like i said, these aren’t the kind of conversations you can have with people. 

Anyway, please don’t worry. I’ll be fine; I always am. And I’ll still be here, though I may regret it more with each passing year. I suppose the blissful blank will last long enough, whenever it sweetly graces me with its presence.

And from me:

Thanks for your honest and sincere message. I appreciate that you are willing to risk being so open with me and I tend to agree that there are so few to whom this may be done without invoking an almost knee-jerk reaction of concern and worry. I expect that (excepting some accident) you and I both shall be around for the duration of time left in our biological programming. It’s cathartic to talk about such things with those who understand and this is one of the reasons I am often compelled to blog, vlog or otherwise publicly discuss inquiry I receive (always masking the other person’s identity) on this topic as well as share my responses. It’s not due to any vanity on my part in thinking I have any answers but instead a simple effort to add to the public pool of openness any serious discussion of a topic so often viewed as taboo or as prelude to the need for clinical help. Western culture has made great strides in recent generations towards better acceptance and openness of the fact that nearly everyone (I really want to say EVERYONE) feels lost, confused and even depressed through much of life; especially those who choose or are compelled to question the amazing circumstance of being and what that might imply in terms of purpose, obligation and consequence in the big picture view. You are one of these people, and as such, living in a world which seems reluctant to yield answers to the bigger mysteries, you are probably fated to ponder with little satisfactory result for the rest of your days. The good news is that there are many of us, and though our collective force does little to resolve or answer the dilemmas we can at least gather close at times (the Internet is a great venue for this) on comfy chairs set near the warm hearth and break the seal on a nice cask of lager to talk deep into the night while the storm of mystery and uncertainly rages loudly beyond the barred and shuttered doors and windows. We’ll all have to go out there again of course. But the siege and adventure will be easier to bear if we take such periodic refuge in the company of those who care and understand.

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This entry was posted on October 13, 2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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