“The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years. Our behavior is a function of our experience. We act the way we see things. If our experience is destroyed, our behavior will be destructive. If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves.”
“The artist is the man who refuses initiation through education into the existing order, remains faithful to his own childhood being, and thus becomes ‘a human being in the spirit of all times, an artist.’”
– Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death
Most suicides die of natural causes, slowly and in silence.
But we hear a lot about the small number of suicides, by comparison, who kill themselves quickly by their own hands. Of course their sudden deaths elicit shock and sadness since their deaths, usually so unexpected even when not a surprise, allow for no return. Such sudden once-and-for-all endings are even more jarring in a high-tech world where people are subconsciously habituated to thinking that everything can be played back, repeated, and rewound, even lives.
If the suicides are celebrities, the mass media can obsess over why they did it. How shocking! Wasn’t she at the peak of her career? Didn’t he finally seem happy? And then the speculative stories will appear about the reasons for the rise or fall of suicide rates, only to disappear as quickly as the celebrities are dropped by the media and forgotten by the public.
The suicides of ordinary people will be mourned privately by their loved ones in their individual ways and in the silent recesses of their hearts. A hush will fall over their departures that will often be viewed as accidental.
And the world will roll on as the earth absorbs the bodies and the blood.