This is a quote by a great philosopher known as Albert Camus. Although philosophy can not help those with severe psychiatric disorders, for the rest of us it can be an eye opener.
We live in a world where at the moment there are certain people and groups of people who have romanticised suicide. Made it almost heroic and philosophical in itself. Then on the other hand you have many people who scream ‘Suicide is selfish’. Then of course there are a myriad of mixed beliefs along the spectrum of suicide opinion. I have written a post about Selfish suicide HERE.
As you will read there, suicide isn’t selfish and to say so is inherently a totally self absorbed and selfish thing to do. On the other hand suicide has been romanticised for as long as it has been conceivable. Look at Shakespeare’s work, Romeo and Juliet anybody? Ophelia? Even going back to Ancient Egypt with Cleopatra who is believed in some circles to have killed herself rather than see the Romans destroy her empire.
In the age of social media, people now write awful crap on Tumblr or some other social network like Facebook etc. and then kill themselves. Except this isn’t romantic, it’s quite a tragedy really. We have made suicide almost an entertainment now.
It’s at times like this answers can be searched for in philosophy. ‘Should I, or should I not, kill myself?’. For some, nihilists like myself included, life is utterly pointless. Many others would go further and say life is a vapid experience, null, horrible, nasty, short, suffering etc. Therefore one could easily deduce from this, ‘I should indeed kill myself’.
But the question must be asked, why haven’t the people who say these things killed themselves yet? There are many answers. But here’s mine.
Life is of course pointless. The universe is only what we perceive it to be. If you had never been born the universe would never have existed because you wouldn’t have been alive for it to exist. Now obviously there’s a scientist reading this saying ‘Bullshit’, well obviously the bloody universe would be there we are clearly talking about perception here. Moving on.
So now that you are aware that you are clearly the center of the universe then you must be aware that you give life, which is meaningless, a meaning. If you were never born then your universe would never exist. But you were born and therefore it does exist. Therefore you have two options, be overly academic and kill yourself with painfully pointless academic discussions about the vapidity of life or you accept that life has the point that you give it.
The only life you can give meaning to is your own, and therefore only you can give it a point. But to give your life a point you must be able to separate the academic from the you. You are different to your objective facts. You are not objective, you are totally subjective and everything within your perception is totally subjective. You only know you are left wing if there is someone right wing. You only know you are pro gun if there is someone anti gun. You only know that the wood is hard because you are in fact soft.
Therefore you must be able to file away your academic views and listen to and accept the views of the self. Once you do this you realise that life is rich in meaning. Life is literally the most fantastic thing that has ever existed. Nothing will ever match the beauty of life. All the way from Homo-sapiens to bumble bees to ants to basic amoeba. Nothing is more incredible. But only by listening to the self will you find your meaning. A life with meaning is a life worth living.
Ergo academically one could easily say one should kill oneself. Why wouldn’t you? It’s all pointless. But past the writings in dreary old journals that gather dust in university libraries is you. And you find life infinitely meaningful. Even through massive depression, through dysthymia, anxiety, self esteem issues, body image issues etc. I have been able to look past the academic to see what the meaning I put on life is. It’s not easy at all times but if you can do it you will notice a massive difference in how you can control your moods. You’ll still be depressed or anxious etc. But at least you will know beyond your cold calculations that you are important and you do value life even if your brain tells you you don’t.
Just remember that if you ever feel unimportant that you are made up of the same stuff that you look to in the sky at night. Every cell in you is from stars. To think that you are unimportant is silly. You are literally the living embodiment of the universe playing itself out in biological life form. If that doesn’t make all your issues seem small nothing will.