The Idea of the Question
The issue of suicide is of particular importance to humanity; especially in the western and westernized cultures that devalue individual personhood and hold up the collective ideal of national progress through political and socio-economic means.
Suicide rates are a particular outgrowth of this modern world and seem to be on the steady rise. One perhaps might know of the sensationalized stories of the Japanese businessmen and women who after being "disgraced" throws themselves to their death in a particular amalgam of ancient imbued cultural mores with fast-paced modernity.
The issue, as many suicidal people claim and have claimed, is that life is "no longer worth living." Do you notice how the modern culture has seeped itself into this phrase? The idea of life having "worth" show the subconscious socio-economic ideal of the West.
Do you have value?
At the risk of this writing being a work of capitalist iconoclasm, that is not the angle. Many writers have already blown the whistle on this "modern" thinking; Marx is perhaps the most gregarious of them all, though the postmodernists and post-structuralists have certainly taken up the mantle; this piece will shine the light on a subtler angle of the issue.
That is the issue of life and living.
Perhaps this "issue" is the beginning of all academic disciplines. "Discipline" as something gained through time whilst simultaneously bearing a burden; the burden that is required to gain knowledge and hence where we get the colloquial definition of discipline as punishment. However, the idea is not as much on particular subject matter like existence or "matter" itself, or creation, but of the "question".
Being able to "question", verbalize and communicate is the unique product of human evolution stemming from advanced cognition (non-mammalian animals show various stages of cognition and learning, but the idea of the question is a much more pervasive product of unique human anthropology and sociology). The origin theory of which is uncertain, but it can certainly be considered "unique" in itself; given the vast entirety of both flora and fauna on this Earth to have not been "gifted" with this particular consciousness.
Humans might not be able to "know", but can certainly "question" ad nauseam. One might have overheard a child ask one question to an adult, given an answer, the child thinks a little bit, and then ask a series of other questions, in rapid fire. This can be a detriment in maturity when the acquistion of truth and knowledge (ontology and epistemology) by "disciplined" people in the professions of science or philosophy for instance, are confused with the question and answer "ritual" learned during their schooling.
The term "ritual" is quite apt in this instance. As rituals and rites tend to go in the religious arena, procedures are carried out in faith and belief to get something out of it. Those raised in the Abrahamic tradition certainly know of the various archaic and even arcane ritual practices of Bronze Age Levant in holy scripture, but even in the modern ritual practices of various religions, it is the same thing.
That "something" is never guaranteed, it is only up to the will of the Divine.
Supposed questions and their even more supposed "answers" are likewise a product of faith and belief in a system which might work or might not, seemingly dependent upon the will of a hopefully benevolent deity.
Has anyone unlocked the key to existence or being?
The issue of matter? Apparently it is up to particles and waves at the moment.
Where is the reality? Where is the truth? It seems that questioning everything is unreliable.
So with the issue of life; the suicidal thinker thinks that their life is not worth living, but beyond the question of worth...
How do you know that you are even living?
It is an honest question. How is it that you know you are living?
The answer is that you don't know.
You are told.
You are told by a collusion of the scientific and medical community that a feedback loop of activity between the heart and the brain "signifies" living in mammals.
This is only knowledge that is told to you, not anything that you know for yourself.
The dirty little secret that no one will tell you is that you can't know anything for yourself.
Those scientists themselves, even though they have come up with the practical theory, do not even know that they are living.
One might think how that can be since they themselves came up with the idea. The answer is that this isn't the idea; the absolute solution to end all ideas. Perhaps in the future, like it was in the past, a subtler definition of life will be derived.
The modern definition is certainly a derivation from the religious thinking that came before it; that life is but a divine spark from a creator.
The key is this: The body has no way of knowing if it is alive, there is only the process that is living (which itself is another theoretical idea). As a reciprocal to this, the body also has no knowledge of death. This is a given (as alluded to above) since in the multiple definitions of death it can also be defined as "not living" and therefore all perceiving processes that are part of life come to an end.
This makes the action of suicide impossible since it is not known whether the body is even alive.
In order to question this, one must go beyond the realm of thought, though that is both impossible and unnecessary. Don't be beguiled by the spiritual masters who tell you thought must be culled. They have no true mastery. In that humanity has this special "gift" of consciousness and thought, it makes not sense to "stop" it; the true cessation of thought will come with death. As we live, we must use our thought to our advantage and not to our disadvantage, or even not be concerned with it if need be.
Thought is one of those things which you make what you want out of it and you get what you want out of it. Any state of being that you want, you can get; as all states of being are just that, "states" that are caused by that particular thought process. There is nothing to transcend; a true transcending is the true end of you, if there is to be an end. Of course, that is up for debate; for all intents and purposes, since their is no being or end of you, you just are.
Thought is essentially a living organism; it is born, feeds off energy, and reproduces itself exponentially as in the case of the child. The formation of a question is its birth, it gains "energy" from the emphasis friends, parents, teachers, scholars, and sages put on it, and it is multiplied exponentially by the usual multitude of questions that come from supposed answers to previous questions.
How does this organism relate to us? It is not so much a parasitic relationship that has selfish agency, or a mutualism that benefits both parties. Perhaps a new zoology will have to be made to categorize the inorganic processes derived from organic, "conscious" beings.
Leave a Reply.