Hopelessness is the most potentiating factor for suicide to become a fait accompli. Suicidal checking-out and cashing-out is a saturation of life’s demands, a capitulation to life, and denotes a life that is ill-suited to meet needs. Humans require at least a modicum of hope to go on. A hopeless life is a tormented and troubled life that is extremely out of balance and is un/ill-healthy. A person is most vulnerable to suicide during self-devolutionary meltdown times of hopelessness. Most people don’t want to die! They just want to end the pain. To suicide is the answer to the existential question, “Is life worthwhile?” For Albert Camus, “killing yourself amounts to confessing. It is confessing that life is too much for you or that you do not understand it . . . . . there is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” (1955) I ask, “Is it ever appropriate to end life’s journey <–> to shorten one’s story?” If so, what makes it appropriate? Is suicide an act of violence against the Self? I wonder where suicide fits into Albert Schweitzer’s “reverence for life.” It is a sad commentary and catastrophic situation for a person to make their life expendable by ending it through suicide. In an ideal world no life would be thrown away.
Suicidal Check-Out is a terminal act of checking-out. I agree with eminent sociologist Emile Durkheims use of the term “egoistic suicide.” The term is in reference to a person’s ego becoming de-individualized, disenchanted, and estranged from society. Social isolation is a lack of interpersonal and social connections. The Belonging-Need is not being met. Durkheim felt psychosocial isolation is the main factor that causes people to end their life. Isolation correlates with ennui (purposelessness, emptiness, and boredom), meaninglessness, and hopelessness. Isolation can lead to self-injurious behaviors and suicidality. Lewis Presnall felt “it is true that life is never without hope, but the fact remains that in real life some situations are more hopeless than others.”(1959) It appears some lives have become so irremediably messed up and beyond repair because the hole has been dug so deep that it is impossible to dig out of it. The person has been on a descending embroglio film noir spiral of abject despair, despondency, and hopelessness from which he/she can find no escape. The person can’t move on in life. The consequences of past actions and poor choices have led to inextirpable pain, inescapable despair, and insurmountable odds. The Rubicon has been crossed and the person has reached the precipice and a PONR (point-of-no-return). Pandora’s Box has opened up and the devolutionary conflagrations and calamities of life (I maintain mostly self-imposed) are so severe, and the damage is so great that the person views suicide as their only option and decides to cash-out of life.
Emotional Check-Out is a coping mechanism for a chronically dissatisfied life of ennui. An emotional check-out is a Limbic Brain check-out. The individual doesn’t have the ability to accept, express, understand, or adequately label an emotion —> attach an accurate feeling to the emotion. The person doesn’t have the capability to be emotionally honest. The individual keeps the energy of negative emotions inside of the Self. A person who is chronically dissatisfied lives an un/ill-healthy life of neurosis, compounded anxiety, depression, addictions of all kinds, and always low self-evaluation. Until the deeply rooted emotional hurt subsides by confirming and confronting it, the emotional pain will continue. Emotional checking-out involves an effeteness, depletion, and exhaustion that often devolves into learned helplessness. Learned helplessness tragically amounts to having lost the self-confidence to face life. The loss of self-confidence is an impediment for a person of low self-esteem, and keeps him/her on an emotional self-devolutionary path of hopelessness. In a later post, I will discuss the Repression Option as one means of interacting with life —> an emotional shutdown check-out option.
Surreal check-out is a life of unreality, nondirection, and distortion. Surreal checking-out is a fictive time of reality distortion. As human beings we are already born with a solipsistic reality —> living a reality of self-focus. Dissatisfaction and ennui add to this self-focus and can further distance us from the real world. Surreal living is one of er satz reality (artificial). Artificial reality is illusive living that can easily morph into a norm for/of living. Surreal living can follow a fantasy worldview aimed at cravings, wishes, and unrealistic dreaming because of the inability to satisfy needs in the real world. In surreal living life is on autopilot and automatic drive. In the introduction to Everett Shostrom’s book, Fritz Perls said that “modern man is dead, a puppet . . . he is deliberate and without emotions – a marionette.” (1968) Erich Fromm felt,”the paradoxical situation with a vast number of people today is that they are ½ asleep when awake, and ½ awake when asleep, or when they want to sleep.” (1956) Deikman also views modern man as ½ asleep, and consumed with unrealized dreams and wishes. (1983) Doesn’t it appear that many of us consciously or unconsciously have surrealistically checked-out of life? In a later post, I will discuss the Pollyannaish Option as one manner some people live their life —> a surreal “feel good” check-out option.
I earlier stated that a life of dissatisfaction from not meeting needs is a sad life of ennui –—> purposelessness, emptiness, and boredom. I now state that a life of dissatisfaction is a life that lacks meaning, is out of balance, is un/ill-healthy, and can lead to various ways to check-out of life: 1.) Surreal check-out, 2.) Emotional check-out, and 3.) Suicidal check-out. In the posts to come, I will discuss these 3 forms of checking-out.
Telomeres are nucleotide special base hardy end caps on every chromosome. Telomeres protect chromosomes. Chromosomes have genetic material packaged as DNA. Telomeres protect DNA against mental and physical deterioration. Short telomeres are an indication of degradation of a chromosomal cap. Telomeres involve stress: 1.) Stress can ignite telomere cap deterioration. Stress has something to do with gene CYP17. The CYP17 gene is on chromosome 10, and has an enzyme that converts cholesterol into cortisol. Stress that is pan-environmentally enduced involves cortisol. Chronic long-term stress can involve cortisol that wears down telomeres. Chronic stress is symptomatic of ongoing inner emotional and psychological struggles. Age can wear down telomeres. Research indicates stress enduced telomere cap shortening can contribute to diseases such as alzheimers, cancer, heart problems, aging skin, impaired immunological functioning, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis,and 2.) Telomerase is an enzyme that can elongate telomeres. The enzyme telomerase adds back DNA to telomere cap damage. Significantly, there are certain activities that can actually increase the enzyme telomerase and help avoid telomere cap degradation. Importantly, there are certain activities that can genuinely add back telomere to the damaged caps, and improve overall telomere maintenance. Activities that protect telomeres from long-term stress include —> having a balanced diet, having a clear purpose for living, participate in physical exercise, include mental exercises of all kinds, partake in relaxation exercises that decompress stress, and maintain consistent regular patterns. Also, consuming fish oil, certain hormone replacements, and certain auto-oxidants and anti-septics may have beneficial effects that delay telomere shortening. I suggest that many of these activities involve epigenetic activation.
Stressors pertain to pan-environmental triggers requiring a response —> stress comes from stressors. Stressors can take two forms: 1.) distress involves those destabilization stressors that are detrimental, injurious, and deleterious (eg. fired at work), or 2.) eustress are those innocuous, anodyne, even beneficial stressors (eg. promoted at work). Whether negative or positive, stressors consume energy. Whether it is distress or eustress there can be wear-and-tear on our mind-and-body. Stress is an excellent example of how our mind and bodies are inseparable. Stress interacts in a mind-body manner emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally and medically. In later posts, I review the clinical data related to mind-body symptoms. Certain stressors concern long-term stress (eg. a serious medical condition), and others pertain to short-term stress (eg. giving a speech). An interesting side note —> there are various instruments designed to measure levels of stress over a certain time period (eg. Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory).
Stress exists by the mere fact of living and is a factor for all of us. I understand the tremendous amount of stress that is a byproduct of living in modern societies. And, today with coronavirus, many people unemployed, and racial tension, there is an almost unmanageable amount of stress. Stress is from the Latin stringere and means to “draw tight.” Sometimes my day-to-day, churn-and-burn pressures can cause me to instinctually draw within myself. Part of this instinctive reaction is related to our survival instinct. That is, day-to-day stressfulness is connected to how we survive and manage the fluidity of lives unending and exhausting daily tasks, family issues, interpersonal problems, work, school, health, finances, and threats. However, and remarkably stress is also related to how we handle and manage our opportunities and successes. Stress involves our ability to direct lives evolutionary and devolutionary conditions. Stress includes our reactions to both milieu interior and milieu exterior pan-environmental events and happenings.
Boredom comes from a life of ennui and in some ways is inherent in the human condition. Doesn’t it often seem that we are busy-yet-bored, and we have stuff-yet-bored? In this day of modern technological advances and instant computerized feedback, I sometimes think that our attention span has become even shorter and has only intensified our inherent boredom. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin maintained that, “the man who sees nothing at the end of the world, nothing than himself, daily life can only be filled with pettiness and boredom. So much fruitless effort, so many wasted moments.”(1969) For Victor Frankl, when people finally have time to do something, they often don’t want to do it. In the Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus compared modern men to Sisyphus. In the Myth of Sisyphus the cruel king of Corinth betrayed divine secrets. As punishment the gods forced him to roll a stone to the top of the hill in Hades. Once reaching the top of the hill, Sisyphus had to roll the stone back down the hill. His lifelong job became nothing more than an endless parade and procession of low functioning and low productivity as he tediously rolled the stone up-and-down the hill. Camus sees Sisyphus as “the workman of today who works every day in his life at the same tasks and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious.” (1955) I ponder and ask, “Is life for the majority of us little more than a Camusian battle worn tug-of-war of purposelessness, emptiness, boredom, and a war-of-attrition that ends up eroding and devolving into weariness?”
Emptiness is a life of ennui, and is one gauge to measure the degree of meaning, balance, and health in our life. Buddha’s concept of sunyata = emptiness. Emptiness is related to a life that is not grasping Nature, human nature, or one’s own nature. McGrath contended, “there is an emptiness within human nature, which cries out for fulfillment and meaning, yet nothing created and transient seems to meet this need.” (2002) Emptiness is a key existential symptom. Emptiness is the experience of one’s existence as not being fulfilled and where a void exists. It is a life of dispassionate living because one’s needs are not being satisfied. Without need fulfillment a sort of lethargic nihilism (nothingness) sets in. A nothingness of excessive, frivolous, and facetious wanting. Emptiness is going through life recklessly and carelessly. Achtner et. al. maintained, “consciously or unconsciously, it seems that modern uprooted human beings on average have been following a lifestyle from Faust. They are subject to the ambivalence of empty activism and exhausted lethargy.” (2002) Carl Jung suggested that a societal collective emptiness amounts to a culture “composed of de-individualized persons.” (1957) I ask, “Is a society of collective emptiness a kind of disengaged dystopian society?”