I enjoy philosophical riddles, and I spend far too less time working on them. The reasons do not matter. I am confronted with one riddle in particular day in and day out… Why have I not or cannot kill myself?

I have gone through my fair share of suffering, and for most of my life battled with the will and desire to no longer be alive. I have many times and still want to die. I do not want to exist. So why at this moment with how I feel and have felt I must ask myself. Why am I breathing and writing this?

This has been a philosophical puzzle that has plagued and tortured me. I have come up with many theories, reasons, and excuses for why I have not.

No point in running the list. What I came up with and I feel so blind for not figuring this out. Its our primal directive to survive. Its ingrained within us and drives everything. This directive is so powerful that I cannot overcome or find the courage to end my suffering.

To me logic and reason would dictate that ending suffering is the only thing that makes sense. Every other theory I have ever had about why I am still alive stems from this roadblock.

How can this override clear logic and reason of not wanting to suffer? How can this seed allow us to self deceive ourselves against the logical course of action. How and at what point can this will be broken down?

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Comments
  1. Yash Gupta says:

    Hi! You sound like a fellow pessimist dealing with something i was dealing with too till very recently. The urge to end it all was present in me even when i was a little kid. Like you, i’ve thought about it over and over but i never even got close to “making the final cut”.

    I’ve chased various philosophies looking for answers to questions that just won’t stop haunting me. So when i saw “True Detective” i was excited to find that there’s an established school of thought that corresponds to my state of mind. They call it Pessimistic Realism. Anyways, i looked into it and found that the writers of the show had been inspired by Thomas Ligotti’s “The Conspiracy against the Human Race” where he argues that humanity should make a congregated effort to end the existence of our species. I read his book and found that his reasoning is compelling and since i’ve always had an inclination towards this line of thinking, i agreed with him initially.

    But after i gave it some serious thought and considered why i hadn’t ended my own existence i realised that this urge is nothing but a weakness. We desperately want to believe that there are solutions, that there are answers. But isn’t it wishful thinking that once we commit suicide, our suffering or torment or boredom will be alleviated…or that an hour of profuse bleeding would completely negate years of suffering? I concluded that Ligotti’s belief was hypocritical and that he was masking his optimism behind a temporary pessimism. And all my life, that’s what i was doing too.

    When we contemplate suicide, at some level we tell ourselves that relief lies in the beyond. Those who convince themselves of this, they make the “final cut”. I could never do that because i had no way of knowing and i was never much of an optimist to believe without being sure. Maybe that’s what happens with you too. I don’t agree that logic or reason dictate that suicide will end suffering. For that we need substantial data that we don’t have, so it’s a matter of blind faith. Anything could happen once we die. If my experience has taught me anything, it is that the worse is always more plausible. The answer MAY be as simple as “ending life ends suffering” but it probably isn’t, because nothing ever is!

    Of course there could be other reasons, i’m just narrating my own psychological and philosophical journey. After i figured this out, a major conversation in my head came to rest. I don’t contemplate suicide anymore. I’ve decided to wait for the end to come to me 🙂

    • Thank you! I loved your response definitely ranks in top ten of all time. I will begin learning more about this school of thought. I believe faith is a lie we tell ourselves blind faith is very hard for me. The only truth we know is we don’t know the truth until our final moments. Pascals wager in my opinion is where faith comes from. I have come to terms that when my time comes it will enevidbly be by my own hands. It’s only a matter of when, I am at peace with that.

  2. saggiga says:

    Have you ever explored the philosophy of Taoism? Tao appears neither political nor religious. It is far more appealing than those 1400 religions floating around in our cosmos. I’ve been at it for about a month and find it riddled with both humor and charm.

    Been in many of the same places you seem to have traveled and carried my “dark passenger”, suicide, with me since my first failed try at age 6. I am in the same place as you – just waiting for old death to come in it’s own good time.

  3. intactisin says:

    Suffering doesn’t end when you kill yourself, you just pass it in to the people you left behind who loved you.

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