A scene in a film I watched recently reminded me of a discussion that I had with a friend long ago in college. The dialog in the movie was one we have heard since time immemorial – “It is cowardly to attempt suicide.” My friend had argued at that time, that whatever be the reasons behind a person deciding to take the ultimate step, it requires a lot of courage – one cannot take one’s life easily. I said No. Try taking your life when you have not the slightest speck of despair, when you are brimming with happiness. That, would require courage. Not when you are depressed beyond reason, and all emotions including courage are numbed by the power of distress.
It is not just about giving up. It is also about Why and How. And When.
Unless there are no visible reasons to keep on trying, Giving up is not easy. Contrary to what people may say, admitting defeat while on a trail, however convincing the reasons for giving up, takes a good amount of courage. Stepping back when we are hot on a quest, and dropping everything including the principles we believe in, because of other priorities, other people, other events, can be quite unnerving.
At the end of a long trudge along a dark and non-existent path, when we find ourselves alone and weary with our target nowhere in sight, the original vision we were chasing that motivated us to get started on this journey appearing vague and blurry, it would seem that Giving Up is easier than the struggle forward. It would be, if the Original Urge was not strong enough, or one did not believe in it.
The attraction of one’s quest is difficult to ignore, impossible to snap. Convincing oneself that it is time to let go could be heart-breaking. Very often, days after we have made the decision, we wake up in the morning, ready to continue what we were seeking, forgetting for an instant that we had decided not to go any further – that we had surrendered.
Imagine, one sunny morning you measure your life’s efforts and tell yourself, That’s it! I am drawing a line here. If my painstaking investments yield results, then probably I deserved them. If not, I never did. I am not going to exert myself any further. Instead, I will wait for glory to come to me.
That's a very heavy and distressing topic to pick up. Suicides always have been so debated about. The original quest as you call it is too strong to ignore and thank god for that. Imagine otherwise the numbers that might have decided to call it a day. :)And no matter how small or inconsequential one feels, one is an important cog in creation itself. Sometimes there is merit in letting things be. Even acceptance and non-action has therapeutic value.
Thanks for the comment. Suicide was just an introduction. The rest of it holds for anything in Life!
Suicide is escapism. But to commit suicide-to take that final step one needs a lot of courage. It is not easy. Even those who kill themselves without thinking much about the act face that one moment and require a lot of courage to go beyond that point. Then there is 'ritual suicides'Harakiri – they call it in Japan. Then there are Jains, who take that last step religiously. Suicide has not just a psychology but a philosophy as well. The space here is too little to go into the details.
In this life there is so little we can decide for ourselves. So when someone decides to draw the line he feels immense power. It may not be the case of everyone and I am not glorifying the act. I had – oh… how I hate to use the past tense – a couple friends who went all the way. And I know a couple of guys who almost went there and came back!
If one was to speak to a "friendly" doctor,one will be told that the very thought of suicide,irrespective of reasons, is a disease.The individual has to have strength to come out of the state of mind.
GK & BK Chowla, thanks a lot for sharing your views on Suicide. Whatever said and done, for those left behind to clean up and grieve, it is tough.