A few weeks week ago, an ex-marine in New York committed suicide by placing a homemade explosive device in his mouth. The man was suffering from throat cancer. Friends said that he could hardly swallow or speak due to the tumor. NY Daily News story
Recently, a judge in New Mexico approved the request of a terminally ill patient to undergo physician-assisted suicide. The judge said, “This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness.”Bloomberg News story
A few weeks ago the world received the sad news of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The apparent cause of death was a heroin overdose. While we do not know if Hoffman intended to end his life, it is safe to say that through his drug use he was seeking an escape from consciousness.
Osho once said, “There is a deep desire in everyone to commit suicide for the simple reason that life seems to be meaningless. People go on living, not because they love life, they go on living just because they are afraid to commit suicide.”
It might seem a little heartless to put Osho’s thoughts on suicide next to the stories of three men for whom life had become unendurable. And yet, isn’t every death meant to be a wake-up call to the living?
T.S. Eliot once said that without the prospect of death, humans would have gone slack. We would have become like the Lotus Eaters in the ancient Greek myth. Death gives us the impetus to live—it forces us to evolve. The hero’s journey makes no sense without the danger of death.
John Lennon once said “Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.” Osho would agree. He said, “My whole effort here is to help you see that the real is sacred, that this very world is sacred, that this very life is divine.”
And yet, mustn’t we also embrace suicide? It too is part of reality.
The world spins. Most of us live lives of quiet desperation, but that need not be the case. May these three men help bring us back to the center of our being and give us new impetus and meaning.
by John Tintera