(A fiction by Sidharth Vardhan.
Please note that I started it as a fiction project that would use the disgusting ugliness to create some sort of literature. It was too close to reality to be worthwhile for anyone. If you are depressed or suicidal or are suspect-able, please avoid reading this diary. Those problems must be fought with all you have and the darkness contained in here can make your problems worse. Its only use can be found in the study of a very unhealthy and disgusting mind who has dumped his failures to find a value for his life in a dairy and ended up painting the whole world in black of his self-piety. The arguments he presents are all highly subjective and debatable and thus should not be considered wise at all. They prove nothing except the fact that he is a pathetic loser. You, whoever, are reading this, are a far superior person and should ask for help which is your birth-right as a human being and should ask for it and know that your life will be beautiful again. Yet I won’t take it offline as that seems to be cowardly. If you are curious, you can find all parts of ‘Diary of a Cynical Suicide’ here. )
Death, Ageing and Game theory
If you ask me, death is overrated. It is nothing. In fact, it is less than nothing. It is a moment long metamorphosis from the presence of something called life, that is itself abstract condition created by a functioning body, to an abstract void created out of the absence of life. It is thus abstraction of an abstraction of an abstraction. Why attach so much importance to it? Do we ever give names to end of things? end of movies? end of books? end of a friendship? Why make an exception for the end of life? And there are so many words attached to death – dying, suicide, euthanasia, murder, assassination, homicide, etc; why such differentiation?
You might claim that it is the fear of dying – of fear that one’s existence will end. That might be true to a great extent. But the same can be said about aging, another existential crisis. While one often hears talk about immortality, one rarely hears about everlasting youth. The women in Ovid’s Metamorphosis demanded immortality from gods but forgot to ask about everlasting youth. There is such a book as ‘Death of Illan Illytch” but none as ‘Ageing of Illan Illytch’. There are dreams and nightmares where ones dream of being dead, dying or nearly dead or nearly dying but how many of us dream scenarios where we are old? Why it is that a void is more real to us than aging? Aren’t we more likely to come across old people on a given day than a dying person or dead body? No, the fear of ending of one’s existence doesn’t explain it all.
Moreover, so many of us, me for example, wish for death. If fear of ending one’s existence was such a supreme factor, we won’t have any suicides. To take up the example of aging from above, how many young people dream of getting old? Aging seems a much stronger fear. People die for fear of getting old and are often called a coward.
I think the importance attached to death has more to do with the people to whom dead are close to. The dead are you know …. dead. If they died suddenly, they might not have to make peace with having to leave. If they did stay terminally ill for a long time, they already have made their peace with leaving the world. Either way, there is nothing particularly important in death for them. It is the people to whom they were close, who need last rites to reconcile with the death of their dear one. The last rites are just a way of saying farewells to one who has already left. It is not our own death we fear most, rather that of our dear ones. People sacrifice their own lives to save that of dear ones. Dying is easier than seeing a beloved die. That is why we are infatuated about the idea of death. That is why people call those killing themselves selfish.
Life, you see, is a gathering – we never miss people, once we have already left the gathering. Whereas if we stay behind, we are bound to miss those who have left. It is only logical to leave early. That is what game theory would suggest as the best option.
Perhaps that is why people hate suicides. Because then others feel cheated. People want to think the time of dying, that is the time of leaving the gathering, should be decided by the lottery of fate. They hate it when someone takes things in their own hands.
Besides the dislike of people toward suicide, also how much money one gives to save the life of a dying person one loves – even though their life might be so full of suffering.with no hope of recovery, it makes one wonder whether we are all jailers to each other. We are the prisoner here in this world, but we are also like jailers to each other. And we take every suicide, every death as a failure in our job.
Almost every day, my breakfast involves sitting with women who must go on gossiping about people or complaining about them the whole time. It annoys me to see how little people like each other. Today, besides the usual, I was given a special sweet dish too. It was a passing reference to a handicapped girl in their gossip, which made me ask more about the girl. It was a 16-year-old girl handicapped from the entire lower body. Her mother is her 24*7 caretaker whom she sometimes beats in agony. She is so miserable, I am told, that she can’t even use a wheelchair. She must crawl to every place. She has a child-like mind, and shits in her clothes. In talking about her, her mother calls her a punishment.
I sat there thinking what thoughts must go in her mind – still that of a child, whose whole existence is a humiliation. I think of her mother who must have been looking after her for years now – feeling punished and thus guilty for some unknown crime. I wonder whether the girl consciously chose to shit in her clothes because using toilets must be so much hard work, so much humiliation. I wonder how she must have taken the bodily changes of a teenager. Did her heart beat for a handsome stranger? Did she then understand that she was in love? I hope she didn’t. Ignorance is bliss. She must be so powerless that she can’t even kill herself, whenever she would realize how hopeless her existence is. At least I am lucky enough to be able to kill myself.
I wonder about her mother who now surely was face to face with the ugliness of human life and yet couldn’t afford to kill herself, go mad or look for distractions. How brave she must be, to live face to face with truth constantly. I, for one, was scared within the first few minutes. None of the consolatory words, the one-liners of old wisdom came to my mind that could delude this picture. I, sat there, my breakfast forgotten, once again looking for old distractions and realizing what a big coward I was. And telling myself, no one should have a right to question a suicide when it is so hard to make it through one’s breakfast.
I think of lots of such fanciful explanations as I might use to prevent someone from dying – I imagine this potential suicide to be a girl – a blond, a hot one (I still am full of Damsel-in-distress fantasies) but no such fantasies will help me – now that handicapped girl sits on my mind belying all of them. Will such a caretaker be able to have any rational argument to deter the girl if later was to chose to kill herself
Nietzsche once said that the thought of suicide is enough to make one go through some of the hardest nights. The last night was one such night. Perhaps this whole piece is a result of such cognition from my part. What I wonder is that it (the thought of Nietzsche) came from a man who degradingly called all (what I would rather call) soft emotions and qualities (kindness, compassion etc) feminine and thus insulting the qualities and female half of population at same time (no wonder he probably died a virgin), instead choosing to believe the world needs and will ultimately get a Superman. For I think these depressions, anxieties and panic attacks that I seem to share with him are soft too or to use Nietzsche’s language feminine.
Sometimes I think I want to commit suicide merely to be able to write a suicide letter. It is going to be the best thing I write. I mean, I will be dying to make it come alive. Voltaire once said something like we must work if we are not to kill ourselves. But what if my best work is to be my last work. I want to be like a Swans, who reserves their best songs for the last.
You have to be suicidal to understand those philosophers I guess. I already quoted Nietzsche and Voltaire. One more quote comes to my mind – where Camus wonders what he should do with this lovely morning? Kill himself or make himself a cup of coffee. I always thought it was just something that sounds cool – surely no one would have that sort of a mindset. But at the moment, I myself can’t decide whether to publish these notes and kill myself or watch ‘The Guardians of Galaxy’.
Camus was lucky though. He died in a car accident. He didn’t have to make an effort to die young. He probably didn’t suffer a lot while dying. I’m envious.
My whole existence has become a mental conversation with a person and nothing she will ever say will end it now. And I too have mere reproaches (though she is innocent) because of her inability to end it. I must die or run the risk of becoming a sort of Bertha Mason.
Some of my suicide attempts seem to have nothing more than an action to render force to my reproaches. Because at some point, quantity just isn’t enough. You need to do it once and in a style.
Of hope and foresight
It really isn’t as easy to kill oneself. It does need a lot of sadomasochistic courage, especially if you aren’t used to killing people – try making a single cut with a blade on your body before you call a suicide a coward. (Tried. Momentary pain took all my courage away).
…And it needs more commitment than marriage. You almost need to get drunk on your grief and, of course, ignore hope’s new aspirations.
Hope, you see, is a bitch. She promises and promises but never turns out at the time of rendezvous. And then just when you have enough of her, she comes back and seduces you with more promises.
They say that foresight was one misery that remained behind in Pandora’s box. I think one of them had to stay in while the other got out – hope or foresight. Because those with foresight will have no use for hope. And those with hope will avoid foresight for fear of finding the trust they put in their hopes wasted. Hope is the lies we believe in to stay alive. Foresight brings us face to face with truth and so makes us want to kill ourselves.
I do prefer foresight over hope though. In a tale by Hans Christian Anderson, Death showed a mother whose child it had taken away two futures of her child if he was to live – one full of happiness and greatness and all that, the other full of misery. It told her that the child could live either one of two if it came to life again. Death then asked her if she still wanted the child. She said no and walked away weeping. You might think she was pessimistic and could as well have been optimistic or that she must have let the child live even if it was a miserable life. (Those against euthanasia and suicide prefer years of miserable existence over death.)
But you don’t get it. I think the mother understood that even the life full of greatness and happiness wasn’t really happy – but just another miserable life in better clothes. There was no way the child could live happily. Where there is foresight, there is no scope for hope.
It is thus I conclude that if more mothers (including mine) don’t kill their children than that is because foresight remained in Pandora’s box. And it would be good if it had left. Humans are able to bear suffering because they take it moment by moment and hope that it will end any moment now – never learning from experience. But imagine if the mother of the handicapped girl I mentioned above was to see her and her daughter’s future at once at the time of child’s birth, see her little daughter crawl her way around in the world for years to come. Tell me, don’t you think she would have gathered the courage to kill her daughter?
Thus foresight might be evil itself but it also frees you from suffering on the hands of other evils. A world gifted by foresight would be a far happier place. Lesser and happier population. But this is empty speculation. The point is I think I’m gifted with the foresight of some sort. Not Pandora’s box one, but I do believe I can see some patterns. And they show paths full of misery.
Caring for wrong sorts
A dramatic imbalance exists in my life. The people who care for me so much, do not make me care enough to live. And those whom I care about, think not much about me. I think of these later and want to kill myself and I feel guilty for being cruel to the former.
There are already too many of these notes. I don’t know why I write them. Not for myself. Not for others either. Even if I have some unconscious desire for someone who would read them and reach out with a helping hand, these notes must end here. People have 140 characters long attention span these days, I don’t think people will care to read these notes anyway. Carlin said a writer can’t kill himself, he will write a book out of his misery, perhaps he was right. I wish I had never learned to write. I never really learned to write well, so it was the worst of both worlds.
Copyright – Sidharth Vardhan