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Thoughts on Suicide

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has revealed that she had thoughts of loneliness and suicide amidst her big royal family brouhaha. No doubt Harry did all he could.

The suicide prevention program, Question, Propose, Refer (QPR) explains that feeling isolated and lonely are symptoms associated with  suicidal thinking. Also associated with danger of self harm is a sense that life is meaningless. See all below for meaning-making and awakening alternative to suicide. 


This nihilistic idea tracks with one aspect of existentialism. This school of philosophy asserts that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. This is heavy stuff. The existentialists can be forgiven, because they were Europeans who had lived through horrors and nightmares of the first and second world wars. It is no wonder they were pessimistic. However, one major existentialist, John Paul Sartre, looked squarely at futility and proposed a solution: “Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices.” “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” “Life begins on the other side of despair.” 

Sartre roots these sentiments in his idea that humans are blessed or burdened with the task of manifesting their own essence. Only humans have this task. All other entities, organic or inanimate, arise from their own predetermined natures. Humans, as thinking beings, have the agency and power to create their character, and at least some portion of their destiny. Thoughtful, introspective people do this. And, regrettably, many are not self aware enough to undertake the daunting task of becoming authentically themselves. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This is not to condemn the many. Life does not have been be lived at fever pitch. But hopefully, when any one of the many is impacted by some crisis, they will have the wherewithal to access their freedom to change. 


The Stoics of ancient Greece taught a gospel of striving to be cool with both happiness and sadness. Here are the core teachings:

[1] If You Want a Smooth Flow of Life, Live According to Nature

[2] Happiness Isn’t Found in Things, but in Virtue Alone – It’s All About What We Value and the Choices We Make

[3] We Don’t Control External Events, We Only Control Our Thoughts, Opinions, Decisions and Duties

[4] We’ve Each Been Given All the Inner Resources We Need to Thrive

[5] We Must Eliminate Toxic Emotions – Why Hope, Fear, and Anger are Always the Worst Strategies

[6] We Are and Must Remain a Unified Self – We Can’t Complain or Blame Anyone Else (Best to Deal with Our Own Demons)

[7] No Man Is an Island: The Stoic Golden Rule—Our individual interests are bound up, because of our fundamental rational and social nature, with the interests and concerns of others. He [Hierocles ] pictures these spheres of concern as a series of circles, radiating out from our own self/mind.

[8] Our Personal Development is Bound Up in Cooperation with Others.—“Whenever you have trouble getting up in the morning, remind yourself that you’ve been made by nature for the purpose of working with others.” Marcus Aurelius

[9] Persist and Resist: It’s All about Progress, Not Perfection.—As we make progress in our various endeavors and encounter setbacks, we are constantly improving ourselves: thinking through things better, learning to anticipate trouble (premeditatio malorum), choosing to act in a more virtuous way, and eliminating toxic emotions. SOURCE  The 9 Core Stoic Beliefs – Daily Stoic › 9-core-stoic-beliefs

They also recommended a discipline of “carpe diem.” Look at these counsels.

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus

“Let us prepare our minds as if we’d come to the very end of life. Let us postpone nothing. Let us balance life’s books each day… The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.” —Marcus Aurelius

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” —Seneca

“Stop drifting…Sprint to the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.” —Marcus Aurelius

  The author Camus tells his version of the story of Sisyphus who was condemned to push a rock up the hill over and over as it kept rolling down the hill again and again. Camus said Sisyphus didn’t lose heart. He said to himself “I won’t be beaten. I’m going to keep pushing the rock anyway. Screw it.” Or something like this. Camus concluded that because of this attitude, Sisyphus can be counted as happy. “…with the joyful acceptance of the struggle against defeat, the individual gains definition and identity.” Britannica


The men’s work I do with the Mankind Project teaches that we all have a unique gift to give to ourselves and to others as we see fit. This “gift” arises, in the best of all possible worlds, from what really turns us on. The gift starts as a vision of the world we want to create, followed by the mission of manifestation we commit to. The gift also entails a notice of what about us may draw us away from our path.


“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” – Viktor Frankl

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