Looking Forward to Suicide

Suicide gets a bad rap. Many people talk about it as if it were sadder or more tragic than regular old dying, but why? If anything, shouldn’t death be more tragic when it comes to someone who was looking forward to living longer? I see suicide as the ultimate in taking control of your own life. If I’m lucky, it is the way I will go when the time comes.

I understand that many people think that suicides are the result of extreme hopelessness that could have been alleviated if someone had been able to intervene. I’m sure that is the case in some instances. But I feel certain that some hopelessness is rational. And in many cases, suicide may be less a reaction to hopelessness than a rational weighing of the pros and cons of living. It takes a lot of effort to live. A lot of the effort isn’t much fun: trying to make ends meet, working a job that one may not find fulfilling, dealing with problems, not having any time, energy, or money left for the parts of life that are actually fun. At the point that the hassles or pain of life overshadow the fun, especially if you don’t see any way to significantly improve that balance, what’s wrong with letting life go? [Read more…]

A Heartfelt “Thank You”

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My friend left us today. I don’t know what to say, or what one is supposed to say, to make any of it better. I’m sure I’d screw it up anyway. What I will do is give him what I owe him: “thank you” from the bottom of my heart for what I witnessed with my own two eyes.

Shem Kellogg was one of the early giants in the New Hampshire liberty movement. I’ve heard he did a lot for the Ron Paul campaign. I know him from the Free State Project. When I was still living in Phoenix and wanted to acquire FSP literature to pass out, he was my point of contact. When I went to a Young Americans for Liberty conference in California in early 2013 to promote the FSP, Andrew Vermiglio, who has since joined us in New Hampshire, was there too, with a bunch of flyers Shem had shipped out to him. When I finally met Shem later that year, it was through going to conferences to promote the FSP. [Read more…]

Trigger Blessing

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Triggers are good, and rather than avoid reliving intense experiences, we should embrace them.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way and started at the thrilling conclusion, let’s go back and explore the counterintuitive idea that it’s a good idea to embrace the sources of our deepest pain.

The trigger, the beloved bogeyman of social justice warriors eager for a justification to shut down contrarian discourse, nonetheless represents something real. Traumatic experiences, once past, are buried deep within the furthest recesses of our persistent memory, locked away safe and far from our present mind. Triggers are the keys to the holding cells of the brain, threatening to release whatever rampaging monster of pain we keep locked away.

[Read more…]

Achieve or Go Mad With Power

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What’s more destructive to the soul? Power, or powerlessness? Or is it some combination of both?

The prevailing wisdom is that power is what corrupts. Offer someone something great, and you can bet that all kinds of moral compromises are on the way. The eternal search, therefore, is for that mythical creature: the incorruptible man, the individual willing and able to resist the temptations of power and maintain principle and integrity. However, I don’t think it’s that simple. Power means nothing without context. To a national legislator, for example, a million dollars can be significant, while to a fabulously wealthy businessman such a sum is absolutely meaningless.

You know what actually corrupts? Void. That internal emptiness that we all have to some certain degree, customized to our own personal life struggle. For some it’s recognition, to others it’s financial achievement, to still others it’s love and intimate validation. And people with the lowest amount of achievement tend to be those with the largest voids. For the out of shape, nerdy, lonely young guy, a charming young lady’s advances can get him to do just about anything. To the single mother spending her days at a low-paying and soul-sucking job, any recognition and acclaim can make her compromise. The political hopeful living in a trailer with no major accomplishment to his name won’t stick to his principles for long. [Read more…]

“Lifer” Syndrome

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I’ve been told I should run for office. They say I’d be a great public servant, that my poise and eloquence would serve the legislature well. “You should run.” “When are you running?” “You’d be great!”

Well, it’s not happening. I’m not going into so-called public service again. It’s over. I’m done. You know why? Because I used to care too much.

Call it “lifer syndrome.” I owe that term to a friend of mine and former military policeman, now an anarchist who has gotten into many confrontations for protesting war. While reminiscing on the good old days in the service, he casually mentioned that he used to be so dedicated, so enthusiastic, so hardcore that everyone assumed he was a “lifer,” or someone who would be in the military for the rest of his life. It certainly came as a surprise to many people when he left and turned his life in the complete opposite direction. Not to me, though.

You see, that’s the problem with passion: it’s sincere to a fault. And that sincerity has no tolerance for a corrupt and phony way of life. An unenthusiastic person can maintain a low level of faith and support in a system based on lies, trudging along in mediocre monotony for a lifetime. For a passionate person, living a lie is absolutely not sustainable. They will believe it with all their heart, put the entirety of their physical and emotional resources behind its advancement, and then will invariably come face to face with just how wrong they were. An ember can smolder endlessly under a pile of false promises, but a bright flame burns through them all in short order.

My friend fought for freedom so hard that he came to the inescapable conclusion that it wasn’t about that at all. Similarly, I worked my butt of during my time inside the political system, and subsequently burned out, because I cared too much.

So don’t try to get me back into politics. I’m a lifer. I was too honest to stay in it. And if you cared at all, you’d get out too.

Suicide Isn’t the Problem

Credit: Matt Calder

Credit: Matt Calder

“Suicide, I’ve already died, you’re just the funeral I’ve been waiting for.”
– Metallica, Cyanide

As one of the souls both unfortunate enough to be cursed with suicidal tendencies (the affliction, not the band) and fortunate enough to be blessed with wonderful friends who regrettably share my darker inclinations, I once again find myself talking about suicide. It’s okay, I’ll happily accept this responsibility if I can make a difference in someone’s life. But I don’t want to talk about the actual act, or the desire to engage in it. I want to talk about the real issue, the elephant in the room that no one ever wants to address: how people get into a position of wanting to take their own life in the first place.

Why? Because suicide isn’t a problem. It isn’t a philosophy, and it sure as hell isn’t a random affliction that pounces on unsuspecting prey. It’s a tactic, an approach, a (final) solution. Block the symptom, and the problem is still there. I’m here to talk about the problem.

Human beings have an incredibly strong survival instinct. How else could such a slow, weak, and fragile species of shaved primate manage to not only survive, but flourish, in every environment imaginable, to the point where humankind has become the unrivaled global apex predator? While this instinct is no longer quite as necessary in a world where vast swaths of people have all but conquered unnatural death, it still remains ingrained in our psyches. For someone to go so far as to fight directly against their strongest, most basic instinct, you know something serious is wrong. And usually, it’s something that’s been wrong for a very long time. [Read more…]