German co-pilot’s suicide points to our shared desire for death (Part 1 of 2)

The 150 people aboard Germanwings flight 4U9525 sacrificed their lives in order to bring a deeply profound element within our collective psyche to our awareness. It is a psychological prompt that urges us to act on an acute subconscious desire—our “desire for death”—which lurks in the shadows of our much vaunted “desire for life.”

Toward a better understanding of suicide

In the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50.  Male suicides outnumber female suicides by a ratio of nearly 4:1. (78% to 22% in 2013.) The number of men committing suicide in the UK is nearing 5,000 a year—that’s about 13 male suicides every day. Furthermore, this average has been steadily increasing since 2007, in contrast to a significant decrease in female suicides.

Suicide is an everyday phenomenon we seldom examine. We dismissively reason that someone choosing suicide has been subject to a tangled personal dilemma that has little to inform us on how to manage our own life. When a famous person like Robin Williams commits suicide we are less dismissive, but we still don’t look for any deeper meaning that links us to the event. The tendency is to pass off such tragedy as another example of an artistic genius ending their lives in order to end some maniacal obsession with the worthiness of their existence.

We can’t imagine a person’s suicide has anything to tell us about our own Self, because we don’t believe we are all deeply connected to each other.

What are the statistics telling us?

One particular statistic tells us that a suicide that includes the murder of others (taking someone with you, so to speak – such as a spouse or other family members), are extremely rare. Unless someone relatively famous is involved, such events go largely unreported by the national and international media, and thus never reach our collective attention.

Almost as a consequence of our inattention to these “lesser” tragic events and our reticence to examine the phenomenon of suicide, our collective consciousness has recently created a “mass event” designed to forcibly grab our attention. By killing 149 others when taking his own life, Andreas Lubitz has emotionally shocked us into focusing on the issue.

From the perspective of our collaborative collective consciousness, we would not have created such a hugely saddening event if it were not important for us all to understand why suicide happens and what psychological elements prevail when someone contemplates or commits suicide.

  • So what is so important about suicide that 150 people need to sacrifice their lives on a French mountainside in order that we examine the issue?
  • What is suicide trying to tell us about our Selves?
  • Moreover, what might prevent an individual turning to suicide?

Depression – the doubting of your creative abilities

Depression commonly begins a psychological decent into suicide, although only 5% of people suffering from depression actually kill themselves.

Depression is the severe discounting of yourself, of who you are, of your worthiness to receive love, and the doubting of your creative abilities—you don’t believe you have the creative resources to change the situation.

By LeStudio1.com - 2015 Licence Reserved www.flickr.com
By LeStudio1.com – 2015 Licence Reserved www.flickr.com

For someone like Robin Williams to doubt his creative ability appears absurd, but often the highly creative can be highly sensitive to criticism. Being sensitive to criticism is a reflection of a person’s propensity for criticizing and judging themselves—which leads to the perceived inadequacy of something they have created, and the subsequent doubt of the value of their creativity.

At the end of the 1980s, I personally experienced interludes of depression that I now understand were triggered by the breakup of my marriage. My failure to maintain a harmonious family life led to me examining my creation of intimate relationships and my ability to sustain them. Moreover, I began to consider the meaning of my life in general.

When depression turns to something more ominous

A common symptom of depression is a preoccupation with obsessive thoughts revolving around whether your life has any meaning or purpose. Encapsulated by the term “existential crisis,” you can find yourself constantly ruminating on the whys and wherefores of your existence.

To be, or not to be: that is the question… (Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.)

Occasional pondering or ruminating over the meaning of our life is something most of us do. Often, this happens during or immediately after a life crisis. When the life crisis is to do with a valued relationship, we can be depressed, but the depressive thoughts can escalate into an all-encompassing existential crisis.

Why? Because life is about connection.

When a significant relationship comes to an end, the disconnect sets off a “panic” reaction deep within us that springs from the erroneous core belief that we are alone in the world, disconnected from Source/Consciousness/God.

All too easily, a relationship crisis can become a full-blown existential crisis—depending on a person’s susceptibility to depression, their quickness to doubt their worthiness to receive love, and their tendency for disparaging their creative abilities.

From the medical standpoint, there are a number of ways to help in the alleviation of depression.

[bctt tweet=”However, there is no medical intervention known that addresses an existential crisis.”]

Unsurprising, when someone enters into an existential crisis they turn their attention to the possibilities of their existence beyond the physical realm because their existence in the physical realm appears to be of no consequence. Because our ego-self (the part of us that deals with the physical world), is largely ignorant of the non-physical “spiritual” aspects of our existence, and therefore has little to go on, it is left with only the tried and trusted way of acquiring knowledge—through experience.

Unfortunately, if the mind is beset with such questions as –

  • How can I live without this relationship?
  • Where is my life headed?
  • Is my life worth living? And,
  • What do I do now?

– A distraught and confused ego-self can be seduced by “the desire for death,” and thus surmise that suicide may be the experiential answer to ending its existential angst.


Coming in Part 2 (posting Friday 17th)…

Seth reveals how our desire for life masks our equally healthy “quite active desire for death.”

Answering the questions posed above –

  • So what is so important about suicide that 150 people need to sacrifice their lives on a French mountainside in order that we examine the issue?
  • What is suicide trying to tell us about our Selves?
  • Moreover, what might prevent an individual turning to suicide?

 

Blog at cwejohnson.com

 

Author: Chris Johnson

Website’s owner.
Author of the It’s About You! trilogy.
Head of the “Counselling for your Self” therapeutic practice.