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?