Suicide, Martyrdom, and Robin Williams

I have spent most of my life looking for something. Like most people out there, I could not put up with extravagant doses of narcissism for too long. One could only watch so much television… The one question that drives me is one which drove Albert Camus: “Why have I not yet committed suicide?” And, more acutely, the counter-question: “Am I living for something for which I will to be martyred for?” Suicide is a less sophisticated question in light of martyrdom. For what am I willing to be martyred for, if anything? That is the question. And it is a good one. I imagine a Christian would say, “The Christian faith.” The Muslim would reply, “On behalf of Allah, His holy prophet Muhammed, and the holy Quran.” But for what does the skeptic live and die for? For what or whom does the agnostic die for? For what or whom does the lonely atheist live and die for? What drives the will to live

We spend so much time contemplating things that lead to life. But life…that is the question! Why have we chosen life? What makes life so important to us? To me? If we spend countless hours working in order to support this “thing” we call “life,” when do we stop and think…and live? What does it mean “to live”? For, if one were to die, one would first need to live. To live, that is the question. How does one go about living? Is that, too, an abstract concept? Is life somewhere out there? If so, does not that imply that anti-life (i.e., death) is in here, right here in the insides of us all? 

A gun is being pointed to your head and the question is being asked, “Are you willing to be martyred for this?” “You know, you could live a good life. All you need to do is forsake what you are living for now.”

But what are you living for? Our culture has given us many suicides—almost forty thousand a year. But not a single, damn martyr! 

And we are allegedly proud. Proud of what? Proud that a comedian, Robin Williams, had no self-control over his alcohol and drug addictions? Proud that the very virtues which the ancients and our ancestors have strived for had been abandoned? Proud that we are able to lead a meaningless life addicted to narcotics and anti-anxiety medications? (What the hell are we anxious about anyway? God damn it, you have no right to be anxious!) The anxious are those awaiting martyrdom. Those are the anxious. Give them your Ativan, your Valium. Hell, they won’t take it. Why? Because they know what they are living and dying for. They have self-control. They have what it takes to stand up for what they believe in. They have blood and they have guts. All you have is blood. Blood from your wrists from cutting your miserable self. 

A generation that takes suicide for granted has lost its ability to reason. A generation that feels sorry for the self-victimized victim is, itself, a victim of its own victimizing illusion. We all have a sob story. Some of us actually have become martyrs. Martyrs in a weak sense. We have given up our lives in order not to commit suicide. We have given up our lives in the hopes that this world would become a better place to live in. That is as close to martyrdom as many of you will ever dream of coming. 

What happened to people who reasoned rationally? What happened to those of us, those old men of renown, who used to place greater things first? Those who would, without a split-second doubt, head out into the battlefield for king and country? Hell, we can’t even get people to defend their miserable selves these days; they inflict wounds upon themselves anyhow! 

I think the answer really is: If you have nothing worth being martyred for, you have no right to die. You should live. Spend your time walking on virgin shores, attempting to discover the meaning to life, attempting to find that which one would die for. I am nauseated by this boring generation that considers all sob stories suicide-inducing. We all have a sob story. Hell, go create one that is worth dying for.keep-calm-and-don-t-commit-suicide-8

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