Sunday, June 09, 2013

Good vs. OK vs. Bad Suicide aka "Suicide in the Manosphere"

As you know, I am not against suicide.  I'm all for euthanasia.  I'm all for the Smith and Wesson retirement plan.  And if life gets particularly hard (say, you're crippled or life is really just horrible to you), then yes, I do not see suicide as a "cowardly" option, but rather a sane and logical one.  However, a couple spates of suicide and knowing some of my friends who have committed it themselves, I believe many of us, especially men, and especially those of us in the Manosphere need to delve into this dark and macabre world as it is more pertinent to our demographic group than others.

First, the good suicide.

Suicide CAN be a legitimate and optimal choice.  The most common reason I can see is if you are terminally ill, in pain and don't want to cripple future generations with hospital bills to keep your failing corpse alive another 6 miserable months.  Hunter Thompson for example, my grandmother (who did not commit suicide, but was a vegetable for her last 5 years of life) another, or anybody whose physical body is failing them and the conclusion is foregone.  I will further contend (and will admittedly not get everybody to agree with me) that if your life is irreparably damaged, destitute, disadvantaged and genuinely hopeless, then yes suicide can certainly be a legitimate option (though I provide the caveat if it comes to "suicide" then all options are open and you should try robbing a bank or something drastic to see if you can't turn your fortunes around, because, what's it going to cost you?).

Beyond that we enter a "gray area" of suicide that I can "understand," but do not agree with.  Specifically, when people have success, reach the pinnacle of their lives, and then, have nothing left to live for. You see this in a spike in suicide after people retire, or the likes of Ernest Hemingway perhaps, Kurt Cobain another, or any number of successful celebrities that then suffer from depression or suicide (Amy Winehouse).  I am of the personal theory "there is always something to do, some adventure to go on, something to explore," so no matter if you conquer the world there was always places to go and people to befriend.  Of course, this is easier said than done when your entire being is wrapped up in you being a great singer, a great author, a great astronaut or a great "anything," but still, family, friends and loved ones should always trump your career.

Then there is bad suicide.  Suicide that shows you are weak.  You're on drugs.  You're a woeisme person, and you're just too damn lazy to change your life.  You'd rather feel sorry for yourself and get all emo, making multiple faux, suicide attempts in the vain hope you'll get some attention that will yield a knight in shining armor to save you, but in the end it boils down to you not wanting to expend the effort and energy necessary to make life worth living.  It is these people I have no patience or pity for.

Bad suicide does not interest me intellectually.  And "good suicide," though not palatable to the average westerner's mind, is a foregone philosophical no-brainer for me.  What intrigues me though is the gray area, specifically for these reasons three:

1.  The two life coaches that just committed suicide.  These aren't the first, and I fear they won't be the last, but why are people, who are presumably experts on life, committing suicide? And furthermore, why would you listen to this group of people?  It would be like reading Jezebel for marriage or dating advice.  Regardless, there seems to be a disturbingly high percentage of "motivational speakers" or people who generally dispense personal advice that end up killing themselves, questioning the legitimacy of such a profession.  The only way I can see this being legitimate is if they pushed the psychological and philosophical boundaries of happiness so far they mastered it and it became boring.

2.  Mystery from "The Game."  I'll have to apologize, but I had to spend some significant time tracking down the post where i read this, but "Mystery" who is the author of "The Game" gets suicidal (and I am totally trusting Rollo did his research on this).  Again, a guy who is a professional PUA, dispensing advice, feeling suicidal.

3. The handful of stories and posts I've read, but cannot find right now, at various Manosphere sites about "totally cool, awesome, incredibly successful men with the ladies" who ended up committing suicide anyway (I would appreciate if any of you could send me the links because I know they're out there). 

In short, there seems to be a psychological profile of pick up artists, ladies men, successful babe hounds, many of whom are and have dispensed advice that are either dead by their own hand or contemplate it today.  And what I can't figure out is, is it because these men were

highly successful, finally figuring out an insanely complex algorithm that was never meant to be solved, and thus unintentionally took away their own meaning in life


have something wrong with them that makes them gravitate, like "life coaches" and "motivational speakers," towards an advice-dispensing profession plagued by high suicide rates.

Thoughts?  Opinions? Observations?  Anecdotes or empirical evidence?

Coincidentally and NOT to be considered a subject or example of the above, is this post is sponsored in part by Private Man's dating advice services.  Read all the stuff you want on the internet, it is general advice.  NOT advice tailored to you.  That's where Private Man comes in.  One on one advice, SPECIFICALLY addressed to you and your situation and over the phone as well.  No texts, no e-mails, unless that is what you want.


PeppermintPanda said...

PUA and "life coaches" committing suicide isn't unexpected. A large portion of people who give advice professionally do so to inflate their ego to compensate for some (real or imagined) problem in their life.

Anonymous said...

Classifications of good or bad suicides cannot be made without considering collateral damage. The two suicides in my life have scarred a number of people for the rest of their lives. In this sense, most suicides are bad, with the exception of the medical reason one (why make your loved ones suffer with you?).
As for life coaches, well i think people go into those fields to get help (understanding?) rather than to disseminate it.

mts said...

I hate to correct someone in his own blog, but "Style" (real name Neill Strauss) is the author of The Game, and Mystery is a PUA that he took a shine to and decided to follow around and make the main PUA of his book's study. The book begins with a tale of a drunken, suicidal Mystery that Style has to cheer up. Sometimes his book seems to go back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, so who knows if this was true. I loaned the book out and can't look it up now.

But yeah suicide hits people who did well or badly, young and old, so who's to say what it is. Finland is supposed to be the country with the most suicides (surrounding Scandanavia isn't far behind), and it's a fine place to live, not a war zone, or a poor place like Haiti.

If reaching the pinnacle of a career and having nothing left to win was it, Sinatra should've been dead after his career tanked in the 60's and not make his comeback. Shatner should've been gone a long time ago. Kobain and Winehouse were at the very beginning of their careers and nowhere near the Rolling Stones or Beatles in their careers, so there was plenty of room to move up. Plus Kobain had a baby daughter to raise which trumps all, not grown children, so F him.

There's a Forbes article on this, and it says 2/3rds of ex-mil suicides are guys 50 and older, so most likely not recent war vets. In 1999, before either war, serviceman suicides were 1/4 of all, now with many more vets, it's 22% of the total, so it dropped.

I can't find the study which says military suicides are equal among non-combat troops stationed stateside or in place like Germany or Italy vs. combat troops in Iraq/Afghanistan. So either they're coming in pre-disposed, or if it's the result of a volunteer vs. draft base.

Mangan said...

Specifically, when people have success, reach the pinnacle of their lives, and then, have nothing left to live for. You see this in a spike in suicide after people retire, or the likes of Ernest Hemingway perhaps, Kurt Cobain another

Doubt if these two belong in that category. Hemingway was an alcoholic, Cobain, I believe, a heroin addict. This readily explains their deaths.

Mangan said...

Ditto for Hunter Thompson.

Zhen said...

Human connection is a huge component of happiness. Friends/family/spouses/children. Though I know how much you love to rail against family units and how marriage is a lose-lose-lose deal for men, they do provide human connection and meaningful relationships.

Successful babe hounds and pick-up artists may have mastered the art of getting women, however, they may not have successfully mastered the art of creating lasting relationships. Especially with women.

Please don't read this as a trolling post, I love your blog and read it regularly. I agree with many of the things you say. I don't think you realize though, how important and significant lasting relationships are to someone's happiness.

Captain Capitalism said...

Zhen, why would I view that as a trolling argument? It was intelligent, honest and probably right.

Anonymous said...

The Cap'n has posted about how efficient marriage was economically and how it gave men a purpose to work hard in their lives. I think he's more against modernity than the institution of marriage itself.

Traveller said...

Ernest Hemingway was killed, he did not commit suicide. He was persecuted by the government and was forced to go in an hospital to receive a lot of electro shocks. He declared he lost his memory and his mind, utterly important for a writer.

Mystery, if he is suicidal, is the like of Kurt Cobain and others like him. Their success and nihilism bring to believe after having had all there is nothing left to explore, as you correctly said.

I would add the NOBLE suicide cases to your post.

They are:

- samurai who failed their masters or their bushido

- Tibetan monks who immolate for protesting the China invasion

- various history figures who chose death for their principles, Socrates accepted poison instead of breaking the law evading, Jesus continued preaching well knowing the result etc

- Thomas Ball killed himself to protesting feminist tribunals

Greek myths are full of noble suicides and literature too (Romeo and Juliet), life and death were considered differently in the past.

Anonymous said...

If you're willing to throw your life away, you have failed in all aspects if you don't make anything of it. If you aren't yelling your chosen variant of "ALLAH AKBAR!!!" in the last moments, it's the lowest combination of self indulgence and self hatred possible.

A one way ticket to an enemy nation is the only honorable way, if it's something one truly believes in. If you aren't willing to think this way, then you have a problem and you should not think of suicide. 99.9% of people shouldn't!

Paul, Dammit! said...

It's a little surprising to NOT see mental illness mentioned here. Granted, depression is one of those things that falls under mental illness, though there is still a lot of choice involved in a depressed person making the decision to end their life, so I suppose there's a disproportionate weight placed on the issue of rationality in terms of a depressed person choosing to opt out.

Another point to make is the idea of death with dignity... MY dad, a deeply religious guy, was ill for 25 years. With physical limitations, he focused more on family and developing his mind, and was a happy man up to the date of his death, which came about shortly after he decided he had had enough and transitioned to end-of-life-care, which resulted in a good death and a far easier period of mourning for family.

Zhen's point is interesting to me in that it's very logical and speaks to a subject that is not so easy to consider, especially if you're a person who prefers superficial relationships. I believe that investing in a marriage is a terrible risk for most men, but the fact is that not taking that risk has an opportunity cost that is far, far greater than we may consider. A mentally competent person has a deep, deep attachment to life on a genetic level, and choosing not to engage in genetically programmed activities such as bearing kids and scrabbling for any extra days of life at its' end is natural.
If you subscribe to the theory that 99% of our behaviors are instinctual in basis, and the other 1% conditioned, (which is almost beyond dispute based on the evidence), choosing to suicide rather than to struggle can be looked at in a new light, and certainly can be seen as a flawed behavior, as it is antithetical to our genetic programming. Of course we can ignore our programming, and at times we should, but this essential wrongness is also the basis for the human antipathy for suicide. On a VERY visceral level, we hate it for good reason. Since altruism (deciding to help others at cost to ourselves, based on their level of genetic relatedness to us) is also a programmed behavior, the disproportionate impact of suicide on survivors within your social and familial network is also, in theory, part of the reason why it doesn't belong in our suite of normative behaviors.

For my part, I believe that this explains perfectly why depressed people who are more involved in close relationships with family and peers are less likely to suicide. There's a buffering effect, if an imperfect one.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Traveller- all those can be explained by altruism, the genetic basis for pre-programmed sacrificial behaviors.

The Old Man in the Cave said...

I recently wrote a post on this.

If you are rational and hold some kind of a "supra-life" axiom as I call it, suicide is precluded.

Your remaining options are aggressive self inflicted misery, passive self inflicted misery, or living heroically.

Options 1 and 2 obviously won't solve anything. Simply its the logical outcome if suicide can be done away with by believing in something higher than yourself (and not necessarily religion).

Anonymous said...

Check out the story of Amy Tan, and her depression caused by Lymes disease. Now think about a guy running up his score and all the various minor level infestations of different forms of spirochetes he might be building up. The old insane asylums were emptied when penicillin cured the dementia of syphillis. It is quite improbable that syphillis is the only infection to cause mental problems.

Anonymous said...

And what I can't figure out is, is it because these men were highly successful, finally figuring out an insanely complex algorithm that was never meant to be solved, and thus unintentionally took away their own meaning in life

I call it the God Mode Paradox.

Load up any video game with a cheat system and turn on God Mode. How long does it take for you to get bored being invulnerable with unlimited ammo?

We all fantasize at some point about mastery of the world around us. But once that's done, what is there? It's true that in our great big world there's quite a lot to do but I'm sure it gets repetitive and boring quickly for someone who has figured out "the algorithm."

Roosh's recent posts have hinted at depression due to his own God Mode Paradox. I'm genuinely worried about him.

Badger said...

"In short, there seems to be a psychological profile of pick up artists, ladies men, successful babe hounds, many of whom are and have dispensed advice that are either dead by their own hand or contemplate it today."

I gotta be straight with the Captain though - this sounds like anecdata, like your mind is trying to create a pattern where one has not been demonstrated to exist, and trying to fit individual cases to some kind of explainable worldview that makes it make sense.

It was interesting for me to learn that sociologists and counselors treat suicide not as a series of individual people making a rational decision to end their lives, but as a probabilistic public-health phenomenon, the way they do flu outbreaks and car crashes.

BTW Robert Cialdini had an amazing discussion of suicide in the Social Proof chapter of his fantastic book "Influence," relating that when a suicide case is publicized, suicides occur in people with demographic similarity to the victim. Seeing someone like them ending it all gives people a sort of psychological permis

"Sometimes [The Game] seems to go back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, so who knows if this was true."

One thing that is very obvious and also vastly under-appreciated by both fans and critics of Strauss' book is the fact-fiction mixture going on. It's been established that Strauss, er, mutated significant facts about his own history in
No doubt he altered some identities and details of others, in part for the story and in part for legal protection. People write on and on about its details like it was a David McCullough book. Usually it's the game haters who want to throw some kind of anecdote from the book in your face and force you to explain it.

JC said...

"The only way I can see this being legitimate is if they pushed the psychological and philosophical boundaries of happiness so far they mastered it and it became boring."

If you meet the Buddha, you're supposed to kill him. Anyone who claims to master happiness has it wrong. Period.

Kindjal said...

The competent development of skill is a solitary endeavor. Multi level market gurus, motivational speakers, proselytes and such can't bear to be alone and develop no skills as a result. Instead they engage in existential riddle making, to suck people into their life. When the majority of their followers drift away, the charisma cultist loses his mind and he kills himself.

I'm critical of people who lay claim to mental illness. If one of us has mental illness all of us do. The cure for mental illness is to fix the mind on moral thoughts.

Bike Bubba said...

Regarding the tragedy with the life coaches, I'm reminded of a quality training session that centered on Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross's five stages of grief model. I was somewhat surprised that no one suggested that this was a very odd motif for managing an enterprise.

And I've learned that it's also common in life coaching. So it would seem that, whatever other demons they were fighting, they may have also been dealing with a rather macabre habit of their profession.

And PUAs? I'm wondering personally if it has a lot to do with abusing one's gift of sexuality.

350for20 said...

"Instead they engage in existential riddle making, to suck people into their life."

I've never been one to call malice what could be incompetence. A "happiness specialist" who is doing his job is automatically well-known, and since very few people are actually happy, anyone who knows him expects him to cheer them up, leading to him becoming an always-on emotional support for literally everyone he knows. Just look at the effect that this has on physicians who are dealing with physical, visible problems.

Since suicide is usually a snap decision once someone has hit the contemplation phase from the continuous drain of dealing with everyone's petty problems constantly, one bad day can take him from, "Pretty OK, I guess. At least I'm helping people," to "bullet to the brain." the subjectivity of emotional states was what brought him to this point in the first place, and it will blind him to the severity of his own problem.

Kurt Cobain's suicide is actually pretty easy to attribute post-mortem: he had a spinal deformity that he exacerbated by learning to play the guitar left-handed--most lefties learn it right-handed because it is that much harder to play leftie. That same bloody-mindedness also drove him to heroin instead of legitimate treatment, and all of that left him isolated emotionally. his suicide was a tragedy of his own design, and certain detached pity is warranted.

"Finland is supposed to be the country with the most suicides (surrounding Scandanavia isn't far behind)"

This is more of a neurochemical problem. We humans are still creatures of the savannas at heart, and something about the sun going out for six straight weeks every single year does a number on our mental stability.

adiaforon said...


I can add that, to the genetic programming, there's that drive to bond with others, whether it be with males or females. As males, we're more inclined to bond with females because of reproduction. Where we often fail in Western society is forming equally strong bonds with our fellow males, bonds that don't require constant one-upmanship or infantilization.

Some have surmised that our current hyper-individualistic and atomized society increases the likelihood of suicide, since those bonds we crave are weak or simply not there, in some cases. PUAs' occupation with bangs are filling a void, in many cases.

Morgan said...

i agree with the sentiment of the bank-robbing but not the exact thing, since stealing is no way to go out as a man. i do think if you're truly suicidal you should go ahead and try something insane and likely to kill you. like jump the snake river canyon on a motorcycle or something totally awesome, like '80s awesome.

Anonymous said...

Two real observations from me:

1. Mental health professionals are (anecdotally) _very_ in need of their own services. It is perhaps possible that people in self-help also need self-help.

2. Sometimes getting the answers is depressing. I went through fairly acute depression after I came face to face with what women (again, anecdotally) are like.

In my own case, I could imagine the same thing. I'm successful but I think about a bullet in the brain at least once a day. I have learned and put into use 'game' and when I realized how open for business married women still are I sort of gave up all hope for true love and companionship.

Sometimes you just look around and you realize this all sucks. I generally snap out of it but I could see where you wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain,

A stranger rings at your doorbell at 2:30 am, what do you do ?

It happened to me and I would like to know what YOU would have done.


Anonymous said...

In reply to The Old Man In The Cave,

"Options 1 and 2 obviously won't solve anything. "

If by using options 1 or 2, you advance 1 milimeter a day towards your objective and that, after calculations, you realize that you have a chance to make it to your objective, then they are a viable solutions.

Soldiers have died on the battlefield to gain a foot over the enemy's land.

In my case, solution 1 and 2 is what is keeping me alive because I know I will make it to the finish line, it's a question of time !!!

Big Pro said...

Big Pro says...
I agree... Bad suicide might be thought of as the self-indulgent, cowardly suicide that drives everyone crazy with disgust. The 'good' suicide similarly can be sensible if all known possibilities and solutions have been exhausted. I always thought more generally suicide is a dynamic equilibrium balance between pain and one's ability to cope with that pain; regardless of cause. If the pain exceeds one ability to cope with it for a long enough period, then suicide is the only outcome. It could very well be one of the reasons we as a society are so fearful of talking about the subject - is that we're worried that there might be something very rotten and corrupt about our society. A society that is ruled by parasitic and sociopathic corporations. And that those who successfully kill themselves, just might be escaping from a system that we know is driving us all slowly mad, but that we can't admit it ourselves, or to each other. Becuae we are so intertwined in the 'have a nice day' culture, that we can't admit we have surrendered most of our meaningful freedoms already. It lies at the center of all out fears, and thus must never be considered as a topic for discussion. But suicide is the ultimate act of freedom. If one chooses to climb Everest we say he's motivated by thee big challenge. If someone finishes writing the great novel - it's because they chose freedom and made their dreams come true. If someone blows their head of with a gun, we say they pursued the ultimate freedom and conquered the last frontier with a spirit of adventure and courage.