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Why Stay Alive? An Essay

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SF Supporter
So this guy just posted “should I just kill myself?” or something along those lines. I said “no, don’t do it”, but that got me thinking — why not? Am I just another product of the religious idea that life is sacred (and the Catholic idea that suicide is a sin)? I mean let’s even take other people out of the equation (family and friends who would be affected by your suicide) and see what I come up with.

It also has to be said that I have my own “spiritual” beliefs. I use inverted commas around the word spiritual because even though that’s what they are, I feel like the word is too “light and fluffy” for my beliefs; too New Agey. My beliefs are best described as “shamanic” in that I believe there is a dimension that exists parallel to this and that the best saying to describe the Universe is “As Above - So Below” ie. macrocosm and microcosm. Where suicide fits into that, I’m not sure, but probably along the lines of Buddhism and the idea that the soul will have to “come back” and keep experiencing what it came here to learn.

So let’s get rid of the two things I usually state as my reasons for suicide not being an option (hurting my loved ones and my spiritual beliefs). Why stay alive? This is assuming a lack of any nasty physical illness. The number one thing that comes to mind is beauty. I touched on this briefly in my diary, a few posts ago, with my Pearl Jam video clips. Not that I think Pearl Jam is the most beautiful thing humanity has produced, but Eddie Vedder and his voice are up there in my opinion. More widely-known, Vincent Van Gogh saw beauty in the mundane and to me that’s a type of soul (that doesn’t require any faith). That ability we all have - to conjour “soul” - makes life worth living.

This brings me to humour. My favourite author is Margaret Atwood and in her dystopic novel, “Oryx and Crake”, the one thing the mad genius creator could not replicate is the human capacity for humour. I have a friend in Europe who I have not met (I’m Australian) who is the funniest person I’ve ever encountered and have been emailing regularly for over ten years now. I give her credit for helping me through some of the darkest moments in my life. We’ve both admitted to suicidal urges and the fact that had we had painless, foolproof methods we would have carried them out. But even within those bleak discussions we have found things to laugh about.

I haven’t written like this in a while, so I won’t push myself too hard or take forever, and will stop at beauty and humour as my two main reasons a person should continue living. Both are available freely to everyone in ordinary day-to-day life. Neither require much hard work (I’m pretty confident of that, being one of the laziest people ever), just an ability to look - sometimes outside the square.

To end, here’s a quote I haven’t used in a long time and I don’t know if it even fits here, but like I said, I’m hell lazy. The author is surely one who would discourage anyone from suicide:

I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow. I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks. People will walk by and say, "Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case." I will turn and say to them, "It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive. For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!" And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup.

—Henry Rollins


a ladybug and Lady Bug
It makes me feel very strange as if I were reading my own words. I thought about this concept, beauty and humour, many times. I also believe that they are a defence mechanism like... I remember, when I tried to kill myself, the world around was incredibly beautiful and my sense of humour was really good. The fresh paint on the car was perfect.
Ugly, old houses were perfect.
The skid mark along the way
The air
I was
I often think that it's not enough, but... I'm still alive.
So, maybe a little piece of funny beauty that's all we need.
Thank you so much for sharing this
and take care.


SF Supporter
I only just saw this. Thanks @Edna :D

Yes, funny beauty, that’s it! Also, your post is very similar in parts to the Talking Heads song “And She Was”, which is about a girl on an acid trip..



Well-Known Member
I think it can be a existential choice. When living is not your choice, death can be your choice. So I don't think living is better than dying. We don't know how to die and what we get when we go. It is just something happens. It will sound stupid but..I think this way it's a choice and if someone REALLY wants to die - not like doesn't want to live, its different - I have no words. Because this conscience I don't know anything about.


SF Supporter
The opposite of death isn’t actually life, it’s birth.. That’s all I can come up with in response at the moment :)

But then there’s death and there’s being dead.. The Buddhists would have something more to say about that. I listened to the audiobook of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying but I can’t remember much.
Nice. Happy to see posts like this. More! (Please)
I usually calm myself with the fact, as you mentioned, that I will have to come back. Life is like a video game... in a way! I am a some sort of soul, playing as me. So if I'm depressed and I feel like killing myself, I just step back and then resume. It's easier to get up and push, than it would be to start the same game all over again. Suicide is just a restart.
And, beauty, yes! You are right... I remeber when I was attempting the thing, I had already done it and the only thing I was thinking about was "Shit... I will never hear this band again... and I will never see this lake again. Beautiful nature." so those things were the only thing that made me regret (a bit)...
so...always seek the beautiful. Surround yourself with art and taste. Become inspired.
Thank you once more for this post!


a ladybug and Lady Bug
I only just saw this. Thanks @Edna :D

Yes, funny beauty, that’s it! Also, your post is very similar in parts to the Talking Heads song “And She Was”, which is about a girl on an acid trip..

Oh, I do love this song! Thank you for reminding me... I can't but agree with you. The beautiful, funny song...
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