Is society opposed to suicide? While as a normative value, by the indications of its expressed position, it is resoundingly opposed to suicide and wishes to reduce the incidence of it to the maximum degree possible the suicide rate in Western societies is exploding. Curious is it that a society with such a strong normative opposition to the practice would be experiencing so much of it. There are plenty of social psychological and sociological explanations and I have covered them on this blog but for this article I am going to get into a far less cited cause. The normative values of society actually not being as opposed to suicide as they initially claim to be. In the last blog I published, I dove deeply into Malthusian instincts and ingroup/outgroup bias induced by oxytocin and how the latter affected moral perception. That all affects the value one person places on the life of another and it is not much.
When I talk to people about forgiving their exes or former bullies or whatnot, they are not only almost universally incapable of it, they voice a frightening degree of hatred and rancor toward whomever is on the other side of their grudge. When I explain that I forgave my bullies fairly quickly and consider it to be insane and moronic (I use more polite language) to hold long-term grudges over such things, they say it is saintly and they would be incapable of it. They believe they are endearing themselves to me by saying they hate people who oppressed me, they instead make me lose faith in humanity. That they will both hate people over minor incidents and moreover do so over true but, as far as they know, unproven allegations.
The suicide rate is so high because society tells people after the slightest offense that their value as a human has been obliterated. If an ex burns their ex in effigy, not over being raped or assaulted, but merely for failing in the expected responsibilities of a relationship or something akin to that, that betrays the fact that it takes exceptionally little for one human to disown another from humanity. While said ex would not explicitly state that they wish suicide on the other party, they have for all intents and purposes, made it clear that they don’t see worth in the other party’s humanity. On social media, telling people to kill themselves is common and ghosting and blocking also implies a similar lack of appreciation for another person’s humanity. The latter of those two terms being a mini-restraining order begotten for, again, the mildest of etiologies. Not stalking or harassment but merely the mundane banalities of human intercourse.
Insofar as the prevailing attitude toward our erstwhile associations is “Fuck off, leave me alone, and never talk to me again” followed by revenge fantasies and effigy burning, the latter often being metaphorical. Instead of saying “Despite any unsympathetic or uncouth quirks, you’re still my human sibling and I’ll still love and accept you.”, society, on the whole, conveys the exact opposite message. It makes for a normative value that is the exact opposite of the other stated normative value. It puts society’s outcasts in a position where, despite no grievous crimes to their name, they are constantly told that they’re unlovable monsters and yet are expected to endure that for the decades of their life. That’s an unreasonable expectation. Society cannot expect that it tells people they’re monsters for the bulk of their lives and the subject of that ostracism to tolerate it. That is true in all epochs and geographies but it is especially germane to the present time since the regarding as monstrous average people is ever more common. As I’ve complained about in earlier blogs, people hate more now in interpersonal relations than perhaps ever. That’s just not a system conducive to keeping people alive.
Society is going to have to decide whether it wants to be more liberal in their interpersonal relations and keep the people they don’t like accepted and appreciated and therefore alive or consider such relatively minor gestures of magnanimity and humanity to be beyond the capacity of the median Homo Sapiens and let the suicide rate keep exploding. That would require teaching social skills to neurotypicals and I just don’t think that society can manage that. They can’t manage that with the not-so-neurotypicals. Society has a very difficult time artificially manipulating its own mores and sociology. Even if there was a wish among some of the powerful to rectify this situation, sociology seems to be inevitably organic with little inclination to bend to conscious design. So, therefore, we will likely have to wait for the forces of human nature to evolve over the future history of human culture to see what, if any, resolution can be made.