Veneration and Vulnerability: Suicide in the Midst of Prosperity

 

Man does not live by bread alone. As bread was being earned at a record clip, and more people got off the dole, more people in their prime years cut their own lives short. Reflecting back on the U.S. military’s Herculean effort to end suicide in the service, an unwon battle, I am painfully aware there is no clear solution, no magic pill or words. And. I wonder if our changing societal habits and beliefs make vulnerable people more vulnerable.

2017 brought unbroken good economic news, and not just for stockholders. President Trump repeated at every occasion the good news for everyone, including demographic groups who had been lagging in employment. Wages started to rise. And in the midst of all this, the suicide rate increased to a 50-year peak.

[I]t’s deaths in younger age groups — particularly middle-aged people — that have had the largest impact on calculations of life expectancy, experts said.

[…]

The suicide death rate last year was the highest it’s been in at least 50 years, according to U.S. government records. There were more than 47,000 suicides, up from a little under 45,000 the year before.

The alarm was sounded by the CDC Director.

CDC Director’s Media Statement on U.S. Life Expectancy

For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Contact: Media Relations,
(404) 639-3286

“The latest CDC data show that the U.S. life expectancy has declined over the past few years. Tragically, this troubling trend is largely driven by deaths from drug overdose and suicide. Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation’s overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable. CDC is committed to putting science into action to protect U.S. health, but we must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier lives.”

— Robert R. Redfield, M.D., CDC Director

Consider this from Mayo Clinic’s advice on suicide and suicidal thoughts:

Suicidal thoughts have many causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can’t cope when you’re faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don’t have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution. You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out.

There also may be a genetic link to suicide. People who complete suicide or who have suicidal thoughts or behavior are more likely to have a family history of suicide.

Genetics are a baseline, not a reasonable explanation for annual changes in suicide numbers. Something has yielded more hopelessness, in the midst of increasing material opportunity for all demographic groups. So, how might we decrease hopelessness, or increase hopefulness?

Might part of the problem, and so part of the solution, be changing societal habits and beliefs? Might we be seeing part of the outworking of an increasingly hedonistic culture, rejecting the restraints of higher callings and purposes? I do not mean to pitch religious service attendance, per se, as an answer—not when I have already raised the issue of “religious” leaders who invite our veneration of nothing above them, or our own egos.

If we are invited by every arm of society to do our own thing, to set our own standards (so long as we conform to the latest politically correct rules), why would we ever develop “respect or awe” for anyone beyond the image captured in our selfies? And if we are vulnerable and cannot see a basis in ourselves for hope, where are we inclined to turn? What if we have made a habit of contemplating an exemplary person, until we develop “respect or awe, inspired by [their] dignity, wisdom, dedication, or talent?”

Might we have more hope, inspired by our understanding of the object of our veneration? Might we see a path through life’s storms, already weathered by another? Would it help to have a point of reference, a measure of worth, beyond ourselves? This is in no way to discount medical treatment, nor to suggest we can just pray it away. Instead, as the Puritans recognized, the whole person must be considered in depression: spirit, mind, and body.

Though the disease begin in the mind and spirits, and the body be yet sound, yet physic [medication], even purging, often cureth it, though the patient say that drugs cannot cure souls, for the soul and body are wonderfully co-partners in their diseases and cure; and if we know not how it doth it, yet when experience telleth us that it doth it, we have reason to use such means.

Mind you, this wisdom was written in a day before any modern scientific understanding of the body and brain chemistry. Yet, it was sound, based on long, practical observation. With our modern understanding of medicine and the mind, we should appropriately address depression or other mental disorders that increase vulnerability to suicide, and challenge the record of elevating self and tearing down anything that would inspire us to look up beyond ourselves.

The economic picture continued to brighten through 2018, with rising employment and wages. How tragic it will be if 2018 suicides equal or surpass the 50-year high toll of 2017. What if there were more public and private encouragement, from however many sources, to lift our eyes up from ourselves, fixing them more on someone worthy of respect and awe, perhaps having overcome great adversity and suffering?

There are 63 comments.

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  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author
    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under December’s theme of Veneration. There are plenty of dates still available. Have you had an encounter with a saint, or someone who is truly venerable? Is there a sports figure who you believe is venerated, and what do you think of it? What is venerated in our society today? We have some wonderful photo essays on Ricochet; perhaps you have a story to tell about nature, art, or architecture that points to subjects worth venerating. Have we lost the musical, written, visual language of veneration? The possibilities are endless! Why not start a conversation? Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.
    As a heads-up, our January theme will be Renovation. I’ll post the sign-up sheet mid-month.
    • #1
    • December 5, 2018, at 1:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Front Seat Cat Member

    This is an excellent post and something I’ve been thinking about too. I thought a just saw a headline of an officer in the Navy found deceased, possibly of suicide. When I read a headline of anyone like that, my heart sinks. I agree with your analogy. “The health of a society is determined…” it says above. There are so many things in today’s society that I can see contributing to depression and hopelessness. Having so much abundance speaks to the old saying money can’t buy happiness. I remember a friend who visited Africa and a school – she said the kids were so happy – that had next to nothing but radiated joy – 

    • #2
    • December 5, 2018, at 6:21 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Juliana Member

    I was looking for some statistics, but was unable to find anything recent (after 2010) quickly. In that Pew poll, 74% of US respondents said they believed in life after death. That leaves 26% of people who believe this is all there is. I could certainly see how hopelessness can fester and grow. After all, young people are promised – get a college education, have sex whenever and with whomever, live your life however you want, and you will be happy. But it’s not happiness to be alone, working a job (or two) that a high school kid could get (because you majored in womens studies or art), living in a crummy apartment because you have school loans out the wazoo (if you’re not still at home), and no way out. What is the point?

    Watching kids in high school now (I see this everyday at work), when things get too hard, they physically walk away. Leave class, don’t do any homework, don’t have any motivation to learn. Or the ones who are so anxious and mentally ill that they are in and out of treatment centers, in therapy, and/or medicated. What is the point? This is living? If there is no purpose – expectation of an afterlife – then why hang around? I’m here or I’m not. Who cares? What difference does it make?

    This is all very sad, but how do you convince someone that an afterlife even exists? That their life is worth living? Or that others, who care for them, would not be better off without them?

    We have created a society where certain lives have no value – the unborn, the elderly, those who are sick and in pain, those lives which have been deemed burdens. What would make us think that there isn’t a segment of the population who would apply that standard to their own seemingly valueless lives?

    People have been led down a path that involves only themselves – and are told constantly that this or that will make them happy (because you deserve it). When they are not happy it must be their own fault. They are left twisting in the wind with nothing to anchor them and it can be easy to let go.

    • #3
    • December 5, 2018, at 6:32 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown: [quoting] CDC is committed to putting science into action to protect U.S. health, but we must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier lives.”

    I would ask, not entirely facetiously, whether living in a country in which a CDC director talks like this is not contributing to suicide. Maybe I’m being cynical, but I wonder if he thinks it’s the government’s job and not the individual’s to decide when life should end. Some of us would say, of course, that it’s the job of neither government nor the individual to decide such things.

    • #4
    • December 5, 2018, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: [quoting] CDC is committed to putting science into action to protect U.S. health, but we must all work together to reverse this trend and help ensure that all Americans live longer and healthier lives.”

    I would ask, not entirely facetiously, whether living in a country in which a CDC director talks like this is not contributing to suicide. Maybe I’m being cynical, but I wonder if he thinks it’s the government’s job and not the individual’s to decide when life should end. Some of us would say, of course, that it’s the job of neither government nor the individual to decide such things.

    What you are actually arguing for, taking your comment as a whole, is humans disclaiming responsibility and agency, citing an external force, Fate or God as the only actor with responsibly. 

    Neither suicide nor drug overdoses happen in the context of atomistic individuals interacting with Fate or God.

    • #5
    • December 5, 2018, at 11:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Juliana (View Comment):

    […]We have created a society where certain lives have no value – the unborn, the elderly, those who are sick and in pain, those lives which have been deemed burdens. What would make us think that there isn’t a segment of the population who would apply that standard to their own seemingly valueless lives?

    People have been led down a path that involves only themselves – and are told constantly that this or that will make them happy (because you deserve it). When they are not happy it must be their own fault. They are left twisting in the wind with nothing to anchor them and it can be easy to let go.

    Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin offers some of the same causes devaluing life, as leading to mass murders:

    • #6
    • December 5, 2018, at 11:56 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Dan N Member

    Bevin’s comments are quite powerful. There truly is a socio-cultural or spiritual sickness in our society wherein there is no respect for the dignity of human life and no respect for the dignity of others who may not share our opinions or values. I can remember shooting .22 rifles as a member of my H.S. rifle team at the police station firing range after school. It never would have occurred to me or anybody else to use those rifles to take the innocent lives of our schoolmates or teachers/advisors. There were parental and other moral authority figures who modeled responsible behavior and made sure that we understood our obligations to be safe and not endanger others. And this was in the heart of liberal eastern Massachusetts. Much has changed since then.

    • #7
    • December 5, 2018, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Dan N (View Comment):

    Bevin’s comments are quite powerful. There truly is a socio-cultural or spiritual sickness in our society wherein there is no respect for the dignity of human life and no respect for the dignity of others who may not share our opinions or values. I can remember shooting .22 rifles as a member of my H.S. rifle team at the police station firing range after school. It never would have occurred to me or anybody else to use those rifles to take the innocent lives of our schoolmates or teachers/advisors. There were parental and other moral authority figures who modeled responsible behavior and made sure that we understood our obligations to be safe and not endanger others. And this was in the heart of liberal eastern Massachusetts. Much has changed since then.

    Yes, I was part of a H.S. team with access to an Army base indoor range and old Winchester Model 52 .22 caliber bolt action rifles. 

    • #8
    • December 5, 2018, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    This is a clear invitation to hobby horsery. 

    So I’ma mount up. 

    A lot of young people seem to believe the following things: 

    • Bush and Cheney are war criminals who can never be convicted. 
    • All the money is owned by the X percent and they will never let me, the young person get any. 
    • My country is worse than other countries. 
    • I am guilty because of my gender (males). 
    • I am guilty because of my race (whites, some others). 
    • Everyone but me is destroying the planet. 

    This stuff is depressing. It is received wisdom that inoculates against hope. 

    There is also the anger across political lines – we have it too. 

    And finally, there is less physicality in a typical person’s day. The Puritans were right about mind/body/soul, and would likely have disapproved of our keyboarding ways (they were Olympic-level disapprovers, I can feel the weight of their reproach across the centuries). 

    Asimov’s The Fun They Had was something I rolled my eyes at (there is something smug in a teacher who assigns such a read), but I believe there is something there. And as well, ’70s fiction traded heavily on the theme of alienation, it was overblown and cheesy. 

    Yet here we are; alienated by all manner of personal-is-political divides, silenced by the triggered-happy, and hopelessly unhopeful. 

     

    • #9
    • December 5, 2018, at 5:19 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    TBA (View Comment):
    And finally, there is less physicality in a typical person’s day.

    Yes to all, and I recall recently another R> member commenting about being angered or upset…until he went out for his (daily) speed walk. Walking fast or hitting the pool to do laps for a half hour, in the desert warm season, makes a difference for me.

    As to the messaging, why aren’t the public service announcements powers that be compelled to flip the script to what it used to be, promoting public mental and civic health by positive messages?

    • #10
    • December 5, 2018, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Juliana (View Comment):
    This is all very sad, but how do you convince someone that an afterlife even exists? That their life is worth living? Or that others, who care for them, would not be better off without them?

    This is a judgment on our churches and synagogues.

    • #11
    • December 5, 2018, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    Here is something that I find so very telling about our modern life. I will speak only about my own faith community so I will phrase my question accordingly.

    Why is it that most Rabbis have referred congregants to psychiatrists but almost no psychiatrist ever refers a patient to a Rabbi? 

    To me, this reveals the underlying fallacy of modern society. It assumes that the ability to help & understand the human condition is always superior by the scientific method. It always discounts the relevance of faith. Modern Rabbis respect the value of psychiatry but modern psychiatrists don’t respect the value of Judaism. Some cases need a psychiatrist but by the same token, some cases need a Rabbi. Originally, Freud framed the sufferer as someone who had been too “sublimated”. Sublimation meant that all of their normal physical expressions had been wrapped into spiritual expressions. The psychiatrist gets them in touch with their feelings and overcomes the sublimation. Let’s not argue this but accept it as a premise. What if there is a sufferer who had been “precipitated”. Precipitated meant that all of their normal spiritual expressions had been wrapped into physical expression. Would they need the psychiatrist to get them in touch with their feelings? Might they be better off with a Rabbi who got them in touch with their soul? One solution might not be right for everybody. Yet the fact that the psychiatrist never refers any of his patients to a Rabbi reveals that something must be wrong. 

    I think if we had a more balanced approach a lot more people would be getting the help they need before it’s too late.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #12
    • December 5, 2018, at 8:26 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Cliff,

    Here is something that I find so very telling about our modern life. I will speak only about my own faith community so I will phrase my question accordingly.

    Why is it that most Rabbis have referred congregants to psychiatrists but almost no psychiatrist ever refers a patient to a Rabbi?

    To me, this reveals the underlying fallacy of modern society. It assumes that the ability to help & understand the human condition is always superior by the scientific method. It always discounts the relevance of faith. Modern Rabbis respect the value of psychiatry but modern psychiatrists don’t respect the value of Judaism. Some cases need a psychiatrist but by the same token, some cases need a Rabbi. Originally, Freud framed the sufferer as someone who had been too “sublimated”. Sublimation meant that all of their normal physical expressions had been wrapped into spiritual expressions. The psychiatrist gets them in touch with their feelings and overcomes the sublimation. Let’s not argue this but accept it as a premise. What if there is a sufferer who had been “precipitated”. Precipitated meant that all of their normal spiritual expressions had been wrapped into physical expression. Would they need the psychiatrist to get them in touch with their feelings? Might they be better off with a Rabbi who got them in touch with their soul? One solution might not be right for everybody. Yet the fact that the psychiatrist never refers any of his patients to a Rabbi reveals that something must be wrong.

    I think if we had a more balanced approach a lot more people would be getting the help they need before it’s too late.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    No way. That would interfere with our Somethingth Amendment right to plug our ears and say ‘na-na-na, I can’t hear you’ whenever someone tries to talk about religion. 

    • #13
    • December 5, 2018, at 8:54 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    This happened circa 1999-2001.
    I might possibly owe my life to Dr Martini, a woman known for her research into Nutrasweet, or aspartame. I had scheduled a phone interview with her regarding this pet subject of hers for publication. However, she put me off with “I want to talk about how MSG is in almost all prepared foods, from cookies to candy bars to breaded fish sticks to gravies.”

    I asked her why she was so concerned about getting the public to understand the risks of MSG. “I am worried because it is able to put a normal individual who is MSG-susceptible almost immediately into clinical depression.”

    Since for a week prior to her call, I had been struggling with depression, despite my having a decent income, living in one of the best places in the San Francisco area and being surrounded by friends, I was all ears. In fact, I confessed to her I was suicidal. I explained that I had gone overnight from being contented and at least moderately happy to feeling like the walls were closing in.

    She asked me what I was eating and if there had been a recent change in my diet. I said there had been half off sale on my favorite items: fish sticks and prepared crab cakes.

    She said the items were loaded with MSG – not the fish itself, but by the breading. I begged to differ. After all, I always scanned packages of food looking for for the words “MSG” or monosodium glutamate. If those words were listed, I didn’t buy the product.

    She explained that the food industry knows people do that. So instead of placing the expression “monosodium glutamate” on food packaging, they use the terms “natural flavoring” and “spices” or modified potato starch, modified tapiocca starch and others all indicate that there is MSG involved.

    Once I knew this, I ate out much less often. Restaurant food tastes so good because of the MSG that is used. For the last 18 years, the food we eat at home is usually home prepared. No store bought cookies, cakes, bread, or anything unless we know it is really free of MSG.

    I have tried so often to put out the word on this subject. Except for those who already followed Martini, my passing out this information on her field of research has met with deaf ears. A childhood friend who was stricken with chronic depression was even hospitalized with depression. And two days after leaving the hospital he committed suicide. All this this despite making a 6 figure salary and prior to the depression hitting him, being surrounded by friends and family he loved. Around the same time “Psychology Today” ran an article on how the suicide rate among people who made good money but who were always on the road was reaching record new heights. And of course, that group of people eats at restaurants or else from the hotel mini bar all week long.

    • #14
    • December 6, 2018, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. James Gawron Thatcher

    TBA (View Comment):
    No way. That would interfere with our Somethingth Amendment right to plug our ears and say ‘na-na-na, I can’t hear you’ whenever someone tries to talk about religion. 

    TBA,

    So I’m not the only one to get the ‘na-na-na’ treatment. I’m glad to know that there are fellow sufferers. Another treatment that I have received many times lately is similar in intent. First, the person unloads a completely unsolicited liberal opinion upon me out of the blue. Next, when they discover that I am responding to their diatribe with a cogent argument that might give them a little trouble, they leap up and rush out of the room muttering that they don’t have time to discuss it right now. Pretty much ‘na-na-na’.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
    • December 6, 2018, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. WI Con Member

    That clip of Matt Bevin was terrific. I recall sending him a donation when he was running against McConnel. Still don’t regret that. I like his direct manner and find him very articulate. I thought his answer to that lady was thoughtful and far reaching.

    I could definitely get used to this guy.

    • #16
    • December 6, 2018, at 1:32 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Skyler Coolidge

    The military has not succeeded in ending suicide because their efforts are clownish and treated with the ridicule they deserve, except for a few “believers” who think sincerity fixes depression, and for commanders threatened to treat it seriously. It is unsuccessful because superficial classes and command mandated metrics don’t fix depression. The nature of depression is that depressed people often actively try to hide their problem, and silly classes won’t convince them not to.

    When I was a midshipman back in the early 80’s, and made a squad leader in the battalion I had a very cute lady in the squad who always seemed happy and upbeat. A semester later, when I wasn’t her squad leader, she committed suicide. I never was told why. I presume she was pregnant or something, who knows? But the thing that bothered me is that I had no idea she was even slightly sad, let alone depressed.

    I don’t think we have the science to understand depression more than with a passing familiarity, and I don’t think we are even close to understanding how to detect it or treat it. Anti-suicide campaigns are a fool’s errand that waste a lot of time and effort and achieve no result except to make sensitive people think they are doing something fine and worthy, even though they aren’t doing anything at all except wasting time and money.

    • #17
    • December 6, 2018, at 1:35 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Cliff,

    Here is something that I find so very telling about our modern life. I will speak only about my own faith community so I will phrase my question accordingly.

    Why is it that most Rabbis have referred congregants to psychiatrists but almost no psychiatrist ever refers a patient to a Rabbi?

    To me, this reveals the underlying fallacy of modern society. It assumes that the ability to help & understand the human condition is always superior by the scientific method. It always discounts the relevance of faith. Modern Rabbis respect the value of psychiatry but modern psychiatrists don’t respect the value of Judaism. Some cases need a psychiatrist but by the same token, some cases need a Rabbi. Originally, Freud framed the sufferer as someone who had been too “sublimated”. Sublimation meant that all of their normal physical expressions had been wrapped into spiritual expressions. The psychiatrist gets them in touch with their feelings and overcomes the sublimation. Let’s not argue this but accept it as a premise. What if there is a sufferer who had been “precipitated”. Precipitated meant that all of their normal spiritual expressions had been wrapped into physical expression. Would they need the psychiatrist to get them in touch with their feelings? Might they be better off with a Rabbi who got them in touch with their soul? One solution might not be right for everybody. Yet the fact that the psychiatrist never refers any of his patients to a Rabbi reveals that something must be wrong.

    I think if we had a more balanced approach a lot more people would be getting the help they need before it’s too late.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Today’s psychiatrists are more likely to consider putting a client on meds then on encouraging the person to approach someone of importance to them in terms of spirituality.

    And the meds can then cause suicidal thoughts. This usually happens during the “adjustment phase” or if the client suddenly stops taking the meds without advice from a doctor.

     

    • #18
    • December 6, 2018, at 1:41 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Saint Augustine Member

    Excellent post.

    • #19
    • December 6, 2018, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Henry Castaigne Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    James Gawron  

    TBA (View Comment):
    No way. That would interfere with our Somethingth Amendment right to plug our ears and say ‘na-na-na, I can’t hear you’ whenever someone tries to talk about religion. 

    TBA,

    So I’m not the only one to get the ‘na-na-na’ treatment. I’m glad to know that there are fellow sufferers. Another treatment that I have received many times lately is similar in intent. First, the person unloads a completely unsolicited liberal opinion upon me out of the blue. Next, when they discover that I am responding to their diatribe with a cogent argument that might give them a little trouble, they leap up and rush out of the room muttering that they don’t have time to discuss it right now. Pretty much ‘na-na-na’.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I mentioned how this one biblical story was really great. The bartender I was talking to freaked out. I’m not even a Christian nor do I believe in G-d but by her reaction you think I’d want to burn heretics at the stake. 

    • #20
    • December 6, 2018, at 4:26 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Henry Castaigne Member

    1)

    We shouldn’t at all be surprised that suicide rises in economic growth. The people who are left behind feel worse about life and kill themselves. This Ted talk mentions how Denmark has a very high level of happiness but that they have a high level of suicide. That’s because when things are going great for everyone else but you can’t get a date or get a good job you feel much worse about yourself.

    For example, I just read a book about faith and hope and I still have no idea what it was about so I’m more down than if I had read a depressing book.

    2)

    Religion probably makes you happier because it provides meaning. As Dennis Prager mentioned the other day, “There have been people who have lead happy lives who didn’t have sex. There is no one that hasn’t led a happy life without meaning.”

    But American culture from our founding had a stronger emphasis on religion and meaning than other civilizations. Ever since Jefferson penned, “Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, we have been obsessed with meaning and purpose. Much of this transgenderism and feminist stuff, while gaining popularity in Europe, started in America. 

    We all have a G-d shaped hole in our heart but the American Revolutionary spirit enlarges that innate desire.

    3)

    TBA’s hobby horse is a glorious steed.

    A lot of young people seem to believe the following things: 

    • Bush and Cheney are war criminals who can never be convicted. 
    • All the money is owned by the X percent and they will never let me, the young person get any. 
    • My country is worse than other countries. 
    • I am guilty because of my gender (males). 
    • I am guilty because of my race (whites, some others). 
    • Everyone but me is destroying the planet. 

    This stuff is depressing. It is received wisdom that inoculates against hope. 

    The amount of politically correct guilt and regressive bigotry is a huge problem among the young podcasters that I listen to. I listen to podcasts about cartoons and some comedy shows. It’s incredibly sad; the Earth is being destroyed by us, everything is racist and everyone who gets rich is evil. Furthermore, they are all into the trans stuff without ever discussing its relationship to suicide which is incredibly obvious and well-documented and they all think every Trump voter is racist and Trump is like a representation of all that is racist.

    It is truly a destructive and nihilistic worldview. You can’t be allowed to have a beer and watch a game and enjoy your hobbies (especially if you are a straight white guy). You have to be miserable all the time.

     

    • #21
    • December 6, 2018, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  22. Henry Castaigne Member

    <continued from previous post>

    4)

    I know Mona Charen sometimes sounds like the Church Lady when she complains about Trump, but her evidence about family breakdown is pretty compelling. People are designed to have family. Many people don’t have that and they don’t do well. There is about as much evidence that strong families are good for people as there is that capitalism is good for people. Both are remarkably ignored.

    P.S. I do hope you will forgive my bullet point type approach to writing. I want to address multiple points from multiple authors and given the erudition and complexity of Ricochet I want to make it simple for myself and quicker for others to understand. This is alot of high level conversation at once. 

     

     

    • #22
    • December 6, 2018, at 5:40 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The military has not succeeded in ending suicide because their efforts are clownish and treated with the ridicule they deserve, except for a few “believers” who think sincerity fixes depression, and for commanders threatened to treat it seriously. It is unsuccessful because superficial classes and command mandated metrics don’t fix depression. The nature of depression is that depressed people often actively try to hide their problem, and silly classes won’t convince them not to.

    When I was a midshipman back in the early 80’s, and made a squad leader in the battalion I had a very cute lady in the squad who always seemed happy and upbeat. A semester later, when I wasn’t her squad leader, she committed suicide. I never was told why. I presume she was pregnant or something, who knows? But the thing that bothered me is that I had no idea she was even slightly sad, let alone depressed.

    I don’t think we have the science to understand depression more than with a passing familiarity, and I don’t think we are even close to understanding how to detect it or treat it. Anti-suicide campaigns are a fool’s errand that waste a lot of time and effort and achieve no result except to make sensitive people think they are doing something fine and worthy, even though they aren’t doing anything at all except wasting time and money.

    The military is especially doomed wrt mental health – at the first sign of it you can lose the kinds of status that make people wonder about you. 

    Your command may sincerely want to help you. But they need to keep the military safe first. 

    Soldiers know that. 

    • #23
    • December 6, 2018, at 5:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The military has not succeeded in ending suicide because their efforts are clownish and treated with the ridicule they deserve, except for a few “believers” who think sincerity fixes depression, and for commanders threatened to treat it seriously. It is unsuccessful because superficial classes and command mandated metrics don’t fix depression. The nature of depression is that depressed people often actively try to hide their problem, and silly classes won’t convince them not to.

    That and the fact that they’re actively telling people how to get away with it, if they’re so inclined.

    • #24
    • December 6, 2018, at 6:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The military has not succeeded in ending suicide because their efforts are clownish and treated with the ridicule they deserve, except for a few “believers” who think sincerity fixes depression, and for commanders threatened to treat it seriously. It is unsuccessful because superficial classes and command mandated metrics don’t fix depression. The nature of depression is that depressed people often actively try to hide their problem, and silly classes won’t convince them not to.

    When I was a midshipman back in the early 80’s, and made a squad leader in the battalion I had a very cute lady in the squad who always seemed happy and upbeat. A semester later, when I wasn’t her squad leader, she committed suicide. I never was told why. I presume she was pregnant or something, who knows? But the thing that bothered me is that I had no idea she was even slightly sad, let alone depressed.

    I don’t think we have the science to understand depression more than with a passing familiarity, and I don’t think we are even close to understanding how to detect it or treat it. Anti-suicide campaigns are a fool’s errand that waste a lot of time and effort and achieve no result except to make sensitive people think they are doing something fine and worthy, even though they aren’t doing anything at all except wasting time and money.

    When were you last in a position to observe what the military has been doing, since, say, 2010? The flippant comment about your fellow cadet doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in your assessment. Thankfully, others have not thrown up their hands.

    • #25
    • December 6, 2018, at 6:07 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    TBA (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The military has not succeeded in ending suicide because their efforts are clownish and treated with the ridicule they deserve, except for a few “believers” who think sincerity fixes depression, and for commanders threatened to treat it seriously. It is unsuccessful because superficial classes and command mandated metrics don’t fix depression. The nature of depression is that depressed people often actively try to hide their problem, and silly classes won’t convince them not to.

    When I was a midshipman back in the early 80’s, and made a squad leader in the battalion I had a very cute lady in the squad who always seemed happy and upbeat. A semester later, when I wasn’t her squad leader, she committed suicide. I never was told why. I presume she was pregnant or something, who knows? But the thing that bothered me is that I had no idea she was even slightly sad, let alone depressed.

    I don’t think we have the science to understand depression more than with a passing familiarity, and I don’t think we are even close to understanding how to detect it or treat it. Anti-suicide campaigns are a fool’s errand that waste a lot of time and effort and achieve no result except to make sensitive people think they are doing something fine and worthy, even though they aren’t doing anything at all except wasting time and money.

    The military is especially doomed wrt mental health – at the first sign of it you can lose the kinds of status that make people wonder about you.

    Your command may sincerely want to help you. But they need to keep the military safe first.

    Soldiers know that.

    That was the case a decade ago, however, you can now be treated for depression or PTSD and keep your job and your clearance.

    • #26
    • December 6, 2018, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    When were you last in a position to observe what the military has been doing, since, say, 2010? The flippant comment about your fellow cadet doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in your assessment. Thankfully, others have not thrown up their hands.

    Yeah, I just retired in 2016. You? Do we need a ruler to measure “credentials?”

    It’s my observation that the method of dealing with mental health is backwards in our society. We create a bigger monster by the way we react to it. It all starts with the sensitive, feel good, everybody gets a trophy mentality, a very soft lifestyle, and we teach people that unless they are happy all the time, something is wrong. I suspect lives with more focus and more hardship tend to have fewer people with depression. It certainly would still exist, but not as much. It’s very much like PTSD, which used to be considered a result of severe and bad experiences, and now I know people who complain about PTSD because their mommy spanked them as a child.

    • #27
    • December 6, 2018, at 6:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. Skyler Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The military has not succeeded in ending suicide because their efforts are clownish and treated with the ridicule they deserve, except for a few “believers” who think sincerity fixes depression, and for commanders threatened to treat it seriously. It is unsuccessful because superficial classes and command mandated metrics don’t fix depression. The nature of depression is that depressed people often actively try to hide their problem, and silly classes won’t convince them not to.

    When I was a midshipman back in the early 80’s, and made a squad leader in the battalion I had a very cute lady in the squad who always seemed happy and upbeat. A semester later, when I wasn’t her squad leader, she committed suicide. I never was told why. I presume she was pregnant or something, who knows? But the thing that bothered me is that I had no idea she was even slightly sad, let alone depressed.

    I don’t think we have the science to understand depression more than with a passing familiarity, and I don’t think we are even close to understanding how to detect it or treat it. Anti-suicide campaigns are a fool’s errand that waste a lot of time and effort and achieve no result except to make sensitive people think they are doing something fine and worthy, even though they aren’t doing anything at all except wasting time and money.

    The military is especially doomed wrt mental health – at the first sign of it you can lose the kinds of status that make people wonder about you.

    Your command may sincerely want to help you. But they need to keep the military safe first.

    Soldiers know that.

    That was the case a decade ago, however, you can now be treated for depression or PTSD and keep your job and your clearance.

    Yeah, but people will still snicker.

    • #28
    • December 6, 2018, at 6:52 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Boss Mongo Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Yeah, but people will still snicker.

    @skyler, disagree.

    The chain of command has come around to the fact that they cannot blame their troops for being human.

    Troops (at this point, almost everyone has had rotations into the box) have figured out that they need to support their brethren when they think they need help.

    I agree that, initially, most suicide-prevention classes and “seek help if you need it” guidance was all just CYA. However, I posit that now, smart commanders and senior NCOs have realized that they are not coddling troops, they are sustaining combat power.

    • #29
    • December 6, 2018, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Skyler Coolidge

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Yeah, but people will still snicker.

    @skyler, disagree.

    The chain of command has come around to the fact that they cannot blame their troops for being human.

    Troops (at this point, almost everyone has had rotations into the box) have figured out that they need to support their brethren when they think they need help.

    I agree that, initially, most suicide-prevention classes and “seek help if you need it” guidance was all just CYA. However, I posit that now, smart commanders and senior NCOs have realized that they are not coddling troops, they are sustaining combat power.

    The chain of command is a pretty nebulous concept in this context. Sure, the generals preach this, as do general wannabes. I think when it comes time to go to combat, I do not want a commander who has PTSD. Sorry, I just don’t. I want my combat leader to be better than that. That may make me a neanderthal, but for all of human existence having leaders that convince others that they are strong has been a key element in battle victories. I don’t think human nature has changed.

    PTSD is real and sufferers should be cared for and pitied. But I don’t want a commander who uses a wheel chair, nor one with PTSD or who suffers from depression. If you have PTSD you might be fit for a logistics position at a desk at the Pentagon, but not for an infantry battalion.

    I remember several years back the sergeant major of the Marine Corps made a sniveling video about how he had PTSD and encouraged everyone to seek treatment. I never met the man personally, but he certainly didn’t rise in my esteem.

    PTSD has become the popular claim for veterans. It can’t be proven or disproven, and there’s no way to know if it is cured. Therefore, it’s an easy way to get disability benefits and a cool “service” dog. VA counselors are all over the place trying to convince people getting out to claim PTSD to get benefits. It’s pretty disturbing to watch. PTSD is real, but it’s not what they’re calling it nowadays.

    And if you think a large number of people claiming PTSD are not doing so solely for VA benefits, then you might have a rosier view of human nature than I do.

    • #30
    • December 6, 2018, at 7:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
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