Responsibility, Meaning and Purpose

Discussion in 'Opinions & Current Events' started by Dotini, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Dotini

    Dotini Premium

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    This is a thread dedicated to study, research, reference and possibly some discussion on the subject of personal responsibility, meaning and purpose. There exists the potential for more general discussion, and/or application in a broader or more universal sense, but that is not really the goal here. If you choose to post, honesty on such a topic can be sensitive, so all posts and replies are encouraged to take politeness, respect and good etiquette into consideration. I have included a YouTube search as a toe-in-the-water, a hopefully useful starting point. I will add more references to the OP over time. User submissions are welcome.

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=responsibility+meaning+purpose
     
  2. Dotini

    Dotini Premium

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    "Despite concern over the rising suicide rates, researchers aren’t sure of the exact causes. A rise in depression among adolescents, drug use, stress and access to firearms might all be contributing factors, experts say.

    Some mental-health experts suggest that social-media use among teens might be fueling the increase in mental-health conditions and leading to greater suicide risk, and some early studies have linked smartphone use to anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation among adolescents."


    Youth Suicide Rate Increased 56% in Decade, CDC Says
    Report finds homicide death rate rose slightly after years of declines


    [​IMG]
    Multiple Suicides, One Year, One High School
    By
    Brianna Abbott
    Oct. 17, 2019 12:01 am ET

    Suicide and homicide rates have increased in recent years among young people in the U.S., according to a new federal report.

    The suicide rate among people ages 10 to 24 years old climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of homicide deaths decreased by 23% from 2007 to 2014 but then increased by 18% through 2017.

    Violent death, including homicide and suicide, is a major cause of premature death for the age group. Around 2010, the death rate of suicides among adolescents and young adults surpassed the rate of homicide deaths, according to the report.

    “The chances of a person in this age range dying by suicide is greater than homicide, when it used to be the reverse,” said Sally Curtin, a statistician at the CDC and an author of the report. “When a leading cause of death among our youth is increasing, it behooves all of us to pay attention and figure out what’s going on.”

    Suicide rates in general have increased in the U.S. across all ages and ethnic groups, rising roughly 30% from 1999 to 2016. In 2017, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among those ages 10 to 24, behind unintentional injuries, such as car crashes or drug overdoses. Homicide deaths ranked third, according to a CDC report from June 2019.

    Ms. Curtin and a colleague, Melonie Heron, pulled death-certificate data from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System, looking at the underlying cause of death for people ages 10 to 24. They analyzed data from 2000 to 2017, the most recent year of CDC’s available data.

    Both suicide and homicide deaths among the age group were relatively stable from 2000 to 2007, the report says.

    Within the next decade, suicide deaths increased from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people to 10.6 deaths, with 2,449 more suicides in 2017 than in 2007. While the 10- to 14-year-olds had by far the lowest rate of suicides, that rate nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017.

    “Unfortunately, it’s not surprising, but it is highly disturbing,” said Benjamin Shain, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at NorthShore Medical Group in Illinois, who says he is increasingly seeing adolescent patients at risk for suicide. “To see it statistically across the country hits me in a different way.”


    Despite concern over the rising suicide rates, researchers aren’t sure of the exact causes. A rise in depression among adolescents, drug use, stress and access to firearms might all be contributing factors, experts say.

    Some mental-health experts suggest that social-media use among teens might be fueling the increase in mental-health conditions and leading to greater suicide risk, and some early studies have linked smartphone use to anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation among adolescents.

    The recent visibility of suicide in the media and online might also increase suicide death rates, experts say.

    Homicide deaths among youths in the U.S. had decreased dramatically since the 1990s and were mostly in decline and stable through 2014, says Daniel Webster, the co-director for the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence.

    The growth in homicide death rates in 2015 and 2016 were largely concentrated in a few cities, such as St. Louis and Chicago.

    SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
    What should parents do to help teens at risk of suicide? Join the conversation below.

    The increased homicides are most likely related to drug markets, poverty and the breakdown in the relationship between police and communities, according to experts on youth violence, but it is hard to discern what is influencing the national change.

    School-related shootings account for less than 2% of all youth homicide deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. While school-related mass shootings garner significant attention, they likely don’t influence the national trend.

    Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2018 suggests that the slight upward trend in youth homicide deaths from 2014 through 2017 has started to reverse again.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/youth-suicide-rate-rises-56-in-decade-cdc-says-11571284861
     
  3. Danoff

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    Suicide is necessarily the choice of the individual, homicide shouldn't be grouped with it. In a perfect, optimal, world the only death would be suicide. Everyone would personally decide when, if, and how to check out.

    Sounds kinda like progress to me (although I realize it isn't that simple). Suicide isn't actually a problem. The real issue is that suicide can be caused by something else, that something else is the problem. Clinical depression, pain due to illness, mental instability, a history of abuse... those are real issues. And they have to be tackled individually, and specifically. Treating suicide like it's automatically a problem, or can be "solved" as if it describes one issue, is ridiculous, and we need to stop doing it.
     
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  4. Dotini

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    If I understand you correctly, you are saying suicide is, like choice, good and desirable. Is that a fair restatement of your position?

    You also say that, optimally, everyone would commit suicide, that natural death should never occur. But you also say that although suicide isn't actually a problem, it can be caused by something else that is a problem, which are the real issues. You conclude that treating suicide like it's a problem to be solved is ridiculous, and such treatment should be stopped immediately. Is that a fair recapitulation of your position?

    Thank you for your interesting contribution to this thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  5. Danoff

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    Yes?? I mean I did write basically exactly that right above your post.

    Why do I feel like you're about to spring some sort of trap?
     
  6. MatskiMonk

    MatskiMonk

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    Honestly I'm not following the purpose or meaning of this thread, but based on the last couple posts I will chuck out that my recent mental state has led me to question the fundamentals of society as we know it.

    .. and I'm really not happy with it, in a #ThanosWasRight kinda way.

    But, that's not an option. All we can really do is try and play societies game, or check out. I believe we have created a world where a person can evaluate their life reasonably and still conclude that suicide is a sensible option.
     
  7. Dotini

    Dotini Premium

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    No, I do not set or spring traps. I merely want to make sure I understand correctly and fully what you are saying. It is unexpected, and difficult for me to accept as healthy, moral or socially acceptable. Most of us would not feel right if our children or parents committed suicide. My child, father and mother died, all peacefully, but I'm at least grateful it was not by their own hand.

    The basic premise of this thread is that human life can be good, can be valuable, can be enjoyable and productive; this comes about when people have real responsibility, meaning and purpose. They have a reason and a will to live. This is what I want for all of us.

    The corollary of that is that suicide is not good, not desirable, is destructive to society. If everybody viewed life only as a social game, and committed suicide whenever they felt like losers, that would be a very bad thing, and highly undesirable. If I created a thread that was entitled "Suicide is Your True Responsibility, Purpose and Meaning", I doubt it would be acceptable to virtually anybody, even @Danoff

    If you are considering suicide to be a universally or personally rational response to the condition of society "playing games", I would respectfully question the health and condition of that particular society before I decided to end it all.

    Thank you for your contribution to this thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  8. Danoff

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    It's so funny because we all immediately see the humane nature of euthanasia in animals, but when it's people we expect them to suffer and live even when they don't want to. It's a bad thing for anyone to die in any way other than their own doing. It means they didn't want to die, and their life was taken from them anyway, that's a bad thing. Optimally, everyone who wants to live gets to. Death to an unwilling person is always bad, whether it's from an illness, or peacefully in old age.

    If I were diagnosed with ALS today, I would immediately set up a euthanasia plan. The final stages of ALS are essentially pure torture.

    Who owns my life if not me? If i cannot decide when to end my life, I am a slave to something - whatever it is that I'm being required to live for. None of us have any say in whether we are born, and we're not allowed to check out before age 18 (because we're not deemed mentally capable of making that determination). But after that, the only way to atone for forcing someone into the world, presumably suffering (or this would not be an issue), is to allow them an exit if they desire it.

    This is derailing the thread a little. I think there's a euthanasia thread. Admittedly there is plenty of overlap with these two topics.
     
  9. Dotini

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    If I am correct, you have a family, a family which you love, cherish, provide for and protect. This gives you responsibility, meaning and purpose. You have given a vital part of yourself to others, and not lightly or short term. I would not go so far as to say you are a slave to or are owned by your family. But if they did not exist I can see that it would be much easier for you to commit suicide.

    Thank you again for your contribution to this thread.
     
  10. Danoff

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    I might be personally willing to endure more suffering alive given the presence of a family than I would be if I did not have them. That would be a personal choice. I still would immediately set up a euthanasia plan if I were diagnosed with ALS.

    See the thing is, I won't be much good to my family - especially in the areas of providing for and protecting, but also in the area of being someone who can share a loving relationship, if I'm living a life of suffering. In fact, I'm more likely to be a source of suffering at a minimum in the form of needing my family to provide for me, rather than the other way around. So your notions of obligation to continue living are flawed from the start. The premise knocks out fulfilling any obligation. If you're contemplating suicide you're not able to take care of yourself, let alone others.

    Deciding whether or not to live is a personal decision. It's not one that can be truly made from the outside of someone's personal circumstances. You can't know what they're going through, you can't judge that they should have endured. The closest you can come is to attempt to determine that they are not in a mental state to properly evaluate their circumstances and would be later if they're forced to live. That's essentially what we do with childhood.

    There is an interesting dark road that we can take this discussion down where we figure out if there is a crime heinous enough that we can justly deny someone the right to commit suicide (we currently do this all the time in prisons, but I don't think we should). But I think that frames the discussion accurately, refusing someone the right of suicide is denying them the most basic of their human rights, and is a unique and terrible torture to inflict.
     
  11. Dotini

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    Well, you clearly have some highly thought out ideas about suicide, perhaps strongly informed by your readings in objectivist philosophy. I will allow that, although not go down the darker road you mention.

    But I will congratulate and hail you as a good example of a man living with responsibility, meaning and purpose. Have a long and happy life - I think your odds are better than most.
     
  12. MatskiMonk

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    This is a nice ideal, but absolutely does not represent how our society actually functions.

    Don't take my use of the word game too literally. I mean, the process of society, the system of it. I'm not suggesting it's about winning or losing at it, it's about being able to function within its parameters. When you find you can't why should suicide be considered anything but reasonable?

    I would question it too, but what does questioning it achieve? Nothing.

    I really need a couple of days to type out my thoughts on the subject properly. I'm not really advocating suicide, I'm suggesting it's a reasonable output from our current system, but I also want to see that system changed... though being realistic about it, it won't, and I find myself concluding that we're driving ourselves to a place where we need a percentage of people to be oppressively ground into a paste to lubricate the machine that gives those that do find enjoyment, productivity, purpose and meaning in life, their happiness.
     
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  13. Dotini

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    Thanks for your post. There are a lot of thoughtful remarks there. Each one deserves a considered reply. The portion I quoted I find most disturbing. Do I understand you to say that those who have achieved responsibility, meaning and purpose have done so at the direct cost of oppressing others, and oppressing others gives them happiness? Causing and enjoying the suffering of others almost precisely fits the definition of evil. Do you really think those who have responsibility, meaning and purpose are evil, and should be brought down?
     
  14. MatskiMonk

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    No, not directly, that would be a dramatic oversimplification. I think for the most part such things are about gradients, not absolute values.

    A humpback whale doesn't consider a single krill, a single krill may not live in fear of a humpback whale... but the whale very much consumes the krill to exist.

    I am in debt to HSBC bank, unsecured, I borrowed £25k and I will pay back well over £40k. One day I was sat in the pub, messaging my girlfriend, the full story would be long and complex, but suffice to say, external influences, and in no small measure - money - made our lives a misery. She was living in/on Sicily at the time, myself in the UK, and we're figuring out how we will see each other, how she will afford her rent, and if it's all a good idea or not. Who sits down on the table next to us, but the bank employee that I agreed my borrowings with. She's having a meal with her boyfriend/husband, they hold hands across the table... and I'm thousands of miles from my partner.. I know it will be months before I can even hold her hand, and I know that having bought the beer I'm holding (to try and stem my depression), will probably cost me £10 in overdraught charges... I felt so close to walking over to the table where the bank employee sat, grabbing her hair, and smashing her face against the corner of the table infront of her boyfriend... but I didn't - obviously - I don't believe for a second that she derived any pleasure from HSBC putting me in the situation they did, so why should I hate her? I shouldn't. But, she is a cog in a larger machine that exists to make people money, to pay it's employees, her lifestyle - her ability to sit and enjoy a meal with her partner - relies on the earnings of the bank and that means taking money from people, from me... and here's me, working a responsible, productive, worthwhile job, as director of a company, whose owner has a £600k house, telling the people who manufacture what we sell, that can't afford a house because of our ****ing housing market, and what we can afford to pay them,.. who.. as I do, hate their jobs, and only do it because economics dictate we pay the most for the most basic human needs -- that what we pay them is the most we can afford. Economics dictates that we use each other, and we're controlled by such economics. Whilst people struggle to afford shelter and food, we will leverage them to make our own lives better.
     
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  15. Dotini

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    Thank you for your story. I think it says a lot about how difficult it is to realize a fully responsible, meaningful and purposeful life in your society due to economic conditions. You would like to have your woman close to your side. You would like to have your own home. Perhaps you would like to establish a family or even an occupation that you would love, grow and protect. These things are the very essence of what I'm looking for in this thread. What you want is entirely reasonable and should be entirely attainable by the majority of any properly run society anywhere. Let's fix that!
     
  16. Danoff

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    Did they? Do explain how the bank forced you to take out a loan and buy a beer.
     
  17. Eunos_Cosmo

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  18. MatskiMonk

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    Obviously the scenario wasn't as simple as that. As a debt consolidation loan it was my last ditch attempt at satisfying all my creditors, having found myself short of some (not insignificant) owed/expected income. I believed it was the right thing to do, even though it was clearly unfavourable for me. My other option would have been to seek debt protection from my creditors, and not pay them. On reflection, that's probably what I should have done.

    Clearly where you live there's good quality mind altering substances on sale. Perhaps the best way to fix it for people would be to put some of that stuff in the water supply, that way the people with no realistic hope achieving worthwhile satisfaction in their life can at least trudge towards death with a smile on their faces!
     
  19. Dotini

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    If you have told the truth about what it is that you want in life, then I fail to understand what's stopping you from achieving it.
    1) Get back together with your woman.
    2) Take up an occupation you enjoy and can do well.
    3) Pay your debts. 40K is not so much. Pay steadily in amounts you can afford.
    4) Understand that you already want all the right things. Half the battle is won. Now close the deal with steady steps. You have a brilliant mind. Use it by exercising your will.
     
  20. MatskiMonk

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    I think this thread is more worthwhile if it focuses on general systemic problems, rather than an individuals.... But FWIW.

    1) Unfortunately for yours truly, that train has sailed.

    2) Essentially I can't. It would invariably mean taking a pay cut, and can't really afford to do that. Not by any meaningful amount anyway. There's also the question of finding something, and being good enough at it to be employed doing it.

    3) 40k is a lot. It currently costs about £900 a month but a large portion of that is only covering interest.

    4) thanks for the kind words, but they're about as effective as motivational memes on Facebook. The reality of life, from my point of view, is one of debt, and anxiety. Nothing else can really replace those.

    I'd suggest I'm not alone in my predicament to be honest. A lot of people out there struggle to do much more than pay their bills, and I'll wager a lot of them do a job they do not like in order to only achieve this.