Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Magical Marvelous Mirth-filled Prison

 This is a follow-up to The Accidental Rape

You trap a person in a room filled with oodles of of exciting adventures! And a lot of spikes and whirring saws and high voltage (unlabelled) generators, but as anybody who's trapped inside a cage knows, focussing on these things leads to naughty thoughts. Initially the person inside is quite frisky, let's say, and goes in kicking and screaming. How lively! you think. She'll make a fine daughter one day.

But after a few years of fun-filled frolicking and of becoming a much better person (she knows which foods contain razor blades! She wouldn't be able to do that if she had never been imprisoned, right?) your 'daughter', who you were quite sure had forgotten all about the existence of an outside world, starts banging on the walls. She pleads with you and begs of you, asking if you were so thoughtless as to put her in a death-trap (i.e. The Funnest Trap in All the Multiverse), then to make a start on scraping the sin from your body, you should at least let her out. You say, "We're all in a trap, my dear. Why your grandmother and grandfather trapped me when I was around your age, and I never regretted it for a second. Can't you just be a good little girl? Don't you understand that everyone's inside a cell within an enclosure within a pen, and what's more, everyone in the whole wide world knows that being trapped is a GOOD(TM) thing? This is just a phase, you'll be over it in no time! And then you can go make something of your life. It took me 20 years to get good at Thing-a-ma-bob, and now I'm the champion of rooping floops in the whole of my prison! Shouldn't you stay in there so you can get good at something too? So you can show everyone how deserving of your cage you are? Silly girl, go to bed. Here, I'll turn the lights off for you."

But that's a bit unrealistic. No one would ever really tell a parent that their miraculous or lack thereof creation of another human being was an outright evil, despite how screwed up the word is (sit up straight, learn, work, play, work, relax, work, retire, die - replace all of these except die with work if you're not in the Western world). And no one would top off that sledgehammer to the face with the bazooka blast: "So why won't you let me die?". That's overkill. While parents have so much power over their children during the early years, the situation is somewhat reversed when we reach into adulthood. "I hate you I want to die" from a child is just random temper tantrum gibberish, apparently. But when your child who is a child no longer tells you at least the second part of that, you're shaken to the very essence of your being. The truth hurts, and I doubt even an alternate universe suicidal Abraham Lincoln would have told his parents the truth.

But I was wondering if the whole act of getting things off our chests could help somewhat. Instead of, "Dad, I feel like killing myself" BANG goes the mental ward doors, maybe, "Life has never been easy for me, I have found happiness in very little indeed, and make neither lasting friends nor acquaintances. I am giving myself two years. If things don't improve, I'm taking my own life.". That's harsh and devastating for any parent, but so too, is a straight-up suicide. So what's worse? Unexplained suicide, or explained suicide (why they don't lock you in a mental hospital in the second case is simply because you can't be kept in one for that long a period of time - not that they won't try). To me, both are pretty horrible, so I'm really waiting it out at the moment for my parents to go first (and trying not to make any close friends, etc.). But as for any of us that simply can't wait for more than a few years or so, it'd be handy I think if they knew which option caused their loved ones the least pain.

My reasoning is simply based on all the nagging, cutting "What-if"s a person gets when a loved one commits suicide. "What if I had done X, what if Y had gone Z way". The Explained Suicide option seeks to eliminate all those concerns, again I say that it's harsh, but it's significantly less harsh in the long term. You are essentially allowing your loved ones some room to play about with things. Ask you bla bla, talk to you about the issue, and eventually let them be comforted by the fact that they were powerless to do anything other than what they did (?).

EXCEPT HEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM: They may actually find this powerlessness even more depressing than the undying guilt of an Unexplained Suicide. All that soul-destroying guilt and longing for the past will instead be replaced by major feelings of inadequacy and uselessness. Unless you explain things in just the right way, and console those people so they specifically DON'T think what they probably will think, Explained Suicide could be just as torturous as Unexplained Suicide. And sadly, I don't think any scientist in their right mind would conduct a study to find out which one on average causes more grief due to problems with sample size, recruiting and general ethical concerns.

Though if you really are set on things, my choice would probably be Explained Suicide. Dying with a 'Why were they born this way?' seems better to me than 'Why did they do it?', and I'd feel better about the whole process - I'd have a 2-year long real-time chat as a suicide note, instead of a scrap of paper found on my corpse. However, there would be a lot of pain involved in that method, and if the suffering of your loved ones remains the same, you are actually increasing the total amount of suffering - IF it remains the same, and I have no evidence to state that it does or doesn't. If you are planning on testing the Explained method, then please do tell me - I'm not justifying your suicide, I'm simply saying, let the world know what causes the least suffering, so that mankind can better itself.

As for the antinatalist tie-in as declared by this being a follow-up to my most successful post to date, I'd hope that anyone explaining wholeheartedly their case to their parents would, in line of being completely honest, put two and two together before their parents do of their own accord, and state that their parents were wrong. If you don't do this, it's possible that they'll be plagued with "Was I right to bring a child into this world?" thoughts, and as with Unexplained Suicide, will never get an honest answer that will set their minds at ease - even though the honest answer, despite being the only answer that can stop questions arising anew, is the most hurtful answer you could possibly give.

As with most of the things I write, I don't know how to end this. So keep on trucking, folks, honk honk.

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