Off the keyboard of RE
Published on Reverse Engineering January 2011
Discuss this article at the Frosbite Falls Insider Table Inside the Diner
I didn’t really cover Suicide in much detail in Part I, because it didn’t really fit the definition of the type of Death I was looking at, which was Death unwillingly forced on one person by another. However, if you look at the type of suicide you are talking about which is actually caused as a reaction to the behavior of others, kind of a deprivation of Spiritual Resources if you will, then it does fit the definition, so it should have been included. I’ll make an addendum to the post here to cover this.
When you say “take me out first” rather than last and reference the Donner Party, I am looking at that as a form of Suicide rather than Murder, since you basically are giving up your life without a fight, even though the actual taking of your life might come at the hand of another. You are “voluntarily” quitting the game, so to speak. In the case of the Donner Party, at least according to the legend anyhow, your self-sacrifice also is going to physically help feed the remaining members of the party via Cannibalism.
I put “voluntary” in quotations because its only voluntary in the sense that given the parameters you are faced with, you would choose death rather than live in a world of Wolf Packs and become one of the Wolves. However, the fact that the world did become that way forces you to make this choice on a philosophical level, so its not truly voluntary.
In point of fact, many people are already taking the Suicide Option Out. I’m not going to try to Google them all up, but in the last 3 years I have read stories about increasing Seppuku over in Japan around some traditional Mountain where people go to Walk themselves into the Great Beyond, and quite recently a story about increasing Suicide among FSofA War Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Theatres. Add to that the occasional individual suicide which has some facet that attracts the MSM to report it, like the Tunisian fellow who sparked the riots and collapsed Da Goobermint by Self-Immolation when his Fruit Stand was confiscated because he didn’t have a Goobermint Permit.
Suicide Bombers and Postals fall into a slightly different category, since in the course of quitting the game such a person takes a few others with him into the Great Beyond. So here you are both voluntarily ending your own life while also engaging in involuntarily ending the lives of some other folks. That puts you more in the Lone Wolf category. At least in this country so far, the Lone Wolves are still pretty rare, and individual Suicides are more common. However, over in the Middle East, Suicide Bombings occur on such a regular basis these days they may be approaching the numbers of individual Suicides in those countries. Hard to say since you never get any kind of valid statistics on any of these things, you just have to extrapolate based on anecdotal stories and consider what is likely to occur in such environments.
Another type of event is the Mass Suicide, which recently was reported over in India as many small farmers (the number exceeded 10,000 as I recall) facing ruin from debt problems committed suicide, I think that was in 2009. Going back to a prior era when there were vast problems in the society, you had Jim Jones Walking a whole bunch of his followers into the Great Beyond via Mass Suicide, and I would not be at all surprised to see a similar Cult Mass Suicide occur here as we spin down further, in fact I will be surprised if such a scenario does not occur.
The result here is that the “take me first” personal solution is bound to increase amongst those people who neither wish to fight nor have the means by which to further support themselves. This happens even among people who thought they had the means, when they lose all they had suddenly as a result of being defrauded or in a stock market crash, etc. That is the Falling Stockbrokers Syndrome. I catalogued a few of those back on Peak Oil back in 2008, a German Banker and an heir to a fortune pre-dating the French Revolution among them. Over here, there was a corporate executive in VA who either committed suicide or was offed by a squad of cleaners, and there was another Oil Sheik whose Glider mysteriously crashed. You always have to view some of those “suicides” with a jaundiced eye, because they might be clandestine murders.
Is Suicide a more Moral Choice than becoming a Wolf? I think that depends on the situation. In a hopeless situation where there are no external enemies to fight such as was the case for the Donner Party, Suicide is clearly the more moral choice than taking the life of another unwillingly in the party so that you yourself could live. However, in a case where your Tribe (at minimum Loved Ones, Family and Friends) might be Saved by taking the fight to the Enemy rather than committing Suicide, becoming a Wolf is the more Moral choice. If you succeed in doing that and give up your life to save loved ones and they do survive, you go out as a HERO. Everlasting Glory in the Kingdom of Heaven is your reward for that one.
For most people here in the Fascist States ofAmerica, most of us as of yet are not really faced with the same kind of deprivation and choices that folks in the Middle East are making on a daily basis. However, increasing numbers of people here are falling off the economic cliff as their 99 Week UE bennies expire, and while they might be able to survive on a SNAP Card in a Homeless Shelter, Suicide might seem to them a better choice than becoming a member of the Free Shit Army. This is a good question to ask yourself about what you would do if you lost everything and your only choices were to commit Suicide, become a Lone Wolf or accept Goobermint Aid and become a member of the Free Shit Army? I wonder how many people here would answer that question Honestly?
For myself, as long as it is functioning, my choice would be to become a member of the FSA. I don’t see a need to commit Suicide when there is still really plenty of food to go round here in the FSofA, and I don’t see the point in fighting an unwinnable battle as a Lone Wolf as long as the Conduits are still functioning, which they must be for SNAP cards to still be available. In my community, it would have to go even further, to the point I could not fish up enough to survive, or find some means to trade for what we harvest up here for my sustenance. Only at that point, once all other means have been exhausted would I make the choice between Suicide or becoming either a Pack Wolf or a Lone Wolf. I don’t know which one of those I would choose, its such an extreme situation that I do not know what my mind set would be at that point. To know what you would do when you have reached the End of your Rope, you really have to BE at the end of your rope.
In any event, like all the other forms of DEATH we are faced with here like Abortion, War and Starvation, Suicide is yet another one that will increase in its frequency during the spin down, regardless of whether we think suicide is a moral choice or not. In some Religious belief, Suicide is a Mortal Sin, and under no circumstances should you do it as it would condemn your Soul to Everlasting Damnation Burning in the Fires of Hell. I do not subscribe to that idea. In certain situations, Suicide is a very valid choice, and in those situations if you choose it, you will not be Damned, you will go to Everlasting Glory in the Kingdom of Heaven.
See You on the Other Side.
Follow Up Response to Stuck in New Jersey in this thread:
Stuck, on one keyboard hand you argue that I am advocating for a return to the Garden of Eden, but then on the other keyboard hand you argue that I advocate for a system which legitimizes Murder, which clearly is not Garden of Eden living. So which one is it here? You cannot argue both at the same time.
In my response to OS, I covered some of the inherent conflicts that come from Suicide in a resource constrained environment. Essentially, some people are FORCED into committing suicide, so you can turn this around and say that they did not truly commit Suicide, but were in fact Murdered by the society around them. Who do you pin the Murder on though? The entire population still alive after the person offs himself?
Tribal living in a resource constrained environment is clearly NOT the Garden of Eden. In fact it is quite a tough environment overall, but for the most part a more fair system with a more equitable distribution of power. People will still be people, there will still be arguments, there will still be violence. These things will not disappear, so it is not the Garden of Eden.
The two most difficult Moral Questions to resolve in this type of system come at the beginning and end stages of life. At the beginning stage of life, the Death comes from Abortion and/or Exposure. At the end stage of life, the Death comes from Suicide or Exposure also. Just like infants are sometimes left on a mountaintop to die and be consumed by Wolves, so also will the tribe sometimes pack up in the middle of the night and leave behind sleeping one of their Elderly members who slows them down on the trail and no longer can contribute hunting or gathering. Given I accept both of these as inevitable consequences of living in a resource constrained environment, I hardly see how you can argue that I am either “sugar coating” this or advocating for a return to the Garden of Eden. I am doing neither.
My hope would be that after a period of time passes and the population gets knocked down to whatever minima the resource constraints demand, the environment will begin to heal, there will be fewer resource constraints, and then the population begins to grow again. At this point the two most difficult Moral Questions of Infanticide and Elderly Suicide can be removed from the mix, to be substituted for by more careful reproductive control of some form, and not allowing the growth of the population to exceed the growth of the resource base on a Pay-as-you-Go basis. Given where we are at NOW however, with a population well into Overshoot resulting from the exploitation of the one-time “Gift” of the Thermodynamic Energy of Fossil Fuels and the fact that those fuels are in a depleting state relative to the size of the population, we are a long ways away from being able to convert to such a relatively benign form of maintaining a steady state population in balance with the available resources. This is why I
maintain that we will not get from here to there without a considerable amount of pain.
We will likely never be returning to the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden came some 70,000 years ago for the 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs that survived the cataclysmic bottleneck of the population of Homo Sapiens in the aftermath of the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption. Once the atmosphere cleared and the environment surrounding them healed itself, that Tribe had the entire surface of the Earth to expand onto, to “Go Forth and Multiply”, and they sure did that, to the tune of around 6.3B people living here now. There were no wars then, because if you were dissatisfied in your community and sought Freedom you could just walk a few miles to the next valley over and start your own little community. Then do it again, and again and again, until all these communities started bumping up against each other with nowhere left to go for the Freedom Seekers. The Garden of Eden lasted for quite some time, to around 5000 years ago when Agriculture began to suck resource out of the land faster than it could be replenished. Then of course and right up until today, all HELL broke loose with the endless War of the Haves and the Have Nots.
The general paradigm of Warfare amongst conflicting Tribes and incipient Civilizations developing from Agriculture began 5000 years ago as most of the surface of the Earth was populated by Homo Sapiens, but the End for Freedom Seekers did not come really until about 1000 years ago, when a few Polynesian Navigators plying the Pacific Ocean in Sail Rigged Canoes came upon the Big Island of Hawaii. That was the very LAST vestige of the Garden of Eden, a place with sufficient food resources devoid of any prior population of Homo Sapiens living there that had to be displaced by Warfare. Once that last space was taken up, the last 1000 years has been all about consolidation and one group of people becoming powerful enough to displace another group of people. Accessing the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels gave one set of people vast advantage, and asymmetry developed in the aftermath of that. Industrial living VERY quickly became the only way to live anywhere, it really only took 200 or so years for this paradigm to overrun the earth. About ALL Hunter Gatherers disappeared through this period, and Agriculture itself became Industrialized. Thing is here, once the Fossil Fuels are unavailable, this 200 year experiment in Industrial Civilization will collapse in a Heartbeat in the grand scheme of 70,000 years since the Garden of Eden. It will not even take a Century for this collapse to occur. That is about 0.3% of the entire timeline since the Toba Bottleneck.
To return to the Garden of Eden, we literally would have to shrink back down in population size to 10,000 Human Souls and give Gaia 10,000 years to heal herself, and even I do not project that as likely. In the absence of a cataclysm on the order of Toba, Natural or Man Made, I do not see it likely that even with a massive Undershoot of population we would shrink down past 100M or so. There will be remaining tribes everywhere there is sufficient water and arable land or access to a fecund fishery. Those tribes will bump up against each other and there will be border wars. There will be no place for Freedom Seekers to go that both provide enough food in the environment and also are vacant of people. It is how those populations steward their environment and the principles upon which they base their community which will determine how Just they are and how successful. I maintain that the best means of doing that is to base the economy on Giving rather than Taking.
On the question of how you prevent those nasty Human Traits like Greed and Avarice from taking root and flourishing, the answer is Education. In childhood, these traits manifest themselves in children all the time. 3 year olds will grab a toy from another and say “MINE!”. Do not allow that behavior, Punish it quickly, it does not take much when a child is 3 years old to punish such behavior. Reward the child for Sharing and being generous. Do not reward Adults for Greedy behaviors, because children witness this and inculcate it into their developing brains as the way to be. Punish adults who take more than they need, Shun them to begin, if they don’t learn the lesson, Hang ’em High. Certainly do not put them up on a Pedestal on the pages of People Magazine or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. You will never entirely wipe Greed out of course, but you can Squash it down through the Culture and the Education of children. This is a cultural decision it is within our power to make.
In our lifetimes, and in the lifetimes of generations yet unborn, it will not be possible to escape the consequences of Overshoot, and the pain that is to come as the population must shrink in size to come back into Balance with what Nature provides on a Pay-as-you-Go basis. The tough Moral Questions of Abortion, Suicide, Murder and War will all be a part of our collective lives. Death comes in many ways, and the Grim Reaper will have the Greatest Harvest of all time in this go round. Your only choices in this revolve around where you will park your butt and whether you will be a Sheeple or a Wolf when the Big Show Comes to a Theatre Near You. If you Run Away NOW, run away FAR, you might avoid the worst of these choices for the rest of your natural life. I am as far out as you can GET and still have a connection to the Internet. I HOPE to live out what is left of my life in relative Peace, but as it stands at the moment, unless I die relatively quickly, the Big Show will Come to my Theatre and force me to make my choice. I do not know right now what that choice will be, Suicide, Lone Wolf or Pack Wolf? I won’t go to the Great Beyond as a Sheeple though. I won’t know the answer to this question until I am at the End of my Rope, and I am not there yet.
Come the Horsemen.
See You on the Other Side.