A comment from Arran Crawford on yesterday’s post for #WorldSuicidePreventionDay:
I’m convinced there is a moral component to the paucity of action on suicide. It amounts to a sense that suicide is an accusation against the world. It is as if the idea were that suicide is the ultimate rejection of this world and therefore this world cannot afford to acknowledge it under the fear of acknowledging its degree of delusional and disintegration. I don’t know how useful an observation that is but its the one that has impressed itself on me in the years that I’ve been working with suicidal people.
I’ve thought about this a lot overnight.
I think it’s certainly a useful observation and I think it encapsulates one part of what I was trying and failing to express yesterday.
There are two sides to this: there is the offence caused by rejecting this world and there is likewise the perhaps previously unthinkable realisation that it can be rejected.
I think this is what has always struck me about Mark’s writings — a tension within his words that is never quite presented with the clarity it deserves.
Is it accurate to suggest that his optimism and his depression were perhaps two sides of the same coin?
We can reject this world.
Sometimes this comes as a vision of a new future. Other times as no future at all. Distinct existential positions, perhaps, but from where we’re currently standing within the grip of capitalist realism, they can be very hard to distinguish. An entangled life and death drive captured in a single gesture.
What is most dangerous and so necessary to be aware of is how much easier it is to become stuck in the mire of its negative conception.
So much of Mark’s work could be summarised with the question: “What are we to do with our melancholy?” How, and where, should we channel it?
That is still a question very much alive within his writings. Kodwo Eshun made this clear when I met him to discuss my MA dissertation last year: “Mark’s work may have stopped working for him in that moment but what happened does not mean it has to stop working for us.”
The stakes are too high to let his questions go with him.
Suicide can be an all too understandable response to the nature of being in this world and it’s abject negativity can be infectious but what is needed, perhaps, as Arran suggested previously, in radically new forms of care and treatment, is that we need new solutions that extent beyond the confines of this world as we know it, positively conceived.
Right now, we’re way off balance.