What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire

Woman praying.

Anthony Bourdain killed himself today. Fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide earlier in the week. That’s two prominent suicides in the span of just a few days. And they are far from alone, sadly. Suicide is a veritable epidemic across the nation. Suicide rates are on the rise in almost every state. In some areas, they have risen by 30% or more. This is not normal. Something is happening. But what? And why?

Source: WALSH: What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire

While this essay deals specifically with what seems to be an epidemic of suicides, including and most noticeably among prominent / “celebrity” individuals, I think the issues Walsh identifies can be applied more broadly, to include, inter alia, what seems to another “epidemic”: that of mass shootings. The crisis is the same, it’s how people react to it that’s different: some lash out at others; some lash out at themselves. Some commit violent crimes, while others commit self-harm… but the roots of the ailment are identical. He writes,

“People will say that suicide is on the rise because we are not doing enough to fight the ‘mental health crisis,’ but this can’t be the cause. We have never been more aware of, or more proactive against, mental health issues, yet the suicide rate only continues to climb. The rate was a fraction of what it is today back when nobody had ever even heard of ‘mental health.’ The purely psychological explanations just don’t hold up. Clearly there is a deeper problem here.

“I think that problem is emptiness. There is an emptiness at the core of our culture, and from this root the suicide epidemic grows. We have fled from God, from meaning, from purpose, and embraced a soft kind of nihilism; a nihilism that will not call itself nihilism. It uses other words and slogans to describe itself. ‘You only live once,’ it says. ‘Live your truth.’ People are told that there is only one life, one reality, and it has no meaning aside from what you assign to it. But what happens when you no longer see meaning? Well, our culture says, if you do not see it then it is not there.

“Those who seek happiness by following the well-worn paths will inevitably fall into this pit. If you do what everyone else is doing, and live how they live, and walk in their footsteps, you will end up in the same darkness. You will begin to feel that there is no hope and no point and no real beauty or joy to be found in life. And this is the state in which so many of us are living…

“And the crisis only worsens because we refuse to trace it all the way down to its roots. We stop at the brain, at chemical reactions and psychological disorders, but we never pause to ask why all of our brains have apparently gone haywire in modern times. If this is all just a matter of mental disorders, why in the hell are these ‘mental disorders’ so common now?”

A good question, but I will let you read the article itself to learn Walsh’s answer to it. It’s fairly short, I’ll wait while you read it. And if you are a regular reader of The Anglophilic Anglican, you will not be surprised that I agree with him, 100 percent!

But I would also suggest that the crisis is not just spiritual, but cultural as well (the two are, of course, not unrelated). When there is little stability, little homogeneity or sense of being a part of something larger (unless it is some victim group), little rootedness in community, culture, ancestral heritage, or tradition, it is hardly surprising that many people will come unmoored, psycho-emotionally… or that for some, that will lead to violence – whether directed against oneself, or against others.

We are reaping the bitter harvest of the seeds we have sown.

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

4 thoughts on “What Really Lies At The Root Of Our Culture’s Suicide Epidemic | Daily Wire”

  1. I’ve been reading a lot about this recently, and each article or video is connected. They all point to the same cause even though they may use different terms to describe it.

    From one article:
    “In his book Tribe, Junger observes how far modern life is from the conditions our distant ancestors evolved from. We are so dis-connected from each other now that the lack of community is manifesting in alarming ways in today’s society.

    Junger focuses on the challenges that soldiers, Peace Corps volunteers, war refugees, and others who have similarly banded together under adverse conditions — as our distant ancestors did — face when re-integrating into peaceful, civilian life. Depression, addiction and suicide are all-too common responses as they struggle to find meaning in their daily lives, which now feel unfulfillingly superficial and lonesome compared to the “real-ness” and “alive-ness” they’d experienced before.”

    There there is this video that describes Post-Modernism and Deconstruction at work. https://youtu.be/xzuTx0JAzUE .

    The rejection of traditional culture, the rejection of absolute truth, the rejection of hierarchy, the rejection of the God of The Bible – all are closely related, and all are grinding our people down just as surely as if we were being fed into giant machine that crushes the humanity out of us.

    Reject the modern. Embrace the traditional.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That article is squarely on-target. We have “evolved” (if you want to call it that – “devolved” seems more accurate, much of the time) politically, economically, and technologically much faster than we have psycho-emotionally or socially. We are still in essential ways basically hunter-gatherers – tribal creatures – and / or certainly agrarian creatures: community-based, tied to the soil.

      Not for nothing did G.M. Trevelyan note that “We are literally children of the earth, and removed from her our spirits wither or run to various forms of insanity. Unless we can refresh ourselves at least by intermittent contact with nature, we grow awry.” And we are also, as you say, removing ourselves from God, consciously or unconsciously turning our backs on the Source of our being – abandoning, as it were, our parents: our heavenly Father, and our earthly “Mother.”

      Is it any wonder that we are acting like orphans, or perhaps runaways: shifting between despair and anger, and often striking out, against ourselves or others? And if we cannot – or will not – reconnect with our roots, if we cannot, like the Prodigal, return “home” in humility, the situation is going to get worse, not better.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You beat me to it – I was intending to sit down and write this out myself today. I think the only thing I would add is that people hold life very cheap these days. We see death in a wide variety of forms all the time now, and have become inured to it. How can life hold value when we as a society value it so little?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is the question, isn’t it? And the second is like unto it: how can we restore a healthy and reverential respect for life, in a society which seems largely to have tipped over into nihilism and self-destruction? Of course, not everyone has. Our picture of our society is in large measure what the media wants us to see. There are undoubtedly many good folk for whom life does indeed still have value. So the third question is, how can we give them a voice, when the media seems determined to promote degeneracy and nihilism? We have a long row to hoe!

      Liked by 2 people

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