On Suicide

Some of the great men I know committed suicide: Walter Benjamin, Alan Turing, and so on. Why could it be so? Studies show that people who commit suicide were depressed, anxious, and alone. These great people have thought about life and made sure that seriously, they can live it extraordinarily – and they did. But that’s the catch: to be extraordinary, and I meant to make a huge difference for the service of the world, is to sacrifice one’s ordinariness. And the only disposition in the eyes of others is what they coin as ‘mad’ – the mad scientist, the mad man, the monster who was an utter genius!

This doesn’t mean that all else are ordinary, that people who are normal are just insignificant ones. It just means that one has to think differently, to create spaces that open creative possibilities. Why am I telling this? Because it makes us also think whether or not Jesus, a great man, committed suicide. Because we would then assume that he might have thought about life so seriously that it made him mad and did extraordinary things that can change the world – in the form of the sacrifice of his life. The only question is: was his sacrificial act a form of suicide – and therefore accepting that such sacrifice is the only mad thing to make a huge difference, for the forgiveness of sins?

Suicide is a complicated thing, and although it points to an end point, the cessation of life, the peak of madness, it also points to the conditions that beset it: what made the idea of suicide possible that actuated the act? Jesus was surely not alone, nor was he depressed like he had no hope at all. Jesus’ death is a point of suicide, the maddest thing for a God to do in full human stature, to suspend his life at the age of 33 years – for what? In what conditions? – In order to save the world and the human condition from sin? His was a death that was born out of a sacrifice: a decided suicide? A passive intention to be killed in one’s own decision for the maddest reason of all that is love?

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