“He was all right day before yesterday. Final exam results were announced yesterday and he scored the third rank. Today, he was found hanging in his room with a rope around his neck, he died in the morning.”
Every day is full of such incidences happening over colleges and other institutions across countries around the globe. But college is just a part where suicides happen, its spectrum covers a whole lot of range, from breakups to inferiorities, diseases, injustice, social acceptance, and whatnot. Our tendency to struggle or terminate our lives solely depend upon our believes that is predisposed upon us from our upbringing, education, and social structure.
As a social being, we do not want to live up to the expectations lower than what we have been anticipating and clinging to, from the day we started to construct our identities. Many of us fall into the spectrum where these anticipations are presented with realities, but unfortunately, some of them are in a critical range where their lives are linear functions of their assumptions and ambitions.
To get a simple idea, consider this, how many of you’re able to accept the fact that Earth is not flat? Pretty much a lot, right? What about gravity not being a force? Not so much? Perfect! But there are people who still believe that Earth is flat and on the other hand some of you might know that in modern times gravity is projected as an ability of mass to curve the spacetime.
The point is not what you know and what is real, point is to realize how our beliefs shape our views of the world. Though those illustrations are from the strict discipline of science, so it doesn’t affect the normal life. Or do they? Consider this, there was a time in India when it was moral and socially normal for a widow to immolate herself on her husband’s pyre or commit suicide under a funeral custom called “Sati-Pratha!” It was practiced more than almost 2000 years until a man realized how irrational ritual it was! That was a conscious irrationality, that pain could be seen by everybody else but yet bystander of society was helpless to bring the change.
Here is why it happens, our brains make patterns to understand things and due to evolutionary forces, they rush to be efficient at that. The faster we solved the trap, the higher our chances of survival were! These are known as basic instincts and we’re hard-wired to create a rigid perception to hold a pattern and cognition biases to make the decision faster. You know what the side effects are? Rigid perception once made are not easily adaptable to the new challenges and we cling on to pick up more and more thoughts to confirm our biases.
In doing so, we can create false memories, fake pieces of evidence, support irrational logics or even could go violent easily. Physiologically we survive because of homeostasis, i.e. body’s ability to resist change and due to highly localized behavior we have homeostasis even in our minds! In the past, this rigid perception helped us to stay united with a local community, win over wars, to stay stabilized to make a strategy. But modern socioeconomic conditions and standards of living don’t require our basic instincts to survive.
We’ve ensured our survival and shifted to living. But this shift has not been made right inside our minds, so it uses the same algorithms to predict a normal situation as a catastrophe. In doing so, it creates prejudices over societies. Nobody realizes that correlations are not causations. Engineering in India, good grades in your marksheet, failure in entrance examinations, recent break up, getting fired from the job, getting a backlog in your course, death of a loved one, a failed start up, a failed idea, a long term depression, a nervous breakdown, long-term disease and a lot whole list, are not failures of your personality and your existence.
Realize the difference between the nature of failures. Though these failures are highly correlated with emotional failures and serve as a bias to believe that they’re failures of life. In no ways, they address any causation of failure to living or standards of living in the long run. Emotion failure blurred the perception and makes you believe your confirmation biases. Be informed, they’re irrational and not real. If they were real, it would have been possible for us to treat lung cancer with higher CGPA or eradicate down syndrome with hiring people into Microsoft. If you believe your biases in an illogical way you would look like just as stupid as the person believing flatness of Earth.
You know what real failure is? A respiratory failure! Which happens when you decide to end your life, that causes an end to your existence. It is true we can’t simply put an ideal system that makes everyone to fit in, but it doesn’t mean that you’re a victim of what they’re doing to you. Realize that it is an economic problem that a system no matter how regulated it is can’t satisfy everyone’s need and your so-called “perceived failures” are indications of your misfit in that situation.
It is no ways intends to challenge your existence and survival. And mistakes? They’re indications of bugs while you were trying to execute a task, maybe you need to take care of syntax and recheck your algorithms. Just don’t break your computer, and if even if you do; buy a new one. That error was an algorithmic error (Yes, the common mistakes) Don’t misinterpret it to be a signal from God to kill yourself.
I would like to end with a very common para-suggestion, you can’t expect the entire system to understand you and treat you better as being a very component of the system: that is, as a person, you didn’t do it for yourself on the first place when you decided to end your life. All you had to do was to tell that your biases of failures are not real. Don’t misinterpret it! So what, if you couldn’t score a few more marks, maybe the knowledge that those marks were supposed to carry, itself was created by a person who never got himself good at anything else.
In fact, this is the exact way it works. Try to see the world as it is, don’t translate it with your catastrophic thoughts. I’m totally failed at things and not yet successful, or am I? I know I’m alive and breathing. That’s all that matters!
Disclaimer: This is a speculation and personal views upon this subject. It lacks references.
Guest Feature: Chirag Tripathi