Today I read of two young seventeen year old girls in Singapore, friends, who within a matter of three weeks killed themselves. July 9th, 2010 http://sg.yfittopostblog.com/
As I read the article and the following contributions I learnt of the stressors placed on young folk in Singapore to succeed, many identifying this as the core to these and other youth suicides. Probably so.
But Singapore, Australia…most countries pursuing the model of ‘education based on future financial success’ are experiencing an alarming increase in youth suicide as well as a massive increase in adults taking legal let alone illegal mood altering drugs.
Frankly, doesn’t that tell you something???
Well let me share with you what it tells me.
Being born into any society where the emphasis is on the achievement of financial gain as indicated by the whole structure of our society means that the Human Being emotionally suffers.
The Human Being suffers because this model of society demands a materialistic, mechanistic reductionist logical left brain approach.
Now of course there is a place for the left brain and its skills. Without it we would be unable to reduce hunger, create vaccines, perform surgery, understand the basic workings of the natural world.
But what about the right brain? That part of us that imagines, that creates that thinks beyond. Indeed the part that ponders the reason for life, how one should live, death and, the word with more definitions than a dictionary could hold, God.
Now on the scientific and academic side of why ignoring the needs of the right brain is leading to misery I would refer you to a book by Dr Iain McGilchrist, eminent English psychiatrist called (don’t be scared of the title) ‘The Master and his Emissary: the divided brain and the reshaping of Western civilisation’
An older but excellent book if you are interested in these concepts is Madness and Modernism by American psychologist Louis Sass.
Both books express in academic ways the simple concept that our society has become so dominated by the left brain reductionist approach, that the power of beauty, of spirit, and of true art as well as empathy, connectedness and so on are lacking to such an extent that we have become seriously out of whack.
Which leads to misery.
Which leads to seeking to alleviate misery.
We seek help and here is where I think things are getting real scary.
In the United States when I last checked around 1992, six million Americans were on prescribed mood altering drugs from antidepressants to anxiety medication and so on.
In 2003 whilst in the States I was shocked to see continual advertisements on regular TV encouraging Americans if their not feeling great to go get on whatever specific drug they were advertising.
I wondered what message this gives to their kids. Australia is only a little behind.
More tragically increasingly even scientists are talking of relating new discoveries in Neuro-science to creating drugs and manipulating the brain in order that we responder more positively to the world outside us. A recent example:
Lone Frank, an award winning Danish science journalist and broadcaster who started out as a neurobiologist and has just written Mindfield: How Brain Science is Changing our World said recently on Australian radio
“I mean in the future when this revolution (neuro-revolution) has played out and we have a lot more drugs and cognitive techniques that can, you know, change our brains in different ways, I think it would be completely normal for people to manipulate their brains and nervous systems to get moods, or states or whatever.”
Scientists increasingly scoff any discussion of spirit, god etc but as I’ve discussed before based on biased interpretation of data that would have had Socrates scoffing all the way to his hemlock!
If we are to become more than;
Drugged robots attending work most hours of each day to keep the ball rolling…
Starting our kids earlier and earlier on drugs so they’ll conform…
Potentially altering our brains in the future to ensure we and our children will be happy with this way of living…
And we even have the reductionist psychological therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy to change those silly thoughts of ours that suggest unhappiness;
Then eventually our kids won’t kill themselves.
But they won’t really be alive either.
We abhor suicide as we should.
Yet isn’t suicide the result of that materialistic, mechanistic reductionist logical left brain approach or paradigm. If the machines broke throw it away.
Nope. Suicide is not painless. Personally, I think it’s our souls screaming.
It is neither our brain chemistry nor our brains structure that is at fault here.
We need to rebalance.