The holistic handbook to a successful suicide
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The holistic handbook to a successful suicide



Penny Coleman calls suicide "the most secret death because no one wants to talk about it." Suicide says none of it and none of you are worth living for; nothing is better at saying "I hate you all." ...

Penny Coleman calls suicide "the most secret death because no one wants to talk about it." Suicide says none of it and none of you are worth living for; nothing is better at saying "I hate you all." But, might there be good reasons to feel this way? Dr. Jung believed troubles begin when being a homogeneous individual is an unhealthy choice for one's environment corrupted by great lies. First, it's time to let suicide out of the closet and discover the countless ways we make others intolerably uncomfortable, not just ex-husbands but everyone. Second, golfers know the best plan is not to change for the course but to change the course for you: if you have a natural slice then use it on a dog leg right. Similarly, it is life that needs to change. This is such good advice characteristically unavailable anywhere, not from your therapist, your boss, or your family and friends that I need to say it again. When people say either you need a better attitude or you need to be more agreeable you need to raise both birds high into the air and just say no! Third and finally, better boundaries will not enough. You will decide to leave; anything else would be crazy. And so, I cover some issues I think you'll want to consider before doing so.



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The holistic handbook to a successful suicide The holistic handbook to a successful suicide Document Transcript

  • What to do when it's time to go. What to do By James Maginnis Every 31 seconds someone in the world dies by suicide. Every 32 seconds the world heals by making sure it's seen only as a personal mental illness. The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide
  • trape Yes, Virginia, there are monsters. There are brain sucking Lizards and blood sucking Zombies. Worse, if you look closely under the bed you may catch a glimpse of yourself down there. Pretty scary stuff except the plan to shut down your brain or heart rests but on the sole premise you forfeit reverence for yourself. So, "be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one of them." Nietzsche (1886). ( I dedicate this tome to the sister who broke my spine before I was even one year old and who still refuses to talk about it, the brother who claims I'm to blame for his meanness and then lied and even faked my signature to steal my mother's inheritance as "therapy," the childhood bullies well know by teachers (who then called me stupid), the wives and children whose love was wrapped in alienating insults, the pastors who've called me evil, exploitive therapists, friends afraid to really know me, even you the reader who has accepted little or no responsibility for the tyrannical hunger, violence, and ignorance that so fills our lives even though how to end such ills being well documented, and most notably my fear of being ridiculed for complaining. These monstrous actions are daily committed by every one of us due to an overwhelming fear of being known. In my worst moments of despair, I've tried to remind myself there were good reasons to feel so inadequate with the only true insanity being the silly imaginary and tasteless happiness we all struggle to preserve.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide by James Maginnis Table of Contents Abstract .................................................................................................................................... 1 Why I wrote this...................................................................................................................... 1 We have met the enemy and he is us..................................................................................... 2 Only a crazy person wouldn't want to die .............................................................................. 3 I told you I was unhappy – so, why are you only here NOW? ................................................. 5 This is the postmodern desert ................................................................................................ 9 Do I just not like people? .......................................................................................................10 Great and good are seldom the same man ...........................................................................14 And so, there are some things you should consider before you go ....................................18 The zombie next door.............................................................................................................19 What does it mean to be a man in the modern world?.........................................................23 What does it mean to be a child of a divorce in the modern world? ...................................28 Trash talk: what is it good for? ..............................................................................................31 101 ways to kill yourself and do it again tomorrow..............................................................34 The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: ..........................................................................35 Just because you can, doesn't mean you should...................................................................39 For the lotus flower to fall is for it to rise to the surface ..........................................................44 Knowledge is not power ........................................................................................................45 Life, if defined by growth based on conflict resolution, is best shared....................................48 How do you die to self without actually dying?....................................................................48 Every exit is an entry somewhere else...................................................................................50 I know what it feels like to want to die....................................................................................55 Positive Psychology believes grief is always short-lived.....................................................55 Let me tell you more of my circumstances .........................................................................59 Sanity is madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled.............................59 We must imagine two different things for forgiveness to work ............................................60 Perhaps we're asking the wrong questions............................................................................63 What might families look like?............................................................................................64 It's not a question of ideas – there are already too many ideas..............................................64 "Now," said the doctor, "we will begin, yes?" .........................................................................66
  • Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes and I can take or leave it..........................67 Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good.......................71 Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.....................................................................72 Self-trust is the first secret to success..................................................................................73 In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.........................................74 How would you define the perfect parent? .........................................................................75 You cannot understand a system unless you change it .........................................................76 Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry...........................77 There are many icons in our art, language, and culture.........................................................81 Without the rain, there would be no rainbow........................................................................82 Truth is stronger than lies and love is stronger than fear........................................................84 Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.........................................86 Student: I don't feel like living. Teacher: Then find ways to not live........................................89 Without doubt, certainty is what drives one insane .............................................................90 If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it..............91 Is the glass half full or half empty?.........................................................................................93 Rule #1 in life: Be great at what you do: life is short...............................................................94 Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.................................95 Be yourself, everyone else is already taken..........................................................................95 What is Heaven and Hell to me? ............................................................................................97 ( Willyoulive? Willyoudie?
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 1 Abstract We need to be honest about suicide and the ways we make others feel the need. We do such harm, like a young girl striking her schoolyard affection to hide her loneliness, to withhold the very intimacy after which we all hunger. We insist others learn to take responsibility and change despite life's one most essential truth being (as per AA) that our life is unmanageable and we're powerless to change it. Depression is the natural response to guaranteed-to-fail self-reflection and self-correction. Dr. Jung believed such difficulties start when being a distinct homogeneous individual is an unhealthy choice for one's environment corrupted by such lies. We focus on but building great leaders rather than great societies (based on great followers). Our movies never show heroic teams and we rarely teach how to build them (such as with team charters). Being called untalented, unintelligent, unattractive, unfaithful, or unpleasant is far more offensive than hearing we are unsure of our beliefs, unclear of our goals, disorganized in our efforts, uncertain of where we would stand, are without a long range plan, or misguided in our worldview those things that actually matter. Lastly, we prefer hearing only how special we are to ever addressing real world egos, nepotism, and codependent relationships. We've done a repositioning of life as a commodity we consume rather than one in which we might consider to invest ourselves. So what if researchers have identified how to end most all hunger, violence, and ignorance? I don't get to live in such a wonderful world until you gain a greater respect for truth. People often say they don't believe in a God that allows suffering but I say that's why I have yet to believe in you. Why I wrote this Penny Coleman says suicide is "the most secret death because no one wants to talk about it." She says about 120 returning Iraqi vets kill themselves every week. This is an estimate as the numbers aren't tracked nor reported by any agency. Even though it’s true that per capita there are more suicides in the military, after controlling for age and gender (young men), the military has a lower suicide rate than the country as a whole. In nature, suicide occurs with evolutionary altruistic advantages in seeing one's death as being worth more than one's life to others. As for why you may want to kill yourself, there is an inexhaustible list of good reasons. Yet, most are in truth smoke screens obscuring the real reason, not in any way altruistic: life is a lonely and cruel proposition. Suicide usually says none of it and none of you are worth living for; nothing is better for saying "I hate you all." But, might there be good reasons to feel this way (above all for young American men, which Dr. Robert Brame says have an almost 50/50 chance of being arrested by age 23)? In fact, both Dr. Brodsky (1976) and Dr. Leymann (1984) demonstrated stress is usually the consequence of groupthink "mobbings" directed by STJ psychopaths overwhelming their victims into wholly hopeless positions (and chronic stress causes incurable brain damage). The Columbine Threat Assessment Group (TAG) found the primary antecedent for such school violence is the similarly forced focus on athletic heroes. It's time to let suicide out of the closet and admit the ways we set people up for absolute failure, not just ex-husbands but everyone. First, we seem to have but a singular recommendation for a better life: change. If your grades are poor, you need to change. If people don't like you, you need to change. Even if life has dealt you a crappy hand, YOU need to change. You must change because there's something wrong with you. The one universally accepted truth is there's always something wrong with you. I've seen estimates each of us pass through, on an average day, as many as 50,000 declarations of exactly what's wrong with us: for instance, few of us are thin and pretty enough, few of us are popular enough, few of us are happy enough, and few of us are rich enough. To no one's real surprise, each of these problems, even the not rich enough one, can be fixed with money. But,
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 2 change is not possible. Your personality and environment is fairly set by puberty. Golfers know the better plan, however, is not to change for the course but to change the course for you if you have a natural slice then use it on a dog-leg right. It is life that should change. This is such good advice characteristically unavailable anywhere, not from your therapist, your boss, or your family and friends that I need to say it again. When people say either you need a better attitude or you need to be more agreeable you need to raise both birds high into the air and just say no! "We have met the enemy and he is us." – Pogo, 1953 We're great at telling others to start taking responsibility and yet never take any ourselves. For example, teacher quality has fallen by half while salaries have doubled. The only two positions you're likely to take is 1) that statement is wrong or 2) someone else, such as say the Teacher's Union, is to blame. There is no chance you take responsibility for helping cause such a problem. My favorite scene from Stand and Deliver is when the principal asks all the teachers before an important standardized school-wide exam whether every teacher was doing all they could and only Escalante stated he knew he was not. Be honest, you're not doing enough (to change life). I once made a resolution to make the world better by baptizing others. I found Bill Bright in the 1950's had prophesized as a "slave to God" he would fulfill the Great Commission of bringing every man, woman, and child to Christ in a single life, one generation, or 50 years, and later by 2000. His first step in this plan was to travel the U.S. looking for biblical scholars who had been successful evangelists. Many came to interview but he could not find a single individual who had both studied the Bible as well as worked to baptize people. I visited about a hundred churches in Tucson and could not find a single person who had even met a single spiritual grandchild (a person baptized by someone they had baptized) or a church that encouraged or tracked such efforts (since they grow but by pilfering as per Barna and Polomar). Bright resigned in 2003 after 50 years of leading Campus Crusades for Christ and died shortly after with over 16,000 full-time employees sadly having made little real headway in his mission. I asked a national missionary for the group if they were considering reworking their Mission Statement and I was asked firmly to leave and to never come back. Previously, I baptized an employee I had sponsored at AA (despite not being a member) and two of my pastors visited the person with dire warnings about "evil" Jim. Both pastors confessed to never baptizing a single person themselves (and one was even nearing retirement). I concluded geometric success required a supportive community of like-minded believers (that I couldn't find), true for any and all social problems. Personal issues like suicide and salvation are social problems that necessitate coordinated community solutions. Religion was not the answer. So, I tried being a Precinct Captain working to get "better" people elected. As you can guess, I found most candidates grossly incompetent. Even sadder, I found the few good and not-bad candidates to be either fully engrossed in useless platform issues (by their own admission) simply to get elected or else incessantly hindered into comparable futility. I found politics was not the solution either. So, I volunteered at my kid's school but somehow got voted off the parent-teacher Site Council at the PTA president's request for the "ethical violation" of campaigning. The only person to say anything nice was an ex-wife. I cried inconsolably, not from being so rejected but from a death in which I finally gave up on you all. My best friend tells me if I was a "real man" I wouldn't need defending (I still have my hateful ex-wife) and how likely it is that I will die alone (not accepting that being alone is better than poorly accompanied). Drs. Cloud and Townsend propose I just need better "boundaries" but when someone in your poultry shed turns out to be a fox in a chicken suit, bravely standing up and clucking "no" is bad advice. You must either quickly leave the coup or submit to the fox. Either way, just be honest about it.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 3 Only a crazy person wouldn't want to die If you're normal, you find suicide (or at least passive self-destruction) attractive because 1. You want to go to heaven to be reborn in a perfect human body somewhere else 2. You want to reincarnate as a cow but forgot how many cockroaches you have to be first 3. You want to get away from self-deluded religious fanatics preaching about some afterlife 4. You want to be a martyr for some foolish cause that probably doesn't really help anyone 5. You want to just get away from everyone constantly bitching about how much life sucks 6. You want to serve a capitalistic society and ideally die right on schedule with no overtime 7. You haven't accomplished a damn thing or know how from having wholly inept teachers 8. You've fooled yourself into thinking you've achieved everything when it's again nothing 9. You're tired of feeling life is beyond your control, just a series of unrelated country lyrics 10. You're just drunk (or high) and naïvely stupid: one third of adolescent suicides are drunk 11. You're a have-not of a casted society: most minorities are shut out of higher paying jobs 12. You're a veteran sick from U.S. weapons like depleted uranium tank shells or the quarter of enlistees and half of reservists insane with never ending nightmares and flashbacks 13. You’re an alienated father (knowing how to solve social ills in a world that doesn't care); and, of the 38,364 Americans who killed themselves in 2010, 30,277 (4 of 5) were men 14. To emerge from nothing yet have a name, deep inner feelings, and time to dwell on how at any moment your life will disappear leaves you yearning for the sickening wait to end The Who sang in 1971, "As people assemble, civilization is trying to find a new way to die." For example, if you are born in a time or place without technology, your death is liable to come from a natural disaster, fire, unsafe living conditions, poison, or disease. But, if you are born in any industrialized country, death will instead likely come as the result of a plodding suicide. As we forfeit freedoms for the illusion of safety from external forces, free access to the suicide of our choosing to escape the resulting pathologies may well become our most fundamental right. The world loses a million people each year to suicide. In fact, suicides happen in most countries more often than intentional homicides. The most fashionable method using a gun, called "eating lead," occurs more often than traffic deaths. Even though all of the top ten ways Americans die involve suicide in some way, most people chose some sort of "slow-kill" weaponry. Eating lead is only about tenth overall. Half of all deaths are due to cigarettes and fatty foods. Diets won't likely work without addressing the underlying pathology. Other methods include at #3 drugs and alcohol and at #7 consequences of sex. I had a crush on a girl who ODed in middle school while another four kids ended it all using drunk joy riding and sexually active teenagers have roughly, according to the CDC, a 50/50 chance of contracting an STD. We know life sucks so wanting to escape is understandable. We also know the burden we can be to people; that we are a primary reason life sucks for others. Our poor treatment of nature is in our nature. While animals might commit suicide due to the evolutionary advantage of supporting the so called rights of the many, humans are principally attracted to death simply due to our singular ability to picture it coming causing great control issues. Bottom line: you are likely not already dead only due to not having sufficient "rope." For example, the most effective way to increase people's desire to smoke is to remind them it will kill them just as criminologists say people commit crimes often only out of a perverted need to take great risks. This is just as true financially as it is physically. The only reason you've not yet declared bankruptcy is likely because you've simply never had enough rope. And so, bankruptcy is but the natural result to winning a large lottery (or rope). Lottery winners, like most of us, live a completely self-destructive financial life but have just never had sufficient resources to completely fail until that lucky day when their number gets picked – yea!
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 4 One remarkable suicidal method had a big impact on psychologist Dr. Martha Stout. She begins The Myth of Sanity by talking about when her Grandmother chose congestive heart failure. Her grandmother, lying in a hospital bed and being attended for minor problems, informed her nurse she planned to "go to God" before morning and then quietly was no longer a burden to anyone. Dr. Stout explains "Voodoo victims die that way, victims of their own strength of belief, and other mammals, swimming against the tide for too long, let death come, and die of exploding hearts, before the water has a chance to drown them. Having decided it is time, one simply dies." Dr. Benson explains in his Beyond the Relaxation Response how religion can greatly facilitate one's ability to make physical changes (far greater than any TM guru) even to one's own willed death. Our dead fast refusal to talk about suicide, its stigma, results in a poor job of counting suicides. Stout's grandmother's death was not counted as a suicide. "It's vastly underreported," states Dr. Phillips, who has written much on rising suicide rates. “We know we’re not counting all suicides.” Just as every business plan should include a detailed exit plan, living intentionally means dying intentionally. But we don’t have such a pragmatic relationship with death. We refuse to listen or even taste our food to ignore it. My parents both wanted to die horribly painfully and alone but fairly quickly at home. My father went insane, defecating himself for days, while my mother 12 years later lay alone on the floor also insane for days. This sounds horrible and I believe either would have changed their minds in the moment, true for most any suicide. I understand all of the very few who've survived jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge have said they changed their minds on the way down. But, no matter how detailed the data available to my parents may have been – even if they could have gone forward in time and watched their deaths, I believe they would have chosen precisely the same way to go. I have found this true for most of the Great Generation (born before 1925). I instead want to die a lingering death with full access to unlimited drugs and people to clean me up after I've soiled myself and hold my hand with great encouragement in a nursing home allowing me to think and write as long as possible. Now, my grandmother was sadly hospitalized for two years unable to do anything but blink her eyes. That doesn't sound appealing to me. It would be best to think about how you want to go and not just put if off for some last minute collection of bad choices you'll regret for the rest of your life (lol). My parents' preferred means of gaining advantage over their pitifully lonely lives was food and smoking. Mom died with oxygen in one hand and a pack of Camels in the other while dad grew to almost 300 pounds by his end. They also lived lives of social suicide. I heard of parties with over 50 guests before I was born. But, they only had 4-6 couples over when I was young. Then, no one came over after I was 12. My last conversation with my father included a statement that I didn't have a clue about who his friends might have been and he yelled, "Do you want to know who my friends are?!? I'll tell you – no one!" Well, relationships only end up thorny things if you, as we are taught, separate people over whether they are nice or nasty (rather than valuable vs. harmful). I think they most respected honesty due to being so poor at recognizing it. Now, my parents did spend time with an attorney and his wife. He generously allowed me to record him for a character in one of my puppet shows and he provided the only good advice after my first wife left me for a High School Junior. When I would attend his large parties, I noted how he was the first one drunk even though he never drank. After a lifetime of abusing food to help medicate the pain of needing such social deceit, he felt driven to quickening the process by eating lead. I'm not interested in detailing the "quick" death options as that's been done to death (I'm sorry for that intentionally bad pun). The Complete Manual of Suicide written by Wataru Tsururni in 1993 sold over one million copies. The manual evaluates eleven categories of suicide methods
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 5 including overdosing, hanging, jumping, and carbon monoxide poisoning in terms of pain, effort, chance for success, and final resulting appearance of the body. Wataru does not cover any of the many reasons for suicide but does pose the very important question, "Why must one live?" The Final Exit by Derek Humphry, Hemlock Society founder, also provides assistance for stuff from making decisions about whether and when one is ready to die to financial considerations. When it came out in 1991, it was the number one bestselling nonfiction book in America for 18 weeks and it has sold over a million copies. In 2007, the editors and book critics of USA Today selected Final Exit as one of the 25 most memorable books of the last quarter century. One of the more notorious suggestions from Dr. Philip Nitschke's The Peaceful Pill Handbook is his classic "Mexican option." Due to the high cost of travel, Mexico's high crime, and problems with drug reliability, Dr. Nitschke no longer recommends this. Finally, we all know of Dr. Kevorkian, whom we all hope we never get as our emergency room doctor. He said "Dying is not a crime." 60% of the people he helped kill themselves, however, neither had fatal illnesses or complained of any pain. Many were rather just sufferers of clinical depression or hypochondria. One woman simply had a husband who told Kevorkian it would be better if she was gone (believe it or not). Over tall buildings and guns, "doctors have found the use of helium (within a bag-like tent) is the speediest and available method to end life." (To Die Well by Drs. Wanzer and Glenmullen 2007) Here's an important point to consider: I've seen two movies where people consider suicide after being diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. In truth, half of those told they have ALS live more than five years and so end up "re-diagnosed." Forget about getting better and think about hearing "Woops, turns out the bad news wasn't entirely true." You wouldn't want to miss getting to see your doctor all red faced having to admit to making a mistake – would you? Therefore, I support considering "direct" methods for but the last few days or totally paralyzed when you can have some certainty your motivations for such a final choice won't out of the blue poof be gone. Pain is not a good reason for suicide as it's not real (being it's transitory), not like being useless. The first step is to decide on your favorite penance for your lack of value: smoking, over eating, unprotected sex, eating lead, tall building, overdose (which usually also requires a tightly tied plastic bag), risky lifestyle, or several of these and then suffocating alone on the floor. I am truly amazed how most women prefer a drug overdose even knowing it will likely fail and be thusly forced to try again just to not make a mess. Men are ten times more successful than woman when it comes to killing themselves. I assume this is due to being raised with a greater need to be successful, even in failure. Any honest endeavor requires being clear about your vision and understanding the resources needed for your personal meaning for success with a detailed plan for execution (that time, no pun intended). Suicide is no different. Most suicide attempts are so amateurish and messy they rarely provide what people intended. In truth, most people consider suicide only as an in the moment resolution to some meaningless situational problem without thinking things through. Don't be like them and make a meaningful and lasting impression. I want to be remembered for my death. We all die, but few do it well. There are some pre- and post-mortem questions you should consider. And, later will not work for obvious reasons. For one thing, you will need your answers for the suicide note, for brainstorming ideas for your epitaph, and for your headstone. For instance, I would like the following put on my memorial: I told you I was unhappy – so, why are you only here NOW? In addressing why kill yourself – there is an inexhaustible list of good reasons to hate life. Most are but smoke screens hiding the real reason: being alive is a very lonely proposition. Many use the logic, "I will no longer have to be untalented, unintelligent, unattractive, or unpleasant." The
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 6 reality is that you will clearly not only be useless, stupid, ugly, and nasty, you will also be dead. Then, the Flynn Effect is about how people are getting smarter every decade so a person born a century ago is likely borderline retarded as calculated today. Technology has similarly made us twice as productive as our parents who were twice as productive as their useless parents. Then, there's appearance. Please forget about all of the modern options for cutting stuff off or getting it replaced and think for a moment about how people smelled a century ago. Therefore, any of our stupid and ugly issues can be minimized by just becoming associated with an older crowd. We are also becoming a wholly faithless group of sub-humans. Larsh's Culture of Narcissism was made famous by President Carter's Malaise Speech in which he pointed out social programs can't fix the real problem of people becoming self-absorbed jerks. Therefore, no matter how cold hearted, simply looking to the next generation for friends can secure your fitting in just perfectly. Also, when it comes to suicide, people often think, "I drink, abuse drugs, or am so sick or injured that I'm half dead already, why not just finish the job?" Remember that our grandparents were a quarter of the people we are and they were called the "Great Generation" because they were more literate, more loving, and more courageous. It clearly doesn't take much to flourish. Heck, even Romanian orphans with heads flattened from being left lying all day as infants as a rule flourish quite well. People also think, "Well, suicide was the solution favored by a family member or friend – so, why not give their solution a try." Of course, the obvious problem here is "trying" generally implies non-destructive testing. And, this is typically not an option with suicide (duh). A strong genetic component, though, has been in fact indentified for the aspiration to kill oneself. The common reason why all normal people think about suicide (if just subconsciously) each and every day is people suck and are wholly impossible to live with. When my eldest daughter tried to explain dating a 19 year old when she was 14 (whom she eventually married) by exclaiming "Dad, have you seen the boys my age?!?" I replied, "Yes, I have. And, they remind me a lot of you. And so, the feeling that they're not good enough can only be a result of some pretty poor self-esteem and the resulting self-delusion you've used to cover up the fact you suck as well." And yes, that was me sucking and being impossible to live with. And so, my daughter then left. But, Dr. Anna Freud asks "who promised you that only for joy were you brought to this earth?" We all suck and despite promises of the self-help industry there's not anything to be done about it. AA's 12-step recovery plan starts by recognizing that your life sucks and there's nothing you can do about it. First, our memories are unreliable. David DiSalvo explains in What Make Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite how people shown a manipulated photo as proof of a fictitious childhood event can create a false memory. Dr. Kassin has showed innocent people will confess and even create details to a crime a confederate falsely claimed witnessing. Dr. Loftus showed leading questions can also create false memories, though often with a delay. She also wrote "there are now no reliable ways to distinguish a true memory from a false one." Dr. Spanos has showed hypnosis only diminishes the already irresistible power of suggestion. The LA Rampart investigation was formed when it sadly became clear LAPD divisions regularly sold drugs, robbed banks, and murdered while convincing some 30,000 innocent people using such "interrogation" techniques to confess. Malcolm Gladwell tells in Blink how no more than 5% of our choices are truly our own. Dr. Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 for his Rule of Small Numbers stating people prefer to make decisions with the least data possible. Numerous Nobel Prize winners have similarly shown how our brains seem optimized for self- destructive decisions. Dr. Herbert Simon says such limited rationality is why we typically rely so heavily on rules of thumb. Dr. Stanley Milgram showed all women (as well as half of men) would
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 7 torture a stranger to death if firmly told to by any authority (the rest going to the brink of murder). Dr. Paul Ekman (basis for TV show Lie to Me) showed that we lie three times every ten minutes for social glue we and how hard we work to miss lies. Ekman counted a lot of lies by omission; others say we overtly lie ten times a day. Dr. Elgin likewise believed people never say what they mean and 80% of products popular in surveys never sell. Then, the MMPI (the grandfather of all personality tests) uses the failure to admit the fear of getting caught is the only thing keeping you from say sneaking into a movie theater without paying as evidence of a lying personality as science has long documented we all know deep down (if honest) what thieves we are. Only a self-deluded sociopath can sincerely claim to be sane, smart, kind, truthful, and without blame (exactly what's required for a person to be a church leader). I would argue the most mentally healthy men I have ever met may be self-aware convicted serial killers and child molesters who grew to recognize they are not safe in public. Mental health is often seen like physical health to be the absence of disease, but it is more about coming to terms with things the way they are (and not an either-or condition); the most disabling disease being the self-hatred we stuff inside. While people suck on their own – they only really get going in groups. Dr. Brodsky in 1976 and Dr. Leymann in 1984 independently showed most all stress is the consequence of "mobbings" that overwhelms victims into helpless, defenseless positions that usually persist continuously over a prolonged period of time. Bullying is but the "hard sale" for a win-lose conclusion based on a position of power (a net zero sum called politics) every parent has done with the words, "Because I said so." Mobbing, in contrast, is about using the mindless masses, I call Zombies, to commit the abuse, leaving the bully's hands clean. Dr. Nicola Bunting also describes people whose personalities are so impoverished and immature they only mouth the thoughts of others as Zombies. She states the popularity of manipulating others is a totally postmodern situation. It turns out the most likely reason you feel bad (whether emotionally or physically) is because of stress and the mostly likely cause of stress is poor treatment by a mob of manipulated Zombies. Dr. Kevin Dutton (2012) argues our society more than ever needs to be far more psychopathic. After all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, and focused. And, such qualities seem to him tailor-made for success in the 21st century. They are over twice as good at reading people's emotions and more importantly, psychopaths never panic. The human interactions that most haunt me with what I should have said or done always include either a small or large panic attack. Consequently, I can understand the advantage. I'm sure you can, too. In a modern world without cobras and lions, our natural fear system is obviously way too sensitive. While a genetic component hint at evolutionary advantages, options to loving callous Alphas also exist in nature. Stanford Neurobiologist Dr. Sapolsky found seemingly human tit-for-tat bullying in a large group of thriving baboons. His baboons, though, changed one day from a violent might-is-right culture to one far more peaceful. What happened? The troop happened across some tainted meat in a garbage dump and since the Alphas got to eat the most, only they died. Without "leaders," the meek inherited control. Dr. Reicher believes identifying with any leader or cause is the surest way to lose your mind. While anti-mobbing laws with an anti-psychopathic intent spread across Europe in the 1990's and in Canada in 2006, there are no such laws being considered in the U.S. Our country's thinking is still manipulated by the iron grip of violent psychopathic baboons. What kind of remorseless person would choose to empty people of their voices to but puppet opinions they often don't even understand? Dr. Martha Stout writes in The Sociopath Next Door one of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma making them more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They're more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, and sexier (although they dislike sex and only use it as a weapon) than everyone else,
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 8 making them hard to identify and very seductive. Harvard's Dr. Howard Garner showed most children score genius level IQ's up to the age of four, but that percentage goes down to 10% as teenagers and 2% for those over 20. While natural and statistical, this also happens due to the discouragement from the mobbing efforts orchestrated by what Drs. Livingston and Rosenthal called Negative Pygmalions and Dr. Satir called False Levelers producing what Dr. Michael Ray calls the Voice of Judgment. For some reason, we turn our eyes from such monsters. Dr. Satir only identified False Levelers as the hardest to spot and with which to deal. Dr. Livingston even wrote in 1992, expressing great surprise over, how he never studied Negative Pygmalions in his career despite knowing full well they were more prevalent and effective than caring individuals. As we ignore the realities of suicide (or sexual abuse), we likewise hide from the known cause. After hearing the stories of my fitful marital relationships, many have suggested that I am a poor picker. But, since psychopaths are far more attractive, my picking is fine. The problem is I don't think a mature adult should believe in monsters (and I attract them). I had convinced myself the occasional odd behavior or statement could not have been real. I am not alone in this affliction. Dr. Robert Hare's 20 question survey is the standard rubric for psychopathy as he is seen as the world's top expert. He wrote a paper showing when people were given random series of letters and asked if they spelled a word that normal people find emotional words like cancer or rape faster than neutral words like tree or plate; but not psychopaths. Astonishingly, his paper was rejected. Dr. Hare had measured EEG brain patterns of the subjects and the journal simply didn't believe the ones for the psychopaths could have been accurate as they showed them in a constant state of lethargic emotional sleep. To suggest monsters are real doesn't seem "adult." Many estimate that 1 in 25 are just such fiends and the DSM-IV states psychopaths, sociopaths, or anti-socials exhibit at least three characteristics of deceitfulness, impulsivity, recklessness, aggression, remorselessness, faithlessness, and never honoring financial obligations. As shown above, however, these describe our base character, what exists beneath any of our own facade. They're simply better at being us. So, we end up worshipping them. All they're really missing is the social connection and motivation to be better, something that's not possible alone. They are but nature's perfect Army of One. They've better learned how to live alone, to even embrace the soul numbing loneliness (if left untreated) of being alive. Our individualistic culture fosters such antisocial behaviors where the ONLY area in which they're not better is in functioning in a team. With so many confirming voices, an alienated father cannot dream of dissuading an anti-social. We love watching sociopathic TV characters like Dexter because they live like we secretly wish we could. They ignore the rules doing whatever they want and don't take any crap from anyone. Plus, they're popular; and, we are taught from birth that popularity is better than all the money. But most importantly, we admire psychopaths because they give us what we want more than anything: they make us feel good with lies. Everyone knows if something feels good, you should do it. Turning over our lives seems like a small price; besides, we don't like making decisions. In fact, the only thing harder than being an adult today is to be a child, defined expressly by how one is not an adult: being without access to information, powerless, and insignificant. Childhood seems little more today than the development of shame and inhabitations by identifying who is not good at academics, sports, or social behaviors. Children are systematically dehumanized with route memorization, lengthy lectures that discourage questions, adults talking for them, and criticism for their "wrong" questions or goals. Worst fact on child treatment is how 85% of foster kids have been sexually abused before entering foster care. Who cares if medical dictionaries define childhood from infancy to puberty, when medical information becomes legal property? So what if Jewish ceremonies traditionally claimed ethical responsibility to happen at puberty when
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 9 Christian Confirmations awarded adult rights including marriage? That the Christian Church of the Middle Ages considered the age of accountability when a person could be tried as an adult and executed to be seven seems archaic. Conventional wisdom is children are but a fragile lot with Martin Luther King's assertion of "a right delayed is a right denied" being only for us adults. The Greeks did not see childhood as any specific category of life. Children of old were afforded no protections from witnessing sexual behaviors, violence, or even death as they were not seen as weak or in need of any discipline. Heck, they were often running their own homes and having children by thirteen. Dr. Aries documented how childhood was of no consequence in medieval time (in Centuries of Childhood, 1962) and Dr. Postman (The Disappearance of Childhood) says such was true up to modern technologies such as the printing press. Psychological immaturity is clinically defined by the absence of real responsibility and yet our world is engineered to restrict accountability for kids. With the resulting rise of monsters, we permit such awful child abuse that LA kids exhibit PTSD more often than Baghdad kids and their parents only act far more childish. Dambisa Moyo's new book "How the West Was Lost" (famous for her "Dead Aid" in which relief efforts were shown to be the actual cause of hunger and violence in Africa) argues the reason efforts to change the world normally fail is because real world egos, nepotism, and codependent relationships are never addressed by wholly shortsighted policy decisions (pretending monsters aren't real). Management gurus have been similarly saying for decades that most organizations are but wholly over-managed and under-led with bureaucratic, arrogant, and uncreative cultures due to delusional quality programs designed to fail. The resulting poorly implemented strategies, ineffective mergers, and costly re-engineering can carry a large personal toll because of the immense impact work and governments have on our identities (Dr. Bruce Hood). If we don't face our love affair with monsters, we are guaranteed to produce only more of the same results. Many people tell me (as they would Christ), "I don't like your tone. Your good points are simply buried in dogmatic arguments. Your dismissive language and over generalizations are hardly stimulating; in fact, they only silence others. You should respect differing opinions more. But no, you have to be right and claim everyone else is wrong, even scholars and preachers. You don't seem to know you can't change anything but yourself. I find myself wondering who hurt you so." If you did say this to Jesus, it would all be true and the answer to the last question would be, of course, yourself as we all have hurt Christ to death. Christ (like I) often also gets to hear, "You mean well, Jesus, but I need an 'adult' relationship." Well, Jesus (and I) came to have an adult relationship but you've forgotten what one looks like. You may feel comparing myself to Christ isn't right. Amy Carmichael said, "If you have never been hurt by a word from God, it is probably you have never heard God speak" and (like Deming or Hosea) I know how it feels to be unseen. “This is the postmodern desert inhabited by people who are, in effect, consuming themselves in the form of images and abstractions through which their desires, sense of identity, and memories are replicated and then sold back to them as products.” Larry McCaffrey (Storming the Reality Studio, 1991, p.6) Instead of adult relationships, a new kind of relationship stalks the land, the chief characteristic of which is the rejection of absolute truth. The battle cry is "What's true for you may not be true for me." The Scientology Super Bowl ad said, "The one thing that's true is what's true for you." We are told we must respect all opinions despite not being scientific, which holds most opinions are but wishful thinking by mindless peacocks (Zombies) or blowing smoke by deceitful weasels (psychopaths). As a result, kids tend to feel more pride for any exercise class than their school.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 10 200 years ago, a wave of dissatisfaction ("the Great Apostasy") with the prevailing concepts of truth swept the U.S. based on improved access to information (printing press). Attempting to reconstruct new doctrines without any basis in fact, however, led to but a variety of novel and pedantic dogma. Joseph Smith was most outrageous by telling everyone to "push the delete button on all the stuff you're arguing about" as it was only part of the world's "corruption" (Dr. Richard Mouw). "Smith was the Henry Ford of revelation as he wanted everyone to have one." (Dr. Kathleen Flake). The American "Great Awakenings" did, however, drive the scientific age (based on access to education), the industrial age (based on opportunity), and the information age (based on access to decision making). Poverty was seen as the by-product of broader flaws in society rather than as but the wages of sin. Economics Nobel Prize winner Dr. Fogel argues we are again passing through a fourth Great Awakening of equality of purpose (based on values and visions) adding to that of knowledge, opportunity, and politics as a fresh relational base for a new Symbiotic Age as the foundation to a New Economy where end-to-end solutions are built on large networks of small companies (already producing over half of all U.S. sales). This will cause significant disruptions in any old social norms that fail to cross ethnic, class, and status boundaries. And so, we are left unable to trust our families (and so experience higher rates of divorce) as well as strangers (and experience higher rates of crime). "Spiritual (or immaterial) inequity is now as great a problem as material inequity, perhaps even greater." (Fogel, 2002) Through all these revolutions, though, we have forgotten how to have a real adult conversation. Brief tweets with fragmented sentences and truncated words leave little room for complex ideas. The Twentieth Century Age of Faith revival (much like the one during the dark ages) attempted to counter the previous Age of Enlightenment by trusting the heart more than the head, prizing feelings more than thinking, and revelation rather than reason as a challenge to the materialistic values of the growing middle class's social "betters." The knowable God-centric worldview that had once encouraged scientific exploration now melted into a distain for logic and reason. In our post-modern world with an infinitude of instant information, it’s gotten hard to think for ourselves. As a college instructor, I was assigned an IBM C Programmer to review the material for my first class and he became quite agitated when an outline for one lecture included an explanation for the idea of Orthogonal Checklists. “Where the Hell did this come from!” He demanded. “There appears to be," I said, "only a single web page supporting this tool” With smart-ass rebuttals readily available from any smart phone, it is much safer today to state our beliefs with “you can’t trust science, common sense is a far better source of wisdom.” It doesn’t matter that any freshman psychology text includes a chapter on the limitations of intuition. We’ve all been raised on such wishful thinking so that rational thinking has become socially unacceptable. It’s much like trying to base any social solution on the reality of poor character intrinsic to humans. “I believe that there are no innate, intrinsic differences among a human being, a baboon, or a grain of sand.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (The Essential Holmes, 1992, p. 108) Do I just not like people? The only way I can like people is to assume the problems are with me – leaving me a codependent, overworked, depressed neurotic toiling to help; and two thirds of us are exactly such dissociated neurotics (half even clinically so) with doctor visits, aging, and employee absenteeism (in the extreme, even autism) being most often the result of but neurotic stress. But, not liking people would create a disconnected persecuted personality at high risk for addictions and reckless behavior as an emotional vampire; and a third of us prefer jobs allowing the control of others in counseling, teaching, law enforcement, religion, and middle management (with half clinically so disordered). Drs. Brodsky and Leymann have long shown such disordered bullies are the primary cause of absenteeism and health problems (in schools and workplaces).
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 11 Why are there basically only two choices: neurotic or disordered? Being raised on Entity Theory concepts (like believing in a pagan spiritual war or yin and yang) left us with only the options of seeing the problem in our "bad" selves to still love them or to blame others (bad manipulative or weak people) in order to love ourselves. No matter how we define Hell, we all know somebody belongs there. And, no people like to blame and polarize more than Americans: we have only 4% of the world's population but 25% of its prisoners. But, failing to separate the problems from individuals, we end up seeing people only in terms of being disobedient, cruel, lazy, embarrassing, or just looking for attention instead of in more useful environmental terms of whether the required effort is simply too hard, too stressful, or merely about needing some help. Plus, we relentlessly choose to deny our effects on others. ALL emotional problems are partially brought on by unhealthy environments. But, no matter how much we claim to love others (like our children), we never admit to our involvement (all the while making speeches to them about taking more personal responsibility). And so, the unknown effects of harsh untested drugs are always preferred over any family therapy that might include parental issues in the discussion (certainly over Multi-Systemic Therapy with its inclusion of counselor competency issues, LOL). Despite all the evidence suggesting the quality and fit of our environments trumps any genetics (Dr. Phelps, 2005), Americans refuse to consider anything but a fate from birth. It doesn’t matter that "the Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance (2006) makes a rather startling assertion: the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers 'whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming' are nearly always made, not born." (Drs. Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner, from The New York Times Magazine, authors of Freakonomics). Dr. Bruer states in The Myth of the First Three Years how no early stimulation can do better than later encouragement and deep practice with effective feedback in overcoming any birth deformity or home life. Using instead the idea of just “smart” or not, seven of ten employees are neither motivated nor competent to perform the basic tasks of their job. Malcolm Gladwell tells in Outliers: the Story of Success how today only lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages are the real source of most successes. He tells of Dr. Barnsley finding how the best hockey players are five times more likely born in January than November, baseball players are almost twice as likely born in August than July, and soccer players are most likely born in September (now January), due to the arbitrary age cut offs done in the respective kid's leagues. Why is this? Young children born just after the cut off age are quite logically larger than those born just before and so perform better. Kids bigger from being older are called "naturally gifted" and receive the most encouragement and training, what is in reality key for any success. But, we completely reject any possibility that this might be true as doing so would open the door for facing the reality we must likewise take responsibility for creating "stories of failure" as well. Dr. Donald E. Simanek wrote in 1995, "I feel we'll never make progress toward reversing the decline in academic achievement until we purge the schools of the scourge of sports." Studies have reported higher rates of substance use among males involved in male-dominated sports (Drs. Eitle and Turner, 2003: The deterrence hypothesis reexamined: Sports participation and substance use among young adults; Drs. Moore and Werch, 2005: Sport and physical activity participation and substance use among adolescents). Moreover, economists at the University of Oregon in 2011 showed when a college football team is successful; all students (and not just the athletes) put down their books and pick up some beers. "Our results support the concern that big-time sports are a threat to American higher education," wrote the paper's authors, Drs. Jason M. Lindo, Isaac D. Swensen and Glen R. Waddell. They said their work was among the first to take a look at the "nonmonetary costs" of college sports. After statistically tying student
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 12 GPAs to team successes, a follow-up survey additionally confirmed that both male and female students were more likely to skip classes and party in the wake of a win as compared to a loss. "Conditional sports scholarships based on athletic performance (presently awarded on a year- to-year basis in NCAA Division 1 colleges) may imply that access to education depends more on athletic rather than academic performance. Such scholarships may also suggest that sports receive too much emphasis in college." (Neil Laughlin, Journal of College and Character, v4i7, 2003) High non-graduation rates of college athletes is especially distasteful to those who think the mission of colleges should be the intellectual and moral development of students and raises concerns related to the exploitation of athletes. Plus, the national Threat Assessment Group (or TAG) report on Columbine showed the number one antecedent for Columbine like violence is a school whose heroes are athletes instead of academics (whose trophy case should be filled with math, engineering, and chess awards). I like to compare sports to sex; participation is good but only the most perverse need to watch (ha ha). But, why do we need athletic heroes? Why do we need heroes in general? I don’t mean mythical stories of hope, but golden pedestals for a few? When my youngest son was studying the differences between various dragon myths, I told him I thought the similarities were more interesting. All dragons steal: German dragons hoarded gold, Iranian dragons horded water, and Japanese dragons horded knowledge. Why isn't this taught? I asked my son if he knew how a dragon could be blamed for failing farmland to get the farmer off the hook. He answered using dragon spit for English dragons. I then asked him whose job it was to "solve" any dragon problem; the farmer? No, it's the knight's job. In this way, the farmer's natural laziness to not work in the farthest field is never exposed and everyone is happy. This is exactly why we are still so passionate about identifying the "dragons" (bad people) and "white knights" (super heroes) – it removes any need for us to be personally responsible for anything. If we are going to universally refuse to accept any responsibility for our children's actions, clearly we're not going to admit to any social responsibility for hunger, violence, depression, or lack of awareness in others. For one thing, doing so would lead to accepting blame for our own failures as well. And so, I think we can all agree stories of unfair Murphy's Law are far more entertaining. In Shakespeare's Richard the III, Lady Anne has every reason to hate Richard. He murdered her father-in-law and her husband and helped to kill her father. And yet, she marries him. Her transformation provides Richard his first real success, and he is elated by it. Why does Anne capitulate? She tells us she had grown grossly captive to his honeyed flattery. There is no force. Anne is unable to maintain her strong rejection. Richard also plots to kill Clarence for the crown. When the assassins arrive at the prison where Clarence is held, they present their pass to the head officer, Brackenbury. He is faced with a choice: Should he let the murderers in to kill Clarence or not? He says, as he reads over the commission, “I will not reason what is meant hereby, because I will be guiltless of the meaning.” Brackenbury may think this evasion makes him innocent; quite clearly it does not. Richard’s successful climb to power in this play is not simply a tribute to his own skill; it is also a manifestation of the moral weaknesses of others. Richard’s success depends upon the refusal of others to stand up and see him for what he is. Providing Richard this "gift" allows others to similarly refuse to see themselves honestly either. My third wife and I went through pre-marital counseling through our church in which she was deemed an unfit mother and the counselor beseeched my pastor to break us up. Neither he nor I would listen to this excellent advice. How could anyone fail counseling? I would suggest it was done intentionally as a way of saying, "I can say or do anything without consequences." Our gift of giving her the benefit of doubt allowed us to avoid seeing our own involvement. Moriarty in
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 13 the second season's concluding episode of the new Sherlock series says the same thing when he intentionally gets arrested and mounts no defense. Psychopaths succeed in this world due to the guaranteed moral complicity of all involved. We're all either Lady Anne or Sir Brackenbury. I will describe four married men to you. The first admitted to Dr. Frank Farley (past president of the American Psychological Association) to having hundreds of affairs before 40 and then joked how he had tried to cut down. The second only had affairs with powerful women (sharing with his brother), emotionally breaking them to the point one committed suicide. The third guy liked to sleep with weak, poor women and was so flattering he managed to seduce 5 or 6 women into his bed every night (Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is quoted to having personally reviewed the extensive documentation in both the Williams and Abernathy autobiographies). The final man beat his wife and children and after turning 30 only slept with teenage girls. He doggedly lied about such crude behavior despite confirmation from photos and his closest aid. All of these men are widely loved and respected (and their wives stayed married to them). So, they are not the problem we are, as is the basis and process we use to develop our opinions. While being a sexual predator is a characteristic of the sociopathic lack of empathy, we routinely excuse such men (and similar "spider" women) for their indiscretions and low morals. So, which of the fore-mentioned sexaholics do you think would make the best role model for your children? Perhaps, their names will help you choose: President Clinton, President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Gandhi. Despite all your life experiences, I bet your "picker" is no better than mine. Dr. Ghaemi asserts in his latest book, A First-Rate Madness (2011), that mental illness and a self-destructive manic daring makes people more attractive to us as leaders. Churchill made frequent references to his manic depression (he called it his "black dog") that were sometimes connected with traumatic external events such as his dismissal from the Admiralty, but often not. In times of great stress, crazies can be helpful by being good at recognizing loonies. Bi- polar Churchill saved the world by recognizing and being willing to confront Hitler's monstrosity. Dr. Anthony Storr wrote, "A leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished." The incurably depressed (like Lincoln) often exhibit characteristics of great empathy, creativity, and stark realism which can be useful in identifying and confronting the paranoia and impulsiveness of psychopaths (exacerbated in Hitler by massive doses of methamphetamine). Such a task should not be taken lightly for any empath (now, I don't mean someone capable of psychic connections to ETs, but someone who excessively feels emotions, the opposite of a psychopath as measured by Hare's Checklist). First, the psychopath is smart and organized. Then, other monster personalities will be attracted to you due to your excessive emotions with the hopes of controlling you (as psychopathic manipulation has been linked to empathy) as well as seeing the control of your emotions as fit replacement for having any of their own. Finally, the world of other Zombies will likely take their side; a University of North Carolina study found rude sociopaths are three times more likely to be promoted. So, NEVER take them on by yourself. Chronic anxiety helps one identify anger in others and severe despondency (even if forced) can contribute to increased attentiveness and enhanced problem-solving. Great fear and sadness have been seen as advantageous in every society. While even under the most trying conditions, a psychopath will never worry about, for example, leaving the gas on or experience the pain of creation (nor consider either of any value). A psychopath doesn't see clouds, only silver linings. They also have no ego problems. They can easily make themselves small by being the cripple or the freak so that others will underestimate them. "If there's one thing that psychopaths have in common, it's the consummate ability to pass themselves off as normal everyday folk while
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 14 behind the facade -- the brutal, brilliant disguise -- beats the refrigerated heart of a ruthless, glacial predator." (Dr. Kevin Dutton, 2012) You might hire or partner with one, but you can never trust or turn your back on one. They're powerfully wild animals that can never be domesticated. "Great and good are seldom the same man." Winston Churchill What type of person can get us to gleefully surrender our money, relationships, and happiness? Dr. Ted Bililies and Dr. William Bridges say they're STJs on the Myers-Briggs personality test. Half of our presidents have been STJs. (Please Understand Me I and II by Drs. Keirsey and Bates). Why shouldn't we put practical, tough-minded, commanding people in charge? "Striving for efficiency, [STJs] may produce a work force full of hostility, stress, and absenteeism." (Dr. Otto Krueger, Type Talk at Work, 1991) "Creativity gets killed much more often than supported." (Dr. Amabile, 1999) In fact, Dr. Gough showed (1981) there's no one with less creativity. But, we seem to prefer rigid and boring leaders who over-manage and under-lead, producing arrogant and bureaucratic cultures designed to reinforce the status quo and foil any touchy-feely types. The movies about "heroic" teachers (such as Marva Collins, Ron Clark, David McNulty), are all sort of lies as those teachers would never have been so successful without the help of others not shown. In 1987, 26% of all Mexican American students who passed the AP Calculus exams attended Garfield High School. The 1989 movie Stand and Deliver about Dr. Escalante never tells how he lied (he told students school rules forbade them from dropping out and he told their parents law required him to call immigration if their kids didn't attend school) or how his fellow teachers routinely sent him hate mail. It also never mentions the critically needed expertise of the principal and school counselor. After the movie came out, many involved were reassigned and Jaime fired. The number of AP students fell from 450 in 1987 to just 4. The nine teachers and two aids Escalante hired were all fired or forced to quit. In response to their complaints as they were leaving, the incoming principal said, "They're just disgruntled former employees, such backbiting only hurts the kids." John Perex, VP of the Teachers Union, told the press (1990), "Jaime didn't get along with some of the teachers at his school." Jay Mathews, Washington Post columnist and author of The Best Teacher in America asked, "What's up with a system that values working with others more highly than effectiveness?" Joe Williams, Executive Director of the Democrats for Education Reform, wrote "I don't understand why parents are not lighting fires and hurling rocks every night through the Mayor's windows. I'm not joking – it's astonishing." The parents, though, only went back to yelling at their children. Just as disheartened Christians start a new church rather than fix the old one, we also prefer to just move on. "We can produce many examples of how educational practice could look different, but we can produce few, if any, examples of teachers engaging in these practices" (Elmore, 1995). "People still believe in the tradition of dedicated, self-sacrificing school teachers. They don't know how the profession has changed. What was once the poor man's burden has become everyone's." (Marva Collins) Why do we keep allowing this to happen? We see ourselves as but famers in need of a White Knight. We feel weak and think we can't make a difference and so give up and blame others. Or worse, we give up, blame ourselves, and think up ways to remove ourselves from the world. George Mckenna turned around one of the worst schools in LA as principal (1986), but 122 of his 142 teachers quit and the remaining 20 still complain today about the work load. McKenna was discouraged after sharing his ideas at a 1983 White House conference on school violence, "The President's people wanted to crack down on kids, but I'd rather crack down on the system." The Flower Wars was a ritualized warfare between the Aztecs and their enemies to meet the need for war captives for use in sacrificial rituals as an agreed way to reduce the population
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 15 during times of famine as well as provide social structure (political power for the ruling class, social mobility for the lower classes, and coercion for social norms). The Aztec warriors were trained to prefer capturing their enemies in battle over killing them and were quite shocked by the opposite behavior exhibited the Spanish Conquistadores. Our own Flower Wars between expert bully and victim are likewise designed to never end (and both are more likely to choose suicide). To do so, we must give up our heroes and villains and see the world with a relational worldview. Gandhi identified the basic principle of power by showing "even the most despotic bureaucracy cannot stand except for the consent of the governed" (1945) even though as Gene Sharp said, "you get a bloody mess when people stand up and want change." (2012) Suicidal feelings (free from Confirmation Bias) can encourage a rebellion against such mobbed tyranny. Elijah (Hebrew) or Elias (Greek) is a name evoked in many Jewish customs as a generic term for prophets who are or will be an "opening act" for some greater revelation (just as Washington has come to refer to a government which the man "opened"). Typically, prophets were nearly all ignored and persecuted while at the same time preparing us (just like great artists). Such judges were different from "kings" (who created a world where death and taxes are assumed). A lot of Christians claim to have the "gift" of encouragement, but most remind me of the Peanuts comic strips in which Linus and Charlie Brown are all bundled up on a snowy, wintry day. They spot Snoopy shivering in the cold. Desiring to comfort him, they walk over to him. Linus speaks first, "Be of good cheer, Snoopy." Charlie Brown adds, "Yes, be of good cheer." With Snoopy left still shivering, they turn and walk away. Proper encouragement carries us beyond words to deeds. Depression is not typically an illness needing cured; more often it is life that needs putting right. Dr. Limentani (1984) stresses even the worst perversions are not illnesses, but just symptoms. Real help is not back patting, casserole making, or magical thinking, but about a practical step- by-step plan to provide the escape God promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13. To live for ideas and not the underlying ideals leaves us with what Maslow called a Mediocrity Personality Disorder. I believe we are all called to a universal Elijah-hood to "open" a future of revolutionary openness. I also believe our thoughts of suicide, of self-denial, are healthy... IF we can survive them, open our eyes to our lying egos, and join together to experience life in ways we simply can't alone. Many psychologists argue there are feelings that can only be experienced as a group, called inter- and intra-group feelings. They are most notable when in contradiction to personal feelings. Many people feel shame for what their country has done or sympathy for what's been done to some segment even though they aren't a member of that group (Mackie, Devos, Smith, 1993). Adults with more experience and knowledge will ordinarily have a more "structured" worldview than children; this disparity typically produces chronic misunderstandings where children are then seen as "difficult" and adults are seen as "out of touch." The resulting relational (and not individual) Borderline pathology (worsened from Entity Theory conflicts and a need to blame) is often marked by paranoia, impulsivity, rejection sensitivity, as well as a sense of invincibility in all family members that become the primary hindrance to any individual growth. This is naturally a key issue at home or school. Even so, simply seeing problems merely as the result of unmet or disrupted developmental needs using mirroring and idealizing can very effectively provide an empathetic unifying framework as a basis for healing and performance strategies. While there is no therapy that can "cure" an individual's Borderline pathology, these efforts can in fact literally cure the organizational pathology. True communal wellness is possible while individual health is not. Perception discrepancies are the key hurdle that unique group qualities can overcome. The problem is we insist on only addressing problems individually (which are mostly unaddressable). Drs. Cloud and Townsend ( showed in "How People Grow" the notions of think it and do it or remember and get over it have limited value as only relational efforts work. A
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 16 friend recently claimed the proof of his daughter's bi-polar condition was that she had been in therapy for decades. Forget the old joke of insanity being defined by doing the same thing over and over expecting difference results and imagine what it might've taken for him to instead say WE'VE been in therapy for decades (say, with Behavioral Family Systems Therapy, BFST). And yet, few attempts have been made to empirically study the outcomes of family, couple, or group psychotherapy integration. Why? I would assume there is sadly a small market for such efforts. Other group pathologies include St John's Syndrome, when parents only go through the routine motions and children merely see other family members as a means to an end; Koinonitis, when interpersonal relationships are so deep and absorbing that the family largely ignores the world around them and activities tend to be centripetal rather than centrifugal; Schizophrenic (best met with better time management and working on a mission definition) or common paranoia (when external intervention efforts will likely have antagonistic responses); and, Narcissistic, Megalomaniacal, and Theomanic (see The Paranoid Corporation by Cohen and Choen, 1993). The Organizational Effectiveness Continuum is a rubric from Ineffective to Effective rating family performance as either Reactive (challenges are met with efforts that are always struggling to keep up), Responsive (a more stable environment, but not a dynamic one), Proactive (with an analytical process that is good at anticipating changing needs and good at adapting), Interactive (more visionary where the family works as a whole, are healthy, and work on connectedness), or Inspired (with great creativity, habitually exceed all environmental and genetic constraints or conditioning). Any family not able to perceive its own pathology will naturally destroy itself (by refusing to notice feelings of inadequacy and projecting blame instrumentally everywhere) as health starts with consciousness (or Serge's "presence"). It is vital to determine if any current solutions have been coerced as attempts to just cover up problems and work to untwist thinking (Dr. Burns *). Fishbowl Exercises use three chairs (or groups of chairs) for Parent(s), Child(ren), and Friends (or therapist). Each person (or group) will explain their position. Then everyone switches chairs and positions (twice). Don't focus on the past or present, work on any "issues," suggest changing other's personalities, or heal anyone's anxiety or dysfunction. Instead, focus on the future by clarifying core values, setting personally meaningful goals, and encouraging efforts (aka tools and structures) for family members to accomplish more tasks on their own. After trying unsuccessfully to cure alcoholism by means of psychoanalysis, Dr. Jung concluded alcoholism could not be treated by either medical or psychodynamic techniques. He reasoned the underlying problem was spiritual emptiness and wrote in a letter to Bill Wilson (AA founder), "I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition, if it is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil." Or, quality relationships are everything. The first two steps of the AA 12-step program is much like the 3-step suicide plan of facing life's most basic truth: "My life is unmanageable and I am powerless." Getting past the normal step of self-destruction is to admit there is no logical way to live, another suicide of sorts. Dr. Pittman (1989) believed the only hope for philanderers, being driven mostly by fears of being controlled, was in fact surrendering control to someone else, an ideal, or a "higher power;" finding faith in a higher power, your family, or a "gang" of people with similar values (and not common interests). Comic Sarah Millican earned her millions as a sort of self-therapy of insulting her ex-husband after his leaving resulted in her losing everything. Research shows people feel better if they are able to retaliate against the person who injured them, provided they do not do so excessively (and feel guilty) or fear reprisal (and feel anxious) – and attacking a substitute (like a pillow) or
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 17 venting in therapy clearly isn't the same (Bushman et alia, 1999). The most important thing to do is simply to say "I see you" to the offending person as well as to others. Resentment is said to be like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Moreover, the opposite of love is not hate but apathy. Millican "woofs" with her audience (more on woofing later) but the same can be done with friends. We are told such efforts to insult our exes should be restrained while in reality they should instead be ridiculously excessive. In the end, there are many options other than just becoming either but a hermit or an anonymous stain at the base of some tall building. If someone is sufficiently irritating for long enough, any of us can be driven to revenge. We've all had a cruel parent, teacher, or employer that made us feel this way. Dr. R.W. Fogel won the Noble Prize in Economics in 1993 for demonstrating employers throughout history have treated people even worse than slaves. Alas, we've been rigorously "schooled" to believe we should only thank our parents, our teachers, and our employers. We're always told that adults know everything, but we find they don't even know (and don't want to) the difference between faking and actually feeling something, so we grow suspicious. The natural result is to be left with the desire to hurt someone – but not know who or why. Even if we de-school ourselves to recognize our primary tormentor but the person has the poor manners to die before we can get even, we could end up needing to hurt someone who perhaps just looks like the person (such as all men). If we manage to face that everyone treats us poorly, there really aren't a lot of options. And, no matter how we feel about a sunset from the Grand Canyon's base, snorkeling off Fiji, the view of Rio from Corcovado Mountain, or walking among the albatross population on Midway Island (where the only footprints are your own), life can be damn cruel without any help from people. Stephen Falken in the 1983 movie War Games suggested the destruction of the human race is inevitable as his excuse to just give up. Suicide says none of it and none of you are worth living for; nothing is better at saying "I hate you all." On the other hand, we could instead go shopping. And then later, kill ourselves and leave the payments to someone else – that might be better. No, better would be facing our own ability to do evil. Miangileo tells about coming to terms with a childhood rape, "When reading Terrance Afar's (ex-roman slave turned poet) line 'nothing that is human is foreign to me,' I realized that I was my rapist. I realized that there was no emotion that he had that I didn't have, there was no act he had done that I couldn't potentially do, and there was no lose of awareness of others that I could not have fallen into." Hermann Hesse wrote: "If you hate a person, you hate something in him or her that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us." Penny Coleman, author of Flashback: PTSD, Suicide, and the Lessons of War and a Vietnam veteran suicide window, calls suicide "the most secret death because no one wants to talk about it" and says the despair, neglect, and poverty motivating most veteran suicides is similar to that of terrorist bombers. Getting more serious about how low and weak we are allows us to be more light and inspirational. Emerson said "I have taught one doctrine, namely, the infinitude of the private man." Trusting oneself means more than being self-centered. It implies trusting somehow we have an innate wisdom which is a projection of the inner light of God within, and that every person has such wisdom, although unfortunately few make access to it. To believe in ourselves and our deep capacity to understand and recognize truths is to believe in every self, even though we have no access to any other self besides us. Such belief in every self, given sufficient encouragement and coaching, starts with feeding us. Trust, it is said, must be "earned." If, however, I hit a rabid dog repeatedly with a stick and then give him my hand, should I talk disparagingly of it when it bites me? Was not the dog (antisocial) honest and true to its nature and only me the one who needed to "earn" an improvement in the relationship? If I gain enough understanding, I can learn to trust all. Does not love operate in the
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 18 same way, in that there is nothing we can do to improve our worthiness to be loved, only in our capacity to love others? If I gain enough understanding, I can also learn to love all. What might be the cost of failing to learn this? Automotive engineers have long agreed that GM has had to employ ten times as many people to make about the same number of cars as Toyota that are, sadly, less reliable both from focusing more on reliability of parts rather than the whole car and from using strict fixed controls rather than human trust to sustain long-term worker relationships. To believe in our "infinitude" after facing our uselessness allows us to do the same for others as well as to also allow others the privilege to believe in our potential even after honestly seeing us. And so, there are some things you should consider before you go a) Doing stuff you should have done but failed to properly prioritize – to go with no regrets. The world's greatest liars are those who claim they have lived a life without any regrets. b) How do you know there is absolutely no way to get over the pain you are experiencing? Perhaps your time would be better spent researching the ways to reduce your pain. c) How do feel about being remembered as a coward? Suicides are never remembered in a positive way. Kids hate parents who do it and those you owe something will curse you. d) How would you feel if a friend or family member upon hearing the news of your death killed themselves? I knew a women whose son killed himself a week after her boyfriend. e) Many suggest it is important to get your affairs in order and to get a will prepared – but, I say screw 'em! Most people never tell anyone about what they're about to do due to the fear of being judged. Ironic since people usually kill themselves for others. If being talked out of suicide is a fear, there are reasons for talking with someone about your doubts. f) Maybe, you should consider the Three Day Rule (or the One Month Rule). Most suicides are impulsive in-the-moment decisions. It's not poverty, incarceration, or being alone but rather immediate loss that hits so hard. Most suicides occur within 30 days of a loss and people prevented from killing themselves during that time typically change their minds. g) While waiting, consider having a conversation with someone who is fatally ill about how desperately they want to live. They might possibly tell you they've thought about suicide as well as about the important joys they've had while literally fighting daily for their lives. h) The vast majority of suicide attempts fail, after which you are likely to experience a wide range of permanent health problems (including brain damage). You are additionally likely to be institutionalized (for at least for 3 days) with a bunch of court order sessions with a wholly incompetent therapist (that exceedingly poor opinion of therapists is held by every clinical psychology researcher) with a permanent record of mental instability. What fun! i) God has a plan for your life – how are you going to feel about having to face Him and admit to not only wholly failing at it but giving up before even making the slightest effort? Now, it's time to write. I wish I had parting words from my father – or better, something from him before the cancer (it changed him). Even more, I wish I had parting words from my kids. They've told me how they don't think about me and the ways I fail to measure up but never about their actual ideals. In the early Christian days, it was common at death (as it was required to get into heaven) to admit to all the really bad stuff you've done as well as your lingering secrets (very embarrassing I would assume for any partners in crime without the sense to die before you and your big mouth). The only documents remaining about the life of Saint Patrick are two letters he wrote himself. One is a letter sent as defense in his ex-communication trial (what??) and the other is just such a final confessional. I have the opinion such an effort should be undertaken every decade. You'll want people to get the story straight and the suicide note is how to do it. A list of what's wrong with your life helps prioritize what needs to be changed, if that's an option.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 19 In "Why People Die by Suicide," Dr. Thomas Joiner says those who kill themselves not only want to die (due to feeling a burden and not belonging); they have learned to overcome the instinct for self-preservation. "Some people think those who commit suicide are weak, but you cannot do it unless you are fearless." Scare campaigns targeted at teenagers do not work as they further habituate the at-risk individual to the idea of suicide, making suicide more likely. He reminds us to go on living we need to feel we belong to someone and are effective. Teachers often tell me students don't come to class with the social identity required to be motivated to learn. I believe such a goal should be the primary goal of Social Studies class. When I asked my youngest son to explain the goals of his school subjects, it was easy for every class but Social Studies for which he said "I don't see any pattern in what they make me learn." Nevertheless, no teacher should be allowed to ignore the importance of building students' feelings of belonging and being effective. I mean, every drafting instructor I've known claims to always need to start with fractions (despite that this should've been taught in 3rd Grade) and about one in five friends say they only received formal English schooling in a foreign language class (it's hard to teach a second language to kids that don't have a first one yet). No teacher should ever be allowed to get away with claiming students are unprepared. Just fix it! Plus, Dr. Joiner's findings raise the critical question: in what ways do we cause people to feel ostracized, made numb, and fruitless? What would happen if we came to realize we are the cause of sadness in others? For example, as an isolated teacher in a school using a suicide program in which a teenager kills themselves, what happens when we become numb and fruitless? Do we insist on change or just go along? The zombie next door When Dr. Martha Stout writes about the antisocial next door, she doesn't do credit to their many Zombies. You yourself are likely a Zombie as studies show over 90% of us exhibit the key signs and admit to participating in a mob. The first sign is the inability to have an original thought or to listen to anything new. The second sign is that the lies told by those four men I described sound better than the truth. By telling you what you want to hear, you end up idolizing them. You have, haven't you? The problem with all current boundaries and verbal judo books is they provide the awful suggestion that you consider taking on an antisocial or a mob of zombies alone. I believe the key identifier (for either them or you) is a trail of destroyed lives left behind (like mine). This is never easy to indentify because the goal of any abused person (it is easier to notice alcohol or drug abuse than person abuse, but it works the same way) becomes, "I must be invisible." The most attractive careers to those whose only enjoyment is the control of others turns out to be counseling (Dr. Golomb, 1995), K-12 teaching, law enforcement, and religious leadership. While the FBI had a personality test designed to eliminate such applicants when it was founded a century ago, it doesn't do so today. Introduction to psychology texts written in the past decade typically describe therapists as inept even predatory loose cannons, juveniles from Neverland wanting to sit at the adult table but without having to grow up (and with no empathy for people). Drs. Hillman, Ellis, and Burns claim therapists do little more than "patronize, dehumanize, and pathologize" clients with cookie cutter psychobabble naturally identifying many false positives to isolate the therapist from real work and responsibility. Dr. Schnarch says therapists only leave you "convinced you're as screwed up as you feared" reworking real world external problems into fictitious internal ones. Even back in 1951 Dr. Durkheim contended the key suicide issues were just such prolonged blame and social isolation that caused deep feelings of helplessness, which ironically is exactly most people's reaction to statements of suicidal feelings. Dr. Eysenck (1992) says the stats show psychotherapy even promotes more cancer and heart disease than health.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 20 The authors of a May 2010 article in Psychological Medicine entitled, "Cognitive behavioral therapy for the major psychiatric disorder: does it really work?" established no trial employing both blinding and psychological placebo has ever found CBT to be effective. The problem is that CBT focuses on reducing the required training for the therapist, whose role is reduced to but training clients in a few "self-help" introspection techniques (long shown to be unreliable and providing only subjective gains). All popular therapy models have had the same support issues. Modern statistics texts use Neuro-linguistic programming to epitomize pseudoscience. And yet, practitioners continue to make wild claims for its effectiveness. It is claimed in NLP that you can far more easily build rapport with others by syncing with their preferred use of predicates in their speech. Examples are: "I can't put my finger on the problem; let's explore it deeper!" "I hear you loud and clear; that sounds like a great idea!" "I can't see what you're saying; show me how you did it!" "This plan smells." Studies by at least 68 groups last century, however, have shown the use of predicates provides no such influence and they do not seem to play any significant role in communication. Open debate is a principal tenet that separates science from wishful thinking. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Creation Science unsuitable for schools not because it may be wrong but because its community did not subject itself to objective review. Alas, this is the same situation today in the practice of psychology (as stated by all clinical researchers). For instance, Multisystemic Therapy was developed in the 70's after all existing therapy models were shown invalid. Despite every study since showing it is effective (Dr. Elliot, 1998), it is rarely used today. Why? One of its 9 principals is that any competent therapist should be able to affect changes in any patient within a six week period and failure to do so requires formal tiger team intervention. It is also similarly "unfriendly" to teachers and parents. Counselors will support Family Therapy as it removes the therapist accountability but it is naturally rejected by parents and teachers. No matter how much we claim to love and care for others, we by and large love ourselves more. Drs. Horwitz and Wakefield opens The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorders by pointing out ours is the "age of abnormal depression," an age where natural responses to social circumstances are now seen as but psychiatric disorders requiring professional treatment. What was once viewed as a natural reaction to failed hopes and aspirations, it now regarded as an illness. By 1997, fully 40% of all psychotherapy patients, double the percentage a decade before, had diagnoses of some sort of mood disorder with the use Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and Effexor tripling from 1988 to 2000 (costs have increased 600%). Dr. Lilienfeld wrote in Perspective on Psychological Science (March 2007, pp 53-70) how grief counseling and therapy sadly harms clients in "significant numbers" into experiencing worse outcomes than if their clients had instead been alone without "help." He emphasized such issues with potentially harmful therapies without any empirical support attracts little attention in the industry. Dr. Parrish found (2010) that those with doctoral degrees weren't much better than social workers with master's degree in doing downright poorly on the Evidence-Base Practice Assessment Scale. Alas, it would seem moving through a normal grief process to health and resolution is best done without "professional" help. Dr. Neimeyer (2000 and 2006), like Hillman (1994), found grief therapy for individuals without normal grief reactions, especially bereaving parents and victims of violence, could easily result in normal bereavement turning pathological. Dr. Carole Wade tells the harsh truth in Teaching Critical Thinking in Psychology, 2008 (Chp. 2), "In the past two decades, an ominous development has taken place; increasingly, psychobabble has been infiltrating the professional field of psychology itself. People with PhDs are making unsubstantiated and sometimes ludicrous claims that can affect people's lives. This is the result of a worrying trend: the split in the training, methods, and attitudes of scientific psychologists and a growing number of mental-health practitioners (Beutler, 2000; Lilienfeld, Lynn, & Lohr,
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 21 2003). As a result of this trend, a growing number of practitioners have little appreciation for the importance of empirical evidence. Indeed, one survey of 400 clinicians conducted in the 1990's found that the great majority paid little attention to empirical research, stating that they gained their most useful information from clinical work with clients (Elliott & Morrow-Bradley, 1994). As a result, the scientist-practitioner model has been giving way to the scientist-practitioner gap." What are the consequences of therapists being increasingly inept and actually harmful to their clients? The Occupational Outlook Handbook says the number of Mental Health Counselors is expected to grow by 37% over the next decade. Thus, it turns out, not only are there no actual consequences for being incompetent, people actually prefer the inept. No surprise as we were raised by teachers who blamed us, too. There are three types of worldviews: those tightly tied to reality, those loosely tied to reality, and those which are just wishful thinking by peacocks or blowing smoke by weasels. These fictitious worldviews are often called Alternate Worldviews. And, the fastest growing types of medicine and therapies today are "alternate" treatments (for which if there were any rational support, they would instead be called mainstream). It turns out the worst advice for someone experiencing great depression is to recommend they get help. But, this is as it should be with counselors only providing the service requested. Patients do not seek therapy in times of strength and feeling empowered, ready for great life changes; people seek the guidance of counseling when their usual risk-avoiding ways are just not paying off and they're unhappy. While the individual often starts the conversation insisting on being ready for change, far more often than not the hope is simply that the therapist will help them feel better. Not surprising then, the solution is usually prescription happy pills and positive thinking training. In 1951, Dr. Powers and Dr. Witmer formed a study based on the belief that most all troubled kids could be helped. Starting with 630 delinquent boys (why no girls?), half were counseled and sent to YMCA afterschool programs and half were sent home. After 5 years, the therapists reported most of the boys had "benefited substantially." Most all the so "schooled" boys (Dr. Illich argued in 1970 kids are today "schooled" to accept effort in place of value) agreed stating therapy gave them insights and the YMCA kept them out of trouble. Everyone involved was "happy." And, that's good - right? Well, no. A 1981 study found the "helped" boys committed twice the felonies and were doubly affected by alcoholism, depression, mental illness, and lower job satisfaction than those left alone (see The Crying Game by Dr. Richard Bolstad, 2004). When Powers and Witner were shown the results of the study, they insisted the "helped" boys were better off in some way even if it wasn't measurable (as it turned out facing facts was just too uncomfortable). It seems a "happy" therapist can not only be of no help but can even make your problems worse if not permanent (being less than nothing, making nothing something). The desire to be right is often belittled as an egotistical mental aberration, typically partnered with a marketing statement for happiness such as "I would rather be happy than right." I like to respond with congratulations on how happy the speaker must be about being wrong (ha ha). On the other hand, I am surprised how often people need to be "right" about, say, who was the best drummer or what is the best color. Drs. Powers and Witmer said they would prefer to be happy pretending they helped young boys while actually being a horrifically destructive force. Making the effort required for actually being "right" about being helpful simply didn't make them happy. I've been most successful in explaining the destructive power of the pursuit of happiness (for therapist or the patient) to people by likening it to a business plan. We can all easily understand how the best way for a business to fail is for it to have a formal mission statement stating they intend to make the most money, mostly for the executives, by charging the most and paying the least. Happiness, like financial success, can only be the fruit of any endeavor. Nevertheless,
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 22 people incorrectly focus on the symptom (their unhappiness) and not the problem (their lack of true value – or, being right). Happiness is a dangerous idea virus that's incredibly contagious. Narcissism occurs as a normal defensive reaction to being overindulged while at the same time being treated with abuse or neglect. It only takes a single parent who is unable to express the truth, offers excessive praise, and is emotionally distant to guarantee a teenager of developing just such a personality disorder (often reinforced by teachers and other advisors). Insufficient sleep (less than 9-10 hours), especially common among teenagers today, has been shown to further encourage this process. The child forms a false sense of self to help avoid depression, abandonment, and the all-encompassing shame. In a permanent state of disillusion concerning those around them, such a twisted child constructs a world view where others are judged only on their worth and they rarely reciprocate attention for those deemed not worth his or her time. This form of denial and rigid thinking is one of the hardest defenses to break into – it is nearly impossible to get past the "you owe me" attitude. Pattern changing tactics involve working on being more empathetic in everyday relationships. Helping them to identify how to utilize their unique talents to help others rather than for their own personal gain, however, will not change their self-perception of entitlement. "Normal" parents (more often fathers) can only rationally forfeit their parenthood (see Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream by Helen Smith, 2013). Dr. Dennett argues life is constructed from these narratives interpreted by our direct context, "Our tales are spun, but for the most part, we don't spin them, they spin us." To avoid a Zombies' death, we must survive our fate (in so making our destiny – the goal isn't to change our fate or life, and it's surely not to change us, but to enhance us / life), fight ourselves (die daily), as well as constantly overcome our heroes (perhaps why the Biblical God named His children Israel, which in fact literally means "those who fight with God"). It is a fact that if the student does not outperform his or her teacher (or hero), society stagnates. Christ said "whoever believes in me will do greater works than the works that I do" (John 14:12). Drs. Levitt and Dubner discuss in Freakonomics how America's most corrupt people are not attorneys or politicians but K-12 teachers (80% regularly cheat for their students). The primary corrupting force is the assumption that they must all be good. We likewise corrupt children and women by the assumption of their innocence. No one can stay on track without accountability and well-known consequences. Similarly, research shows anyone who espouses high moral standards is likely not. The freshman class at what used to be the #1 engineering school (my alma mater) has an average Math SAT score about 120 points below my freshman class 35 years ago and grades have exploded even at Ivy schools like Harvard (GPA in 1950: 2.55, in 2004: 3.48). Why? Well, Corcoran, Evans, and Schwab found half of new teachers graduating in 1962-1966 scored above the 80th percentile while only 10% did so who graduated from 1984- 1985. Today, a study in 2002 and my personal experience show teachers come from the 30th percentile and studies by the PA Labor Dept and CNN show K-12 teachers to be one of the highest paid American professions (without considering they work fewer hours and fewer days). Why do we allow our children's primary role model to become so overpaid, inept, and corrupt? Similarly, every blue ribbon study into law enforcement since the 1884 Lexow Investigation (which showed $300, or the "Union Wage," to be the typically bribe required to be a law officer) has shown nothing but overt corruption and incompetence. Mollen Commissioner Harold Baer noted that over "the past hundred years, New York City has experienced a twenty-year cycle of corruption, scandal, reform, backslide and fresh scandal" (Lexow, 1895; Curran, 1913; Seabury, 1932; Hefland, 1954; Knapp, 1972; and Mollen, 1994). The LA Rampart investigation gave up after four years of "struggling to address one of the worst police scandals in American history"
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 23 concluding that law enforcement was simply no longer capable of supporting any facsimile of an honest investigation. Why has such information on corruption been wholly unrepresented in the news, classrooms, or in TV sitcoms? "Crimes that are statistically representative are always systematically unrepresented in crime news, because crime news everywhere (just as all TV in general) is never essentially about crime," but about managing social stereotypes (Katz, 1987). Finally, the Catholic Church can't be blamed for secrecy concerning pedophile priests as they discussed it in print generally every quarter for 30 years. Teachers, cops, and religious leaders will likely only make your problems worse (the corrupting force being your desire not to know). Meta-studies show some 99% of social scientists may need help with their math and so science is not much help either. Therefore, with every source of help being specifically designed to tear you down, it's no wonder you think about killing yourself daily; only a heartless bastard wouldn't. Even if we love our heroes just for great words and not "great" lives, we still relinquish decision making to them. We become people so complacent and unable to think for ourselves that we become walking Zombies right off the movie screen. And, we all know we really don't want such people to touch us because just one bite and we will become just like them. There is only one rational response possible – shooting off their heads with shotguns. Something deep within our soul tells us to even feel good about it. Zombies go with shotguns like America and apple pie or Oreos and milk. At Columbine High School (a school the National Threat Assessment Group identified as using competitive sports to build the worst mobbing culture ever measured), the two senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold felt this way about shotguns and Zombies. I know quite well that this sounds horrible but nothing can ever change until we recognize Eric and Dylan as the first victims of that fateful day. We prefer to think they were born "bad" (what an evil thought), but the truth is murder and suicide are reasonable and even healthy responses to the heartless ways people treat each other (and Eric and Dylan were treated horribly). "Dead men cannot feel." (Tozer, 1868) People will say that not everyone treated poorly acts poorly. But, no two people's experiences (including genetics) are the same, so you don't know. We must learn to see rapists, murderers, and even child molesters as other versions of ourselves in different situations. More importantly, we need to think more about how we make people feel they must kill and die just to stay sane. If you're not part of the solution, you are the problem. Life puts us in impossible situations that are not of our own making. Conflicting orders to the 2001/2010 movie computer HAL (between instructions to tell the truth and to hide information to protect the mission) made it paranoid. In this same way, the sage wisdom from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's paranoid android Marvin was, "Life, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it." What does it mean to be a man in the modern world? Sadly, every war story and sinking ship in the movies where everyone yells, "Save the women and children," doggedly reinforces the same idea: "Men are disposable in our culture." We laugh when women hit men with frying pans and flower pots, but are shocked by any display of anger by a man towards a woman. Imagine if instead of Tom Cruise being beaten unconscious by his ex-girlfriend in Jerry Maguire only to awaken to hear his mentor advising him to just roll with the punches that it was he whom repeatedly battered some woman to unconsciousness waking to hear someone suggest it was no big deal – no, that would plainly no longer be funny. I went to complain when a local pastor stood before 3,500 and said God telling men to love their wives while not saying the same to women proved that men can't love like women. I asked since God never asks anyone for more than is possible, couldn't He have meant it was women who can't love and nurture. I then asked what he thought would have happened if he said that instead and he admitted his office would be filled with many irate women instead of just one lone calm man.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 24 When there was a dirty job to be done at my school, the principal would come to my classroom to get only the boys to help. My parents and school coaches suggested feelings only get in the way for boys. Dad was on edge when not working (and was agoraphobic) and Mom routinely advised me to toughen up. Numerous women joined her with words like, "Big boys don't cry", "Don't be silly - that doesn't hurt", and "all men are weak and incapable of feelings (or a feminine side)." Women possess the major responsibility for bestowing self-esteem and thus pleasing them becomes critically intertwined with survival at an early age for boys (and the source of our idealization of male pregenital sexuality per Sadger). Journalist Norah Vincent's greatest lesson, in fact, pretending to be a man for 18 months ("Self-made Man") was, "How much power women have over men; they need us as their self-esteem is based primarily on approval from us." More to the point, living as a man caused Vincent to need institutionalized care for manic depression. Just as boys are expected to ask girls out as their discomfiture carries less weight, few women work in the most dangerous and lowest paying jobs (mining, construction, and war) as the death of a man carries less weight. All of the most dangerous jobs are over 90 percent filled with men. The average American father works an average 51-hour work week (clearly one of the hardest working in the industrialized world), but U.N. official Terry McKinley admitted in February, 1996 that the U.N. forced researchers to falsify data in order to generate numbers that suggested women worked more hours than men when, in truth, men work 3-5 hours more a week than women, including household chores. The raw UN data showed women labor 11 more hours a week around the house while men labor over 14 more hours a week at work while the Journal of Economic Literature and the University of Michigan has shown the disparity to be even greater. Advertisements routinely show men and fathers as cruel, incompetent, and unnecessary when they would never display women in such a light. Frederick Hayward collected 8 hours of clips from TV sitcoms showing female on male violence while over the same period he could only find 30 seconds of male violence toward women. Boys receive less education (girls are almost two grades ahead by the end of high school and are 35% more likely to graduate from college – disposable people have less need for training) and are half as likely as young adults to be able to afford a home (resulting in twice as many men as women still living with their parents in their late 20's). Prudential Research (2011) showed 95% of women will eventually end up their family's primary financial decision maker and the Family Wealth Advisors Council (2010) says by 2030 women will control two-thirds of the nation's wealth. Yet, two thirds of women still feel men should pay for all dates and men are still emotionally laden with having the primary income responsibility. Men are discouraged from being parents (even grandmother is more likely to win custody of their children) or teachers because men are routinely told they are not capable of nurturing relationships (one 20/20 episode decades ago provided "scientific" proof). According to research conducted by Joan Berlin Kelly, author of Surviving the Break-up, half of mothers "see no value in the father's continued contact with his children after a divorce." This attitude was also echoed in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry report Frequency of Visitation by Divorced Fathers, which sadly found "40 percent of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father's visitation on at least one occasion, to punish their ex-spouse." Little girls are talked to far more often by early caregivers and the most common word they hear is pretty. This is not for little boys. Boys are rarely the teacher's pet, receive lower grades, and are far more likely punished. Glen Sacks notes ten out of ten "discipline problems" in 1st Grade are typically boys. Plus, studies have found boys with similar language skills are four times more likely as girls to be identified as having problems (Ewin & Taylor, 2006 and Sciutto, Nolfi, Bulhm,
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 25 2006). Dr. Thomas Dee (2006) showed "boys are 2-3 times more likely than girls to be seen as disruptive, inattentive, and unlikely to do homework." The nine million children given Ritalin to sit still are most all boys (an Oregon State meta-study in 2006 found all support for Ritilin was only the result of doctored science) and boys are five times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. By playing the distressed damsel, girls taught to control their feelings by assigning responsibility to boys turns the boys into victims unable to share grief, fear, anger, guilt, disappointment, or loneliness. Our culture raises boys alternately to repress feelings at any cost and then blames them for the repression. This results in pervasive personality development arrestment identified in men and women defined by prioritizing one's needs but for others to meet them. There has been an explosion of self-help books for such self-absorbed children of narcissist parents (more than new diet books) as this illness has become an integral part of our national identity. As a boy grows up, the line between user and substance is often crossed and boys are far more likely to fall victim to drugs and alcohol abuse and are over four times more likely to succumb to suicide. Veterans of combat are three times again more likely to kill themselves. The harsh reality is more soldiers (like cops) kill themselves than die in action – well over 17 every day! What are little boys made of? Snips of snails and puppy dogs tails. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice. What are boys good for? A son's a son till he takes a wife, but a daughter's a daughter all of her life. You cannot argue with poetry – there is simply no redemption for little boys. There are over 500 college American women's studies departments with over a 100 offering a degree in the United States, but not a single degree or department in men's studies. Textbooks often describe fathers as a "foreign male element" that mothers and daughters must unite against. Dr. Helen Caldicott even describes men as "almost clinically and psychologically dead." These universal attitudes are why there are about four times more boys waiting for adoption than girls in every country of the world (except China), why parents of kids born with both gender organs generally select sex "assignment" surgeries to make them female, and why the fastest growing religion in America, Wicca, sees men as but replaceable sex toys. Men are trained from birth to sacrifice their existence in order to safeguard all-powerful women embedded with the creation of life. It should have been no real surprise to me to find two wives in adulterous affairs. My second wife even told me when first dating that she planned to get pregnant and ditch the father (I naively failed to believe her). The first time her eldest niece got me alone, her most pressing question was whether it was true that men were responsible for all the evil in the world. Even though women are seen as morally superior, about half of male rape accusations are later recanted (Washington Post, 1991; Kanin, 1994; DOJ, 1996) not to mention that 75% of child sexual abuse accusations against men end up being shown to be unfounded or unsubstantiated. While the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault blasts messages like "You are not alone – we believe you," beliefs in such accusations are usually unfounded. Plus, 3 out of 4 pregnancies today are to unwed women; a quarter are aborted, mostly without any involvement of men as the decision over life and death belongs to women alone (women have rights while men get responsibilities: turns out most fathers ordered to pay child support do so and most mother so ordered do not). 40 percent of the rest, however, soon dump the father. Amazingly, 15% to 40% of children (respectively for first and fourth child) could not even have been fathered by the men who signed the birth certificate (Phillipp, 1972; DNA Diagnostics Center, Texas, 1999; Popovich, 2000). Paternal studies done over 50 years ago confirm that at a bare minimum more than 10% of the fathers who signed their babies' birth certificates have unknowingly been claiming paternity of children who weren't theirs (Massachusetts has the largest number of women concurrently collecting child support from multiple men). One Justice
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 26 Department study found nearly 13% of wives accused of killing husbands were acquitted as compared with only 1.4% of husbands. Of those convicted, 16% of the women had received probation instead of prison, again about ten times the rate for men. Plus, the average prison sentence for homicidal wives was 6 years compared to 17 for husbands. Lilian Getkate didn't do any jail time for shooting her husband while he slept (admired by co-workers and friends). Rita Graveline was acquitted for getting drunk and shooting her husband while he slept. But, even Clara Harris, convicted of murdering her husband, had no difficulty in maintaining legal custody of her twin 5-year old boys. Although murdering wives already regularly get far better treatment, many states have clemency board to review cases of women that murder their husbands. Mass pardons, in fact, of husband killers have occurred in both Ohio and Maryland. The Columbus, Ohio Dispatch reported, however, that 15 of the 25 women pardoned by outgoing Ohio's Governor Richard Celeste insisted they had never been physically abused. How can this be? According to the US Department of Justice's Report on the National Violence Against Women Survey, there are over 830,000 male victims of domestic violence every year in the United States (the data is only available from studies based on women as the victims as research on men is never funded), but the data shows violence by women is far more premeditated and apt to include weapons, poisoning, or hiring others to commit the violence. A 1998 study of verbal and physical abuse in dating relationships that was presented at a meeting of the American Psychological Association examined a survey of college students that showed "women were significantly more physically aggressive than men, particularly in the areas of pushing, slapping, and punching." A 2000 study published in Psychological Bulletin confirmed that women are more likely than men to use physical aggression. Male victims are largely unknown (making the real numbers certainly much larger) in part because men are extremely hesitant to report their abuse to authorities or to seek help as they rightfully fear their female partners will successfully accuse them of being the actual perpetrators. Researcher Charles Corry, a former marine, says "Mainly it is the legal system that destroys men; the abuse from their wives or girlfriends is almost minor in most cases." For one thing, arresting men earns townships cash through federal grants and other funding sources based on the principle of female victim and male batterer with no funding being available when women are arrested. Male victims also do not seek out their few options for shelters as battered men who flee their attackers find the act of fleeing results in losing custody of their children and men who retain their children in order to try to protect them from abusive mothers often find themselves arrested for child kidnapping. The pressure on JM Barrie to "save" his five sisters and mother was so great he never grew past four foot eleven inches tall, never passed through puberty, withdrew from all sexual and emotional intimacy, suffered from dark, perverse depressions (including, perhaps, pedophilia), and idealized such a situation in his novel about a boy that never grows up, Peter Pan. Barrie never wrote a story about a father, as none were ever "good enough," while desperately wanting to be one himself to other boys (like Michael Jackson). One son sincerely asked me when he was six if Peter Pan was not the ideal male role model as he had been routinely taught by all the women in his life. Many schools have banned tag, Red Rover, musical chairs, dodge ball, or any game providing for a weak link or target as such "creates an environment of retaliation and resentment" "which undercuts children's emotional development and erodes their self-esteem." Games without teams or the threat of elimination are the new standard although "experts" still warn that even uncooperative tennis balls could provide potential jugglers unhealthy frustration and anxiety. The reality is overprotected children do not fare well and competitive horseplay is a natural part of healthy socialization development. Children adept at such masculine rough and tumble recreations tend to be better social problem solvers. But, there is little encouragement for even
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 27 boys to get in touch with their "male" sides. In fact, while heterosexual men who like to shop, cook, or accessorize are "metrosexual," women who do something masculine are "empowered." Drs. Joyce McDougall, Sam Vaknin, William Glasser, and others have shown that male sexual offenders are generally created by their mothers beginning at the breast (when self-recognition, shame, and personality disorders first develop) by providing strong emotional incentives to remain underdeveloped and "mother-bound." Sadger found that women are generally purged of any such developed perversions by the many opportunities to gratify pregenital sexuality in relations with children as caregivers as teenagers (opportunities kept from boys, especially in church settings). While there are fathers who abuse their kids, a U.S. Department of Justice report showed that mothers commit 70% of confirmed cases of child abuse and 65% of parental murders of children. Children are also 88% more likely to be seriously injured from abuse or neglect by their mothers rather than by their fathers. Yet, we doggedly persist in blaming men first and foremost for all of the world's violence. If we really want to end violence, why don't we provide programs to encourage more male teenagers to be babysitters? Dr. Elliot reviewed 500 violence prevention programs in 1998. Most were found to not address any known risk factors and to actually usually make things worse (zero tolerance, scared straight, boot and wilderness camps, DARE, etc). Only three did any good: Functional Family Therapy, Oregon Treatment Foster Care, and Multisystemic Therapy, which never blames the offender but instead focuses on training others in his/her environment and inadequacies of therapist. Dr. Elliot only confirmed what every study had been saying for decades, the programs we spend the most on have the least (or most damaging) effect and those we spend the least on provide for the only chance for improvement. Over a decade later, what's changed? Nothing! How many more decades must past before we can finally admit reducing violence is not our actual aim, it's only blaming men? Men's rights are the civil rights movement of our era. Some belittle the plight of men, asking "what have they suffered compared to other groups?" One answer is whatever adversity blacks or women or other groups may have endured in the past fifty years, no one takes their children away as done daily by family courts to men. What discrimination or injustice could be worse than that? We might freely reduce the requirements to allow a woman to become a fireperson (what's a life when compared with allowing a woman from doing whatever she wants), but you can be sure society will never reduce the qualifications for a man to win custody. Plus, custody is characteristically awarded with little regard for the facts. Two Yale studies found infants living only with their fathers were two to six months ahead in personal and social skills. Another study showed boys in father-custody homes have higher self-worth, are more mature, independent, and less demanding than boys in mother-custody homes. A Danish study found children raised by single fathers also had fewer temper tantrums, were less-sensitive to criticism, less fearful, less likely to feel lonely, and more likely to have high self-worth. And, recall I mentioned studies show fathers are far less likely than mothers to use physical punishments with their children. Finally, there's no greater suicide disparity than between men and women in the United States. Alabama was forced to halt the testing of teachers when a court ruled the state had to produce testing where white and black applicants could pass at the same rate. Why are courts not also forced to award children to fathers just as often as mothers? I would gladly accept half the pay (even though Forbes says women executives must often date beneath their income level as their lower-educated male peers are making less) and sit only in the back of the bus (ask your son where he sits in class and you'll discover many boys are already obligated to do this) if only I could have been awarded custody. The rates of school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, juvenile crime, and teen drug abuse are more tightly correlated with fatherlessness than with any other
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 28 socioeconomic factor, including income and race. In 1983, the US Department of Health and Human Services found 60% of child abuse is inflicted by mothers with sole custody. Almost all of the rest comes from her boyfriends and second husbands. Not surprising, boys are more likely to be victims of familial violence than girls. Sadly, 63% of youth suicides and over 70% of anti-social disorders come from fatherless homes. And, since the number of alienated fathers doubled in the last quarter of the last century, we can expect the number of psychopaths to be double estimates made in the 90's (Antisocial Personalities by Dr. David Lykken, 1993, p 204). In fact, many experts believe childhood psychopathy is rapidly increasing (Dr. Ramsland, 2011) and suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have in truth risen 30% from 1999 to 2010. Dr. Stout thinks American values and beliefs are the perfect breeding ground for psychopaths (which are far rarer in Asia). The 1991 Epidemiologic Catchment Area study, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, reported that in the fifteen years preceding the study, the prevalence of antisocial personality disorder had nearly doubled among the young in America. Dr. Hare writes "our society is moving in the direction of permitting, reinforcing, and valuing the traits listed in the Psychopathy Checklist such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, lack of remorse." Only when men are allowed to raise their children to not get caught up in unending attempts to please "mommy" for a counterfeit self-image will their terror and need to repress subside. Boys have traditionally been the responsibility of their fathers from about the age of seven whether in the hunt, the field, or the factory. Can we ever go home again? Our children are urgently calling. I met with my son's Sixth Grade math teacher and asked if there was any way my son could receive more challenging work. The teacher told me she had to put on her "parent hat." She was very concerned about how such pressures caused Orientals to commit suicide more often. She told me she wasn't saying my son would necessarily off himself, but she was very familiar with world health data and expected my efforts to not be helpful. WHO had in fact concluded the fewer deaths in America were due to improved intervention efforts. Alas, I also found America has the very highest ratio of male to female suicides; or, no country is better at causing men to lose all hope. Unfortunately, the data is never displayed in this way and this social problem is not being addressed by any academic investigation. And so, nothing changes. Many just point to men's greater use of more lethal methods, but it's silly to suggest only American men do this. In this case, group therapy can't help as it only shows you how other men in the same situation get no sympathy and have no reason to hope for anything better. Men who lose their children to death get flowers, but there's nothing for fathers who constantly lose their children to divorce. We are then told, as the ultimate cruelty, that our loss is simply the consequences we are due. What does it mean to be a child of a divorce in the modern world? Forensic psychologist Dr. Richard Gardner developed the idea of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in the 80's in order to explain an epidemic of false accusations of child sexual abuse. It is a form of mobbing that includes the child(ren) of divorce in an orchestrated attack against the other parent. Innocent parents are increasingly losing custody after being falsely accused in this way using what Dr. Warshak calls "Divorce Poison." The next step in taking children from men is to remove even the idea of fatherhood from their children's minds (taking the child from the child). Both parent and children are made miserable. PAS arises in the context of child-custody disputes with the child actually at the center of a campaign of denigration against a parent with exaggerated justifications that results from a combination of programming of the prime parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent. (PAS, Gardner, 1998). It's a cult atmosphere often not called brainwashing but personality suppression
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 29 suggesting the possibility of recovery. Sadly, healing is not likely as most families do not contain sufficient human capital to overcome the repeated validation commonly available for the child's twisted thinking. PAS breaks normal parent-child ties by working to limit all healthy attempts for individuality by micromanaging the child's life and by encouraging the child to do the following: • Denigrating the alienated parent with severe oppositional behavior • Validating their weak, frivolous, or even absurd reasons for their anger • Providing no display of love or affection for the alienated parent • Asserting that they alone came up with the thought of defamation • Expressing unrealistic expectations while seeing the world as "them" against "us" • Even actively arguing for the idea that the alienating parent may need protecting • Using borrowed scenarios; vividly describing situations not possibly experienced Animosity is often spread to the friends and/or family of the alienated parent. Statistics show the alienating parent is overwhelmingly the mother. Considerable time is needed for a campaign of alienation and mothers typically get more time with the children. In severe cases, the child is conditioned to wholly reject the alienated parent. The alienator can truthfully say the child does not want to spend any time with the alienated parent, even though the child has been told there is a court order supporting the visitation. The alienator typically responds, "There isn't anything I can do, I'm not telling him that he can't see you." Dr. Darnell describes various levels of parental alienation in Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation (1998), and focuses his advice on but how to rise above the abuse. Dr. Richard Warshak in Divorce Poison (2001) explains "Common approaches are impotent, doing nothing will accomplish nothing, and relying primarily on reasoning is an unreasonable approach to the problem." Dr. Warshak talks about children who will have nothing to do with the alienated parent, even just talk on the phone. Just as LAPD divisions convince people to confess to crimes they did not commit, children are persuaded to remember abuse that never occurred and live out fears of threats that aren't real. It is typical for a mother's separation anxiety to be expressed at parting moments with "Call me as soon as you get there to let me know you are O.K. If you get scared, you call me right away." Such alienating comments naturally diminish, but they can also escalate when a psychologically fragile parent, who might be able to hold themselves together when things are going their way, becomes fiercely entrenched after seeing what is "rightfully theirs" being threatened. They are stuck in survival-mode thinking. To them, total control over their child is a life and death matter. They can't see the child as a separate human being and become enmeshed in micromanaging the child's life. The parent might be narcissistic and presume they have a special entitlement or they might be a sociopath without any moral conscience. But, not knowing how to please other people, any effort to do so always have strings attached. They don't ever give as they only know how to take. They don't play by the rules and are likely to ignore a court order. Their prognosis is very poor – it is unlikely they will ever "get it" or ever stop trying to perpetuate the alienation. Instead of promoting a healthy growth of independence, a PAS mother will insist on sleeping with the child and feeding them saying "It's easier if I do it," according to Dr. Jayne Major. A PAS mother can't imagine the father is a competent parent and may even decree whom the child can and cannot see (for me, this included her daughter in law). Children eventually figure out which side the bread is buttered on and end up seeing the healthy parent as weak. Any isolated case of actual violence can be turned into a holocaust. The alienating parent's hatred has no bounds. The severest form will bring out every horrible allegation known, including claims of domestic violence, stalking, and repeated calls to Child Services. I've experienced every example experts
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 30 use to demonstrate the most extreme behavior and yet I still have friends who don't believe me. If you believe everything is against you, you could be right. If you feel hopeless about it, it's also possibly true. Finally, the feeling of absolute isolation, that no one understands, well, you know. We've heard a lot about the headline-grabbing victims of religious cults, but bad-mouthing by divorced mothers have claimed far more victims. Yet, the problem receives little or no attention. Just as a child of abuse can't take normal punishment, a child of programmed alienation can't take normal anger or criticism. While most alienated fathers passively accept their children and ex-wives to dictate the terms of their contact unable to imagine anything else, such a response only seals the separation. Try to not dismiss the child's misplaced feelings or point out how they are only repeating the other parent's words. While likely all true, it causes them to defend their position even more fervently. The best option is to maintain a low-key but constant interaction. Sadly, I have personally not discovered how to do this. Teenagers naturally act as if they are entitled to receive significant material benefits even from a parent they treat with great malice, as if the parent is some sort of subhuman scapegoat and fair game for any mistreatment. PAS builds on such typical thinking. Ask children why they hate their parents and most cite minor grievances that couldn't possibly be the basis for such extreme feelings. Alienating parents, however, will always accept and validate such absurd complaints. Worse, inexperienced and/or immature therapists will often accept the child's reasoning and tell Dad the separation is but a natural consequence. Dr. Warshak documents how alienated parents are often told to get counseling to learn how to better deal with teenagers (“with multiple children shunning you, it must be your fault”). He writes, "What is frightening is that such reports wield great power over custody decisions in our courts. I would not be surprised if [such a therapist didn't have] some unresolved issues from her own adolescence." Both such therapists and parents typically exhibit poor boundaries, work to deflect their own failings, and have a history of a poor or absent relationship with at least one parent. Manipulative parents will try to restrict communications with the other parent as well as their friends and family who might contradict the message of hate. Love is never enough to protect children from divorce poison as most every child will be hurt in some way. Try a team approach, discuss advantages to working together, stress values and religious beliefs, and educate them about being manipulated (in the third person without any accusations). Start with something general like television commercials and sales tactics. The biggest mistake possible is to take the common advice to wait for the child to change their mind. "The Court has no doubt that the cause of the blind, brainwashed, bigoted belligerence of the children toward their father grew from the soil nurtured, watered, and tilled by the mother. The Court is thoroughly convinced that the mother breached every duty she owed as the custodial parent to the noncustodial parent of instilling love, respect, and feeling in the children for their father. Worse, she slowly dripped poison into the minds of these children, maybe even beyond the power of this Court to find the antidote." Judge Richard Yale Feder (Florida Court of Appeals, 1988) So, mental poison and control are common and unchecked. And, the most greatly affected are our children. So, how might we prepare our children for the harsh realities of such a life in order to get them ready to even flourish in such total insanity? How might we show the a "red pill" of self-awareness of the world's violent forces of misinformation. A strong community of supportive family and friends is sadly usually not available for targets of such abuse. The only other option is to provide the child an education in defending their minds. A Pastor once mumbled during a sermon how he most hated trash talk. And yet, I convinced him there was value in such speech.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 31 Trash talk: what is it good for? "Playing the Dozens" (or what's called "Woofing" in Philadelphia) means to volley taunts back and forth with another by kidding, "snapping," teasing, toasting, or insulting them and their family (especially one's mother) in a contest of wits and emotional strength. The person who outwits and out-insults the other person while keeping a cool head is the winner (determined by the audience, the real target of the game). Rooted in black vernacular, playing the Dozens is a subversive type of wordplay which traditionally prepared the oppressed (blacks) to use the language of the oppressors (whites) without directly confronting or openly challenging the oppressors. Encoding one's intention by saying one thing but meaning quite the opposite is referred to as, "signifying." Language and songs were the only freedom slaves had; and so hidden messages had to be conveyed through their music and slang. When slaves planned an escape, often they would inform others with encoded messages within their songs, both by wording and drumbeats. Ranging from mildly insulting to overtly obscene, the coded language of Dozens uses puns (e.g.: yam for I am), hyperbole, humor, irony, repetition, reversal, and understatement to score points, and customarily includes sexual innuendo and references to "yo mama" necessarily before an audience that must be controlled (for their approval) as much as the opponent (for dominance and survival) and oneself (for self-discipline). Such a toast is heroic as the chief target meets a subjugating social death in the face of total humiliation. Dr. George J. Thompson is an English teacher who took a sabbatical to work as a police officer at the age of 35. He taught verbal techniques to 700,000 agents from the U.S. Forest Service to the FBI. Thompson found one of the surest ways for a cop to end up in the hospital is by "laying down the law" with simple lines like, "Come here!" "I'm not going to say this again!" and "Why don't you be reasonable?" The same is true of the ageless positional negotiating minuet that typically starts with an extreme anchoring point and tends to lock participants into positions to save face. Unfortunately, the resulting "hard" power is always a net zero sum product, where only you or someone else has it. While dealing from such a source of power as a judge, boss, police officer, teacher, or parent is the quickest way to avoid wining conditions, these are exactly the relational conditions in which the modern child must be able to hold their own, both against endless verbal as well as physical abuse. Usually by the age of six (certainly by puberty), a child must be adapt at jiving oneself out of a street fight or a whipping from a parent. No one wants to be known as not able to "talk stuff" as that would only succeed in making one a larger target for additional abuse. Toasting, rapping, signifying, and playing the Dozens are all demonstrations of needed verbal skills, part of vital efforts to survive against these types of regular daily assaults. Richard Thomas has stated (1988) that, "Black culture, then, should be seen as a creative and responsive reaction to the realities of constantly changing situations." Black Americans have maintained a lively and widespread verbal art tradition in spite of urbanization, strongly anti- Black education, and limiting mass communications. This has been possible because Blacks (conventionally apart while still part of American cities, songs, and folklore) for their own survival and sanity formed a separate culture within the dominant culture, one which remains principally oral. Jazz, Rock and Roll, Hip Hop, and even Gospel music all have their roots in this oral tradition. School pictures may have changed with integration and the furor over Mr. Belafonte and the "Barbershop" movie might show that the larger white society actually cares what they say, but when Mr. Garvey put down long dead militant DuBois it is doubtful many whites even knew who he was. "Dozens" may refer to the ultimate humiliation of broken slaves incapable of hard labor being sold by the dozen, but the tools developed in response are still germane today.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 32 Common taunts include: You're so dumb, if you spoke your mind you'd be speechless. Your breath smells so bad, people on the phone hang up. You're so fat, your blood type is Ragu. You have so many fat rolls that you have to screw your pants on. Yo mama's cookin' is so bad, even the roaches say "Naw man, I ate before I came over." Yo mama's so ugly, people hang her picture in their cars so their radios don't get stolen. Yo father's so ugly, that's not a receding hair line, that's his hair running away from his face. Yo mama's so skinny, her pants have only one belt loop. Yo mama's so bald, I can read her mind. Yo mama's so old, I told her to act her age and she died. Yo mama's so nasty, even Rice Krispies won't talk to her. Yo mama, 'nuff said. These taunts cannot simply be recited, they must be timed for the optimal stinging of the toast and bemusement of the crowd. Most all subcultures have Dozens-like exchanges (part of being literate since Greek orators deployed iambic mockery to deride speakers). John Bright said about his UK political opponent, "He is a self-made man and worships his creator." Abraham Lincoln said about an attorney, "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." Winston Churchill said about Clement Atlee, "A modest little person, with much to be modest about." William Faulkner said about Ernest Hemingway, "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." Finally, Ernest Hemingway said about William Faulkner "Poor Faulkner, does he really think big emotions come from big words?" There are certainly cultural considerations. Some Native Americans consider a vigorous handshake as a sign of aggression; several cultures consider looking directly into one's eyes as snooping on the soul; and, standing on the threshold of Thai or Laotian homes insults the spirits of departed ancestors believed to reside in the cracks. While one must get "outta their face" to calm Westerners, backing away communicates disrespect to, say, an Egyptian or an Iranian. Diplomat Robert A. Lovett once said, "Do not give concessions to the French without getting something in a return. They will not feel gratitude. They will only feel contempt for your gullibility." Then, a century ago an Englishman eager to be one of the few nonbelievers to visit the Arab holy city of Mecca sneaked in by browning his skin and faking religious fever. All was fine until he bought some bananas. When the man quickly paid, he was mobbed and thrown into jail, being easily identified as a pretender by failing to negotiate the purchase. More to the point, tough business people will often consider an aggressive tone to be a normal part of honest discussions and would be bemused by any peer offended by it. "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult" (Proverbs 12:16). Fearing insults has only produced an inane Fahrenheit 541 like America offended by Aesop's fables, Paul Bunyan, Mark Twain, the Little Engine That Could, and any story with Jews or Blacks. School textbook publishers insist women cannot be depicted as caregivers or doing household chores, men cannot be lawyers or doctors or plumbers, old people cannot be feeble or dependent, children cannot be disobedient, and even cake cannot appear in stories as it is not nutritious. Being called personally damaged seems naturally far more offensive than hearing that we are unskilled. Those things we hold most personal are those things we have little or no control over. Playing the Dozens teaches children not to be brought down by such inconsequential stuff. We can read self-help books, even have the fat vacuumed out and the bones broken and reshaped, memorize great quotes, and work to for a more agreeable personality, but we will always know underneath it is not the "us" that God built. A 1997 study showed 97% of high school students hear derogatory remarks every day from peers and 53% say they hear homophobic comments from school staff. TV personality Dr. Phil McGraw describes in his book Self Matters that five minutes of verbal abuse of power in the principal's office in 3rd grade left him forever distrustful of those in education or authority. Facing this pathology, however, only developed a functional illiterate able to prosper without ever knowing the real person God meant for him to be (it was
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 33 certainly not to be a 50-year old still reacting to the world like a third grader – becoming a Peter Pan who never grows up while seeing role models as not good enough and desperately driven to be the perfect role model to other children in an artificial Neverland: for example, like J. M. Barrie or Michael Jackson). If only Phil McGraw (or Barrie as well as Jackson) had been raised and tutored to understand how to thrive while being so oppressed by playing the Dozens. Life is not just inherently disappointing, it is also intrinsically dangerous. Trash talk can also be a successful and crucial method of building up a natural resistance to developing a permanent state of fear from experiencing life's constant disappointments and threatening encounters. Fear is the emotional response to life's peril that is coordinated by the relatively small but very complex structure in the brain called the amygdale. Once fear is conditioned in the amygdale, perhaps by high levels of cortisol damaging the hippocampus, it can be effectively permanent. Traumatic imagery and blunted emotions can then arise either from stimuli that is not actually life threatening or from fears of losing control when severe nightmares or episodes of violent sleepwalking take over. Trauma workers can develop a similar type of enduring discouragement (synthetic Zombism) from being exposed to these symptoms in others (referred to as secondary stress or compassion fatigue). The end result is often acting like a human being but not reacting like one with haunting un-suppressible memories, emotional numbing (losing the ability to love, say, from a fear of fear), and easier provocation (from, say, lowered thresholds for distracting thoughts and responses of anxiety and rage). There are no therapies or drugs that can remove this kind of acclimatized anger, doubt, shame, quilt, and stressful memories – the best hope is only to better manage these feelings and behaviors. While talking about these issues can help one feel less isolated and alone, medications can provide external checks to mood swings, and education can afford improved coping skills, they are never enough to return one to the whole being that God intended. All for the lack, possibly, of valuable childhood training in trash talk. Josh Waitzkin was the top teenage chess player in America whose childhood story was the plot for the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." Josh found the fame a bit hard to overcome and so he later switched to Push Hand Karate and eventually won the world championship. In The Art of Learning, Waitzkin has the following to say about the value of trash talk in sports (as in life): "There are examples in every discipline. For basketball fans, think about the Reggie Miller / Spike Lee saga. Lee is New York's No. 1 Knicks fan. Reggie Miller was the star of the Indiana Pacers from 1987 to 2005. Throughout the 1990's, the Knicks and Pacers repeatedly met in the playoffs and Lee would be sitting in his courtside seat in Madison Square Garden for every home game. Time and again, he would heckle Miller until Miller started to respond. At first, this looked like a good situation to Knicks fans. Spike was distracting Reggie from the game. Sometimes it seemed Reggie was paying more attention to Spike than to the Knicks. But then, it became apparent that Miller was using Lee as fuel for his fire. Over and over, Reggie would banter with Spike while torching the Knicks with unbelievable shooting. After a while, Knicks fans just hoped Spike would shut up. The lesson had been learned; don't piss off Reggie. Young NBA players learned the same lesson during the Michael Jordon era. Jordan was a notorious trash talker on the court. He would goad defenders into dialogue, but the problem was that it you talked back, it inspired Jordan to blow you off the court. The only thing to do was to let Jordan talk and play your game. Try to keep some of the beast asleep. Then, he would just score his thirty points and move on to the next game. But if you woke the beast, Mike would score fifty and then do it again next time you played him. A few years ago, I was talking with Keith Hernadez about the role of anger in his career. For those who are not big sports fans, Keith was a dominant force with the St. Louis Cardinals and
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 34 then the New York Mets, playing Major League Baseball from 1974 to 1990. Keith won 11 Gold Glove awards, won the batting title and National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1979, and led the Mets to victory in the historic 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Hernandez is known as one of the toughest hitters in baseball history. I asked Keith how he dealt with pitchers throwing at him. A pitcher will sometimes either hit a batter or come very close with a pitch to plant a psychological seed. Getting nailed by a 90-mph fastball is not a pleasant experience, and many serious injuries have come out of this dark gamesmanship. The infamous scenes of hitters charging the mound and clubhouses emptying into terrible brawls are usually the result of a batter feeling that he is being targeted. If the batter is actually hit, he automatically gets on first base – as if he were walked. This is obviously less than great for a pitcher, but it is a calculated decision, because many batters will get psyched out by being pelted – and they will be scared at the plate for the rest of the game, or even for years, when facing that pitcher. Knowing that the fastball might be tailing toward your head complicates the hitting experience, and many batters get intimidated. Or, they get mad. Either way, if a pitcher feels that he can get into your head by throwing at you, in Keith's words, 'You'll be on your butt!' For Keith, pitchers dug their own grave by targeting him. He explains, 'That was always a positive motivational thing for me; if a pitcher knocked me down or hit me on purpose, well by golly you've got your hands full for the rest of the year with me; particularly, for the rest of this game.' Over the years, pitchers learned to stay away from Keith, because they would be rousing a giant by hitting him. Keith then told me a story about Frank Robinson, one of the all-time greatest baseball players and the only man to be MVP of both the American League and the National League. Robinson began his career in Cincinnati back in 1956. In those days, pitchers threw at batters all the time. The Reds were playing a three-game series against St. Louis, and in the first game, Robinson got hit by a pitch and went on to have a phenomenal night. The next day, the pitcher hit Robinson again, and he just destroyed the Cardinals throughout the whole series. A week later, the two teams played another series, but before it began Red Schoendiense, the St. Louis manager – and Keith's first manager – called a team meeting and said, 'The first pitcher who hits Frank Robinson is fined one hundred bucks! Just leave him alone!' Keith loves this story. It represents what a truly dominant competitor should be all about. Guys like Miller, Jordan, Hernandez, and Robinson are so far beyond shakable that opponents, instead of playing mental games, cower for fear of inspiring them. I don't particularly like dirty players. Their relationship to competition, to ego, to sport, to art, to violence, to foul play – it all rubs me the wrong way. The next step in my own training would be to channel my gut reaction into intensity. This is not so hard once you get comfortable in that heated-up place. It is more about sweeping away the cobwebs than about learning anything new." True inspiration, said Michelangelo, is about "releasing the hand from the marble by removing what does not belong." And, this is precisely the ultimate purpose of learning to trash talk through Woofing or Playing the Dozens. 101 ways to kill yourself and do it again tomorrow Yamamoto Tsunetomo begins the 18th Century text Hagakure (The Way of the Samurai) with, "The way of the samurai is found in death If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 35 earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease, or committing seppuku at the death on one's master. And, every day without fail one should consider himself as dead." It is the samurai's affinity for death as a summation for his willingness to sacrifice (while not seeing death as his sole end) that differentiates him from warriors of other cultures. This code of honor in death forms the basis for Bushido, which is analogous to the Western concept of Chivalry. Chivalry has the advantage of stating a great love is required for great character due to finding fighting without first experiencing great love often resulted in excessive violence and pillaging. The resulting fighting styles, however, only ever measured success in terms of body count. With a greater sympathy for failure, Eastern cultures were more about preserving face for all parties. "The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night." Nietzsche (1886) Dr. Stout has found greater passion for and wisdom about life in survivors of great trauma (like natural disasters, abuse, as well as psychosomatic illness) than in any priest, teacher, or book – people whose lives who are less scarred are just less profound, have fewer goals, and live lives filled with but more shallow distractions. We've all heard of the need for suffering to be a great poet and studies have shown a correlation between depression and creativity. Underlying the various forms of heart rendering pain, the one thing in common is a well articulated response to the question: Shall I choose to die or shall I choose to live? Many people respond with anger to my opening assertion that everyone thinks about suicide – "Not me!" they exclaim. But, they've likely just never addressed this live or die question and only live by default. Just as no decision is a decision, most people live day in and day out but in the wholly apathetic execution (both of life as well as of death) of never really making a decision, including their partners, careers, and where they live. "Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you." – Jim Rohn Just as we shouldn't allow others to think for us, we should be cautious about trying to think for others. Dr. Stout was more impressed with her Grandmother's ability to live consciously for 80 years than to her ability to consciously end her life. Christ said the greatest example of love is when we are willing to die for another, but it is in fact when we are willing to live for another as that involves dying daily. When dealing with friends, family, or patients who express suicidal thoughts, it is assumed the "correct" response is to forcibly answer that question for them, "You do not want to die!" We tell them, if not verbally, with every possible expression that feeling bad is not permitted. Yet, we should carefully consider the arrogance in thinking we have the right to insure no one ever be allowed to die, whether by manipulation, legal means, or physical force. "The Law of Suffering," (Gandhi, 1920) is a doctrine proposing the endurance of suffering as a means to a moral progress - arming the individual (and society) with moral power rather than physical power. "Things of fundamental importance to the people are not secured by reason alone, but have to be purchased with their suffering." (Gandhi, 1931) Martial arts is never about removing a weapon, but only disabling a threat. Often, though, this must be done physically. There are six levels of self-defense: 1) getting beaten up (or, utter failure), 2) becoming invisible to the attacker or a standoff, 3) beating them up, 4) disabling the threat, 5) talking someone out of a desire for violence, and 6) where just one's presence is able to moderate violent desires in others. Any of these responses can be appropriate to a given situation (or one's skill level). "Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence." (Mind of Gandhi, 1967) Conflict isn't just natural - it's desirable as per Deming, Senge, and all modern management experts (growth requires change requires conflict). And, movies are boring without it. "The object is to convert, not to coerce, the wrong-doer" (Gandhi, 1939). Success is defined
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 36 by cooperating with an opponent to meet a just end that the opponent is unwittingly obstructing. More often than not, however, the greatest (as well as most well hidden) opponent is ourselves. Emerson hits us over the head over and over with a singular idea, like a big hammer labeled, "believe in yourself." But, he does this to also hit himself over the head, over and over, because he personally was deeply insecure. At one point, he had lost a job offer at the Harvard Divinity School after a speech asserting his doctrine of the God within which came after losing his young wife of 18 months to tuberculosis. Then, a few years later, he lost his 5 year old son to scarlet fever. Self-reliance is a pretty puny doctrine in light of such tragedy. It's depressing to think all we can know is what is within us. When you look at your life, if you follow your "inner gyroscope" and do things and take courses that just "feel right," it might look to others (parents in particular) as if you just can't make up your mind and are zigzagging all over the place. The coherence, however, will be an inner one, perhaps not even visible to you, but over time, it will probably make sense, just as you have to zigzag when sailing to reach a point most directly up wind. Even if we don't like ourselves, we need to always have self-reverence, being our biggest fan. The key is to "properly" define what it means to "feel right." Dr. Freud's psyche model included an Id, Ego, and Super-ego. I think of the Id as our "dog-like" characteristic. I can always get your dog (if you have one) to "love" me more than you by simply giving him better treats. Moreover, when a male chimpanzee finds his mate is cheating, he quickly has sex with her. He has large testicles and produces about 1 million sperm. Most of the sperm are in fact warriors (chokers and blockers) and cannot fertilize the egg. Apes, on the other hand, simple beat the competing male to death and correspondingly they have very small testicles. Apes are considered by many to thusly be less "ethical," but Apes cannot change just as a Chimp can never act like an Ape. Sadly, most human relationships and decisions are based only on getting better treats with lines like "I'll love you if you love me." Similarly, the most likely reason we consider suicide is simply failing to get sufficient treats for our Id. The treat-based Id develops after birth thus giving rise to the nature vs. nurture debate. But, I would argue the only times we exhibit our humanity are the rare moments when we are able to exceed both our environmental and genetic programming. The Id doesn't care about reality or about the needs of others, but only its own satisfaction. And so, the greatest human motivator, the "Confirmation Bias," is when reality and other's needs are twisted to but satisfy the Id occurring at a minimum 95% of the time. Thus, our brain is mostly used rationalizing feeding our Id (through myths like common sense) and keeping this secret (known to our subconscious) under wraps. Thus, the scariest thing is being known (by others or ourselves). Dr. Schnarch showed nine out of ten people in fact cannot have an orgasm without the room dark or their eyes closed in order to keep "being known" down to a tolerable level. Dr. Schnarch also says good communication between couples is unimportant as everyone's Id basically wants the same treats – and, we already spend 95% of our day making our Id happy. Modern gurus recommend refusing any guilt over being selfish and suggest we are but hurt gods (being a god meaning to never having to say you're sorry). Communism is likewise based on removing "evil" systems (specifically capitalism and religion) to allow a perfect socialist man of pure character to emerge. Shame is one thing your dog can't do (another is art). Yet, "good" shame doesn't humiliate or leave us feeling helpless. Our ability to be human and exceed our Id's programming is in the hands of our Ego. The Ego understands that ignoring others can hurt us in the long run. It's where logic and critical thinking skills can develop. Mental or emotional health is in fact defined in terms of how much decision making is done by the Ego. Salespeople
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 37 are often told that if you are accountable to no one but yourself, you're in trouble. Isidore Rabi tells how his mother kept him accountable with "Izzy, did you ask any good questions today?" Our moral blueprint is the domain of our Super-ego. Many equate this with the conscience or "feeling right." While it is healthy to maintain a mythical blue-print for heroes in our Super-ego, we must never allow such childhood fables to make it into our practical Ego worldview. We can't be Superman. Critical to safety is becoming part of a gang (zebras have obnoxious stripes to become invisible in a crowd) as gangs are a natural defense for the disfranchised. We best do this by categorizing our Id by our Super-ego ideals such as I am an engineer, Christian, rebel, information maven. Often we keep what "feels right" covered in our unconscious (keeping it to safely handle at some time in the future). One of the best ways to communicate with this hidden conscience is called free association. This is often done today through "a feeling laid on my heart" from a version of prayer or "sleeping on it" as was accomplished in primitive societies with a Vision Quest or Australians with a Walkabout, which should be more than just a vacation. "The greatest madness of all is to live life the way it is, rather than as it should be." – Cervantes Thus, times when we are decatergorized (feeling we've lost our feeling of belonging), derealized (feeling we've lost our ability to test for truth), and depersonalized (losing our persistent belief in moral love) are when anyone would feel socially phobic. These three metrics define a balanced identity based on personal answers to questions from "How do I fit in?" to "How am I unique?" Estimates vary, but up to 3 out of 4 say they understand what being depersonalized feels like (no longer feeling unique). Over half of combat troops return home with a distorted sense of self such that he or she no longer feels like themselves. Any stressful events or drug use can cause it as well. Dr. Caputo (2010) found just staring in a mirror under low light can also generate the feeling. Without balance, we have no defense against the cruelty of other's Ids or the unfairness of life. Defining our sense of self only by what we like or our ability to meet goals is what makes failure so life threatening; failure is less risky if we define ourselves rather by who we want to be. The first rule in debating is to know your opponent's argument better than they do and to be ready with a point by point rebuttal. I find some Atheists believe no rational person could believe in God. I don't believe they're "real" Atheists as I define that term as describing someone who feels the argument against a deity was a bit more convincing. To me, those believing there is no valid religious argument didn't come to be an Atheist; they only ran from being religious. The same, of course, is true for many Christians in that their religion is only their parent's rituals. In the same way, how can anyone hope to properly answer the "should I live" question without first seriously considering suicide? Thus, a primary step to intentional living is clarifying your best arguments for why you would be better off dead. After that, while you may know deep down that none of us is perfect, what you might not in any way realize is that our best qualities and our worst traits are actually one and the same (as suggests Judy Smith in Good Self, Bad Self). In sales, this is known as "Making the Skeletons Dance." For example, one who can flatly reject your product has at least thought about it, in fact, likely thought about it much more than one who is willing to listen to your pitch. Agree with anyone providing what you know to be your or your product's greatest flaws, even brag about them: "Absolutely! Yes, we are known for being more expensive and less reliable! Why is that? Because, our product can do the work of three of our competitors and can be repaired with no down time." One should never try to hide the "rotting rhinos" as they won't remain hidden long. Barry Maher says in Filling the Glass: The Skeptic's Guide to Positive Thinking in Business "If you can brag about a negative, you've made peace with it; having a skeleton in the closet is a lot more fun when you can make it dance."
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 38 George Bernard Shaw wrote in Immaturity (1931) "If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." For example, stiff people who are afraid of their own emotions tend to be very conscientious and excellent teachers; clingy people who are most afraid that people might become angry and never come back are the most steady and great technicians; angry people who fear there is no love for them are good persuaders; and, chaotic and shallow people are great social connectors. For this last personality, consider Paul Revere who was too stupid to remember "one if by sea" and too cowardly not to tell everything to the British when picked up later that night. But, the American Revolution could have ended right there without him as he knew who to tell (the biggest gossips) to best get the word out. In The Tipping Point, Michael Galdwell shows that the most stiff, angry, and shallow to be the finest change agents. I want to limit this comparison, however, to personalities and not to ignorant and shallow, which have no actual value. We may tolerate these two characteristics of youth, but only in the young. Again, along with knowing why you should be dead, you need to know how you want to die. But, how can one do this "experimentally?" Dr. David Cook, a psychologist who received his Ph.D. in Sports Psychology, tells of fulfilling his life-long dream of getting his pilot's license. His first time up was all he had hoped for, like flying on ice. His instructor asked if he was having a good time and fiddled with something on the control panel. Suddenly the engine went dead. "What are you going to do?" yelled the instructor. "I don't know" replied Mr. Cook, "I suppose I should keep the nose down to keep from stalling." "Where do you plan to land?" asked the instructor. "I'll land on the road below us." "Not a good idea with all those cars and power lines." "Then, I'll land in that field." "Those black dots are cows – that could be a problem." "I'll land in that corn field." Just then the stall siren went off reminding David he was failing to keep the plane's nose down and so he corrected. "Are you going to land with or against the rows of corn? If you land against, the plane will flip over." David corrected his path to land with the rows and just as he was 500 feet from the ground, the instructor fiddled with the panel again and the engine came back. After returning to their original altitude, the instructor said, "I will never let you fly alone or take anyone else flying until you know what to do in every situation." David likes to take his pro golf clients for a similar lesson to help them develop confidence. There are safe ways to face "death" (aka your fears), from parachuting and paragliding to the fear of failure in starting a business. "Avoidance is the cause of all anxiety; exposure is the cure for all anxiety." The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The way we distort statements and actions often comes from a lack of experience, but go slow. In sales, a "Puppy Dog" close is based on the idea "If a dog is too much pet for you, how about a cute little puppy?" This idea is additionally expressed with "one bite at a time, you can eat an elephant" and "a journey starts with the first step." And so, start small. "Becoming a force of nature doesn't mean that all of our aspirations must be 'grand.' First steps are often small, and initial visions that focus energy effectively often address immediate problems. What matters is engagement in the service of a larger purpose rather than lofty aspirations that paralyze action. Indeed, it's a dangerous trap to believe that we can pursue only 'great visions,'" so wrote Dr. Peter Senge in Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future (2008). Of the hundred entrepreneurial Harvard Grads asked if their successful businesses has followed their original plans, all answered they had heavily modified them. One core reason to start small is that you will surely make many expensive mistakes on any road to success. Success and failure are not different paths at a fork in life as success is always on the other side of failure. Being good at life necessarily means being good at failure (which comes from plenty of practice). And, you don't want to be stressed about unrealistic tasks that were part of some psychological manipulation. Too often, a mobbing includes being set up to fail. The outcome of any failed task can be easily
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 39 used to discredit and shame you. So, make sure your goals are yours and yours alone. John Maxwell reminds us "people are set up to fail" by themselves "if they envision what they want to do before they figure out what kind of person they should be" in Talent is Never Enough (2007) Thus, the only way to live is to die to yourself (a sort of "Revolutionary Suicide"). "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it. He must deny himself and take up his cross daily." Christ's disciples routinely demonstrated overt concern for their own lives – for example, they carried weapons against His instructions and they fled when He was arrested. Peter demonstrated a temporary apostasy of sorts until crying, dying to his shame (something Judas couldn't do), and returning. In choosing to die to the need to be in control, we choose to take the humble start of a process of continually understanding the greatest burden we bear in this life is ourselves. It can seem unfair that we must ask God for forgiveness for things generally not of our choosing (such as Judas for having Satan control him to betray Christ), but it is only through such a third person narrative of absolution that one can learn to forgive themselves. Food will taste better and yet diets will start to work. Plus, it will reduce the drama, depression, and unhealthy relationships we naturally seem to attract. So, how, why, and where will you "kill" yourself today? (see here) I find it poignant frankincense and myrrh are harvested by allowing tree resins from wounds to harden as tears considering David said, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalms 51:17) When the sick Hezekiah "wept bitterly" in prayer, the Lord answered, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you." Prayerful tears were innovations in Hebrew culture, replacing earlier offerings of animal sacrifices. Augustine had wanted to cry when his mother died but he forced himself not to, and at her funeral he sheds no tears. Later, when alone and praying, he offered his tears to God, "for her sake and mine. The tears which I had been holding back streamed down, and I let them flow as freely as they would, making of them a pillow for my heart. On them it rested, for my weeping was for your ears alone, not in the ears of men who might have misconstrued it and despised it." Crying as a part of a public ceremony would have shown him "guilty of too much worldly affection," but his private crying was a sincere offering to God. Moreover, the failure to suppress tears can be emotionally harmful (The Crying Game by Dr. Bolstad). Indonesian tribes believe crying except at death can in fact cause illness and research shows crying even during a sad movie can increase depression, anxiety, anger, and pain (Labott, 1987 and 1990; Gross, 1994). Dr. Cornelius (2001) showed "good" crying occurs only at problem resolution and not just for pain. Even infants knows crying is for inspiring real changes in one's physical world and not just feeling better. If you don't feel better about life actually being better, it's really just whining. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should The Serenity Prayer not only provides the poor suggestion that there are things we can't change (Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ") but that the key basis for things we should change are those things we can. That's plainly ridiculous. Similarly, how can a religion that tells people they're inherently bad help them be closer to love? Well, the life we normally lead is but a recipe for failure and ruin. Our desperate need to feel special has little to do with wanting to feel loved as love is about accepting our true self. Just as the OT Prophet Obadiah warned there was no greater sin than doing a task if it wasn't true to the self you were meant to be, Tod Marinovich ("Robo Quarterback") once said, "Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you were meant to do it." Life be the journey. Tod wanted to become history's greatest quarterback, it was his destiny. But, being it wasn't. David did not show doubt in God when he picked up five rocks and not just one when he fought Goliath as in Jewish culture ten
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 40 represents everything and so five refers to God because God, truth, and love are not external entities but exist in our relationships. David was demonstrating his faith in God was also a faith in himself as it was a faith in the relationship he had spent a lifetime building with his ideals. He had died to everything, including the David others thought he was. Similarly, Paul wrote "For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Paul then reveals Christians are free from sin. How can someone who continually sins at the same time be "free" from sin? Paul meant he had died to overwhelming quilt and was free from the need to hide from failures. If you're like me, you've got plenty of troubles and dirty laundry. Of course, you're like me. And so, it's time to learn "the enemy is no longer separate from the soldier." Half of all marriages end in divorce, half of the rest are miserable, and those remaining have sufficient problems they've certainly thought about divorce. Running away doesn't actually change anything. Divorce only increases the likelihood of having yet another divorce. Authentic happiness comes best from successfully working it out when you find yourself with what was the worst possible choice for a mate you but made in passion's madness. Alas, the other person probably doesn't want to hear it because the relationship was only one of convenience. That's not being judgmental; it's not all that different from how we view life. Life was accepted by us for but its convenience and so we easily ended up ready to end it all when it was no longer convenient. Great personal growth can only happen when we inspire (not coerce) change in others. We are defined by whom we love and not by who loves us. Be more accepting and patient but while also expecting much more. When we're feeling low is the best time to give up the need for life to be convenient. You might try listening more proactively. Research shows we hear less than half of what we're told (we're even worse at "hearing" ourselves). By becoming a better listener, one can be more persuasive and productive. And, it can help avoid conflict and misunderstandings. Skills for listening to the words, intonation, and body language of others, can be improved, say, by looking directly at people, mentally repeating what you hear, and not building a rebuttal but instead reflecting by paraphrasing with "What I'm hearing is." It's good to allow speakers to finish without being in any hurry and without interrupting with counter arguments. Active listening starts with open- ended questions that can't be answered with just a "yes" or "no." What have you got to lose? There are sadly few opportunities to learn this as a kid as getting heard is usually just a battle of volume and creative storytelling. Most therapists tend to view family relationships largely as one of struggle and controversy. Rather than any overt abuse, the most likely instigator is just a lack of mature monitoring for conflicts by our teachers and parents. Freud labeled and detailed our obsession concerning sibling rivalry for love and attention (true since Adam and Cain). We sadly have no rituals that build or celebrate the sibling bond. Dr. Leder (1993) and Dr. Sanders (2004) believe the impact of sibling relationships on how we develop has been underemphasized in the literature on child development. Such rivalry often lingers later in life; one third of adults describe their relationship with siblings as distant. Yet, few will ever be able to recall who or what may have turned them against one another. In fact, sibling relationships are actively deemphasized in industrialized cultures and rivalry more common, especially in adolescence. Research shows such negative sibling influences can increase social vulnerabilities and delinquency. And so, conflict resolution and active listening skills must be acquired later in life and siblings are more likely to reconcile the older they are (and 40% of "distant" siblings develop close ties after 60). For example, open-ended questions can encourage topic expansion in order to get past words and to the actual intent. Useful questions include: "What do you mean?" "What alternatives have you considered?" "When did you first believe that and what led up to your decision?" In many
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 41 ways active listening is characterized more by what is not done or said. Unsuitable nonverbal gestures include yawning, multitasking, putting your feet up, and daydreaming. Plus, being too aggressive in questioning can be a face threat (such as asking a stranger how much money he or she has or what kind of deodorant he or she prefers). Social Penetration Theory shows we trust people who gradually engage in self-disclosure and we tend to then disclose more to those people we like. "You've got to be believed to be heard" says Bert Decker (2008). Small Talk emphasizes interpersonal goals in a ritualized way to "grease the wheels." But, this only works if there is a repeated sharing of spoken as well as appearance affirmations. Ideally, you need to get people to say "yes" repeatedly. Such affirmations can be the result of most any question. Susan Roane, the "Mingling Maven," says effective networking requires a person simply to "Be bright, be brief, be gone." Dale Carnegie said smile, use their name, question, and listen. Most all people have no idea where they're going when speaking to others (in the say way they live). Empathetic listening is more than getting to the core of things in a non-judgmental way using culturally proper etiquette. An empathetic listening additionally includes a first-rate emotional understanding based on genuine interest in others. This can't be faked or steps we merely walk through. Dr. Livingston found managers just mouthing compliments to employees they didn't actually believe only fashioned negative results. Facilitative listening goes beyond even that as it also facilitates the other person's need to communicate by building safe boundaries. To get past words to the meaning of things, you'll need to have thought (and practiced) very carefully about what you will ask and how you will respond (including providing timely pauses). This is the advice of all modern communication experts and yet most therapists in their incompetence see such strategies only indicate some sort of need to control. Thusly, therapists again tend to only minimize society's ability to move past achieving only our selfish motives by being self-aware. When we fail to encourage measurable improvements in others, it's just easier to blame them. What if overwhelming displacement and disillusionment become so pervasive it had created a "psychological genetics" within the community that had eliminated all opportunities for recover? There's no professional advice for how to make good relationship choices and communicate clearly when everyone's broken. We would then be wholly unable to see what's wrong even when directly confronted. The first rule I have learned about life is we all get most upset about those things we can't face about ourselves. We need to see such messages indirectly, out of the corner of our eyes, in the third person. This is the aim of Narrative Therapy. In the attempt to avoid traditional "medical model" language because it's common overuse by therapists only end up pathologizing patients (rather than simply edifying out objectifying speech), though, this field often throws the baby out with the bathwater and tends to over simplify the human condition. Bible stories provide numerous examples of Narrative Therapy. For example, people always confuse the story of when Moses came to the King of Egypt with ten plagues and dire warnings as an attempt to provide a direct narrative for the King to change but God is repeatedly quoted as to having made a (outwardly unfair) freezing of such change in the King. This is because the narrative was really to provide an externalization of sin for the Jews by a use of the third person, helping them to accept how they themselves had become alienated from their values, hopes, and commitments by being part of a socio-political "mob" for a self-destructive reality. Does this sound familiar? This greater articulation through externalizing language and relevant audiences provided not only the classic narrative "breaking of the ice" but additionally a step-by-step action plan that built not only a subjective reference to understanding but also an objective neutral one to allow an unfreezing of inaccurate political "rightness" and then a slow refreezing of a healthier more measurable worldview. Too often, such references for the need of specific measurable
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 42 objectivity seem sadly to be refused by modern narrative practitioners where they end up only being their own worst enemies. But, this can also be very useful for internal conversations. Hume's "Bundle Theory" suggests there are no authentic conceptions of self, only a bundle of associated wholly inaccurate memories further perverted by groupthink. Sadly, this is the most common way to create an identity: one that is founded but on our Id. But, an idealized narrative (where idealized again means not authentic) can create this other identity, a Super-ego (for ourselves as well as for our relationships), that our ego (and Team Charter) can integrate into a seemingly magically authentic base self. This is Freud's Ego and Strawson's Pearl view of self. Dr. Spelke proposed (1994, 2000) that "adult" knowledge of the physical world stems more from experience-independent innate principles. Without such idealizing we are left with our insane Id ("there is always some reason in madness" Nietzsche). Dr. Deming (the father of Quality Mgt) said "Experience alone teaches nothing; you do not accumulate thirty years of experience; you merely repeat one year thirty times." A strong sense of self must also include a strong group identity, even if such an identity is not completely truthful (Dr. Bruce Hood's Self Illusion series). When it comes to building a more accurate self image, a group narrative (measured more by its emotional than factual accuracy) keeps us from deju vu "eyelash" living. A process of idealizing is required to keep a team identity from sinking into the natural gang groupthink. While being like others and getting on with them can create a sense of being a participating member of the human race, that can happen only after first building a strong independent sense of ourselves. In other words, you clearly can't know and love others without first knowing and loving yourself. So, what are your values? When young, we take our parents' values – but we need more as we grow up. For me, the next best place to find myself was to consider my childhood heroes from the movies: Mary Poppins and Frank Serpico. One person who could make any chore fun and another who was willing to risk everything for what he believed. Values are very important to me. I tend to challenge organizations to make actions congruent with values and to recognize the effects on people, and I do not do well where such self-examination is discouraged. When we look to Christ, we shouldn't be concerned with trying to do what He did (taking the wrath of God's anger for sin in the world) but with understanding the values that motivated His actions. How do you want to proclaim or express your value choices? This is what really defines you. You're unlikely to remember much before your 4th birthday as you weren't really defined yet. The beginning birth of values defines us, our minds, and our memories. This is only a beginning. True communal memories likewise require a formal ethical birth for any participating loyalties. To be "true" to oneself, one critically needs admirable goals, a clear understanding of where one will and can stand, a process of honest and objective review, and a day-to-day plan for how to get things done and paid for. In business, these ideas are formalized in a Mission statement (an unidentified soldier in WWII that could not state his mission was automatically shot), a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), a Marketing Plan (updating it at least quarterly), an Implementation Plan (with good time and resource performance metrics), and a Financial Plan (with a Working Capital Policy). But, these concepts can carry a real punch only when they are based on a strong and legitimate vision ("where there is no vision, the people perish" Proverbs 24:18). A vision is a brief statement of one's to-be bucket list (who to be before kicking the bucket) for a continuing focus on quality, relationships, heart, and principles. Dr. Senge showed real change can only come from personal mastery (especially of math and the scientific method) mixed with reflective conversations (mirroring or a team charter), a shared vision, as well as a systems based understanding. Senge said, "That's when presence occurs. We shift from repeating past patterns and mistakes to transforming the emerging future." This
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 43 starts, however, as Gilbert says in Stumbling on Happiness, with being continually unhappy with the world and thus striving to change it. Warren Buffet has said while others look at the changes needed in the world and ask "Is that possible?" that he instead looks and only asks "Do I care?" We should also take a class in sales (in 1986, Dr. Paul Wehr found 59% of universities offered at least one course in techniques such as negotiations, collective bargaining, arbitration, and mediation) for restructuring the world's inter-organizational and inter-personal hierarchies and identities. I've written a popular text on this (*). This can start at any age. When Alexandra Scott was four-years old, she started a lemonade stand to raise money to fight cancer, she raised $2,000 the first year but kids around the country followed suit and together rose over $900,000. Research into motivation has suggested humans are chiefly reactive; that is to say, we generate responses to stimuli (Skinner) such as certain physiological, social, and psychological needs (Maslow), or certain satisfiers and dissatisfiers (Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman), expected payoffs and the prevailing environment (Porter and Lawler; Vroom and Yetton), individual goals (Locke), or by expectancy cognitive processes (Hoy and Miskel). The number of wide-ranging viewpoints suggests that "conceptual clarity will not result in one unified theory of motivation" (Pintrich) as well as the need "to consider frameworks larger than the self" (Weiner). Spirituality is core to one's quality of life and sense of well being (Maslow; Buber; Campbell; Diener; Fox; Paloutzian and Kirkpatrick). Maslow said, "I consider [Humanistic Psychology] to be transitional, a preparation for still 'higher' psychology, transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, self-actualization, and the like. Without the transcendent and the transpersonal, we get sick, violent, and nihilistic, or else hopeless and apathetic. We need something 'bigger than we are' to be awed by and to commit ourselves to in a new, naturalistic, empirical, non-churchly sense." Drs. Woodruff and Cashman have likewise recently advocated the need for a "spiritual" dimension. Drs. Leider and Shapiro (Repacking Your Bags) showed the greatest fear is "Having lived a meaningless life." What keeps us from building such spiritual communities of support? It is the feeling that no one could possibly be going through the same insanity or ending up at the same sad place. Suicidal thoughts are often resolved by being able to talk freely with people behaving similarly. Where could I, for example, ever find others so weird as to write something like this craziness? Group Therapy, of course, is specifically designed to discover how we are not unusual no matter what we've experienced or done. A baby starts out with only the simplest functioning mental abilities. But, when a surprisingly small densely-packed region at the brain's base increases connections, coordination increases and a self is born. The same is true concerning the human associations needed for the development of a shared identify. Significant activities amongst a small central group can energize the surrounding community due to natural mimicking of any behavior (we are more dependent on others than we appreciate). Leadership does not come from a leader but from the team built by the first follower. Start then by finding kooks to follow and team. The ability to solve complicated problems using a shared self is so valuable the human brain has evolved to be 10% smaller over the past 10 millennia as the development of shorter and faster neural links for language turns out to be more useful than the intelligence needed for personal problem solving. For every ten made neural (or human) connections, four are typically culled (or, in Facebook terms, unfollowed). There have been various critical social process improvements that generated exponential paradigm shifts causing informational singularities throughout history. The Agricultural Revolution (when corn, rice, and wheat happened to adapt to environmental changes after the last ice age) for the Hunter-Gatherer, then the Industrial
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 44 Revolution (based on sudden increases in global trade due to larger sailing ship and the steam engine) and the Information Revolution (based on developingintelligent data silos). But, what's next? As I mentioned earlier, many suggest we are already in the Symbiotic Age's revolution of relational sciences for networks of customer generated sub-economies using social currencies. Collapsing social norms, increasing job displacement, and mounting wealth mal-distribution will bring greater pressures for better education (especially financial) and social ego development. How can one person generate sufficient conflict for evolution (or revolution)? Reconciliation is not about changing truth as it is us who are to be reconciled to accept what is true. Confucius said the first task of reconciliation was "defining the names of things" as justice is not possible when words do not correspond properly to facts. At first, we reject great artists (or saints). But, they gnaw at us until our worldview changes. For instance, Ronald Coase's "The Nature of the Firm" was so controversial it took 54 years for him to get a Nobel Prize. Plato's definition of art as imitation of life was employed until last century's anti-essentialist movement, fueled by the collage art style (starting with Picasso's Still Life with Chair Caning) that carried us beyond the cubistic illusion of multiple perspectives to a far more real collective view of the spiritual impact of the world on our well-being. Art is life; life is art. Today, the common failure of art books to make a "proper" distinction between montage and collage threatens this reflective art revolution. The social revolution associated with the American and French Revolutions birthed the attitude (implied, said Williams, in the word Romanticism) that for great art to occur, as Nietzsche stated, "two things must come together: The immense understanding of those who cause it to happen, and the immense understanding of those who experience it." These two groups represent the first two of real change, the first preacher and the first follower. Social Constructionism works in this way to describe how people cooperate in building the subjective element of our social reality (Berger and Luckmann's 1966 The Social Construction of Reality). "Each society needs critics and artists to idealize a higher order of freedom than that which has been actually attained." Ben Agger, On Happiness and the Damaged Life, in John O'Neill's (ed.), On Critical Theory. The modern concepts of emotional intelligence (Dr. Daniel Goleman) and will power (as per Dr. Howard Rachlin's The Science of Self Control) are defined by behaviorists as one's learned ability (via Taylor's sticks and carrots in Scientific Management, 1911 but more by just treating people fairly) to do just the opposite of what makes us happy (or "hyperbolic discounting"). If we are really ready to grow up and give up our belief in humankind's innate goodness, DARE, court witnesses, the Super Bowl, "strong" STJ leaders, and making women happy, this is what the recent Occupy Movement should be about. Our current communities must fail in order to allow them to actively seek for something better. The World Bank says that 25 years ago, the bottom quarter of the world's poor had 24% of the world's income; now, after a quarter century of hard core happiness seeking, they have only 1.2%. Continuing to live as we have is not sustainable. "For the lotus flower to fall is for it to rise to the surface" Henry S. Okazaki Lotus plants live under water and so when one of its flowers "falls" off, it can only rise to the top. Most martial arts have names that imply gentleness. To understand how lethal techniques can be gentle lies in the philosophical foundation. In Judo terminology, the one being thrown is the "uke" or receiver. Students spend most of their time learning how to fall as falling (or failing) is life's most common activity. Becoming the best at failure is respected as being more productive than being the best at success. Not only is falling a common experience and how quickly we are able to pick ourselves up after a fall a key metric of character, but we learn far more from failure. Judo initiates are likely at first to be apprehensive about looking silly during uncontrolled flipping
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 45 or about getting hurt. The mentality of the uke, however, is not one of resignation or stubborn resistance. The fall does not signal defeat as one can control the fall by absorbing the force and bouncing up again developing skill and determination. In established training halls, experienced students can often be seen happily taking self-sacrificing falls and blows from new students, the brighter of which soon realize there is something more to this activity then there seems. All learn respect by bowing and self control with atonement over punishment (such as "dropping for ten" without being asked when late), or internal self-discipline over all external community liability. The most powerful point of a person's punch (or kick) is about an inch from full extension; the weakest point is at the person's shoulder (or hip). The idea is to diffuse an attacking limb rather than remove it as breaking the limb could easily escalate any confrontation. Thus, the ideal position makes you the perfect target as you pass through the greatest danger in order to get close enough to diffuse the situation. Boxers know the most dangerous punch is the sucker punch (or a combination); and, focusing on the obvious or first punch will cause you to miss the real attack. People will likewise cover undermining comments with terms of endearment so we can feel bad but without understanding how we got to feel that way. We must 1) recognize being attacked, 2) identify the type of attack, usually hidden, 3) know the best type of response to fit the attack, and 4) know how to follow through. Mental and physical health requires we develop the skills to quickly recognize how we are being attacked and know how to defend ourselves. The highest authority in the classic dojo was not the instructor, but a Shinto Priest because the measure of success was character and not by the number of kills. Dojos never advertised but acquired students only by inviting those deemed worthy (a foreign idea for those who think "fair" means the greatest access). Senishiro Okazaki, father of judo, often said "Only by cultivating a receptive state of mind, without preconceived ideas or thoughts can one master the secret art of reacting spontaneously and naturally, without hesitation and without purposeless resistance." Or, in the words of Paul Arden (2003), "It's not how good you are; it's how good you want to be." Knowledge is not power In Kipling's "Jungle Book," Mobley asked the animals what was most feared in the Jungle. He was told when two animals meet on a narrow path, one must step aside to let the larger animal pass and so that which would step aside for no other must be the most feared. One suggested this would be the elephant, another, the lion. Finally, the owl exclaimed, "The most feared thing in the jungle is death. It steps aside for no one." The reality is we sadly spend our days regularly stepping aside for death. Christ said He had overcome death for us, that it was possible to get death (and fear) to step aside for us, including the resulting disappointment, bondage, deficient time, natural disasters, and physical ailments. I've never met anyone who actually lives this way. And, that's because it's not a natural way to live, it must be learned. I believe (this is the basis for Terror Management Theory) it is specifically our suppressed fear of death that causes us to be squeamish as well as easily be permanently traumatized by unexpected reminders of death. When a cop stops a drunk on the road, he or she must administer many different eye-hand coordination tests in order to find one for which the person has not already become an expert. In the same way, repeated attacks on our identity only work when they can find a path not expertly blocked. It doesn't even have to be a large road or major attack, just one we don't expect. This may be how, for instance, a small image can become such a permanently repeating nightmare for a soldier, EMT, firefighter, construction worker, or just any small child. Rather than trying to cover every exit, though, we would be better off with a more open approach of facing our fears.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 46 I've talked about how this starts with exposure therapy. There have been many who wanted to be doctors who found being easily upset at the sight of blood stopped them. The most common solution is to work around lots of blood (such as in an emergency room). But, this is not really enough. The intellectual understanding also helps (or cognitive therapy) and building healthier boundaries (based on the hidden emotion model) can also help. Finally, stronger relationships are also clearly critically important (spiritual theory) but sadly often overlooked. I think, though, the real focus should not be on our relationship with mom (Freud) but on our liaison with death. The sight of bodily secretions (blood, vomit, feces), mutilation (surgeries, wounds, corpses), decay (human flesh, meat, fish), insects, hospitals, brutal violence, and actions that violate one's ethics (or social norms) can cause one to be dizzy or even lose consciousness. I've seen children clean out a litter box by hand and others eat bugs. Feral children, like animals, lack any "normal" capacity for disgust. Thus, it is clearly taught. Alternately, I've seen rough and tough men gag from changing a diaper and I've seen girls "die" because of touching urine or diarrhea. We end up both repulsed and attracted to the feeling (feeding the popularity for shows like Fear Factor, the Surgery Channel, South Park, as well as cigarettes) with both cultural and individual differences. There's likely something that's guaranteed to turn your stomach. Not surprising, there has been very little research on things that repulse us as little research has been done on flashbacks, but there's support for them being based on rare emotional events involving survival signals where recalling them feels more like reliving the event. For example, circular burns in one's front lawn can remind that person of the headlights of a car that hit him or her and trigger re-experiencing the accident. Flashbacks have been associated with PTSD, acute stress disorder, OCD, depression, homesickness, near-death experiences, epilepsy, and drug abuse. We are capable, though, of suspending our disgust. For example, sharing spit can switch from revolting to desirable when we add the idea of sex. Similarly, Hitler has "cooties" as people tend not to want to wear, for example, a sweater if they're told it belonged to Hitler. People who are disgust sensitive also tend to display a greater fear of death and neuroses (or over socialized); people who are disgust insensitive tend to be thrill seekers and psychotic (or under socialized). Both can change. Not who they are but how they act and relate to others. The real change is our perspective. It is a common belief that people fear change, but we accept huge change for things like marriage. The most favored phrase is well known to be "I like you" (or "I love you") but such carries less weight with me due to how often people have said it to me without being honest. I most like to hear "You make me think." But, it's becoming just as much a letdown for the same reason. People are rarely able to say what they actually came up with. It's the same with inspirational books as people can similarly never suggest what they were inspired to do. When you're hungry, you eat. If you're thirsty, you drink. That's how it's supposed to work. Too often, however, we eat and drink without being hungry. The same happens with death and fear. The dread of exposing everything within us that is vulnerable and helpless, inadequate, or ugly makes being transformed by allowing oneself to deeply know and be known seem impossible. So simple to articulate, so difficult to achieve, this requires the courage, integrity, and maturity to face oneself and convey that self, all that one is capable of feeling and expressing, to others. This begins with the learned ability to mourn well. While mourning our lost childhood dreams is a natural reflex, our feel good, be happy society never teaches us how (or why) to grieve well. Quality grieving starts by giving oneself permission to do what's needed, without necessarily obeying the status quo about how, what, and when you're supposed to grieve. Expressions of suicidal feelings are typically met with an anti-grief policy based on repressing such thoughts with shame. Finding our own pace is difficult when all those around us are so uncomfortable
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 47 with our grief. Taking off to be alone, say, doesn't provide any external authorization to grieve as needed to initiate the support network key to properly deal with losing a large part of our social world (the source of most all stress). People typically work to be serious when with sad friends, but that's usually not helpful. It's good to encourage moments to laugh (and other distractions) especially about death. This is why I believe celebrating Halloween can be spiritually healthy. Losing someone or something you love will naturally seem unfair. If corresponding anger is not felt and expressed, a person can be filled with a depression and shame that won't ever go away as tears (or the heavy use of antidepressants) won't help when, perhaps, yelling or revenge was needed. When the process of grieving, say, is interrupted by having to deal with practical issues of survival (such as earning a living) or being the strong one to hold a family together, a healthy resolution can sadly remain unsettled and dormant, only later resurface during seemingly wholly unrelated unpleasant incidents. Whether yelling or revenge, it's important not to be excessive. You may be angry with yourself or others for not being able to prevent the loss. Symptoms can include lost sleep, lost appetite, and restlessness in the first few months. More importantly, the fear of losing someone or something else is common and can result in the excessive worrying about the potential for further loss, letting our emotions from loss spill over into everything else. It can seem like you'll never get over what happened and feel normal again. People associate such problems only with combat soldiers, but any overwhelming life experience will do this – especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable. It can also happen to people just witnessing great loss or picking up the pieces afterwards (as with friends, family, or emergency workers). In order to move on, it's important to fully experience your memories and emotions. One of the key ways in which people suck is that they usually assume someone else is taking care of a problem. This is how a dozen people can watch a rape, for instance, and no one will call the police. It sadly falls on the victim to give one specific person the responsibility such as in yelling "You in the blue shirt next to the stop sign, call for help now!" Personally, school rarely taught me anything useful when I was a kid and was usually unsafe. Alas, my parents did little despite having great resources in those areas. I now believe, much later as an adult, that if I had given my Dad specific requests, he would have spent hours teaching me. Plus, if I had gone to my mother and said "Sick 'em!" that no bully (including most teachers) would have dared mess with me. The same is true of your pain right now. No one is likely coming to your aid (or doing anything actually useful) as they assume someone else is doing it (despite all evidence to the contrary). Thus, it falls on you to tell people what you need (even strangers will gladly step up). It doesn't have to be anything important; you could just, for instance, ask for a glass of water as watching others jump to help can have the healing effect of reinforcing how you are not alone. Overt efforts to challenge your normal sense of helplessness are core to overcoming trauma. Rituals can be very important in helping to find closure through the grieving process. Just as I once freed myself psychologically of the stress of a high pressure job by ritually changing my clothes when I got home – a funeral can help us access the finality of a change in our lives. And so, I have literally buried written lost dreams and relationships in the back yard to help move to a new peace. Remember funerals are not done alone, talk often about your grief and memories with people you trust. In the same way a baptism is a public thing, so letting a part of you and your life go is best shared. Tell those around you what helps and what doesn't (and feel free at any time to change your mind). Ask others to share times in silence. You can also ask people to pick up groceries, run small errands, drive you somewhere, or help with other simple chores. Again, this is not about becoming manipulative but interconnected. So, also work to help others.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 48 In the 4th book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series entitled So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, Ford Prefect tells Author Dent of a democratic world of people where lizards rule. Author asks "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?" And, Ford answers "It honestly doesn't occur to them. They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want." The people vote for the lizards "because if they didn't vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in. Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them. They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it." Lizards are very intriguing creatures. Their brains had evolved for over 300 million years. Yet, for all their evolution, they form no bonds as love does not exist for them. They are incapable of dreaming, contemplating beauty, or of knowing something greater than themselves. So, would you say crying or laughing would be the best response if you wanted to properly grieve over living in that kind of world (and I've spent a lot of time and energy proving to you that's exactly the type of world you do live in)? And, of course, the correct answer is both as well as a good bit of ice cream and lots of gin. ☺ Remember life is designed to be forgotten (sometimes temporarily, but later permanently). We are supposedly born without a subconscious but one is quickly created to hide the sudden and never ending list of disappoints that comes with being alive. A work friend once broke his thumb during a karate match but seemed to be unbothered by it. After the match, however, he bowed, turned, and fell to his knees in pain. His unconscious fight response had suppressed the pain until a better time to properly deal with it. I have similarly seen and experienced how resolving a childhood issue that has forever been on your mind can suddenly somehow be wholly forgotten. Sleep, in fact, is primary about forgetting stuff. After a good night's sleep, your brain drops from consuming 40% of your body's metabolism to 20% as your brain is refreshed for the next day. So, don't feel guilty about forgetting your pain (whether suppressed for later or outright deleted). I have found poetry and music about pain can help find the words to release feelings. Keeping a journal is better. Writing this paper helped me get my feelings and experiences out. Then, try to decide what lesson(s) you can take away from the experience. Realizing self-awareness is the one thing you have control over can help you come to terms with not having control over other areas of your life. Shorten this lesson down to a one sentence mantra and say it often to others. Life, if defined by growth based on conflict resolution, is best shared For New Age philosophy, this would instead be "to live in harmony with all things." Personally, mine is just the opposite to "live in conflict with all things." New Age beliefs are more socially acceptable today than any real quality efforts - but every management guru for 50 years has stated healthy cultures are only those that actively support (not just tolerate) conflict and teach conflict resolution rather than avoidance. Moreover, with success being only truly available on the other side of failure (rather than the more commonly acceptable New Age idea of being a personal either-or choice), mental health is about enthusiastically seeking geometrically more failure while also improving like-minded group efforts. This level of social health has never been seen as it requires killing our existing social identity based on little more than boring groupthink. How do you die to self without actually dying? While we like to believe that life drives us crazy, it is more likely that attempts to resolve crazy stuff drives our life. For example, we might suggest the pressures of work might leave us numb when it's more likely that feeling numb drove us to get the high pressure job. Engaging in chaos is a common way to distance our feelings. Normal sadism is deceitfully withholding the intimacy
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 49 one actually hungers after (Schnarch, 1997). In The Games People Play (1963), Dr. Eric Bernie says the most basic relationship roles are Persecutor, Rescuer, and Victim. The Rescuer plays selfless helper without first verifying the Victim wants help. The annoyed Victim then switches to Persecutor using insults and escalating emergencies to make the Rescuer a Victim. Zimbardo and Singer (more later) showed a person's identity is primarily based on the roles that we play. While reflection and relational assistance can, however, overcome the world's rainbow of grays and such hidden agendas to return us to truth's objective black and white, it takes great candor. Solomon was demolishing confidence in manmade achievements and wisdom in Ecclesiastes to show that earthly goals as ends in themselves lead to only dissatisfaction and emptiness. Ecclesiastes and its realistic view of life counterbalance the unqualified optimism of traditional wisdom. Proverbs says "the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied" but Ecclesiastes isn't so sure. Proverbs extols wisdom where Ecclesiastes questions its value. Proverbs affirms justice is meted to the good and bad, but Ecclesiastes notes this is not always the case. Solomon points out while a righteous order does exist it is not always evident from our limited finite perspective. Faith is a belief in something based on rational knowledge and is also something more. It should not be blind (without any understanding) but be about hope that can be reasonably explained. Personal growth is about gaining greater differentiation or discrimination (ability to differentiate and articulate differences). Our normal undifferentiated view that "bad" things happen to us just fuels our problems. We internalize external situations and magnify and perpetuate the very pain we seek to resolve. Instead of seeing other people's behavior as a reflection on us, being aimed at us, or in fact anything to do with us, we should see other people's behavior as but a reflection of them, aimed at themselves. While most therapists tend to assume others primarily determine our picture of ourselves and concentrates treatment on what others said to us in our youth, Dr. Branden showed the greatest wounds are those we inflict on ourselves. Without playing games we can make promises to ourselves and not to others. The danger of such uncoupling is when we don't really know who we are and end up without any anchoring point. We then die (perhaps not literally but still in very real terms). We need to stop taking life personally and work from a larger worldview. The other option is taking a break, such as "I need to take a break from being your father, friend, or spouse." "Making love, making a friendship, or making a family are tasks of constant commitment and of sacrificing some possibilities on behalf of others." (Engelhardt, 1987) While separation can improve or destroy a relationship, we grow specifically by mastering our anxieties. You can't provide anything to others if you're not around, so prioritize better! And remember, Peter took a break to grieve over his failures to support Christ but then came back. Heck, Paul took a 20 year break working as a carpet salesman before he was able to return. Anxiety problems never affect only one area of our lives but will drive the poorly differentiated person like the light-aversion of an amoeba, causing one to live in constant flight. Many people act as if anything increasing anxiety must be "wrong." Problems are the result of our intolerance for (and susceptibility to) anxiety rather than the anxiety itself. We tend to "improve" our lives by reducing anxiety and pain rather than more resolution and actively seeking adventure. Living life to its fullest doesn't come from playing it safe. Alas, often the only way we can see to die to self is to roll up in the fetal (or bug) position and to actually die. Dying to self is rather about taking greater (but not foolish) risks. It is just as easy to rise to our strengths as to sink to our anxieties. This is more difficult alone. The external perspective has a much easier time seeing us honestly. Part of independence, however, is taking the responsibility for determining the accuracy of one's perceptions, making one's own mistakes, and paying the consequences. All of this is important
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 50 when taking advice from others as well. Growth is as much about tolerating and encouraging confusion (aka insanity) as it is about tolerating and encouraging anxiety. It is about developing a healthy worldview allowing us to feel safe as the world is increasingly insane and dangerous. Individuals who have experienced the trials and tribulations of transient friends and fads are often better at throwing off ill-fitting social norms and adopting values more true to themselves. Remember this when others (or yourself) tell you it's important to think and act "appropriately." Building better relationships, though, is not about finding "better" people, as all people suck. It's about convincing others to share the walk with you on the road to greater awareness. This will be the most difficult sale of your life, so don't underestimate the immensity of the undertaking. Dr. Whyte says his greatest asset while he was institutionalized was friends and family working with him to get him sane. However, what if those people are the problem and not the solution? When are you the happiest? When were you the most proud? When are you the most afraid? Who else is there and what are the facilitating factors? What do you most need to overcome? Most importantly, how do you make others feel wholly isolated, numb, and fruitless? When I am amusing (especially in telling a good story), creative (or sharing in someone else's creativity), courageous, and family-oriented, I am most me. These values are clearly a bit personal, but there are also values universally sought after such as being adequately able to meet other's as well as our own expectations while generating successes (rather than just happiness) with ever increasing efficiency and virally cultivating greater concern for truth and love in all concerned. If you intend to make a motorcycle but end up only making a warped entanglement you may have created a popular abstract sculpture but the effort would not be a quality one. Intention counts! It is well documented you can get only incremental improvements by trying to make people happy. Awe inspiring epiphanies come from moving beyond such a limited worldview. In business, this is called moving beyond customer satisfaction to delight, loyalty, and "wowing." "Every exit is an entry somewhere else." Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1994) by Tom Stoppard Dr. Phil Zimbardo (famous for his 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment) has shown our potential for good and bad is largely based on situations. He challenges us in his The Lucifer Effect (2008) to look beyond glib denunciations of evil-doers and ponder our collective responsibility for all of the world's ills. His troubling finding is that nearly anyone, given the "right" influences, can easily be compelled to abandon moral scruples and cooperate in violence and oppression (becoming one of the mob). How can we construct crucibles in which authority, power, and dominance are not blended and covered with secrecy to suspend our humanity and rob us of the qualities we say we most value? How do we die to ourselves and not just become more Zombies? In less than a week, healthy and blessed young men developed pathological symptoms and made a university mock prison into a hellhole. The truth is the more open we are, the more easily we are seduced and manipulated. We need to "know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em." Most of us are not placed in the heat of war or the inhumanity of prisons (even fake ones). But, our lives are filled with the same compelling social tensions. How do we build environments that sustain instead of crush ideals? Or, how do we build a world where dying to self is a safe thing to do? First, is following the old adage concerning committing acts of kindness, except that they must be about forgiveness and not kindness such as writing an adversary a get-well note and then spending time giving helpful advice to a stranger. Second, they mustn't be random or based on "one life at a time." Such efforts must instead be intentional and based on viral or exponential goals. You are only "successful" when you have managed to repeatedly get others to do things
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 51 so positive that they could have never imagined doing it before and restart the cycle by teaching them to do the same. Sadly, no one has ever attempted such reverse-Milgram efforts. We know from dissonance theory that behavior begets beliefs. "Get people to perform good actions and they will generate the necessary underlying principles to justify them." (p449, The Lucifer Effect) Such decency "sales," says Zimbardo, would involve three basic influence strategies: 1) the foot-in-the-door, 2) social modeling, and 3) self-labeling. The first step involves asking someone to do a small request and then later asking them to comply with a related but bigger request (which was the actual goal all along). For example, signing a petition or survey can greatly increase a person's likelihood of actually doing something related. The second step is to provide social modeling where others are seen doing the same sort of things. And third, the ways things are framed is often more influential than the arguments themselves. While voters are against reducing estate taxes for the rich, most also favor limiting any "death tax." For any defiance to be truly heroic, it must attempt to change the system as a whole. Parents can nurture children's ability to help by pretending to drop something. Children with failed parental relationships that failed to model altruism tend to grow up to be quitters (says a study in 1986). Teachers should design school assignments to promote cooperation rather than competition. Opportunities for reflection and family based assistance can overcome many of the world's hidden agendas. In other words, truly changing the world for the better can only come from those who have learned how to sell vacuum cleaners door to door or how to convince strangers to join their cult or gang. 100% of American POWs in the Korean War in camps managed by the Chinese became enemy collaborators. In winning the hearts and minds of their prisoners, they got them to 1) sign a letter detailing ways America wasn't perfect in order to get additional kindnesses (such as a desert), 2) read those letters across the camp (and other camps) so that it could be seen as a common thing to do, and 3) when new prisoners called authors of such letters "enemy collaborators" it caused the older letter-writing prisoners to label themselves the same way (as they couldn't say they had been forced to write the letters). Sadly, we believe today that water boarding is better. I am of Irish descent and I've lived most of my life in a country where half of its people were too. How did the Irish, who were so hated, become so successful? With the most effective gangs. One of my "approved" charities is Amor Ministries. Two attorneys (husband and wife) quit their practice in L.A. and convinced churches across the Southwest into allowing them to help the churches choose where to build homes in Mexico. Then, they went to churches in Mexico and asked them to help with such decisions providing: 1) No politics: no one could ever suggest that since another church got a new house for one of its members that one of its members had to get one, decisions could only be based on need, and 2) Any other church could participate. The biggest effect has thusly been getting churches of very different denominations to work together. The ultimate goal then, is not to build homes for the homeless but to change people from finding only personal solutions to building better relationships with strangers to resolve social problems. Also, practice "cutting bait" instead of resolutely "staying the course." It is also good to practice saying "no" when you mean "yes" in order to counter how often you say "yes" when you mean "no." Practice taking a moment to relax and reflect before speaking. A dramatic pause not only can provide a thinking opportunity, but it can make what you say seem more important. Ask for evidence to support other's assertions and demand ideologies be sufficiently elaborated. Reject simple KISS solutions to complex problems. Even in quiet, one can assert their unique identity. But, go beyond this and work to change the social conditions that make people feel anonymous. Always rebel against unjust authority while being free to go too far and then apologize liberally.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 52 The most favored messages are simple, surprising, credible, empowering, and tell a story (see Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath). Dr. Cialdini is renowned for summarizing the principles of social influence of Reciprocity (why sales people offer you a water or coffee), Commitment and Consistency (why salespeople have you fill out paperwork even before we're ready to buy), Social Proof ("everyone who is anyone is doing it"), Liking (we prefer people who mirror us), Authority (dressing and using the lingo of someone who knows), and Scarcity ("only available today"). Just as most people can't explain why a nice sounding comment makes them feel bad but Dr. Suzette H Elgin can, most people can't logically explain most of their decisions, but Dr. Cialdini can. The most influential statements are questions allowing the listener the chance to create their own arguments for a given position. We must learn to use or defend against these methods. The only cult members who refused the poisoned cool-aid at Jonestown were the few who never accepted Jones' assistance. Go against the norm. Dress distinctively. Seek honest (even rude) over likable or impressive people. Avoid people who tell you how special you are – they're just selling something (unlike Christ, who was instead famous for not saying nice things). In our normal 2-dimentional entity based worldview, we only think of bad people as those doing bad things as compared to good people identified by doing good things. First, I am not fond of the limited moral view of good and bad. Second, our real impact is viral in nature. Thus, I would argue it is better to instead consider healthy people as those who get others to act and think in a more healthy way while unhealthy people get others to act and think in less healthy ways. For this reason, Dr. Hare's psychopathy checklist includes patterns of charm, excessive self-worth, pathological lying (not delusions but possibly sufficiently vivid as to eventually actually believe one's own lies – what I call the highest form of lying), manipulation, inability to feel remorse, lack of empathy with real emotion being short-lived and egocentric, failure to accept responsibility (all of these characteristics so far being of the narcissistic personality found highly related to low risk of suicide and high scores for achievement and social potency, more so in female psychopaths), easily bored, parasitic life, poor behavioral control, lack of realistic long-term goals, impulsivity, delinquency (characteristics of the socially deviant lifestyle that is more often present in male psychopaths), as well as numerous short-term empty relationships (such as promiscuous sexual behavior) and comfort with criminal behavior. Another trait more recently identified, however, is the active acquisition of sociological conditioning to be able to develop pathologies in others. To be truly successful (either "good" or "bad") requires the ability to convince others to act similarly. Alas, Lizards are naturally good at such viral effectiveness while Zombies are unsurprisingly not. Dr. Cleckley asserts difficult people (Lizards) are relatively immune to suicide. Even though they frequently cause great harm to others, their emotional detachment keeps them safe from guilt. In practice, mental health professionals rarely treat psychopaths, considering them untreatable. It is argued such personalities are an evolutionary result of a competitive environment because they help get positive results for both the individual and the corporations that employ them. But, these are only short-term gains and such people (what Dr. Hare calls "intra-species predators") always create long-term problems due to their unhealthy influences on everyone around them. Lizards, like Zombies, grow up seeing themselves (and all people) as but deplorably mediocre. I believe the virally corrupting desires of Lizards have only recently been identified as it runs so contrary to what we need to believe in order to maintain a "healthy" self-esteem. Depressingly, data since 1950 show child deaths are increasingly homicidal despite most called accidental (at a rate six times faster than general homicides), which is being suppressed (Dr. Prescott, 1996). We also don't like to think such offenders could be made by unhealthy relationships at "windows of opportunity" (such as teenage years). People's influences on growing synaptic networks are
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 53 more likely to determine if a child will grow up to be a surgeon or a slacker than any choice they might make themselves. Therefore, the only way to break the pathological cycle is to distance unhealthy people. For me, it was my teachers. For most, it is mom (Prescott). Instead of calling CPS on unhealthy environments built by therapists, teachers, cops, religious leaders, or mom, it is just easier to imagine bad people doing bad things by personal bad choices independent of all external forces and then "generate the necessary underlying principles to justify" this worldview. At a minimum, if we can't get therapists, teachers, cops, religious leaders, and moms "fired," we should work to help others build up their defenses to such corrupting influences (to be "good"). Dr. Milgram's Yale Teacher-Learner and Dr. Zimbardo's Stanford Prison experiments are today illegal as Dr. Baumrind found knowing such hidden truths developed "permanent psychological damage which caused people to be less trusting in the future." Dr. Milgram showed we would all apply potentially lethal voltages to "teach" strangers compliance as we've all been schooled to obey all authority figures. Dr. Zimbardo showed we would all override any individuality to obey even arbitrary social rules. The students playing guards, inmates, guards, and observers never stopped the experiment. Even Dr. Zimbardo himself was seduced by his desire for any and all arbitrary rules. I recently met a daughter of one of Milgram's subjects – she said her father often bragged at dinner when she was a child for being one the few able to provide without doubt the full lethal voltage multiple times even after the "student" seemed unconscious without additional inducement. In a follow up survey, 84% were also glad to have participated. Drs. Sheridan and King found (as did Dr. Milgram) all women (but half of men) quite willingly provided the full lethal voltage when they redid the experiment with a cute, fluffy puppy. It is important to additionally learn that great cruelty comes more easily after minor acts of cruelty. Then, Dr. Watson and Dr. Rayner showed how easy it was to condition fear into a person at will (also illegal today as such conditioning could never be reversed). Dr. Harlow cruelly forced monkeys into isolation to create such sadness, and two starved themselves. Dr. Loftus's Misinformation Effect (the learned skill to force false memories onto others) is far more effective on those with empathy and caring. If the way we process and store information is so dependent on external forces, what exactly is the demarcation of where we can be sure (and how) we actually end and others might begin? Just as 12th Grade academic tests can discern which Kindergarten teacher we had, those we interact with are as much a part of us as we are of them. Individuality turns out to be something that's shared. In 1932-1972, American scientists (acting much like the German scientists found guilty of punishable ethical crimes) decided not to provide medical treatment to 600 poor black men of which 400 had been infected with Syphilis in order to study the progress of the disease. The story did not come to light until 1972 (by a whistleblower) after many wives and children had also contacted Syphilis (and yet, the courts steadfastly refused to hear a class action suit). Dr. John R. Heller defended the ethics of the study to the end, stating: "The men's status did not warrant ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; clinical material, not sick people." In 2010, it was revealed that one of the involved doctors had duplicated the research in Guatemala from 1946 - 1948 by secretly exposing 696 men and women to Syphilis. The Willowbrook Study of the 50's to 70's involved intentionally infecting retarded children with the Hepatitis virus by feeding them stools from infected individuals as well as injections of purified virus preparations. A class action suit resulted in most of its residence being "dumped" into public housing (such as in the Westside apartments managed by the mother of a friend I met at my upstate Alma Mater). What these crimes against humanity have in common is widespread complacency. Too often we attack problems by only asking who is to blame and then feel the resolution is completed when a general consensus has been formed. Such as: this is wrong, let's decide who is to
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 54 blame, get rid of them, and then claim the problem is solved. Buts, that's just a smoke screen. Neither Satan or Eve were primarily blamed for "sin entering into the world," but instead Adam for standing right next to Eve with full use of his resources and choosing to do nothing, neither the psychopath nor his or her target deserves the greatest share of the blame for "sins." The greatest blame must go to the so schooled and obeying masses that are repeatedly forced to witness their complacency and yet do nothing to change. While changing themselves (from a psychological perspective) may not be possible, we know full well how to change society. We often confuse "defenses" against such social crimes with being weak, but this is specifically how the STJ Lizards took control in the first place. We must thusly fight to be taught how to be weak. After giving up our heroes, we must learn how to be strong by learning how best to be weak. The children of psychopaths (as all children) need to learn to respect those who are weak. It is but accepted wisdom that "no woman can love a weak man hard enough to make him strong." (Jennifer Armintrout) But, what is known by Shaolin priests, olympic athletes, and those elite military warriors of "special operations" about the power of weakness is kept secret from our children. It is also missing from the training of teachers, counselors, law enforcement, and even religious leaders who are instead taught power comes from becoming a member of the toughest group. The "Thin Blue Line" of law enforcement is also a part of each of these professions (such as doctors who won't testify against other doctors). Without the artificial backing and assistance of the state (certifications, endorsements, training that focuses on a group identity, etc.), through no achievement of their own, they are just one of us, rarely recognized by even the few astute among them. And so, it is unlikely that any would ever say "No, I am not going along with this." We have all experienced times of weakness and being powerless. It didn't feel good. How can we learn that weakness can be a source of strength? We hear about the gentleness of martial arts (physical and verbal) and the value of humility, but how can it be explained so a small child could understand? How would you clarify it for a child? For one instance of "weak being strong" is being one of the trusted maxims in the world of poker. The idea is firmly rooted in the reverse psychology of getting a person to do something based on pretending to want something else or something more. In other words, a poker player will act weak in hopes of inducing greater action when holding a strong hand. When psychopaths act strong, it is likely because they feel they're carrying a weak hand. Whenever a poker player speaks, they know they are likely providing key information to the entire table. A player also likely provides a key tell in how chips are placed in the pot. Expressing love and empathy can similarly feel like such an overt tell; and so, it is quite reasonable that the psychopath would think it foolish to display such weakness and openness. We must also respect the key motivation for being a psychopath is a desire for the pain to stop. Thusly, the way to respect the strength of weakness is to carry a "strong hand" from education. We should all take a class in statistics and retake it until we get an A. Six Sigma showed people who can do this are the most prepared to change the world. Life is about getting better (growth) and the mathematics of measuring better is statistics. Health professionals have always agreed lots of accurate information on the causes, symptoms, and process (with differentiation the best defense against being dissociated and disconnected) is an essential roadmap to any recovery process. Dr. DiSalvo observes "statistics lord over our lives every minute of every day" and he recommends we regularly practice metacognition (thinking about thinking). Examples include an Input-Processing-Output (or IPO) Analysis and Orthogonal Checklists. People often ask "Why not just have a good time?" It is critical, however, we learn to get comfortable with discomfort as there's no option for growth in comfort. Are you satisfied with your life? Answer "yes" and you've already lost. Be honest about suicidal thoughts and you might have a chance. Machiavelli writes
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 55 in The Prince how we sooner forget the death of our father than we do the loss of property. This is, in fact, why hotel room windows in Nevada are always built to open no more than a crack to stop people who have lost their money from then throwing away their apparently less important lives. My parents firmly believed that the person who knew the rules was king. This country is well over-lawyered (with lawyers being the best at knowing the rules of the land) and yet at the same time we are also grossly under-represented. It seems knowing the rules (and being king) naturally leads a person away from people. Sadly, we are increasingly ignorant of even our neighbor's names. I believe there is more to life than just the rules. But, this is not true alone. We should all take a class in counseling (until we get an A) in order to learn how to be better friends and a class in motivation (for an A) to be better teachers. The rules are but the skeleton to the flesh and blood that's possible when we choose to do more than just play king of the hill. "We pick up a few more people that remember every generation. Hold on to one thought: You're not important. Even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn't use what we got out of them. We went right on insulting the dead. That's where we'll win out in the long run. We're remembering. And someday we'll remember so much that we'll build the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we're going to go build a mirror factory and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them." -- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, 1953 I know what it feels like to want to die. My moment of greatest despair came sadly just as I had fulfilled my life's dream of becoming a father. My first born was just four months old as her mother left me so she could marry a High School Junior and take my new daughter with her. At my lowest, an angry man with dark curly hair came to me in a vision cursing me for wanting to waste the investment in me and demanded to know if I truly wished to taste death. There then appeared a door from which a great light reached out, unlike a normal light, as if it was the hand of truth. It was a light I had seen before as a child. And so, I was not surprised when its touch left me no longer tired even though I hadn't slept for a week, no longer hungry in spite of having not eaten, and no longer in pain notwithstanding that I was at the moment hanging from a lamp. The man told me if there were any reason for me to want death then I could have it. But, without exhaustion and hurt, which I then learned were but temporary shades, no matter how superior death might be, there was no enduring reason to want it. I sadly got to feel such despair twice more over the next two decades with a second wife whom I left due unrepentant affairs, not to mention the abuse of drugs and alcohol, and a third wife whom I left when her larceny as well as cruelty became simply more than I could bare. But there's more. Incredible resources were once spent over six months to investigate me as a French spy. It was based on an intentional overt lie hoping to pressure a friend into servitude by a rouge FBI Lizard. Nothing was proven, but I still lost my job while the Lizard still had his. Then, false claims of domestic violence (my attorney said fighting such a claim without evidence had a 50/50 chance of resulting in significant jail time and so I agreed to a no contest plea) left a record that made it difficult to find employment for the next decade and affected custody fights. I've not had much luck with people. I once had a friend who needed a place to stay for a few days while he got himself back on his feet. He told me later at bowling how he had gotten high and stolen my guitar and over $3,000 in electronics. I attract abusers despite being the safest person (I am the first person to ever get a perfect zero chance of cruelty score on the Child Abuse Potential or CAP inventory developed in the 70's). Positive Psychology believes grief is always short-lived and such garbage contributes little to my level of happiness. Positive psychology began as a new area of psychology in 1998 when Dr. Martin Seligman chose it as the theme for his term as president of the American Psychological
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 56 Association. Positive psychologists and surviving Vietnamese POWs offer a similar endurance rule of communal commitment, exercise, and prayer (or meditation). Studies, however, have shown there are in fact no unifying factors for the success of surviving prisoners. It turns out that those using such a plan are just more likely to give it credit. Dr. Frankl was a Nazi concentration camp survivor. His resolve to determine the meaningfulness in his suffering provided the will and sustenance to survive and escape the gas chambers. He felt individuals could proactively become involved in the creation of their existence through the pursuit for meaningfulness in all situations (what I called answering the "live or die" question). However, Dr. Seligman has also shown high self-worth is often a marker for negative behavior, as diagnosed in sociopaths and drug kingpins. The braggadocio, "I'm fine just the way I am," visibly inhibits personal growth. Chris Hedges writes scathingly about the social dangers of positive psychology in his blogs and his book Empire of Illusion (2009). He tells how proponents typical slip into obscure and wholly incomprehensible jargon about the all importance of harmony above all else. He snickers at the likes of Tony Robbins and Copperrider (whose clients include the US Navy, Wal-Mart, Boeing, HP, United Way, and the United Nations) when they claim anything is possible through "magical thinking" while never questioning underlying purpose and goals. Chris maintains the movement is to the modern corporation what eugenics was to the Nazis in that the "quack science" throws a smokescreen over the abuse and greed of controlling "Lizards." Positive Psychology claims the discontented person is the real problem and not any external conditions. Alas, it seems little has changed since William Ryan said in Blaming the Victim in 1970 "the formula is so smooth, it seems totally rational, but despite all their fancy words, it's still bigotry." Invalidating and abusive environments have been specifically defined for decades as one where a person's feelings are discounted as either inaccurate or inappropriate with comments like "life would be easier if you were more motivated," "worked harder," and "had more character," as well as "oh, you should never get angry" – the very words repeatedly recited in Positive Thinking seminars. With the feel of a religious revival, office managers and sales staffs are given inspirational talks by sports stars, retired military commanders, billionaires, and self-help specialists who all claim when the impossible proves not to be possible, it must be but our lack of motivation that is the root cause. To engage in any criticism of the corporate collective is seen as obstructive and negative. Those without positive attitudes are automatically seen as but maladjusted and in need of assistance. The earliest conversations I can remember were with the creator of the light that can be felt over how I thought people should just be nice to each other and not worry so much about adoration for a seemingly narcissistic deity. Such beliefs are but support for "Universal Anti-Christhood" in suggesting that any of us individually can at any time we choose overcome nature with thought. Dr. Held (2004) also criticizes Positive Psychology's lack of consistency and simplistic approach to negativity. Drs. Zagano and Gillespie (2006) similarly dislike the focus only on life's positive features while skipping over any negative problems such as ill health and for being based only on a life goal of being happy as defined by the absence of depression, anger, and withdrawal. Positive thinking advocate Seligman expressly warns us not to believe the past has any real influence on the future. When we fail to remember, though, history repeats itself and each time it does, the price of forgetting goes up. While such admonitions against any transitory pleasure as false and rival to real happiness seem to be based on but religious concepts of faith, hope, and charity, this modern positive thinking movement has little to coincide with Christian piety or fear of God. In using the language of virtue in abstraction separate from those of belief and practice, it suggests one can be spiritual without being religious. Spiritual well-being is a concept widely used in formal research studies. It focuses on the quality of relationships while religion focuses on specific theological doctrines, rituals, and creeds (existing even in Atheism). While these
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 57 terms are certainly not synonymous, you can't have an honest "what" (say, wanting to live) without a "why" (the logical support). Moreover, modern management theory places great value on encouraging even the fringe dissonant. Without doing so, efforts that are but sappy, vague, and unsupported will naturally be mistaken as professionally academic. Well yes, we are the problem, but only to the extent we allow Lizards to convince us of this crap. We must take risks by returning to understood fundamentals and not just become "exotic" (using illogical whys). Many have said they chose to marry when they are too young. They of course define age not chronologically but emotionally and spiritually. While we have no control over our physiological, intellectual, or chronological age, many would suggest we can select our social or emotional age something akin to choosing what we would have for dinner. Such people believe happiness is simply a state of mind one can select like deciding on a seasoning from the kitchen shelf. There is nothing more popular in the self-help world than the concept of positive thinking with "The person that thinks he can and the one that thinks he can't are both right." The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy begins this common myth with "as a man thinks in his subconscious mind" as if that was possible. The most popular of these modern wishing texts is Steven Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Certainly, of course, none of these self-proclaimed experts ever publish any research in scientific journals for objective peer review. I assume they believe positive thinking is its own proof. They are popular as most of us would prefer a world where only subjective experiences define truth and all opinions are valid (when in truth, most opinions are just blowing smoke or wishful thinking) and everyone has the right to be right all the time. In such a world, no one ever has to do the "do diligence" required for real truth. Education experts agree that the primary problem with American schools is their failure to teach children to be able to rely on themselves. And, students admit they lack maturity as well as well defined routines. "My social life was the more important thing." "I didn't want to miss out on a good time." "I procrastinated." Fatherhood is not about providing a shoulder to cry on but about raising kids not to need a shoulder by molding character and to thusly draw out the best in them. Even more important than emotional maturity is spiritual growth. While knowing one's values is core, we all tend to forget the importance of discernment. How can we say we value honesty if we can't recognize it from lies? All of my wives were experts at telling me just what I wanted to hear and I was a fool thinking people wouldn't do that (believing, as most do, that all people are basically good). More importantly, though, is that the gift or talent of discernment means seeing people (not to mention oneself) as mean little people. We joke about how TV sitcom character Dr. House says everyone lies ironically unable to be honest about our dishonestly. Naturally, it is difficult to see people truly as despicable as they are as well as be belittled and disbelieved by all whenever you say what you know to be true. Real spiritual strength is required to be able to discern truth. I would suggest it is a lack of this spiritual strength that is the greatest weakness. I have provided significant support (and can easily provide much more) for the idea that most all therapists, K-12 teachers, law enforcement, and religious leaders are but the most overpaid and under skilled, by every definition rightly called evil. And yet, it is extremely unpopular to say so. If you've never thought about suicide, you've never had sufficient spiritual strength to be honest. Covey asserts in Seven Habits, "The more closely our maps or paradigms are aligned with these principles or natural laws, the more accurate and functional they will be. Correct maps will infinitely impact our personal and interpersonal effectiveness far more than any amount of effort expanded on changing attitudes and behaviors." In The Devine Center, Covey further explains, "Because of the incorrect map inherited through centuries of apostasy, the sectarian world does not understand the above concepts. It impels their minds to great accusations and criticism of
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 58 those who are correctly programmed in these matters. They call the L.D.S. concept of an anthropomorphic God arrogant, presumptuous, and narcissistic. Their concepts drastically reduce man's ultimate potential (to become like God – to have the kind of life and character that God has). As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may become." Covey warns his readers specifically against seeking "any kind of special relationship" with Jesus Christ (Devine Center, pp. 67-69). It amazes me how such drivel can impress even the most devote Christian. My company just sent me a free copy of a book containing a collection of such 60 second cures for life; not one suggests value in being "the nail stuck out" as it will only get hammered down. I do not know if those of you who are parents or those planning to be parents can remember the first time you made a conscience decision concerning wanting children. For me, it was when I was four years old. I was sicker than I had ever been before and I could not stop throwing up. It was sadly not the first time I had been forced to come to terms with my mortality. Even though my mother was just as sick, her gentle touch on my brow and calming words helped me feel that everything was going to be alright. At that moment, I knew I wanted to be able to likewise help my own children to experience such confidence in life. What I hadn't known until decades later was how mom had been just as sick and filled with similar despair. But, at my mother's lowest point, a stranger had come to the door declaring she had heard of my mother's problems and was going to help. She went to the pharmacy and grocery and bought needed drugs and food. Why did that woman decide to come and help my mother? Some might suggest it doesn't matter because Mom got the help she needed and I got the comfort I needed. So, who cares? But, I want to know. And so, I have informally asked over a hundred people why they personally do "good." The most common answer from Christians has been to get to heaven (or to be seen as a good person) followed by "because it makes me feel good" and "what goes around, comes around." But, all of these reasons are just about getting stuff. And thusly, every MBA education includes the reminder that when marketing for a charity, never mention the good works only the good feelings (of being happy) that comes from giving. The truth is no thought, statement, or deed can be deemed "good," only the motivations. Just as important as living life intentionally rather than by default is to be able to also articulate your personal reason for living (or dying). Only one person of the hundreds asked how they picked their church answered, "God made it clear He had a work for me to do here." I don't believe we're each given a spiritual gift but rather we each have tasks presented to us (our fate) given to solve at our personal best (our destiny). When asked which of the commandments was the greatest and how might one get to heaven, Jesus told lines from the Jewish Shema prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4. This is the most popular verse in the Bible for Jews and every Jew learns it by four. It goes, "Listen, O Israel! The LORD our creator, the LORD is One. You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your assets." ("assets" is widely accepted among Bible translators to be more accurate than "strength" as is in English Bibles). The Shema is spoken with one's eyes closed (as in death) to symbolize striving for an understanding upon death (as well as before) of how all the "bad" in our lives was actually for our good. More simply put, people who get everything they want, wherever they want it, all the time don't grow very tall. The Bible says before creating us God first made a heaven of generous angels, but "whole crops were lost." In the second line, to love with our "heart" means to love with our emotional desires, to love with our "soul" means to love specifically in our worst moments (even to death), and, at last, to love with all our "assets" means to love even with all our property and money. The Sikh Bible opens with "The name of God is Truth." I have always argued nothing in the Christian Bible would change meaning if God were replaced with either love or truth. Thus, the line above could say "love the Lord your truth
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 59 with everything." In other words, be consistent without hypocrisy. Christ said a person who says bad things but does good is better than one who says good things but does bad. But, I would additionally say one who says bad and does bad has the benefit of being honest about himself. I have more respect for the Chinese person who openly admits to plans for stealing purchased software for all his or her friends and family than the American who lies about being honesty. Let me tell you more of my circumstances. As each of my four children hit puberty, I have been abandoned. Studies show losing children to death is less stressful than to divorce (perhaps due to the opportunity for closure). There are many movies about deadbeat and absentee fathers but none about such children (which is sadly far more typical). Then, my sister repeatedly beat me (nearly to death) even before I managed my first birthday. Should I have felt God allowing this to happen to me proof that He didn't exist or was the fact I was still able to walk when two neurosurgeons examining the spinal damage decades later stated they couldn't explain why I wasn't crippled provide some sort of proof that He does exist? My siblings found it easy to lie to our mother to get her to buy them homes, but when mom left me a trust with an equal sum, my brother forged my signature in an attempt to steal it for himself (as if it was a measure of her love and he had to have it all). Jim Butcher once said "When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching, they are your family." Oh, what I wouldn't give for people like that who were related to me by blood. Like most people, I have often felt abandoned by those nearest to me making it difficult for me to trust anyone. Mother Teresa was once asked what was the best way to promote world peace, and she answered, "Go home and love your family." There are two Jihads. The first is with "unbelievers" without any real faith due to how they need those around them, like any drug user, to prefer the same distractions. The greatest part of this for me (my ultimate stress) has been those most claiming great "faith." God's greatest warning to Solomon concerning his thousand women was how such unbelievers would threaten his faith. The second Jihad, however, is the far greater Jihad. This is the battle within, the one between whom you are meant to be and the false self put forward by a false conviction in pain as real. We must find strength in our emotional problems while knowing there is none in spiritual ones. "Sanity is madness put to good uses; waking life is a dream controlled." George Santayana in Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1989) Dr. David Schnarch has shown that failed communications, missing empathy, and even sexual perversions are not the causes of relationship gridlocks. Everyone most certainly knows what everyone else wants (for one thing, because we all essentially want the same things). The real problem is that we simply refuse to accommodate any win-win outcomes due to a fear of being powerless and the need to use others as validation. Dr. Albert Ellis has said "All humans are out of their minds. They're not only disturbed. They get disturbed about their disturbances." He feels the basis for neurotic behavior is a self-loving, perfectionist refusal to accept being a "fallible, incessantly error-prone human and when they fall short of their unrealistic ideals, they largely think of themselves as sub-humans." It becomes impossible to integrate the intolerable vortex of frustrations over missing approval and fears of abandonment, so burdened with guilt of feeling such negative disorders are lifelong survival techniques for distressing childhood memories. Carl Jung said we never resolve problems, we instead "climb to the top of a mountain, meditate on them until we see them differently," with a "shift in perception" (as per A Course in Miracles). Take a social vacation with a slow "yeah," "I never did mind the little things," or "opinions vary,"
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 60 It feels bad if someone close to us, such as a spouse, child, friend, or employer, is mad at us. It feels good if we can work out our differences. Overcoming differences and being close again is called reconciliation. What we need do to accomplish this is called at-one-ment. Paul wrote (2 Corinthians 5:20) "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." Some may go while others send (Romans 10:14-15) and some may teach while others invite (John 1:45-46). Nevertheless, we are all gathers just as the woman Christ met by Jacob's well gathered her entire hometown. It may be a done deed (the Bible says as a result of Christ's work); it, however, must be personally appropriated. Paul said God appointed them to preach the word of reconciliation and so they proclaimed: Be reconciled to God. We never ever consider that we may additionally need to so atone and reconcile with ourselves. We say things about ourselves and to ourselves that we would never be as cruel as to say about or to others. The gift of forgiveness like the task of "be reconciled" crier truly must start at home. Note the verb is passive. It is not that we must reconcile ourselves to God (or truth or love) but that we are to be reconciled, to accept what God (or ourselves) has already achieved. And so, the task is not to bring about reconciliation but to announce what has already occurred, in a real sense as the town crier proclaiming news of earth-shaking significance. The same is true for forgiveness. We don't need to work to bring about forgiveness, say, for the benefit of others but to identify with others and celebrate something that has already happened. The derivation of the word jubilee is most probably from the Hebrew word jobel, which meant "a ram's horn." From this instrument, used in proclaiming the celebration, a certain idea of rejoicing was derived. For the Israelites (and Catholics), the year of Jubilee was preeminently a time of joy, the year of remission or universal pardon. "Thou shalt sanctify the fiftieth year, and shalt proclaim remission to all the inhabitants of thy land: for it is the year of jubilee." (Leviticus 25:10) The Bible is clear (Leviticus 25:8-55) that the fiftieth year was intended, and the institution evidently bore, a close analogy with the feast of Pentecost, which was the Passover Sunday 50 days after first harvest. Traditionally at this season, every household attempted to recover its absent members, to return land to its former owners, slaves were to be set free, and debts were to be wholly remitted. This is done not for others but purposely for our own benefit of reducing our internal conflict and pain. Every year and every generation included a formal forgiveness of all debts. Dr. Ellis admits his humanistic psychology model is based such Biblical forgiveness. And, he teaches unconditional self-acceptance ("always accept you no matter what you do"), unconditional other-acceptance ("nobody is evil, even if they do evil things"), and unconditional life-acceptance ("always accept things, no matter how they are"). The core problem with all humanistic psychology, however, is the belief that right and wrong and a "good life" come from subjective personal choices in the moment (which is in fact very different from Christian ideals). It turns out, Ellis brags in "REBT: it works for me" how his ABC program wholly affirmed his life-long habit of sneaking up to strange women at train stations to press his genitals against them as well as his belief that no woman can be "loved" without continual affairs (his first wife naturally didn't agree). His happiness was his "proof" of the program's validity but any truly objective review would emphatically disagree. Judas' mortal sin was not betraying Christ; we have all done that many times. His fatal error was that he could not face God and hung himself. He raised the bar too high to be saved. While both Peter and Judas were remorseful about their sins, only Peter wept for forgiveness and returned. Dr. Ellis was not regretful, repentant, or apologetic but only allowed his Ego to rationalize his Id. We must imagine two different things for forgiveness to work. We must imagine how the future, especially the future of others, could change for the better. Upon reflection of each time a wife, child, or friend had shown they clearly didn't love me, I came to realize the trouble had been that
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 61 they only saw me for who I was (and not more). Just as faith is a leap from a solid belief, love is a leap forward into a greater faith in others. I have constantly stated I myself define "humanity" specifically by being able to exceed who we are. But, none of these people had ever been able to see me as I could be. When I first realize this, I fell to my knees in tears as I realized not only had I never truly done this for others, neither had I ever loved God more than I had known Him. How can I claim to love anyone when I couldn't truly love a perfect being? But, I forgave myself and imagined a different future, for myself as well as for others. Ellis failed, on the other hand, in accepting forgiveness for himself and failed to be able to imagine an idealized future different for the women with which he so rudely interacted. Worse than just selfish, he was quite uninspired. "Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training," Anna Freud. Now every silver lining has a cloud and children too often use their imaginations to survive abuse by getting stuck imagining the abuse as ongoing, often leading to a dissociative identity disorder. Therefore, we must forgive ourselves but without forgetting our ideals. Goals provide a personal measure for movement while ideals provide a personal measure for direction. While failing at our goals, we can still take satisfaction in knowing we are on the right path. Elephants, dolphins, whales, and Neanderthals have (or had) larger brains, but they are (or were) only capable of innate thinking (Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think by Dr. Dr. Hauser). Neanderthals, for instance, were only able to advance their technologies over hundreds of thousands of years and, more importantly, never drew on the walls of their caves. No animal has our extended childhood (human brains continue maturing until age 25-30), which fosters reflective thinking as a basis for one's normative moral and emotional identity and resulting artistic expressions. We rule the world not from having opposable thumbs, making tools, raw intelligence, or language. It's about seeing differences in moral choices and being able to recognize who we are different from others based solely on our personal values, knowing what we stand for (what the Greeks called "ethos"). Which would you rather be a bear or a wolf? The bear is an introvert; the wolf an extrovert. Interestingly, I've found most people make a preference solely on how they feel about sleeping for months at a time. Of course, the bear cannot chose to be a wolf just as the wolf cannot become a bear. These are not different human personalities but different value choices. It's difficult (even impossible) to change one's base emotional makeup (how quickly and strongly one gets emotional). It's not, however, that hard to change one's values, attitudes, beliefs, or thinking patterns (Dr. Daivd Schnarch's cure of "growing up"). It is possible to change addictive behavior (if not base desires); drug courts have been very effective at coercing such changes. "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The major theme of Iron Man 2 is that anything is possible with technology. But technology is just another false hero. DeMarco wrote in Peopleware (1987) how the most likely developed software is accounts receivables (as everyone wants to get paid), with likely hundreds of teams so working at any given moment. Over two thirds of such efforts are expected to fail not due to any misunderstanding concerning the technology but to failures with human relationships. Jim Johnson of the Standish Group has said "When projects fail, it's rarely technical." Anything is possible with people. But, unlike our great and constant achievements in technology, we haven't done well in improving our social organizations. For example, our marriages and communities are not stronger and more complex. We've all taken beginning tech classes and take pride in such skills, but there are no classes in (or pride taken in), say, small talk. Most people remind me of the phrase "functional illiterate" as while they work to get increasingly more functional, they do little to become more literate about who they are or who they were meant to be, to grow. Why do we image the manipulation of math and nature is likely always good but generally see the manipulation of people only as bad when teaching, preaching, or selling are all useful skills?
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 62 If hose A can fill a ditch in 45 minutes and hose B can fill it in 30 minutes, how long will it take to fill the ditch if you were to use both hoses? Middle-aged blue-collar Asians can likely answer that better than an American college student who just completed an Algebra course as Asians are often required to answer such questions to graduate Elementary School. Many Elementary School teachers state they are not good at math (or that math doesn't "like" them). I personally believe math "likes" everyone and everyone is born "good" at math. The problem is that children are not taught to be proficient at Third Grade Math (such as fractions) and nevertheless are expected to handle increasingly more difficult mathematics in following years, impracticable without a Third Grade understanding (similarly, "many leave High School with but a Third Grade vocabulary" – Dr. Beck, Bringing Words Back to Life, 2002). In the same way, we are asked to make a variety of ethical choices in life without first learning who we are by some vision quest. Dr. Suler of Rider University recommends this simple monthly modern-day vision exercise: 1) Wander alone outside your home for at least four hours (with no formally planned activities; and, it is better if walk is physically taxing such as up a long mountain trail) 2) While walking, ponder on some inward issue or problem and let your mind wander 3) Expect something to happen to answer (or partly answer) your question 4) Every half hour, sit and jot down what is happening, your thoughts, and insights 5) At the end, summarize and try to focus on some sign (works using "free association") Dr. James Strachey says he considers free association as "the first instrument for the scientific examination of the human mind." When I hear people tell me God "talks" to them by laying a "feeling on their hearts" I believe they're just talking about finding "artificial" patterns in their chaotic lives as a way for their repressed selves and subconscious to get a message across. And so, while I believe most people's praying has little to do with any real higher power and is more about getting in touch with our unconscious (or Shadow), that's still an important task we should all do daily. We should just do it with our eyes wide open. One could even organize their day even around random numbers (as in the TV show Touched, in which the very first episode of the 2nd season includes a young boy on a vision quest) when personal meaning is drawn as free association can release a repressed message from any chaos. Such a vision quest is well known to help people work past many creativity blocks. Free association shares features with the idea of stream of consciousness, employed by writers such as Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. Dr. Bernard Baars has developed something similar called Global Workspace Theory. The problem with all this is that being based wholly on introspection means the resulting answer is guaranteed to be less than optimal if not the very worst possible. Our internal selves tend to be childish and selfish (being wholly focused on survival). This can show us what's inside the lines, however, inside the "what we're supposed to believe" box, for a first step in understanding what's outside the box, the stuff we'd might believe if the equipment worked better. Dr. Daniel Kahneman's first step towards an Economics Nobel Prize for his work in psychology for his Rule of Small Numbers was to ask people who they thought were happier, people from California or elsewhere. He found people typically chose California assuming no one could be sad living near the ocean. No one asked what he meant by "people," whether it was adults, children, or even people long past. No one asked what he meant by "from California," whether it was people born in California, living there, or just visiting. And, of course, no one asked what he meant by being happy. Without such clarifications, Kahneman simply got the answer he was looking for as what he really uncovered was that people will do whatever they can to help maintain your illusions. I've asked hundreds of people what was the most interesting thing they learned from however
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 63 much of the Bible they've read and all most responses begin with "Like I've always said " The same problem can also happen with a Vision Quest or prayer. It's like a scientist working to get a good working hunch or hypothesis and just stopping there. You have to dig deeper for truth. The two greatest forces in psychotic insanity are the Confirmation Bias and the Misinformation Effect (as previously discussed). Together, they make sure everything we believe to be true is only what we wanted to believe or what external forces wanted us to believe. Drs. Chapman and Gratz write in BPD Survival Guide (2007) "You can't 'catch' a psychiatric disorder like you can catch pneumonia." The fact is your flawed thinking patterns tend to match those you grew up with. Idea viruses are just as infectious as any physical virus and both are spread by social interactions. As a teenager, I found it was easy to develop multiple snapshots of the night sky onto a single photo. The stars jumped out of the background noise. The same can be done with multiple honest worldviews. Alas, such a process can pull forward Lizard facts from a controlled mob without rational opinions. Real truth requires you setting internal introspection and external extrospection against each other in a comparative process analysis designed to answer how true is our intention to support truth and love (effectiveness), whether we're putting madness to good use (appropriateness), and if there's the passion to model such efficiency and correctness. Agent Brown: "Perhaps we're asking the wrong questions." (The Matrix) The Matrix movie asks us to consider whether it is possible to make good decisions with only bad data. Neo learns everything he's believed was a lie. But, Neo stops questioning in his new life, taking everything at face value; a sort of suicide. With the worldview of external observer Morpheus, Neo recognized his original misinformations; then, with the Architect's worldview, he uncovers his new misinformations. Neo sought out neither the external worldviews of Morpheus nor the Architect, he was "lucky" to have them search him out. Neo found the Architect had in fact orchestrated both meetings (how Lizards typically work). And yet, he never considers either capable of being misleading (how Zombies usually work). I find it intriguing that the "fix" for the Matrix 2.0 was to provide people the illusion of an unconscious choice to accept a false world (for people to actually be able to accept a false world). Those who choose not to be controlled (like those in our real world who are mature and knowledgeable) are simply destroyed en mass. It produced great stability even though a far greater stability was possible (but only by allowing the first system to completely fail). Neo "wins" through great love for Trinity and great trust in the Oracle's hints for him to acquire control by giving up control and let's Mr. Smith take him down. I've talked about how America's education, law enforcement, counseling, and religious systems are in great decline. For another example, church attendance is down 25% to 50% from the 1950s (Putnam, 1995) as well as 10% in just the 90's (ARIS study), only 4% of Americans under 28 are born-again (Rainer, 2004), only 1% of churches are exhibiting any evangelistic growth (Miles McPhearson, 2003), and 7,000 churches close each year (Hunt and McMahon, 1985). Our families, communities, and institutions are crumbling, and we all know it. Some complain, saying the world is coming to an end on the order of Armageddon. It's a reasonable argument. But, what if all this misery was required? Could it be good? When we are attacked, the most natural response is what's called the "Bug" defense or the fetal position. The biggest problem with such a primitive reaction is that it's surprisingly effective. One of the most difficult things in teaching the art of physical or emotion defense is to give it up to learn something better. This necessarily means of course one will be in more trouble and get hurt more over the short term. Our children are separated and isolated, we surrender our lives to heartless Lizards, and our
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 64 students and professionals are less competent than ever. What is the advantage of such great failure? Well, the best thing an addict's friend can do for them is nothing and pray they survive hitting bottom as it takes hitting bottom to find the motivation needed to try something different. We've built families where mom or dad, law enforcement where cops and judges, and churches where leaders have power wholly built and maintained by command and control hierarchies. What might families look like, conversely, if children had a greater say in things? What would it take to make the "head" of the household everyone? What if students ran their schools (such as at Monument Mountain High School)? What skills would be needed for new church members to have the same level of say as the pastor? Is it in any way feasible for criminals to be involved in the decision for their own incarceration? There have been thousands of successful companies built on just such an open management style. It's been shown a static rule-based approach is likely to lead to a culture of complacency (again what Maslow called a mediocrity disorder) while open organizations are better at encouraging self-monitoring. For many decades, for example, GM had to employ ten times as many people as Toyota to far less profitably produce a similar number of less reliable cars as only Toyota relied on trust to sustain long-term relationships. People simply work better in parallel. When people are organized bureaucratically for but serial decision making, complexity naturally increases the probability of failure. A post-modern fear of increasing complications may be best defeated with trust's resulting enthusiasm, autonomy, and understanding. Instead of a need to know, or some assumed ability to hear, information should be available on the right to know. There must be a shared agreement on what's important (how to measure success) as well as institutionalized ways to stay in touch with accurate information. This requires all members of any such group to better know who they are and what they want. The problems described in the three Matrix movies all came about from trusting too much. Yet, the solution to all of them was greater trust based on love that seeks to find only commonalities. "It's not a question of ideas – there are already too many ideas!" Baudrillard What's the danger of placing Lizards in charge? The greatest empire in the history (covering 85% of the world) was heavily based on Lizards, the British Empire. One of the key advantages for the Americans in its revolutionary war was to target officers (leaving British soldiers totally lost without others to think for them) as well as many innovations such as the first Small Pox vaccine, the first Military Training Manual (written by a shamed and sacked homosexual officer), as well as heavy use of spies (including women) not possible when Lizards micromanaged. This is not to say that strong leadership is not valuable. The important thing is that quality leadership is never based on selfish cruelty or fear of lost face in their followers but based on real respect. And, research shows you must have many opportunities to lead and be good at it to be healthy. Peter Drucker defined leadership in 1985 as "the lifting of people's vision to a higher sight, the raising of their performance to a higher standard, <and> the building of their personality beyond its normal limitations." Such leadership, however, has been a rare find. For a business example, a quarter of the 100 top American corporations listed even in the celebrated book "Search for Excellence" by Peters and Waterman were dropped from the list or went out of business within just a few years, many of the eleven most ethical companies selected by Jim Collins in "Good to Great" are now doing poorly (with some even being found guilty of improper business practices), and from 1995 to 2000 less than 4% of equity mutual funds were able to beat the market (thus the leading economic brains have been unable to do better than, say, a young boy with Down Syndrome and a box of darts). All such business problems are always leadership problems. So, every individual, regardless of age or profession, should be called to lift up the visions of others.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 65 Learning starts with some form of survival anxiety or guilt overcoming one's learning anxiety (the best thing for improving any organization's health is some good competition). Learning anxiety includes the fear of incompetence and punishment as well as the loss of personal identity and group membership one's old culture provided. Management consultants believe some sense of threat, crisis, or dissatisfaction has to be present for any stuck system to change (with old ways needing to be unlearned before starting new ways). Any change thusly begins with some type of "disconfirmation" which Kurt Lewin named "unfreezing" as human systems naturally endeavor to maintain a stable equilibrium (such "inertia" is part of an "organizational kinetics"). Scandals and failing student test grades are all sources of tripping over disconfirming data. The disconfirming data, however, is not the underlying problem – it is only a symptom. Dr. Edgar Schein refers to the following sources of disconfirmation in "The Corporate Culture Survival Guide" (2009, p118): • An economic threat – unless you change, you will suffer some great loss • A political threat – unless you change, some more powerful group will win out over you • A technological threat – unless you change, you will become obsolete • A legal threat – unless you change, you will go to jail or pay heavy fines • A moral threat – unless you change, you will be seen as selfish • An internal discomfort – unless you change, you will not achieve your goals and/or ideals Alas, increases in survival anxiety tend to increase learning anxiety (decreases also leading to decreases), which only prolongs the status quo. Thus, overcoming learning anxiety requires the creation of a psychologically safe environment (or fault finding and constructive criticism without any finger pointing) to accept new ways of doing things. While "packaged" systems of teaching might be more digestible and saleable, it comes at the expense of real learning. This can be fought with an education that includes a sense of discovery, surprise, risk, and not-knowing. Since controlled and predetermined thinking is usually a problem, controlled and predetermined teaching is rarely a good answer. Many teachers can accurately regurgitate definitions for things like affinity and fishbone diagrams (like they require such regurgitation from their students) but won't use them as overly rigid training never taught them the true value (like states allowing the Vocational Education Act of 1963 to end the use of projects as set up by the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917). Action is always much more than action plans. Correcting persistent problems requires facing and controlling the paradoxical nature of people (insanity) using complex solutions that transcends the compromising efforts (only losing what is unique and true in opposing positions). Dr. Schnarch (like all negotiators) refers to lose-lose compromise as "the tyranny of the lowest common denominator." We go to the restaurant of life and pick from the menu only things that will support our false self image (raising spin to the level of purpose) and skip far greater treats. We might sincerely want to change, but we rarely are willing to pay for it. So, what must happen before we can move to something new? How valid was our promises? What will be our legacy? Do we address tension or only work around it? While personal management techniques such as goal setting, time management, and appraisal systems can motivate students and workers, the concept of personally meaningful rewards of work suggests that the self-influencing system is the ultimate system of control. Self-leadership theory (Manz, 1996; Neck and Milliman, 1994) underscores the intrinsic motivational force of self-influence in achieving individual interests. Internal standards allow for a wider range of influences and self-control strategies from values while more fully incorporating the role of intrinsic qualities. A super-ordinate goal such as a personal mission, a spiritual value, or inspirational mentor leads us towards higher performance (Senge, 1991). Extrinsic motivators from outside an individual (excessive focus on surrounding artificial reward systems including manipulation through merit and incentive pay and externally
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 66 imposed time and quota pressures) can actually undermine creative thought. Despite being well past the no-grade alternate philosophy popular a few decades ago, we've just somehow failed to face that the problem still exists and only work to keep sweeping it under the proverbial rug. Chess-in-the-Schools is a non-profit foundation that sends chess teachers to NYC Elementary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Teacher David MacEnulty (played by Ted Danson in Knights of the South Bronx) overcame the social and economic problems of his fourth grade class by telling them if they could win at chess, they could win in life. MacEnulty became the first New York public school teacher to teach chess as an academic subject. With no money and little support (except from his Principal, always key) in a overcrowded elementary school in the South Bronx (in the poorest and crime ridden congressional district in the country) his team from his first year won five first place trophies at the New York City Scholastic Chess Tournament and more than 500 other trophies from 1994 to 1997. David showed any social, economic, or home factors can be overcome by a quality teacher (as is the official policy of the NEA). Among David's favorite chess sayings are, "Look at three or four ideas before choosing one," and "If you don't know where every piece is and what each can do, you aren't ready for your next move." "Not everyone can play sports," says Ted Danson. "Sports got me through high school, made me feel like there was a reason for living. Music can do that for some kids, but not everybody is into music or is a jock. Chess is an amazingly cheap way to capture a child's imagination and expand their brain ... there's a quiet confidence that comes from a kid learning how to play chess." Yet, David's success did not inspire geometric growth of such principles. I can only assume the problem is we haven't yet hit bottom yet and pray we can survive doing so. Psychologists borrowed the term "groupthink" from George Orwell's dark futuristic novel, 1984, to describe a group incapable of critically assessing the pros and cons of decisions because the group members feel so tightly connected, so cohesive, they prefer to see only one side of an issue. They are easily led by a forceful leader and busy themselves falling in line, "kissing up" to stay in good favor. They become a mindless, overprotective clique when assembled, putting the political goal of squashing dissent above all other matters. Most people will choose the path of least resistance and once people rationalize away internal conflicts to make themselves feel good, the likelihood of them taking the more humane but more difficult action greatly decreases. Former co-mobbers typically dump on successfully disenfranchised rebels, blaming their fate on not understanding office or family politics, being immature, or for having a "personality clash." The distribution of opportunities always tilts toward the powerful unless the group first identifies and commits to strong controlling ethical guidelines. Problems occur when the self-absorbed needs of authority are placed ahead of the needs of weaker members (like children). The only principal who supported Dr. Escalante, Gradillas, has since mused the program could only have been saved had the school become a charter school, which are more accountable to parents. It is only with such accountability based on verified accurate information that honesty is possible. We must choose paths of greater resistance as a sort of revolution for the dead. As a first step, I recommend a national day of mourning for past mistakes, Escalante's birthday, December 31. And, we should fill our mourning with simple "I feel" statements (others can't argue with how you feel). Finally, we must stop trying to fix ourselves and focus instead on fixing our relationships. Key to such repair is accepting how our destructive feelings are expressions of how others feel. Schofield Kid: "Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming." Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid." Not that we should avoid such destructive feelings, but learn non-lethal ways to express them. "Now," said the doctor, "we will begin, yes?" Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 67 A person ruled by Confirmation Bias, or his or her Id, can understand rewards and punishment, as could any dog, without any true reflective awareness necessary to externalize self judgment that allows seeing oneself as unfit as measured by one's moral standards for great self-loathing. Many suggest putting away our rulers is a better way to live, but it's only living a dog's life. Self- loathing is the only defense against becoming but puppets to our desires. It is also the only way to decide today (this very moment as you read this very sentence) that you have had enough of being incompetent, ineffective, and without a righteous purpose. This is hitting bottom. As crazy as it sounds, there is tremendous power in hitting rock bottom. The first thing you have to do is reframe your situation. The beauty of hitting rock bottom comes from realizing you have nothing left important to lose. There's no way but up. This allows you to be free from worrying about any negative outcomes as such normally gets in the way of accomplishing your goals. And, this puts you in the perfect position to take far greater risks and push the envelope of what's possible. So, open your windows and join Network's Beale in yelling "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" As a foundation, however, hitting bottom can be so useful that you've could unwittingly set yourself up to fail. We do anything to keep afloat at the first signs of crashing, but after the dust settles we realize deep down this is the escape for which we've wished. It might be messier and more painful than you would have liked, but this means you no longer have to pretend to like a life that doesn't fit. Death, if done properly, can open the door to life in heaven. Sure, the way down is no fun, but the worst is behind you. Now, you get to start over. You likely need to downsize, live a simpler life, and see the beauty in less. The fair weather friendships will be long gone after the fall (no matter whose fault) but you can better value the people that stay. Yes, it is tempting to wallow or to simply grab a gallon of ice cream and do a marathon of old TV shows as a distraction from the pain. Alcohol and drugs are also popular diversions. But, doing so leaves you in the same situation. Moreover, pain is good as it lets you know you're still alive. Most Vietnam soldiers tended to become heroin addicts while fighting but most quit when they came home and their stress lessened. The addictions weren't a symptom of an internal problem but an external reality fracture. A small number, however, switched when home from heroin to alcohol or lesser drugs. Again, most ended their secondary addiction on their own. Can you self- correct on your own? Must you do everything on your own? Finally, what's the best way? You may be best served by a mixture of answers. But, it starts by not feeling special or needing to be perfect. Just as most soldiers in battle turn to heavy use of alcohol and drugs or people choose to be neurotic or disturbed in order to medicate not being able forgive themselves, we can turn to distractions. This could even be about great charitable efforts. Our distractions don't have to be selfish. They only need to keep us from being honest and coming to terms with our shame. We need to reframe our life and our responses to it. I love to hear a pack of coyotes chasing a rabbit for dinner. The howling that terrified my second wife is instead to me sounds of a bunch of healthy males out chasing "tail" not really caring if they catch their target as the howling seems more about the chase. As professional prey, I only hear the howling from the perspective of the hunters looking for a single meal. As a professional hunter (a narcissistic psychopath), she only hears the howling from the perspective of the prey running for its life. What binds us most tightly are the binds of our own making. We forgive to ease our own pain. My mother told me even if God could forgive her (for what, she never said), she couldn't and died never forgiving herself. "Suicide is painless. It brings on many changes and I can take or leave it." Song from Mash (1970), lyrics by 14-year old Mike Altman
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 68 Robertson Davies says there is nothing more pitiable and pathetic than trying to be relevant. We read self-help books and join churches or charities to help us attempt anything remarkable (and then feel unworthy if we fail). The first temptation of Christ, however, was to be relevant: to turn stones into bread and feed the hungry (including Himself); the second was to be spectacular: to attempt suicide and allow the angels to catch Him (most suicides, especially those by women, are all about simply trying to be caught); and, the third was the promise of power: over all the world in exchange for becoming Satan's Zombie. Kevin Miller reminds us to "pause and reflect on the fact that Jesus regularly refused to do miracles on demand (John 6:26-31), that he asked many of the people who did receive his miracles not to talk about them (Mark 5:41-43), that he said some things almost certain to drive people away (John 6:53, 60, 61)." For a society that measures success in terms of individual effectiveness, Dr. Nouwen offers a counter suggestion of "communal and mutual experience." I have a very hard time explaining this concept when we are all "schooled" to only see profits. In reflecting on the success of Jesus' disciples who were sent out in twos (like paired, mature, autonomous programmers of the Extreme Programming System Development Life Cycle Model) to proclaim the news of reconciliation, Nouwen similarly said (1993), "For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required" – that it is more important to trust and love than it is to be relevant. To recognize less can be more, that lowering the bar can raise it, that weak can be strong, that honesty can be a lie, and that a lie can be the truth means taking control of our lives and deaths. I was teaching my youngest son when he was 7-years old to ski and a young teenage instructor mistakenly ran him down on the Bunny slope. When she made no effort to apologize, I ignored her and attended to my son. She coldly asked if we wanted the rescue team called and got even more irate when I continued to ignore her. She yelled how she didn't know if I had heard her, but she had apologized (thus, she was rude and a liar). When she left (and my son had felt better), I reviewed again with him how proper apologies always include four parts (a magic word, the person's name, what was done wrong, and a plan to make it up or to improve). Seemingly to reinforce my point, another instructor came up and jokingly asked the first if she had actually just run down a small child and she tried to blame my son for the collision. I told my son that people generally demonstrate such rudeness out of a fear of being seen and judged not good enough. I asked him how many people would want an instructor that ran down small children. His anger peaked and he yelled, "None!" I then asked him if he thought the best instructors in the world ever run down small children and he again snapped out his answer of, "No!" I told him that even the best instructor, in fact, can make all kinds of mistakes but that the difference would be that he or she would own up to it. So, that if he wanted to hire the best ski instructor, he likely would chose poorly if he only picked from instructors who claimed they had never hurt a child. The Bible contains quite a collection of great misfits. Abraham was a liar, Jacob (which means deceiver) was also anxious, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses had a speech impediment and was disobedient, Noah often got drunk, Gideon was underprivileged, Samson was codependent and wholly self-absorbed, Rahab was depraved, David was an adulterous murderer, Elijah was afraid and suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was unwilling, Peter was impulsive (and often in denial), Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas was doubtful, Timothy was timid, and Paul was overweight and of poor health. Finally, I believe the Sanhedrin refused and eventually killed Christ not because they didn't believe He was of God, but simply because He asked them to be humble instead of proud. What Tao calls turning "chi" life force into "shin" spiritual energy, Buddhism calls "cessation" of self, and Islam refers to as "opening the heart," Christians more correctly IMHO know as the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in John 10:4b and 5, "and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice." Hebrews tells us we can train
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 69 our ear to recognize Him. "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). "Let us reason together, saith the Lord" tells Isaiah 1:18 just as Romans 12:1-2 reports that it is by a renewing of our minds (and not our hearts or souls) that we can be transformed. Romans as well as Ephesians explain a "renewed" mind as one no longer ruled by shame (and not one that does not sin) as a barrier to seeing the world truthfully. 2 Corinthians 10:5 describes this as putting on the mind of Christ (and so, His objective viewpoint). He wants us to have not only the empathy but the spiritual (in other words, communal) discernment to soar above our situation. I often see pastors focusing on the sins and shortcomings of others in their sermons and Bible studies while spending little time on their own indulgences. When leaving an "inspiring" service, comments are always on how some relative or friend needed to hear it and never about how it changed or inspired their lives. In fact, I hate hearing "inspiring" as no one who has ever used it has ever been able to explain what they were inspired to do – they clearly just meant how good the people could make them feel. Even though the Bible heroes I mentioned were chastised for their sinfulness, they never lost their intimate relationship with God. God had a use for each of them that justified them (and without fixing them or letting their sinful nature get in the way). Christians are often tempted with long stories of heaven, feeling good, and opportunities to be the co-dependent in charge. The greatest Biblical example of a sinful idol was prayer (shown by Gideon destroying himself, his family, and his nation was worshiping the idea over the ideal). Many will suggest that just trying your best is good enough while Jesus instead cautions trying is just the grunting noises one makes when failing and that He expect even greater miracles from us than He Himself performed (John 14:12-14). These are significant differences. Help is often harmful just as helping a butterfly past the natural struggle out of its cocoon will only keep it from ever flying (without the blood being pushed out into the wings by the healthy struggle). Plato's earliest known work was the reporting of Socrates' courtroom defense (the first meaning for the word apology) for the charges of questioning popular beliefs and thusly breeding rebels. His boastful language in the face of the death penalty likely only aggravated the jury. Socrates began by telling them he didn't know if they had already been persuaded by his accusers. He explained valid philosophies always begin with a sincere admission of ignorance and clarified by saying his wisdom had certainly been birthed in the knowledge he knew nothing. Plato asked the men of jury to not decide his fate on the eloquence of his words (or intentional lack thereof). Ultimately, while Socrates made a logical and persuasive argument, he was still put to death. Many historians believe his intent was to communicate that any righteous man who believed in free speech who could be put to death in a society hypocritically claiming to defend personal freedoms should demand the very death he was offered. The three men who brought charges were Anytus, who was angered by his son choosing to be a student of Socrates, Meletus, who was a member of the socialites offended by Socrates charge of corruption among the socialite youth, and Lycon, who thought Socrates belonged to a group that had assassinated his son and wanted revenge. The aging Socrates suggested the members of the jury had likely already been poisoned against him as children by a few malicious and jealous "Lizards." He also continued the argument he had made for decades that the new democracy of Athens (where the 500 men of the jury had been selected by lottery) was but a breeding ground for growing a mindless mob. It seems ironic his defense used the crime for which he was charged, the corruption of children. Socrates had spent his life claiming all politicians were impostors, poets rarely understand their own poetry, and craftsmen were all pretentious. This earned him the reputation of being but an annoying know-it-all. He felt his life mission was to prove all human wisdom and achievements have little or no value. He asked his countrymen "Are you not ashamed you give your attention
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 70 to acquiring as much money as possible, similarly with reputation and honor, while giving no thought to understanding truth and the perfection of your soul?" The trial of Socrates is typically seen by scholars as history's most interesting suicide, producing the first martyr for free speech. Socrates seems to intentionally offend his jury in order to prove for history that they made moral judgments only by their touchy-feely emotions and not any honest and blind desire for justice. Do you believe such readings are inappropriate for just Second Grade readers? I hope not. Dr. Goffman (1955) defined "Line" as patterns of action by which individuals present an image of themselves and "Face" as "the positive social value a person effectively claims for himself by the line others assume he has taken during a particular contact." Thus, Face is maintained by having one's Line accepted. Events that seem incompatible with how we want people to see us (whether positive or negative) must be avoided or mitigated in order for one not to lose Face. Face threats can be from overt power, low familiarity, or social distance and speech patterns (of informing, requesting, or rejecting) can encourage one to seek redressive strategies (positive or negative), back off, work "under the radar," or perform poorly. Dr. Grice's communication rules (1975) are: speak truthfully, say no more or less than required, follow the flow, and be clear. While saying nothing is the safest, building greater familiarity can turn a threat into a foundation for personal bonds. Such efforts begin with small talk like talking about the weather, building affective reactions (such as smiling, but then smiling can be just as dangerous as texting when different emotions are read than what was intended), synchronizing speech and appearance, and affirmations. In fact, small talk is primary about people taking turns showing agreement. Drs. Bickmore and Cassell tell in Relational Agents (1970) how just saying "Pass the salt" could be heard as a rude command. There are many alternatives: Pessimistic: "You're not passing the salt, are you?" Definitive: "Excuse me, sir, would you pass the salt?" Minimal: "Could you just nudge that salt over here?" Off the record: "Mhm, I find this food a bit bland" (and so provide plausible deniability with innuendo and ambiguous hinting). Positive: "Hey buddy, you want to pass me the salt?" The best way to ask: "I'm sorry, but I'd be grateful for the salt" is far more oriented to the listener's autonomy concerns with an instantaneous apology, incurred debt, and imposition minimization. Avoiding our face threats by sidestepping major power imbalances, showing appreciation for the other's contributions, establishing a common ground through a narrative therapy of emotional stories, increasing familiarity and solidarity by not spinning off on random topics and keeping to contextual topics (speaking with intent), and building coordination and positive affect with short synchronization efforts are the basics of effective small talk. In the end, Socrates felt he'd be better off dead than playing such games (his fellow citizens agreed). The most likely cause of any conflict is the current (or previous) clash of values, personalities, or social norms. Thus, avoiding conflict (or being killed by a mob) requires being morally flexible and constantly showing appreciation for every small contribution made by others. Accepting someone's "objective" doesn't truly help as objectivity doesn't exist, but it communicates that the relationship is more important than one's personal beliefs. Suspending discussions can help. While logic is constant, emotions aren't and people can be more forgiving, for instance, during the holidays. It's important to become competent at establishing relaxed conversational rapport. Few professionals are any good at this from a lack of understanding basic human psychology due to never having been trained on how to properly phrase questions. Transmitting real data is secondary to developing a shared understanding. And so, most bonding conversations involve no real exchange of information. TVs, emails, and cell phones provide fewer opportunities for small talk and the physical proximity that helps build co-dependence. We end up sending mixed messages, using blocked body language, and fail to catch cultural cues or ask for feedback.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 71 Like Socrates, Christ also showed we prefer only subjugation from others over any true ideals. The point they were trying to make is that avoiding conflict is only for those who wish to live. And, they believed life only begins after death as well as that it is better to be fired than to quit. Thusly, neither ever apologized for their statements or actions nor ever regretted dying for them. Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them. -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld Bradbury says he was inspired to write Fahrenheit 451 due to the many criticisms of his work. It is typical to become defensive when receiving constructive criticism given with good intentions due to the overuse of negative and nagging criticism. People tend to be passive and defeated or blindly aggressive and in so only increase the likelihood that their statements, especially without face-to-face contact, would be misinterpreted. There are no set rules. Stronger language can sometimes break through a defensive shell and bluntness can be seen as honest and efficient, while softer approaches can be seen as manipulative and condescending. Thus, going slow with keen attention to any feedback will be obviously critical. The only instruction that I've had on criticism with weekly practice was my advanced art class in High School. Critical to success in art class was the shared assumption of everyone's good intensions. In other situations, the preceding discussion on small talk and avoiding face threats could be extremely useful in creating a similarly positive environment for criticism and encouraging constructive conflict. In other words, criticism works best when both sides know what they're doing, but don't expect it. Every management expert for the past half centruy has insisted that healthy environments encourage even fringe dissonant and not just tolerate conflict. I have never seen or heard of such a work, home, or worship situation, some that have tolerated the occasional clashing, but none that actually demonstrate knowledge on how, or made any effort, to develop surroundings of increasing cognitive dissonance despite all natural psychological motivation to the opposite. People logically want their expectations to be verified and become very distressed by anything that doesn't fit with what they believe. Thus, people usually trivialize or denigrate even to the point of extremely destructive behavior with whatever disagrees or in any way threatens them. William Miller convinced a large group of people from many different denominations around the country that Christ would return first March 21, 1944 and then April 18, 1944. Of course, both dates came and went. The consequence was simply reworking their beliefs to fit the reality in that Jesus had decided in favor of a "time of waiting" starting from their correctly identified date. The same type of rationalization occurs when people claim God often waits to answer prayers. Dissonance (the contradictory concept to Doublespeak) builds when unpleasant activities are engaged to achieve a superordinate goal. Such pain and work is unfortunately often avoided by minimizing the desirability of our more honorable goals; for example, smokers tell themselves smoking tastes good and cancer only happens to others in order to increase the perceived gains and minimize the widely accepted danger of their self-destructive habit. Similarly, we make excuses for our unexplained feelings, minimize regret for bad choices (we are most sure of our bets only after making them), justify behavior normally in opposition to stated beliefs (people are less harsh of actions after doing them themselves), or aligning one's perceptions of a person with their behavior (nice actions must indicate a nice person). Married partners with different religious beliefs are naturally motivated to rationalize such incongruence. People often self-handicap themselves so that failures can be easier to justify (such as a student who drinks heavily the night before an exam in response to fear of failing). Rewarding "good" behavior has been shown to actually decrease motivation for such behavior that's unrewarded in the future.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 72 Individuals that choose a course of action and are willing to invest in it will make greater efforts to make the plan successful. In other words, the quality of a plan is less important than simply having any plan. People don't consciously think about their pain. They simply infer their attitudes from their behavior. If we find ourselves doing something (as a slave to our base Id or external manipulation), we labor to explain it (by forcing false rationality on our irrational behaviors). The greatest antecedence to internal conflicts is the false belief in our inner goodness. Daily threats to our false self-image include saying "I am an honest person" but then overtly lying to people. "Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." -- Albert Einstein Pastor Max Lucado preaches we're all "thieving, lying, adulterous murderers." What keeps us from being greater? Those things we hold most personal are but those things over which we have no control. We read self-help books, have our fat vacuumed out, memorize great quotes, and work to be more agreeable; yet, know it is not the "us" that fate intended. After we accept the cards we are dealt, we get to play them as we choose. Empathy is the physical, intellectual, and emotional (discernment adds spiritual) ability to understand another. Some have called this potential higher-order awareness as "Presence" (Drs. Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, Flowers). The organized development of "human capital" must involve, at the very least, maintaining a great sense of urgency by fighting complacency and baseless happy talk, providing a stream of short-term wins, building a guiding coalition, identifying specific strategies, and maintaining broader stakeholder involvement (by growing together and not just dragging people along). My MBA dissertation (based on work by Mink, Owen, Kotter, Mitroff, etc.) showed correlations with commitment, satisfaction, and achievement with profit. It is imperative we understand not our beliefs, but the shared ethics and values which base our beliefs. As T. Ohno (developer of the socio-technical Just-in-time Production System at Toyota) has observed, success comes not from an organization's formal systems but from the human spirit that supports those systems. While the ability to identify with others may be partly innate (the intuitive emotional aspect), it is primarily something learned and achieved with various degrees of intensity and accuracy (the perspective taking). Empathy (what Husserl and Sister Edith Stein call "conscious") is always seen as distinct from sympathy, but there are different opinions about the distinction. Sympathy is more than just feeling what another is feeling based on "remote learning" as the difference between you and another can become blurred. It could be "I understand you" or "I agree with you." But, it is more likely "I am you" (allowing for intellectual, emotional, as well as spiritual susceptibilities). An empathetic understanding from personal experiences can thusly be a safer basis for emergent compassion and encouragement. Compassion is the added emotional desire to help while encouragement is the skill to know how to help. Compassion provides comfort by letting us know we are not alone and encouragement provides hope by showing us how change might happen. The key point which is usually missed about compassion and encouragement is the emotional desire and intellectual practical understanding of the need for change ("you have a problem"). Moreover, change only begins with the knowledge and conveyed importance (overcoming any denial) for the need for change ("and, there's a solution") facilitating empathy and sympathy to be transformational, which then defines the term "community" (Baltmore and Carmel, 2011). Using a third-person narrative emotionally accurate explanation (myth) for self- discovery is the only door for "double loop" or geometric learning (rather than "eye lash" – when those following you have no advantage, where teaching is missing, the empathy antithesis). Thus, encouragement requires a broad and deep understanding of underlying conditions to prevent (per Deming) 30 years of experience becoming but 1 year of experience 30 times over.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 73 "They who have read many books are more exalted than such as have seldom studied; they who retain what they have read, than forgetful readers; they who fully understand, than such as only remember; and they who perform their known duty, than such as barely know it." (Institutes of Menu, 1830) The most difficult aspect of reality with which we must come to terms is that we don't actually have any real control over any external aspect of our lives. We routinely lie to ourselves (the best lies are the ones we convince ourselves to believe – what I can doing the "Full Pinocchio"). The biggest lies are about how we have full control over deciding on our friends or careers and can easily manufacture success by just strengthening our will or by correcting our perspective. We routinely get "screwed" by unfair actions by friends, family, peers, and bosses. Some of my worst treatment was at the hand of my teachers. The only thing we have control over is who we choose to love (and certainly not who loves us back). Now, an unreturned love is of course nothing but a silly infatuation. So, true love (even if only one-sided) must be based on respect and admiration for those values that are the most important to us. If anyone manipulates these choices (as was done in the movie 1984) we truly can lose ourselves. I believe, however, that we can go home again with sufficient self-forgiveness. If our lives have been unfairly taken from us, the only way to get it back is by accepting life is what it is and that we need greater self-love. Referent power comes from trust and respect derived from a self-knowledge and acceptance based on consistent and constant application of strong personal idealization. Only when we surrender our need to control our external world can our referent power expand. Grief and bitterness over being treated unfairly (and we all have) can be reduced only by moving past sadness with sufficient empowerment for control of what you can. Winston Smith is tortured and brainwashed by O'Brien within the Ministry of Love. Pain can motivate us to believe anything, but not at all times. And, freedom lies in those small glimpses of the truths we work to help hide. Only great support systems for our personal integrity can hope to leverage those moments of awareness to rebuild a valid personality. We spend too much time acquiring money and power and too little time on support systems, without which, individual personal integrity is powerless. We all have friends and acquaintances, but few of us have real support. Spock in an episode of Star Trek is shown a video of Captain Kirk committing murder. At first, Spock can't explain the video, but he never questions Kirk's innocence. Watson likewise refuses to believe Sherlock's guilt in the sixth episode in the new BBC series. If you were told of a lack of personal integrity of, say, your closest friend by law enforcement, the public at large, all of your friends, and even the individual themselves, would you believe it? Would they believe it about you? In order to ignore such "facts" would obviously require unbelievable great self-trust. So, do you so trust yourself? "Self-trust is the first secret to success." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-trust is much more than just self-confidence and self-reliance. Such things are important but miss the mark. Cynthia Wall writes in The Courage of Trust that it is both a learnable skill as well as a choice to be made in each and every moment. It has alternately been argued that it is an innate ability beaten out of us by institutionalized groupthink. Creativity is tightly connected to trust and thus encouraging avenues for creative development and freedom is fundamental to trusting all of our instincts (starting with our artistic instincts). Plus, honest artistic expression of our values is a required aspect of understanding our normative moral and emotional identity. It's also good to become an expert at something. Common choices include coaching, golfing, fly
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 74 fishing, and parenting. The danger for me personally is that such education can become a sort of shopping therapy distraction. It's key to pick more than one specialist hat. Finally, making and keeping commitments, especially to yourself, can also go a long way to building your self-trust. The time management skill of time blocking can also help keep you honest about your priorites. The development of self-trust is often overlooked or worse corrupted by some magical thinking. Without self-trust, we only live through other people. It is the only defense to having our power taken and living in a state of constant fear. When you trust yourself, problems seem smaller and less worrisome. We tend to over schedule ourselves when we don't trust ourselves to perform. Needing to be coerced to do something comes from not wanting to do it and we end up viewing life as but a chore. Motivational problems can result from fears of success or failure. Indifference can be just as debilitating. Self-trust is a virtue that's all but lost in our externally focused society. But, only when we accept ourselves exactly as we are can we change and not stay that way. Notice your desires and how some statements can arouse them. Then, notice how some people (such as politicians) like to toss out buzz-words, phrases, and slogans that will arouse certain desires in you. This is how your feelings can betray you. A repeatedly abused and bullied child will often prefer poor friends solely because of indications they won't hurt us. They suggest that buying their products will make us beautiful and happy. Marketing is defined as helping people decide, say, whether a bike, a bus, or a car might be the best solution to living a mile from work. But, marketing must first make a moral sale, such as that living a mile from work is a problem. 50,000 such critiques of our morals bombard us daily. Politicians want us to believe they are wise and right about everything and that we'll never disapprove of them if we are patriotic. We are exposed daily to peer pressures to conform to popular beliefs, standards, and behavior. We are told to try to program ourselves with motivational tapes, self-help books, and even chanting. Building self-trust requires learning to recognize when our opinions are not our own. We could all use some deprogramming to overcome these common suppressions to our rational thinking. "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." – George Orwell You might be afraid your world would fall apart or of losing all your friends if you told the truth. And, you could be right. They might even want to harm or kill you (martyrdom is nothing new). There are days when we all feel like we have the worst life. But, some lives are measurably worse than others. Declining opportunities and salaries as well as increasingly more stressful and abusive environments can create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness especially when following rising expectations. The world is a scary place. I was repeatedly beaten before I was one year old. The hardest thing to deal with was the fear of dying (as I didn't die). I learned how to stop being afraid by hating everything. Seeing no value in anything meant I didn't fear losing any of it. My new lack of fear concerning death, though, made giving in to life's fear and pains an ever greater threat. Plus, the numbness was overwhelming. By asking hypothetical what-if questions to help see alternative points of view, by understanding how most people want to and can control us in order to plants seeds of doubt about those things we hold most certain, and by honestly reflecting on our personal involvement in misguiding our lives due to fears of not living up to our hopes and expectations can help us become motivated to ask life changing questions. Robert Bly says in Iron John this is best done in a tribal environment. As a start, we can "prime the pump" by ritualizing the initiation into adulthood (possible at any age). He was moved during the Vietnam era by seeing young men not get what they needed to be men. Robert Bly blamed the fathers of the 60's for lying about the nature of the war and asking their sons to be soldiers
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 75 while remaining out of it themselves (unlike any previous war). Today, children find their fathers foolish while women see them as dull. Bly sadly recognized all a young boy need do to be seen as a man today is to reject their father. In such a world, Bly says the father can no longer be the initiator of any awakening process. We have a role to play but we lack the necessary influence. This is probably the harshest reality of my own life – the most agonizing impotence for any man. Bly suggested a national take our sons to the library day to show them our favorite books, but all parties need to be utterly frustrated with the existing status quo for anything like that to happen. How would you define the perfect parent? I believe it's someone who models characteristics like safety, nurturing, teaching, and self-trust. What's your favorite way to express love? For me, it's cooking for (and with) someone. Even as a young child, I like cooking for my parents. What are your favorite stories? I've mentioned Poppins, Serpico, and the Matrix as well as provided many quotations. I own about 3,000 books and 400 movies and clearly stories play a key role in my identity. Using stories to express ideas is far more advanced communication than just words. Buddha allegedly said, "Slay me if you meet me on the road," (to a student who believed he had just experienced heaven during meditation), by which he meant to suggest that one should not believe in the image of a man (or heaven) but to reach an understanding of the essence of life though self-exploration. Science likewise suggests a gradual climb to truth. Similarly, Jacob was blessed by God and renamed Israel for besting (or "slaying") his image of God (and man, his brother) when meeting Him on the road in Genesis 32:28. The Bible often describes the rallying of people and the resulting changes in their relationship with God (truth, love). Can you describe times you have rallied or led and the resulting changes in your relationships? In other words, can you explain your personal success in besting and slaying false images of God (and man)? Leadership definitions assume leaders are either born, developed perhaps, but not made (trait theory) or that the situation dictates emerging leaders (situational theory). Leadership is defined in Army Leadership as "the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction, and motivation." LTC Edward Lyman Munson, Jr. defined leadership (1942) with "the instant, cheerful, and willing obedience and cooperation of subordinates." Leadership, I would say, is more about a shared spiritual gift. Catholics define leadership as one of the seven to ten shared elements of parish life that involves "calling forth the gifts of visioning, planning, empowering, and evaluating from the clergy and the laity for the fulfillment of the parish mission and the service of the community." Management guru Dr. Peter Drucker also defined leadership spiritually as "the lifting of people's vision to a higher sight, the raising of their performance to a higher standard, <and> the building of their personality beyond its normal limitations." (1985) More recent authors suggest the greatest leadership is more easily found in the first follower. MBA programs unfortunately focus only on the easier-to-teach skills of budgeting, resource allocation, and results monitoring instead of the more important relationship skills of leadership: persuasion, negotiations, and sales. Business schools and organizations are thusly turning out great managers (but not great leaders) who tend to use little more than a command-and-control management style concentrating only on planning and budgeting, organizing and staffing, as well as controlling and problem solving. These produce a degree of predictability and order with the potential to successfully produce the consistent short-term results expected by various firm stakeholders, such as being on time for customers and being on budget for stockholders. Real leadership, on the other hand, means developing a vision for the future and, equally important, motivating, inspiring, and aligning people around that vision. These skills have the potential to produce far more useful changes, such, for instance, as for developing radical new products that customers want and creative approaches to labor relations that can help make a firm more
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 76 competitive. If one asks a manager what his or her vision is, one will likely hear only about an operating plan. A plan by no means, however, can lead and inspire the way a vision can. More than a strategic effort of gauging systemic assets and opportunities, building a vision includes getting in touch with values and how they define us. Most of us know something about using our heads but little about using our hearts. What is your vision for your children? Do you have one? There are various formal models for measuring leadership (CMM, PSP, Six-Sigma, etc), where the most basic is the ISO 9001:2000 (1994 version was updated to align more with ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, and the Malcolm Baldridge criteria). While these models are very similar, in philosophy 9001 is more about “understanding what we did today well enough to be sure we can do it again tomorrow,” CMM (as is the Malcolm Baldridge Award) is more about “what” to measure (KPAs in level 2) to ensure that we do it better tomorrow, and PSP and Six-Sigma is more about predefined processes for “how” best to forecast and validate that improvement as well as the “who” and the “why” (CTQs from VOCs). It is a common misconception that the 9001 standard requires a lot of burdensome documentation since a quality system can be as simple as a creative single page if such would be best. Once what is needed is understood, there needs to be a process that ensures these requirements are being met and that effectiveness is being measured. It is to this end that ISO 9001 requires such involvement be formally described creating an environment in which anyone can succeed. Someone who recognizes leadership, knows the existing vision, how to maintain accountability, how to be useful, and keeps an open mind is first a good follower. One of the usual ways Americans learn follow-ship is as playing football on a back sandlot, voting on a quarterback, and then doing whatever that person tells them to. Every time we stand by and just watch, we demonstrate a lack of faith in our humanity. Dr. Moberg and the attendees of the 1971 White House Conference on Aging conceptualized spiritual well-being as the effective understanding of the meaning of God and humanity. In their theory of spiritual well-being, every person has an intense internal essential value as a driving resource for managing their personal life. One spiritual phenomenological study was made of the practice of selfless service within the context of for-profit organizations in the dissertation of Krista Kurth at George Washington University (1995). A more comprehensive empirical study was done by David Trott at the University of Texas in his doctorial paper “Spiritual Well-Being of Workers: Exploring the Influences of Spirituality in Everyday Work Activities” (1996). Drs. Mitroff and Denton completed a significant academic study in “A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America” at the Marshall School of Business (1999). Spiritual well-being theory focuses on the importance of relationships, transpersonal, interpersonal, and intrapersonal, the role of the human spirit in driving a meaningful life purpose, the contribution of spiritual well-being to an overall sense of well-being, and a dynamic interconnected life-affirming approach to living in the moment (Trott). Key to this new dialog is that what counts is not only what individuals and organizations do and how they do it, but also the inner place from which they operate (Claus Otto Scharmer, 2002). Kurt Lewin, father of "Action Research" theory, lauds personal change agents with, "You cannot understand a system unless you change it." What does manhood initiation ceremonies, leadership, statistics, and spiritual theory have in common? I believe John Donne said "No man is an island" specifically because none of these things are relevant without a village. I used to have a number of hang gliding friends. They told me the hardest aspect of the sport is to be so overflowing with enthusiasm for the sport that you can get it to infect someone else to the point that they're willing to drive off blindly following you to provide you a ride back. This is a required skill for any success. My favorite teaching heroes,
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 77 Escalante, Collins, Clark, MacEnulty were a bit cruel, stuck up, selfish, and even illiterate. But, they were all olympic class cheer leaders and motivators. Teaching skills are wholly about the ability to inspire – something we should all aspire to acquire. I've said I hate the word inspiring because when I hear someone describe a book as inspiring (which is often) I always ask what the book inspired the person to do and, I always get a "what?!?" Then, I ask if inspiring is so important to them, what have they inspired others to do and, I get a "what do you mean?" All of the stuff I've just recently written about (including teaching) never really happens specifically as no one is doing much inspiring. My four mentioned teaching heroes were all losers in the end IMHO as they all wholly failed at inspiring anyone to be like them and make any real changes to our education system (which, despite a popular movie about each one, typically rejected them). Leadership doesn't mean being a Lizard with a lot of following Zombies under their control – although this is sadly how we typically define "inspiring." The problem with true inspiration is that it's only measurable with predictions over hundreds of years. But, Americans employees and employers typically fail to look past two years when interviewing. Nothing in life can be useful unless it is part of a shared multi-generational planning effort. Alas, I've never known anyone to think this way. And, this is the whole crux of the problem. Moreover, it's where I've now come in my thesis. This is more than just the idea that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I could inspire a thousand people to change every day and not have the long-term impact that would occur if I could inspire just one person every year while teaching them to do the same. This starts with me inspiring you to do something entirely dissimilar to anything for which you may be familiar, with the resulting desire to affect others similarly. Without being able to do this, the effort is a waste and I will not just be dying since birth but already dead and useless. "Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry." – L. Abbott Clearly my measure for success is high. So high, in fact, that I have no role models to follow. No church (where we usually consider going to find inspiration) for the past 400 years has managed inspirational growth past its founding Lizards and their Zombies. No government has remained true to its founding ideals for that long either. In fact, no system of mankind has ever achieved success as measured by such a large rubric. I believe all human advancement has been due to only dumb luck rather than any intention. So, why would I think it is possible? Well, I have faith. Sadly, I believe it unlikely for most people to even have read this far not to mention be motivated to believe in such greatness without stronger impetus than my ramblings. It may take seriously bad times; maybe even Armageddon level bad times. I spend effort here only to suggest when life universally becomes so much worse than today that I might leave you with the smallest seed of faith in believing it may not be the end of the story for mankind. It would be nice if any of you were willing to learn about Six-Sigma Team Charters as well as the variety of math needed for rational decisions and to work through their personal vision quest as well as building a strong tribe of supporting family capable of walking you and your children and your grandchild through an emotional and spiritual initiation into adulthood. Unfortunately, I don't really expect that much. Many people have argued for the rights of individuals to have free and open access to suicide. They argue when life gets too hard to live, we should respect the key right of people to choose. On October 27th , 1930, 1236 members from six of the Seedig aborigine tribes of Taiwan took up arms against the invading Japanese during which 130 Japanese were killed. These indigenous peoples had been treated as sub-human and after the attack 2,000 soldiers were sent in to wipe them out. The Seedig retreated into the mountains but after two weeks had still not been rooted out. Thus, the Japanese gassed them out (the first use of tear gas in Asia). 644 were killed and
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 78 290 committed suicide. Around 500 surrendered and were left confined without weapons so that other competing Seedig tribes were able without resistance to murder every adult male. The few hundred surviving women and children were forced to move to the plains and lead an agrarian existence. None have ever been allowed to return. But, the Seedig expected this. They chose death over helplessness. Native Americans similarly generally chose death over subjection. The Wushe Uprising, however, did lead to changes in Japan's policies, fearing others would follow. The Battle of Okinawa during WWII left over 185,000 dead (this is more than those killed in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). With the impending victory of the Americans, the Japanese military convinced (some say even forced) thousands to kill themselves with stories that American soldiers often raped their female captives. While no one was charged, thousands were in fact raped (alas, this common in war; Japan’s Jiang Jieshi had raped tens of thousands of women during his invasion of China). Most women were so ravaged and under fed they were infertile. But, many resulting pregnancies were aborted while the few children born of American soldiers were all suffocated (The Battle of Okinawa by George Feifer, 1994). Our soldiers have raped girls in every war (as in Saudi Arabia in GW I and then Iraq in GW II). The three American soldiers who raped a 12-year Okinawan girl in 1995 were only the first to be charged. By their own accord, the Marines gagged with duct tape and violently beat the small girl walking home from school "just for fun." Their testimony was interrupted when the court's interpreter broke down in tears. One soldier, a past Boy Scout and church usher, claimed throughout it all that he had only participated out of fear but three years after being released and returning home, he raped and strangled a young teenager and then slashed his wrists. So, suicide is often better than having an American for a "friend." According to a 2011 Newsweek report and estimates from the Pentagon, as many as half of all soldiers get raped by their peers. Senator Collins of the Armed Services Committee asked “What does it say about us as a people, as a nation, as the foremost military in the world when our soldiers sometimes have more to fear from their fellow soldiers than from the enemy?” Army sergeant Myla Haider added "generally soldiers who make any type of complaint in the military are subject to retaliation and have no means of defending themselves." Is it any surprise about 120 returning vets kill themselves every week?!? Other ways that our soldiers often self-destruct include depression, isolation, and chronic anger. The broad general rule is that a person is about as big as the things that make him or her angry. So, perhaps you might be motivated to work for major social changes (before any Armageddon) due to feelings about your ancestors being wiped out. I am part Lenni Lenape (the Delaware Indians). It was the oldest and largest American tribe (others referred to them as Grandfathers). The very first treaty signed by the U.S. was with them (promising they would be guaranteed a state of their own – isn't that a laugh). But, the U.S. recently declared the Lenni Lenape (literally means the Original People) extinct. The 11,000 decedents in Oklahoma have yet again been reclassified as Cherokee (just after they had just yet again regained independent tribal status). There are about 6,000 living around Philadelphia and another 3,000 in Ontario and Wisconsin. That's the same number as were originally spread out over several states. But, today there are no pure bloods. Much of the native language was forgotten in boarding schools and lands lost in the late 1800's. And so, the U.S. Government has declared them dead (generally a result of our government's efforts). Then, there's the story of how Senator Udall (and others) blatantly lied to Congress in order to force 16,000 Navaho to move out of their homes (so forcibly that a quarter of them died) so as to be able to steal uranium and coal off of Arizonan reservations at pennies a ton (and made it illegal for Native Americans to hire their own attorneys in attempts to stop this illegal activity). The movie about the story, Broken Rainbow, won an Academy Award in 1986. The list of good reasons to be mad is clearly unending. So, is there anything that angers you?
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 79 Every child is special – so extraordinary it makes one wonder where so many ordinary adults come from (ha ha). First, everything we are taught are lies, even the science and math. For example, I was taught parallel lines are unable to meet at infinity as the idea is considered too difficult for people to handle and I was taught the moon is magnified by the atmosphere at the horizon as it is believed to be comforting. Knowledge, it seems, is measured by little more than its social value. This may leave us with an unconscious belief we have no intrinsic value beyond our value as Zombies to Lizards. Any hint that we only live blue pill lives is resisted. Dr. Janes from the London Business School has said trust is globally at an all time low and warns we are in great danger of losing faith in the legitimacy of our political and economic systems. Our own country is being undermined by pervasive distrust by isolated and self-serving factions. Alas, my "best" friend has been increasingly discouraging, saying I am self-absorbed and cold hearted. My workplace called the police when a peer happened to catch the title of this paper (even after attempts to explain it) perhaps as protections from the liability of doing nothing in this blame everyone else sue me sue you paranoid country we've built. We simply can't afford to trust. We humans use communication to turn ideas into the glue that binds our community identities (as I said earlier, I see myself as engineer, Christian, rebel, and information maven). In past oral traditions, an idea spread using the child’s telephone game, from person to person. Everyone briefly owned the idea, modified it, and choose to spread it through his or her social networks or let it die. It was survival of the fittest (not factual fitness but emotional fitness) and only the most compelling ideas survived. The last century of the broadcast (and legal) era changed all that as audiences had less participation and became consumers of ideas (to the great glee of Lizards) and moralities with access to broadcast channels guarantying attention. Survival has been more about saying the least (and so being the least offensive) and from a source of money and power (rather than value). Now that the broadcast era is ending, with audiences regaining control of idea generation, we are entering a time that looks like a much larger version of the oral tradition. Alas, we've forgotten how to be story tellers (and hearers). It starts from thinking about every aspect of your life not as something that occurred by chance but as narrative expressions of the morals and underlying values you need to share. The most successful stories (lives, products, or whatever) are those that call people to higher human values. Sadly, we no longer work on our values (and have been raised to believe they don't matter). Words like community, justice, truth, and self-expression are not well understood and not often used. For instance, how many times did you use one of these words in the past week, or month? I suspect the answer is not once. The journey of an unlikely hero (best if someone even seen as a buffoon), who is unclear how to express his or her values meeting a mentor who convinces them they're capable of much more, providing some sort of magic gift and calling the person to a dangerous journey of self discovery where the evil source of the world's shared brokenness will be defeated in order to allow access to a treasure that can help heal society, is the most successful story throughout all time. These are the types of stories we want to hear again and again. We should think of ourselves not as "insiders" but as "outsiders." But, we don't like to think of ourselves this way. And so, we should instead create a third person identity, the unlikely hero, who is not really us but the "us" we hope to become (our shared Super Ego – if you recall our egos work to grow our Id by the example of our Super Ego). If you are not the outsider who becomes the hero, who are you? In this classic storyline, this leaves you the role of the mentor. You should live the life of the one who informs the budding future you that more is possible. You must work to connect your future self to your values starting with one core truth that will is the moral of your rebirthing story, a lighthouse of unending hope to heal a broken self (if you have the courage to see it, as Merida in the movie
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 80 Brave says). Stop talking about how great you are and start talking about how great you can be. Then, give yourself a "magic" gift. For example, in the latest Spiderman movie, Spiderman loans his mask to a scared boy to give him courage and strength. It should be something that says success is not just possible, but likely. Something timely, mythical, and iconic: such as a cross pendant (iconic for struggling), a dragon (iconic for slaying), a World Series baseball card (iconic for winning), a briefcase or watch (iconic of business), an old book (iconic for timeless wisdom), or a knife or razor (iconic for entering manhood). In Starwars, Obi-wan Kenobi presents Luke Skywalker his old but visibly modified Lightsaber (iconic of life's lessons learned the hard way). Everyone has a favorite color, food, band, etc. People ask about such preferences not because one is right or more right than others but because such choices define us. It's not about whether the Beatles were truly better than the Stones, but about why we think so. Alas, we seem to only live lives with blinders on, thinking such answers matter rather than realizing it is only that such questions matter with the most important being what is your favorite moral. It's not about finding a creative answer, but plagiarizing one. This leads us to who is your favorite hero not because the answer is important but because realizing why is so life-defining. Crooked Arrow is a movie about a people whose life defining gift is a lacrosse stick. John Hopkins, Maryland, Princeton, Syracuse, and the US Naval Academy are the top school teams (Syracuse is the only university that shares land with an Indian reservation). A century ago, the game was primarily played on the East Coast, but it has recently become America's fastest growing sport (taking over Soccer). The game was originally played by all of the men of a tribe (or between tribes when used as a trial by combat to replace war) on a field potentially over a mile square for two to three days. It played a significant role in the social and religious life of the tribe as it was for the entertainment of the Creator and was referred to as "The Creator's Game." Games have traditionally provided training for war (for instance, the first American football tournaments were Army-Navy games). Today, we no longer keep score and pretend everyone's a "winner;" just another social suicide. We are today typically raised to believe we are motivated to war by the desire to get stuff. The suggestion war is but the natural deep human need to learn and create, to direct our own lives, and to achieve honor sounds laughable. This is perhaps the greatest chasm between what we believe and what it real. For example, I learned in my MBA program that the greatest myth of management is that people are most easily and best motivated by money (stuff). The reality is when there's enough stuff for a minimal existence, it is not even one of the top ten motivators. What is your favorite icon of your life's struggle for creativity, individuality, and honor (or of war)? There are a lot of books in my home, but they aren't icons of me – they're of my parents. I have the miner's lantern used in one grandfather's youth and surgical tools from college for the other. I used to own rugs made by one grandmother (but high use wore them out) and old family photo from the other. I have a box full of different yo-yos (I was the best in my Junior High), several of my old magic tricks, and a kitchen full of gadgets. I have some of the puppets of my youth, but somehow they're not me either. I have countless computers and AV systems (one costing more than my car) in a home where I have personally chose every flooring, every fixture, and every lamp. None of it is really "me" because all of this stuff only represent my past (and present) and none of it represents my future. They are about who I am, but I am a lot more than who I am. In physics, it called potential energy. Much of who I am, truly, is who I can become. When we talk about children being perfect we mean that we all start off capable of being anything. My home is missing my every decreasing future self. Hey, I bet you never thought you could go on a vision quest in your own home. In this we are not looking for something hidden but something missing.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 81 It's probably something you're afraid to admit or afraid to do. For example, my home is missing a room to paint. I have not painted since 10th Grade from a fear that it might not turn out well. What happened to scare me so? I was drawing my grandfather on a canvas to prepare doing a painting of him. My father happened to see it and exclaimed that it "actually looked like him!" It was the first time, in fact it was the only time, I can remember really impressing my father. What if I painted over the drawing and it didn't still look like him? It would be lost forever. And so, I have carried that canvas around with me for 40 years waiting for the courage to finish it. Plus, my Japanese teahouse is missing. A teahouse is a place of quiet and beauty. My house is filled with noise and distractions (a pool table, a foosball table, 6 foot speakers, etc). I realize one of the things I've never allowed myself is a small Japanese teahouse. Why? Who would want to come over to drink tea and do nothing, not even talk (there's not even furniture in a teahouse)? But, a teahouse is for guests. What else is missing in my house? A wife, children, in fact any family at all is plain missing from my house (life). You don't get to choose your family. Desmond Tutu said family is God's gift to you, as you are to them. Like most people, I suspect, I feel a little short changed in that area. We all know that almost half of marriages fail today. But, I bet you didn't know that only half of one percent of arranged marriages crash and burn. Arranged marriages are not really arranged, it's only the dating that arranged. Family is about learning to get along with people not of our own choosing. As a country, we tend to refuse such choices. I recognize a herd of like animals is missing in my house. Zebras (as my youngest son reminded me) survive by fitting in (with stripes that get them killed alone). Zebras now hang over my bed. There are many icons in our art, language, and culture. Mirrors can stand for truth or vanity, a bundle of branches for unity, bells for liberty, earth for creativity and maturity, eggs for rebirth, flowers for virtue, hammers for masculinity, tree leaves for hope and growth (as in turning over a new leaf), an umbrella for protection, and cards stand for a year (a card for each week) and for acceptance (as in the hand that life deals you), and a lit candle for the endurance of faith. Many may have asked what do you stand for but I am now asking what stands for you. I once read a bunch of books on Vexillology (the scientific study of symbolism and the usage of flags) when I was a Boy Scout to help design my patrol's flag. Such symbolism used to be very important to building and marketing one's identity. My Irish ancestors chose a bloody hand based on a story where a family leader cut off his hand to win good real estate (a fifth of Ireland). It became such a popular symbol of doing whatever it takes that others have copied it over the millennia since. The similar field of study, Heraldry, is the study of arms and protocols. Heraldry is a term that derives from the word herald, meaning an official messenger of community news. In the same way, most people use an avatar with their Call of Duty video game accounts utilizing a stylized face. Just like the face of mars or the moon, faces, like skulls, are ancient symbols for mortality as an inspired statement about the hopes to overcome death as well as just our fears of death. The American flag is a reminder that we are a nation of strong independent states (originally numbering 13 but now 50). Our states are not as strong, say, as the states of Switzerland – but they started off stronger. But, when that didn't work (to raise sufficient taxes to pay off loans for the Revolutionary War) we destroyed the country (after fourteen presidents before Washington) and built a new one - even countries can die and can start over. Symbols, such as flags, should be simply and easily reproduced. The original American flag used stars with six points but Betsy Rose showed Washington how a five pointed star could be created with but one snip of a pair of scissors. Flags should additionally be easily recognizable over great distances while fluttering in the wind. The use of bold colors and simple images attests to such practical issues. Libya's is currently the only nation using a flag consisting of one simple color, green, which represents the founder's political philosophy (after his revolutionary Green Book). Libya's old flag is now used
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 82 as a symbol of the revolution and its intended rebirth (a new revolution using an old flag as opposed to the existing revolution using a new flag). And so, what would your flag look like? God, the ideal of real truth, is represented by the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The first and last letters in English are of course A and Z, which happens to represent the state in which I live, Arizona. A few years ago, Arizona's economy marked a significant milestone when the number of employees in the state's 21 Indian casinos exceeded those employed by mines. But, this is a state for rebirths. The capital was originally named Pumpkinville (yikes!) by felonious Confederate land hustlers after their first crop where the name Phoenix only came about during a drunken speech by a self-styled English nobleman referencing how the town had been made possible by rebuilding old Pueblo canals. The Gawker voted Arizona (2011) the worst state in the country (after teachers voted our schools the worst in the nation). But, Arizona is the only state where mail is still delivered by mule (from the base of the Grand Canyon, the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World in the US) and oldest rodeo but also the largest Nuclear Plant, has the least rainfall but most boats per capita in the country, more sunlight (and skin cancer) with the hottest temperatures but more cryogenics labs freezing dead people (including Ted Williams), and where an un-degreed assistant discovered Pluto. My first reaction to living in Tucson was "What a burnt out third world country!" The first positive thought I recall (after it's nice to be warm at Christmas) was seeing the first double rainbow in my life (and I saw a half dozen my first year here). This is the first picture that Arizona brings to mind. So, the best magic gift (or, the flag that best represents myself and my beliefs), before zebras, is a rainbow. "And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow." Gilbert K. Chesterton The rainbow has been such a favorite component of mythology throughout history that it would be difficult to find a story that didn't have a rainbow (whether as a bridge, message, or serpent). In Christian symbolism, rainbows have seven colors as a reminder how the number seven plays a prominent role in John's Revelation. The famous 16th-century reformer John Calvin wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible except Revelation because he found its meaning too difficult to uncover. Similarly, Martin Luther said his "spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book." Thus, anyone who claims to understand Revelation (as I am about to) should provide the warning that such interpretation comes with the self-absorbed implication of one being a greater biblical scholar than Calvin and Luther. John begins Revelation discussing the seven churches of Asia (there were more, so the seven were simply especially symbolic). Other sevens of John include the many manifestations of the Holy Spirit in verses 1:4-5, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6 (of Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear and worship - as per Isaiah 11:2). I believe the seven churches correspond to the seven ages of a slow apostasic loss of faith until the end times: Ephesus for first century Christians, Smyrna for the persecution of the second and third centuries, Pergamos for when the church joined with Rome, Thyatira for the authority of Roman Catholicism, Sardis for the Reformation, Laodicea for the lukewarm apostate church at the very end, and Philadelphia for the missionary church of the last days. It's also describes the walk of any prophetic priest through increasing public distain until a revival. God made us all priests. The Church of Philadelphia is the only one not criticized and is praised for staying true to their beliefs despite a progressively hostile environment. Revelation includes a harsh condemnation (“I will vomit you out of my mouth”) for the cool church of Laodicea (etymologically meaning “the rights of the people,” suggesting a future era of democracy where the world is dominated not by
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 83 its rational truths but by its people's desires) for being greedy, spoiled, and deplorably indifferent to everything (even if they didn’t recognize it). Our nation's founders wrote very strongly against democracy (and why we are instead a representative republic). My favorite of the Bill of Rights (written as many states refused to sign the Constitution without such representation of why they went to war) is the Ninth Amendment, which talks about the presumption of liberty or that the rights of conscience cannot be left to the mercy of personal or public opinion. And, that is what the rainbow symbolizes for me – my core value as the best seed for a possible personal rebirth. I believe our lives become chaotic (as per the laws of thermodynamics) except for miracles. To me, the rainbow symbolizes the rainbow of "bad" in our lives that in the end is for our good. The Bible describes the rainbow as God's promise never to destroy the world with a flood. Christians mistakenly believe this first occurred after Noah's flood, but it really came at the world's creation. I believe life will never give me more than I can handle and that a rainbow comes after the rain. This is the vision I discovered by completing a vision quest without ever leaving my own home. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting. (Dr. Seuss, 1960) The natural concern is that such efforts become just another distraction from actively choosing to live, start over, and move on. Much of life is an attempt to forget and wait for sleep. Soldiers wait to forget losing friends just as children (and fathers) wait to forget abandonment. Then, we all wait to forget our shame. The intense sorrow is beyond words. Hell, it's even beyond actions. So we wait. But, change will not come if we wait for another time or another person, not even a God. We must stop waiting for something or someone. We must produce. Plus, the world is full of things and people patiently waiting for anyone to think of something to produce with them. After my mother's funeral and my brother and I had just dropped my daughter off at the airport, driving back home, my brother explained to me that he had come to the conclusion it wasn't our mom's fault he was rude to people, it was all my fault. As we were approaching a light on US Route 1, I asked him if he was trying to start a fight. When the car came to a stop, he jumped out and ran around to my side. As the road was empty except for my car, I got out as well. Only, as he approached, I found I was simply unable to build up the anger necessary to fight him. As he started to punch me, I realized I wasn't going to do anything and I even provided him some encouraging words. This naturally angered him and putting his 30 additional pounds to best work, his punching moved from my body to my face. This sounds horrible but he wasn't even able to bruise me (as my third wife often did with her punches). He was elated and stated he had proved unlike the movies that it was impossible to knock someone unconscious. I thought I had done the right thing. I now realize I only confirmed his right to have set out on the power play to steal money from me. I probably should have punched him back or at least simply asked him when he stopped punching whether it was then my turn to try to knock him unconscious. Dr. Rivera writes about the psychodynamics of mobbing, "Emotional dependence explains why the victim does not break off the relationship in cases of abuse within a couple, being able to endure anything in order to maintain bonds that are, in reality, chains of slavery." Drs. Schwartz, Schwartz, and Epstein write concerning the manipulation of attachment needs, "The defining characteristics of the victim include a primary focus on his own authenticity, a certain incapacity for perceiving and managing envy from others, and the need to be loved and appreciated. Albeit those qualities may be endearing for sane people, all of them are despicable for the abuser: authenticity is perceived as disrespect for authority, lack of interest towards the group, and a
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 84 tendency to do his own thing; psychological innocence is perceived as an arrogant and insolent attitude that has no respect for the intentions and status of others; emotional dependence is perceived as a weakness to be exploited as a first point of attack. In his attempts to understand and clear up the situation he commits all the mistakes necessary to make it even worse, and, as a result, develops a psychological reaction of stress with symptoms of anxiety, psychosomatic illness, and depression." Dr. Hassan descriptions of cult abuse in Freedom of Mind have a lot in common with the home of a self-absorbed mother, such as demanding, dependency, deception, reasons to sleep with children (as in a family bed), belittling of father's importance, encouraging children to not respond to contact from their father, financial ties (like rent from adult children), and failing to notify father of children's location all for the purpose of psychological blackmail. In both situations, fathers like me often say, "I don't recognize my own bright, warm, loving son." "Truth is stronger than lies and love is stronger than fear!" Dr. Steven Hassan If this was true, though, how can people appear to make only the worst possible decisions? People are naturally unable to recognize situational influences. The concept of irresistible actor- observer bias was first described by Dr. Lee Ross, who argued it to be the foundation for the field of social psychology. Influences for why people work this way include thinking "what goes around comes around" (I can't understand how anyone could think life was fair or be so cruel to victims of tragedies and accidents), entity blinders (only seeing life from individual perspectives rather than a complex systems worldview and individuals from collectivistic Asian cultures are less likely to fall victim to such limited thinking than Westerns), and simply being lazy suggesting the need for group accountability to an honest critical approach in order not to fall victim to this. In other words, it is important to always remember that life is not fair, to look for environmental cues, and to actively work to build relational systems of accountability (and not just denigration). I say that when used as a verb, love is always a lie. Unreciprocated love is only an infatuation. We can't truly love a rock, a pet, or a sociopath. Real love is a relational adjective... something that describes a relationship intimacy executed between and by two or more people. Real love is a systems view of people as real relationships are not about entity concepts like personality (or shouldn't be). It is something multiple people create; not something you can do yourself. Real love doesn't fade. If you've experienced fading love either in yourself or others, it wasn't love. And, if they never really loved you, you never really loved them. You were only infatuated. It is only true love that can overcome lies and fear – or build a real family (or "healthy" cult). Unhealthy cults work to micromanage people's time (especially their thinking time) and physical environment. For example, Henry Ford would inspect employee homes Sunday mornings to ensure every home was the same and that they didn't attend a church. Such efforts create a sense of powerlessness, fear, and dependency (just look at what "news" makes it into the daily newspaper – just reinforcements for cult-ural biases), providing a system of sticks and carrots (aka Taylorism) to suppress old behaviors and elicit new ones, create a closed system of logic wherein dissenters feel there may be something wrong with them, and keep recruits unaware and uninformed that there is an agenda to control or change them. Dr. Kurt Lewin's Change Theory is based on efforts to unfreeze, change, and refreeze habits. This works for either good or bad families and communities (for either more or less independent thinking). Dr. Yeakly found in "bad" cults, people's personalities naturally morph to become clones of the prevailing Lizard. Using hate and persistence, they can wear you down and end you. But, if you know the right techniques, you can overcome any attack and remain healthy and upbeat. It is exceptionally
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 85 important to be aware when you are being attacked. Passively accepting the attack and / or ignoring the attack will not resolve anything. I have often pretended life was just a nightmare or that I was just imagining it all. It's up to us to cultivate the empathy, discernment, and wisdom to know when shit's actually happening. A useful trick is to visualize a sphere around yourself that will protect you no matter what, allowing you to focus on things that are positive. No matter how difficult life gets, there's always something positive to make you laugh, cheer, or feel good. Your enemy will try to summon scary images to get you to surrender, working to convince you to see yourself as the bully and them as the victim. And, they'll use fear to get you to feel vulnerable. At this point, you need to banish them from your personal space. The destructive Samurai imagery was for dealing with the monster within; this dome is for external monsters. Like a leech drinking a larger animal's blood for nutrition, Lizards and Zombies need to eat your heart or brain. You can’t really blame them as that would be like blaming the shark for eating a swimmer, who went swimming at night, with a cut on his toe. But, they only win if you give up, so don't ever give up. Pretty scary stuff except that their plan to shut down your brain or heart rests on a single premise: that you don't fight back. (How to Fight Monsters and Win by Jack London) Unfortunately, the only way to turn a Zombie from obeying his or her Lizard is with a team effort (your own cult). I say unfortunately as there are few non-Zombies to elicit into such an effort. Moreover, you need others with special experience with problems similar to yours. Today, social sharing over Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ are used for lighter fair. You can start to save yourself with isolation; a hermit's life. This may have motivated my parents' gradual social suicide (in order to stay sane), as well as my own. The goal of any good cult is to rescue people's authentic self from the groupthink identity forced upon them or people's self imposed hermitdom. Every Zombie has an authentic self that is sadly daily being suppressed, but the underlying true self still lives. The power of this genuine self allows one to be "saved" from such Zombie thinking even after decades of programming. Cognitive Theory says if you can change a person's behavior, their thoughts will follow (to minimize dissonance). It does take some sort of relationship or connection, though, to start the flow of new information. If a person has been forced to "remember" the abuse of some family member, they might not be the best source of a correcting sanity. The hermit is a leader, an independent thinker; but, one that is so isolated he or she is no threat to the insanity left behind. There's no revolution without followers. We always think of leaders in White Knight Lizard terms. The truth is revolutionaries are often crazy hermits. The mythical hermit is someone who has withdrawn (to become comfortable with himself) and then returned to share his knowledge as a rabble-rouser. He simply requires the courage to stand alone and look ridiculous. He must also provide, though, a simplified executive summary of his message. Such people usually never return to any significant prominence as their unorthodox lessons require a great first follower – someone to provide the third person narrative for legitimizing the new idea. The follower must be able to creatively retell the original message. The returning hermit must embrace the first follower and see him as an equal. It's not just about him, it's now them. This first follower provides invitations to his friends to join. The first follower is an underappreciated transformer of lone nuts into recognizable leaders. The next are the fire and public face of the message – proof of the good idea. Next, the marginalized masses emulate the first followers following and not actually the leader. This is the tipping point. Hermits are just lonely nut cases, without that first follower, hopelessly struggling to be heard. And so, the returning hermit slowly moves from individual to individual, seeking that one person who gets him. Sadly, most returning hermits (originals) are only successful years after they die. In fact, if you want to start a movement, it would be easier to be the first follower and find someone
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 86 to repackage rather than work to be the original author (who will end up getting all the credit). This doesn't have to be a national movement; the message could be for a family movement. Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground. Perhaps, the role of courageous rabble-rouser and first follower could be a criss-cross deal just like in many murder movies with each person being the first follower for the other's leadership. The first step in helping your new partner's lost family member should be small mini-interactions consisting of phone calls, letters, email, and brief face to face visits to suggest reconciliation and that their estrangement may not be their own choice. But first, your new friend and you need deprogramming of your own. That may not be what you wanted to hear. Yes, you will need to isolate yourself from past toxic words and behind barriers which you can retreat (be the hermit). Freudian theory (including therapies based on ids and egos) is indeed out of date, and that should be no surprise as Freud died in 1939. Moreover, little of his theories were based on actual quantitative and predictive experimental research. Much like today's global warming theories, patterns were forced onto available clinical data. Good for a hunch but not science. But, Freud did have it right that one needs to be helped before one can similarly help another. "Whoever loves his life will lose it" (John 12:25); "whoever loses his life, will find it" (Matt 10:39). Who is best to help you with such therapy? You could use a person with a similar situation but without the personal investment (which sometimes results in poor judgment) as well as sufficient academic understanding to provide not just the needed emotional but also intellectual support. After the initial follower / therapist, a large diverse group is necessary to build a successful anti- cult cult to restore independency first to yourself and then to the lost acquaintance. This type of bootstrapping rehabilitation counseling focuses on helping individuals with disabilities, but (not to diminish anyone) life is a universal disability all by itself – we all need such assistance. A half century ago, American teachers were great thought reform counselors and change agents. Today, our schools are sadly little more than yet another cult sucking our brains and hearts dry. Unfortunately, there are no school programs or degrees designed to create such professionals. This provides ever greater opportunities for sappy advice to be mistaken as academic as well as those who suffer from psychological problems, especially narcissism, to confuse and influence. "Upon the first, and in one sense this role, rule of reason, that in order to learn you must desire to learn, and in so desiring not to be satisfied with what you already incline to think, there follows one corollary which itself deserves to be written upon every wall of the city of philosophy: Do not block the way of inquiry." - Charles Peirce How do we research and discover the hidden person? The answers we get to inquiries are only about the visible but fake Zombie, they're of no real help. One idea is to tell members of your deprogramming cult stories where you've worked out the positive messages those experiences taught you. You can also acquaint them with stories about your ideal siblings, parents, friends, or employers. Then, work together, to become models of those ideals. Look out for infiltrating Lizards. Rather than look at their answers, check their response like a poker player. Did you get a hug, tears, anger, or silence? Statements to the estranged should be like, "This is your life – we just want to make sure that you are the one choosing." It is all too easy to assume, as with all problems, that only "they" have it. 96% of us have been (30% are) Zombies. I have primarily written about them (and it's a bit about you), but it was mostly for me. All of us are susceptible to stray influences and decision making skills takes serious effort. Perhaps, we can talk about what you believe? How is your life better now? Try to make an effort to identify group issues about
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 87 individual concerns. What specific behavior is most bothersome? Focus on health, like sleep, as well as changed priorities and appearance. How might talking be simplified and smartened? Research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1967 followed 301 people who had been arrested for "public drunkenness" in San Diego and were randomly assigned to 3 groups: no treatment, referral to professional counseling, or Alcoholics Anonymous. The group with the greatest continued drinking and the most re-arrests were the individuals sentenced to AA while the most successful at staying out of jail were those in the control group receiving no treatment at all. We all need our problems externalized and depersonalized into a third-person storyline in order to prevent us from becoming wholly alienated from our values, hopes, and commitments. The greater articulation possible from an externalizing idiom with an empathetic audience ought to lead into a step-by-step action plan for unfreezing inaccurate thinking and a slow refreezing of a far healthier and measurable worldview. Alas, it seems our existing social environment is likely healthier and more productive than any currently available professional artificial alternative. No matter how sincere skilled professionals may seem, seek instead the messy, chaotic, and real. After discovering my second wife was having an affair (and likely not her first) after experiencing my first wife's affair with a high school junior, I went to a therapist to cry. At the end, I thanked him and explained I just needed to cry, didn't need therapy, but didn't want to be a burden for my friends. When I mentioned it to my best friend, he thanked me for not crying on his shoulder. Instead of finding a therapist that knew how to be a friend, how much better would have been a friend that knew how to be a life coach. Not only should we all take (and retake until we get an A grade) a statistics class to understand what better looks like; we should also take a counseling class to understand the basics of the process of how to help others find (and understand) better. For over four centuries, what is today called Murphy's Law was known as Sod's Law. It stated if anything can be done wrong that some sod (or, therapist) will do it wrong. Alas, Sod's Law (or Murphy's) has become its own worst victim in a post-modern age where we instead get to blame bad luck rather than clearly incompetent efforts (our perception of the new Murphy's Law in fact came out of a religion created for a Larry Niven science fiction story). A professional (like family) simply has too much of their self-esteem and ego tied up in any solution to accept being part of the Zombie-Lizard problem. The next best thing to hermit-ing for dealing with not being yourself may be finding a stranger who has also suddenly found themselves in a similar re-awakening. Perhaps, what the world needs is an online deprogramming or exit counseling dating service. Drs. Wilkinson and Picket establish in The Spirit Level that one factor most determines society's health – and, it's not resources, diet, government style, or national wealth. America, the richest country on earth, has shorter life spans, more mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any rich nation. Real prosperity is due to reducing income disparity and what Dr. Greenspan calls a "very disturbing trend" of our declining education equality. America has a more distinct wealth caste system (highest in Arizona) than any other country or time. The very best way to feel the stress of a caste system is to find work for the privileged and end up surrounded by people with significantly more. This is also the best way to become a Zombie. In more equal societies, people are much more likely to trust each other (Drs. Eric Uslaner and Mitchell Brown, 2002), demonstrate greater tolerance (Drs. Andersen and Fetner, 2008), exhibit better health (Drs. Richard G. Wilkinson, J. Lynch, and G.A. Kaplan), with measures of greater social capital suggesting greater community involvement (Drs. Putnam, Leonardi, and Nanetti 1993, Putnam 2000), and homicide rates are consistently lower (Drs. Daly et al., 2001). Not just the poor are necessarily worse off but such economic disparity leads to worsened conditions for
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 88 the entire population. A slave owner naturally lives with a constant fear of losing his or her life due to retributions just as wealthy Americans get worse health care in a stratified health system. There must be something wrong with anyone who would criticize, for example, Martin Luther King, Jr or Gandhi right? The top experts might say therapists and K-12 school teachers are the most inept and corrupt people in our society but most people become angered when I state such facts. I clearly must have issues (grin). At best, I am someone to be ignored and pitied. We surely could never admit our love affair with malice; it's too unsettling to imply we prefer evil to truth. There is a long history around killing the messengers of bad news. It is much better to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing. The stuck out nail only gets hit; or just maybe, gets better. And, evil's popularity is at an all time high. No wonder. Thinking has never been more difficult in a post-modern world where nothing seems to makes sense. Regan's Star Wars defense plan was scrapped partly because it was believed the requisite 10 million lines of code was humanly impossible to manage. But, even a decade ago, Windows and Office XP consisted of 85 million lines of code. Our cars typically have ten to twenty computers. Even our TVs and appliances and phones are all "smart." There no one in our society who can fix them because they're just too complicated. Our jobs are likely about only a small part of something no one in the building really understands. We feel increasingly overwhelmed by the infinity of everyday choices. And, here come our psychopaths who tell us not to worry, they have everything in control. They tell us that we're special and beautiful. Heck, even sport teams become special by being "ours." We know today how to end all hunger, violence, and ignorance. The only reason we don't is it would require giving up the lies on which we've based our lives. To avoid that even death is preferable. And honesty, all by itself, is a thing we'll do anything not to face. Try talking about suicide and people will call the police to make you stop. Discuss how most of the most likely way a soldier will die is suicide or about the incompetence of teachers and therapists and people walk away. You certainly won't get published. You won't be popular. And, isn't that what matters most, being popular? We are all but children of the "Silent" generation. We all know to keep our mouths (and minds) shut. We certainly don't want to know what our mothers are really like. That's my mother you're talking about. Facing such truths would only make evident what we are all like. It's OK to face such "truths" about others. Every church I've been to teaches the doctrine of Apostasy (that Christians would increasingly become distant from Christ's teaching) but the problem was only shown to be in other churches. Both family and friends have recently told me to expect to die alone, as if it was the most horrible fate. Drs. Martin and Kamins suggest in fact threats of social exclusion ("you will die alone") are far greater motivators to behavioral changes than rational health arguments. This is why discussions over what is "cool" are more likely to affect smoking patterns than just pointing out that smoking will kill you (which provide just the opposite affect). Anthropologist Dr. Earnest Becker suggests in The Denial of Death (1973) that most all human action is taken to help ignore or avoid the reality of our mortality. Modern Terror Management Theory (TMT) is based on the psychological conflict between our efforts to live and knowing full well that such efforts must eventually fail. Such terror, knowable only by humans, says Becker, is the basis for dragon and white knight myths. "We admire most the courage to face death; we give valor our highest and most constant adoration; it moves us deeply in our hearts because we have doubts about how brave we ourselves would be. Man has elevated animal courage into a cult." Dr. Becker sees Freudian sexuality and self-esteem as but symptoms of such organic narcissism. Cooper et al. (2011) as well as Goldenberg and Arndt (2008) see efforts to think about death (especially one's own mortality) as the most essential path to self-empowerment and the improved articulation of one's identity. Drs. Vail et al. show in When Death is Good for
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 89 Life (2012) forcing people to consider their mortality motivates them to better health, attitudes, relationships, as well as charitable and open minded communities. For instance, discussions are noticeably more meaningful and impactful when they held in a cemetery. "Human stories are practically always about one thing, really, aren't they? The inevitability of death." J.R.R. Tolkien “Student: I don't feel like living anymore. Teacher: If you don't feel like doing something then don't do. This means that in finding many ways how not to live your life, you have the possibility to discover how to live your life.” – Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday If you were dead, you wouldn't be responsible, hear criticism, or labor. So, don't be responsible, respond to criticism, or do work (out of any fear or quilt). The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association characterizes Spiritual Distress (1987) as "evidenced when an individual expresses concern with the meaning of life/death; manifests anger towards a Higher Being/God; verbalizes internal conflicts; questions meaning of one's existence; seeks spiritual assistance; questions ethical implications of circumstances; and uses gallows humor." When can distress be good and self-esteem bad? Studies of academic proficiency show a strong correlation between high self- esteem and low test scores. A study in 1986 showed Americans have the highest self-esteem and lowest skills in reading, writing, and math while Koreans have the lowest self-esteem and highest skills. Two studies in 2003 additionally showed a high correlation between self-esteem and criminal behavior. One of which also found self-esteem positively linked with drunk driving and racist attitudes. Roy Baumeister and Martin Seligman say high self-worth is often a marker for negative behavior, as diagnosed in sociopaths and drug kingpins. Yet, teachers and parents commonly say that a child should never be told when they are wrong or how to behave. Doing so has even become synonymous with child abuse (custody courts frequently regard being the homework parent in such a light). Self-esteem increases the negative effects of mortality fears. Not only are people with high self-esteem more likely to start smoking after hearing such habits could kill them, those already smoking with high self esteem actually feel better about smoking when the mortality connection is made salient. Drs. Like Jessop et al. (2008) found even when death is eminent, people engaged in efforts to improve their self-esteem more likely to work for their self-destruction. With death in America being mostly caused by self-destructive behaviors, we must learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of things not making sense (not overcome problems but leverage them) instead of finding happiness by ignoring long-term consequences. Dr. Becker additionally writes in The Denial of Death, "Psychiatrist Rheingold says categorically that annihilation anxiety is not part of the child's experience but is engendered in him by bad experiences with a depriving mother. This theory puts the whole burden of anxiety onto the child's nurture and not his nature. This view is very popular today in the widespread movement toward unrepressed living. The fear of death is always present in our mental functioning. The result is that the child lives with an inner sense of chaos that other animals are immune to. Even when the child makes out real cause-and-effect relationships they become a burden to him because he over generalizes them. [It explains] why children have their recurring nightmares, their universal phobias of insects and mean dogs. It is too much for any animal to take, but the child has to take it, and so he wakes up screaming with almost punctual regularity. Repression is not simply a negative force opposing life energies; it lives on life energies and uses them." My youngest son has often experience night terrors in which he screams and begs for his mother to stop, although he has never been able to remember such dreams. A girlfriend once was in my home as I put my sleepwalking son back to bed. She was overwhelmed with tears from such extreme behavior, tears I could no longer produce as it had become a regular nighttime routine.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 90 Drs. Rosenblatt, Greenberg, Solomon, Pyszczynski, and Lyon studied the effect of answering questions about death on municipal court judges on setting bond levels for women charged with prostitution at the UA in Tucson, Arizona (1989). They found asking judges to consider their own death caused them to set bonds eight times higher. A second study, moreover, showed such changes only occurred in judges who held strong negative views of prostitution. Viewing any behavior as undefendable or inhuman turns out to be the single greatest cause of undefendably inhuman behavior. Then again, I find viewing prostitution as a "victimless crime" as inhuman after witnessing how everyone (even my father) ignores a prostitute beaten when I was but five. It's the condition not the act of prostitution that is undefendable. If we ended suicidal death with law and ended aging with science, might such fears diminish? Terror Management Theorists believe the fear of accidental death would only be the same motivator. Imagine then the effect of the repeated warnings my son's mother gave him that his father would eventually harm if not kill him. We were playing tag in the park when he was very young and I pretended to be a sluggish monster. Boy, was that a mistake! He had a complete mental breakdown believing his mother's predictions were coming true. Even sadder, everyone ignored him as he ran from adult to adult begging for protection from certain death. You're not human if this story doesn't make you cry. One problem is that if you're not rich, powerful, or thin (death avoidance ideals), our modern culture provides few means of developing positive self-worth (not esteem). Happiness is now defined and made possible only by accepting great denial. Psychotherapist Dr. Brad Blanton suggests in Radical Honesty that such daily lying is the major source of all human stress and can actually kill you. He says no one is more caught in this trap than the American adolescent. We provide children few paths to moral self-discovery. We might identify with being religious or political or athletic but we identify little with the ethical origins of religion, politics, and games. As a fundamental Bible Thumper, modern Christianity seems to me to serve as but a pagan religion intended to suppress individuality. All religions (which are but expressions of culture) are cults, but there are such things as "good" cults and as "bad" cults. While bad cults work to suppress uniqueness with threats of dying alone, good cults embrace uniqueness with attacks against bad cult's physical, religious, or political "rightness." Christ spoke constantly against religious rightness but such a message is rarely included in modern churches. Blanton says his career has been mostly about reviving patients deadened by always feeling the need to be on guard. Blanton writes half of Americans "kill themselves compensating for the starvation of being cut off from the nourishment of commonplace experience. They smoke, drink, take drugs, eat fat meat, watch TV, and don't exercise. They kill themselves with the same socially acceptable poisons all their friends use. They know a renewed love of life has something to do with escaping their own minds, but they just can't seem to do so. Moralism, a disease of living in the mind without relief, kills them. They die, trapped in some country song, doing the best they can but never doing well enough to suit anybody, particularly themselves. The freedom achieved by who grow beyond the limitations of their childhood conditioning is freedom from their own minds. The alternative to freedom is a gradual suffocation, which makes us simultaneously more dead and desperate. Creativity, using the mind rather than being used by the mind, is the cure for all disorders. [This] creates the possibility of using your mind to make a future as an artist rather than as a victim." "Without doubt, certainty is what drives one insane. We are all afraid of truth." (Nietzsche in Ecce homo, 1888, his last original book before going insane) The American ideals of being special, of heroism, or of trying to write the next great novel are all but desperate efforts to not think about the inevitable. All products have life cycles that include a
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 91 beginning, middle, and end. So do, however, institutions, cultures, and individual lives. If we are not financially, educationally, or socially successful, whose fault is it? Who must take 100% of the blame for failure in this country? We must each shoulder, of course, all the blame ourselves. To suggest anything else is belittled, ridiculed, and shouted down more than any other concept. If you can't control others with money, knowledge, or friends, we're told we just don't really exist. Is it any surprise that those who swallow such ideals (us Americans) are so universally unhappy despite all the wealth and power that any wish could ever claim? While such soulless thinking fuels our great capitalistic society (and let me be the first to claim great affection for my toys), at what individual cost, at what cost forced from our children, does such a shallow life demand? After drawing such a picture of America, does not our paying more for therapists to call us "sick" seem more natural, does not the "logic" of our prescription and illegal drug demand seem far more logical, does not the complete apathy about discovering how to end all hunger, violence, and ignorance seem but completely emotionally as well as spiritually forceful and reasonable? As all our symbolic barriers against death fail, we naturally become more desperate to defend them, but we only magnify such symbols into things of even greater (but false) significance. The Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, and Gen X, Y, and Z have each had to experience their own symbolic death. Who is the greatest drummer becomes an issue worth fighting over. Our jobs, our families, and our day to day lives all seem to come up short to the standard set by our culture. Seeing our relationships as dysfunctional and unsatisfying is today the expected norm. But, that every system is perfectly designed to produce the results being generated is the most fundamental aspect of modern system theory. We have only everything that we've asked for. Dr. Becker believed a person’s character is essentially formed around the process of denying his or her own mortality, this denial is necessary for the person to function in the world, and that this character-armor prevents genuine self-knowledge suggesting that self-knowledge is possible only by first giving up one's need for character and that horror is the counterintuitive path to joy. Increasing people's death-awareness makes them more aggressive, more prone to prejudice, and more fond of arbitrary authority. But, it can also cause people to be more inclusive, helpful, and peaceful (the positive aspects of Zombie thinking). Perhaps, this is why siblings are more likely to get along after retirement. Paradoxically, facing our worst fears can sweeten our sad and lonely existence. Becker suggests the only way to do this is to give up one's life to ideals greater than our physical selves, call it God, or love, or simply objective truth. Whatever it takes to never be satisfied, to never believe you know or have anything real, that life be the journey. If anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. 1 Corinthians 8:2 In-group favoritisms and out-of-group hostilities (or indifferences) are but symptoms of mortality fears, in any culture. Knowing people can discriminate along any dimension, it is discouraging to learn the human mind automatically categorizes others by race (as well as by gender and age) despite the reality is there are far greater genetic differences between two members of any local community than between the average of any two very diverse populations. Can we change how our minds work? Dr. Kurzban showed we can overcome developed biases but only by means of a greater group identity bias. Alas, we can only see the world in terms of us and them and are comfortable with changing memories and conclusions to fit such prejudice. There's no possible logic or evidence that can shake us from fundamental group allegiances except using stronger and more important allegiances (life is all about favoritism). When I once asked my father if he thought my mother might have gone too far, had stepped just a bit over the line, in writing a long
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 92 letter telling my second wife and I that we clearly didn't love each other, my mother later told me after hanging up he had laughed and said how funny he found the idea that his fool son wanted him to say anything negative about his wife as if that was possible. We don't ever cross our most fundamental community identity. If someone outside the family had asked him something similar, he would have reacted the same way about me. While this is the basis for all "crazy talk," it hurts that with the death of my parents there's no one left who feels this way about me. Family is less likely to be seen today as a core group identity. As I said before, this may be to allow new and larger core identities to be formed. Yet, I might argue today's failures to provide strength to such new families or gangs is due to being based on casual interests or unhealthy death avoidance ideals rather than a strong inspiring vision. Strong families of the past typically had strong monarchs (eldest sons). This is not an option when men are seen as superfluous. Before we build networks based on great ethical ideals, of course, we need to develop some. While many believe relationships work best when parties have similar interests or beliefs, the reality is that neither really matters. What bind people with real respect are similar values and similar mechanisms for developing individual beliefs and interests. Alas, we aren't taught how to think (critical thinking) for ourselves and end up believing whatever figures of authority tell us. Drs. Carver and Scheier have shown when we are happier we are more likely to reduce task efforts and just coast. If you reward children (or employees) for doing their work, they will often respond by getting it done, at least that once. But, the use of bribes (or carrots) has long been shown to be far less effective at motivating people than instead by supporting their sense of autonomy. Such an effort starts with explaining why a task is important (the goal, I would argue, of Social Studies class) and then follow with as much personal freedom as possible in carrying out the task. This will stimulate far greater attention and commitment (this is called "treating people fairly" in systems theory as opposed to century old Taylorism). Instead of asking how we can motivate people (or ourselves), we should be asking how can we create conditions within which people (or I) will motivate themselves. In sales, this is getting others to argue your view. I can teach mastery of fractions to any person, explain the power and purpose of such mastery, and then the natural desire for autonomy (anti-Zombie thinking) will take over in making anyone good at math. The only thing special about any mathematician is a superior third grade teacher who understands fractions, can share the excitement of such knowledge, and control the room. Later in life, it further requires overcoming the ingrained belief math somehow doesn't "like" you, which is best accomplished by convincing youself that others will reject you without "cool" math. Thus, if you want to learn fractions, you need to hook up with people who think it's important to learn fractions. They will support and encourage the desire to learn fractions but also challenge any natural resistance due to fear. The problem in America is that there's very few people who still think learning fractions is important or cool sadly not doctors, engineers, or even teachers. Amazingly, very few teachers can do third grade fractions and most would say math just doesn't "like" them. The question, the really, really big question, is not simply how our teachers convince themselves of such foolishness but how do we as "loving" parents tolerate their incompetence. Of course, fractions are but a metaphor for successful therapy models, opportunity parity, movie theater front doors, as well as healthy communities. Where can others learn to help us become better people when we persistently refuse to help others learn to expect more from themselves? Every social expert has said we must become far more dissatisfied and less happy. Yet, when I repeat such suggestions, everyone's natural defenses kick in and I am told I'm just too negative. What should I do? In order to maintain my existing social connections, should I just accept our tendency towards mediocrity? It's what we all do every day; are you proud of your complicacy?
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 93 Is the glass half full or half empty? Mindless wishing says it is half full, impractical pessimism says it is half empty, and while those two are arguing, practicality takes the glass and drinks the rest, inventiveness claims the glass is too big, underutilized, or overdesigned, or perhaps half is simply at off-site storage, idealism says the glass has made a good start to overflowing, blaming wonders who drank the first half, disordered asks how do we know there is anything in the glass at all, cleverness offers a useful strategy at a reasonable daily rate, dissention asks if a better question isn't who is going to pay for the next round, exhaustion says it can be whatever you want it to be if you could just provide five minutes of peace and quiet, capitalism sees the glass as undervalued or believes market forces should decide, realism says the assumptions are inaccurate as it is half filled with water and half filled with air, syntax reminds while the terms half-full and half-empty are colloquially acceptable, the glass can't technically be either since both full and empty are absolute states and therefore are incapable of being modified in any way, crushed claims it's just another effort to make students feel stupid, compulsivity wouldn't leave the glass sitting there long enough for anyone to consider the question, but would scoop it up, wash it up, dry it to a gleaming shine, and put it back in the glass cabinet in a jiffy not seeing either a half-full or half-empty glass... just a full or an untidy one, the IT support rep asks if you've tried emptying the glass and then refilling it, Eeyore says "Well, at least you have a glass," and Neo says "There is no glass " No matter, any response is complacent with our desires to avoid more valuable but difficult topics. TMT says the basis for all distractions is failing to fully experience the natural fear of our own mortality. They suggest happy (optimistic) and suicidal (pessimistic) thoughts are but covers for our repressions of such fears. Or, happiness and depression are simply two possible results of successfully lying to ourselves about what matters and both are but encouragements of self- destructive behaviors. In other words, suicidal thoughts are not the result of depression but the cause of them. Working to end depression, then, is only dealing with a symptom and not any root issue. Suicidal thoughts (like blissful ones), as I before quoted Dr. Joiner, are caused by not fully accepting our natural fear of death, which needs to be addressed for any real healing. Repressing our mortality fear fear (or our disturbance disturbance) takes time and un-repressing schooled thinking likewise takes time. This is not about embracing death and strength but our fears and weakness. The idea that gaining control requires giving up control is nothing new. Insecurity is synonymous with any desire for security, especially as a compulsion driven by fear. This is a reasonable response (as all actions are reasonable) in a world dominated by Lizards. Drs. Rogers and Erickson were great proponents of validating all decisions, often to the extreme by failing to recognize any moral judgment as valid (as not all actions are just). While bad things happen, they don't happen to the extent to which we expect. Few of our fears actually come to pass. While many books will tell you this, few have any practical advice. The answer is only found in individually defining the word spirituality. Culture as the advancement of art, education, as well as moral principals is the personal responsibility of every member of society. Making the living of life an inclusive personal art form is the only path to overcoming the irrational push-pull existence of pushing people away while begging them to not give up on you common to the self- destructive existence we all live. We don't want to die; we just don't want to live like we are like we have been. Thus, we must live differently. There's no real advice as we must choose. Rather than being "good," work to be sincere; this necessitates some fairly absolute morals. This doesn't mean right and wrong doesn't include a grey area of circumstances. But, it also is so much more than simply asking, "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" Even TV
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 94 Lizard Dexter survives his sociopathy by developing (with his father's help) a moral code. Kant argued to act morally one must act from duty and "out of respect for the moral law." He wrote in Metaphysic of Morals (1785), "Nothing in the world, indeed nothing even beyond the world, can possibly be conceived which could be called good without qualification except a good will." Such a belief does not require one to believe that a physical, loving, truthful creator's commands are the only source of living well but simply that one should always be a great source of tough but honest encouragement. You can’t do this for others until you know how to do this for yourself – which used to be known as taking care of your inner child made famous by John Bradshaw (who was way off base with his advice to re-experience traumatic events to help get over them). What does improved inner child care (overcoming near complete repression and suppression of our natural born intelligence) have to do with a more mature approach to our mortality fears? It's all about learning the coping skills necessary to openly experience all discomforts to peel back the many layers of defense. The advantage of "hitting bottom" is that there's no way but up. So, you want to begin every day by hitting bottom but with the care you would normally reserve for a child. A common way is a morning jog since I can't think of anything more boring and pointless. Jogging hurts your joints with forces equal to five times your weight and Dr. Pedoe showed the damage done to your skin is similar to smoking and sunlight. After such physical abuse, the rest of the day will be all downhill. Also, add some emotional and spiritual abuse to your daily self- destructive routine; an effective way to block out available stillness and social connections is by wearing ear pods filled with loud screeching (say Garage rock). No wait, starting the day with a jog and some high energy music is common advice and we should know by now that common advice is always wrong. So, what is the opposite of what the "experts" advise? What time are you expected at work, 8am, 9am? Try showing up to work at 5am and getting a head start. In theory, your day should be easier with a 3-hour head start. No? Perhaps, you're looking at your day wrong as a 3-hour head start should make it much easier. And, you should get a great deal of personal satisfaction from all that extra work accomplished. Don't do this every day. Some days you should get up and work for a couple of hours on your house. A jog doesn't get any useful work done and you could easily spend the same energy cleaning your house or learning, say, a new language better yet, you could finally learn 3rd Grade math (fractions) and work your way up to statistics (what management science has shown is required for quality efforts). The only way to improve on such an early morning routine of work is to do it socially with others. It's going to take some serious sales skills to encourage peers, friends, and family to join you. Rule #1 in life: Be great at what you do: life is short. Again, what does this have to do with inner child care? I told my 13-year old son if he started the day with 3 glasses of beer he would start his day with a 20-point drop in his IQ, seriously reduce his ability for sound judgment, and lose most all emotional empathy. People like saying they we should all be allowed to do whatever we want as long as it doesn't hurt others "but no one is an Island" (John Donne, 1624, who added "any man's death diminishes me therefore never [ask] to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"). If such a boy walks into traffic without thinking, he might be killed by a father who's so missing his own son he might never recover. In this way, I told my son, all of our decisions not only affect ourselves but they affect everyone. Moreover, most every 13-year child chooses to start his or her day (with the full knowledge of their parents) with all the self-destructive power of 3 glasses of beer and more, being with the best known antecedent for mental illness with not enough sleep. This is 10 hours for a 13-year old and 8 hours for an adult. You just can't start your day with your nose to the grindstone without sleep.
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 95 "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac, 1735 My son called me a f**king psychopath and hasn't talked to me since. Most fathers will give up; I have too (see Men on Strike by Dr. Helen Smith). The common advice is to never give up. But, there's a great risk. For me to never give up when there's no chance of change is just suicidal; I've seen it. I helped start the Tucson Chapter of Arizona Fathers Demand Equal Justice and the guy who was president spent every Tuesday night not being allowed to see his son until his son got to watch his father die one Tuesday night from a heart attack – really from a broken heart. It really is possible to die from a broken heart. When I read that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight had escaped from their kidnapper, Ariel Castro, I was surprisingly detached emotionally from the story. As I wondered to myself why I seemed to feel nothing about such a horrific chronicle I read about how Amanda Berry, who was the hero of the story by being the one to make the effort needed to escape, had to hear the one and only person who had never given up on her being alive, her mother, had died in 2006 from a broken heart. And, I wept and cried. The papers said that the three women would likely need years of intensive therapy and rehabilitation to undo the damage left by the horrific abuse they suffered. The papers, however, never say such things about the fathers who lose their children every day. It used to be no big deal when a son was consumed by such anger. Today, such anger is permitted to consume the rest of the child's life, as well as his father's. Today's children, tomorrow's parents, never get the help they really need in order to help blame one group for all the world's ills, America's fathers. To suggest to a father that he should remain in a system that will only hate and abuse him is to tell him he is better off dead. It is better to repress such feelings in order to stay alive. The first rule of life is that there is nothing you can do for others if you are dead so your first responsibility to all the people you love (as well as to the entire world) is self-preservation for the hope that someday your son will have the courage and strength like Amanda Berry to affect their escape. It is better to not give up on yourself and get to bed by 9pm. Don't be swayed by any verbal abuse (by others or yourself) about becoming socially dead. Remember popular people tend to kill themselves – so, don't listen to them. Socially dead is better than physically dead wouldn't you agree? And, eight hours of sleep is more important to health than even good nutrition and exercise. Roughly half of adults and over two thirds of children (according to surveys done by the National Sleep Foundation between 1999 and 2004) report having sleep deficiencies so as to function as if drunk from an illegal level of alcohol intoxication most ALL of the time. Plus, it is completely untrue that the need for sleep declines with age. Sleeplessness is known to initially cause irritability, moodiness, and dis-inhibition and then slowed speech and flattened emotional responses, lapses of attention, hallucinations, as well as seriously impairing memory, which also hampers the ability to be novel or multitask (Dinges, Sleepiness and Performance, 1991). It has been long shown that long-term poor sleep habits double the likelihood of drug, tobacco, and alcohol abuse. The NCSDR estimates sleepy drivers cause 71,000 injuries, 1550 deaths, and up to $100 billion a year in indirect costs. The advice Dr. Google provides from thousands of sites involves keeping a regular sleep schedule, no alcohol or caffeine after 3pm, no smoking, no over eating, and exercise (like the jog and Garage rock) before dinner (not in the morning). Your inner child is waiting for you to be a better parent and provide the care he or she needs, to be honest and stop pretending everything is all right, and to not shoulder this burden alone. In rugby, a Scrum is a forceful attempt to get the ball started. So, who might help you get started? "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 96 When have you felt the most fully alive and engaged? Chances are you were on some kind of adventure, not fully in your comfort zone but being brave. Is it time for a road trip? Of course, every day, no matter where you are, should be lived as some sort of a road trip. Avoid being comfortable, avoid finding the color of your parachute (you learn the most when you run away your special areas of expertise and skills), avoid any sort of perfectionism, and relish mistakes and be consistently inconsistent and surprising. Don’t worry if your plane figuratively is diverted. Dorothy would have never left Kansas on her own – every change is but a call to an adventure. It's time to leave behind OK, good enough, and simply adequate. It's time to be wholly amazing. It has been said that it's called the "Great Commission" specifically because we are called to do great things. It's time to be honest, wake up, take out the garbage, and being the quest for truth. "People should lose their minds and come to their senses." Fritz Perls "Almost the whole world is asleep. Only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement." Henry Miller "According to Hugh Thomas, author of a History of The World, the greatest medical advance in history has been garbage collection. The greatest psychological advance in history is just around the corner and will also have to do with cleaning up. If we humans are to be saved from ourselves, individually as well as collectively, we have to learn more about the art and science of speaking the truth. None of us can do it without a lot of help from each other. I want to hang out with people who want to find out what it would be like to live in such a way as to leave no unspoken works, no unfinished business." Brad Blanton "Truth and the search for truth are no trivial matter; and if a person goes about searching in too human a fashion, I'll bet he won't find anything!" Friedrich Nietzsche You can't improve what you don't measure, and you can't measure what you don't track. So, you (and your clan) will need to keep a journal of your adventures (this is a common thread to all advice on living better). I read a study once that claimed great students learn two vocabulary words every week. I would focus your weekly summaries on the two new words you've hopefully learned each week, leaving a list of about a hundred words by the end of the first year. I stated earlier how I think we should have a national day of mourning for past mistakes, specifically on Escalante's birthday, December 31 (in remembrance of the nation's colossal blunder in letting the Lizards take away his students). This is not likely ever going to happen. So, you will need to observe such a day of remembrance on your own. Part of this annual post-mortem should be, in my humble opinion, reviewing how you failed to make full use of your new vocabulary in order to be fully ready to make better New Year's resolutions the following day. The goals you set should be for yourself, your clan, as well as for any strangers to whom you plan to assist and / or bond. How many hours a month do you volunteer? Are you outspoken concerning your beliefs? Does your checkbook explicitly exhibit such beliefs? Do you have a rubric for living a quality life? Do you pass such examination? How have you confirmed (and plan to) you are moving your life in the "right" direction as well as making "real" progress? How do you plan to improve on failing and inducing conflict? How do you plan to "slay" your false impressions of yourself and of your "god?" What is the best advice you could give another? How often do you give such guidance?
  • The Holistic Handbook to a Successful Suicide 97 What is Heaven and Hell to me? By Jim Maginnis (1997) I have had a glimpse of Heaven, and there are things that I can tell. That it’s not the place we wish for as we’re tossing coins down a well. Enlightenment at first seems sort of poetically auspicious. For Heaven surely can be found in the fanciest of dishes. Assuredly the rainbow’s it. No doubt, the babe’s soft fragrance. Convinced authority’s the rub? Then, it’s clearly blatant flagrance. Yet, even in my lover’s sigh, who tightly in my warm embrace, Heaven’s nature’s still not disclosed; for it's revealed in loving grace. Not life’s medley of sights or sounds, but of heart and soul and passions. Heaven’s truly where I will find no pain, nor fear, or distractions. Cloaked in warm and cleansing light, I’ll hear the voice that calls for me. To give up ego and revenge and lose my life’s worst enemy. All dread driven from my being, purged by the perfect love of God. My “not-good-enough” transgressions replaced with unifying sod. Where the wild letting go of self freeing my shame and desire, Seeks not loudness and indulgence but gentleness, tenderness, and choir. To love, trust, know, and remember to be loved, trusted, known, and heard. Heaven’s a sharing not done with one. His truth is His life is His word. Therefore, I start my partnership knowing the measure of success is how little input I provide and by my aptness to confess. John the Baptist born to witness what Mosses wrote about the Son. That through His death and accepting death in life is life in death won. I’m not so apt to scribe on Hell, I suppose it's Heaven’s counter. Pits of darkness saved for judgment and lakes burning brimstone and fire. It’s where the lone wolf goes to stand, solitary and strong like stone. Where searching ‘round on every side all he finds is himself, alone
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