Monday, 10 September 2012

Survival: The Keystone of Human Existence...



When suddenly out of blue, your world changes... when something you have planned for a long time, suddenly doesn't happen... when you are sure of everything going your way, and it doesn't, what do you do????? Well to be honest, none of the above has happened to me, or atleast haven't happened to me right now... it's just a thought that gripped me, when a minor plan went wrong...

But I started thinking, when a cataclysmic event happens, someone you love dearly dies, someone you have trusted, betrays you or something that you were sure of, starts going horribly wrong, and your entire world is shaken and falls apart around you, how does a person in that situation reacts... I am sure we all have been in a situation where we felt that we couldn't go any further, this is it, this is the end... I am sure, such a situation has come in each and every individual's life. How then do we overcome such a tragedy?

There are two basic ways in which an individual human being survives a deep personal tragedy, either, he fights over the situation, confronts the grief and overcomes it, or he commits suicide, gives up his/her life, so as to escape the problem forever. History is filled with such men and women, who have taken both the courses. How then are we to explain these two contrasting forces, survival and death, the will to live and the will to give up...

The human instinct to survive is very strong. If we look at history, humans have fought to survive, the vilest and meanest and the cruelest of situations and emerged as winner. I am not saying each individual has emerged, but the human race as a whole has survived. The human beings survived the Ice Age, two World Wars, the Holocaust, and numerous famines, floods, earthquakes, and different natural calamities... but it has each and every time, survived and lived to fight another day. I believe this human spirit of survival is one of the traits we are born with. I know "trait" by definition, is something that has to be learned, but for absence of a better word...

This utmost urge in human beings to win over odds and come up successful can be seen from evolution itself. Anthropologists speculate that we humans have been on earth for approx. 250,000 years to the present. Of course sharks have outlived us, but we have outlived the dinosaurs..!!! Plus, I have a huge doubt, taking into account the fatalities humans have faced, whether Sharks have faced them or not... So if we are to conclude that we outlived the dinos and sharks haven't faced the same tragedies and challenges as humans on earth have, then I would say, we are the fittest species to outlive the others, aren't we?? What does that say of us... us as a human race, wouldn't you agree, dear readers, that human beings are in essence "survivors".

So where did this urge to survive, to fall and to rise up come from? Probably the early "homo sapiens" or "homo erectus", whoever came first, realized, that they were born with something unique, something that the contemporary creatures inhibiting the same living space did not,something that made them plan strategies to survive the near fatal conditions, which many of their contemporary creatures did not posses.

This was, I believe the power of thinking, of realizing and of understanding and most importantly, the will to learn from past mistakes. If these four traits weren't there, I would scarcely believe that the "man" who walked the earth with mammoths and sharks (yes,sharks were land animals, in the beginning),could come up till this stage.

Now, coming back to the individual human being, when the common urge in our species is to survive, as established above, how, then, can we explain the anomaly of individuals committing suicides. All established religion in the world maintain that a part of the common consciousness, resides in every being... meaning that humans share a common consciousness, a part of which lives in every human being. So if our common consciousness teaches us to survive and fight for another day, how do we explain the phenomena of suicides, which contradicts this basic urge. When a person kills himself, it means he/she has given up all hope, and in despair, is embracing death, that he/she prefers to end this life.

According to WHO about 1 million people commit suicide annually world wide and is the thirteenth most popular cause of death. In the United States, it is the sixth most popular means of death. Apart from countries such as Japan, where suicides, have historically been associated with bravery, very few cultures, or religion support this form of death. It has also been found that a large majority of people committing suicide did not belong to any established religious following or did not have an established means of faith. I have already pointed out the basic grounds about why major religions across the globe consider suicide immoral in nature.

Many psychologists across the world consider mental disorder to be the biggest cause of suicide. I however feel, that the biggest cause would be to lose hope in oneself, and as a result in the entire human race. People committing suicide often see this as a method of relief from pain. However, "pain" and "relief" are two feelings which a person can feel only when they are alive.

There are several helplines across the world which help people avoid such meaningless deaths. If you know someone in your vicinity, someone who is really depressed, someone who is on the verge of loosing all hope, someone who has or is facing similar situations such as those I mentioned in my first two paras above, talk to them.

Human lives aren't created because we want to die, the will to live give human beings its true meaning. People who are committing suicides or are thinking somewhere along those lines, really need to know, that the purpose of human life is to live, to survive, to breathe... and when one doesn't do so, one is not just insulting his own willpower, indeed he/she is insulting the will power of an entire specie, whose evolution has been based on survival.

So committing suicide is just not an individual decision, every individual committing this act is a slap on the face of humans as a specie.
We would do great injustice to us or to our forefathers, by choosing, suicide as a means of ending our lives, when time and again, we have been taught to survive...

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