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"Integral Suicidology: Bringing Self and Soul into Suicidology"

Last post 07-10-2007, 11:50 AM by tamgoddess. 3 replies.
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  •  03-08-2007, 11:29 AM 20296

    "Integral Suicidology: Bringing Self and Soul into Suicidology"

    By David Webb
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  •  05-19-2007, 11:50 AM 22995 in reply to 20296

    Re: "Integral Suicidology: Bringing Self and Soul into Suicidology"

         I found this article to be extremely moving and insightful.  The whole first part is written out of the author's lived experience and it is a striking existential description from one who has lived through the ordeal of suicide attempts and major depression, hospitalization, extreme drug treatments, etc.  It is also very clear that the author fully and passionately asks for this subjective existential, or upper left quadrant of experience to be inlucded in the research on suicide.  I would like to see this paper utilized in the research papers in humanistic and existential psychology, and I encourage the author to submit his work to these sources if he has not already done so.

                            Elliot Benjamin

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  •  07-09-2007, 8:55 PM 25497 in reply to 22995

    Re: "Integral Suicidology: Bringing Self and Soul into Suicidology"

    Arthur/adastra says
    I enjoyed this article and found it to be a useful introduction/overview of an important topic.  Some here may be interested in a thread which started recently on IIzaadz discussing suicide in a very personal way; it also links to some other personal discussions by integrally informed people who've been suicidal and/or have experienced the loss of someone close to them by suicide.  Although my experience wasn't as extreme in a lot of ways as the author's, what he had to say rings true to my own experience - both of experiencing suicidal depression and of having been deeply involved with someone who ultimately lost her own struggle with suicidality.

    In one of my posts in that thread I linked to this article, and I hope that people will seek out and read it.  This is an important subject and the article is a very valuable contribution to it. 

    During my own struggle with suicide (first losing someone that way and then succumbing to the same process in myself) my values line was forced through the limitations of green and into integral/teal.  Previously I had some cognitive exposure to integral theory, but my own existential crisis necessitated a leap to second tier in a deeper sense. 

    Kudos for a great article.  Big Smile [:D]

    spiral out,
    arthur





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  •  07-10-2007, 11:50 AM 25522 in reply to 25497

    Re: "Integral Suicidology: Bringing Self and Soul into Suicidology"

    Arthur/adastra says:
    Here's something I posted in another thread months ago:

    I spy with my centaur eye




    eye2
    Originally uploaded by adastra.
    “The consolations are gone; the skull will grin in at the banquet; it can no longer tranquilize itself with the trivial. From the depths, it cries out to gods no longer there, searches for a meaning not yet disclosed, still to be incarnated. Its very agony is worth a million happy magics and a thousand believing myths, and yet its only consolation is its unrelenting pain - a pain, a dread, an emptiness that feels beyond the comforts and distractions of the body, the persona, the ego, looks bravely into the face of the Void, and can no longer explain away either the Mystery or the Terror. It is a soul that is much too awake. It is a soul on the brink of the transpersonal.” (p. 272, SES)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Also of possible interest, something I wrote a couple of years ago:

    Friday, November 05, 2004

    centaurs and suicide 

    According to Ken Wilber's map of the unfolding evolution of human consciousness, the centauric/vision logic self is the highest level of individual development before one starts to edge into the transpersonal domain. At this point we have transcended sole identification with body, persona, ego, and mind, and can therefore begin to integrate all these disparate parts of our being together.

    The devilish downside is that at the centaur level, none of the comforts of the previous levels work any more. One is forced to confront some unpleasant facts of existence:

    As vision-logic adds up all the possibilities given to the mind's eye, it eventually reaches a dismal conclusion: personal life is a brief spark in the cosmic void. No matter how wonderful it all might be now, we are still going to die: dread, as Heidigger said, is the authentic response of the existential (centauric) being, a dread that calls us back from self-forgetting to self-presence, a dread that seizes not this or that part of me (body or persona or ego or mind), but rather the totality of my being-in-the-world. When I authentically see my life, I see its ending, I see its death; and I see that my “other selves,” my ego, my personas, were all sustained by inauthenticity, by an avoidance of the awareness of lonely death. (SEX, ECOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY, Ken Wilber, p.271)

    In an earlier post I spoke of the centaur level and how I would like to make it up to that point (and go beyond it). However, I have been realizing lately that for quite some time the centaur is the level at which I am currently operating, and have been for some time. My misunderstanding was in believing that to truly be at the centaur level, I would have to reach a high level of development in that domain, and particularly that I would have to fully integrate all the levels of my being up to that stage. Now I see that despite my lack of complete bodymind integration, and despite my continuing neurotic difficulties, my awareness is centered on the centaur level - with occasional slight glimpses of the next stage up, the psychic level (also known as the eco-noetic self), not to mention regressions down to less integrated stages. Amusingly, it is how much I can identify with the pathology of the centaur which most convinces me that I'm living at that level.

    A profound existential malaise can set in - the characteristic pathology of this stage…No longer protected by anthropocentric gods and goddesses, reason gone flat in its happy capacity to explain away the Mystery, not yet delivered into the hands of the superconscious - we stare out blankly into that dark and gloomy night, which will very shortly swallow us up as surely as it once spat us forth. Tolstoy:
    The question, which in my fiftieth year had brought me to the notion of suicide,
    was the simplest of all questions, lying in the soul of every man: “What will come
    from what I am doing now, and may do tomorrow? What will come from my
    whole life?” Otherwise expressed - “Why should I live? Why should I wish for
    anything? Again, in other words, “Is there any meaning in my life which will not
    be destroyed by the inevitable death awaiting me?” (SES, p. 271)


    My only hope of resolving this is to make it to the next level up, the eco-noetic self. That feels right to me - the only way to resolve the crushing despair that sometimes swallows me up is to go beyond myself, beyond this tiny false self that is, as Wilber puts it, “too much awake.” Sometimes I feel that I could find some comfort in the arms of a lover, but that seems rather peculiarly elusive for me so I reckon my only viable option for now is self-transcendence. [NOTE: this sentence is highly amusing to me now. :p ]

    There are two basic reasons why I feel that suicide would not be a good option. First, let's assume that the centauric view of the world is correct, and that when I die, I will simply be snuffed out, dissolve completely into the void from whence I came. If that is correct, then suicide would indeed end my own personal pain completely and forever; furthermore, since this will eventually happen anyway, why wait? The answer, quite simply, is this: to escape my own pain through suicide would create more suffering in the world than it could possibly eliminate in myself. I know this all too well from having lost someone that way several years ago. I do not believe I have the right to create more suffering in others in order to end my own.

    Secondly, I don't think the centauric view is correct, or at least it is not complete. I no longer really believe that death is the end. I believe that if I were ever to commit suicide as an escape attempt, it would fail: my suffering would continue, and in fact increase exponentially. If the version of the death-rebirth process offered in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is accurate, then in the bardo of becoming I'd be wandering around in a psychic body, with a consciousness seven times more intense than in this life, able to read the minds of others, and thus forced to endure the suffering of all the people I left behind. Not an attractive prospect, even leaving aside the periodic rains of pus and blood. I don't always believe this, but it really doesn't seem to be in my best interest to convince myself that it is not true: that either death is the end, full-stop, or that it isn't the end, but what awaits us is a wonderful paradise where all my problems will be dissolved in infinite bliss and love.

    Take it away, Dalai!

    Your suffering is due to your own karma, and you have to bear the fruit of that karma anyway in this life or another, unless you can find some way of purifying it. In that case, it is considered to be better to experience the karma in this life of a human where you have more abilities to bear it in a better way, than, for example, an animal who is helpless and can suffer even more because of that. (Dalai Lama, quoted in THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING by Sogyal Rinpoche, p.382)

    ~~~~~

    spiral out,
    arthur


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