I diverted myself with the latest edition of Reap Paden’s Angry Atheist podcast (he’s acutally the opposite of angry) in which he chatted at length with Maria Maltseva, who blogs at Musings from the Skeptical Left. The conversation was sort of all over the place, but one bit of the exchange (at about 1:02 in the podcast) stuck in my memory.
Maria: The thought of death, you know, the end result of death is comforting to you, right?
Reap: Um, no, not really [laughs nervously]
Maria: Huh. Because I was wondering if that has to do with my atheism, because my own death is something that I see as the most peaceful sleep I will ever have.
Reap: I suppose, but I’ll miss this world too much at the end, you know, when I know the end is coming, I’ll miss the…I enjoy my life, I enjoy my time on this planet, even with the jerkoffs, I have a good time. I’ll miss that.
I am pleased to know that Reap is enjoying himself in spite of the jerkoffs. I’m a bit more with Maria with respect to death. News elsewhere on the Internet suggests that many others might not share his sanguine view. Via a post at the blog Crooks and Liars comes a depressing but hardly surprising report.
More Americans now commit suicide than die in car crashes, making suicide the leading cause of injury deaths, according to a new study.
In addition, over the last 10 years, while the number of deaths from car crashes has declined, deaths from poisoning and falls increased significantly, the researchers report.
“Suicides are terribly undercounted; I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe,” said study author Ian Rockett, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University.
There may be 20 percent or more unrecognized suicides, he said.
Many of the poisoning deaths may actually be intended, he added. A lot of these deaths are due from overdoses of prescription drugs, Rockett noted.
“We have a situation that has gotten out of hand,” he said. “I would like to see the same attention paid to other injuries as has been paid to traffic injuries.”
In political science it’s common to say that individuals can exert influence over institutions either through voice or exit, that is, they can either participate in processes designed to weigh competing interests (like voting or lobbying) or they can withdraw their support from those institutions (for example, by moving away or emigrating).
Life has no voice, if you find it intolerable, you can speak, but the world itself does not hear.
You can, however, exit in hopes of finding that most restful sleep. What a damning verdict on the world that more people are now choosing to do so.