The Origins of Suicide

The Origins of Suicide


One of the most surprising aspects about one
of the saddest of all human possibilities, suicide, is that the suicide rate goes up
markedly the richer and more developed a society becomes. We might expect suicide rates to
vary across time and place, but not to increase alongside developments in wealth, comfort
and security. That we should be unwittingly creating nations in which more of us end up
killing ourselves at our own hands appears to negate the whole purpose of economic growth.
Nevertheless, the disturbing connection was first conclusively identified towards the
end of the 19th century by the leading French sociologist, Emile Durkheim – and has continued
to be noted ever since. The suicide rate of an undeveloped country like the Democratic
Republic of the Congo is a fraction of the rate in a developed nation like South Korea.
The crucial factor behind people’s decision to end their lives is not really wealth or
poverty. As Durkheim discovered, it is the extent to which the surrounding culture ascribes
responsibility for failure to individuals or else maintains a faith that poor luck,
or divine intervention is to blame instead. It so happens that as societies become modern
and industrialised, they very frequently give up their beliefs in demons and gods and start
instead to trust in a meritocratic, individualistic philosophy that suggests to people that their
fate is always in their own hands. This may sound generous but it carries an immense psychological
burden, for it means that – when failures occur – the individual is held entirely
responsible for them. Reversals start to seem like a horrendous judgement on one’s worth
and a public humiliation from which there may, at the extreme, seem no escape other
than through annihilation. There are two big cultural ideas that may help to
mitigate the pressures upon us: Luck and Tragedy. To believe in Luck is accurately to observe
that merit and success are in fact never reliably aligned; one may be a fool and win – or
a virtuous person and fail. If we fully internalise and widely share the notion of luck, then
the shame of failure will be greatly reduced and our agony along with it. We will be able
to admit, publically and to ourselves, that decent people can fail in their outward circumstances
and, therefore, that professional success isn’t the only, or even, the crucial marker
of the merit of human beings.A Tragedy, as it originated in Ancient Greece, is the story
of a capable and intelligent person who happens to make a small mistake – which, however,
leads to appalling consequences. The point of presenting such stories in very public
ways (at Greek festivals the entire community had to attend) was to continually renew acquaintance
with a hugely important idea: that one can be a likable, even admirable person, and end
up in an utterly desperate situation. Tragedy is the careful telling of how disaster can
come into the lives of people like (or even a bit nicer) than us. They – and hence we
– are always deserving of compassion rather than contempt. Durkheim knew that it is not
prosperity by itself that increases the suicide rate, the toxic element is an unwittingly
cruel culture that assigns a high burden of responsibility to us, while seeming to deny
the truth that chance and tragedy will of course always continue to affect our destinies.
The real solution to a high suicide rate lies in an unexpected place: an ideology that firmly
reminds us that we are never the sole authors of our destinies. and therfore should neither panic nor celebrate when we win or loose. We publish new thought provoking films every week. Be sure to subscribe to our channel and take a look at more of what we have to offer at the link on your screen now.

100 Comments

  1. a b says:

    and for many they have no choice

  2. MatchstalkMan says:

    Right now, if the opportunity presented itself, I’d take it. I’m a multifunction device exploited by others in charge. I don’t know how to change this. Age and need for a salary are key factors.

    That will change near to Christmas this year and perhaps my situation will change too.

    Maybe I will find a way to improve my lot without others pulling me in all directions and drowning me in their own inadequacies.

  3. Kevin Johnson says:

    I'm desperately trying to get back on my feet while suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Please share or donate to my campaign. Thank you.
    https://www.gofundme.com/kevins-back-on-track-fund

  4. CombraStudios says:

    Life would be as beautiful as they say it should be if we just knew we can't fail things we have to do (college, career, parenting, healthy lifestyle, socializing)

  5. Zareena Stadnik says:

    I'm unemployed and depressed right now and the idea that I'm just unlucky is simultaneously frustrating and comforting.

  6. Simon Schubert says:

    where can I get the picture of the train?

  7. Count Campula says:

    When all your needs and desires are met then you will be more in touch with your emotions.

  8. TheJess Ylleg says:

    My then wife tried to commit suicide 3 times, I saved her every time, and now we are divorced, she is a fucking evil cunt, for years she has make my life a fucking hell, I regret that I save her rats life, I want her to try it again… But she is happy with a convicted felon.
    So, people think twice when you save a person from suicide attempts

  9. Agata Siwek says:

    setting aside meritocracy – don't u think it's all about sheer process of gaining sth, the motivation u need to drive into success, those privileged are burdened too. they have everything given. they didnt struggle to achieve it by themselves. isn't it sad?

  10. Yonatan says:

    Life is not about luck and random series of events…

  11. Coon Hoyt says:

    I really want to kill myself but I'm scared to do it

  12. Iuly Iulian says:

    Life is a dissapointment. Just a futile suffering race.

  13. mayflower 25 says:

    Yeah most developed countries have the highest number of suicide compare to developing one. Develop countries they think they dont need anyone, the replace God by money, fame and success. They don't believe that there's God who created us instead they believed in science. My family and i were very poor, one of the poorest ppl in the world. But we never lost faith, i started work at the age of 11 it's doesnt matter to me instead i used my burden as happiness. My younger brother used to pick bottles to sustain his school needs. We never forget God and we always praised him. Now we are all grown up, we aren't poor nor rich but at least we survived. None of us attempts suicide, we are happy and never mind poverty. In my country less suicide we often says "let God will decide for tomorrow". God is everything!

  14. carrie lynn Barfield says:

    great video. thank you lots

  15. SINOFHEAVEN says:

    we all should

  16. Nico Bambino says:

    The first person to take their life is an unnamed hero, who understood the ultimate meaningless in all things.

  17. Read a lot says:

    هذه القناة خيالية لا يمكن وصفها اريد فقط ان اعرف كيف تقدمون مثل هذه الفيديوات الرائعة 🌹🌹🌹🌹

  18. Sosa Wallace says:

    Cowards kill them themself

  19. Blipp says:

    I think the reason that I can't find somebody that would love me back is because all the possible people killed themselves before I even met them.

  20. schpoingle says:

    Yesh!!! Blood orgy!!!! Oh….uh…are you drinking a tasty beverage made from stolen water while a baby dies of dehydration.
    So….hows your sleep? Wheres your shirt made? Out of site put of mind.

  21. Noah Blank says:

    William H. Gass has a marvelous essay on this topic, although he disputes your point. He believes that suicide might very well be impossible to fully grasp.

  22. 88untoldstories says:

    Suicide and income inequality go hand and hand. Fix the income inequality and you will see a decrease in suicides. "The Spirit Level" has peer reviewed research to back this up.

  23. Cordell Erskine says:

    I see your login will thought out argument… However I still want to kill myself

  24. Dvojitej Chleba says:

    Why are the subtitles so wrong? 🙁

  25. Rustbelt Van-Life says:

    Wow…great concepts to keep in mind.

  26. StargazingLoner says:

    I feel like more people would have killed themselves in the past if everyone wasn't dying so early and easily all the time. I mean they had alot of shit trying to kill at every turn.

  27. Casey Tallant says:

    That and it's normal in a packed society to feel pressured to being good enough because there's so many people and opportunity goes down. So sometimes people don't feel good enough and that they're in the way in this society because they can't get the same opportunities. Shits sad and real.

  28. Adrian S. says:

    Why not instead build a society that admits and reinforces the fact that individual failure is the greatest catalyst for growth in a civilization?

    Inventors fail all the time, and all the people who have ever accomplished anything in life have come from a background consisting of streaks of utter and abysmal failures. It's just how the process works. People who fail – as well as failure itself – should be commended and praised, not shamed.. and a society in which failure becomes impossible is, in my opinion, not a utopia, but a very sterile and depressing place to live in.

    It is not just O.K. to fail. It is sometimes the only way to grow – whether we're talking about the failure of an individual, a group, a company, a society or even an entire nation.

    Whether or not we are the sole authors of our destiny, there will never be an end to the possibility of discovery… therefore, there can be no end to mistakes and learning. You WILL make mistakes, and some of them WILL be costly. But the value of the lessons learned (by yourself AND by others) will often be directly proportional to the severity of the mistakes. In other words, the less you fail, the less you'll accomplish in the long run. The two will always go together, and trying to separate them and push one of them away will never be conducive to a productive and progress-oriented environment.

    So, instead of trying to bring comfort by reinforcing a sense of powerlessness (that "after all we can't control things and "luck" ultimately prevails") I believe it would be far better to just accept the fact that failure is an important part of the learning and development process, and welcome it with open arms. A society in which children are taught this invaluable lesson will have a drastically reduced suicide rate no matter how advanced or primitive it is economically and industrially.

  29. cowscowscows10 says:

    Hmm, I kinda just thought rich people are more likely to die of suicide because they're less likely to die of just about everything else

  30. ThatLittleKitten says:

    This came out right when I needed it, I was four months late to seeing it tho

  31. Kem says:

    This video should be called "People kill themselves when they are overly pressured by parents and culture"

  32. Audrey Lukas says:

    No gods no kings

  33. Beyza Aydın says:

    Always get over it but always came back to think of it can always be an option. This vicious circle eats me inside slowly. Wonder how long it will take.

  34. karynn says:

    “Chance and fate” very important

  35. Valus says:

    School of Life rarely takes such categorical, generalized positions. I'll try not to take this one too literally, as I'm fairly certain Mr. de Botton's perspective is more nuanced than this.

  36. Calla Antoinette says:

    I have to disagree. India has a very high suicide rate. But they don't advertise it like we do. They are so poor they don't really make a big deal out of it.

  37. Chaitanya Mohan says:

    Vincent van Gogh 🖤

  38. dkwroot says:

    So the argument here is that blaming someone or something for personal failure can be psychologically healthy, since absorbing too much burden can crush a person. This actually explains a lot regarding conspiracy theorists. This is actually an interesting theory and I'd like to see if it can be tested.

  39. Pearl M says:

    In the end, did he just imply that the unexpected solution is religion?

  40. lily -joy says:

    I don't want to live anymore
    life sucks.my dream was to marry a rich beautiful man and having babies but it's never going to happend

  41. MrMarkzuckerberg says:

    I wish that there will be a bad enough war that I’ll get drafted so I can stop thinking about my life and just focus on something as simple as surviving; however, I think it would be best if I didn’t survive it.

  42. Janice Murphy says:

    I once had a professor at a college that said suicide is your ace in the hole if necessary.

  43. Ophelia Baudelaire says:

    I agree. And also the feeling that individuals are outsiders, as the system itself works liek that, having unreachable idols and fake personas, all around the consept of money and power. If you think about it, there was never much progress done, we just covered evrything with 'moral codes' and 'civilisation'.

  44. ekim nemo says:

    it does seem to be true the more "sucesful and wealthy" a society becomes the suicide rate goes up, life seems to become so complicated pleasures decrease problems increase, real inner peace is lowered, but also there is another side, when materialism goes rampant old values die and the family unit is destroyed .. today in America there seems to be nothing to hold onto no one,nothing is immune to the deadly attack of media, politics both social and government society is indeed cuel and deadly but so very insanely confused, material gain, money that is the driving force now in all phases of life so sad.

  45. ekim nemo says:

    it is often said that suicide is the only way to escape the pain, so why is suicide a crime, aside from all the religious dogma to quote a song " oh life there must be more"

  46. Astral Dragon says:

    "the crucial factor behind the decision of people who end their lives is not wealth or poverty"
    this statement is incorrect and ignores important factors in failing hyper competitive capitalist economies where everyone wants to screw over everyone else in desperate fanatical attempts to make the biggest profit possible.

    those developed nations do not have "increasing wealth and prosperity" for the general population, they have increases in wealth and prosperity for a tiny percentage of the population while everyone else is stuck in constant rage and anxiety. they are economies with exploding wealth/income inequality, the people who are in poverty in those nations are increasing in suicide because the punishments for being poor in those countries is increasing.

    it's not just a cultural difference of what people are socially blamed for problems, it's the failure of competition based economics where people try to fuck each other and increase things like suicide or violence within society.

    in places the the congo, the majority of the population struggles as a community, not as individual's trying to step on each other and causing as much mass misery as possible like in "developed" nations where every day life is a never ending rat race for social status/wealth/ego.

  47. CHaEffer says:

    I want to commit suicide simply because wanting to see whether there's gonna be a 'game over' screen floating next to my body after my consciousness has left me. JK I'm just out of sense of purpose and direction lol but still I'm gonna do it. It's just that I can't find the painless method and that there's always things distracting me from taking my own life (gaming, friends, etc)

  48. Herbie Shine says:

    I've known since I was a young child I'd kill myself eventually. Have tried an awful lot. In and out of mental health services. Now diagnosed as BPD. Makes sense. I'll be 50 years old soon and life has always been so difficult. Don't know what to do. How to get out of what I'm in. Loneliness and being alone have been constants in my life I've never been food enough for anyone to love such a failure. My parents won't be alive for much longer 10 years and although I have sisters I really feel that I'll be alone on this planet when my parents have gone. So for now I stay alive cos if I kill myself it would send my mum insane but I can't wait until I can kill myself. It will be so nice to not be alone and lonely baby more.

  49. MastaSmack says:

    It's really only when I get bombarded by depressing stuff, when I'm sitting under a tree listening to birds chirp and watching butterflies flying around, I'm not really sad…if I go into town, there are chances of getting hit with images of people starving so I'll donate to this or that charity, or watch some "news" and hear about people dying. It's also depressing and annoying to have so many different groups bothering you about joining their cause for this or that…Come to our church or go to hell! Hey, we need 30 seconds of your time for gay rights, blah blah blah…

  50. MastaSmack says:

    I'll also say this, I never wanted to die until the day I got put on Ritalin…I became suicidal after taking it….they tried many other drugs to fix it, but nothing changed. Don't medicate your kids.

  51. awesomesauce666 says:

    victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan

  52. Randy Eldridge says:

    Bullshit about success and failure. As if successful people don't kill themselves. Has nothing to do with class. Everything to do w mental illness. Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington ring any bells. You fucks are missing the point. Completely

  53. Ellency says:

    These videos and ideas are so interesting. Have you wrote books about it? If so where can I purchase?

  54. AmyLeeBasshunter says:

    The thing is we can acknowledge that we have it good compared to others when we feel depressed. However, we also know that we could be better off in any situation.

  55. Fatima Moutmir says:

    Exsactly as you said , religion exist , whether or not it’s true , to help people to survive the mental abuse of ones failure by believing in fate and luck , one feels that they are not completely responsible even if society blames them, he still survives it believing the blame is not totally on him , and it was already decided , also if their environment , family , friends , has the same ideology the burden on the person lightens on its own . Beings are known for their escape as the best way to deal with the situation , so when humans face these situations they escape and hide behind the ideology of fate and god , higher divines , and protect their sanity , from the mental abuse of their actions and failures , so the damage that is a lot more less than a society who runs without ideology .

  56. medicinemountain says:

    I believe in "Luck." I do not believe in karma. I do not believe in 'blessings from an invisible entity.' We do not 'choose our parents.' We have absolutely no control over the circumstances of our birth and very little control over how others treat us as we gradually learn how to survive in our respective verbal communities, I believe in luck because luck can change, unexpectedly, at any time.

  57. Name not found says:

    2meirl_4meirl

  58. Emmiasky Ojex says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this

  59. Kat Chisholm says:

    What is the name of the painting at 2:51?

  60. Bam Bam says:

    Maybe it's because more impoverished societies are more religious. And I'm speaking about this with regards to belief in an afterlife, so using the an example of Christianity, suicide is believed to be a sin so there was a belief that if you commit suicide you spend an eternity in hell which will be infinitely worse than your current situation, no matter how desperate or horrible. So maybe many people were feeling just as alone and desperate but a fear of eternal torture was what stopped people committing suicide.

  61. B R says:

    So evolution wins by letting the most cruel ppl survive?

  62. N BOR says:

    On the other perspective of this problem, there is a reason why philosophers like Julius Evola and Aleksandr Dugin are against modernity.

  63. Janice Murphy says:

    I would set a professor that said well if things don't work out you always have an ace in the hole and at suicide and then another time he mentioned that no one has the right to take life not even their own. So at the end of the year of classes he wanted us to say what we remember and I told him I remember when you made the statement about suicide and you can't have it both ways because if you believe what you said it first, and then re-framed it with no one has a right to take life. He responded by saying I didn't know you were paying attention very good made me feel OK. AWM

  64. NN says:

    there is a crisis of meaning and rich value in modern world , everything is a thing even human beings when they are judged on the value of the "things" they do or make we detach one from his own value his own worth , there are no intrinsic values and the person is as good as he or she produces and makes , and if a machine can make so much more and so much better with a lesser cost the person is no longer needed the expansion and deepening of this belief makes individuals confused and in a deep crisis as despite the modern world made a notion of survival in the primitive form a fictional image but no matter how safe we are the new threats social and economical are even greater this leads to confusion and questioning one's true motives and drives to do what they do and think what they think leads to a crisis of meaning , the alienation of the individual who not only became a number but he himself believes it , it depends on how strong stress and psychological trauma is , if things get more valuable and humans get less and less important this absurdity can get the best of some and leave them with no options other than : turn off the noisy tv in their head

  65. samman7324 says:

    One's self worth should not be based your success, financial or otherwise.

  66. Crawford Dynasty says:

    So that would explain why I am still alive. If you are feeling suicidal just shake my hand. Good luck will rub off… sweeps honor. I truly believe the univers runs on luck while the rest of us run on Dunken and Coffee!! 🦎🎩🦎   oops just don't blame me if luck decides to not except you 🐙🤦‍sorry

  67. light says:

    The purpose every single one of us has in this life = to worship Allah (please research about Islam for yourself and go to the mosques)….we Muslims will welcome u ☺💖

  68. Fátima Gc says:

    Just wonderful

  69. Chase NMW says:

    It has begun , Anyone can have thoughts about killing themselves , It don’t matter what you believe in , it takes a whole other mindset to do it , you’ll be fine don’t worry about it , true despair is starting to show it self this year , generations to come will understand. Keep fighting I can feel you there your pain is staggering go down fighting,
    Suicide is just a label of how much they don’t understand you are what it takes to end oneself ,
    I understand… fight another day.

  70. Zdub 23 says:

    The only reason I havent ended it is because I know if it gefs bad enough, I still have the end route. However I feel this is probably just a putting off of the inevitable. But then again, humanities race towards oblivion seems to be such as well, so does any of it really matter?

  71. HQ Very Lucky says:

    everytime that painting of the guy with the knife comes up i cant help but laugh xD that face omg

  72. Austin Wood says:

    Dissociative personalities tend to suffer from individualistic tragedies that tend to seem quite bleak when you dont have any kind of friend to just hear you out
    The social person doesnt have such a low self esteem or paranoia due to being around people on a regular basis
    Being alone for extended periods of time can and does warp your own self appreciation and self assurances

  73. Peep Weeper says:

    OK but how tf did they get a train on that building

  74. J Ralph says:

    This is spot on

  75. Dustoe McDust says:

    as soon as he said 'meritocracy' i thought of america. so glad i don't live there

  76. Brown JEEZUS says:

    This is why god invented alcohol and prostitutes

  77. HG Tudor says:

    Best methods of suicide ? The painless types please.

  78. Candid Kafka says:

    Your videos have saved me many times …I don't know how to thank you sir !!….a huge love from India

  79. smilez 4U says:

    After facing a "Dark Night of the soul" which lasted a few years, what i found MORE depressing than the depression, was the lack of empathy & compassion from most folks around me. It seemed everyone had some fear of getting infected with what seemed to be a spell of bad luck & sorrow which surrounded me. I looked for happiness in any form, to break the daily darkness & lift my spirit, but found only that people seemed to be hypnotized by social media & positive memes & disconnected unrealistic ideas of the life they pretend to live. I embraced my sadness & learned to listen to it speak, understanding that it was a season very much like a cold winter & i must keep living until spring & summer arrive.After all, in winter, some people freeze & some go play in the snow.. I was surprised at how few people understand depression & chemical imbalances etc & the fact that depressed people dont usually reach out for help.. I waited for a hero that never arrived,,, so i became my own. Im so glad to see programs like this that dive into the important topics that we seem to neglect these days… 🙂

  80. Blitz Chrome says:

    He sounds like Gordon Ramsey whispering

  81. Blitz Chrome says:

    Why was there a picture of Bobby Lashley

  82. AbdulRahmane says:

    Its not really about society or money.. Its about how you see the world and act with it

  83. red flash says:

    Listen to $uicide boy$ it will help u

  84. Parrellel Patrol- Yeeted says:

    can i join this

  85. d4dangerous 005 says:

    Since the day I was born I was forced to survive this life that I don’t even want to live in in the first place. I never chose to be born.

  86. Antisocial Freak says:

    4:10–4:20.

  87. Natasha Parry says:

    I've never had more success but yet have never felt as hopeless as I do now. My secular belief has opened my mind and eyes to the futility of life. How does one cope with that realization? Not a day goes by that I dont feel I want to just stop existing. Becoming atheist made me realise that it really is 'all for naught'

  88. ZYDNAX says:

    This videos makes some interesting points, but barely talked about what Durkheim actually says in his book. Also, according to the World Health Organization, 79% of global suicides in 2016 occurred in LOW- and MIDDLE-income countries… so…

  89. Rookh Kshatriya says:

    In modern society, crooks and sociopaths tend to win. Virtue and merit don't matter at all.

  90. Michael Castro says:

    1:32 Bobby Lashley

  91. Jonas Damion says:

    Anyone know examples of the greek tragedies where someone makes a small mistake and ends up in a tragic state?

  92. -FUN MEMES- says:

    Why have I not kill myself yet this a question every teenager who goes through midlife crises ask themselves for sure.

  93. Fingers Crossed says:

    does anyone else hate when other notice changes to hair etc.,? why is that?

  94. Jonas Damion says:

    this literally evaporated the crushing weight of what was making me feel horrible

  95. robraver says:

    its when you run out of plans in life. Thats when suicide can strike. We are destined to die anyway, but I would rather stick around and be a pain in the arse for as long as possible 😉 . Its a terrible subject but it needs to be discussed. Last one I knew of I was pretty close to that Person…several years on it still haunts me.

  96. Mêlée Placid says:

    Tribes have community support in ways that developed places don’t… they are interconnected and interdependent, they also don’t eat crap, put crap in their head (tv, Internet etc)…
    We’ve got priorities all out of whack…success, is not as it appears

  97. Francais Lover says:

    Just wanted to say that this narrator has the most soothing voice I’ve ever heard.

  98. Stefan Nikola says:

    The Hollywood spiritual elite needs to watch this video.

  99. Tommy Wayne says:

    Suicide is the only question

  100. Radwyn Althor says:

    Ofc traditional societites don't keep records of suicide and often hide rates due to taboo I i.e. Many teach suicide is shameful or sinful so just report the cause as something else

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