Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Suicide is easier as a group activity. There now seems to be a suicide cult in Bridgend. This is said to be internet based - the net, of course, is a very good way of getting together to die. The Japanese young are especially vulnerable. But why is it easier to get together to die? Jim Jones persuaded all his followers to die together and Japanese soldiers in Iwo Jima jointly blew themselves up with hand grenades - this is the basis of the most harrowing scene in that most most harrowing film Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima. In both cases it seems clear that group dynamics made suicide easier. Introspectively one can see how this might work. We all behave differently in groups - especially when we are young - and do things we would not consider doing alone. But this doesn't say quite enough. The question is: why is this thing, the idea of suicide, in particular so transformed by group dynamics? I suppose it's something to do with the ultimate consolation - you are not alone. Self-murder is the ultimate act of love or comradeship. When asked the question, 'Are you prepared to do THIS for me?', 'no' becomes the most difficult answer, the answer that says you don't belong.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:40 am