And when it seems that the world is devoid of meaning, then some people will make a certain kind of statement through the circumstances connected with their own deaths.
We will shortly return to a discussion of such “causes,” and their relationship with the person’s feeling that life has or does not have a meaning.
For now, consider a very simple act. You want to walk across the room and pick up a paper, for example. That purpose is simple and direct enough. It automatically propels your body in the proper fashions, even though you are not consciously aware of the inner mechanisms involved. You don’t imagine the existence of blocks or impediments in your way, in the form of additional furniture placed in your path by accident, fate, or design. You make a simple straight path in the proper direction. The act has meaning because it is something you want to do.
There are purposes not nearly as easy to describe, however, intents of psychological nature, yearnings toward satisfactions not so easily categorized. Man and woman experiences ambitions, desires, likes and dislikes of a highly emotional nature — and at the same time he/she has intellectual beliefs about oneself, his/her feelings, and the world. These are the result of training, for we use our mind as we have been taught.
One person may desire fame, and even possess certain abilities that he or she wants to use, and that will indeed lead to that claim. Such a person may also believe that fortune or fame leads to unhappiness, licentiousness, or in some other way brings about disastrous conditions. Here we have a clear purpose to use abilities and receive acclaim. We also have another quite opposing clear purpose: to avoid fame.
There are people who want children and mates, and have those excellent qualities that would serve them well as parents. Some of those same individuals may be convinced that love is wrong, however or that sex is debasing, or that children mean the end of youth. Such persons may then find themselves breaking off good relationships with those of the other sex for no apparent reason, or forcing the other party to break with them. Here again we have two clear purposes, but they oppose each other.
Those who believe in the ultimate meaning of their lives can withstand such pressures, and often such dilemmas, and others like them, are resolved in an adequate-enough fashion. Disappointments, conflicts, and feelings of powerlessness of those who believe that life itself has little meaning. Such people begin to imagine impediments in their paths as surely as anyone would who imagined that physical barriers were suddenly put up between them and a table they wanted to reach at the end of the room.
When we simply want to reach a destination in space, there are maps to explain the nature of the land and waterways. When we are speaking of psychological role of destinations, however, there is more to consider.
Once our body is mobilized when we want to move. It responds to our intent and purpose. It is our private inner environment, psychologically speaking. Our psychological intent instantly mobilize our energies on a psychic level. We have what I will call “a body of thought,” and it is that “body” that constantly springs into action at our intent.
When we want to go downtown, we know that destination exists, though we may be miles away from it. When we want to find a mate we take it for granted that a potential mate exists, though where in space and time we do not know. Our intent to find a mate sends out “strands of consciousness,” however, composed of desire and intent. Like detectives, these search the world, looking in a completely different way than a physical sleuth. The world is probed with our characteristics in mind, seeking for someone else with characteristics that will best suit our own. And whatever our purpose is, the same procedure on a psychic level is involved.
The organization of our feelings, beliefs, and intents directs the focus about which our physical reality is built. This follows with impeccable spontaneously and order. If we believe in the sinfulness of the world, for instance, then we will search out from normal sense data those facts that confirm our belief. But beyond that, at other levels we also organize our mental world in such a way that we attract to oneself events that will confirm our beliefs.
Death is a part of us, even as birth is. Its import varies according to the individual — and in a certain fashion, death is our last chance to make a statement of import in any given life, if we feel we have not done so earlier.
Some people’s deaths are quiet periods. Some others’ are exclamation points, so that later it can be said that the person’s death loomed almost greater in importance that the life itself. Some people die in adolescence, filled with the flush of life’s possibilities, still half-dazzled by the glory of childhood, and ready to step with elation upon the threshold of adulthood — or so it seems. Many such young persons prefer to die at that time, where they feel the possibilities for fulfillment are intricate and endless. They are often idealists, who beneath extraordinary ability — still feel that life could no more than sully those abilities, dampen those spiritual winds, and darken that promise that could never be fulfilled.
This is not the reason for all such deaths by any means, but there is usually an implied statement in them so that the death seems to have an additional meaning that makes parents and contemporaries question. Such individuals usually choose deaths with a high dramatic content, because regardless of appearances they have not been able to express the dramatic contents of their psyches in the world as it seems to be to them. They turn their deaths into lessons for other people, forcing them to ask questions that would not be asked before. There are also mass statements of the same kind for people come together to die, however, to seeks company in death as they do in life People who feel powerless, and who find no cause for living, can come together then and “die for a cause” that did not give them the will or reason to live. They will seek out others of their kind.
The inner mechanics of emotions and beliefs are complicated, but these are individuals who feel that physical life has failed them. They are powerless in society. They think in black and white, and conflicts between their emotions, and their beliefs about their emotions, lead them to seek some kind of shelter in a rigid belief system that will give them rules to go by. Such systems lead to the formation of cults, and the potential members seek out a leader who will serve their purposes as surely as they seem to serve his/her — through an inner mechanics of which each member is at least somewhat aware.