Pain

Global Economic Collapse ERUPTS!

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Published on The Economic Collapse on April 10, 2016

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Economic Collapse Is Erupting All Over The Planet As Global Leaders Begin To Panic

Mainstream news outlets are already starting to use the phrase “economic collapse” to describe what is going on in some areas of our world right now.  For many Americans this may seem a bit strange, but the truth is that the worldwide economic slowdown that began during the second half of last year is starting to get a lot worse.  In this article, we are going to examine evidence of this from South America, Europe, Asia and North America.  Once we are done, it should be obvious that there is absolutely no reason to be optimistic about the direction of the global economy right now.  The warnings of so many prominent experts are now becoming a reality, and what we have witnessed so far are just the early chapters of a crushing economic crisis that will affect every man, woman and child in the entire world.

Let’s start with Brazil.  It has the 7th largest economy on the entire planet, and it is already enduring its worst recession in 25 years.  In fact, at the end of last year Goldman Sachs said that what was going on down there was actually a “depression“.

But now the crisis in Brazil has escalated significantly.

I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent article entitled “Brazil: Economic collapse worse than feared“.  I know, that title sounds like it comes directly from The Economic Collapse Blog, but I didn’t write it.

It actually comes from CNN

Amid political chaos, Brazil’s economic collapse is worse than its government once believed.

In the midst of rising calls to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s central bank announced Thursday that it now expects the country’s economy to shrink 3.5% this year.

That’s worse than the central bank’s previous estimate for a 1.9% contraction. The darker forecast matches what the International Monetary Fund projected for Brazil — Latin America’s largest country — and what many independent economists have suspected.

It is one thing for Michael Snyder to tell you that Brazil is in the midst of “economic collapse”, but it is another thing entirely for CNN to say it.

And of course I have been warning about the crisis down in Brazil for quite some time now.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “The Economic Collapse Of South America Is Well Underway“.

Meanwhile, things are actually much worse in Venezuela than they are in Brazil.  Food and basic supplies are in short supply, the inflation rate has hit 720 percent, and crime is completely out of control.

The following is from an article in the Independent entitled “Venezuela is on the brink of complete economic collapse“…

The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first.

The key word there is “completely.” Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela’s ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it’s hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever.

Incumbents, after all, don’t tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It’s no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

Once again we see a very respected mainstream publication using the phrase “economic collapse” to describe what is happening in South America.

You can find some stunning video of the “economic Armageddon” that is taking place in Venezuela right here.  I would encourage you to watch that video, because what is happening down there will eventually be happening here.

Meanwhile, over in Europe the collapse of the Italian banking system has entered a disturbing new chapter.  Italy’s finance minister has called a meeting in Rome for Monday that will be focusing on a “last resort” bailout plan for the troubled banks…

Finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan has called a meeting in Rome on Monday with executives from Italy’s largest financial institutions to agree final details of a “last resort” bailout plan.

Yet on the eve of that gathering, concerns remain as to whether the plan will be sufficient to ringfence the weakest of Italy’s large banks, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, from contagion, according to people involved in the talks.

Italian bank shares have lost almost half their value so far this year amid investor worries over a €360bn pile of non-performing loans — equivalent to about a fifth of GDP. Lenders’ profitability has been hit by a crippling three-year recession.

As Italy descends into financial chaos, the rest of the continent better be paying attention.

Do you remember how hard it was for the rest of Europe to rescue Greece?

Well, Greece has the 44th largest economy on the planet.

Italy has the 8th.

It would be hard to overstate the seriousness of what is going on over in Europe, and it is not just Italy we are talking about.  All over the continent major banks are in deep trouble, and the chairman of France’s second largest  retail bank recently told reporters that “I am much more worried than I was in 2009“.

And there is very good reason for concern.  On Sunday, we learned that a major “bail-in” had just been announced for one of Austria’s most prominent banks.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

And then today, following a decision by the Austrian Banking Regulator, the Finanzmarktaufsicht or Financial Market Authority, Austria officially became the first European country to use a new law under the framework imposed by Bank the European Recovery and Resolution Directive to share losses of a failed bank with senior creditors as it slashed the value of debt owed by Heta Asset Resolution AG.

The highlights from the announcement:

Today, the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) in its function as the resolution authority pursuant to the Bank Recovery and Resolution Act (BaSAG – Bundesgesetz über die Sanierung und Abwicklung von Banken) has issued the key features for the further steps for the resolution of HETA ASSET RESOLUTION AG. The most significant measures are:

  • a 100% bail-in for all subordinated liabilities,
  • a 53.98% bail-in, resulting in a 46.02% quota, for all eligible preferential liabilities,
  • the cancellation of all interest payments from 01.03.2015, when HETA was placed into resolution pursuant to BaSAG,
  • as well as a harmonisation of the maturities of all eligible liabilities to 31.12.2023.

According to the current resolution plan for HETA, the wind-down process should be concluded by 2020, although the repayment of all claims as well as the legally binding conclusion of all currently outstanding legal disputes will realistically only be concluded by the end of 2023. Only at that point will it be possible to finally distribute the assets and to liquidate the company.

The dominoes are starting to fall in Europe, and I would expect even bigger announcements in the weeks and months to come.

Over in Asia, economic chaos is beginning to prevail as well.

In China, the stock market is already down more than 40 percent from the peak, Chinese exports were down 25.4 percent on a year over year basis in February, and Chinese economic numbers overall have not been this poor since the depths of the last global recession.

At the same time, the Japanese economy is really struggling right now.  As I wrote about the other day, Japanese GDP has shrunk for two out of the last three quarters, we just saw Japanese industrial production experience the biggest one month decline that we have witnessed since the tsunami of 2011, and business sentiment has fallen to a three year low.  The Nikkei has dropped by about 5,000 points from where it was last summer, and some analysts believe that Japanese markets “are being destroyed” due to massive intervention by the Bank of Japan.

Here in the United States, we haven’t been hit quite as hard as the rest of the world just yet, but there are lots of very disturbing warning signs all around us.

At the end of last week, we learned that it is being projected that U.S. GDP will have grown by just 0.1 or 0.2 percent during the first quarter of 2016.  And on Monday corporate earnings reporting season begins, and it is expected to be a very, very bad one.  The following comes from Business Insider

We are about to get confirmation that earnings growth for America’s biggest companies was negative in the first quarter, compared to the same period a year ago.

When aluminum giant Alcoa releases its results on Monday, it will mark the unofficial start of the heaviest reporting season for S&P 500 companies.

The final scoreboard is expected to show a 9.1% earnings drop for the quarter, according to FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters.

If these projections turn out to be accurate, it will be the fourth quarter in a row of earnings declines.  This is something that we never see outside of a recession.

And for a whole bunch more numbers which indicate that the U.S. economy is in very serious trouble, please see my previous article entitled “19 Facts That Prove Things In America Are Worse Than They Were Six Months Ago“.

Of course I am just another voice in the crowd when it comes to predicting that the U.S. economy is headed for rough times.  For example, just check out what Societe Generale economist Albert Edwards is saying

A tidal wave is coming to the US economy, according to Albert Edwards, and when it crashes it’s going to throw the economy into recession.

…the profit recession facing American corporations is going to lead to a collapse in corporate credit.

“Despite risk assets enjoying a few weeks in the sun our fail-safe recession indicator has stopped flashing amber and turned to red”

He continued:

Whole economy profits never normally fall this deeply without a recession unfolding. And with the US corporate sector up to its eyes in debt, the one asset class to be avoided — even more so than the ridiculously overvalued equity market — is US corporate debt. The economy will surely be swept away by a tidal wave of corporate default.

As you can see, it isn’t just one nation or one region of the world that we need to be concerned about.

Economic chaos is erupting literally all over the planet, and global leaders are starting to panic.

Unfortunately, they have had seven years to try to fix things since the last global recession, and they didn’t get the job done.  Anyone that believes that by some miracle they will be able to pull us out of the fire this time and that everything will somehow be okay is simply engaged in wishful thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Personal Solution

Death-Rattlegc2smOff the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 20, 2015

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This week, a close friend, really practically a Brother of one of the Diners committed Suicide.  The exact reasons for this as yet are unclear, but it is clear that this fellow had many troubles through his life, his ability to do the kind of fine work he had made his living at was impaired, his life was not going well for him, and he made the decision to end it this week.

His age, mid-60s since he was 3 years older than my friend Eddie, who also writes here on the Diner regularly.  This isn't the first suicide this year that touched Eddie's life, a contemporary of one of his children also pulled the life plug on himself.  In his case, apparently battling depression for many years.

Here is what Eddie wrote about his own friend this week Inside the Diner, Remembering his Friend and Brother:

Where do you start? There is so much I could say about him. A hundred stories, easy. I want to write something, but it is hard, hard. So fucking hard.

Okay, here goes.

We even had the same name.

Middle names, that is. Because we were both named for my father. It was my father's middle name too, but Dad was called by it…and he was called by it too, even though I was not.

FRIENDSHe was three years older than I was. We were childhood best friends. Yes we were. But it went much further than that. We were like brothers, two brothers of different mothers. Best friends whose fathers were also best friends.

And it went further still. My family was friends with all his many aunts and uncles, and grandparents….and we were good friends with his mother's people too. They were country people who lived right in Mud Creek Bottom, which would figure in a lot in our development.

Our relationship was better in many respects, than real brothers, because he lived a hundred miles away when we were growing up. We spent every Christmas together. In the summer, he'd spend a week at my house in the sticks, and I'd  spend a week at his house in the burbs. I looked forward to every visit. The first night he would be at my house, I wouldn't be able to fall asleep.

We were always going to get up early the next day and go exploring, or hunting. We used to wander up and down Bridge Creek for miles, not any respecters of property rights. We travelled with stealth, hidden from view down under the canopy of the creek. We mostly went unnoticed, even though we went armed. First with our BB guns and later with rifles and shotguns.

Anyway, I would lie awake long after he was sacked out and sawing logs, but I'd be awake at first light, and I'd poke him, and he wouldn't wake up. He'd tell me to leave him alone and then he'd turn back over and sleep for a couple more hours.

It went on like that from my earliest memory, until he turned into a teenager and we found reasons not to spend so much time together. But it didn't end there. We stayed close for many years, drifting apart in adulthood.

Like some other city kids I knew, he turned to petty larceny as an adolescent,out of boredom and for thrills and free beer, stolen from garage refrigerators in the Dallas tract house suburbs. He always got me in trouble, being the one who had nerve and lacked the kind of respect for authority that I had seemingly hardwired into my psyche.

After a couple of years of not seeing each other, he showed up at my surprise 21st birthday party and gifted me with a whole ounce of the finest Lebanese blond hashish. Best party ever.

I got married first and he did soon after. He was the best man at my wedding. I was the best man at his wedding. But he was, if anything, an even worse husband than I was,and his bride soon left him, as did mine. I went back for another try, and got lucky. He never did.

Thirty years ago he moved to a dying town in Central Texas, went to work for his father, who owned a jewelry store and a profitable jewelry repair business, and bought a run down house, where he lived alone, pursued his many hobbies, and slowly drank himself into ruin.

He had to give up his craft. A rattlesnake bite ruined his ever steady right hand. It was an avoidable accident that happened when he, probably under the influence, was handling a pygmy rattler owned by a friend. He loved snakes, and kept a big Western Diamondback for a pet (if you can call such an animal a pet) for more than 20 years, until she finally died of old age.

He drunk called me once out of the blue and asked me, in his alcohol induced honesty, why I didn't stay in closer touch. I told him I was just busy trying to raise my kids, which was true, but it wasn't the real reason. I just went a different way. I buckled down to thirteen years of school. He dropped out of college after a year. He was always a talented artist, drawn to beadwork and Native American arts and crafts. He, like his father, was a great hunter, and an amateur gunsmith. He built flintlock rifles from kits and used them. He got into rendezvous and re-enactments. He liked to take off and spend a week in Terilingua for the Chili Cook-Off, an event I always wanted to attend, but never seemed to find time for in my busy schedule.

He showed up one year in the late 90's for a fishing trip we had planned down in Aransas Bay. He spent some time with my famiiy then, and maybe we got together once or twice after that. I'm not really sure.

I really meant to spend more time with him. But I didn't. Life got in the way.

The last time I remember seeing him was at his Uncle Chester's funeral. Chester was the best woodsman of all our fathers and uncles. He fed his family off the largesse of Mud Creek. His kids, older than we were by some ten years, had built a cabin on the creek where we went fishing dozens of times with our Dads over the years.. Not on their land, actually, this cabin. I never knew who owned that land back in our day.  I went to Chester's house after the funeral, and he was there.  I asked  him to walk down the mile or two of ruts to the creek, but he wasn't into it. By that time the land had passed into the hands of a local millionaire who had torn the old cabin down and put in RV hook-ups.

I really wanted to walk down there anyway, because I knew it would be my last chance, but it didn't happen.


So…I got the call today. He took his own life over the weekend.

My brother called to tell me, right as I was finishing up my work day. He didn't know any details. There was a note, which he left for his sister. I have no idea as to his state of mind, but like most old alcoholics, he was probably fighting depression. Alcohol does that to people. I expect he shot himself. Once decided, for him of the iron will and supreme stubbornness, he would have done it quickly and efficiently.

I feel like shit right now. Guilty, mostly, for being a terrible brother and friend. Sadness, that it had to end that way for him. Sadness for his few remaining family and friends.

I feel that we will surely be together again. We have known each other over many lifetimes. So long, my brother. May you rest in peace, and in time….be reborn.

Suicides are virtually always considered "tragedies" by the people whose lives they touch, and bigger tragedies the younger you are when the person decides it is time to go to the Great Beyond.  But are they really always tragedies?

In another case of Death that has touched a Diner this year, a close friend of one of the younger Diners Roamer also crossed the Great Divide a couple of months ago while he was visiting with me.  In this case not willingly though, he fought tooth and nail to the bitter end against a Cancer which had left him paralyzed.  He had a wife and young child, and he obviously felt life was worth living no matter how bad things got for him.  This is clearly a tragedy on many levels.

Over on Guy McPherson's blog Nature Bats Last, Suicide is a fairly regular topic for discussion, while I participated over there the topic came up in almost every thread.  Guy even has a suicide information article up with a link from the Homepage of NBL.

Contemplating Suicide? Please Read This

MartinTue, Jul 8, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are contemplating suicide, please re-consider. And then click here for awareness, prevention, and support on the topic of suicide.

I’m not advocating for or against suicide. I’m non-judgmental about the issue, although I agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu that every human has a right to make the decision to end his or her own life. It can be a thoughtful decision, as illustrated by Martin Manley.

In that note, Guy includes a link to the Blog of Martin Manley,  who pulled the plug last year, on his 60th Birthday.  Yahoo took the blog down, but it appears to have been republished elsewhere by friends and/or sympathizers.  He detailed in that blog the reasons for his choice, which basically came down to the fact he saw his mental capacities diminishing on the way to Senile Dementia, aka Alzheimer's.  Not a life threatening problem in the short term if you have people to take care of you, but the quality of life for an Alzheimer's victim is not too great, and it's not too great either for the loved ones who have to watch as the decay progresses and take care of this person.  If/When they need full time medical care, the costs can be enormous as well.  To spare himself the agony of watching himself decay and spare his family the same agony, he bought the ticket to the Great Beyond of his own volition.  To me, that is not a tragedy, it was an informed decision he made for himself.  The tragedy came before, which was his realization he was succumbing to Senile Dementia.

The reason they discuss suicide so often on NBL is because over there, the general belief is that the entire Human Race if not all life forms on Earth are bound for a Near Term Extinction, coming as soon as 2030 in recent estimates by Guy.  This is pretty depressing if you believe it to be the case, and similar to not wanting to watch yourself decay to Senile Dementia, it's none to pleasant to contemplate watching life on Earth spin down to nothingness.  Believe in this strongly enough, you might choose the suicide option.  Is that a valid option in this case?  That's a tougher question than your own personal problems and health issues.

Before we can examine that question, first we have to look at more common reasons for suicide, and whether they are Valid or Not Valid?

1- Terminal Disease

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XiK591jdL._SY355_.jpgWell, first off Life is a Terminal Disease.  Every living thing dies, it's not perpetual.  Just a timeline issue here.

Terminal Diseases can be defined though, say as something that has a 90% or better chance of killing you inside of say 2 years or less.  In this case, it depends mostly on whether this process will involve a lot of pain and expense over that 2 year period.  If it is likely to do that, suicide becomes a valid option.  In fact in this case it has even been made legal in a few states to be assisted in your trip to the Great Beyond by folks in the Medical Industry.  Oregon recently approved this form of suicide.  You can thank Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian for this becoming more "accepted" by the culture at large over time.

No other reason for suicide gets the LEGAL stamp of approval though, anywhere.  However, there are many reasons which in fact are more common than the terminal disease reason.

2- Depression

This is probably the Number 1 Proximal Cause for suicide.  Whenever you read about a suicide, Depression gets cited as a possible cause, often with something to back it up like the person was taking meds for this, had an alcohol addiction etc.  What rarely gets discussed is exactly WHY this person was depressed enough to take his own life?  Sometimes it is a biochemical problem, but there are many exogenous reasons that can cause a person to become depressed that themselves have valid reasons.  Marital and relationship problems are common here.  Loneliness and LACK of relationships can be a problem.  The Shrinks can sometimes medicate the depressed individual sufficiently he doesn't manifest depression symptoms, but that doesn't mean the issue causing the depression went away.

Depression is a form of emotional anguish or pain, and it is no less real than physical pain.  It can make life unbearable.  Just like meds for physical pain, anti-depressants have side effects and they are addicting.  With protracted use over time, their effectiveness can diminish, and again if the depression has its root cause in something else going on in the life of the sufferer, that root cause remains.

3- Physical Pain

Resultant from many possible causes due to illness like Cancer, Car Accidents or just deterioration due to  the Aging process, ongoing daily pain can become so unbearable that life is no longer worth living.  It is one thing to have pain that even if very strong is short lived, it is another thing entirely to have pain that never goes away.

Like the above example of anti-depressants for emotional pain, the meds that depress physical pain have many side effects, especially if you have to load up on heavy doses to relieve the pain.  If you have other addictions, the amounts grow exponentially larger.   The fellow I shared the hospital room with after my operation was in this category.

http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr36/altreel/Top%20Ten/HST%20Quotes/hunterthompsongun.jpgA few years ago, one of my favorite writers and role model for the Gonzo stylization I often use, Hunter S. Thompson blew his brains out with one of his many Guns.  Hunter was a real Gun Freak, not that common amongst left political leaning people.  In the aftermath of that suicide, it did come out that Hunter had been in pain for a long time, a likely result of his long time heavy use of alcohol and a whole pharmacy full of illicit and pharmaceutical drugs.  Probably in his later years not even an IV pump of Morphine could touch his pain.  Hunter burned his candle brightly, and then he burned it out.  It was his choice and his time to go.  That is not a tragedy.  It was a path he took early in his life and he never swayed from it, even though living that way is quite likely to shorten how long your personal timeline walking the earth will be.

4- Financial Problems

https://armstrongeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/jumper.jpg?w=584You could file this as a sub category of Depression, since when you get into financial difficulty, it is certainly depressing and taking meds does not cure your financial problems.  However, because this is a fairly common reason for suicide, I'm giving it a separate category.

Where this one really hits is in the category of people who have lived comfortable and financially secure lives, but then for one reason or another "lose it all" fairly rapidly.  The classic example are the Bankster Jumpers from the era of the Great Depression.  Not limited to that time period though, in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, there were numerous Bankster suicides of one sort or another.  One of the most well publicized was that of René-Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, heir to a fortune that went back to the French Revolution.  René lost it all in the Bernie Madoff fiasco.

Magon served as the chairman and CEO of Crédit Lyonnais Securities USA. He also contributed to the founding of Apollo Management, financial management firm established by financier Leon Black.

http://www.fashion-writings.com/img/yv/rene-thierry-magon-de-la-villehuchet-wife/rene_thierry_magon_de_la_villehuchet_hedge_fund.jpgLater, he founded Access International Advisors, a research analyst investment agency that specialized in managing hedged and structured investment portfolios that involve commercial physical and biological research.[1][2] It had connections to wealthy and powerful aristocrats from Europe. Magon de La Villehuchet's family had done business with many of these aristocrats and their ancestors for almost 300 years.[3] Its funds enlisted intermediaries with links to the cream of Europe's high society to garner clients. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) do not believe Magon de La Villehuchet was involved personally in the US$50 billion fraudulent financial Ponzi scheme which Madoff was arrested for masterminding, on 11 December. Bloomberg News reported on 2 January 2009 that the AIA funds had increased aggregate exposure to Madoff from 30% to 75% of a total US$3 billion assets in 2008, for a US$2.25 billion exposure. It also identified Philippe Junot, former husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Prince Michael of Yugoslavia as partner and investor-relations executive, respectively, in the firm; and Liliane Bettencourt, the world's wealthiest woman, the 86-year-old daughter of L’Oréal founder Eugène Schueller, as an early investor.[4]

According to The New York Times, René-Thierry's older brother Bertrand said that Thierry was connected to Madoff by Thierry's partner in AIA, Patrick Littaye, another French banker, and that Thierry had not known Madoff personally. “He had a true concept of capitalism,” Bertrand Magon de La Villehuchet, 74, said of his brother, quoted in the Times. “He felt responsible and he felt guilty. Today, in the financial world, there is no responsibility; no one wants to shoulder the blame.”[5] Bloomberg reported that Bernard had invested 20% of his assets in an AIA/Madoff fund. It also reported that René-Thierry founded Access in 1994 with Littaye. The two had met at Paribas in 1970.[4] In February 2009, Littaye denied having heard of whistleblower Harry Markopolos' accusations against Madoff in the years before the scandal broke, and said Madoff was "of course" exempted from the usual handwriting analysis (graphology) which was among the due diligence efforts AIA made with its outside fund managers.[6]

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a9/49/5d/a9495dceeea96543d97c8d5be22a6c56.jpgOf course, most people aren't in that stratospheric territory of having so much to lose to begin with, it's much more common for the formerly middle class guy with the good middle manager job in his 40s or 50s who gets laid off, can't find a new job at anywhere near the old pay rate, has his McMansion foreclosed on and the best he can do is find a job at Min Wage as a Greeter at Walmart if he is lucky.  This is relatively speaking just about as huge a fall as René took, and the consequences are similar.  It is simply too much too deal with, particularly at that stage of your life.  You really can't start over at that point, and the prospect of living out the rest of your days in poverty is not the least bit appealing.  The suicide option becomes the valid choice for many who find themselves in this situation.

There are of course as many possible reasons for suicide as there are people if you want to get very specific, but in the end whatever it was just made life no longer worth living for the person who decided to pull the plug.  Is that not your right?  It's your life after all, you are the one encased in the meat package, nobody else.  However many people consider this morally indefensible, and in fact some Christians consider suicide to be a Mortal Sin.  They argue about this some.  Some figure you can't make it into Heaven if you buy your ticket this way, others are more lenient on it.

There are seven suicides in the Bible,[citation needed] most notably in Matthew 27:5, the suicide of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, and that of Saul (1 Samuel 31:4). In Acts of the Apostles 16:28 Paul prevents the attempted suicide of a jailor. Jonah (Book of Jonah 4:8), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) and Job (Book of Job 6:9) express suicidal feelings.

Some Christians state that one cannot repent from suicide since one is not capable of praying and asking for forgiveness after death. However, this can also be seen as that when one commits suicide they are repenting because when dead one cannot choose to sin again, ultimately making suicide one sin that can only be committed once.

One thing we do know from this though is that suicide has been around as a choice since at least Biblical times, and it probably goes back a good deal further than that for Homo Sap.  It also appears to be fairly unique to Homo Sap, at least in the way we go about it. Do other animals commit suicide?

Animal suicide is a hugely controversial issue in the world of animal research and psychology, because although there are numerous documented instances of animals seemingly intentionally ending their own lives, no one is exactly sure whether these cases can technically be classified as suicide.

http://s3-ak.buzzfeed.com/static/enhanced/terminal01/2011/8/12/12/enhanced-buzz-1962-1313166491-6.jpgFirst things first, because we’re sticklers for factual information, we feel like we have to point out that the most famous “suicidal” animal of all, lemmings, do not actually throw themselves off of cliffs when they migrate. As we’ve already mentioned before, no one is exactly sure where the myth originated from, but we can thank Disney for making it “common knowledge” when they used a turntable to throw dozens of them into a river and then filmed the results for an Academy Award winning documentary called “White Wilderness”. Why did they intentionally kill the lemmings in this way? Because it was thought at the time that lemmings did this, and the filmmakers needed a video of it. You can read the truth about the situation concerning the lemmings here.

Moving on, there are numerous cases from history of animals seemingly killing themselves for no explainable reason. Perhaps the most famous is the curious case of Overtoun Bridge. In a nutshell, since the 1960s dozens (or hundreds depending on which source you consult) of dogs have leapt off of the bridge to their doom for no discernible reason.

While the exact number of dogs who’ve plummeted to their deaths isn’t known, the phenomenon has been widely covered and written about for years. It wasn’t until an animal behavioral specialist, David Sands, investigated the bridge that the mystery was finally solved. Sands discovered that the end of the bridge most favoured by dogs seeking to end it all just so happened to be above a known nesting ground for mink. Sands also discovered that the majority of known dogs that had made the leap were long snouted breeds known for their extraordinary sense of smell.

Putting these two facts together, Sands was able to conclude that the dogs weren’t committing suicide at all, rather they were excited by the smell of a small furry creature and tragically leapt over the safety wall (which is above the sight-line of most dogs) not realising they were standing on a bridge.

In yet another apparent dog suicide attempt often used as an example that dogs are capable of the level of abstract thinking necessary to be able to contemplate ending it all, we have the incredible story reported in the Illustrated London News in 1845 about a Newfoundland dog that supposedly repeatedly threw itself into the water and refused to move until it drowned. The dog was rescued several times throughout this, but  every time it was rescued, it would return to the water and (apparently) attempt to drown itself by not moving. As amazing as that story is, how accurate it is and the events surrounding the apparent suicide have been lost to history. If this one dog was capable of it, one would think there would be numerous other irrefutable dog suicide attempt stories like it.  The closest we have today is the phenomenon of dogs that will sometimes refuse to eat after losing their masters, which does in rare cases continue to the death of the dog.  But the question still remains in these cases- is the dog refusing to eat so that it will die, or is it just refusing to eat because it’s sad and has no appetite, as can happen with humans, but in the dog’s case not realizing the potential consequences?

In an article about the strange world of supposed animal suicide, LiveScence contributor Katharine Gammon summed the key point up nicely, For an act to be classified as a suicide, the agent must know that what it is doing will end its life.”

Of course, it is nearly impossible to ever tell if any non-human animal knows its actions will result in its own death and performs the actions towards that end.  That said, there are several types of insects who willingly allow themselves to be killed, or even in a few cases, do the deed themselves.

For instance, it has been noted that certain species of ant possess the ability to explode themselves at will when threatened (often emitting some sticky or poisonous substance in the process), earning them the apt nickname of “exploding ants“. However, even if the ants realise what will happen in terms of their own existence when they perform this selfless act, most would not classify this as suicide any more than a soldier leaping onto a grenade to save surrounding soldiers would be considered to have committed suicide; the ant sacrifices itself for the greater good because as a species, it’s evolved to put the needs of the many before the needs of the individual.

The Forelius pusillus ant also has worker ants that will sacrifice themselves for the good of the colony, but this time in a slightly different manner than the exploding ants.  Every night, the nest of a colony needs sealed off in such a way that the nest will be undetectable from the outside, in order to protect it from predators.  As such, sick ants or ones who are older will (apparently) volunteer to perform the task of staying outside the nest at night.  Once all the rest of the ants are inside, the sacrificial ants will seal up and hide the entrance and usually will end up dying from being left outside.  Even when researchers have collected these sacrificial ants and taken care of them, they usually die soon anyway, which is why it is thought that generally older or sick ants are chosen or volunteer for this task.

Likewise, honey bees will willingly explode their own penises and subsequently die, just for a chance to pass on their genes. They will also willingly remove themselves from a hive if they know they’re infected with a disease that could potentially hurt other bees.

Japanese honey bees, when defending against the Giant Asian Hornet, will intentionally group together and ball the invader.  Once they’ve surrounded the hornet, they will decouple their wings internally and then beat their muscles vigorously, similar to how honey bees heat their hives despite being cold blooded. In this case, the heat at the center, combined with high carbon dioxide levels in the ball, becomes intense enough to kill the hornet- the bees only real defense against it.  Unfortunately, bees near the hornet in the ball may also die as a result, but do so (apparently) willingly for the good of the hive. Again, some would classify this as suicide, but others would classify it as a form of altruistic behaviour typical of a hive orientated species. Indeed, whether to classify an animal’s action as suicide is almost as contentious as the issue of whether animals possess the cognitive function to understand it as a concept. Do the bees at the center of the heat ball understand their actions may result in their death or do they simply do it as the introduction of the invader triggers certain innate actions built into their brains, without any real conscious or abstract thought happening at all?

In short, though we’re aware of numerous cases in which animals have seemingly intentionally taken their own lives, we simply don’t know whether the animals understood the ramifications of their actions, or were just reacting to environmental triggers without much thought going into it.

In all probability, suicide is an artifact of sentience and the ability to reflect on your own life.  This is a relative thing and differs between people depending on their prior experience through life.  Poor people don't commit suicide just because they are poor usually.  It's only when things become utterly hopeless and their survival is in question that they commit suicide, as has been the case for 10s if not 100s of thousands of subsistence Indian farmers over the last decade.

In 2012, the National Crime Records Bureau of India reported 13,754 farmer suicides.[1] The highest number of farmer suicides were recorded in 2004 when 18,241 farmers committed suicide.[2] The farmers suicide rate in India has ranged between 1.4 to 1.8 per 100,000 total population, over a 10-year period through 2005.[3]

India is an agrarian country with around 60% of its people depending directly or indirectly upon agriculture. Farmer suicides account for 11.2% of all suicides in India.[1] Activists and scholars have offered a number of conflicting reasons for farmer suicides, such as monsoon failure, high debt burdens, genetically modified crops, government policies, public mental health, personal issues and family problems.[4][5][6] There are also accusation of states fudging the data on farmer suicides.[7]

However, you don't have to drop into total poverty to become suicidal on an economic level, just a significant enough drop in your standard of living is enough to do it, if you start off rich or even just middle class.  Even more distressing is if you start off poor, climb out of poverty but then are threatened with having to RETURN to the poverty from whence you came.  That is a terrifying prospect for the social climber who got out of poverty to begin with.

http://www.bramun.com/uploads/1/2/3/1/12314222/219300602.jpg?531Similarly, those born with mental disabilities usually aren't suicidal, they never knew anything different, and besides that their ability to self-reflect is impaired.  However, for the person such as Martin Manley who had good mental faculties but saw them fading away, contemplating the future as an impaired individual was intolerable.  It was not a life he thought would be worth living.

This brings us back round to the issue of people who are observing collapse, and who have come to believe the future is hopeless.  If you empathize with the people you currently observe already suffering from the effects of collapse, such as the Syrian refugees, this can be a cause of such emotional pain in yourself that suicide becomes an option you contemplate.  For others, its not so much the people they empathize with, it is the rest of the biosphere, all the plants and animals they witness dying around them, of which there are increasingly more stories every day.

“Countless” dead birds reported in Pacific off US coast, nothing will eat the bodies — “There are no seals present” — Expert: “The fish are not there… all of them are starving” — Animals “acting weird, sick and weak, too weak to fly, too weak to run”

So in the end, for the Sentient Homo Sap, what this question begins with is the QUALITY of your life at present, and your perceptions of what that life will be like in the future.  If you're not happy with your life now and have good reason to suspect it's only going to get worse in the future, then suicide starts to become a valid option for you.

http://www.housingforseniors.com/pics/userpics/Image/woman_with_dog2.jpgAnother issue is one of having a purpose to your life, a reason to keep living.  In the case of Roamer's friend the young cancer victim, his wife and child gave him a purpose.  So even though his quality of life was poor, he wanted to stay alive for them.  With many older folks who are either childless or their children have grown and drifted away in our fractured society, they can lose this purpose.  You will see many older folks with pets, dogs or cats usually.  The dependence of the pet on them is a purpose for them to keep going.

I myself have many reasons to ponder on this question these days, as regular Diners know I injured my neck a year ago and the quality of my life has steadily deteriorated.  I now have trouble walking, doing common daily tasks and I have pain all the time.  3 weeks after the operation to repair it, there has been no sign of improvement, in fact some things are worse.  I now have to lie down much more often to relieve the pain.  At this point it looks unlikely that things will improve moving ahead.  The best I probably can hope for is things don't get too much worse too fast.

The issue here again is how far you fall from one state to another, and how fast it occurs.  For myself I went from this:

RE Backflips in Nice, France

RE-age-28-backflip

to this

RE Takes a Selfie after the Neck Job

Bed-Superstar

I could still do backflips into my 40s.  No pictures of me from those years, I had become a loner and in those days people didn't carry around phones to take selfies.  Nowadays, just to get myself from the desk & laptop to the bathroom & toilet is a chore.  The quality of life has diminished considerably.  I was also like the Picture of Dorian Gray for years, from 20 to 40 my appearance barely changed at all.  Even up to the last few years, when I looked in the mirror to shave I saw the young man I once was, not the old cripple I have become.  Now when I look in the mirror to get my neck brace on, I see the stark and unmistakeable truth, that I already have one foot in the grave.

I also face financial problems moving ahead, unless and until there is resolution in my favor with Workman's Compensation and SSDI.  I am fortunate to have savings that has carried me through thusfar, if I was already broke on top of all the other problems, suicide would definitely be an option I would consider.

In one respect I am fortunate in that I still do have a purpose for living, that is my writing here on the Diner and my discussions with the other Bloggers & Diners who are concerned with the topics of the ongoing Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  This is something I can still do, and it occupies my day.  I often get emails from readers who tell me how much my writing means to them.  This gives meaning to my life and a reason for struggling through the pain and the disability.  If I did not have such a purpose, again soldiering onward with the physical problems would seem kind of pointless.

Suicide itself isn't necessarily tragic, sometimes it is simply the best Final Personal Solution to finishing a life that has deteriorated to such a point you don't get any joy from pursuing it.  What more often is tragic are the circumstance that led up to this, be they an Accident, Cancer or Alzheimers, financial problems, marital problems, school bullying, drug and alcohol addictions, being a victim of child abuse or just being born with a biochemical imbalance in your brain that brings on the feelings of depression organically.

Out in the world at large, because collapse has already moved through several countries, Greece and Spain in the West particularly, for the farmers in India and so forth, suicide rates are rocketing upward in all these places.  As the graph above shows, even here in the FSoA, suicide rates are on the rise, and collapse hasn't even hit here yet with the force it has in Greece and Spain.  As situations become increasingly more hopeless for more people, this is an inevitable outcome of collapse.  Again for those people already, the suicide is not the tragedy, the tragedy came before that as they experience the loss of the life they once knew, and see no possibility for a better life in the future.  This will be the case for many more people as time goes by.  As the farms in California and the midwest dry up, many more people here will lose their homes and their livelihoods.  Eventually, if it has not already, a suicide of someone you know will occur.  When it does, think about why it was this person's choice, and if the reasons were valid, then be greatful that this person still had that Final Personal Solution to fall back on.  No pain anymore.

Rest in Peace.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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