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Michael McMahon

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  1. https://theconversation.com/explainer-why-are-we-afraid-of-spiders-26405 I’ve been wondering a small bit about the irrational fear evoked by spiders and snakes. Some people say there may be an evolutionary component to it as a few of these creatures can potentially be deadly. But our visceral response to them seems to be far more excessive than the actual threat they would have posed throughout human evolution. Humans obviously have a limited capacity to empathise with animals. We can anthropomorphise our pets and we might admire animals in the zoo. But as the philosopher Thomas Nagal pointed out, “What is it Like to be a Bat?”. In other words what is the sentience of these creatures like? They can’t just be inanimate robots as they display complex behaviour. Perhaps they live in a barely self-aware oneiric sort of existence that will be forever unknown to us. Some exotic creatures may possess a mind so “alien” to ours that it becomes repulsive when we try to project a degree of consciousness onto it. So might the creepiness of spiders and snakes be more of our instinctive reaction to their unfathomable psychology rather than the actual biology of them?
  2. guidoLamoto: “Chronic pain involves the ongoing stimulation of nerves-- chronic arthritis or a broken bone, for example.“ There are indeed physical correlations to certain painful sensations. But sometimes unfortunately chronic pain can be invisible; it can only be observed through a person’s behaviour. Consciousness isn’t entirely reductionistic. Chronic pain is of course a very real illness as it would be incredibly difficult to consistently feign anxiety.
  3. Maybe aspects of chronic pain might be a subconscious response to try to counteract death anxiety: https://www.psychology.org.au/for-members/publications/inpsych/2018/December-Issue-6/Death-anxiety-The-worm-at-the-core-of-mental-heal
  4. If one accidentally falls off a ladder, they're not guilty of negligence and endangerment because they are the only victim. So it makes no sense to imply that suicide victims committed anything.
  5. Solipsism would lead to loneliness and isolation. I don't think it's selfish.
  6. Solipsism Syndrome is "a psychological state in which a person feels that reality is not external to his or her mind". But is derealization/depersonalization related to this source of anxiety? Do they exist on a spectrum? People who suffer from derealization say that they feel like they are in a dream. But what does that mean? Dreams obviously happen inside your own head. Therefore if you are in a dream, no one else exists. In a sense we can never know what another person is thinking. We can only infer they are conscious from their behaviour. So is derealization, with symptoms like perceptual and emotional abnormalities, a result of anxiety-induced solipsism?
  7. Even if there are copycat suicides, they'd be in a small minority compared to those who die of mental illness. It does not justify ostracising victims.
  8. But there's a lot we don't understand about the mind. We can't control a lot of our subconscious such as the sensation of colour. Similarly we're not in complete control of our emotions. Mental illness seems to be deceptive. Depression, for instance, may delude the person into thinking everything is meaningless. They can't remember being happy. I think it's important not to be harsh when their beliefs, memory and thoughts might be impaired.
  9. Well how does one person dying by suicide encourage others to do the same? What's the mechanism? Everyone knows what suicide is, so why would not reporting it result in less suicides? As I've said before suicide must be very painful so only those with severe pain would attempt it.
  10. "But a healthy dose of social pressure, judgment, and yes, honest vocal expressions of genuine moral disgust and anger at those who actually commit suicide, is also necessary. Without it, we send a clear signal, no matter how well meant: “It’s OK. In the end, we’ll understand. Maybe we will even think you were more complex than the rest of us.” " - Boris Zelkin What exactly do you mean by contagion? It's important not to let any concept get hijacked by those intent on stigmatising suicide like the one above.
  11. It's not the suicide victim's fault if other individuals die of suicide afterwards. Suicide contagion may be more a reflection of social problems like poverty and lgbt stigma. I haven't watched 13 Reasons Why.
  12. "So, if the whole world/ your whole school/ all your friends were going to jump off a bridge, would you jump, too?" This question is a common tactic used by parents. But it does happen to show the absurdity that suicide victims are directly responsible for other suicides. Death would be the end of your life. You don't get to bask in other people's grief afterwards. So I'm not sure what this confusion is about suicide contagion. If there is an instance of multiple suicides in an area, then focus on any underlying societal issues and improve mental health services.
  13. http://www.brownpoliticalreview.org/2018/03/self-immolation-tibet-dalai-lamas-silence-costing-lives/
  14. Thanks very much for all of the replies by the way.
  15. The experience of pain can encourage solidarity. Pain of course viscerally hurts. So I find it ridiculous any notion that some are "selfishly" dead or that the mentally ill are "arrogantly" in despair. As I've said before I'm not at all criticising society. I'm merely disagreeing with a few comments one sees around the web.
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