(Article changed on February 8, 2014 at 10:37)
Today is Groundhog's Day, the dead of the winter. It's uphill from here, second halves always more navigable, especially in the case of length of day, which increases our dose of sunlight and hence, via our pituitary endowment, improves moods.
According to "Psychology Today," most suicides are committed in the spring, "probably" because " the rebirth that marks springtime accentuates feelings of hopelessness in those already suffering with it. In contrast, around Christmas time most people with suicidal thoughts are offered some degree of protection by the proximity of their relatives and, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, the prospect of 'things getting better from here'. "
Things getting better from here? That's the mentality I described above.
But when things get best, out go some lights--around Easter, the time Jesus arose from the dead?
I'd project that those who commit suicide are way beyond religion.
I'd need a statistic on that. Here is some research: according to the "American Journal of Psychiatry" in 2004, suicide is more likely among those who are unaffiliated religiously. According to Adherents.com in 2004, in an article based on the above source, the countries with the lowest suicide rates are deeply religious.
How much harm does it do as opposed to good? Consider a world without religion. All things are possible.
Groundhog's Day has pagan roots. Even though other "major" holidays have pagan roots also, February 2 does not mark a major holiday. But if hell is ice and heaven fiery, to extrapolate from a poem I once wrote, then "mankind," "born to suffer," as Job once lamented, stays alive more during winter months than spring months. In other words, we are as gluttonous for punishment as Adam and Eve were way back then.
In the very, very dead of winter, a creature emerges out of death (read: hibernation) to sniff around and then run back to safety.
When we have need for neither heat nor cold, read: spring and autumn, especially spring, then the suicide rate escalates. Read: a totally irrational supposition.
It is perfectly natural to meditate on suicide at this nadir of the year.
But what follows brings a kind of warmth we all crave any time of the year, the most important holiday of them all (I've written two blogs on this), one with Christian roots that is celebrated by all who love: St. Valentine's Day. We all emerge from caves to celebrate love--those who love, anyway. Those without love have every reason to end it all, methinks.
Groundhog's Day has nothing to do with love--I attempt to adhere to my supposed theme. But consider that we look to an animal for a most important prediction. And we are just beginning to discover how smart those supposedly lower species are--beyond superstitions.
Oh, we have so much to learn. Far more can be considered with regard to other events than suicide before we can draw conclusions about our seasons and life/death.
On February 2, in the depth of winter, the groundhog chooses life.
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