I think suicide is a side effect of intelligence. I am not the only one:
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know — Ernest Hemingway
People nowadays reject the quote above as the rationalization of an unhappy alcoholic,
Yet there is a lot more to it that we like to take.
Intelligence is the ability to perceive time. The more intelligent the more sensitive you are at the passage of time and at the flow of possibilities into events.
Life’s single purpose is to defeat time. But while life is local and isolated, time is global and pervasive. Life fights like a ninja, while time fights like a samurai. As long as the ninja stays invisible and wary it will win against an army of samurais. But ninjas are feeble, weaker, less armored and in the case of a mistaken frontal confrontation a samurai will squash a ninja. Suicide is when the living intelligence has a face off with time. That is basically another way of describing the void staring back at you.
Happiness is to do the right thing, the right way, while you’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right company and all these while you’re all right. This makes happiness very specific and requiring a lot of fine tuning. Fine tuning requires a lot of feedback and predictive activity. Hence intelligence is one of the basic conditions for the want of the pursuit of happiness.
Does that sound weird? I think we have a very entangled view upon what constitutes the experience of life. In reality there is a very simple structuring that happens in a human’s life experience:
Happiness < opposite > Depression
Joy < opposite > Sadness
Pleasure < opposite > Pain
As intelligence is the ability to perceive time, the bigger it is the farther in time it can “look”. The farther it can look, the better it is at creating the fine tuning required by happiness.
Mind you, intelligence is not IQ. I believe that the problem with recognizing the connection between intelligence and happiness is because how badly we measure intelligence, by assessing solely emotional response and IQ. Intelligence is an organic capacity of making predictions and we have yet to come up with a way to grade human prediction accuracy! We can measure it, but we momentarily cannot grade it.
Happiness - Highly intelligent people want to be happy
Joy - Fairly intelligent people want to enjoy life
Pleasure - Average intelligence people want to feel good
Intelligence is prone to endlessly weaved paths of events. But remember this is not paranormal future reading! This is a self referential system using itself to try and foresee what will happen. That is why most of the time reality is astonishingly different from our predictions. That alone favors depression over happiness but there is more.
People who seek happiness are tired. Happiness requires a lot of fine tuning and this consumes huge amounts of energy.
Intelligent brains are prone also to being very decisive. Suicide is the long awaited decision that non-existence is better than existence.
However, at the same time there is this arrangement between the body and the brain: an electrical system and a chemical system collaborating for life preservation in the process of existence. The chemical system handles species’ preservation while the electrical system handles species’ advancement.
Whenever the brain, or the mind does anything that endangers mating it will get negative feedback from the body. The negative feedback is exclusively meant to depress the brain.
Interestingly, intelligence may somehow give lower mating potential.
Suicide happens when the body tells the brain there is nothing to be done and the brain agrees.
We are self referential. We know nothing outside of what we know.
Initially you try everything. Food and sex. Food related and sex related. Intellectual and emotional. Giving up. Then some of you discover the switch for caring and they turn it off. Left disconnected, all they can get is whatever inner joy they have cultivated so far.
Only that too wears out.
This is it then, the tipping point of your existential experience. From there on you will feel either an enlightened spiritual being or a worn out spirit.
To find its all about joy is a bummer really, since the original goal was happiness. Nevertheless, happiness is for angels and you are not an angel. Happiness comes to humans only in glimpses.
Yet, an existence filled with joy never gets into crisis because it will, by effect, also be filled with meaning. Just as curiosity is the spearhead of arousal, the same way joy is the piercing tip of meaning.
I little thought that I would ever learn to die, M. Eminescu
Meaning is the backbone of a life worth living. Without meaning life is not worth living because reality is a prison for the mind.
As a child the prison reality is not apparent. Sometimes you are oblivious to the walls until late early adulthood. But then, just like in Truman Show, your boat hits the painting. What can then save you? Meaning.
Meaning is produced by capacitive or inductive states of mind. In the recursive execution inside a human mind inductors add pace to the next cycle by saving the output of several cycles and infusing a future one with the whole collection of outputs, while capacitors repress the next cycle by removing output. Thus, meaning is created by:
acceptance, passion, love, communion, reasoning, lust, attachment, self love, blind faith and pride
Meaning has object. The subject of meaning is always, always you. Here are some examples of meaning objects: democratize the sun, fight inequality, marry, nurture life, help children grow up — do this one right.
The opposite of meaning is void. It is very hard to find true, real, physical void in this universe. It might even not exist at all. But that is because void can only be when the reality is meaningless.
Always search for meaning. When you decide to marry, to switch jobs, to learn something, to loose weight or to exercise. A meaningful life is the basis of amor fati. But remember, you are still alive because you either don’t ask yourself about non-existence or you don’t have the mental capacity to follow through.