Friday, November 30, 2018

U.S. life expectancy dips

It's not just the Indian or Pakistani farmer any more: It now appears that suicide is gaining a foothold among those once well-heeled.
The suicide death rate last year was the highest it’s been in at least 50 years, according to U.S. government records. There were more than 47,000 suicides, up from a little under 45,000 the year before....
CDC officials did not speculate about what’s behind declining life expectancy, but Dr. William Dietz, a disease prevention expert at George Washington University, sees a sense of hopelessness.
Financial struggles, a widening income gap and divisive politics are all casting a pall over many Americans, he suggested. “I really do believe that people are increasingly hopeless, and that that leads to drug use, it leads potentially to suicide,” he said.


  1. Also worth noting that a large number of suicides go unrecorded. Experts from different countries estimate between 20-50% more cases go down as undetermined causes, drug overdose, accidents, intoxication... In the middle and upper classes, some cases are unrecorded as suicide because of insurance policies.

    In Brazil, there was a +20% increase in suicide rates over the last 10 years. From 2016 to 2017, there was a +30% increase in suicide attempts by intoxication alone.

    But the worst news is perhaps that the highest increases in suicide rates are among the youth, which is what is mostly affecting life expectancy. High suicide rates among the elderly has been a sad worldwide phenomenon for a while, but now suicide is already the 2nd most common cause of death among teenagers.

    CDC officials may not wish to speculate on the causes, but - among the youth- I would suggest a direct link with the rise of digital social networks and generalized addiction, where the pressure to look "popular, happy, rich and successful" is greater than ever. Everyone is posting all these smiley selfies to look happy on social networks, but just look at people taking such selfies to post online and you'll quickly realise how many of those smiles are fake and disappear as quickly as the photo is taken. Smiles without substance, plastic smiles, that add to the social illusion that everyone else is happy but you. Not many are inclined to sharing pains or listening and talking let alone 'liking' other's pains.

    "Likes" and "followers" are the new social currency, so much so that you can buy then in packs. You even get people making comments litteraly begging for followers and likes. Like-beggars are the social network equivalent to street money beggars. It's crazy.

    Add to this cyberbullying, which these days is often defended as "freedom of speech" and probably ends up being a form of catarse for all the frustrations. Also add the "Miranda Priestley Syndrome"; got to be cruel, nasty, unsentimental and judgemental to look "strong" and "successful". It's fashionable.

    That's the true youth spiritual clusterfuck of these days and increasing suicide rates are just the tip of a much larger iceberg, mostly hidden under the water.

    But maybe that is point.
    "Wicked is good".

    1. Just after I wrote this, I went to check the news in Portugal and on the front page saw an article on a musician titled "We live in times of profound spiritual agony".

      In the comments section, someone wrote "he appears to mistake spirituality with sentimentalism". I almost responded "and you appear to mistake spirituality with absence of feeling?"

      I guess that in a world where religion, philosophy and politics are mostly dictated by men, largely influenced by illuminism, there is little room for gradients such as emotion, sentiment, feeling and it's more subtle manifestation intuition.

      I wrote these days that, in modern societies, women are becoming more like men, adopting their psychological traits.

      It only makes sense then that spirituality should also become more like science, based solely on reason and observable facts.

      I've never observed my spirit. I can feel it though.

  2. Extended families no longer exist. When you get old, you're kids aren't there to care for you, they're the other side of the continent working at the only job happening. Nor do you get the joy of watching your grandkids. You either die at home under the care of weekly county nursing visits, or get put in a nursing facility, or get scared at either prospect and take yourself out.

    1. Indeed Charlie, that I imagine to explain the high rates among our elders; families breaking up due to jobs, loneliness and also financial difficulties, pension plans not keeping up with base living costs and medical costs going up.

      Now, teen suicides going up? That is a whole deeper level of family and individual breakup.