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Death Wish

I tremble at the thought that millions of people suffer enough to entertain a death wish. Perhaps it is as common a component of the psyche as suffering is a widespread phenomenon among humans. I suppose it is normally counterbalanced by the appetite for life, which joy and hope can whet, but is it ever overturned? Probably not, at least not for long, and that worries me. Could numerous instances of big-risk-taking be death-wish-related? Overeating, smoking, speeding, every human deed that is potentially lethal, including war, may be symptomatic of a death wish, all the more pernicious as it is usually denied or concealed behind other motives.

Why do people insist on denying or concealing it? Because they are rightfully ashamed of it! Think of the insanity: Without their knowing and approving it, their death wish may harm them and aggravate their suffering, in which case it would intensify, then probably harm them again and aggravate their suffering, and so on and so forth until it destroyed them. Is it not imperative that they break out of this vicious circle? Should they not humbly recognize their self-destructive weakness in the face of suffering? Should they not fight this weakness with every bit of strength they can gather, in the name of all the things that matter to them?

May they spare themselves the shame of wrecking the very life that makes all these things possible, not by a devious means that disguises a self-inflicted tragedy as a cruel twist of fate, but through their courageous and generous effort to live and love in spite of difficulties! As the particular individuals they are, their existence is their one and only opportunity to experience and contemplate the awesome and fleeting beauty of the world, and prove worthy. May they grasp this opportunity before it slips away from them! They will die soon enough.

Some of them may disagree. I know how disgusted with life and tempted by death one can be. This knowledge almost killed me. I also know one can learn to love life and commit oneself to it. This second knowledge reveals the nature of the first one, which is in fact a state of ignorance and foolishness. I speak from experience and endorse this proverb: Every cloud has a silver lining. Misery contains a possibility of happiness.

Allow me to qualify this statement. Life is rarely desperate. One can usually bring about the changes that are favorable to contentment, if one strives for them. These changes may concern mostly one's attitude toward a difficult situation that is largely unchangeable. A smile is a sunlike wonder reminiscent of a dandelion that can blossom and multiply on practically barren ground despite countless rigors.

Laurent Grenier's writing career spans over twenty years. During this time he has broadened and deepened his worldview, by dint of much reflection and study, and in the end has crafted "A Reason for Living," his best work to date.

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