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June 06, 2018

Kate Spade, Depression, and Suicide

Interesting points from the Insta-Wife.

Apparently suicide is becoming more frequent among women:

But there is something even more surprising and strange in this report. The suicide rate has increased for women in particular during this period of time, narrowing the gap in the suicide rate between men and women (men have always taken their lives more often than women). The suicide rate is up 63% for women aged 45-65 and up 200% for girls aged 10-14.

As well, it should be noted that while suicide by firearms and poisoning has declined, suicide by suffocation, usually hanging, increased, making one in four suicides in both men and women attributable to strangulation. Suicide by suffocation is more deliberate than suicide by poison, which is the usual method chosen by women.

I can't think of a reason for this general trend in women committing suicide more often, except my go-to reason for everything: Society is undergoing the most profound social experiment in history -- shifting the main locus of where life is lived from the real world to a cyber simulacrum -- and that has big effects on people and their psychology and physical health that we will not understand even partly for 30 years. Social competition, evaluations of one's looks, fitness, and lifestyle to check if one is pulling ahead or falling behind in the rat race, bullying and conformity-monitoring, and instant-stress via social media feeds are now things people often experience every minute or two rather than a few times per week.

It may also be that the brain itself has preferred rhythms of excitement and boredom. But with instant stimulation always a key-push away, we might be overstimulating our brains (often with junk stimulation, of course) without giving it the expected lazy pauses in between.

A lot of people think that it's healthy to have a mind at rest on occasion. Anyone who meditates believes that, certainly. And many artists, writers, philosophers, and theologists and scientists have sought out places of quiet (and even boredom) in which to do their deeper thinking.

Add into that the fact that the brain is designed to navigate a physical world of scent and sounds and pheromones, and not a virtual world of text and pictures and pornography. Previous generations have bemoaned man's alienation from God, and man, and society; we're now dealing with an alienation from physical reality itself.

There may well be plenty of benefits to our Always Online Age, but there are undoubtedly huge negative consequences as well.

None of that is intended to be read about Kate Spade. As she's an individual, no broad guess about trends affecting entire populations is really applicable.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 03:35 PM

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