I have been reading about the case of a 10 year old boy, Harry Hucknall, who hanged himself. I know how he felt. I was sent to boarding school in 1954 when I was 8. From then until the age of 18 I was at boarding school. I felt suicidal nearly all the time. Times were different then. The level of brutality meted out upon the children wouldn’t be tolerated today. Now is not the time to go into the exact details. It is only 58 years ago. It is still too recent. In fact I didn’t really know how to do it, commit suicide that is. I thought about throwing myself from a high window but wasn’t sure it would have worked. Of course it would have. But it would have been extremely painful. The school would have claimed it was an accident. But it was a close thing. It is not hard to see how I could have tipped over the edge, further than I was already. Somehow I survived without even an attempted suicide. Somehow I have survived until today. I have some happy moments. I have had some very happy moments. I care about other people. I care about myself. But life is a struggle. Sometimes it is a struggle just to reach the end of the day.
It is a philosophical question. Is life worth living? With the decline in religious belief it is a harder question to answer. There is also the question, does life have any meaning & if so, what is it? It is all to do with brainwashing. We are all brainwashed. We are brainwashed into the ways of the World,. We are brainwashed into society’s norms. We are told we have to love our parents, love our country, do well at school, get a job, etc. Somehow, parents, schools & the media espouses all these views. Deep down we know they are not true. But being in the society that we are in, we go along with it anyway. It is the only way to survive.
We are told to be grateful for this or for that. We are told ( I have said it people myself) that we have so much to live for. But we also have to put up with a lot which makes us miserable. In most parts of the World, people are genuinely poor. They don’t have enough to eat, many people live in caves or hovels with large families. Many people are slaves. Many people look for food on rubbish dumps, some live on rubbish dumps.
But the evidence is not that they are less happy. They may be. But it is not really known. It is hard, at least for us who have enough to eat & have other material accoutrements, to believe.
The boy who killed himself was called Harry Hucknall & was distantly related to a pop star whose last name is Hucknall. I know nothing about him. Pop stars are quite often drug addicts & quite often violent & nasty people; or so the press tends to report. Maybe this Hucknall is a nice person, maybe he isn’t.
We don’t know what Harry Hucknall, the 10 year old boy who committed suicide, went through but it sounds as though his parents didn’t love him. Apparently he needed protection from them & it sounds as though they neglected him. He was prescribed pharmaceutical drugs for his depression. This often happens these days. I don’t know whether this happens because of pressure from the drugs companies or for some other reason. There are many reasons for not prescribing anti depressants, not least of which is that the effects tend to wear off & then stronger drugs tend to be needed. In an age of great prosperity, especially with regard to technical gadgets, electronic goods & so on, it is a fact that people, maybe children especially, are more prone to depression than ever. Computers, flat screen TVs, expensive mobile phones loaded with apps, do not bring happiness. Like drugs the effect wears off. It is true that a worry is often banished by a greater worry. So with gadgets, the novelty value is only banished by a gadget which has even more clever apps. My mother once asked me how I coped before I had a mobile phone. I replied, I don’t know.
I don’t know what it is that people want. Treating children with too much kindness can lead them to not being able to cope in what is called the real World. But if they are treated badly in their early years it can lead to depression. Melanie Klein & others have done much to bring to light problems in the psyche brought on by traumas in the early years, the first years of life. Much art & writing can be said to be the result of these traumas. The playwright, the late Denis Potter, said all his writing was a process of ploughing the same field.
Harry Hucknall was brought into the World & not loved. For him the reasons for living were not enough.