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Suicide Prevention Events opening ...
Poet Musing & Ross Hart MP 12.08.17 3:51 pm
SUICIDE PREVENTION EVENTS - OPENING - 6/08/2017.
ROSS HART MP LABOR - BASS - LAUNCESTON ,TASMANIA -
Introduced by Stephen Johnstone aka Poet Musing MC and Event Organiser AND some of his poetry.
I thought Ross Hart’s comments in relation to the Japanese POW experience on the Burma railway, comparing the that of the British and the Australians were telling, but only partial.
He noted that the Australian camp’s sense of solidarity and mateship carried them through the very difficult experiences of camp life far better than the more laissez-faire, every-man-for-himself British camp, just across the river.
He posits that this is an important consideration when looking at the problem of suicidal behavior now, where considerably more soldiers die by their own hand at home, compared with death at the hands of the enemy overseas. And even allowing for a much higher wound recovery rate now compared to WW2, he is clearly identifying an important trend.
There are questions here in relation to change in the nature of warfare and the way civilians get caught up and very messily involved in the struggle, both as protagonists and victims.
There are questions in relation to war as a mass national struggle and war as a struggle at the margins of a peacetime metropolitan society. It can be extremely disconcerting to walk out of an armed struggle straight into a normal civil society.
Robert Graves, in his book ‘Goodbye to All That’ noted that coming back home on leave from the front to visit family and friends during the First World War was ‘trying’ and ‘stressful’ to the point that many men felt ‘relieved’ to be going back to ‘normal life’ at the front by the end of it.
These are not unimportant considerations. But there is a whole layer of other stuff going on that amplifies these issues in ways that have not existed before.
What Ross Hart does not talk about beyond a culture of mateship is how much discipline and group re-enforcement went into that culture. There was an enormous and protracted effort across all social structures, from family, to school, to work and to the military, that put(s) the other guy(s) front and center of focus. Self-absorbed egoism wasn’t tolerated, anywhere.
That came out in the tall poppy attitude. “So you think you’re smarter, or better…do ya?” What that meant was everyone was expected to socially convoy and group conform to a rough kind of equality…
Beyond that again, Hart is talking about a world in the ‘40s that still galvanized itself around religion, albeit a bit in the breach in places, and some pretty solid firm social values about what was and wasn’t OK, and more, what was ‘the right thing’ to do. People instinctively understood good and evil. They had that embedded in a ‘conscience’ which was an internalized and entrenched picture of how things were supposed to be and not be.
Then that goes back to yet another level of ‘character formation’ which is a a combined set of trained habits and individual temperament (personality) that give solid shape and existential certainty about who and what a person is. And that profoundly shapes how robustly they will respond and stand up to the pressure when the chips are down.
Security in adversity isn’t particularly about being tough, so much as how good the grounding is that has made you what you are.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to to come to the aid of those in distress. But today, not only is that just a band aid, but it avoids deeper ideological traffic.
Suicide prevention is a bit like first aid. High suicide rates are not an inevitable piece of shit that just happens. They are symptoms of among other things, a profoundly damaged social infrastructure that has been handed over to marketers and sales people, instead of families, church/mosque/temple and communities.
The social values we are giving our children are junk, in the same way as much of our economy is. Character formation and attitude/behavioral templating has been abandoned. Self absorbed egoism has taken over from the other regarding. Taking and consuming trumps producing and giving.
The idea that at least half a person’s net wealth is in the quality of the software in their heads is gone. We have a mass of quite affluent people who are actually as poor as church mice, where everything in their lives fall to pieces, despite the fact that they are surrounded by the glittering prizes of the market place.
And they absorb the profound unhappiness that that causes in mystified and medicalized silence.
Medicine and science conspire to conceal the real causes of many of the presenting psychiatric symptoms they are confronted by, in a whole generations of people who have been stripped of most of their social software.
Suicide and depression are the surface noise of a society that is crumbling.
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