I've got a friend. He's well-placed in life: not poor, not ill, has family, certainly not an idiot, but quite clever. He's probably lonely, since I am the only close friend. So no relationships, just some acquaintances. He detests "normal" human life like you don't know what.

In our conversations, the words "I want to die" and the like are quite common. The reasoning puzzles me: he is not that desperate; not ill, as I've said etc. What he does say, are things like that: "I am living like a normal petty person. I try to do something about it. But if I am nowhere closer to achieving my right state of being, I have to stop trying sometime."

So, as I see it, he extracts this right state from himself, which is like a mental image, influenced by his existence. He proclaims it right (ethically? existentially? truly?) and bound himself to it. His right way is mostly resembling the way of an emotionless robot, who 'is free from passions and useless feelings, but has only useful ones and thinking. Thus he is free.'

Now, I know, there is much "psychic" about it, but why do you think he wants to die, if he feels he can't achieve the higher state of being?

  • Evolution has produced a class of men whose mental health demands adventure, challenge and rivalry as necessary ingredients. Once they found what is worth dying for, they would postpone death in order to win. They contemplate suicide when life is comfortable, but as soon as they are challenged on all fronts, they want to live more anything else. Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 18:23
  • Simple but depth answer will be there is no hope so only death is the option. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 11:33

2 Answers 2


I want to die

I was thinking Death Drive. It's a Freudian concept thought to be the opposite of life instinct. There has been written quite a lot about it. Even in modern scholarly articles.

Your friend may or may not be depressed. If he had a depression on an early age, maybe a family member died around when he was 14, he actually may have built up some immunity to depression. Yes, that's possible. Around that age your brain and thoughts (e.g. coping mechanisms) are quite flexible, and all kind of changes both structurally and cognitively may happen to dampen hormonal depression. If that were the case, he may have suicidal thoughts without actually being depressed.

Secondly, he could be a perfectionist. If he feels incapable in living his life to his full potential, feeling he's never going to do what he should do, it means there is no purpose in his life. Psychologically the feeling of purpose is important for motivation and subjective well-being.

Irrecoverable loss: He has lost more than 90% of his capital. He feels he can never get it back in his entire life, or just doesn't want to any more. He feels his life might as well stop. He could have had the best life doing whatever he wanted, but he did not make the choice. This might lead to cognitive dissonance where his thoughts are adjusting according to his behavior. So, he thinks "I don't want to live" simply because his actions are like that. This is the same for a person who's not having offspring (or not intending to have a sexual partner). From his actions he may conclude he does not want to exist (i.e. his genes). Hence, death drive.

But I think it's also a combination of factors. Personally, I feel that death drive comes from a mixture of negative emotions. The main emotion behind death drive would be anger, since it is the most destructive emotion. If nothing goes like he wants it to go, and he is angry at has environment for obstructing him or angry at himself for procrastinating and self-handcapping, if he cannot externalize this anger rationally, there is only one way left.

I think you should really worry when he starts gambling, drinking lots of alcohol, auto-mutilate (look at his wrists or ankles), or perform other destructive behaviors. Family members doing one of those things also increases to chance of self-destructive behavior. It can be both genetic and 'virally' transmitted.

I would like to conclude with the knowledge from the field of psychology that humans are far from rational beings.

Next time your friend says

I want die

You can respond with

You don't want to live the life your living now.


He thinks he knows what "higher" state is. but if you suggest him to describe that in clear written text, will he do that?

Depends on personality, his highest state might be:

a) ability to compose music in head and write it down in notes immediately 2) ability approach local Al-Capone and spit in his dirty face 3) ability to attract women and politely reject 10 sex propositions every day

The key word is "ability".

Once he knows what "ability" he describes as a highest state of mind, ask him, can he reach that ability and what prevents him from reaching that?

May be with help of social workers and good friend as you, it is quite possible???

But if he unable to define the "ability" connected to the highest state of mind, then this guy is empty. Like an empty garbage bin.

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