Social Suicide Theory

Anatoli Babenia
6 min readJan 20, 2023

There were two events today that pushed me to put these thoughts down.

  1. The end of MIT System Awareness Research conference
  2. The Tantacrul video about the real dark side of the web

I don’t know how my “suicide theory” article should be written. Having survived well past 40 I find myself puzzled how to start. I am afraid to die. The every cell of my body is screaming that it doesn’t, and yet I still find the time when I feel myself useless. Sweet sweet melancholy at the bottom of the dark cave with a single twilight source from the hole above. The place of comfort where nothing matters. Not like in Metallica, but like in Paradise Lost.

The fear of relationships, the fear of calling people by phone, the fear of important talks. I may freeze and flight, and yet at the boiling points, over the edge of rage and madness I fought. There is some comfort and calmness that comes after the madness. I admit I may have even been addicted to that, up to the point of openly calling myself a troll. Hit and run to get that adrenaline rush. Reacting to things that only happen in my imagination. Text messages are unable to convey that context. The same with the relationships. The point when imaginary world collides with reality never arrives, because the fear and uncertainty of things past this point is just too strong. With such a strong fear it is no wonder I survived so long. And also thanks to people who I didn’t want to make sad. If there is anything like afterlife, looking at their sore faces is not the thing I want to see when going for rebirth or whatever. What I want them is to continue doing the stuff I was doing, because at some point I picked the stuff from someone else, because I felt that was important. Celebrating life instead of mourning the death and being bothered where to find a place to grief over the body. This is what impressed me in MIT traditions. Celebrating life of a person who passed away. The thing I liked in Thailand too.

“Why” is answered. I am a coward. Now how? How to live if your life has no meaning, no sense, and no value. If you have nothing to lose. Nothing to fear. But still fear it. Welcome to Social Suicide Theory, or how to extract some fun from your term on the Earth without killing yourself with your own hands in the process.

Sorry for the change of tone. I got pretty bored over an hour or so of writing this article, and given that I was in this “suicide” topic for the most part of the day, at this point my amygdala is probably run out of those hormones that were giving me this down feeling. May also be the result of food finally kicking in, in which case I really do have very little time if I want to finish this.

There are many things around you that people are afraid to do. You can see them complaining about that, but not being able to speak up. This article is an example of that. Some articles in this blog are the example of that. Writing this stuff is a social suicide. No company doing basic profiling on the internet would hire me. Trying to argue with people in forums and openly saying that some jerk is a jerk to the jerk is social suicide. Going into the lair of your representatives is a social suicide. Taking a stance to protect unpopular views even if you don’t support them — that’s a social suicide. If you have nothing to lose, many things become possible, because fear don’t have a hold on you anymore. When you brain is not deadlocked, not paralyzed by fear, you can do things that people are afraid to do. Pretty rational, pretty well grounded people can’t see past the wall of fear. I live in Belarus, a country that every election beats and frightens its citizens. It is a place where love becomes a monopolized currency. Losing everything, when you have nothing to lose, nothing to fear of, is a survival instinct here. My friends left, some of them imprisoned. I waited for my turn, but they didn’t come. I tried to turn myself up, but just got laughed. I am not fearless. I just feel that at the time when I want to die, I can kick any door, go there, and that act alone may be will be useful for somebody. There are no monsters behind these doors. Only people. Who can talk.

The results. I don’t know if these things would appear if I was more successful. If I had a girlfriend, a family, a talent for something. If I could be happy and/or successful. My narrow vision tells me that I played an important role there, but the important was not me, but these things. The feeling of being important was probably the same in every person. The feeling of being a part of something awesome. And so I can’t claim myself to be a founder or an author. I can even claim that I found somebody and helped them. It may be very likely the other way around. But I felt like playing an important role. Being the one who has nothing to lose and kicking the impossible doors painted in all kinds of “here be dragon” signs. Some of those were real, but most of them were cells in people minds. Much like in my own. With only one difference. I had nothing to lose in my cell.

Over these years I didn’t stop thinking about that oil will end one day, that people become dumb when they become leaders, that plastics are not degradable, and that people leave less and less space for animals. Working with people in advertising and media showed me how predictable humans are. And that way 20 years ago, long before Facebook and Big Data analytics became a thing. After my friends were literally trying to kills me over of the political debates I realized how powerful media is. I got a scene addiction and validated that the scene drug exists in other people. These are no achievements, these are discoveries. When something that existed there many years before strikes you like a lightning, just because you hadn’t had that experience, and didn’t have much trust in what others say. This is a like an wave in a ocean where you lose you selfie and just flow through the obstacles. Because there is nothing to lose. It is already shipwreck, and you still gonna die, so why not to take the moment and enjoy the sun. Even if your mind don’t appreciate it, your body does.

Being resistant to media, having nothing to lose is not the same as being normal as long as the majority of people do not possess these abilities. And with the power of the internet to synchronize people pretty quick, I won’t be surprised if we already have a majority there, but I may be biased. Most of my friends have children, or at least relationships. I am the only one writing this stuff on the internet.

I really don’t want to to tag anybody or anything in an article about suicide. That’s why I can not finish it and just erase all the water above with the list of the project that I believe became possible, because one member of the team could just go and do dumb things. Like go into KGB and asking them why the f*ck they don’t want to register a hackerspace? If you don’t know, there is a Hackerspace in Minsk, in post soviet country where people only knew hackers from the media that portrays them as evil criminals. There is a legislation for personal data, and there was a movement for Open Data. Where people who were motivated by doing things as opposition to government, could finally work together to draft a legislation there was finally useful. Where we’ve got crypto legal. That was a fun journey. Much longer that I had expected. So I propose this [method] to you. For free.