Is Suicide a Solution?

(Top L) Man Ray, (Top R) André Breton, (Bottom L) Yaves Tanguy and (Bottom R) René Crevel.

In 1928, André Breton published the following statement in his Surrealist
Revolution
: “I accuse the homosexuals of affronting human tolerance with
a mental and moral defect that tend to advocate itself as a way of life and
to paralyze every enterprise I respect. I make exceptions one of which I
grant to the incomparable Marquis de Sade.”

One must assume that a similar exception was graciously extended to René
Crevel. Difficult Death was a risky book to put out in 1926 because it was a
public statement of the author’s ambivalent sexuality.

The risk-taking that leads up to the suicide in Difficult Death has one thing in
common and failures that led to Crevel’s own suicide, and that is that neither
has anything to do with sexual problems.

In 1925, Crevel was writing Difficult Death, Surrealist Revolution canvassed
its contributors on the question, “Is Suicide a Solution?” Crevel responded;

A solution? Yes.

People say one commit suicide out of love, fear, or venereal disease.
Not so. Everyone is in love, or thinks they are. Everyone is frightened.
Everyone is more or less syphilitic. Suicide is a means of conscious
choice. Those who commit it are person unwilling to throw in the towel
like almost everyone else and repress a certain psychic feeling of such
intensity that everything tells you had better believe it is a truthful and
immediate sense of reality. This sense is the one thing that allows
a person to embrace a solution that is obviously the fairest and most
definitive of them all, the solution of suicide.

There is no love of hate about which one can say that it is clearly
justified and definitive. But the respect (which in spite f myself and
notwithstanding a tyrannical moral and religious upbringing) I have
to have for anyone who did not timorously withhold or restrain that
impulse, that mortal impulse, leads me to envy a bit more each day
those persons who were hurting so intensely that a continuing
acceptance of life’s little games became something they could no
longer stomach. Human accomplishment is not worth its weight in
horse mucus. When personal happiness leads to even a modicum
of contentment, this is more often than not a negative things like a
sedative against me. The death that tempted me several times was
lovelier by far than this downright prosaic fear of death that i might
also quite properly call a habit the habit of timidity. I wanted to open
a certain door, and I got cold feet. I feel I was wrong not to open it.
I not only feel, I believe, I want to feel, I want to believe it was a
mistake not to, for as I have found no solution in life, notwithstanding
a long and diligent search, I am not about to attempt to pull myself
together to give life another try unsolaced by the thought of this
definitive and ultimate act in which I feel that I have caught a
glimpse at least of the solution.

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