Suicide In Theodore Dalrymple's Life At The Bottom

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In Life at the Bottom, Theodore Dalrymple gives the reader a candid account of the realities of the British underclass, and the ideas that he firmly believes are at its origin. He takes to task the “intellectual” school of thought, which he feels has enabled the underclass’ worldview, which strips its members of the responsibility of their actions and behavior. Dalrymple states, that the cultural relativism propagated by the academics, has helped encourage and maintain the very ideas which are responsible for the underclass’ misery. He feels that these same intellectuals have betrayed the underclass, through its inadvertent lowering of social standards, and through their progressive ideology which has crippled the educational system. In his…show more content…
His trivialized view of the rational nature of suicide is one that I do not think translates to the American situation. Dalrymple views the large number of attempted suicide as being promoted by what he terms “the boredom of self-absorption”. The post attempt treatment that the patient receives is credited, according to Dalrymple, for giving him a sense of vitality. He also sees the attempted suicides as a way in which people try to avoid certain situations, whether they are an upcoming court hearing or the start of a new job. For Dalrymple, the overdose is the easiest way to relieve the crisis in their lives. I see the nature of the suicides and attempted suicides in the U.S. as being part of a greater philosophical debate. It is the question which was so often debated by such existentialist philosophers like Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sarte, and Franz Kafka. They argued that when life breaks down to the point where it is rendered meaningless, the only question that is left, is whether or not to commit suicide. I feel that the absurd reality that surrounds the youth of our present day underclass, while not absolving them of any responsibility for their actions, can be viewed as viable source of the crisis. When 36 of your fellow classmates have been gunned down in the course of your school year, you cannot help but to question the true essence of life. In his essay titled The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus introduces the philosophy of the absurd in which man searches for meaning in a world devoid of truth or value. He comes face to face with the ultimate decision – suicide. I am not sure whether Dalrymple misinterprets the nature of suicide in England, but here in America I feel that the attempt to take one’s life can be a desperate questioning of the absurdity of

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