#TLOS (The Lure Of Suicide, January 21, 2017):

Is life precious? Whose property is it? Is the final act of suicide narratable? Can you tolerate frustration? Rage? Shame? Could one commit suicide without any conscious reason? Is suicide alluring? Do we instinctively long to unite with some deep inanimate part of nature? Are we ‘beings towards death’? Does a suicide bring together both the radical uniqueness and the similarity of death? Why do men commit suicide more than women? Do you identify with your mother? Is suicide a cowardly act? How coherent is the Self? Can the killer and the killed be one? Is suicide a breakdown of the capacity to mentalize or symbolize? When is (say) fasting unto death ‘permitted’? What is the underlying promise? How does the changing body-soul relationship influence our attitude towards suicide? Do you live in a culture of honour? Is attempting suicide a crime (or a sin)? Do we have a right to be ‘alive’? When (must) might we have the right to die? Why not just ‘run away’? Will cyborgs commit suicide in the (perfect) future? Will there be ‘demand’ for suicide as long as there is humanity? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from religion studies & philosophy (Prof. Purushottama Bilimoria, Graduate Theological Union (GTU), Berkeley, California), cultural studies (Prof. Manas Ray, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), Kolkata), & psychoanalysis (Dr. Madhu Sarin, New Delhi).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TLOS show.

Prof. Purushottama Bilimoria (religion studies, philosophy) is presently Visiting Scholar with the Institute for South Asia Studies (ISAS) at UC Berkeley, and serves as a senior lecturer in the Center for Dharma Studies at Graduate Theological Union (GTU), Berkeley, USA. He is also Honorary Research Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Studies at Deakin University, and Senior Fellow at University of Melbourne, Australia. Most recently he has been the Shivadasani Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in Oxford University, and All-India Visiting Professor with the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) and India International Centre (IIC). His research focuses on classical Indian philosophy, approached via analytical philosophy and phenomenology, and comparative ethics (inclusive of Western, Hindu, Jain and Buddhist moral philosophies and psychology of the self), continental thought, cross-cultural philosophy of religion, diaspora studies, bioethics, and Muslim and Christian customary law vis-a-vis secular penal law and constitution in India. Prof. Bilimoria completed his B.A in Philosophy from University of Auckland (NZ) & his M.A. in Philosophy & Psychology from University of Otago (NZ), and acquired his Ph.D. from La Trobe University (AU). He is the Co-editor-in-chief of Sophia, an international journal of philosophy & religion by Springer. Among his recent (monograph and co-edited) publications are ‘Sabdapramana: Testimony in Indian Philosophy’ (2009), ‘Indian Ethics Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges’ (2007), ‘Emotions in Indian Thought-Systems’ (2015), ‘Indian Diaspora: Hindus and Sikhs in Australia’ (2015), ‘Globalization, Transnationalism, Gender and Ecological Engagement’ (2015), & ‘Postcolonial Reason and Its Critiques: Deliberations on Spivak’s Thoughts’ (2014).

Prof. Manas Ray (cultural studies) is a Professor in Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), Kolkata. He has published on a wide spectrum of areas including Marxism, ethics, governmentality, postmodernism, new German cinema, Bollywood, biopolitics, continental political philosophy, critical legal theory, cultural lives of Indian diaspora, and memory and locality of post-partition Calcutta. Prof. Ray completed his B.A. in English from Presidency College, Kolkata, & went on to do his M.A. & M.Phil. in Sociology from JNU, Delhi. He subsequently received his Ph.D. (‘Towards Re-writing Postmodernism: Marxism and the Challenge of Postmodern Theories’) from Griffith University, Australia. The first anthology of his own essays, ‘Displaced: lives on the move’, will be published next year by Primus (Delhi). At present, he is working on two edited volumes: ‘Countering Violence: Violence, Pacification and the Utopia of Peace’, & ‘The State of Democracy: Life and Politics of Contemporary India’. The latter would contain articles from prominent practitioners of social sciences and humanities. Prof. Ray has been coordinating the Cultural Studies Workshop, an annual interdisciplinary pedagogic workshop meant for Ph.D. scholars and run by the CSSSC, for the larger part of its nearly 20 years’ existence. Between 2009 and 2011, he was the editor of ‘Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences’, the journal of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (Shimla), where he was also a fellow during 2008-2009. Prof. Ray has also held fellowships in leading institutions in Germany, France, Australia, The Netherlands (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam), UK (Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh), &  South Africa.

Dr. Madhu Sarin (psychoanalysis) is a psychoanalyst with a private practice in New Delhi. She has practiced, supervised and taught in the US and India. Formerly she taught philosophy at the Graduate Faculty, University of Delhi, & New York University. She has also has been a Visiting Fellow at Columbia University, and worked as a psychotherapist at Student Health Service, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. She also worked at the IPTAR Clinical Center and Washington Square Clinic, and as a Faculty Instructor at the Metropolitan Institute for Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, New York. In India, Dr. Sarin has lectured and supervised clinical work at Dr. Sanjay Chugh’s Clinic (in New Delhi) and at Antarnad Psychoanalytic Group (in Ahmedabad). She has initiated workshops, training and clinical supervision for mental health professionals associated with the National Foundation of Psychology (Delhi Chapter), and for graduate students of clinical psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Delhi (DU). Most recently she has taught psychoanalytic clinical process as an adjunct professor at the Psychology Department, Graduate Department, Ambedkar University, Delhi. She has also done clinical work with political refugees and torture victims. Some of the other institutes where she has taught and/or conducted training workshops include Ambedkar University (Delhi), and the Health Department of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dharamsala. Her articles on psychoanalysis, philosophy, psychology, feminism, film and travel are published regularly in academic journals, newspapers, & magazines. She has also written regular columns for Marie Claire Magazine (India Edition) and the national daily Mail Today (India).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TLOS mentions: Saint Augustine, Baruch Spinoza, Arthur Schopenhauer, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Jibanananda Das, Michel Foucault, Sylvia Plath, William Styron, Acharya Tulsi, Derek Parfit, & Peter Singer, among others.