Suicide note of an LW user

post by Bongo · 2011-03-16T16:24:49.901Z · score: 10 (13 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 46 comments

It was User:pdf23ds. Here's the note. Excerpt:

I wish I could have been cryonically preserved. But suicides aren’t treated well enough for that. We get sectioned. I tried asking the cryonics places about options, but they wouldn’t talk to me. Fuck you, Alcor. Fuck you, CI. I might have lived except for you.

46 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-03-16T17:05:59.285Z · score: 6 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Do we have any way to confirm if he successfully killed himself and is beyond help, rather than changing his mind at the last minute or making some technical error that left him alive? Does anyone know him in person?

comment by JenniferRM · 2011-03-24T03:29:02.373Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I'm afraid that diffusion of responsibility may lead to no followup on the suicide issues since the "oops" post potentially reduced the urgency and then nothing happened and then a week passed. Has anyone heard anything since the "oops" post went up? Silas reports nothing back from Chris :-(

comment by [deleted] · 2011-04-21T11:03:23.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Only just saw this comment thanks to the horrible news from 'a friend' - I emailed Mr Capel's local police department that day, but got no response...

comment by Airedale · 2011-03-16T17:50:01.326Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The post appears to have been removed. I hope that means that he changed his mind, but have no information either way.

Edited to add:

hopefully this is good news:

comment by [deleted] · 2011-03-17T17:07:37.195Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Does anyone have any way of getting in touch with this person offline, getting his address etc? It seems from his comments that he is intending to kill himself, and has that post queued, but just hasn't done it yet...

comment by afriend · 2011-04-21T01:03:36.397Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I do not know how to use this blog...or post on it I am replying because a friend of mine has a son named Chris Capel who killed himself last night... can you send me a copy of the note so that I can give it to his mother please...we are all shocked and dismayed here... I just stumbled upon this this evening...

Thank you for any assistance...

a friend

comment by [deleted] · 2011-04-21T11:02:23.104Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's awful. I actually contacted Mr Capel's local police dept with the information about this, in the hope that they could do something (I ran a Whois lookup on his domain name, got his address, and emailed the police contacts). I'm so sorry they couldn't. I'm afraid, though, that I don't have a copy of this blog post.

comment by pdf23-ds · 2011-05-01T15:13:53.288Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for trying to help. My heart is so heavy still. I do hope Chris has peace now. FAWS posted a link to a copy of the post which I have now saved along with his blog site. My words are so few now, I am still grieving.

This - the internet, the blogs - this was Chris's world. He was at home here. He was a real believer in the singularity, even contributing a large sum of money.

I appreciate everyone here that was a part of his life. http://pdf23ds.net is a small snapshot of that life.

Chris's Dad

comment by Nieuwe · 2011-07-11T19:33:41.057Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The link does not work; does anybody still have the note he left behind?

comment by gwern · 2011-03-16T17:51:09.858Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

If you read a certain post today that is no longer on my site (and hopefully not in too many RSS readers) please ignore it.

http://pdf23ds.net/2011/03/16/oops/

comment by MartinB · 2011-03-16T17:52:26.482Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

http://pdf23ds.net/2011/03/16/oops/ seems to indicate that he is fine.

comment by afriend · 2011-04-21T01:25:35.331Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A friend of mine's son named Chris Capel killed himself last night... he is from Tx...can you please send me a copy of the note he wrote? I would like to give it to his family...if it is possible. If not, I understand...

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

A friend.

comment by FAWS · 2011-04-21T11:28:35.352Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry for your loss.

Here is a cached copy:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://pdf23ds.net/2011/03/15/bye/

comment by Pablo_Stafforini · 2012-12-16T22:57:15.024Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The cached copy is no longer available. And the WayBackMachine cannot display the site due to robots.txt, unfortunately.

comment by pleeppleep · 2013-01-17T22:19:20.176Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This post was from awhile ago and I don't think anyone with access to the note is still around to supply it. You could try asking everyone here for a copy and see if anything comes of it.

comment by Pablo_Stafforini · 2013-01-27T23:39:39.758Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks. If anyone has a copy of the letter, please send me a private message.

comment by Alicorn · 2011-04-21T01:27:54.523Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am so sorry you lost your friend. I was able to find the following Google Cache of the suicide note, which was deleted after being posted early by mistake.

If you’re reading this, then (barring any screwups) I’m gone. Why? See here.

As of this writing, I’m planning on using carbon monoxide to do it. Nitrogen or helium can be obtained by anyone, in tanks, but require a hood. Carbon monoxide is more easily produced with charcoal, and fills a room or car. I worried about the heat starting a fire, but initial tests seem to indicate that this isn’t a huge problem with burned-in charcoal. I think I may still figure out how to set the legs of the hibachi into some sort of water to absorb the heat so contact with the fabric doesn’t ignite it.

If someone would be so kind as to download the contents of my /pdf23ds.net/bzr directory, it would be nice to save that for posterity, and I’m not sure archive.org will save it. Of course, it’s all on my computer, but it’s probably more useful out on the internet somewhere than in my family’s possession. All of my passwords are in the password safe program in the XP vm on my macbook. My user account password is ’salamander’. (That password should only be useful for people with physical access to my machines.)

My primary desire in life was companionship. I never even got close to finding it. My standards were high, sure, but then I’m a very unusual person. At one point I was on track to be in the sort of place where I would meet people like me. But, several times, the opportunities fell through, and now they’re gone. My emotional development stopped where my life ran off the rails. I’m both older and younger than everyone else. At this point I just don’t know how to pick back up, where to go. I don’t know where to look for companionship. I think I could have had a blissful relationship with someone. But men and women aren’t made to fulfill each other. They’re made to make babies. Sometimes I wish I were gay. Alas, I am not.

I’ve thought about escape. Drugs, maybe. But alcohol doesn’t really work for me, and I can’t really obtain any other drugs. I could start playing lots of video games again. But lately video games have started seeming so simplistic. So limited. I’m too creative for video games. I really don’t think there’s any escape for me, short of suicide.

I have a few regrets. I wish I had not been so depressed for very long. There are some many interesting and wonderful things to learn about and work on in the world. The world might not be worth it overall, but it’s not completely negative. Mathematics is truly beautiful. I wish I could have learned about computer proof systems more. And programming languages. And lots of other things. I wish I could have stuck around to see what kind of singularity (or global catastrophe) we end up with.

I wish I could have been cryonically preserved. But suicides aren’t treated well enough for that. We get sectioned. I tried asking the cryonics places about options, but they wouldn’t talk to me. Fuck you, Alcor. Fuck you, CI. I might have lived except for you.

I hate the USA. (I hate closed borders, too.) I hate the educational system, which seriously failed me, and the anti-intellectualism. I hate its healthcare system, its huge reactionary population, and its demonizing of suicide. I wish there were more people to stick up for a person’s right to kill themselves. I passionately hate that all of the mental health people are obligated by law to commit me to an asylum if they think I’m about to kill myself. They can’t be objective. You know, if they could talk to me without such stupid constraints, they might have prevented this very suicide. Fucking idiots. All of them. I hate its authoritarianism, its stagnant political system, and reckless economic elites.

I hate academia. The stupid publishing and stupid requirements and the expensive journals that exclude everyone. Peer review. Credentialism. There’s no attention paid to teaching quality or pedagogical theory.

I hate my parents. They ruined my life. And even now, when they’re supposedly so much more mature, and saying that they want to help me, and allegedly trying to help me, they’re still no help at all. They’re two-faced, like most people. They say one thing and do another. They give lip service to helping me overcome my problems. Maybe they even believe they have good intentions. People can so easily deceive themselves. They completely fail.

I hate people. They’re so petty, so stupid, so deluded. So boring. They so easily become infatuated with power, so easily fall into abuses of that power.

I hate jobs. The logical extreme of employment is slavery. Every improvement upon that condition has to be wrested from the elites with blood. And, to its credit, the western world has made a lot of progress in that direction. We’re probably closer to the ideal system than we are to slavery. But it’s still so bad that I can barely stand it. I don’t think I could ever work for a living. To a large extent this is because I have handicaps, like my emotional issues and my sleep problems. I’m not so stubborn I would refuse to work from principle. But it is incredibly difficult for me to navigate the issue. (Not that other people have it easy.) When you cannot get up at the same time every day, no matter what you do, without experiencing severe sleep deprivation, your options become much more limited. Higher order thought is the first to go. Programming becomes impossible. This is what I had to live with. And the more your work history gets fucked, the harder the next job is to find.

I hate myself. I hate that a creature whose life is filled with so much pain could have been brought into existence. I hate that I wasn’t able to change myself to alleviate the pain and to give myself a life worth living. It was largely a matter of luck, of course. I also hate myself for not being more lucky. (I’m already pretty damn lucky, all considered.)

Human values are but a momentary blip in evolution’s course. Unless we get a singleton, our great intelligence will allow our conscious values to eventually fall in line to match our genes’ values: competition above all else. Reproduction above all else. Red in tooth and claw. Even now, we’re a lot closer to that than most people want to admit. That’s not worth living for. I wish I could have escaped that. I think some people do, to some extent. But I couldn’t find my way out.

The chances of a positive future happening are pretty slim. The future is very likely going to end in the destruction of the world, within the next couple centuries. (If it makes it past then, we’re looking a lot better.) I really don’t think I’m going to be missing out on much.

You’re all fucking morons. Fuck you all.

comment by MartinB · 2011-03-16T18:46:36.883Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

And http://pdf23ds.net/2009/02/02/commit-suicide/ indicates its a idea on his mind for quite a while. Argh. No idea what to do about that.

comment by XFrequentist · 2011-03-16T17:49:14.055Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Don't know him, but he lives in Texas.

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-03-16T18:34:27.619Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I am Chris Capel. I live in the US. I live in Texas. I live in the middle of nowhere.

Awesome! Another LW Texan, who also lives in the middle of nowhere! I think we can finally have a Texas meetup, now that we know he's alive!

comment by XFrequentist · 2011-03-16T20:23:31.579Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You seem to be kidding, but that might actually be a good idea if you can arrange it. He seems to still be actively planning to kill himself.

Edit: Came off as unintentionally insulting to Silas. Reworded to not be.

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-03-16T21:52:35.470Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Gah! Access to his site just got "cut off" here. Someone please link or pass on this message (or tell me his email):

That had me really scared this morning, Chris. Please don't go through with it. I'm sure you can overcome whatever is bringing you down.

Do you still live in Texas? If so, I'm glad to find another LWer in the state! Shoot me an email (sbarta@gmail.com) or contact me on the LW forum. If you live somewhat nearby (I'm in Waco), I'd like to meet you in person.

Edit: I will also PM this to him on LW.

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-03-16T21:41:18.702Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. I do want to have a Texas meetup, but didn't realize until afterward I was probably being too flippant about this matter.

I will do as you've suggested.

comment by JenniferRM · 2011-03-19T17:02:02.255Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Its been a few days. Did you succeed?

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-03-20T02:48:17.107Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Unfortunately, no. I haven't gotten a reply from him in any of those venues, and he deleted the follow-up post and discussion thread :-(

comment by XFrequentist · 2011-03-16T21:44:44.773Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Flippant" was harsher than I intended, sorry. I edited the original.

Great that you're doing this though!

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-03-17T15:18:53.643Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Don't be so hard on yourself -- "flippant" was accurate, and you were right to call me on it.

comment by David_Allen · 2011-03-16T17:51:50.399Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That post is no longer there.

However if you go here there is a later request to ignore it.

comment by Epiphany · 2013-02-11T08:02:29.441Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What does "sectioned" mean?

comment by juliawise · 2013-02-16T03:28:37.179Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It means committed to a mental hospital. E.g. in Massachusetts the relevant law is in Section 12 of the chapter, so to "section 12" someone or just "section" them is to commit them to a hospital against their will.

Presumably he meant he can't go to a cryonics org or a regular hospital and just ask to be cryopreserved, because that would be suicidal, and voicing suicidalality would get him sectioned to a psych hospital.

comment by Epiphany · 2013-02-16T04:23:10.070Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. Good alternate explanation. Thanks.

comment by Mitchell_Porter · 2013-02-11T08:14:22.114Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

dissected edit: looks like I was wrong

comment by juliawise · 2013-02-16T03:31:27.788Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think so. See above.

comment by Epiphany · 2013-02-11T10:49:15.915Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you. Okay, so he's saying here that people who kill themselves are dissected... which implies that people who die of some other cause are not usually dissected?

If people who kill themselves are dissected more frequently than others, then what is the reason for that? My guess is that they suspect foul play more often, but for all I know it has to do with looking for specific brain diseases that cause depression or it's some vestigial behavior left over from the days when they used leeches.

comment by gwern · 2013-02-11T19:33:25.520Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

which implies that people who die of some other cause are not usually dissected?

Relatively few disease or old-age related deaths result in autopsy (even though they're a good idea since they routinely reveal wrong diagnoses).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopsy#Forensic_autopsy The reason why suicides would be mandated to be autopsied in some states is pretty obvious: murders can look a lot like a suicide. As well, the close proximity of a suicide to preservation can raise questions about whether the cryonics people hurried it up and committed murder - ALCOR had a close call in the Dora Kent incident.

These requirements and dangers are why cryonics groups don't handle suicidees except, AFAIK, in rare cases where there is no suspicion of foul play and autopsy can be avoided like Kim Suozzi avoiding food & drink while terminal. Some links: http://www.alcor.org/FAQs/faq06.html#death http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/casereport9304.html

comment by Epiphany · 2013-02-14T19:03:28.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for this. That's really too bad. In my view, there really needs to be some sort of protocol that terminally ill patients can follow that guarantees they'll be frozen in the event that they choose to exercise their right to die. Maybe there is one implied by "in rare cases" and I am not aware of it?

comment by MartinB · 2011-03-16T18:28:51.601Z · score: 0 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe time to point out that suicide is a REALLY REALLY stupid idea. Or as someone called it. »A permanent solution to a temporary problem.« Whatever the problem is, it usually can be dealt with, waited out, ignored, treated or what ever. There is also a wide amount of support available to deal with hardships. (Maybe someone has the better ones on file and can post.)

I find it both odd and understandable how someone could be both into longevity and also contemplate suicide. If this comes up more often we might need a special support group for LW cluster people.

Regarding the idea of the OP to freeze himself he should be made aware that even the strong supporters work from odds of 5%. There is no guarantee that it works yet. Under most factors it is better to sit around on this side of the action and see to it that the technology gets better right away.

comment by antenna · 2019-01-10T22:43:39.797Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As someone who's struggled with depression and suicidal ideation since childhood (not going to do it, don't worry) -- the cliche "a permanent solution to a temporary problem" is the opposite of helpful. For many people, it's not a temporary problem, it's a lifelong one that you just have to learn to live with (or not). Hearing something like that, for a suicidal person, just reinforces how isolated and misunderstood they feel.

I didn't know Chris but I think I understand what he was thinking. He was in too much pain to bear, so he looked for ways that he could stop having to bear it. Even at a 5% chance for that at getting a non-depressed version of life afterwards, cryonics would have been a win, since a completed suicide has a 0% chance for that. "Sitting around on this side of the action" would require continuing to bear the weight of existence, which he felt he could not do. If he felt he could, then taking the time to find the right combination of therapy/lifestyle changes/medication to alleviate his depression would probably have the greatest rate of success, better than waiting for cryonics to improve.

comment by MartinB · 2011-03-16T18:36:37.641Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The initial post reminded me of these two cryo cases.

(Trigger warning for everyone who prefers not to read about dead and/or frozen people with severe real life problems.)

http://cryonics.org/reports/CI101.html

http://cryonics.org/reports/CI93.html

comment by gwern · 2011-03-17T02:14:36.242Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The first case is quite striking.

The 101st patient of the Cryonics Institute (CI) is an 18-year-old boy who committed suicide by hydrogen sulfide poisoning. He was reportedly "super bright", but suffered from depression.

Very bright, perhaps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_sulfide#Induced_hypothermia.2Fsuspended_animation

comment by Roxton · 2011-03-16T17:51:45.368Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

http://pdf23ds.net/2011/03/

"If you read a certain post today that is no longer on my site (and hopefully not in too many RSS readers) please ignore it."

comment by rabidchicken · 2011-03-16T20:14:55.694Z · score: -3 (15 votes) · LW · GW

It seems pdf has not been on LW for a while, but I need to get this out of my system. Suicide is unbelievably stupid. I was friends with someone who committed suicide years ago, and my mom has been suicidally depressed before. Trying to kill yourself will do nothing but hurt people who know you. The probability of resurrection will never be one (even if you sign up for cyronics), and the probability of your life improving will never be zero even if your goals are apparently impossible. Its bad enough that people die without wanting to...

comment by Desrtopa · 2011-03-29T23:52:38.182Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I've known a number of people who suffer from suicidal depression, and talked a couple people down from suicide myself. Most of them are aware of the "suicide is stupid and selfish" interpretation, but find it extremely hard to buy that anyone will be meaningfully hurt by their deaths, or that their life has realistic prospects to get better, while in a suicidal state.

comment by rabidchicken · 2011-03-30T02:34:38.054Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yep, which is one reason why I would never choose to be a counselor. I am rather attached to my own existence, so trying to understand people who are not isn't intuitive.

comment by rabidchicken · 2011-03-16T20:25:08.564Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Also, it seems this post has been deleted from discussion. Why?

comment by antenna · 2019-01-10T22:50:21.676Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's quite a cruel thing to say to somebody that's suicidally depressed. When you're in that state, every single day is agony and there's little hope for it ever to get better. From that perspective, you are the selfish one for forcing someone else to live in agony for your own pleasure. If you want your suicidal loved ones not to commit suicide, focus on helping reduce the agony, not hurling accusations at them.