“The Lottery, with its weekly pay-out of enormous prizes, was the one public event to which the proles paid serious attention. It was probable that there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive. It was their delight, their folly, their anodyne, their intellectual stimulant. Where the Lottery was concerned, even people who could barely read and write seemed capable of intricate calculations and staggering feats of memory. There was a whole tribe of men who made their living simply by selling systems, forecasts, and lucky amulets. Winston had nothing to do with the Lottery, which was managed by the Ministry of Plenty, but he was aware (indeed everyone in the party was aware) that the prizes were largely imaginary. Only small sums were actually paid out, the winners of the big prizes being nonexistent persons.” ― George Orwell, 1984
This page discusses two cases of subtle mind games anti-choicers play. The aim of these games is gatekeeping the choice.
Pascal was pro-life. Pascal's wager demonstrates a rigged, fearful wager. He wagered his life hence his time on a presumed eternal heaven. If his presumption be wrong, he has lost everything he had, in exchange of being safe inside the prison cell he had created for himself. The most proliferating wager Pascal could make was constantly wagering nothing (i.e., right now) on everything (i.e., whatever he wanted to do). As an ephemeral who had a finite amount of lifetime, he would either win an infinite amount or lose an infinite amount. He further could adjust the base wager amount by increasing the time span (from right now to hours, days, months, or years).
As another example of anti-choicers, consider Teal Swan, a spiritual instructor, whose stance is against suicide. She is passionate to help suicidal people to find a life that is worth living and counter-intuitively help them to find strategies to no longer feel suicidal. Swan’s sales pitch is “Life doesn’t seem so peachy. So sometimes which is what suicide is... it’s essentially pushing the re-set button on life... sometimes it’s the best option for some people.” Swan seemingly plays the role of a loving and distraught spiritual instructor yet secretly nudges her clients toward life by sending them numerous hints that encourage them to choose life. For instance, at the end of her now-deleted YouTube video, "I Want To Kill Myself (What To Do If You’re Suicidal)" whose archive is still available, (as well as its post), Teal Swan badgers her clients to keep following her by choosing life. She’s found a way to use her power to help her clients—in her mind but not in their minds—to not keep making mistakes or hurting themselves. Being enmeshed in a delusion, Swan is unable to form intent because she is so grandiose. She’s in pain, wreathed in her traumas and wishfulness.
Swan’s meretricious method of helping suicidal people consists of 4 steps. First, the happiness and the pain are illusionary and temporary. Expressing the pain will subdue the suffering. And the ones who are suffering are not alone because there are so many others in deep despair. Second, life has no meaning without death, and vice versa. It’s wrong to tell someone who is worried not to think about what worries them. And suicidal people are worried, given that they constantly think and plan about their suicide for which they feel guilty. By removing the guilt, Swan wants to ease her clients’ pain. How does she do it? She makes her clients to visualize their death. She plays out the tragedy of her clients’ suicide to show them the revenge (in her mindset) and trauma of their suicide on the living—after the initial relief phase that comes beyond death. She has the mindset that suicide vindicates the suicidal people, a poor ploy for them to surrender and not fight, as if they’re to be blamed before committing suicide. Third, her clients reach the peace, but their stay in endlessness is too short, based on Swan’s misunderstanding of time after death; in reality, after death time doesn’t exists. She reminds them that the momentum of death will reincarnate them anew, starting all over again (and again). This repetition is weary and arduous for the instructor, so she concludes that death is less appealing than sticking with the current life. Often, Swan projects her fears and her unmet, extreme desires on her clients by telling them that one of her clients reincarnated in just 2 days. Fourth, she encourages her clients to be positive and be 100% committed to life, telling them “no more one foot in and one foot out.” She encourages them to live at the moment since next year may never come, but with one difference: this time her clients must do whatever that makes them happy. Happiness doesn’t have a universal definition for everyone. Anyone who is in a distressing situation might be distracted by watching YouTube videos but not be able to do much to regain his or her happiness for a long time. Sometimes, cognitive flexibility doesn’t change the reality of the past and uncertainty of the future. In sum, the casino dealer, Teal Swan, rigs the wager to impede the players from winning the jackpot. She does so by ensnaring the possibility of a better hand after reincarnation.
Eventually, some of Swan’s clients will become tired of mentally going to the stage of feeling guilty about their families. Compounded with inability in changing their circumstances, their love for themselves will overcome what is deterring them; they will take the next step: physically committing the suicide to take care of themselves. Indeed, Swan doesn’t see it herself, because, unlike her clients that end up committing suicide, she is scared of her death: loss of her purpose. She loves the meaning she’d found in her group. Teal Swan who rejects the mainstream mental health industry nevertheless loses loses her clients owing to “shortage of funds,” similar to the mainstream mental health industry.
Unlike mental health professionals, Swan asks her clients to face their death, the abyss, so they actually come to a decision and stop living with one foot in and one foot out (i.e., passively committing to life). Facing death is a good practice for those who escape from life, considering that “death will be liberation of life” (because the logic of this world won’t apply, anymore). At the end, she is restrained by the urge of being accepted in anti-choicers’ society. Were being pro-choice acceptable in general, she would change the ending of her talk into a balance between life and death. With a pro-life theme, though, she turns toward life and cries for lack of resources; that’s exactly when she says the problem is outside, although she had said before everything is inside. As always, lack of resources is the reason she can’t moderate or be aware of every individual who goes to her platform—akin to mental health professionals who argue that lack of mental health resources contributes to suicide.
Teal Swan has many flaws. She goes well to the point of going back to the source but becomes so terrified of it that she flees back to the life. She prefers sticking with what she has in this life vis-à-vis starting all over again, after reincarnation (if it be true). Second, she persuades sticking to the now (when flow of time stops), instead of thinking about the future. Flow of time, though, doesn’t stop universally. So she advises making decisions that make you happy for only the next 5 minutes. Finding happiness in next 5 minutes (i.e., just 1 step ahead that matters the most) is easy. Finding happiness in next 5 years must therefore be possible. Since some life circumstances won’t change in either short (5 minutes, 1 hour, 3 days) or long (months, years, decades) time spans, what makes Swan’s clients happy may be leaving the circumstances or taking revenge: departing alone or accompanied. There comes a limit with extending life little-by-little based on feeling better and being elated. Even if there be no mental limitations for reaching the happiness, what is it that every human being desires? Desires are achieved by planning and acting upon them from 10 minutes (at now) to 5 years ahead (in future). There comes the threshold of compromises: the compromises that shrink the future back to now. They are bargains on what the outside—in contrast with the inside—has to offer as happiness. The only strategy for life that doesn’t fail is going through the past and finding a meaning out of it—then, instead of trying to integrate the past in self, compartmentalizing the past and gradually integrating the dark tetrad of personality traits: Machiavellianism, sadism, psychopathy, and narcissism. Living with dark tetrad is making decisions based on the criteria of whether it feels better and nothing else, with the help of utilitarianism to gain joy in pursue of a steadily life.
In summary, for someone who has been in pain, time freezes. To live, in his or her mind, time should be freezed for everybody else (approach) and starts to flow for oneself (avoidance), preferably with the chase of money (motivation). Swan’s counterintuitive way of approaching suicidality is nevertheless based on the instructor’s fear of death (i.e., losing everything) that the clients who complete suicide don’t have it. Actually, they may not have even something, so they choose nothing. They may be feeling more guilty or fearful of living—as against dying. Teal Swan makes her clients face their death so that they change their surrounding environment and their life circumstances. Of course, facing death is essential for them to exit the world of in between towards either life or death.
1- Fear of void, darkness, or nothingness: The emptiness of life embodies in starting from scratch and relearning for those who can’t remember the collective memory. Since the instructor is terrified of her mortality and purposelessness, she encourages her clients to clutch anything. Anything is preferred over nothing—in her opinion. She can’t accept staying in nothingness as much as she enjoys coming back to something with the purpose of having everything.
2- Tediousness of reincarnation: While the instructor believes in reincarnation, she finds being born again in life is tiresome, since she’s content with her own life. Because of her interest in acquiring everything, in place of one thing in a renewed life, her clients too should do what she does.
3- Loss of purpose, meaning, or delight of the instructor: Because society prefers any form of life over death, the instructor has found a meaning and purpose in being aligned with what is publicly acceptable: being a pro-lifer. As a consequence, she grasps to the meaning she’s found in her existence (i.e., keeping others alive) as the basis of her activities.
4- Delusion of everlasting opportunities: The instructor asseverates her clients that they can always die (i.e., full stop), in fact, in an hour. Surely, they can always die, but the path to sweet relief of death is prickled by censorship, restriction of method, missing the dead line, and being sectioned in psych ward.