Sadly we have just lost another young rapper, Mac Miller aged 26, who reached “success” at an early stage in life. “But that early commercial success brought critical pans, which he later said caused him to turn to drugs.” Washington Post
I realize that Mac Miller didn’t actually take his own life, but there is a very strong and undeniable connection between so many youngsters dealing with issues such as depression and substance abuse, and the huge issue of youth suicide that I’ve experienced in my own family.
This all sounds too familiar. Amy Winehouse also didn’t actually take her own life but her years of self-destructive behavior eventually caught up with her. What a horrible thing for a family to deal with after enjoying the rise to fame.
In his last interview with Craig Jenkins, Mac talks a lot about the high price of being over-exposed while growing up in the public eye. Combine all that with our hyper-connected world, and you have a never ending stream of negative human energy coming your way 24/7.
I can’t imagine how hurtful receiving such large doses of negativity from other humans can be. No matter how successful you are, it still hurts.
But I have to tell you honestly, as someone who has lost a sister to suicide, all the signs were right there all along. This is truly evident in Miller’s latest music video called Self Care, where he is filmed singing an extremely depressing song from inside a coffin, where he is laying down and smoking a cigarette. Then later on,he is seen floating around in some weird, inhuman way, in “oblivion”, where he has “all the time in the world”.
If that isn’t the loudest cry for help in the world, I don’t know what is. I’m feeling pretty suicidal from just watching Self Care, and this artist is a role model for millions of youngsters.
Parents beware: This untimely death of a successful rapper, wrapped in a message of self-destruction, gives a whole generation of young people full justification for checking out of life early, before their lives have even really begun.
This tragic accident happened one day before National Suicide Prevention Week, which chose The Power of Connection as its theme for this year, because “there’s scientific evidence for reducing suicide risk by making sure we connect with one another.”
Absolutely true. Connecting with one another in a beneficial way is surely the cure, as Johann Hari discovered back in 2015, but first we need to become fully aware of how toxic our current environment is.
Why do such young people let drugs take over their lives? Why do they seem incapable of dealing with the world? Clearly having money and fame at a very early age does not necessarily make people happy.
Jesse Bogner, a millennial author who moved to Israel from New York three years ago, often talks to teens about why youngsters feel so compelled to take drugs. The main cause, is simply a devastating feeling of emptiness. He talks about it being very easy to not see the warning signs in this clip where he is speaking to a group of teens about his best friend’s overdose:
Jesse also suffered from addiction and substance abuse issues for many years, and was lucky to find a way out of that dark place of self-harm.
We should take this tragedy as a wake up call to do something about creating a healthier environment for our youth. Young people need to experience the positive benefits of connecting in a proper manner with other human beings. They need to be educated about how the human ego is peaking in our time and that the remedy to that is connecting above the ego.
So the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention chose the perfect theme, the Power of Connection, but humanity has not yet developed any serious tools for overriding the negative aspects of the human ego, and connecting in a truly beneficial manner.
Jesse Bogner was lucky to find a remedy in Israel, and often facilitates Connection Workshops for young Americans visiting Israel. This is essentially a human bonding method that teaches us how to connect above our ego, and rise to a higher level where we are all equal, and where our differences no longer get in the way of strengthening our human connections.
The method involves conducting a connection workshop that creates an ideal environment for participants to experience genuine human connection with people they know or total strangers.
How does it work? Participants sit in a circle and follow a few simple rules that allow them to accept one another as equals, rise above their differences and truly connect on a human level. Millennials especially learn to listen without judging and how to empathize with their peers.
Turn on your sound to hear Jesse explaining everything that is wrong with his millennial generation in this clip for Simon Sinek (or read about it below).
The following is Jesse’s conclusion to his A Reluctant Millennial Tackles the Millennial Problem, which explains how we can learn to transform our ego into something better:
“In spite of my progress, I still routinely blast opinions that contradict my own, procrastinate, take valid criticism like the claws of a bear and blame others for my flaws and failures. The big difference is that by connecting to others who I am not naturally drawn to, with the intention of caring for others above benefiting myself, I have the ability to transform my ego into something that can help other people. I can lose myself. I feel connected to the hearts of others above their minds, appearances and opinions. When others attempt to do the same, this collective desire leads us to a place of truth, warmth and connection.
In spite of my self-destructive wiring, these experiences teach me to thrive through routine and extraordinary stress, as well as traumas that in the past would have destroyed me. Since I understand the pain of post-grad Millennial life, I greatly sympathize with the plight of growing up in a broken environment and the lost feeling one has when they’re unsure of how to make their way in the world. Having overcome a lot of these overly prevalent faulty traits, I urge Millennials to try and lose themselves in real connections with others who think differently than they do, face to face, away from the screens that have a tendency to drive us apart.”
So to put all this in perspetive:
Let us hope that one day soon knowing how to transform our ego so that we don’t self-destruct will become common knowledge, and then we can continue to enjoy the work of our favorite artists for many years to come.
In the meantime we all need to do whatever we can to help generate positive energy in the world, which is a direct result of good human relations.
Jesse’s articles in The Huffington Post:
Originally published at medium.com