The Evolutionary Function of Suicide

“In order to be able to see the evolutionary value in anything, we have to zoom outward and get beyond the one consciousness, one lifetime, one body mentality.”

Thom Knoles

In a recent episode, Thom explored the subject of where suicidal thoughts come from. And while this might help us understand the origins of suicidal thoughts, it doesn’t explain the evolutionary role that suicide plays.

Thom takes us deeper in this episode and delivers a comforting perspective, which doesn’t condone suicide as such but explainshow it is at least evolutionary. 

Importantly, he explains that while it may be evolutionary, there are even more evolutionary alternatives available. 

This is a must-listen episode for anyone affected by, or harboring suicidal thoughts.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis:

In the United States: Dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to

In Australia: Dial 13 11 14 or go to

In all other countries, visit this page for your local prevention hotline:

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Episode Highlights


Q – What is the Evolutionary Function of Suicide?



A – An Extreme Form of Self Destruction



Going Beyond the One Body Mentality



Risky Behavior






Long, Slow Suicide



There’s No Escape



What’s Causing the Suffering?



Life Without Suffering



Sensing What Nature is Up To



Self Knowledge



Radiating Life for All to Enjoy



What is Our Contribution?



A Lighthouse in the Darkness of Ignorance


Jai Guru Deva


The Evolutionary Function of Suicide

[00:45] Q – What is the Evolutionary Function of Suicide?

If evolution is the only thing that’s happening, then what is the evolutionary function of suicide, both from the perspective of the person committing the act and from the perspective of those left behind?

[00:57] A – An Extreme Form of Self Destruction

It’s a very good question because it’s a question that’s in orbit around the limited timeframe of the questionnaire. We look at suicide, someone who accomplishes such an extreme form of self-destruction, that they eliminate their own nervous system, and their hope is that they’ll have a better experience than the one they’re having.

If they’re atheists, then they’re hoping for oblivion. That is to say non-existence, for non-existence to occur. Though it’s a fact that atheists, generally speaking, are somewhat averse to suicide because, in their view, the only possibility for any experience, whether good or bad, the only possibility for any, whatever good could still be had, is going to be there if you keep your nervous system.

Interestingly, it’s people who have some kind of notion, some kind of idea, or at least a curiosity, to experience what life after death might be like, and they’re convinced that it must be better than this.

If life is as bad as they’re experiencing it to be, what could be better? Let’s see. Let’s kill the nervous system and see what could be better. Then suicide is more prevalent in such people. How interesting.

[02:35] Going Beyond the One Body Mentality

So then what is the evolutionary value of it? In order to be able to see the evolutionary value in anything, we have to zoom outward and get beyond the one consciousness, one lifetime, one body mentality. The idea that all we are is one body and that, all of our entire lifetime and all the people who are experiencing that, they’ve only ever had one lifetime and they’re going to have one body and this is it.

And then if they bring an end to their body in a way that, you know, you can’t kill the body without being violent to it. Even if you take drugs to cease the heartbeat, it’s violent to the body. And for that to be the, the entire story of a person’s life…

One of the mistakes we make when someone suicides is to make the decision that that is the signature event that defined that person.

Everything else that they experienced in their life is overshadowed by the fact of the methodology by which death occurred.

[03:59] Risky Behavior

Death occurs for everyone. whether one commits suicide slowly, like for example, by smoking cigarettes, a definite form of suicide over a period of time, you fill the lungs and the body with so many carcinogens and damage to the linings of the lungs and inflammation that what’s thought of as being the rather sexy act of smoking a cigarette, and then of course, the addictive potential of it and the benefits that come from serving that addiction.

Most people wouldn’t consider someone who died at the age of 60 from having lung cancer as having committed suicide. But when we look at the history of it, that since about 1970, the idea that smoking cigarettes is a healthy thing was trashed when it was demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that cigarette smoking and early death went together.

So then if somebody keeps opening that packet and it says on the outside of the packet, if you use this product, it will cause you to die prematurely. Lung cancer, emphysema, any number of other diseases that will come from it. Don’t smoke this. By the way, now you can pay your $20 for the packet of cigarettes. This is also suicide.

Someone who drives their car faster than the posted speed limit and who regularly does that.

[05:43] Imbibing

Someone who drinks alcohol. Recently a revolutionary article appeared in the New York Times that reported upon studies that have shown, beyond any reasonable doubt, in the same way that the studies from the early 1970s began to show cigarettes being, beyond any reasonable doubt, dangerous to health, that the imbibing of any quantity of alcohol at all, including the teaspoons of alcohol that one might experience in the swallowing of the finest connoisseur wines on earth.

 If you’re a connoisseur of wine, it doesn’t mean that you’re somehow immune to the effects of alcohol, that any consumption of alcohol whatsoever is taking years off of the life of the drinker of it. And yet knowing this, we make excuses and say, “Yes, but it’s the isoflavones. It is the subtlety of the products of the grape that are helping digestion, that keep the imbiber of connoisseur alcohol, wine, living a life of much greater flamboyant enjoyment and a connoisseur of life.

 “I can’t do without. My combining of the finest wine with the best fish or the combining of the finest wine with the best vegetables or meat. I’m a connoisseur, so surely the alcohol that’s in the wine can’t possibly be affecting me the way that the alcohol in some, cheap spirit is affecting that alcoholic person that I know who lives over there in the house next door.”

[07:34] Long, Slow Suicide

Science is now telling us that if we imbibe alcohol at all, we’re committing slow suicide, and if we don’t pay attention to other ways of living that we have now, scientific evidence are those ways of living, sedentary lifestyle, no exercise, the, over imbibing of lipids and fats that are going to cause the heart to seize up and not be able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

The behaviors of suicide that are long-term suicide in which a vast variety of us engage regularly.

And then somebody makes a decision that they just want it all to be over with quick, and they commit suicide in a way that brings an end to the body quickly, compared with the rest of us that are participating in the long slow suicide of robbing ourselves and our loved ones of decades.

We could be robbing ourselves of a decade, or two decades, just through failing to admit that we’re engaging in unsustainable lifestyle decisions on a regular basis.

[08:54] There’s No Escape

So then, what is it about suicide that is evolutionary? If we take the largest point of view, we have to take a multiple-lifetime point of view, what we learn from suicide, when we do it, is that there’s no escape.

There’s no escape from the need to understand the cause of suffering. There’s no escape from the need to understand the cause of suffering. The cause of suffering is in, knowingly or unknowingly, violating the laws of Nature.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly, if we engage in violating the laws of Nature in life and living, then we’re going to bring suffering into our life.

We may not consciously decide, “I’m going to go and make myself suffer now, by chasing happiness in an unsustainable relationship where, clearly, happiness does not reside.

“So I think I’ll just keep on doing that and really make myself suffer or I’ll behave in ways that regularly attract me to difficult people or difficult situations, and then I’ll suffer from that.

“And the way to come out of the suffering is either slow suicide, inebriate myself or smoke cigarettes or drive fast, or do whatever it is I do to ignore the suffering, effect, the use of drugs and so on. Or I’ll do the fast suicide, which is I’ll escape from this body quickly.”

[10:45] What’s Causing the Suffering?

And then, there’s an escape from suffering that doesn’t have anything to do with finding out what’s causing the suffering. This is a mistake.

And so then we end up being bodiless, and we are experiencing the obvious. “I have a period of time in the abstract in-between state, the state in between bodies to consider what worked and what didn’t work in the last life, in the last body life. What worked and what didn’t work in order to lift the self-induced suffering that I experienced.”

This is the evolutionary part of this.

We make a resolution to enter a new body, when the time comes. Maybe it’ll be days, weeks, months, years, decades, or centuries before we’re ready to come out of the abstract zone and back into a human physiology, and to have another shot at evolving.

Evolving means bringing the deeper truths of how the laws of Nature actually operate, what law of Nature cascades into the next, and to become someone who can live in a body and live life in complete attunement. Live life, in accordance with how the laws of Nature, the evolutionary laws of Nature operate.

“Now I get to have another shot at it.”

[12:39] Life Without Suffering

So all of us did that already. Whether we committed slow suicide in our last life, or we committed fast suicide in our last life, here we are listening now, in a body, and we have to ask the question, not why do people do stuff, but if I’m suffering, on what basis am I suffering?

People who are enlightened don’t suffer. How is it that someone who is enlightened manages to live a life without suffering? It’s because they have the capacity to see and understand how the laws of Nature function.

They’re living their life in full knowledge of how the laws of Nature behave. They can see cause and effect. The cause of suffering is inadvertent triggering of cascades of laws of Nature that naturally are going to produce particular effects which are undesirable. And the enlightened ones don’t engage in creating these cascades of cause and effect that end up guaranteeing experiences that are undesirable.

And the reason is that their mind is established in Being. That deep, inner quiet state of Being, the home of all the laws of Nature.

All the laws of Nature are gathered together in one place in the Unified Field of Consciousness, which is that field that exists within absolutely everyone and everything.

[14:48] Sensing What Nature is Up To

When we practice Vedic Meditation, we become one with that home of all the laws of Nature, and we can sense how the laws of Nature are issuing forth from the underlying field from that home, which is our own baseline consciousness, that home.

We can sense what Nature is up to, which laws of Nature are coming into being in order to act or counteract the effects of moving in the direction of inertia.

Inertia is the absolute anti-evolutionary state where nothing’s moving. In order for everything to continue moving the underlying home of all the laws of Nature, the state of Being, issues forth cascades of laws of Nature, which, when they activate, bring about greater knowledge, greater capability, greater understanding, greater happiness.

If we can experience how the home of all the laws of Nature is operating in any given time, and it operates in different ways at different times, in order to act or counteract the effects of anti-evolution, then we can ride on that. We can ride on those currents of the laws of Nature and how they’re operating.

We can be that actual underlying field of change. Be one with it in a way that we’re not going against the current of evolution. And when we don’t go against the currents of evolution, we don’t experience suffering. We are riding the currents of evolution. And when we ride the currents of evolution, we’re one with those currents and suffering comes to an end.

[17:13] Self Knowledge

Consequently, enlightenment, the gaining of enlightenment is the methodology, the only methodology, which is going to bring about an end to suffering.

This realization dawns on us in between body lives again and again and again. We enter a new human body with a renewed resolve that this time I’m going to become someone who acquires, first of all, knowledge.

Knowledge of how the laws of Nature operate, and then ultimately Self-knowledge. Knowledge of my true nature, which by the way is the fulfillment of the quest for knowledge of how the laws of Nature operate.

“I’m going to experience knowledge of my own baseline of consciousness being one with that home of all the laws of Nature, the laws of Nature are issuing forth from Me.”

And here Me has to be spelled with a capital M, because it’s not the individuality, it’s the universality of Being from which all the laws of Nature zoom forth into evolution. “I am the force of evolution.”

When one can experience that, all suffering comes to an end.

[18:50] Radiating Life for All to Enjoy

And so then what is the evolutionary impact of making the mistake of living a life and then having that life come to an end prematurely, prior to the gaining of enlightenment?

All of that I count as suicide. All of it, whether slow or sudden, whether intentional or unintentional, whether semi-intentional, the semi-intentional afflicts about 85% of the people on earth. Semi-intentionally creating an early death for themselves.

And about 15%, you can divide those into two categories, those who are quite intentionally living life in a way that is high risk to longevity.

Longevity is valuable because it takes some time to acquire enlightenment and live in it.

Let’s use Lord Buddha as an example. Siddhartha Gautama Shakya gained his enlightenment, his Nirvana, at about age 30 in North India where he lived, where he had been the crown prince, and then he commenced a lifetime of teaching, about 50 years.

He dropped his body at around age 80 after having taught the mechanics of Nirvana to hundreds and hundreds of disciples over a 50 year period.

This is what we want. We want to be radiating life for all to enjoy for many decades. This is our preference, but there may be, 85% of people are engaging in unsustainable lifestyles that are going to shorten their lives, and they’re doing it inadvertently.

[20:57] What is Our Contribution?

About 15% of the people of the Earth can be divided into two categories. Those who are not in such a hurry to bring their body to an end, but they’re definitely doing things every single day that any outside observer would say is an unsustainable lifestyle, bringing the body to an end very early.

And then the remaining percentage, say seven and a half or so percent, who make the decision consciously to do everything they can to bring their body to an end as quick as possible.

This is the world in which we live. This is the world we have to change. The suicidal world. Conscious suicide or unconscious suicide. And for us to look at somebody who did that in a very conscious and speedy fashion and make a judgment about it, that whole life was defined by that act, is an egregious mistake.

We need to look at our own lives. We need to look at what it is that we are doing. What is our contribution? What is our relevance socially that’s bringing an end to this worldwide trend of racing toward an early death?

Human bodies should be lasting a hundred years, 130 years, living decades of enlightenment, radiating life for all to enjoy, based on enjoying the deep inner wisdom caused by direct experience and a very good intellectual understanding of what’s causing everything to occur. Very good intellectual understanding.

[22:46] A Lighthouse in the Darkness of Ignorance

So instead of looking at suicide in isolation, an event that occurs that confuses everyone surrounding it, we need to take a bigger perspective. Let’s take the multi-life perspective and say, ultimately, all experiences that are had in a lifetime are experiences that add up to our total accrued human knowledge, that end up giving us yet another step in the direction of the sustainable enlightenment.

Even mistakes are mis-takes, but there’s not only one take. Let’s get beyond this mentality that you only have one life to live. In fact, you’ve lived hundreds of thousands of lives, and you’re still in the process of learning.

Someone who’s made a mistake and killed their body early. Did that. What are you doing?

Are you killing your body early as well? Are you also bringing a foreshortening of human life? Let’s hope not. Let’s all of us resolve that we want to bring our entire lifestyle into sustainability and lean into the longevity that is naturally a gift of cosmic intelligence, so that we can be a lighthouse in the darkness of ignorance on this earth.

Jai Guru Deva.

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