It is necessary to know the experiences of today to overcome them

Youth lives in the present as a priority instance, it does not then have the guidance that was sought before in the projection to the future that they contributed; guided, justified the work, even the effort in the present

The news of suicide attempts worries and creates uncertainty. In psychiatry, there is talk of suicidal crises that require immediate attention, recourse to a professional, to avoid a tragic outcome. Family, friends can intervene in that; and circumstances may favor the intervention of different actors. After the crisis, questions appear referring to the functioning of the family, medical care, adequate treatment.

This time has characters difficult to understand. At the time of the Second Vatican Council, Ratzinger in a manuscript written for conferences on the constitution Gadium et Spes, says that man looks to the future. Destruction and senseless death had been seen in devastating wars. The reconstruction and well-being of man was expected; he relied on technique for that; later it was seen that this technique can also be the destruction of him. For technique to serve as hope, man must know who he is.

Knowing yourself can seem obvious and difficult. Today there is a vacuum of thought, it is identified as postmodernism, an ambiguous term due to the variety of forms it presents, without finding an unequivocal meaning, although unequivocality may not harmonize with the relaxation of thought without internal coherence.


Going back to the beginning, today the analysis of suicide includes a time in which youth live the present as a priority instance, so they do not have the guide that the purposes that were sought before in the projection to the future provided; they guided, they justified the work, even the effort in the present. Today the present is lived as if it were the decisive time, trying to find immediate, transitory satisfaction; without an effort now, which makes sense in the present, and is projected into the future.

An analysis is required from the medical side, knowing the existential condition of the young man. How to understand the time of adolescence, lives in a time in which the present is exalted, which is fleeting, consists of moments that happen quickly. In this analysis the Augustinian notion of time is used.

It may be that this present is not thought about enough, since the succession of moments continues; also that the past is not considered enough, as part of the present in memory; loses value, instants occur in which it seeks to respond to the current stimulus. The present is that uninterrupted succession of moments. But consciousness forms a present by gathering past events, for example high school time, in the adolescent it includes what has already happened, the present, today, and what is anticipated as the future. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s part of the present as an anticipation, it waits.

Thus, the present includes in consciousness the past as memory, the fleeting present and the future as expectation.

Today adolescent attention, when dispersed, does not experience temporality in this way, it remains in the present, not as a triple present formed in consciousness, but as fleeting actuality, what happens in the moment.

The dispersion in facts appears as a basic character of its existence, the mind is scattered waiting for new facts, without considering enough past or future.


In an age characterized by the search for identity, it can be difficult to find it, and assume successive identities, without finding himself. It can be difficult to understand the meaning of identity. In the educational field, the lack of meanings is noted, or the weakening of its real meaning. That is not reduced to the educational sphere, it is expressed there. The student is exposed to the insecurity of a vacuum of thought. The analysis of our situation, from the Augustinian notion of psychological time as a triple present, serves to understand existence today.

Youth, in this environment, can mean doubts, hesitations, lack of clear meanings: what is freedom, the meaning of life; thus attempts at a magical solution, fanaticism, dispersion may appear.

Today the prevention of suicide is addressed, the consideration of the experience of temporality, can help to understand the young person.

Psychiatry, psychology and philosophy address the subject, Giselher Guttmann in the introduction to Logotherapy and existential analysis, a book that brings together texts by Víctor Frankl from five decades, mentions the “bridge” that he made between psychiatry, philosophy and psychology. “We would misunderstand his objective if we were satisfied with admiring this bridge without recognizing that Frankl demands with him at the same time the inseparable unity of these three realms.” p. 14.

If you want to understand this applied to the topic of suicide, which is of concern today due to recent cases in the youth; the convenience of adding philosophical considerations is understood. There are times when immediacy is imposed, in the suicidal crisis the health professional is used, but the meaning of what is human appears.

“Frustration and existential emptiness”

Frankl speaks of “frustration and existential emptiness”, man needs to find the meaning of his life, there is a meaning in any circumstance, it must be found. The suicide crisis calls for the intervention of the health professional, the philosophical dimension leads you to understand the meaning of life, and to refer to the ultimate meaning, there is a relationship with a transcendent reality in man, it develops in religion, Frankl raises the ultimate meaning as an instance that is outside of itself. God is present even when this is not noticed, in an unconscious spiritual dimension, which means that the unconscious contains spirituality, and in it religiosity, which can be repressed, even causing neurosis.

These considerations lead to the inclusion of a total image of the man, when a patient is cared for, as in the case that concerns us now, in the care of someone who has suicidal ideation or is going through a suicidal crisis.

For him Dr Manuel Castillo
Professor of Philosophical Anthropology at the FFHyA. Professor of Philosophy of Education and Logic.
Phd. in Philosophy.

It is necessary to know the experiences of today to overcome them