There’s More To Life Than Fame, Travel, and Consumerism

What we can learn from Anthony Bourdain’s suicide.

There’s More To Life Than Fame, Travel, and Consumerism

We’ve all heard the news already: Anthony Bourdain was found dead Friday morning at a hotel in France, where he hanged himself.

The outpouring of grief on social media as well as in the mainstream media was massive and genuine. Even though Anthony Bourdain was just a host of a TV show and a celebrity chef, he meant a lot more to many people in our society. He was an icon of sorts.

Bourdain rose from obscurity to fame. He traveled the world. He ate the finest foods. He met many of the world’s most interesting people. Just as importantly, perhaps, he was liked by many elites around the world.

And sure, he had two tattered ex-marriages and a history of using heroin and cocaine, but who hasn’t at some point gone through similar difficulties in their own lives?

In other ways he was relatable as well: in one show he called for the breeding of white people out of existence, stating that it was the “only solution” to everything that’s going on now. In order to advance his agenda of creating a monoracial and monocultural world, he banned white people from attending his Houston show. Also, he joked about poisoning Donald Trump if he ever got the chance.

In short, he had all of the things that many of us want while being extremely relatable on a personal and a political level to many people in America today, especially the kinds of liberals we often find in large cities like New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

Yet he decided to kill himself while on his travels. How symbolic.

The response to this was predictable: people lamented how depression can affect us all, how suicide isn’t the way out, how everyone has to be aware of the signs of depression, and so on. And they’re right in all of these respects.

But they’re missing the larger story here: the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll generation is quickly learning that their ideas and their “liberation” leads to meaninglessness and purposelessness. Travel, money, fame, being liked, and consumption of the finest foods won’t lead to happiness or fulfillment in life. It’ll leave you feeling sad and empty.

This isn’t unique to Anthony Bourdain: the CDC reports that suicide rates are up a whopping 30% across the nation since 1999, and that those most affected are the “middle-aged.” In other words, Boomers and Gen Xers are offing themselves in record numbers.

This is happening despite the fact that coastal elites like Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker tell us that we should be happier than ever because the GDP is higher than ever, because technology is better than ever, and so on. In other words, they tell us we that should be happier than ever because we can consume more things cheaper than ever before.

Yet more people are committing suicide, as well as expressing their dissatisfaction with life in other ways, than in decades past. So what gives?

The problem is that we, as humans, cannot find salvation or meaning through travel, wealth, or consumption. All of those things may be nice, they may fill a temporary desire or need, and they may keep many of us preoccupied, but they all fail to give our lives meaning. Meaning is something that we can only find by transcending ourselves and becoming part of something greater: our religion, our god, our people, our nation, our family, and so on.

As Jonathan Bowden once put it: “The meaning of life is not shopping. The meaning of life is not consumerism. The meaning of life is purpose, and will, and order, and identity.”

Bourdain was a textbook case of someone who shunned all of those things, including (half of) his people/heritage/identity when he expressed his wish to see White people die out, and especially his family when he abandoned two of his marriages and a daughter in order to focus on his travels and his TV show.

And all of that left Bourdain hanging by the neck in a hotel room in France.

So, dear reader, please don’t end up like Bourdain. Don’t kill yourself. Your life has meaning—or at least it can have a real meaning and a real purpose if you abandon mindless consumerism and dedicate your life to something larger and more transcendent than yourself.

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