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Self-Help Suicides and the Danger of Positive Thinking

Self-Help Suicides and the Danger of Positive Thinking
Photograph by Jean Berard/Gallery Stock

When the Brooklyn couple who co-host a motivational radio show called The Pursuit of Happiness were found dead in an apparent suicide yesterday, with helium-filled bags around their heads, the personal tragedy took on a deeper poignancy. You want to look for clues to explain the obvious disconnect, as with the mother who kills her children or the preacher doing meth with male prostitutes.

No one will ever truly know the inner demons that haunted Lynne Rosen and John Littig. Their choice of weapon—helium—is hailed by the EXIT euthanasia blog (“Leaders in self-deliverance”) as the most popular method of “rational suicide.” But it’s hard see a rational motivation for two people so publicly committed to The Power of Positive Thinking to end their lives. Their brutal actions go against everything that came out of their mouths. A quote from author Norman Vincent Peale adorns the home page of Rosen’s website: “It’s always too early to quit.”