Misunderstanding about Suicide

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Julie M. Martinez
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Misunderstanding about Suicide

Post by Julie M. Martinez » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:15 am

I was going to post this in Druskin's thread below but I think it deserves a separate thread because it is frustrating to read replies that label the act of suicide as 'selfish' or immoral in the year 2011.

First, while some might argue it is selfish of the person committing suicide to do so, can't one likewise say that it is 'selfish' of the others who insist that a person must continue living when he is suffering beyond what he is willing to bear ? That person is just trying to shame the other into staying alive until it's more convenient to them for you to die. And aren't we all born without prior consultation anyway ? Additionally, I've always wondered why most people believe that suicide is acceptable if it is self-enacted euthanasia, a response to physical pain, but not as a response to emotional pain. Why do many assume psychological pain to have little importance? This attitude/ideal leads logically to the conclusion that rape should be punished according only to the physical injuries sustained.

There are a number of reasons why someone might commit suicide:

1) Social standing (shame or dishonor).

2) Physical pain or terminal illness.

3) Some instrumental reason -- to draw attention to a cause, or to free another person from their obligations.

4) Emotional pain or loneliness.

5) Mental illness (i.e. severe depression or body dysmorphic disorder).

Concerning emotional pain: to dismiss it as trivial or transient is a mistake; the person in best place to judge considers it overwhelming, and who ever chooses such a final solution to a temporary problem ? Those who commit suicide do not consider their problems transitory. If it can be the right decision for one in physical pain, maybe it is sometimes (often) the right decision for those in psychological pain. The determination of whether it is best to suffer through a miserable present in the hope of getting to a possibly better future is a value judgment. A person could legitimately decide a hopefully better future does not justify choosing to experience an unbearable present. No one should claim the right override, by force, a person's value judgments and decisions about something as personal as this.

Could it be that suicide reminds society that life is ephemeral and that there are some people who regard it as a crock of sh*t ?... THIS is taboo. We are supposed to think that life is great & we should cherish every minute of it, & when we die, we don't really die, we live on, etc, etc. So suicide is considered an act of betrayal of social conventions. People who are suicidal aren't killing themselves out of a desire to hurt those around them -- it's unreasonable to expect them to continue suffering because of that consequence, I think.

We don't know that life is a great gift. More likely it is an insubstantial little thing in the greater scheme of things; but as far as we know, it is all we have. Essentially life constricts us; gives us boundaries. If a person's life is going very badly and they can't deal with it, they should be able to liberate themselves from it. The reason we should in general let people take their own lives if they want to is simply that most people are experts in their own happiness and know better than anyone else what will, or will not, make them happy. So it isn't that we've got a basic right to destroy ourselves.... Rather, we have a unique perspective on our own lives and thus we are (normally) better-placed than others to make judgments about whether our lives are worth continuing. As for those who don't consider a person's life their own property, to do with as they wish, I challenge them to justify this perspective without falling back on religious dogma or a functionalist societal view that disregards the well-being of human beings.
A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.

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Re: Misunderstanding about Suicide

Post by beerclark » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:14 am

I will agree that some forms of suicide that have a rational to them. The problem arises when we get to emotional or mental illness.

You cannot compare suicide with many other life decisions simply because it is one of the few decisions that eliminate all others! When a Roman General lost a battle, he could make a fully informed life decision about what his fate was. A terminally ill patient knows when they are dying anyway and can at least plan the inevitable. But someone emotionally distraught or mentally ill has a defective tool. The very tool they need to make a decision! Lets say we have a driver who cannot see RED. They come to a traffic light that is RED and think "Well I cannot see any reason I need to stop so I will go through the intersection". Is it wrong for the passenger to grab the parking brake and say " The hell you aren't stopping!". Maybe there are people that are to the point that life really isn't worth it for them, but that should be only exceptions, not the rules. The truth is that they are the few that are generally 'sacrificed' to live so that others are not let go prematurely.

I want to throw in another angle. [This is strictly a 'nature' take. I'm leaving out philisophical arguments to others]As part of mankind, we are all bound to society. Yes there are different 'cliques' [countries, tribes, religions, social clubs, etc..] but we are still all part of one big mechanism who's sole purpose is to live and grow. Like it or not, we are all part of this big machine that operates to keep itself going. And to keep itself going, it is built to keep its individual parts operating. Not necessarily working.. not efficiently... its just One Simple Rule.. All parts must function somehow. Now I know I am probably sounding whacky but my point is that if someone decides to end their life, they are going against what is ingrained in our nature. They are leaving a game that you are not allowed to leave until your chips are gone. This is why when people become too old to benefit society, we keep them alive. Why when a baby is born with too many defects to be able to contribute to society that we still nurture and raise them . It all follow the One Simple Rule. And remember, we don't come with "Off" switches.

Just my thoughts.

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