Hier findet Ihr die deutsche Fassung dieses Artikels.
September 10th is “World Suicide Prevention Day”. Well, at least it is safe to assume that this day was not conceived by the greeting cards industry, for once. Yet the question remains: Suicide Prevention Day? What for? Why would we want to prevent suicide?
I won’t argue that we should have a “World Suicide Day” or that suicide should be actively encouraged. But I do believe that the stigma of failure and despair has to be removed from suicide and from people who choose this option.
What appalls me most after someone’s suicide is the question posed by other people, full of reproach and quite often self-pity, “How could he do that to us?” First of all, every person’s heart is full of secrets, so any judgement should be withheld unless that person discloses their motives. Second, nobody has an obligation to live. As nobody asked us if we wanted to be born, we don’t even have an obligation towards our parents, let alone friends, colleagues or society.
The only people that could argue that somebody contemplating suicide should have to think about them, are their children. After all, one is responsible for having put them in this world. However, I would argue that such a responsibility does not even exist towards a partner. Because surely any relationship can be terminated by leaving. And what else is suicide than an unambiguous goodbye?
A suicide is far too easily associated with failure, interpreted as an act of giving up. But many different reasons can be fathomed: a sense of having had a rich life with experiences that cannot be topped, curiosity about the act and a possible afterlife (something which should endear suicide to religious people), an exaggerated sense for adventure, or even to make a political point.
How can anybody associate suicide with failure unless one can explain what the meaning of life is? As long as there is no convincing argument about the meaning of life, leaving this life is no worse an option than staying.
A suicide looks less negative or frightening when we keep in mind that we are all going to die. No exception. Some of us will die in our sleep and we don’t even know if that is as peaceful as it is usually depicted. Others of us will have a terrible disease or will be hit by a truck and bleed to death, while others might drown or step on a landmine, burn in a fire or starve.
Please excuse the drama, but are you beginning to see that choosing one’s time, place and manner of death might be quite a sensible wish after all?
If the social stigma of suicide was somehow removed or at least reduced, it could be done in an even more peaceful and controlled manner. Then, people might not resort to jumping in front of a train or blowing up their kitchen.
This leads us to the legal status of suicide. The whole affair would be much cleaner and less disruptive (especially for train services) if it was legal to assist people in implementing their wish to end their life at their own choosing. I find it particularly unfair and unethical that sick people are in many countries not allowed to use any assistance of this kind, while a healthy person can just grab a gun and shoot himself (at least in the USA). This puts old and frail and sick people at a significant disadvantage versus a young and healthy person.
Suicide is a decision of which you can be certain that you won’t regret it afterwards. This cannot be said about many things in life.
When I hear of somebody’s suicide, my first reaction is one of admiration. I admire their courage (because logical as it may be, it’s not easy) and the determination to make the ultimate decision in life oneself. We are arguing for so many personal freedoms. Why should we exclude this ultimate freedom, the exercise of which harms no one else’s rights?
- This article was also published on Medium.
- This was easy to write, because it came from the heart, but hard to publish. It hurts a lot of people, I know. But I wrote this after my cousin’s suicide, when I was angry about everything I had heard at his funeral, and I felt like I was the only one with some understanding for him.
- If this has helped you, I would appreciate any kind of support for my blog. Thank you!
to feel so alone, depressed, distressed and unable to reach out for help?
As Andreas pointed out, you can’t know for sure that all suicidal people are feeling the emotions you mentioned. There are other possible reasons for committing suicide. And even if they are feeling those emotions, I think admiration is appropriate. Because it does take guts to take your own life. It doesn’t mean we can’t feel bad them too, as well as offer help if they have a mental or physical problem that’s curable. The bottom line is, their choice should be respected since it’s their life. I think everyone probably has a breaking point, even the people who swear they would never take their own life under any circumstances.
To take absolute charge of one’s own life? How dare they.
get help im a sensitive north korean ya kno. cracker
What I feel no one wants to hear it what I feel some of us don’t wanna be so dependent or stress out others because how we feel we each have our own life so we each should not be judged own the decisions we choose to make but that’s impossible because it’s apart of human kind to judge anyways so why be judged by continuing to reach out to other humans
Suicide is really damn good.
I mean did you even read the damn article?
You fucking bitch. Poor fucking you. People have reasons for suicide, which is explained in the FUCKING article. And trust me when i say this, probably they thought no-one gave a rats ass about them. And SHOCKER!!! They sometimes think right.
Smart and outside the box: an example to the box and us in it
Having known someone who committed suicide, I can say that it is the LEAST admirable thing I have ever known anyone to do. It is the most selfish thing I have ever seen done, honestly, and those who commit suicide should not be commended. They should be mourned and grieved, but a ton of emotions come up around this issue. I hate the person I know who committed suicide. I HATE him for screwing things up for my family. They say time heals all things, but this is something that seven years has not healed, and I don’t believe the pain of having a relative kill himself will ever heal.
I understand your pain, but the person that attempts/succeeds at suicide isn’t thinking of it for selfish reasons. In fact, many times they truly feel like that they are doing what is best for their family and friends. Seriously, they think that the family and friends are better off without them, for whatever reason.
I’m sorry for your loss.
Your just not smart enough to know your stupid.
Calling other people stupid while misspelling “you’re” twice is funny.
I perceive your attitude to be one of extreme selfishness, not the act of the person you “lost” (i.e. who decided to no longer interact with you).
Your emotions are your own responsibility, no one else is responsible for them. You don’t own other people. It is precisely your callous selfish attitude that literally tortures thousands of people against their explicit will for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Emily wrote: “I’m sorry for your loss.”
I’m not. A person opted out of their relationship with you SEVEN YEARS ago. You still harbor resentment.
If your girlfriend breaks up with you, should you have the right to torture them? Would we still see you whining SEVEN YEARS later, whining that you can’t own other people and their lives without consent?
Couldnt have said it better myself dremora. My thoughts exactly
you are being selfish, I am currently contemplating suicide but not because I have failed, or at least failure is not the primary reason, i have realised the futility of life and i am holding back as yet only because i wish to explore some more, i am 36 and will leave when i am done exploring life to my hearts content, why be a liability all your life, there is no reason to criticise those who have left, they did it for a reason and those reasons will always be valid no matter how you feel
I don’t know the exact circumstances of your relative for committing suicide but I know i have wanted to end my life, and some people who contemplate or end up committing suicide are probably suffering the pain of your whole family combined!!! We have been suffering this for years,
It is true that if some of us opened up and told our closest all our secrets perhaps we would not have to committ suicide, so a lack of clear communication could prevent a loss of a life! Nevertheless there are other people who if they revealed their secrets would be vilified!
The world is a very MEAN place, if you can assure me that you could have held your relative’s suffering and pain and make it better! Then I am truly sorry for your loss!
I really hope your relative is in a better place and that they have finally found peace.
I noticed all of that comment was about you. Did you ever think how he felt? That hatred you feel for him, try that times 10 and add depression and you maybe have something close to what he was proble feeling. Did you expect him to just put a smile on while he was experiencing a living he’ll so he wouldn’t inconvenience your life. If you really read what you wrote, you’re the selfish one…poor thing you we’re inconvenienced by all his pain and suffering.
My family’s like that
I’ve had suicidal thoughts and attempted it many times and have lots of problems and all they do is make fun of it I’m just 19
Yeah, how dare they not keep living for your sake!
Exactly, funny how these people are all experts on selfishness. You say you support the person yet want them to live a shit life.
Like that person was your possession. You look like a child who just broke its favorite toy. The only person who should’ve been sad in your life is the person who suicided. You should be sad for HER, not because YOU can’t have that person anymore, to satisfy your egoist need for her love.
You are the selfish piece of shit. Imagine for a half a fucking second that you know even a fucking portion of the self hate and hopeless pain that this person had to be going through to even contemplate this act. Here you are, whining about how inconvenient it has been for you, with ZERO problem condemning that person for not continuing to suffer for your benefit and comfort. Fuck you, it is selfish pieces of trash like you that make this world that much harder for others to live in.
Just weighing in. People are selfish. We try to make ourselves out to be better than animals, yet we forget we are animals. We are predators and thanks to the notion of society we are a hive mentality with ants being the most analogous example close to us. Except what we create is far more devastating to each other, and the planet, than any other species in this particular zoo.
I really hate the way we seek to control each offers existence, and I hope we appreciate one day that if people want to exit we should allow them with compassion and understanding, and no t lock them away or guilt them into playing in a universe they struggle to cope with or understand.
Yes I’m sorry you lost someone. I’ve had a month old baby die from SIDS, I’ve lost loved ones through misadventure and adventure and it’s not something I liked or wanted. My perspective on these things is that no one cares (really CARES) but that is ok. I expect nothing more from this world – and I look forward to building the courage to do what I know I should and have the strength to overcome those pure instinctual things that hold me bound to a place that in all rationality I don’t want to be.
It’s not harder to live. Breathing is a natural instinct and we can run by rote. It takes guts to fight that and take the step to end. I look forward to the day I can finally do it.
My grandfather committed suicide, and while it was hard on my family, I think it was an admirable choice in his case. He did some awful things, and while there were perhaps ways he could have better reconciled himself to those around him, I think he took a leap (not literally in his case) that in some way addressed those actions, and may have prevented him from harming others. I remember swearing to myself as a child that I’d do the same if I ever committed any of a few specific sins he did, and while I’ve not done the worst of them, I have transgressed my list and not yet done the deed… It honestly gives me even more perspective and admiration for his action. It’s easy to abstract suicide, but once you reach the point that you have a reason, that you know you’re morally obligated to do it, you realize just how goddamned hard it is to bring yourself to it.
I agree that suicide is selfish, but, and sorry for your pain, that is the least of what it is. Very few people choose to be so self involved that they can’t escape their own pain. What this article is not addressing is the suicide of severely depressed people. As someone who came very close to succeeding, let me assure you, coming to that point, you are not thinking very clearly at all. What this article overlooks is the very real possibility that given some time and treatment, a person can once again find the joy in living, and be very glad for the fact that they are still alive.As the article states, the suicide can not regret their choice. They also can not un-make it. And that is the tragedy. Given time many suicidal people will feel differently about life. The only thing I agree about in this article is that very ill people, rather than suffering and living a nightmarish end to their life are many places not allowed to hasten the inevitable end. However, the majority of those considering suicide are depressed, and do have a chance at leaving that very dark place behind and finding peace and joy in their existence. I highly recommend the book “The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness: by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Siegal, and Jon Kabat-Zin. Check your iron level. Get 1200 mg of EPA/DHA per day. Get your insomnia solved. (Best of luck. This can be very hard to do, I know), get exercise (SWEAT!) These plus a very moderate amount of cannabis are what has worked for me. Some people might need Rx. I have needed it from time to time, but I wish no one had suggested I would have to take meds the rest of my life. It wasn’t true for me. It might not be true for you, either. Don’t suicide. Even after months on end of depression, there is an end to it. Peace and Love.
Do you know how selfish and egocentric you sound? I guess you dont
How you’re somehow mad at this person for screwing up YOUR life is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. That person was going through intense feelings and couldn’t take it any longer, how the fuck do you expect to act like the victim?
Guess he should have stayed just for you then huh? That’s not selfish or anything.
Wow. You have had seven years to deal with this. If you are a child of or were raising a child with the person who killed themselves, I’d say yes, he was not making a choice with your/your child’s benefit in mind (but you simply can not judge WHY that was). The judgemental, hateful, blame shifting gymnastics you have done towards the person who’s well being you 7 years later have not been able to empathize with even in the slightest (not even with the though of letting go and healing yourself and your family instead of harshly judging and blame shifting, hating, a dead person. Don’t speak evil of the dead for they aren’t here to defend themselves. I can imagine living with a person so myopic and poisonous as you seem, could drive someone to suicide as you sucked all the good out of living life. Look at yourself and the family you think deserves to harm this person who likely was hurting and died alone and hated because of you & your families refusal to see that person as a human being and not an object. Letting out how you feel i fine, but only with the goal of moving on. Not, marinading in self pity, which is hypocritical. Suicide is 99% of the time not selfish as it is based on severe circumstances one can not handle, or the desire to have a death that is quick and as painless as possible. I believe you hated this person irrationally long before they died, and now use it as an excuse to behave badly and be selfish yourself TBH.
Honestly, I think your response proved that person was correct, “I hate the person I know who committed suicide. I HATE him for screwing things up for my family. They say time heals all things, but this is something that seven years has not healed, and I don’t believe the pain of having a relative kill himself will ever heal.” You have conclusively demonstrated you and your family was completely insensitive and uncaring about anything outside of their narrow interests. Your concern for your own minuscule “pain” compared to the intense misery that suicide requires is enlightening.
Each and every one one of you commenting here is revolting. Fuck off, you vermin.
Selfish, seriously? They probably killed themselves because they felt like nobody cared about them. Did you care about them or show it? Have you ever wondered why people do these things? Not because they’re selfish, but because they are in pain that they cant escape. You won’t be able to understand this article if you haven’t been through the pain yourself.
Pingback: Loneliness doesn’t kill, people do. | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog
I guess often enough suicide is induced my mental health problems. I really don’t have any statistics and I think it’ll be hard to come up with some, but how many people who have comitted suicide do you think were completely sane at the time? How many people live a happy life after having been prevented to kill theirselves? I can agree with your position if you can prove that every suicide is a completely rational decision – and I really doubt that assumption.
Considering the fact that so many mental health problems are chronic and incurable, moreover, considering that many of the so-called treatments for such are a poor palative at best, I regretfully fail to see how this is an example of suicide being a negative.
Think about it this way; you have a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, comorbid with Chronic Depression and Anhedonia. For the uninitiated, this is what all that mumbo-jumbo means; there is no pleasure in life. Even sex provides NO ENJOYMENT. Worse still, every moment is a chance to trip over a very potent memory of past pain like a landmine. A sound, a smell, much like PTSD, you relive the moment time and again like a bad movie you can’t stop with equal potency years after the event. Every day is a struggle to really justify the ‘why’ of living.
Doubtless will come the parade of people who advocate treatment. Really? Stop any think about this for a moment. A person who struggles just to function, who experiences no pleasure in life is highly unlikely to achieve the kind of financial success required in order to seek anything close to effective psychological health. Meds are frankly not very effective especially since the laundry list of side effects normally associated with the vast majority of ‘anti-depressents’ only tend to exacerbate a sense of ‘unreality’, an already pale life drains just a little more color. Granted, sometimes psychotherapy can help. But without the ability to afford it, being harped at about ‘getting help’ is just a short-stroke to nowhere.
Suicide is a choice. What good is struggling against a constant, unrelenting, and in a lot of ways, wholly incurable apathy if in the end you still feel nothing but loss? If there is no joy in life, there is no life. If there is no hope in life, there is no point. Disagree if you will, but unless you deal with a ‘mental health problem’ from sunrise to sunset, you simply don’t have a damned clue, and your opinion is worthless.
For the uninitiated, this is what all that mumbo jumbo means:, “You are wrong, here is a hypothetical person I created entirely so they would have maximum reason to commit suicide, therefore you are worthless”
You know what, I’m pro-euthanasia. I think it’s a person’s choice to end their life if they do indeed have a disability that reduces their quality of life. This includes mental illness. So I agree in theory, but there’s a massive pile of dishonesty and bullshit in what you just did there.
No decision is a completely rational decision. There’s always an element of subjectivity, of preferring one future to other futures based on criteria you can’t explain (i.e. derive from anything else). In the case of suicide, I’m willing to bet a year’s income that in most cases it’s a decision made in the context of depression, by a brain that’s very low in serotonin, which makes fundamental (pre-rational) preferences all biased toward negativity.
Many good points that I had never thought of. Why do we espouse freedoms, but look to deny them in life’s ultimate decision?
@Doostane Farsi Zabane Man: I feel compassion for your family’s pain, but as Andreas Moser points out in the above commentary: Why does the person who is leaving have an obligation to those left behind?
Very interesting article. Definitely outside the box, and I sincerely appreciate that. If I could offer one bit of advice, you mention many different points with little definition or elaboration. I mean this not to tear down, but to offer constructive criticism. Fewer points and more focus would have helped this thought.
A lot of your points are valid and true in some cases. However, those cases are the minority and in most cases, the minority within the minority (An example: People who take their life because they’ve “completed” or are “fulfilled” in life).
If you browse and simply skim any suicide fact sheet, you’ll come to realize that the people who take their life struggle with depression, loneliness, sadness, and despair. This isn’t a made up “hey, let’s cast a bad light on these people”, it’s fact based on what research and studies are there on suicide.
Suicide is preventable and my heart breaks when anyone chooses to take their own life because of despair or depression. I think some of your points would be valid in a euthanasia discussion, but not in a discussion on suicide.
“Over 60 percent of people who die by suicide are estimated to suffer from major
depression, with no other psychiatric or physical illness. Thirty percent have
alcoholism, and half of those with alcoholism have depression as well.”
“Seventy percent of youth who make a suicide attempt are frequent users of
alcohol and/or other drugs. In states where the minimum drinking age was raised
from 18 to 21, the suicide rate for 18-to-20 year olds decreased.”
Click to access factsheets.pdf
Sure suicide is preventable. When political prisoners go on a hunger strike, and they are force fed, their death is being prevented. I don’t believe that this is right, though. Recently, a young man in my community shot himself over a failed love affair. I don’t know his whole story, but I tend to think that might have been a suicide worth preventing – if – (and it’s an important if) that was really the reason for the suicide. Young men do get over failed love affairs, after all.
But if someone is suffering long-term depression, if their life has felt like a dead end for a very long time and now they are also homeless, if their condition of chronic mental pain has tired them out, then why try to prevent them saying “I’m done here”. Why is it considered so important to find a way to stick a band-aid on this person so that they go on living. If their suicide makes their friends and family feel bad, I can’t help but wonder – worse than they felt because the tried every day to help this person and were unable to? or just bad because helping that person was too much trouble? or do they just lack the ability to see that the person is, at least, no longer unhappy now?
What I think needs to be prevented is that people experiencing long-term mental pain often have to kill themselves in squalid, guilt-ridden, furtive circumstances because of society’s attitudes.
These suicide statistics, especially when it comes to supposed mental illness, are wholly unscientific. There is no way to detect ‘mental illness’ in the body through post-mortem examination, there is no way to objectively diagnose anyone with any mental illness to begin with (no blood tests, biopsies, scans…) and much of the data presented is gleened from what is highly misleadingly called ‘psychological autopsy’ (collecting information about the person through journals, interviews with witnesses etcetera: it has nothing whatsoever to do with a real section whereby the body is opened and subjected to various tests) which is about as subjective and prone to bias as it gets. The fact that this ‘research’ arrives at hugely differing percentages is a clear indication it’s all bollocks and totally unreliable.
And witnesses, particularly family and friends or partners, often have their own interests regarding the memory of a person who just died.
I think it more has to do with the fact that those who contemplate suicide turn to alcohol and drugs first to numb their pain. And when that doesn’t work, they kill them selves (at least that’s what I’ve been experiencing). You’re absolutely right that these substances play a role, but it’s a “chicken and egg” situation… did the depression cause the person to become a suicidal alcoholic or did the alcohol and drugs cause the depression? Like a tootsie roll pop, the world may never know.
Celebrating or respecting the suicide decision isn’t a new idea, but its one I can appreciate. No one can EVER truly understand the level of depression and pain that some people have gone through and the desire those people have to be rid of it. The problem with suicide is that it is so final, while the human mind is constantly changing. Usually, somewhere inside, the suicidal person does not actually want to commit suicide. Most suicide survivor stories that I have read claim that at the moment where it is “too late” the suicidal person immediately regrets their decision. Jonathan makes a good point about the cases you’ve cited being a minority within a minority.
@Emily: Just because someone thinks they’re doing the right thing, that doesn’t in itself mean they should be allowed to do it. An act is not unselfish just because the person is doing it for what they think are good reasons.
Pingback: The Psychological Continuity Account | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog
Pingback: May we celebrate somebody’s death? | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog
Andreas, I love your out-of-the-box-thinking :)
I do agree with almost everything you say, especially: “But my main question is this: How can anybody associate suicide with failure unless he can explain what the meaning of life is? As long as there is no convincing argument about the meaning of life, leaving this life is not worse of an option than staying.”
BUT, I definitely disagree with the last part about admiring someone who commits suicide. How can you admire someone who chooses to end their life? Courageous people? To me, they are more like chicken, running away from life, responsibilities, challenges, etc. With that said, these people can’t be mentally stable at that time, which is why I also believe that suicide is preventable… if the signs are recognized in time. Some people just can’t get over depressions by them selves and need help from others. Unfortunately, we often hear about mentally ill people seeking professional help, getting rejected and committing suicide afterwards. These are the cases that can and SHOULD be prevented.
PS. We are happy to hear that you’re not contemplating the idea of suicide, because we’d miss you and your blogs :D
I think it is quite callous to call someone who commits suicide “chicken.” It is indeed an act of bravery to be able to carry out the act of taking one’s own life. It goes against every natural instinct a person has, so yes it DOES take courage to actually go through with it. Comments like this truly make me angry, and they really speak to Andreas’ point that people on the outside looking in are really in no position to judge someone who commits suicide. Based on your narrow-minded post, you seem to have missed his point entirely.
I concurr with Samatha, committing suicide is courageous!! And unfortunately we are NOT all mean to be happy and this world is unfair, and some people suffer a constant hight level of excruciating emotional (+/physical) pain more so than the average person!
I have contemplated commiting suicide, and the only reason I am still here today is that, at one point, I thought what if I go into an afterlife which is even more difficult than the life I am being subjected to RIGHT NOW!!!!
So I am ONLY here today because I thought I would try and survive the pain I am going through and make the best of the worst!!!
Thank you to the blogger for thinking out of the box!
Admiring courage doesn’t necessarily imply approving of the action. One might very well admire the courage with which the Waffen-SS fought in WW2 yet completely despise the cause.
That suicide is courageous is obvious: “Valour is the contempt of death and pain” (Tacitus). The fear of death is generally considered as the worst fear a living being can confront: how can overcoming fear let alone the greatest fear of all ever be considered ‘chicken’? To me there is no merit in prolonging life at all costs. Would you admire someone who has a terminal illness yet refuses to be put to sleep to make the transition easier? If the quality of one’s life is bad and it will foreseeably remain so one is playing a losing game. I believe many people who lead miserable lives remain alive not because they are courageous (that’s only useful aslong as there’s real hope for improvement) but because they lack the courage for suicide.
According to you suffering through everything without any real hope of improvement is apparantly the height of bravery: I consider it the height of stupidity. As if being alive by itself is the highest virtue.
Pingback: The Self-Ownership Thesis | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog
Pingback: Wedding: The most beautiful day of your life? | Publish or Perish – Andreas Moser's Blog
What about the suicide of a 20 year old after a breakup?! Surely, they would have met someone else, had they stuck around.
You remind me of that chap in “Into the Wild”. I wouldn’t be surprised if you killed yourself alone somewhere one day in the not so distant future. The reason you advocate suicide is because no one actually loves you dearly in the same way you love them back.
You probably have not been in love or with a girl for a long time. I bet you have very few real “friends”, just a number of acquiantances, and live this solitary life with only this blog as some connection to the rest of the world, to make you feel part of it.
For someone who wants to be so alone, why do you insist on advertising your activities on this blog? It is a a contradiction. I think this blog is your only friend, which is in a sense yourself.
I bet you kiss badly. You have a skewed way of thinking. You run at any commitment. Because somehow you think the greatest value is to do “what you want, without contrainst”. This in turn means no one, no girl, no family, nothing will make you commit or want to be around anything that reeks of even n a slight give and take/reliance on each other.
Soon you will find the error in your ways. Or you won’t and just kill yourself.
It’s funny that you mention “Into the Wild” because I wrote a positive review about Chris McCandless: https://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/into-the-wild/
Oh you did a review of Into the Wild already. I guess I should have studied your blog in more detailed before I wrote this.
Into the Wild. How typical of you. It’s nice that you don’t like people. You come across as a very rare, very very toxic form of human being. Incapable of love, commitment, emotion. Only able to deal with things conceptually and made of 100% pure selfishness.
Deeply unhappy but in denial of this through frequent gazing at Nature (a skill I admit most humans don’t have and are lacking, but your one saving grace in this world given lack of above, and this blog which probably makes you feel a connection to other “people” out there who care about what you do that you can “educate” or impose your own will and thought out values).
You have a lot of nerve making all those assumptions about Andreas, many of which you’re probably wrong about. You wrote that Andreas comes across as a very toxic human being. I actually think he comes across as very thoughtful and open minded. You’re the one who comes across as toxic and narrow minded. You insulted him continually, and he didn’t insult you at all in his response. You honestly can’t think of a good reason that suicide actually might be appropriate in certain situations? If that’s the case then I don’t think you’ve given it much thought. How would you feel if you couldn’t walk or have sex for the rest of your life? Because that’s what a disease like MS can do to you. How about slowly losing your ability to talk and breath until you die? That’s what ALS can do to you. Or maybe being completely paralyzed due to an accident or disease when you’re in the prime of your life? There of course are countless other possibilities. Now because you’re a human being, I hope nothing like that ever happens to you. But if it does then maybe you’ll finally understand.
Wow Selena. You come across as an absolutely loathsome human being! If you think so badly of Andreas, then why on Earth do you read his blog? You’ve obviously read more than just this one article to feel justified enough to post such ignorant assumptions. And he never said one negative word back to you in response for your hateful tirade, yet you have the nerve to call him toxic? You seem truly unbalanced!
I do not know about Andreas, but what Selena wrote describes me. Shame I only realised it when it was too late.
I am not sure it’s too late. There is always room to change something in our lives.
I’ve been sticking around and no I haven’t met anyone else. Ten years ago I caught my fiancé with another woman in our guest room… I’ve experienced break up after break up and my Herat has only broken that much more as the years have gone by. People always assume there’s someone out there for everyone but at some point you give up as I’ve had to do. People like you are what drive others to suicide… some people done have friends or loved ones or siblings or families or children (hell im barren and will never have children). So stop assuming people have loved ones… not everyone does, and everyone won’t meet someone special who loves them.
I am also so tired of hearing “oh, you will find someone one day”. I am rather incompatible and I don’t mind being alone. What I do mind is being labeled incomplete because of that.
I really didn’t understod your comment Selena Perez, just, what’s the point of your comment?
Yeah, some people are exactly as you described, with no real friends, no girl/boyfriends, no supportive family, no talents or achievements to be proud of, and these subjects are the EXACT REASON why so many people kill themselves.
Not everyone commits suicide because they are mentally ill, some of them kill themselves because they are exactly as you described: lonely, with no support, no achievements, no talents, nothing that really makes them proud of themselves, or gives them happines and reasons to live.
So why a person with all these characteristics? Only for them to have a bad funeral? Do you really want to force this person to keep living, even if they already know that they possibly will not achieve anything in the future? Give me a reason for a person like this to live.
Selena, you understand NOTHING about what people think about during suicidal thoughts. I started searching how to get over depression, then ways to kill yourself, then if suicide is worth it, until I was so desperate i started to search for things that said suicide to be a good thing. So before you post a comment like that again, actually think you bitch.
How remarkable to read a blog advocating a well-argued position that I myself have maintained for probably more years than its author is old – and then to find that I also agree with 90% of the counterarguments. Very refreshing, and I think I’ll just go on another day and see if there are any more surprises.
Pingback: How people found my blog | The Happy Hermit – Andreas Moser's Blog
Wow! Thankyou so much for giving one of the very rare open-minded views of suicide! I hope that like the rights of women, black people, homosexuals etc. have gradually developed, so too will the rights of those who make a conscious decision to die. May their wishes be treated with respect!
<3 …mindful words. Thanks Mr, Moser.
Provocative idea – always encourages debate and a lot of reactions…
Thank you for the post. I do agree that suicide is indeed a courageous act. For sure. I don’t agree that it is an isolated act. We are connected regardless. And yes it is a choice and everyone should have the right to chose. But remember we are communal. Everything we are is communal. So suicide might be your right, but does that make it right, or an act that should be applauded? End of life decisions for those that have no chance of quality of life is a different animal. Read about attempted suicides and how the person is looking at suicide now. Do you think they would have regrets? I think suicide is done for many reasons, one being the person wants to end the pain or harm that they are causing to others. Would they still consider suicide knowing that the act causes even more pain then by having them around? Hope that made sense.
I may commit suicide in couple of hours …reasons ….i can’t express my feelings to anyone ..nobody loves me , nobody even bother i am alive so i am hoping that they dont bother my death as well
Hi Sumaira. I’m sorry for your pain, but I understand where you’re coming from. I can think of a number of situations where suicide would be appropriate. But if you don’t have an incurable mental or physical problem that’s unbearable, then I hope you reconsider. Good luck.
To admire, rather than feel compassion for a person who feels so alone and sad that death is viewed as relief, seems misguided. But what is far, far more misguided is to applaud suicide in the comment section of a depressed person who has bravely decided to keep fighting for his life for the sake of his future self and for all the people he cares about. That was poorly done. You have demonstrated selfish, boasting, self-aggrandizing, thoughtless, cruel behavior and I hope you have the good sense to think better of it some day. That is one of the most selfish and inconsiderate things I’ve seen in a good long time.
I don’t see why one can’t feel compassion as well as admiration for suicidal people. And as far as I can tell, Andreas didn’t say anything about not feeling compassion. I say offer help to the people if they’re willing to accept it. If not then respect their decision, because you yourself might be in their position sometime. And if you think you’re not capable of committing suicide under any cirumstances, then I think you’re wrong. It’s easy to say you’d never do it if you haven’t experienced some of the horrible things that have happened to some people. As for your questioning of death being relief, I don’t know how anyone could argue that it isn’t relief. I’m guessing there’s either nothing after this life or there’s something good, so that seems like relief to me. I’m not sure what you’re referring to with the “comment section of a depressed person,” so I won’t comment on that.
Hi J! That last bit was actually my main/only point. There was a comment and a link back to this article that was (as I felt) really poorly chosen. It was directed at a person who has fought *hard* with suicidal feelings, and made the extremely difficult decision to keep fighting, and to win, both for the sake of the people who love him, and for the sake of his future self who will probably make it to a happier frame of mind. I would never say that ending one’s life couldn’t feel like a relief, or that I myself could never be brought to that point in certain circumstances. That’s exactly why I was so upset. Suicide is a one-time, final decision and as such, can be pretty attractive in a certain state of mind. The captioned link that the author provided seemed to suggest that his own point of view was more important than this individual’s hard-won decision and his continuing human life. Regardless of intent, he wasn’t counselling a person who wanted to kill himself, he was playing with the mind of someone who had decided to NOT want to.
Hi, thanks for the nice response. I can understand where you’re coming from the more you explain that. It’s a difficult subject, and you seem like a really thoughtful person. And it looks like you have a neat blog too. :) Take care.
Thanks J, and peace! :-)
A person who has no real friends, no family, no talents, no achievements to be proud of… why should he/she keep living?
Only to die someday, alone, sad, without achievements or talents? So you want to force these people to keep living, only for them to have a sad funeral?
Not everyone is full or “caring friends” as you, not everyone has as many talents as you might have, not everyone has so many achievements as you have to be proud of themselves, why keep living?
I think our lives belong to no one but us and how we choose to live or end it is our choice. You’re not always going to agree with the way everyone chooses to live their lives. But that’s the way the world works. People get angry at those that commit suicide not because of what they did necessarily, but because they left this earthly plain without their permission. If the person had died instead of an illness or in a terrible accident, would you be angry at them for having died? Think about it. If a person is sick and you know they’re going to die from this illness, you get to the point where you accept their impending death so that when they finally die, while it’s a very sad thing, it’s not something to make you hate them for having died. You knew they were going to die and you let them go as best you could. If it’s because of an accident, while its not necessarily with your permission that they died, it was an accident. No one saw it coming. But suicide is a planned thing. And the only person that plans it it the person that wants to die. And it’s really their choice and their choice alone whether to do it or not. It’s their life, after all, and if they feel so sad that continuing to live doesn’t feel worth that pain, then who is anyone to get angry and hate them for ending that own pain?
I’ve been there. Am currently there, actually. A place where life really feels awful and, if you must know, it’s because of a broken heart. It’s more complicated than just that, but I won’t get into it here. All I’m saying is that to call suicide wrong and to hate the person for doing it isn’t the answer. Hate the reasons why they felt so sad. Don’t hate the person for not being able to “handle it” because not everyone can, and if you can, kudos to you, but not everyone is you.
I agree. My life, my thoughts, my decision to end my life. No on person knows what it is like, for me. I feel so alone, and hopeless. I’m sure I will end my life before the summer is over. I just hope that my family will understand, and know what I have to
do for me. That my life is not worth living, like this.
Hello Andreas – 2 real life scenarios for you:
My son tried to commit suicide at the age of 16. He was suffering from severe depression, had been self-medicating with alcohol and drugs and had just found out that his girlfriend had left him. He swallowed a lot of pills and waited to die. Luckily, he told me about it before his body was permanently damaged. He is now 20 years old, has a healthy relationship and is happy – no longer medicated for depression and doing very well.
My ex-husband tried to commit suicide 6 months after my son. He had struggled with depression his entire life. I had told him a few weeks earlier that I was divorcing him. I found him on the floor and had to call the ambulance the same day that my son, still fragile, was starting his first day at a new school. He also survived and though he still deals with his depression, he is currently working and still fighting depression and other illness, both mental and physical.
I give you these two scenarios to say that although suicide can be a well thought out response to terrible circumstances, it is often the result of a passing feeling of despair. Depression makes you feel as though you don’t want to live and yet, if treated, the drive to be alive, comes back. Do we want people in the midst of depression to make a decision that they can’t take back?
My ex-husband may ultimately succeed in a suicide attempt – he is in his 60’s and I believe that he has tried very hard to combat his mental illness. At some point, I believe that he may make the decision that he no longer wants to fight. At that point, I hope that he can make peace with himself and those around him and end his live easily. The first attempt was a reaction to circumstances that he could overcome. He acted selfishly – he left angry notes, he chose a day that was important to his son and he chose a time that would be incredibly hurtful to all involved.
If my son had succeeded because he too was acting impulsively, he would not be here today happily living his life.
There is a place for suicide. However, just saying that people have the power over their own bodies is reckless and irresponsible. Mental illness is real and can be treated. Before we applaud those who commit suicide as brave, first we must give them all the help they need to make an informed decision and ensure that their death is not a reaction to temporary circumstances.
An excellent book on suicide, by an author with first-hand experience with suicide and major depression, is “The Noonday Demon.”
In this book is the story of a man who tried to kill himself because he was having significant financial problems and thought his wife would be better off without him. He left her a message which she found in time to call authorities and stop him. While in the hospital, sharing his story with the author, the man was HORRIFIED that he had tried to kill himself and was bewildered by how logical the act had seemed just a few days ago. He realized he didn’t want to die but somehow his brain tricked him into thinking it was the best thing to do. He was also terrified because he knew he could not be sure that he would never experience that delusion again.
The point of this story is many people who commit suicide are mentally ill or unstable and cannot think rationally or logically. They think they can but they can’t. Many people who have survived suicide attempts often speak of their realization at the last moment that their problems were fixable and they wanted to live.
Don’t admire suicides. Don’t demonize them either. Recognize it as an illness that must be treated.
And just to be really clear, I support the right of those suffering debilitating, painful, incurable illnesses to end their suffering. That is a different experience and reasoning for wanting to die.
Fuck you for saying its an illness
Well, imagine this scenario…
What if the person doesn’t have any of these diseases, but has no friends, no talents, not a good relationship with his/her family, no achievements to be proud of….. Why should this person keep living?
A very complex and multifaceted issue – BUT:
In regard to the rash of veteran/military suicides, many, but not all, are anger directed inward. There was/is great potential for homicide as well as, or in addition to, suicide. In those cases we are all better off when the decision is made to go alone.
This is true. Sometimes it’s for the best
Pingback: Suicide, a bone of contention? | The Nameless One
I have always thought suicide to be an interesting topic. To me, if you find no enjoyment out of life then there is really no point living. We all have ups and downs and one person’s up is never the same as another person’s up as how would we know that? So the same must be conclusive of the downs. I have had depression that I would have rated severe and I began to think that that life is simply pointless as you don’t enjoy any significant event, even if you somehow won the lottery and married the girl of your ‘dreams’, it would make no difference. The act of suicide is insanely selfish but then again why is that a bad thing? Grieving for someone in my eyes is a selfish thing, as I think most sad emotions come from a selfish place. ‘He left me… I’m alone…’ ‘I’ll never see him or her again…’, ‘It is ruining my family…’ ‘Look at the inconvenience it has caused on other people… and I am outraged by this, because it is affecting me.’ Don’t get me wrong I empathise with both ends of the story.
What I’m more interested in discussing is suicide in art. This seems to be one of the few areas where suicide seems to be romanticised… i.e. Ian Curtis, Kurt Cobain, Richey Edwards not to mention countless other slow motion suicide through drugs. Anyone Else got any thoughts on this?
Forgive me, I’m not as articulate as the posters above me.
I totally agree with the point that we do not have any reason to be obliged to live ..and I think that is true as life is a journey and each one of us do have a right to end it soon if we are not really interested to continue in it..but as you said life is not defined yet so I wouldn’t call it a ultimate decision either and can’t think of it as an ultimate freedom ..may be from this body and Earth for a while…but I would say that its like ending the journey. I think we should respect every one who is dying no matter how, as the one who decide to end this journey of life also were part of our world in direct or indirect way and they decided to die for some reason…and we can’t descriminate with soul really and once you die its all good or neutral ..nothing bad is left once the person is dead as all evil is left here..nice post and thought provoking topic Andreas..m back from Cairns alive and sore :)
Amazing post. This really shows the other side of the coin.
As a sister of a young man that committed suicide, I feel I can at least speak about my own experience as a family member that misses her brother. There was so much pain in his life for such a long time that it clouded everything, some of that pain came from poor choices he made to alleviate the pain that was generational and hereditary. When he was here, hurting, he was constantly hurting the ones he loved and loved him. His suicide was a brutal cut, but it was at least quick and clean. Even though I was shocked and saddened by the way he departed this life, I was also very relieved that he was no longer in pain. I think the most selfish thing a person can do is to think that their own pain is the most important thing in the world and live accordingly, hurting all of the people who love them in countless ways. Suicide is at least a decision that others can grapple with, live with,mourn, and then move on. Now, twelve years later, we get to try and remember the snapshots of good times even if at times we still struggle with the loss of a brother.
Having been down the road of seriously considering suicide I can see this line of thought. I also see the self absorbed misery of many suicidal people. What it does to the people around you that care is unconsionable. I have lost track of the number of people I know that chose to check out early for whatever reason. I also know that the decision is irrevocable. It is devastating to family and friends that you have singularly decided that you are done here and that is all there is to it. Suicide is a bad thing no matter how you try to frame it. It is bad for all those around you that care about you and the people that love you. Nobody should have to deal with that type of loss. It is never “just YOUR life”. It is the life of the community around you. It is the ultimate selfish decision. You have an obligation to care more for your friends, family, and the community as a whole than you do to be the coward and quit. Trying to make logic out of an illogical decision is the work of a sick mind.
So it is selfish for someone to choose to end his/her own life, but it’s not selfish for the people in that person’s life to insist that they keep on living no matter how much pain they may be in? I’ve never understood that kind of thinking. I get so sick of hearing people who commit suicide being called selfish and a coward. No matter how close you may be to that person, you do NOT know everything that they feel nor everything that they have gone through.
Why is it ok for you to expect that person to keep living day after day, year after year, no matter how painful it is for them? Just keep living, just keep breathing no matter what, just because you don’t want to deal with the effect that their suicide may have on you. Now THAT’S selfish! People want others to cling so desperately to life, as if any person’s life will last forever. Whether I choose to end my life today, or go out and accidentally get hit by a truck next week, or live another 50 years and die one night in my sleep, the bottom line is I’m going to die one day. And some people will be affected by my death no matter when or how it happens. This is true for every human being. We’re all going to die and the majority of us will leave at least one person behind who wishes we weren’t dead. But suicide is the only manner of death that seems to provoke such rage in some people.
Despite what you think, yes it is that individual’s life and they can do with it whatever they like, including end it. As Andreas mentioned, the only qualifier I would have for that is people who have children that are dependent on them. I believe that no one asks to be born, so if you create children then you should care for them. But outside of that, a person should be allowed to end their life without being called a selfish coward by people like you.
Are you by any chance a preacher because this sure sounds like a sermon, with just about the same amount of argumentation and justification: zero or basically ‘because I say so’ (non-existent authority). Any death is a tragedy but what is especially tragic about suicide is that society makes it out to be a shameful act and forces people to be secretive about it because it is de facto forbidden (it’s no longer illegal, de jure, to commit suicide surely but you will get dragged off to a mental hospital for attempting, preparing or even thinking about it and being stupid enough to voice these thoughts to a goodie-two-shoes), if the right to a freely chosen death would be truly lawful and it would be illegal to try to stop you (bar risk to others or public disturbance) then people could talk it over with their loved-ones (without fear of betrayal and immoral use-of-force), reason with them and say goodbye so the devastation wouldn’t be so great.
People don’t usually end their lives for trivial reasons and a lot of unamendable pain and suffering must have preceded such a difficult decision so who are you, or anybody, to judge them? I very much doubt the sincerity or depth of your alleged acquaitance with being suicidal since anybody who has truly been in that kind of pain wouldn’t be so quick to judge or so vulgar and offensive in their articulation of it. To call suicide cowardly is stupid: the fear of death is generally thought to be the greatest fear any living being (let alone one with such a highly developed brain) can experience so how can conquering this fear ever be considered cowardly? The great historian Tacitus wrote: “Valour is the contempt of pain and death”. Suicide involves at least one of these and usually both. Wanting to save oneself extreme pain and suffering is not selfish but human and to demand such a grave sacrifice (expecting others to live no matter what the consequences to them) from anyone is only justified if you can garantee an effective cure or at least ease their pain significantly, otherwise it’s downright cruelty and selfishness on your part.
“You have an obligation to care more for your friends, family, and the community as a whole…” Says who? This is an unsubstantiated value-judgement and I for one strongly disagree with it: sure one doesn’t live alone and loyalty, kindness and respect towards others are appropriate attitudes but why would one have the moral obligation to sacrifice oneself for others? One can easily reverse the question: how could it be moral to expect someone else to suffer so you don’t have to? Isn’t that the ultimate form of selfishness? As far as I’m concerned one’s obligations towards others go as far as making sure there isn’t a feasible alternative to suicide but if there isn’t it’s your decision and yours alone whether or not to continue and for how long. Your term ‘sick mind’ is quite laughable since it’s not clear what would constitute a healthy mind and it’s a mere insult thinly veiled as a supposed statement-of-fact: insults do no equal sound arguments. In fact it’s an instance of the ad hominem fallacy. You’re obviously not very well placed to pronounce judgement on logic if you cannot avoid common fallacies in your own discours.
Even the much quoted statistic that the great majority of those who died by suicide are supposedly mentally ill is quite meaningless since there’s no test that could be done post-mortem to determine the presence of such an illness but then again there’s no real test for it when people are alive (psychological tests are nothing more than subjective interpretations of how well or poorly one corresponds to certain socio-cultural norms – which are by their nature unprovable just like religious or aesthetic statements- so it’s obvious there’s nothing objective or factual about them: a lab test on the other hand can reveal the presence of cancer or an infection in the body but never of depression or any other mental disorder for that matter) so how on earth could they state their number is derived from empirical research? Sounds more like propaganda than bona fide science to me but even if it was all objective and demonstrable what does it matter if a great number of people simply cannot be cured or even properly helped (effective pain-relief) by their medications and therapies? If psychiatry could actually gain a clear understanding of these supposed illnesses they (or maybe those in the neurosciences and psychofarmacology) could begin to develop actual evidence-based treatments and people would be all too happy to go to a shrink to get their problem fixed, I’m fairly sure (almost) nobody likes to suffer needlessly.
I am NOT advocating suicide. I just think a couple truths have to be confronted on the issue.
First, the ramifications of suicide have to be understood realistically. When someone commits suicide, the world does not end. The only thing that could matter as far as ramifications go would be that it distresses other living people. Of the people alive, the vast majority will not know the suicide was committed; of the people who know it was committed, the vast majority will not care; of the people that care, the vast majority will get on with life. They will put on the appropriate sad face and partake in the appropriate doxic ceremonies, say it’s a shame, they no doubt would have regretted the decision now, how horrible to lose such a wonderful person, etc. etc. But their actions belie the crocodile tears – their life doesn’t even hit a speedbump, and on we go. That leaves the few people who will be devastated by the suicide. That’s still a rather serious consideration, of course, but it varies from person to person: some people have no one who will be devastated if they died, and if I were to bullshit an average number, it seems to me that most people couldn’t have more than 10, if that. That’s plenty enough to stop someone from killing themselves, but, but, but, it may not be. Suicide is simply not the world-ending event it’s often made out to be.
Second, you have to look at what it is you’re actually giving up. Life – but life is many things to many people. To some, the idea of not wanting to live is so instinctually repugnant that they literally cannot understand suicide. I do not think that is hyperbole; I think they literally are incapable of grasping it.
What is life, and why is it valuable? Personally, I’m of the opinion that life isn’t great. That may be, and hopefully is, just an empirical contingency, and in some way, at some time, in a distant universe, there may one day be life that is great, that is worth living. However, that’s not the life we have now, so our only option is to cope with what we have. Ending life is one way of coping – not one that could be universally recommendable, but also not one that I can find a reason to condemn outright. Who am I to judge, or blame? Only the sheltered could do so ingenuously.
Life is a joke. The tragedy is that people feel the need to take such a radical move. If you’ve never felt suicidal, thank your lucky stars, you don’t choose suicide, it chooses you.
As we speak in sitting in the bathroom thinking of what to do with my life.. All I have done was a temporary fix or a “good decision” in attempts of bettering myself for the sake of my kids.. Today is my 28th birthday and even though I’m surrounded by family I STILL had to buy supper from McDonalds. Of all places.. My birthday is ruined by her.. Again.. Just like every day . God.. She’s not the problem.. Its this fucked up society where anyone who gives a fuck loses but the rich kid down the block lives a happy life..fuck this. Peace. I’m out
I don’t think that article is “outside the box” why?
Well you may be giving “good” reasons to kill yourself. Those are still reasons. And reasons/facts are part of life and I believe suicidal must be really disconnected from life.
It’s like saying: fine, I know the end, let’s stop there.
An egocentric move in my opinion.
As living beeing we have the chance to think twice. Some will think of it as a curse. I believe its a real chance.
I always contemplated suicide like someone both locking himself/herself in his/her mind and swallowing the key.
We are surrounded by people trying to make life a better environement to live in. Researches are always trying to go further.
I’d rather die naturally/from a disease and leave my body to science to help mankind than leaving my body hanging in a room almost screaming “ah, the reason of my suicide is stuck in a mind you no longer have an access too”
Thats the only thing that come to my mind when I think about people who committed it.
Can’t suicide bodies be used for science too?
In Victorian times in England instead of burying suicides they would send them to doctors for research.
Nobody is entitled to access to someone else’s mind.
I think people who commit sucide are cowards and the world is better without them. Anyone who is stupid, pathetic, weak and selfish enough to commit sucide deserves to die. It is better that these people not have children. Same goes for people with depression, like come on are you so pathetic that you need to claim to have a bs ilness and use it as a crutch to explain all your falts
You, Sir, are a simple-minded idiot who understands very little about people who are different than yourself. I suggest you refrain from commenting on the life experience of others that you are clearly incapable of comprehending.
To put it more plainly in words you will understand: You’re an asshole with shit for brains.
Suicide is the best thing since bestiality.
Well who cares what you think. I think you are pathetic for believing your shitty life is worth a fuck, you sir will accept the disgrace of old age and have no issue with people wiping your smelly ass. You will just hold onto life like it doesn’t end at some point. Better to go out with some grace.
Let’s encourage suicide. For some people is the only felt option. Enough of this ‘seek help’ stuff
How true! I went to over 30 so-called professionals and they used methods from the 19 century at best. I mean they have grown leaps and bounds with physical medicine, but when it comes to mental health they are at best, using 18th century methods. There is NO help for people who suffer from depression. Nor is there any compassion. I know I’m better off dead. My Husband died in my arms and I’m too ugly to date so I’d rather die and be with him than compete in the dating games.
Being alone isn’t bad either. There are so many good books to read.
One of the best articles I have read on suicide. I share the same view. We need more thinkers like this!
Thank you very much!
I also agree that the stigma in society about suicide is incorrect. Suicide is the ultimate freedom from a crappy life. I am a short man only 5 foot 6 inches. Therefore, I KNOW i will never have a good chance in the dating market since most females will not consider me for a long term relationship. Even in the workplace if I work hard and have the most education I will only get entry level jobs and not a management position because my stature is not very authoritative. The only reason I am still around is because I need to take care of my aging mother and grandmother. I have already traveled around the world and experienced what I wanted in life. Therefore, once my mother and grandmother passes away I might consider suicide as a logical choice. In my opinion no one should be forced to continue living a life that will be crappy and lonely for the next 60 years of their life. Great article by the way.
Awesome! I envy your traveling, some people commit suicide without have enjoyed life.. You are a genius!
I know this is an old post but just to be clear, what would you do better; kill yourself and no one would care? Or waste almost 50 to 60 years suffering from remembering your abusive past and might as well travel all around the world seeing how destroyed it is and either decide to yourself, should I or should I not? This is probably common but I’ve been bullied since i was in Pre K till highschool. I think some people are my friends but when I make one wrong move they all turn they’re backs on me and make me the victim. I try to make it right a few days later but they see me still dwelling on the past and say that I’m butthurt. I tried killing myself when I was at the age of 11 but I got caught and had a 2 hours talk about it. I’ve been suffering a long 5 years wanting my parents to regret not letting me hang myself that night.I really want an easy way out and quick but I don’t want it to be that painful knowing that I’m a bitch that might back out as soon as i start doing what I’m doing.But back to suicide, just do it already that suffer more days or maybe years with burdens of your past.
I’m in unbearable emotional and physical pain I suffer from a few physiological disorders too. I have been suicidal since I was 9 years old ,I’ve come to a certain mind state were I believe death is a positive thing , we all live to die. I’m very religious ,I believe that God forgives all ,and that this life is sort of like a learning stage for the next. In heaven it’s eternal paradise and pure love on earth you have pros and cons , I think of it this way if you got offered 10$ for something and someone else offered you a million for it ,wich would you take . In my own opinion that’s how I view life and death why not skip this stage and go to the better one any great thing you experience here is going to be so much better that the minds we have now cannot comprehend. Even if you don’t believe God why not believe in the chance that if you believe in something hard enough it becomes real like with people who believe in positive and negative energy effecting their life’s and making their thoughts become a reality. On the other hand I cant remember when Before I was born and I like that I was non existing sounds awesome not a care not a thought. These are just my opinions on how I view life you can argue you you can call me down but really we all have free will in the end ,your opinions might be polar opposites of mine but that still doesn’t effect me either I know I could live on and eventually find a way to be happy but even when and if I do get there eternal paradise still sounds better to me. If we are suppose to consider everyone as equals than why not let others have their wishes, and focus on our own? I think that anyone who takes the time to set their heart out to do something and accomplishes it is a true hero in their own way it’s completing ones own prospective of purpose and self determination in what they Truley want . If people understood each other more than right away nit picking others opinions, motives, and choices and less mis communication than maybey we could all look past stuff like that and evolve into a race that truley
Loves and respects each other just as God intended, and I also think that why should people hate the person that committed suicide we will all meet someday in the afterlife were time does not exist. It’s not like you’ve lost the person forever and ever. God put us here to give us a choice would we like to accept his love or to perish because in the afterlife everything is more real and we become all knowing so a decision like that is kind of irrelivent but here on earth our chance to have free will why not live and die like you want when in the end you know hoe were all going to end up anyways. I love the article it put a smile on my face wich is rare, it gave me a little sense of self justification. I’ve been planning mine for a long long time now but I want it to be perfect and no mistakes so I don’t end up stuck here in this lower class form of existing , even if I am sounding selfish it’s just my beliefs and I wouldn’t dare to questions yours, because there not mine so why should I care when it doesn’t effect me in a single way. As for murderers and rapists ect. god still forgives them that’s why Jesus died on the cross for us but as for the life’s they destroy after those people die and go to heaven gods love is so great that the pain and suffering God will take and replace with love even on earth there have been heartfelt cases of mercy. People who can’t own up to their own sins and ask for mercy will suffer eternal torment where time is endless forever viewing heaven out of the reach with no rest from the unimaginable pain , I pray and feel sorry for anyone who can’t do something as simple as accepting love into their hearts. God is love , love is God surrender to him and all shall be forgiven and you can meet your existence’s purpose of serving the one who made youor whatever it may be. Even the people who don’t want to exsist will open their eyes when they realize the glory of God. I would agree that I am preaching like a mofo but I just wanted to leave my opinion on somewere even if no one ever reads because i know I’d never say this to anyone in person without getting a black eye for expressing my opinion a little over the top. I hope you all have fulfilling wonderfull life’s and even if you don’t you will still get the peace everyone of us deserves so long as you believe. I am 19 years of age and and a female, a lot of you are probably going to say I don’t have a right to think like this at so young of a age but it makes me happy and satisfied to view life this way, and of course none of you know my life story so you can’t really understand my side entirely. . I never get to talk to people and I’ve never been brave enough to post a comment like this but it’s anonymous so it’s managable. Thanks for taking the time to read this if you happen to stumble across this and sit through the whole thing. God bless you all ,everyone deserves what they believe to be happiness.
* lol didn’t mean to type hoe too much typing. 0.0
This article is awesome, is exactly what I think about suicide.. All the people calling selfish are idiots.. Suicide is not a bad thing indeed is beautiful, and the pain that the family get is the same pain of any kind of dead.. Stop the drama we are here in this world without any clue about what is it all about.. Some people have big issues and disorders and normal happy people could +never understand a suicide because they never have a dude life of the suicide people… The biggest question is not why commit suicide? but, why you have waited so much time?
Pingback: How people found my blog | The Happy Hermit
Pingback: The Psychological Continuity Account | The Happy Hermit
Pingback: May we celebrate somebody’s death? | The Happy Hermit
Pingback: The Self-Ownership Thesis | The Happy Hermit
Pingback: Wedding: The most beautiful day of your life? | The Happy Hermit
Pingback: Loneliness doesn’t kill, people do. | The Happy Hermit
I have been thinking of suicide for 2 months. I am between a dark past and a darker future. I am done with everything. It is not a selfish act because people who do not understand my pain are selfish. besides, I have nobody who is being sad for my death. Good for me..
Absolutely. Other people who want to keep you alive for their own purposes or because they don’t understand you, they are selfish.
Now, I don’t want to be my article misunderstood to propagate suicide as an option which should be taken lightly. I don’t know what your “darker future” is, but in my darkest hours, I have compared my lot to those who are really bad off, with terrible and painful diseases for example, and I have always managed to pull through. Maybe that’s worth a thought.
But then, as I wrote, the good thing about a successful suicide is that you won’t have second thoughts.
Whatever you will do, respect for your decision and for your openness!
I am a practicing psychiatrist who has spent the last 35 years trying to prevent people from committing suicide (among other clinical pursuits) so of course my opinion is tainted by what I do. This is not just some hypothetical scenario *for me.* It’s what I actually do, daily.
The vast majority of people who attempt suicide and get rescued (that is, are not allowed to die) or fail in their attempt (like in a botched attempt that doesn’t kill them) come to change their minds in the future and to feel grateful for having been saved (or for having survived).
Whether or not an individual has a *right* to do it depends exclusively on a societal judgment. In certain societies euthanasia is allowed; in others it is banned. “Rights” are conventions. I don’t think they are inherent to someone. I think they are *granted* by the societal organization that precedes and succeeds that someone (a society is larger and more enduring than an individual). In my view, it’s as simple as that. There is no real self-determination in society. If the society in which one lives grants a person this right, then he or she has this right. If it doesn’t grant it, then one doesn’t, in the views of that society, and that society would be justified in trying to stop the person. Of course one most likely would still do it. I find, in my practice, that people who are really adamant that they want to die (that minority of those who don’t change their minds), end up doing it regardless of the help they get. They always find a way. You can’t put them on suicide watch forever, so eventually they’ll do it.
But our effort as psychiatrists is to try to avoid it, exactly to give that person the opportunity to change her or his mind, which most of them do. All this self-determination, apparently ethical stance of respect for the person’s autonomy, is actually in my opinion a form of neglect. The decent and humane thing to do given the fact that most suicidal people change their minds, is to step in and avoid the event as much as possible. Failure to intervene would be neglectful, just like if you see a blind person walking towards a cliff, you wouldn’t just cross your arms and say “oh well, he has the right to walk in whatever direction he chooses” — that would be grossly neglectful. You’d step in and prevent the fatal fall from the cliff.
Now, you’d say, but if the person is really determined and is one of those who won’t change their minds about it, it’s a violence done to them. Sure, sure…. But the number of people who are what we could call victims of this violence is *far* outnumbered by the number of people who change their minds, therefore it is also ethically defensible, in the name of the larger good, to intervene. Just like rights are relative, ethics are also relative since they have conflicting approaches. There is the ethic of personal autonomy, but there is also the ethic of the larger good. Traditionally, in Western thinking, the latter outweighs the former.
This is why I *am* in favor of forceful suicide watch to prevent someone from committing suicide, and most states have ruled that attempts to harm oneself are grounds for involuntary civil commitment.
I am thankful for your professional insight!
I don’t doubt that the majority of those who survive are happy that they survive. But the point of my article was that those who succeed can be certain to never regret that decision. (I don’t believe in second lives, particularly not those with a capability to reflect on first lives.)
Regarding the issue of a “right to suicide”, I would differ. Although I am a lawyer, my article is a philosophical one. Or in the context of a legal discussion, it could be seen as a proposal for legislation.
I do think that there are certain rights which exist without society accepting them. In fact, they also exist if society denies them, it just leads to a conflict in that case.
I don’t see why society would have a stronger right than an individual about a decision which doesn’t affect society as much as it dies the individual. And where does society take its rights from? If you argue that individuals don’t have inherent rights (which I think is not even a view espoused by legal positivists any longer, except in completely totalitarian states), why would a society?
And even in a society, there are things which are none of society’s business. Ending one’s own life is one of the more personal decisions, I would argue. In that case, we don’t get to the point where we weigh autonomy against the “greater” good”, although I also fail to see a greater good in keeping people alive against their will. There are 7 billion people in the world, so it’s no like we are lacking people. And you can’t force anyone to be a “productive” member of society anyway.
Interestingly, in debates about euthanasia (which is not the main focus of my article), the “greater good” is usually invoked by proponents of euthanasia, citing the expenses of keeping people alive who don’t make a tangible contribution to society.
It seems to me that your “greater good” argument is not a financial one, but one with the goal of keeping as many people alive as possible. I would ask (1) why that should be good, (2) who gives society the right to decide this for 100% of the population instead of accepting that different ideas can live in one society, and (3) why it is the obligation of A to stay alive against his will because B wants to keep C alive?
Thank you for your reply. I do not take suicide lightly. So far, I did not do that because I do not want to traumatize my depressed daughter, as nobody else is around. My husband says our marriage is over, I can not take it anymore. maybe some people laugh at me, but nobody is in my situation.
Life without marriage is not necessarily bad. Freedom!
Freedom you say? My wonderful Husband died in my arms. I don’t feel free, I want to join him!
You cannot join dead people. Even if you die.
Andreas, how can you be so sure there is nothing after we die? You replied to this woman who said she wants to join her husband once she dies, and you just said that won’t happen. I am not saying it will or will not, but How can you be SO sure? Could you explain me, please?
Because we don’t have any physical functions left to experience or perceive anything after we die. It’s over. We are not there anymore once the heart ain’t pumpin’ no more.
Regarding the psychiatrist’s opinion above, I am one of “those” who survived serious suicide attempts. I do not regret any of the “attempts”. I severely regret the lack of completion. You don’t know the traumas and tragedies that have happened in my life. From birth. All the light-hearted sayings like, “thank God you survived” or “you survived for a reason” or “it can only get better” and countless others are said by well-meaning people that will want nothing more to do with you. Including family and life-long friends. I don’t have a criminal bone in my body. I am and have been deeply spiritual for many years. I have an artistic gift/curse that has made me an outcast most of my life. I held good jobs for years. I am the only sober person (and only male) in a fatherless family of alcoholic Catholics. I am also the youngest. I was and always have been the victim of severe abuse. I have had decades of therapy. Been on various meds. Am well-versed in holistic remedies, psychology, all forms of spirituality, etc.
At this point in my life, due to losing everything I own, no money, no insurance, no support of any kind, unbearable pain for which there is no cure, terminal illness, etc. I have no hope. I do not want to live. All hope was lost long ago. I only kept on “for the others”. Well, I’m sorry. Read up on the negative experiences regarding suicide hotlines, 5150s, 911 dispatches, psychiatric torture and abuse, dangerous misdiagnosis, the list goes on.
I am abandoned. Wish I’d never sought psychiatric help in the first place. No money. No help. I could go on and on. I will no longer have phone in a few days. Years of reaching out only to be betrayed. No.
There is a the saying, “Fate is worse than death”. I am one of those that this applies to. Like David Foster Wallace explained it. “Like jumping out of a burning building.” My situation is rapidly deteriorating. To be locked up when I have (and never have) committed no crime is inhumane. I have had several years of self-examination and serious praying, meditation, soul-seeking, etc. I am clean with my God. I believe my situation will be forgiven.
I used to be a kind, charitable, compassionate soul. I’ve always been too sensitive for this world. Or at least the world I was brought up in. My work has long been done.
The only reasons (anymore) that I’ve made it this far is that I cannot afford to fail once more. Or get caught. I have no children. Obviously no significant other. Family hates me. Abandoned by all. Because of all the psychiatric “help”, abuse, side effects from meds (and they ALL have them. At least for me in my delicate state) I live and have been living in sheer terror every waking hour for a long, long time.
Yes. THAT bad. There are some of us out there. When all options have been exhausted and all resources have been depleted. And you KNOW you’ve got one last shot.
I know it’s natural instinct to try to “save” someone. I’ve saved many myself. And I would never do a “pact” nor intentionally create a spectacle or harm another human being nor property.
Thank you for reading. There are those out there (and I’m not condoning, just venting) for whom suicide is both the most humane and sanest option to the alternative. Unfortunately I do not live in Europe. No means. No nothing. Just a soul and a lifetime of pain and suffering I would not wish on anyone. It’s a wonder I could even write this.
This article is very awkward but it’s what I need
If you call more of my articles awkward, you don’t need to kill yourself anymore because I will come after you. :P
I hope you don’t mind this slightly off topic question about intellectuality and suicide.
Let me clarify what I mean by ‘intellectually slow person’. Obviously I am not referring to the person who meets the criteria for an Intellectual Disability (also called mental retardation)…. I am talking about the person who has the ability to learn necessary academic skills, but at a rate and depth BELOW average same age peers. In order to grasp new concepts, this person needs more time, more repetition, and often more resources from teachers to be successful. Typically, this person has great difficulty with new and complex reasoning which makes new concepts difficult to learn.
Slow learners tend to perform at their ability level which is below average. These individuals are prone to much anxiety and low self image which goes unnoticed by many in society. They often feel ‘stupid’ and begin hating school at an early age. Day-to-day academic life can be very draining and yet many somehow manage to make it through the system and through high school (in the United States).
The psychologist and intelligence researcher Linda Gottfredson wrote a good piece titled Why g Matters: The Complexity of Everyday Life. An excerpt:
“Life is replete with uncertainty, change, confusion, and misinformation, sometimes minor and at times massive. From birth to death, life continually requires us to master abstractions, solve problems, draw inferences, and make judgments on the basis of inadequate information. Such demands may be especially intense in school, but they hardly cease when one walks out the school door…”
Can you sympathize with a person who says that one of their major reasons for contemplating suicide often (besides exhaustion and personal failure) is that they just don’t feel competent to handle the mental demands of life.
the main point of my article is that A has no right to judge B’s reasons for suicide and that B is completely free in his decisions.
Having said that, I would suggest that slow is not necessarily bad. It can also mean more thoughtful and more cautious. You can take some of the hectic out of contemporary life.
I am late to this discussion and must reject most of what is said in your OP.
You might think suicide would be an option, but most great philosophers, council against it, seeing suicide as “a form of aggression and quite specifically an assertion of self-will.”
In suicide there is NO escape from suffering, but the aggravation of it, as the suicide must anxiously will him or herself to commit the act in the first place. And once dead, the will that was manifest in the body is reunited with the primal, universal will once more to become objectified to suffer yet again.
The only real escape comes through turning against the will to life through asceticism. In this, a person ceases to desire altogether, and like in Buddhism and Hinduism, becomes reconciled with the impermanent nature of the universe. But this cannot be accomplished through willing it to be. The will to life must evaporate through an understanding of the ultimate nothingness of our world. When we come to realize that no-thing is ultimately real or important, then the chains that bind us are slackened and we find ourselves melting away into the buzzing backdrop that is the universe, feeling no separation, no distinction between ourselves and all the other manifestations that arise out of the noumena. We realize that everything is, at its foundation, one. Once this is understood, then there is no need for further painful striving.
No. When you’re dead, it’s over. And your bla bla doesn’t help anyone as much as a bullet does.
>”No. When you’re dead, it’s over. And your bla bla doesn’t help anyone as much as a bullet does.”
No, this is wrong.
Suicide changes nothing. You will always have already suffered and killing yourself entails that you will never even experience a future without suffering since experiencing ceases when you cease. Life isn’t the affliction, it’s ‘life with suffering’ that afflicts the individual (every one); therefore, the problem is how to minimize suffering. Eliminating life in order to eliminate suffering futilely attempts to “save the village by destroying the village” (or killing the patient in order to cure the patient), that is, doesn’t solve — even address — the problem at all.
I am worried that your ramblings will cause more suicides than my article.
I am addressing my comment to the psychiatrist Clare57 above.
It amazes me that conversations about whether people have a “right” to commit suicide persist. It’s really not a matter of whether people ought to have a right, unless we mean by this a formal legal permission to act. The question that ought to be asked is whether there are *sufficient* resources to alleviate suffering people’s pain so much that *they* (not those of us judging from the outside) would want to continue living. There’s a deeper question of self ownership, but the immediately salient question is whether we realistically have the resources to take others’ pain away reliably and sufficiently. If we don’t then we have no business preventing others from
doing what they feel they must to end their suffering.
It’s stunning that so many in the lay and professionals assume that the medical, public health, and community (not to mention the financial…) resources as they exist are enough to address suffering globally that we, arrogantly, can dismiss others’ evaluation of their own moment-by-moment existence. Suicide hotlines, as recently reported on in the news in a large scandal of state veterans suicide prevention hotline workers’ wholesale abandonment of their responsibilities, are very often overstaffed by *volunteers.* They’re overworked and uncompensated (financially), and as a result they often can’t or are disinclined to help. Nor is it any guarantee that mere words, concepts can cure what ails someone suffering.
Doctors and psychologists do not in fact understand precisely what causes depression. There are associations among biological and social variables, but no precise cause-effect relationship. Depression may even be a natural response to certain experiences one cannot control, and genetics reveal there’s a mood “set-point” that may predispose some to becoming depressed.
Predilection to certain moods may be a matter of variation. Consequently, the therapies–drug, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT — may work well enough for some, but can’t guarantee relief for sufferers in general. Worse, it’s anathema just to admit this in professional circles that have reputations and financial investments to protect, creating a significant intellectual and social bias on a subject we all should own, share in talking about.
And just to mention one more area in which assumed resources may be sorely lacking, community members–family, coworkers, employers, acquaintances–are under no obligation to be understanding or supportive. Many deeply depressed human beings are abandoned for being “burdens” to others–the same others who, ironically, then refuse to allow these burdensome individuals the dignity of choosing a way out of life and suffering. Add to this the financial pressures inherent in surviving in a capitalist culture that asserts no one has a “right” to a job or general entitlement to money, which is a prerequisite of modern survival; and the additional challenges *different* people may face–minorities, those judged aesthetically unappealing, older citizens, etc–and the mere practicalities of surviving become more and more challenging even without factoring in the emotional elements of surviving. That the rest of us “do it” shouldn’t be a mandate for every other human.
If we cannot take others’ pain away, then it is cruel and presumptuous of us to demand they stay alive.
Also a pattern I’ve seen is people questioning whether they even want to stay in Today’s society because of how different (not like socially awkward) they are. In their thinking about life and if it is valued to the same degree. The pursuit of knowledge should go before any decision. Because if you really do Need help get it. But if all other resources don’t work…. Then why not graduate life early
I really like your expression “to graduate early”!
I have to first apologize to Andreas and readers in general for the length of my comment. But, I have to respond to “Clare57”, the psychiatrist’s comment above.
I do not believe most reasonable adults who pose the question of whether an individual should have a “right” to die (a) are unaware that rights are granted us by our governments (this is
immediately obvious from surveying how easily many rights are suspended), or (b) are referencing legal rights. I believe we mean “rights” as a proxy for personal freedoms. And, indeed, individuals are free to end our lives, to the extent that our evolved instincts and our ability to arrange circumstances permit. When most speak, outside of the recent movements across the globe t establish formal legal protections for end-of-life decisions, of rights to die, it’s arguable they mean the freedom to choose to die without being constrained emotionally, legally, medically, and socially. I disagree that such a right is at all societally conferred. I am certain humans have committed suicide in all sorts of social systems across the span of our species’ many cultures, regardless what such cultures “permitted.”
I also disagree that a society is justified in attempting to stop one who, say, attempts to end her/his life because that society hasn’t “granted” such a right. Having the power to do something doesn’t equate to being justified in doing it. Ultimately, evaluative justifications depend on moral perspectives, which lack objectivity. At the root, society’s so-called justifications are feelings and biases, not facts, and not right or wrong.
I am not trying to be argumentative, but for a similar reason, I challenge the assertion that society is larger than an individual. Yes, obviously society is greater in mass and other physical characteristics than a sole human being. However, society’s will, prejudices, and conventions needn’t supersede the judgements and decisions of any of its individuals. Many “right” ideas issued from individuals who held radically different ideas from those common in their cultures. Here I’m thinking in particular of new ways of seeing the world in the natural sciences–ideas that empiricism, often centuries after the ideas’ authors’ deaths, eventually demonstrated to be
true. Where it seems that society’s valued ideas are greater than ideas or beliefs of individuals, I’d offer that if this cannot be objectively shown to be true then perhaps the sorts of things under consideration don’t exist in fact outside the realm of human imagination or desire, such that enough people believing these things to be true or good or right are able to create
the illusion of truth or goodness or rightness.
I agree with you that patients who are determined to end their lives are significantly more likely to do so. And I believe you that there are many patients who seriously attempted suicide but who were interrupted and who subsequently are thankful for having failed in their attempts. However, I do not think the latter fact is a sufficient justification for wholesale usurpation of individual freedom to decide. There are many choices that the majority would judge to be wrong and which others who chose differently later express gratitude for not having made–dropping out of school, marrying/not marrying someone… Few today seriously believe that even if the rest of us feel we know what is right in a given situation we should be entitled to decide for another adult simply because others appear statistically to regret making a particular class of choices. If we are free (in that we value the ability to make our own personal life choices to the extent possible) then even choices considered to be horrible “mistakes” ought to be ours to make.
I suspect, further, that you realize the reasoning flaw in the psychiatrist’s common argument that most of her/his patients feel a certain way and therefore public policy ought to be X. You cannot infer from the characteristics of a general selection of patients what is true in a population (selection bias…). For one thing, your patients are not a random selection from the population. For another, even attempting randomization is likely to miss the population of suicidal individuals who don’t seek medical care, and further, the population who don’t seek medical care and complete suicide. We could add to these those who have received care, expressed gratitude for not having committed suicide, but whose perceptions are then lost to distant follow-up. Together these, minimally, distort assumption about will to die.
As for the assertion that “failure to intervene would be neglectful,” I find it stunning that our culture feels, ostensibly, obliged to intervene when someone is at the threshold of death, but not at the innumerable moments of significant stress leading up to the decision to end life. If we cannot provide people means to derive what they need out of life, or cannot provide them guaranteed ways to cope with their frustrations and pains, then it is arguable that it is neglectful to force them to live lives they do not value.
Yes, some come to value lives they once did not. I don’t know whether those much-touted success stories reflect accurately the way such individuals feel over time. Several medical teams have demonstrated that humans who suffer tremendous daily stress due to characteristics like gender, race, age….prevalently deny experiencing emotional stresses despite real-time physiological manifestations of these stresses when measured throughout the day over long periods of time. In several such studies when researchers reconvened some of their earlier research subjects, these latter confessed that they’d lied on earlier assessments. Claiming X does not mean X is true, and there are reasons people may make inaccurate claims on self assessments after a key even (reporting bias). In any case, many of us don’t feel that others changing their minds about something is sufficient justification for denying the rest of us the freedom to make the decision ourselves.
You wrote, about your cliff analogy, “But the number of people who are what we could call victims of this violence is *far* outnumbered by the number of people who change their minds, therefore it is also ethically defensible, in the name of the larger good, to intervene.” I wholly disagree. That the majority of a population is heterosexual and wishes to enforce a heterosexual model of human interactions doesn’t justify forcing non-heterosexuals to conform to society’s dictates. The concept of “the larger good” does not justify forcing individuals to change their private decisions. There is no ethical defense here because, as you say, ethics are relative. Rather, there is a rationalization concretized by the physical power of the majority. The majority can restrain and force others to act in a certain way. That’s all that’s happening here.
You are right that currently voicing a will to harm oneself entitles the state and psychological professionals to remove one’s freedoms, to physically restrain one, to force one to undergo “treatments” one does not want. These were once legitimate treatments for homosexuals, too. Society evolved in our assessment of what is appropriate in this sense. I’m confident we are in the process of evolving on the issue of adults’ freedoms to choose to remain alive or not, as demonstrated by more and more polls in the US and abroad showing growing populations favoring individuals’ rights to decide on life/death. In the meantime, people who are serious about not wanting to remain alive and who are well enough read to be aware of arguments like yours AND the threat of the loss of personal freedom are likely not to express feelings or thoughts that are likely to catalyze their commitment.
It’s fascinating that given all human history has taught us about the problems inherent in some adults deciding how other adults should live (or not) their private lives, we in the 21st century are still building arguments to justify doing the same.
yeah when the loneliness abandonment homelessness joblessness feeling worthless divorced after 26 years losing a 20-year career being fired it’s a right-to-work state you work at the pleasure of your employer. to lose a $300,000 house given to me by judge..gave back to her not to displace my kids so i was homeless in my truck. separated from your kids when all you tried to do was protect them and make a better life and your spouse abandons you and them to engage and enjoy life with other people when her responsibilities are totally neglected by a family rotten job health issues basically no friends they all moved away from where I live Florida because they can’t stand it .Florida is a very hostile nasty place to live I can’t afford to move my kids don’t talk to me I don’t get to see my grandkids they all live about 3 miles away it’s always I’m busy that I’m busy and some excuse or there’s an emotional rants and pity parties i engage best i can postive in I’ve done all I can to be a good father and a husband but everything seems to get turned around somehow just like the judge told me she ordered me the house because my ex cannot cohabitate till the divorce is over and I give house back to them because I didn’t want to displace my children so I ended up homeless and 17 family members of hers turn their back on me after knowing them for 30 years and my brother and sister have nothing to do with me in Canada because I feel they feel we were abandoned as kids and they have some issues…so its on me ?? but I don’t know why they’re putting them on me or can I have some kind of dialogue with me I tried everything possible a man can do to engage and have some positive and happy times with my family and it all just gets pissed away so what do I look for I work bust my ass ride a scooter there by the scooter back torrential rains living a little trailer room. where’s its the dark light its existence and I’m sick of it so I feel I have a right to do what I want to do to get out of this situation and if suicide is the answer which it seems like it is to me that’s fine because I really don’t think people really would care what happens to me and like most people or almost everybody that dies is pretty much forgotten about it after a while and also like the article said we’re all going to die one day I’m dealing with this for 9 years now not even allowed to my ex-wife’s house after pissing if I have to go the bathroom in the backyard never allowed in the house to go to the bathroom treated like a dog …my.dr. said that that is abomination to treat her husband for 28 years she tells me to use the backyard. As toilet when i came to vist kids. ..a disgrace and a form of trying to suck the dignity out of someone…i am tired fed uo and at end
The suicidal person should pause for a moment and realize that, while committing suicide may seem an act of defiance, of liberation, even of revenge against family members or the world, it has consequences that are not transient or joyful at all. The consequences are permanent and dire. And they can reverberate over the generations.
That is why we must fight suicidal despair with wisdom.
We must look at the long-term consequences for our families and, if you believe in such things, for our souls. Let me turn to Hamlet, as we all should in these moments. In the “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy, he speaks of the “undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others we know not of.”
That soliloquy is not and never has been strictly about suicide. It and Hamlet himself cannot be reduced to anything, a stance with which Harold Bloom, author of Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, would concur.
Like mental illness, like suicide, Hamlet, the most paradoxical character ever written, cannot be figured out, certainly not in any simplistic fashion. He is ever expansive, like the brain and the soul, which we will never be able to chart conclusively.
They will always defy reductive explanations, for the brain and the soul cannot be mapped like geographic territories. They remain, at least, in part, “undiscovered countries,” ghosts in the machine.
But they present us with an infinite variety of opportunities to heal and thrive, none more so than our ability to harness our free will, a fierce love, and put ourselves in safe environments.
If we do those things and maybe get a little lucky, we can subdue our depression, psychosis and suicidal ideation.
As Hamlet says, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, roughhew them how we will.”
There are no souls.
I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt that you mean to be
helpful. However, what you offer above is a point of view, something most
adults realize doesn’t constitute knowledge that’s generalizable to what
others ought to feel or think.
I don’t think I’m alone in doubting “wisdom.” There are objective facts and
knowledge–the best way to build an engine given the materials you have, or
the most effective ways to prevent communicable diseases… And then there
are opinions that may converge into cultural values–how to build a happy
marriage, how to manage relationships between/among generations. You are
addressing the latter category of human knowledge: subjective, value-based
judgments. Biology, including cognitive sciences (quite distinct from
psychology as a general discipline), tells us about the type of animal humans
are. However, there is no objectivity underneath the claims you’ve made, and
hence no sufficiently strong reason your perspective ought to be superimposed
on, or wholly displace, the perspectives of others who feel differently from
you. I am of the same opinion regarding the very, very, very many value
judgments, as opposed to objective knowledge, psychology as a discipline
tends to make.
There is no evidence of a soul–and many reasons to doubt that if such a
thing existed it would have anything to do with human moralizing. Hamlet,
while an entertaining piece of literature, is fictional. Just as there are no
ghosts, that we know of (where are the insect ghosts or dinosaur ghosts? Why
would only one particular species–or the species we like–have souls/become
ghosts?), there is no verifiable objective knowledge in the attractive words
and imagery in Hamlet.
I’m not trying to be rude or disrespectful, but so long as people CAN
consider suicide and CAN commit suicide, many will seek out suicide if they
evaluate their own lives as sufficiently painful or valueless. And no amount
of reveling in religion or philosophy or the arts or the values psychologists
judge to be “right” will prevent people from doing what they reason is in
their best interests. History is replete with evidence to this effect.
On a separate note, from your comment I got the sense you had yourself
experienced suicidal thoughts. Pardon me if I’m wrong. If I’m right, I’m
happy for you that you’ve found a way to bring value to your life once more.
And thank you for reiterating for me that having experienced suicidal
ideation is not enough to guarantee either sensitivity towards or insight
into what other suicidal humans are struggling with. Each human being
considering ending her/his own life is, in this sense, on his/her own. But
reading or hearing insensitive, ineffectual advice for many only augments
feelings of deep alienation, leading to even greater depression.
I’m very, very disappointed that the analysis you’ve provided above is the
counsel you have to offer the suicidal.
Well what are you waiting for why not take your very own advise?
It’s on my to-do list.
I think whoever wants to end their life should feel free to do so. No man has the right to judge another man. Because you grew up with a “white picket fence” life you have the right to call others “pussies, irresponsible, quitters” It’s not your life. It doesn’t concern you, go fuck yourselves.
Yes. No one thinks of the pain the individual goes through in continuing to exist just so others don’t feel bad.
Pingback: Tagesnotizen | Der reisende Reporter
Pingback: Thoughts of the Day | The Happy Hermit
I must say that I have often regretted not committing suicide. I first thought about it more than thirty years ago. I have lived in a hell of depression for thirty years because I didn’t do what I felt was right then. People misunderstand the story of Pandora’s box. Hope was the nastiest thing in it, because it encourages us to go on when we should just say, I’ve had enough. Too many bad things have happened. It will never change for the better. It hasn’t for me. Wish I’d caught the ‘bus all those years ago.
Suicide is an age-old problem, one that is unlikely to be solved with any individual policy changes or technological innovations. The causes, conditions, and means of suicide are too diverse, and the problem too widespread, to imagine that we will ever prevent this problem.
Let me just say that many humans are naturally biased to think that being alive is better than being dead. To some, the idea of not wanting to live is so instinctually repugnant that they literally cannot understand suicide. I do not think that is hyperbole; I think they literally are incapable of grasping it.
What is life, and why is it valuable? Personally, I’m of the opinion that life isn’t great. That may be, and hopefully is, just an empirical contingency, and in some way, at some time, in a distant universe, there may one day be life that is great, that is worth living. However, that’s not the life we have now, so our only option is to cope with what we have. Ending life is one way of coping — not one that could be universally recommendable, but also not one that I can find a reason to condemn outright. Who am I to judge, or blame? Only the sheltered could do so ingenuously.
Some people have genetics and life experiences which make living life a wonderful thing. For others though the reality of life is much sadder and many wish that they were never born. It is unethical to force someone to stay alive who never had a choice on whether to be born or not and who does not want to live. I believe that we should make assisted suicide accessible for people who do not want to live.
Life is a personal responsibility and not everyone is able (or cut out) to cope with the pressures of this difficult life.
when you go looking for sites about suicide… because you feel like doing it and people just tell you how bad you are even more…. thanks :( … i guess :/
aha go fuck yourself cunt, tie the noose or whatever and get it over with. we dont need people like you anyway
“What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears”
There should be a place like Disney, but instead of being a victim of consumerism, people will have the time of their life and eat well, then die peacefully. I will go to that place. I have contemplated suicide. I feel sad for so many terrible things that happen in this world. I don’t wanna be part of this failed society. I don’t like this world: humans are too mean, even though there so many good people. Things won’t change, and I believe we are few year away until the WWIII will start to develop. So much suffering and still we think that we should stay alive, and have a happy life for ourselves. What about the rest? We are really selfish. Of course, I ALSO believe that I will do more if I stay alive. Like helping those living begins that suffer and need for us to do something. I am doing it, I am helping, but I wish I could do more. More, like getting rid off those cruel people, and persuading those who are not bad, but still do nothing to fight evil. Well, I guess you get my point. I will stay alive even though I don’t like living in this world. Bye people, and enjoy criticizing me, or ignoring me, or supporting me, or whatever. Be happy, and I hope you can make other’s life happy as well.
The love of my life committed suicide 6 weeks ago. I’m beyond devastated. There were no signs at all, he just called me one day to say goodbye and that was it.
BUT I could never hate him or resent him, I have nothing but pure love for him.
Life wasn’t kind to him since he was a small child. It hasn’t been so kind to me either. I would much rather be where he is than where I am but I don’t have the guts to do it.
I read a comment below of hatred for their relative for committing suicide 7 years ago. I can’t imagine anyone hating someone for taking their life, no matter what the reason is. It’s sad you feel that way towards him. Human beings can be so nasty and are usually the main reason why people want to escape this world. Have love in your heart for him, he gave up his life for a reason.
Very beautifully said, thank you!
I love this article. Everything you said is really true and I agree. I’ve been planning my suicide for a while now. I just simply don’t want to be here. Why should I have to force myself to suffer hahaha? I’m not depressed really I’m just very realistic. My eyes are very open unlike others. I don’t have the courage yet, but one day it will come. Nothing is wrong with suicide. 😊👋🏽
Whatever your ultimate decision is on the matter, I wish you the best. Whatever choice you make, may you have the strength to go through with it.
Makes total sense to me.
David Benatar’s next book titled “The Human Predicament” [Oxford University Press] will be coming out next year in June.
“What thinking person doesn’t care about the (possible) meaning and quality of life, the nature and disvalue of death, and the option of suicide? David Benatar addresses these and other engaging and important topics in this well-argued book. The quality of the writing is about as high as any philosophy I can remember reading: short, clear sentences, with not a word wasted or misplaced. I do not see the human predicament as pessimistically as David Benatar does; but I found myself disagreeing less than I expected to — for example, in his sensitive and probing discussion of suicide”
I love this. Thank you for writing about it. They always say that the truth will set you free, but in my experience it hasn’t been the case. As a sociology major, and as someone who likes to be aware of all the things that happen around me, it is quite terrifying the kind of world we live in. I am almost certain there is more bad than good; and it is my decision if I choose to stick around for it or not. Suicide shouldn’t always be connected with suffering or feeling depressed. I’m not suffering or feel alone and I think suicide wouldn’t be such a bad thing because I would leave a world that is most definitely not something I want to be apart of. Now I’m not saying I will commit suicide, but I am agreeing that it shouldn’t have such a negative stigma.
Pingback: President Busch is dead | The Happy Hermit
Your thoughts hold some resonance for me re the social stigma about suicide and also how readily we can take it personally. Interesting that you have not included the possibility of mental illness e. g. voices telling someone to do it or the temporary hopelessness people can feel when rock bottom with self esteem. Or religious conditioning seeing it as a noble act as in suicide bombing. I find folks can hold remorse when I have communicated with folks who have passed over. However it always feels like a good choice at the time and in the big picture an irrevocable act of “free” will…knowing free will has blinkers on due to psychological issues. I still think it is refreshing to read your viewpoint.
Great write up. Opposition to the self serving ‘suicide is selfish’ narative needed, desperately, a balancing alternative viewpoint.
I completely loved this statement, and the intent. I am now completely ready to die, and at peace with this decision. I simply… do not want to be here. Sure, there are reasons and logic, arguments and the like. But, my gut, and my heart, tells me it is time for me to move on from here. The universe will go on, people will go on, and it is selfish of people to expect, nay DEMAND I stay. When I have already checked out of the hotel I never had a choice of staying in to begin with.
I believe this world is not for me, and have for a long time. Am I depressed? Sure – people cycle through these things regularly. Is it clinical depression? What is that but a term or phrase used to label. I do not want drugs, I do not want counselling. Because, I do not want to be.
The thought of my end now fills me with a peace I don’t think I have experienced in this existence. I believe we are the sum of a gazillion atoms, uniquely formed to make who i am, with a sum of experiences in my 40 odd years to create this being. I believe, when I die those atoms will gradually scatter, and parts of them may form use for another creature on this planet, or indeed this universe in years to come.
What I do know is this particular combination, right here and now, cannot stand this place any longer. And in a lot of ways the thought of freedom from that, gives me comfort.
I support you. Good luck in whatever path you take.
Thanks for this post. I would like to make a general comment.
Mankind should recognize that we are not separate from animals in any way, we are animals, destructive animals, driven by instinct, reproductive urges and the need to survive. Our consciousness is not a unique, ordered, thoughtful, Descartian phenomena: it is a mess of conflicting actions and impulses, many of them submerged, subliminal, or so dominant as to ellipse any attempt at analysis. We can never have total control over our minds and bodies, a basic component of some liberal and marxist thought, we can never be remade, remoulded or reborn, because our conscious self is the tip of a very mysterious iceberg.
Individuals are not the most important factor of humanity, or at least, our individualism is as much an illusion as our conscious control, because both rest on a false pretense that we are conscious, intelligent, different from animals and separate from one another… Western philosophy, ethics, morals and religion seek to erase THIS point completely, and to emphasize our individuality and our ‘rationality’ and ‘will’ versus instinctual, mechanical animals, despite the fact that we are not different from them. Additionally, morality is a construct that excuses our fears and helps our vanity; morality does not exist because, at heart, we are animals, clever yes, organised yes, but our morality does not just come in from the cold, it is a veil we put over ourselves willingly to hide the truth.
Also, our technology has always been beyond our control, it has always provided benefits behind our vision and disasters from our nightmares; technology, also, is independent of morality, that is, technological progress is not synonymous with moral progress… Human beings are homo rapiens, we plunder destroy and desecrate with little impunity, and this has always been and will be: we cannot be redeemed, because there is nothing to redeem, we are just well organized locusts. Christianity created the idea of purpose or meaning in life, deeper than just survival, and of ‘saving’ humanity, both ideas being wrong and foolish, because we are animals after all: we seek to escape from death through this creation of purpose and meaning, because the West is the civilization most afraid of death and the end, because of our conception of linear time and failure to include ourselves as part of nature…. We are fixated on what ought to be, rather than what is, and so try and redeem, save or adjust the world: this is the ideological project of science, this is the project of Marxism, this is the project of liberal capitalism, and it is stupid, because, again, there is nothing to save… There is no such thing as progress, that is, of things getting better: science and technology may improve, but the human animal will not; purpose does not exist independent of human construction, history and civilizations have no grand plan, no superior march towards glorious progress, nor can that purpose be a moral redemption of mankind.
Ok have my plan – just tying off some loose ends today.
100 units of insulin fast acting
50 mg cetrizine
375 ml scotch
Suspension hang as the above helps me pass out (this putting pressure on the rope).
I’ve done a fair bit of research and seems 1,2 and 3 above will help overcome fear of doing 4. I’m allowing 4-5 hours before anyone can find me to make sure it all comes together.
Wish me luck and enjoy your time on this world for those choosing to stay here.
I hate to sound heartless, but is suicide such a big concern for evolution? With so many people in the world, could this actually be part of nature (in some strange way) to attempt to limit population or “select out” those of “non fitness”? Blasphemy against conventional doctrine this idea may be, but has anyone seriously looked at it from the cold hard logic of evolution?
To live in a “la la land” where death is not taken as a normal and inevitable part of life seems to me to be out of touch with reality, even if that death is slightly (and artificially) brought forward.
That’s not how evolution works.
Evolution or nature doesn’t “think” or make decisions or have a plan. There are random variations in people (for example a higher propensity for or less fear of suicide) and then some of these have more opportunity to pass on their genes and thus this propensity spreads.
I don’t yet see how people with a propensity for suicide would have more children than people who don’t. But that’s the connection we would need to look for. (Maybe people are more stressed after having more children? But that in itself would not be genetic.)
To follow up on this thread, a Twitter colleague sent this article which does speak of possible evolutionary benefits of depression and suicide: http://nautil.us/issue/45/power/does-depression-have-an-evolutionary-purpose
Thank you! You couldn’t of said it better. I myself am a strong believer that people should have that choice. I myself have lost 3 people I’ve know well to suicide, in the back if my mind I wasn’t that sad but rather in awe, on how much courage it takes to take that leap. What if it’s all twisted and death is our energy moving forward towards ultimate freedom. Maybe we’ve been lied to, to hold on long as possible to life, is it possible that there’s some sort of power that feeds off human emotions? Fact is we know nothing. Really enjoyed the article.
I also wrote the article because of a suicide in my family, and I instinctively had that feeling of admiration and awe.
Courage? No, it’s not about courage.
Suicide is almost always the result of an involuntary reflex (or response) triggered by trauma / mental illness / affliction / conditioning / extreme intoxication, etc. rather than agency.
Suicide is a pathological event, not a voluntary act.
Yes, courage. Because apart from going upstream to the “norm” of a society that tends to stigmatise someone’s desire to leave, it is instinctively coded in our DNA to want to survive.
What I guess I don’t like is inferring it is solely based on a pathological event opposed to voluntary. This almost reads as suicide being an involuntary act – one caused purely by mental illness, or some other condition which excuses or deny’s ones right to choose. And I am not quite sure 100% of people who elect to end their lives falls into a category of being wrong, unstable or mentally ill. Sure there will be a proportion, perhaps vast proportion (but this is speculative), but definitely NOT 100%.
I think the messaging feeds the stigma of suicide – these people are “not quite right”. Again, a culture of a societal norm for those who choose to stay imposing a view of “why would anyone want to leave?!”. Reading some of the posts on here, and elsewhere, there are rational people explaining EXACTLY why. Disagree if you will, but don’t categorise all of them as pathological.
My view is that suicide is an exemplar of a derangement (i.e., disturbance of regular mental order), even more so than florid psychosis or mania. The latter are clearly derangements (altered states of mind), yet most people with these conditions live on. Suicide, however, is in direct opposition to a fundamental biological imperative (i.e., strong instinct for self-preservation).
Suicide is an exemplar (arguably THE exemplar) of psychpathology.
Ok. Accept your view on the matter. I i just don’t believe it is a black and white as that. A person who commits suicide is not always deranged. I do believe a proportion of suicides can be rational to the context of the individual – be it synonymous with euthanasia or a billion other reasons.
If someone goes to planning, rationally works it out they wish to and does it (ie, not spur of the moment) then it IS rational to them. Given their view, their circumstance and their feelings. Were it not suicide and other choices in life we wouldn’t call anyone who made a contrary decision to our own as being “deranged”.
I really think that is the more slippery, near owellian approach to psychosocial care that will mean worse things for humanity than allowing someone freedom to live, to love as they will, or, to die.
With all the preparation and planning that go into it, it seems rather planned for a “reflex”.
But I remain convinced that most suicides are in fact AVOIDABLE TRAGEDIES rather than optimal existential choices.
Why isn’t the ultimate freedom condoned?
Lost slave labor. Lost slave taxes.
I doubt that.
It’s mostly friends and family who mourn the deceased, and they are not benefiting from his taxes and rarely from his labor.
Also, the tax-collecting state only passes laws against suicide in very few countries.
I only read a few of these comments. It’s too overwhelming for me to read them all. Selena’s were particularly cruel and insensitive. Sometimes the wish to end one’s life doesn’t have to do with any one person. Plus those “left behind” who feel resentful should stop in their tracks and think about how hard life was for someone to have taken their own life. It’s NOT all about YOU. Samantha’s comments are good and worth reading. For some like me, the world is just too much to bear. Selena, temper your words. They only add fuel to the fire in terms of the kind of people out there who make life difficult for people like me. You are an example of a person who is not kind. Suicide is not “selfish”–it’s a highly personal act that is not meant to punish others, but to stop the pain. For me, it will not be meant to “hurt” anyone, but to stop the hurt and sadness that has lived in me forever. And my letter, that I’ve been working on for a long time, will let those who care about me know that.
Any person who does not accept and respect another individual’s choice to reject life does not truly accept and respect life itself.
I think about suicide a lot and may do it some day, but not because I am overwhelmed or because I can’t handle my responsibilities. It is responsibilities that keep me hanging around, for now. And I rock those out, thanks very much, and no one has any idea how for real I might be about killing myself when the time is right. But I don’t like living. Reality is a terrible, terrible thing. It has no real evils to defeat or love that conquers all. Just compromised people living complicated lives. It’s boring and disgusting, and it offends me very much. I offend me. If my life had ended when I was in my early twenties, I’d have felt that it stood for something. Because I didn’t really know about reality. Now, I really yearn for the symbols of that time and the people I knew, not as they are, but as I remember them. Maybe death is a way to reach them. If not, it is at least a way out of here.
Alternatively, you could break out and make your life interesting.
Nietzsche once said: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”
I think Nietzsche was incorrect. What doesn’t kill you has a possibility of severely damaging you and making you wish it had finished you off.
My conclusion from all this is that life continuation is one hell of a risk. Not only do we have statistics for horrible tragedies, but what is arguably worse is that we don’t have statistics for many other things. Every time you walk out of your door, you are exposing yourself to danger. Cognitive inadequacy limits our appreciation of this fact. Why is it that danger has to be practically right in front of us in order for us to register it? Because long-term risk management is not conducive to reproduction.
How ironic it is that the greatest pleasures in life come at such a steep risk.
If we were truly rational creatures, we would realize that our unconscious will-to-live is analogous to being dragged across a cheese grater. It is manipulative in that it exposes us to dangers and harms that we otherwise would not choose to expose ourselves to. Epicureans are kidding themselves; we don’t continue life for its pleasures, we continue life because we have no other realistic alternative. We are not in control.
Tolstoy hit the nail on the head when he articulated four categories of human existence:
1) Those who are blind to the human predicament (the ignorant fools)
2) Those who understand the human predicament but see pleasure as a reason to continue (the Epicureans)
3) Those who understand that human predicament but also understand that pleasure cannot be a true reason to live but continue to live anyway (the weak)
4) Those who understand everything the weak do, but have the guts to kill themselves (the strong)
Why is it that people will voluntarily insure themselves against catastrophes that may not ever happen, but don’t insure themselves against the catastrophes that cannot be covered by money? The cognitive bias of “that will never happen to me” effectively keeps people from questioning their own behavior. If it can’t be fixed or prevented, just don’t think about it…. It is short-sighted and biased reasoning, meant not to service our welfare but to make sure we don’t question our own fate.
This is tough to swallow. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and forget about the contingent nature of well-being. All of these possibilities are legitimate threats – but why worry about them? There’s nothing you can do – except there actually is, it’s just that practically nobody wants to consider it. Suicide as a preventative measure is a perfectly rational and reasonable response to the threats exposure to the world brings. In fact it seems like it’s the only option with a 100% guarantee of effectiveness.
But nobody, including myself, can actually consider suicide as a rational decision if we’re not currently suffering tremendously. In existentialist terms, humans are capable of transcendence – we are able to look beyond the immanent and see things how they could be. But we are nevertheless still immanent, and so the dynamic between transcendence and immanence emerges, with transcendence pushing forward and immanence pulling back. In the case of the rationality of suicide, we can transcend beyond our immediate experience and see how many risks and threats there are in the future, but are pulled back to immanence by the instinctual, irrational urge to persist.
There’s more. I will not deny that pleasure is intrinsically good for people. But neither will I deny that pain is intrinsically bad for people. So when the cost of pleasure gets too high, or when the stakes accompanying existence are unreasonable, pleasure becomes a good-turned-bad. Just as we may feel pain while climbing a mountain (a bad-turned-good), the pleasure we feel as we systematically expose ourselves to a greater amount of harm cannot actually be truly good for us. That is when pleasure becomes manipulative and addictive. The fact that it is difficult to see the sorts of things we typically enjoy doing as goods-turned-bad is a consequence of them being addictions. Recall the analogy of the cheese grater. Pleasure are goods-turned-bad because the strength of the desire for pleasure is not matched by the actual content. On the other hand, we have a disturbingly small fear of pains are are unimaginably bad.
The environment we live in that seduces us into continued existence can only be see as a web of toxicity. We live in a society that essentially indoctrinates us into continued existence. We do not act in our best interests by continuing existing.
Some people might find my words dangerous. Am I actually recommending people kill themselves? Perhaps. What I am not advocating is the blind and instinctual journey through a strange world filled with risks, threats, and uncompensated pain.
What should we do, then? If we live in a world of threats of significant harm that cannot be compensated by any pleasure (terminal pain), is it possible to have a reason to live?
I would argue that there can be only one genuine reason to live: ethics. Ethics is not about self-interest. It’s not about maximizing your own welfare. It’s about treating others well, caring for their well-being. The life of a person dedicated to an ethical cause is one of altruism and selflessness. Some people might accuse those people of tooting their own horn, but given what I have already articulated, there is no rational reason to live that doesn’t ignore certain aspects of life. Those who follow the ethical path of life are those who are not living for themselves (as this is irrational given what we know of the human predicament), but are living for the sake of others. The concept of a Buddhist bodhisattva comes to mind. The bodhisattva has achieved nirvana but sticks around anyway to help everyone else achieve nirvana. Similarly, the enlightened ethicist knows that continued existence is a net harm (or at least an irrational risk), but sticks around anyway to maximize their utility to others. Suicide may be the rational option, but ethics isn’t about what’s best for you personally. It’s about something greater than yourself.
And perhaps the “heroism” involved in selfless ethical life can be enough to keep the self-esteem of those committed to it high enough so they can continue to actually be productive.
What the enlightened ethicist also realizes are their own needs. So long as they are alive, they must tend to their own needs. Thus, nothing really changes all that much in terms of self-interested behavior, except that the self-interested behavior is not the purpose of life but rather a necessary requirement in order to maintain a maximally ethical life.
Thanks. Yes, I’ve thought about ways to do that, like cut off and hike the AT without telling anyone, or move to some midwestern township with lovely views and say my name is Eliza Cullen and start from scratch, or ride a moped through Central America with my savings. Or maybe I’ll just try to enjoy little things here, because really, how could a host of things I’m unfamiliar with stand to best things I already know I appreciate? But that’s not the point. The point is that it (reality) shouldn’t be slanted against us like that, so that we have to train ourselves to repetitively focus on the good little things. Anyway, thanks for giving credence to the stress of life. I don’t think it’s doled out evenly. Some folks get a steep share, even though they put up a good fight. That’s fine, until your strength gives out and you can’t keep climbing up and up. I only say this to show people that maybe the reason someone commits suicide isn’t whimsical or based in weakness. I echo your point that each suicide is a unique act. Judgement against it necessarily comes from a place of privilege and fear.
Eliza Cullen, your thinking is very creative and spot-on! It doesn’t require a lot of money to spice up our life a little bit. We can do it everywhere, although long hikes are of course something wonderful.
I have just written on that subject: https://andreasmoser.blog/2017/03/09/adventure/
While we cannot clearly say why life is worth living, suicide is not so much a judgment against life as an abdication of judgment. If we are honest about the source of the problem, then, we cannot condone a solution that pretends, in essence, that the problem does not exist. Suicide does this by eliminating the value of the mind, that is, of the thinking being, man.
Suicide is the ultimate performative contradiction. If we understand the confrontation that is the apriori of our thinking, we will see that suicide attempts to ignore it, and thus cannot be the conclusion of any clear reasoning. Rather than solve a problem or make a judgment, it declines to wrestle with or endure the actual difficulty that confronts us in favor of a simple exit from mental distress.
Of course suicide is a solution, because once completed, you don’t need to deal with the problem no more.
I personally don’t think that suicide is a solution, and the reason that an individual wouldn’t have to deal with the situation no more would be because they are dead. No matter what the situation, God is with them everywhere, He has a purpose for the events in every person’s life. He gave us the ability to live, He is in control, and there is a time to be born and a time to die. And that is God’s timing, not ours. God has authority over us and be committing suicide the person is giving themselves the authority. And if one person commits suicide that could effect the family of the individual and may even result in another suicide of another family member (due to the despair and sadness they deal with without the other member). Personally I think there are solutions to terrible situations, and suicide is not a way out.
There are no gods.
Why do you bring up ‘God’?
It seems fairly self evident that a deity that would use evolution as the mechanism for creation does not involve itself in our lives, so what uses do you continue to find in your religion based on this deity?
Are you not aware of the ravaging of life that is inherent in natural selection and how evolution squanders, at a truly fearful rate, the life that is supposedly so valuable to God?
First of all there is a God, It is our fault that there is so much sin in the world, God didn’t intend for it to be like this, but He knew it was going to occur. Death, Pain, and Suffering didn’t come into the world until after Adam and Eve had sinned. And as far as evolution, God didn’t create the world like that, He spoke it into existence. Do you really believe that such talented and unique people (the human race) came from apes? And natural selection, If you were to put a group of animals in a new environment that they aren’t used to, they would surely die. No matter how many times you tried to place them there. God sees the sin of people. He loves us all, and He doesn’t want this to happen. And people might ask why did God intend this, well He didn’t. And I brought God into this because He is the one who provides everyone with life. God does involve Himself in our lives. I have seen my life and my past an marvel at what God has put into my life, and I am only a teenager. I have had hard times but I see God’s work in it all, there is no reason to try to commit suicide. Oh and Mr. Moser I believe that there is one God, not many little gods, because gods aren’t real, but God is.
No, there are no gods.
It’s 2017. Please.
Ok wow your pretty rude. What does the year have to do with God? And please what, Are you asking for a favor or something? And I didn’t say gods, smart one, I said God. Oh and btw that’s your belief not mine. God will hold you accountable, and I am seriously not trying to be rude, but what a blunt answer. You travel the world right? And is it not amazing?! God created that all. What do you believe? Just curious.
We’ve had the Enlightenment.
To believe in only one god is even more illogical than to believe in many gods. But both is very far in the illogical spectrum.
With “please” I mean that this is not some medieval blog. So please don’t come and talk about gods and witches and fairies.
Preslie, I am with you.
Helen Keller once wrote: “I feel that God is in me the way the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower.”
That is one of the most brilliant concepts anyone has ever come up with. I’d hate to be an atheist reading that, knowing that no one on our “side” has ever come up with anything one-hundredth as intelligent as that.
That’s a bullshit “concept”. Actually, it’s not a concept at all, it’s bla bla.
And if you call that crap intelligent, wow, you’re pretty low on the intelligence ladder.
This is not a religious debate on belief. You can believe god is god. You can believe your left toenail is god. You can believe Elvis sung the world into existence for all I care. Evolution, devolution, anything you want. That’s not the point of this discussion. The point is that even if god (or gods) were to exist there is an inherent acknowledgement in your post that this entity does not seek to control all aspects of said existence. Therefore the free will and choice of individuals to remove themselves from it remains.
You can argue the CONSEQUENCES of that according to your particular belief pattern, until the cows come home – but, the only way to KNOW the answer to that question is beyond comprehension as there isn’t exactly anyone to interview post-mortem.
Very well said!
As a woman, I wonder that I can terminate a life growing inside me based on others’ volatile opinions about what constitutes “viable life,” but I cannot terminate my own life.
Whom do I belong to that someone else’s feelings, opinions, and perceptions are more important than my own as far as the continuance or termination of my life is concerned? I can make all manner of so-called horrible life errors, and society tells me that they are all my responsibility. That is the cost, I’m told, of being an adult. I can smoke. I can over-indulge in alcohol. I can make unhealthful dietary choices. I can engage in unprotected sex with many, many high-risk partners. Once I’m a legal adult, I can refuse to continue my education or get a job. I can become homeless, suffer the sexual and other physical depredations of others, and die slowly and torturously. All these things, though nearly everyone agrees they’re unwise choices–mistakes, I’m free to do. Why? Because I’m a legal adult and I am responsible for my own life, terribly “mistakes” and all. The regrets of others who’ve pursued, or been on these paths, never justify another forcing me to act “wisely.”
Yet I cannot end my own life.
Why do the suicidal deserve special protections, while the vast majority of society’s derelict do not? Just about everyone who matters — friends, family, politicians, doctors, lawyers, judges, police — tells the societally lost they made mistakes and must now pay for them. Many of them will die painfully, abandoned, and that’s just life. But I cannot end my own life, as many seem to argue, for my own “good”? How is that reasoning at all consistent with our culture’s principles of personal autonomy and responsibility?
Speaking, too, as a licensed physician, even when I am confident a patient would benefit from additional treatment, I cannot force her or him to accept treatment. Even when the prognosis with treatment is statistically “good,” I can only present patients data–survival rates by years from diagnosis, side effects from treatment… Even if death is imminent without treatment, I cannot impose my will on a (non-minor) patient. So I do not believe the justification mental health professionals give, that acting against patients’ wills is justified based on the clinician’s superior knowledge of the disease state, or on the patient’s lack of clear thinking, or on the regret others who’ve attempted an act but failed at it later express over having attempted at all. At the root of the unique treatment modalities for mental health, in particular suicidal ideation, is an unjustifiable belief — not scientific fact — that life is always better than death. Other scholars in philosophy and medicine have written broadly on why this viewpoint is fallacious and never objective. Just as several European countries have finally concluded that life value can only be determined by a person living life, the rest of the world will eventually follow. The modern mental health therapeutic belief system is wholly untenable since it relies, like religion, on others believing the same principles as clinicians and mental health policy lobbyists — all who have a clear stake in the game.
Lastly, on a practical note, study after study links quality of social life to depression risk. We’re all advised to have healthy and sufficient connections with others we care about and who care about us. But, who doesn’t want quality social relationships? A mentor of mine from my residency commented about the health protection of friendships that what counselors usually fail to acknowledge is that every relationship requires two people. There are very many reasons outside an individual’s control for her potential isolation. Clinical psychology fails to address how persistent these may be despite therapy, drugs, or other interventions. You can only hope to change an individual, not the others she must interact with. So the clinicians who are adamantly against the right of the patient to choose death, will they commit to being with each patient throughout the week, the day, the night, when loneliness sets in and these people feel abandoned and desperate? Can the clinicians guarantee that whatever treatment-du-jour will overcome the early-life formative experiences we know literally mold neurology so that these patients feel radically different, more inclined to stay alive? Will clinicians guarantee patients’ communities will put aside classism, ageism, scathing prejudice based on body habitus, or any of the other myriad prejudices that isolate over a lifetime? Or will clinicians be there, day after day, to provide the intimacy of a hug, holding those who need frequent reassurance? Or can clinicians guarantee a more equitable or hospitable world in general — especially regarding the sometimes monstrously callous or patently malignant mental health system itself?
I think not.
So, if clinicians cannot guarantee sufficient quality of life we understand is so crucial to “mental health,” neither should they be entitled to condemn the humans they cannot help to lives patients actually living those lives find to be hellish isolation and hopelessness simply because of clinicians’ assessments of their own lives, life in general, or even other patients’ lives.
The debate over the right to end our own lives is not a matter of medicine or so-called mental health. We already know this since every day patients whose imminent deaths could be forestalled by medical intervention are permitted to reject medical care, and insurance companies are entitled, based on finances, to reject necessary procedures the medical literature tells us are likely to extend patients’ lives significantly. The debate over the right to end our own lives is shockingly rooted in biased value systems — “shockingly” because other people in this arena uniquely get to command otherwise legal adults not to act on our own bodies.
To me, there is no greater a contradiction to the concept of personal freedom than this.
And you might be older then me . . . way older, but I know about what I talk about. So. PLEASE.
The meaning of life is subjective, as well. So one person’s meaning of life cannot be forced on someone else, telling the suicidal person “You must live by my perception of the meaning of life and you’ll be happy!!” Where one may find joy, another person does not. Also, the other argument saying that it is selfish to commit suicide is hypocritical as it is just as selfish to force someone to stick around who clearly does not want to, simply because one party doesn’t want to feel pain.
Exactly. I completely agree.
And I wholeheartedly disagree with those who say that “suicide is in direct opposition to fundamental biological imperative.”
Biology, like physics, is a process. Consciousness, as best we can understand it empirically, arises emergently out of the complexity of information processing, part of the dynamics of the process of biology. There is no “imperative.” There is PROCESS.
I also do not place much credence in the evolved lexicon of the profession of psychology. Stanford University recently held a critical colloquium on modern psychology in which a crucial criticism was levied: “modern psychology is deeply, culturally and professionally biased in the way research questions are posed, the way data is analyzed, and the meanings professional psychologists impose on results.”
That suicide is considered the exemplar of psychopathology is an opinion — granted one held by those who profit in various ways from the human study and definitions of psychopathology, not an objective fact. And again, there is no natural reason anyone must submit to others’ feelings on private choices, and no one has offered a sufficient argument why the consistent personal choices of some in this regard should be denied because of the FEELINGS and worldviews of others. To the extent we insist on doing this, our culture denies adult citizens personal freedom.
Sometimes I hear people say that we should prevent suicides because….“Many suicidal people change their minds and later are glad they didn’t die”
But this is neither a statistically valid argument (there is no comparison between the community who survive and disavow their earlier suicidal ideations and the untold numbers who successfully committed suicide) nor a philosophically valid reason to proscribe free personal choice. Many people who get divorced later regret their choice–as is also true for very many significant life choices (like the choise to drop out of school or give up citizenship in a prosperous nation). That is the very cornerstone of personal freedom–that we and we alone get to decide about our personal lives.
Of course, when someone seeks out the help of a psychologist or therapist or priest or minister, that is her or his free choice to seek counsel. It is notable the contrasting case with other patients (the working hypothesis undergirding mental illness of which there is no rigorous cause-effect proof is that these so-called diseases are organic diseases of the brain) who are free to terminate therapy at any time despite (a) experts’ prognoses that doing so will be terminal and (b) it being just as arguably in such patients’ interests to be deprived of the freedom of choice–under similar reasoning (the documented regret of those who forego treatment and later lament their choice). In no other branch of health science, with the exception of the consideration of legal minors, can health practitioners countermand patients’ wishes wholesale.
Lastly, that the majority of a community feels a certain way, it is consistent with US legal and social policy history as well as social moral philosophy, is no justification for imposing others’ personal life decisions on an individual. Such is the sentiment of the long history of US civil rights law and I’m confident eventually that suicide — a most definitively personal matter — will fall under the same umbrella.
We are neither willing nor able to care for very, very many who choose to die. That may be a sad affirmation, but it is true and unless we both want to and can do such things, we shouldn’t even be having this conversation as precious few (if any) of us will be there to comfort those otherwise utterly bereft of comfort.
Life is hard. We have to struggle, often unsuccessfully, to keep unpleasantness at bay. It would be easier to make sense of this if life served some important purpose. Yet, while we can create some meaning, our lives lack any ultimate purpose. Death can relieve our suffering, but it cannot solve our problem of meaninglessness. Moreover, because death is annihilation, it is part of our misfortune (even when, all things considered, it is the lesser of two evils). In other words, our predicament is that life is bad but that death is too.
I think suicide is terribly misunderstood. If I could simply fall asleep and never wake up again, I’d choose that in a heart beat.
My life isn’t bad. I have problems but they’re not all that terrible. I simply don’t enjoy living and I don’t think that that’s crazy or even mildly out of whack.
I don’t like life. There I said it. When I look back, even to my early childhood, I can never remember looking forward…to anything. Nothing interests me on any kind of profound level. I find life to be boring and bland at best, extremely tedious and painful at worst.
That said, why should I be forced to participate in something that I don’t enjoy or desire? All of life’s pleasures disgust me. I hate the sound of people eating, it makes me sick. I hate the notion of sex, let alone the act. It’s …disgusting. I frequently feel that I simply can’t be the only person who feels this way.
I’m not depressed. Depression takes a degree of passion. Depression speaks of some level of disappointment. I don’t feel that way. I have in the past, but that’s not what this is. What I feel now is a complete inability to muster up the energy to care to relate. Books put me to sleep, quickly. Movies, especially modern ones, are unwatchable and stupid. Music has become a chore to listen to. I’ve just outgrown it. Food is annoying. I eat very well, but the act of getting food and then having to eat it is just a chore. I don’t wish to die because of any intense self loathing, or hatred of mankind or anything like that.
I simply wish that either the death that awaits me would show up very quickly, or that I be afforded to walk out on this boring movie of a life that nobody would ever…EVER watch.
And I’m fine with that. Since I was very young I can remember, clearly, wishing that I could just fall asleep and not have to be bothered to awaken.
Is that really so much to ask?
Damn, where are people like you? I need friends like you, someone who I can actually relate to. Well spoken comment, WELL SPOKEN.
In my opinion, death is Life… We were put here for what reason again? How do we know life is bad or death is bad? Hell, maybe we’re not even physically here, maybe we’re just thoughts all together…
Same thoughts joe,
Jamie, People like you speak from the gut, and I wish you’d add some brains in there. Death is not bad or good or anything YOU can understand because you haven’t died yet. You’re right about the life part, but as for the death part, you speak from ignorance. I disagree that life is meaningless. Life is complex. It can be rewarding to experience. Life exists because it does have meaning. It’s meaning is LIFE,..DUH. When the life no longer functions death comes and that is all I know concerning that subject either than NO ONE wants death/dying (or to force one towards “life” technically, in an unfulfilling impaired unpleasant to horrifying state of being) to be drawn out or forced upon them and Autonomy should if possible guide a persons death along with evidence based means to end life (death) with as little pain and discomfort as can be.
I always think that suicide is a shortcut and its clever if we are not very interested in life, anyway we all gonna die someday, but how to do suicide is very important, specialy do it so our family wont find out bcuz it has a very bad effect in their life, they must think you left them behind and will never come again. Im now 30 and contemplating suicide, you dont have to be ill to think about this , this is just the way i think,
Thanks for the article
Very good point about the manner of suicide!
I also think that it’s much better to jump off a ship or to go deep into the forest to die there and have one’s remains eaten by bears.
Thank you Andreas
That was so beautifully and peacefully worded. Thank you!
Burn. In. Hell.
Hey that’s not nice. I mean I don’t agree that suicide is good either, but be nice about it.
I really liked your text, and I am so happy that someone else thinks like me! I also have got another point to ad to your text. In the third paragraph is written “How could he do that to us?”, like the suicidal person belonged to his family and friends. Its like, “Your my possession, I need you to live a little bit longer so I can extract happiness from you!” Well, not exactly, but you get the point. When I did my first attempt, policemen took me to the hospital, kept me from doing anything for 2 days (in isolation), then let me go away. I mean, what was the point? They want to keep me alive so society can benefit from the help of a depressive young an who wants to die? I don’t understand how people think. All this to say that I really agree with what you described above.
I fully agree with you, too.
These remarks by family or indeed unrelated people do sound like a claim of ownership.
I am fully disappointed in all the people. For we hate each other that is what I hate the hate in us. You see people abusing each other in all kind of way. Bordering our countries is one of the thing that indicates how we are afraid of each other. You do not need to know how hell is like since we live in hell. Yes I live comfy life but not from 5 meter radiously further on I lose my breath as I see how we fear each other.
You must have gotten a lot of hate for this article but I agree with it and I’m so happy to see that some people can look at this issue from a different stand point than the one that is considered “acceptable”
People say things get better, or that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem…. but neither of those are true not guaranteed. Many people find happiness in life, despite whatever pain or issues they have, but some people don’t. They aren’t obligated to sit and suffer endlessly to protect anyone’s feelings.
I agree soon as I get the guts….
I agree with pretty much everything you have to say. Im 28 and have never had a friend or a romantic relationship. Am currently unemployed, balding and really have very little desire for anything. The only family I have is my mom and I kind of hate her. Every night I go to bed wishing for a magic button to end it all, or I go online looking for the most effective suicide method. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine falling off a building, enjoying the fall and quickly dying. I think death would be preferable than life using me as a bad example for others XD
Well said.. I would like to see you practise what you preach so that I may follow you.
I personally am not tired of life. Not yet.
I seriously found this article…..worth reading
Thank you very much!
My theory is when you die there will be no heaven or hell, other than what you make for yourself. The brain is a machine – when you sleep it affects time (it can go quick or slow depending on how fast your mind is working – this is why sometimes it feels almost instantaeous, other times you feel like a short dream stretches out for ages).
Before you experience brain death your brain will slow down more and more – IMHO it conceptually should be like approaching a black hole. Time will slow down and it will be like eternity in a moment for you. So, be happy you are going and hope to have good dreams as you may exist in this state from your perspective a very long time.
If you don’t and it’s dreamless, then you will be really like going to sleep which is like nothing. Either of those outcomes I can live with. In this basis I think I’m ready and can handle what’s going to come next for me – as it sounds a lot more preferable than being here.
Great article man. I find it excessively annoying how society is so active in trying to prevent suicde, but does virtually nothing to address the underlying causes of it. Mental health treatment is complete shit in the US. If we actually improved out health care systems and tried to actually help people instead of shaming them, or locking them up for thinking of suicide maybe we could actually prevent suicide. But no, society judges suicide and mental illness and isolates people with it, has shit resources for help and then try’s to prevent suicide by forcing people to stay alive in their miserable life. Society does the same bullshit with addiction. There is limited support for trauma/ addiction, doctors hand out drugs like candy, people are trapped living in miserable conditions. Then society demonizes addicts and addiction, like it’s not society’s fault for creating it in the first place. I have been through many different treatment approaches and programs. Have tried almost every single psych med on the market (not exaggerating, I’ve been on 17 across all drug classes, except Maoi) No meds helped significantly, although most had major side effects and withdrawal making them hard to get off of. i’ve been in treatment for severe anxiety, depression and ocd for 10 years now and it’s been hell. Nothing has ever truly worked. Sure, a few things have helped a little, but overall I still deal with hellish depression and anxiety daily. For me my plan for suicide brings me relief. I know I can choose to opt out of life and all the misery that comes with it. Even from a non depressed perspective I fully support the right to chose to live, or not to. Also I find it almost amusing how people in general seem to think of death as the worst possible thing, yet it happens to everyone without fail. It makes me think of the death penalty, which to me is the death privilege. I would choose death anyday over 25 years in a cell.
Also, total grammar and spelling fail. Stupid iPad with autocorrect botched the hell out of it.
Don’t worry, it’s a very readable and convincing argument that you lay out here.
Every word on this page by every person that commented… is what makes me want to leave this life. There’s no escaping YOU and EVERYONE else. There’s no place to go and be ALONE. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” To even consider helping ME or anyone else who “wants out”… is an insult. If people would simply LISTEN and NOT argue… but that would be “too easy” right?…
In a nutshell: “Live and let live… Or let die.”
Piece of pie. Goodbye.
I agree. Suicide is admirable and there should not be a stigma associated with it.
I absolutely agree with every point this article makes! In the modern world, we fight for freedom, equality, rights for all… except those who simply want to stop living… Democracy turns to outright Faschism the very moment you say you want to leave this stupid world. This is unfair and simply cruel… /Sigh/.. Thanks for the article! I wish there were more like this.
I feel admiration too, because it’s not easy, there isn’t any “easy pill”. Society puts too much shame on suicidals. People who say “he’s been selfish” are selfish too.
This makes total sense. I have suffered for 15 years physically, mentally, emotionally and am TIRED of my life. Those who say they love me can’t take my pain away so why do i continue to exist just for their benefit? It’s crazy.
If suicide is a good thing why hasn’t the whole world try it yet? Some of my family members have died but did they want to? No. They didn’t. But sometimes I cry in my sleep wondering what is the point in living? What is the true meaning of life? I hope you find that wether you like it or not you will die of so many things.
Your first question is a distortion of my claim and a logical fallacy.
Wow! Those are exactly my thoughts on this topic. Good, that somebody else feels about it the same way. It is so selfish and just dumb for people to be angry at someone who has committed a suicide.
I think that suicide shouldn’t be perceived as something sad or wrong. It’s just another option, a much better option.
Extremely well done. This blog will reach many critisicms but this is everything that i believe about suicide and some more. Well written and well executed.
Thank you very much!
I think its selfish ppl tell those who commit suicide are selfish. Sorry the world can’t go as fucking perfect and happy as you want it to be. Selfish? No one owes you shit. It’s your problem if you can’t deal with it. People should be free to off themselves. Why? Because some ppl have truly nothing in themselves that will propel them forward. And their very existence will only anchor the other people in their life. Why force someone who doesn’t want to exist to be here for your sake. If you truly love someone you’ll love them after their decisions miss them yeah try to convince them to not yeah. But say someone who commits suicide is selfish is just as equally selfish.
i SUPPORT AND BELIEVE IN SUICIDE, AFTER ALL I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD. i HAVE NO FAMILY LEFT. SO WHY NOT IF I DON’T WANT TO STAY IN THIS WORLD WHY SHOULD I HAVE TOO. NOTHING IS HOLDING ME HERE. I WORK AND PAY BILLS. NOTHING LEFT TO SHOW FOR IT. I SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUICIDE AND ASSISTED SUICIDE IF I WANT.
To add insult to injury, the State that enforces anti-suicide laws is the same one that reserves the right to send you to die in a war. You can die, but only if it benefits the people who control the State.
Please don’t save a person who doesn’t want to be saved.
I agree. because if you try – be open to getting hurt or even taken along for the journey..
Wow, I’m totally agree and it’s the first time. It’s the first time I’m reading something that looks like my opinion. People do not understand why I want to commit suicide. According to them the desire to die is only due to a temporary suffering to which there is certainly a solution. But they are wrong. Although this is probably true in most cases, there is good reason to want to die. In addition what I find amusing is that many approve assisted suicide for the serious physical patient, but not for the mentally ill …
Very good point, pointing out that inconsistency.
you only need a pistol to blast your skull off with..
I have always been pro suicide (not meaning that I try to talk people into it), but one have full control of one’s life. If you fx give someone a gift, you have handed it over and it’s no longer yours. That’s the case of being born. It is now my life… It’s okay that you’re still interested in it, but you don’t get to decide over it.
Autonomy is the word you are looking for and I agree. Respect for the individuals choice OVER the family/society/ect. is paramount and leads to closure as best as can be found.
Pingback: Random Thoughts (22) | The Happy Hermit
I truely find your thought inspiring, even if your just collecting what was sanded from the subject.
Nice to see It’s easier to find articles like this in English than in French, I’ll get too it :)
Pingback: Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018 | The Happy Hermit
I agree. I’m about to fuck myself off within the next hour. I’m going to blast my skill off with two pistols. My choice, Fuck you all, Fuck your imaginary God and Fuck the people that find my blood spattered remains,
Pingback: Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018 | Der reisende Reporter
I agree with you I think commiting suicide is a very personal thing and a person ‘s life is full of secrets. killing oneself might not be a ending it can be a new beginning.After all what we do not know anything about after death..
The only choice you won’t regret in life? Suicide. Really?
How on earth can this opinion be confirmed? Do we talk to the person after they died? Hmm?
We have no obligation to live since we don’t ask to be born…..
What the hell??
After someone died, they are dead. They lack the capacity to regret.
here’s something. I once had a snake bite and was dead for four minutes.I remember seeing my body in detail and feeling at peace,no tunnels or light just peace. then they zapped me and it felt like shrinking and cold. then i woke up in the ambulance. my life has been faded ever since and i miss that space.
I am even more afraid of snakes now!
Suicide is cruelty to family and friends.
Not intentional cruelty in most cases. And first and foremost, we are allowed to look after ourselves. Nobody can force us to stay alive, just to prevent Mom from crying.
Not intentional murder is murder too.
Suicide is selfish in the first place.
In which jurisdiction?
I am only a lawyer in Germany, but murder requires intent here (§§ 15, 211 StGB).
You exactly know what I mean.
The personal choice to have children can sometimes be cruel to family and friends. Especially when the responsibility may fall on loved ones. But you are not trying to take away anyone’s right to choose life. Why take away my rights to choose death?
And children do not ask to be born.
But then also, nobody gives a single fuck what you think.
Pingback: Ein Suizid muss keine schlechte Sache sein | Der reisende Reporter
Pingback: Selbstmord ist nicht unbedingt etwas Schlechtes | Der reisende Reporter
No truer words have ever been spoken. I agree completely. I will also go so far as to say that there should be some assistance with the choice to not continue living. You are right to say that the bad stigma regarding self abortion is the only bad thing. If we as a society embrace ones personal decision to not go on, then it could be a joyous occasion instead of a morbid one. Even perhaps a celebration of the event to help the living accept ones decision of death and a chance for the one choosing to close out loose ends. The assistance in this matter would alleviate the trauma and drama surrounding self inflicted suicide. You go in the hospital to die like everyone else. Thank you for your open wisdom in this matter.
Thank you very much!
I have actually never thought as far as you, but I like the idea of making it a last reunion. I personally would still prefer to withdraw to the forest alone, but then, I even do that for my birthdays.
You will be fighting against the world banking system, and locally the loan sharks, and their unwitting(?) allies – religious authorities.
I think suicide is permanent and therefore a last resort if you have tried everything to solve your problem then ok I want to go to alleviate chronic pain and depression but am giving the doctors a little more time
I’m not much of a believer in human decency or sustainability. Our species is thundering toward oblivion creating a changing climate that will be hostile to almost every lifeform on earth. With that in mind, reproducing is a selfish act, staying alive when life has little-to-no meaning is a selfish act, and wasting the resources of people who enjoy life is a selfish act. The euthanasia center in “Soylent Green” is the most civilized thing I have ever seen and it is the best I can hope for from our species. Any nation that can get over its superstitions enough to allow and assist its citizens to a decent, painless, respectful death is as good as I suspect humans can be.
Best blog I have ever read thanks for encouraging suicide.. Cause I got the guts to commit
I really want to thank you writing this piece. Granted that it is 2018 now, time has not changed, and these points has now become a “threat” in others eyes. It pisses me off that people think that it is such a bad option and “selfish”. As a freshmen I think that I have the guts to commit, the only thing that is keeping me back is confusion. This topic must be brought up more and discussed in detail as I already don’t have any desire to live and can’t see a future for myself. Again thank you for this piece, I gave more perspective and finally I see someone who has the same thought process about suicide.
I mean… in our life, our society, so controlled and exploiting on countless levels with no hope of getting out of it,and the only people you’d be leaving would be the family guilting you towards suicide in the first place. and You’ve lived with em long enough to know they won’t listen or understand anything, so why NOT commit suicide? I mean its your last expression of agency, the last means I saying, “I have a life that I can’t use and am too damaged to enjoy, but guess what, you can’t have it either!”
its their game, but that doesn’t mean I have to play… its making a choice and if ending your life it such a terrible thing, then why allow the conditions that drive people to those ends to continue? hate the symptoms not the causes. also religion is just a means for people to control other people for their gain. god’s not real, and if he is, boy is he gonna get it went I find him….
Thank You. Have spent the last couple of years giving away everything and cutting everyone out of (my) life/ distancing them, figuring that it would be easier on everyone if they didn’t even know of my departure for as long as possible (if ever) after the actual event. Your article has helped confirm that this wasn’t a selfish act, I thank You once again.
Because of my nomadic, largely immaterialistic lifestyle, I have been doing the same. And I find it liberating.
If I ever feel like it’s time to end life, I would like to just disappear silently, like going missing in the jungle or so.
I often wish people veiwed life the way they do a movie; if somebody wants to get up and go, that’s ok because everyone has different opinions about what they want to watch. You may want them to stay because you like the movie and want them to aswell, or maybe you just want to spend time with them, but you wouldn’t stand up in the theater and shout at them if they tried to leave. You can be bummed for a bit, but then you have to go back to watching the movie.
After all, it’s a long movie, and you shouldn’t try to force people to sit through the whole thing if they don’t want to.
That’s a very good comparison, I really like that!
In my TEDx talk, I also encourage people to imagine their life like a movie or a book, although more with the goal of making it exciting: https://andreasmoser.blog/2015/10/21/tedx-2/
Well, some Ascended masters and their like seemingly did not die- they transmuted themselves, mastered the physical plane, or something amazing! Jesus Christ did not die, accounts say.
OK, back to the main topic. Suicide is clearly not the way. It is horrible and gross. It is probably a crime (on yourself), except maybe for extreme cases of a severe, hopeless terminal medical condition or the like.
A suicide attempt can go wrong leaving you permanently damaged, disfigured, and worse off than you were before, and if “successful” will leave those beloved ones in rending pain.
However, life as it is seems like a prison and a cul-de-sac of diminishing returns. We come here to be “educated” as youngsters and to aspire to be successful adults. Then, when we at last become adults, some of us only crave being young again. We are exploited, deceived by the system. Society looks at us as a mere cog in the wheel, and as breeding stock to churn out the new generations that will keep the System going and will maintain the pensions.
. Life can be wearisome pain, a never-ending torture, one survival challenge followed by another. Life is a nightmare. Some think Earth is a prison whose wards are lower-astral-type demonic watchers who feed off human suffering. Suicide would seem logical if, by committing it, we knew FOR SURE that we went straight into a place where dreams instantly come true without effort, and where there are no taxes, there are no diseases, there is no hardship and there is no ageing. Even if cessation of life only takes one to oblivion (but how can consciousness cease to exist?), this fate would at first sight appear to be preferable to the grinding slavery, the suffering and the abject fear of life. Many of those who commit suicide are only seeking to relieve their suffering. Should they be blamed for that?
I think we need to have an open, honest and serious discussion of what happens in the afterlife, and of the consequences of suicide, for the soul that commits it and for those it leaves behind.
Hell was invented by the wealthy so the poor would stay on earth to continue to serve them.
I am also sorry for the loss of your cousin.
One further point is that, according to many teachings of spirituality, we do indeed choose our parents and even plan our life to some degree before we incarnate. I am skeptical about this, as I don’t remember thus having planned my present life or the choice of my family. But then I have never seriously undertaken a past-life regression with a trusted professional.
I wouldn’t spend any money on that.
We often tend to think of a rational suicide as committed by a calm mannered person who had realized on the basis of philosophical inquiry that life is not worth continuing. While an irrational suicide is one that we labeled as caused by a mental illness and therefore some of us think we are morally justified in violating the autonomy of that type of suicidal person because we ought to treat some adults like children. I tend to think the most “irrational” suicides are actually the most rational ones. If you are mentally ill and suffering because of your depression, anxiety, or PTSD, you have a better reason for killing yourself than the intellectual who thinks he derived truth about the futility of existence.
As far as the issue of autonomy goes, I do think it is wrong to prevent a suicide from happening in many cases. The justification that because some people are not in their right mind because of mental illness and therefore cannot exercise their autonomy doesn’t seem to work for several reasons:
1. Mental illness is a social construct on some level. That is not to say that it’s not “real” but rather that the line between a healthy and a mentally ill individual is arbitrarily drawn. Why not raise or lower the bar for what constitutes mental illness? Why not say that the majority of people in our society are mentally ill? We can’t simply claim that someone is wrong about their desire to die because our society deems it wrong. We have to have a demonstration of why we have strong reason to think that existence is better than nonexistence. I don’t believe that we have that strong reason.
2. Should all people perceived as irrational lose their autonomy? If we use the reasonableness of a person as a marker of “maturity sufficient for autonomy”, then should we also be justified in violating the autonomy of anyone we deem as not capable of making good decisions? If someone wants to be irresponsible and spend his life gambling, drinking, doing drugs, and having sex with hookers, then are we justified in violating his autonomy for his own sake? I think it’s more reasonable to commit suicide under great suffering from mental illness than it is to gamble away your life savings. But I think we can agree that we should respect the autonomy of the irresponsible people because we think most consenting adults have a right to autonomy without much exception. I think it’s safe to say most suicidal people are reasonable enough to fit the category of adults that should be able to act accordingly to their wishes.
3. A person who is suffering from mental illness paradoxically has a good reason to commit suicide. You might suppose that not seeking help for that mental illness first is irrational but let’s face us: for the most part we don’t know how to effectively treat mental illnesses.
I might try it, it’s not like I should keep living if I dont want to
Please don’t do it.
I want to go one step further.
We now have the means to make suicide not only painless, but outright pleasant. Think of the scene near the end of Soylent Green.
To give you an idea for the REAL reason “society” is against suicide and making it easy and convenient, consider that loan sharks are also against making suicide painless and pleasant.
The laws against suicide are the Capitalist equivalent of the Berlin Wall.
There were beneficiaries of the Communist East German (and today North Korean) system. But the functioning of the system depended on people not defecting.
Suicide is not failure, it is defection and a way of saying “fuck you”.
Don’t commit suicide, please. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
What’s wrong with permanent solutions?
While I don’t entirely disagree with this article in its entirety, the one thing that would be nice for those who truly don’t want to shock, traumatise, or otherwise be an inconvenience to others would be to handle your own funerals/disposals of remains.
Leave a nice little note on the door that you’re dead inside for those that may not want to see or otherwise deal with your corpse, along with contact numbers to the coroner and the funeral home that you’ve thoughtfully pre paid for.
If you truly want control of your own death than that should include what to do with the remains you leave behind.
Don’t leave that for others to deal with.
Take care of those loose ends too and don’t leave a physical mess behind as well as an emotional one.
Very good and thoughtful advice, thank you!
My personal favorite would be to jump off a ship and be eaten by fish (like Martin Eden) or to walk into the mountains and be eaten by bears. That shouldn’t leave any remains at all.
I for one, think most your article was on point. I do not have guts to pull it off perhaps some day i will. I feel like the ppl who think its selfish are the ones that are selfish they sit toucher us then expect us to want to live
Thank you for posting this! Just by reading this made me feel more free to do what/if I will do. The quilt shed on the ones who try or succeed in ending their lives is so heavy as if it was not harsh enough to be in the situation where you seriously consider committing suicide.
Pingback: Testing a Client’s Sense of Humor | The Happy Hermit
Everything in this article is something i have said for years. It feels good to know i am not the only one that thinks this way about suicide.
“A suicide looks less negative or frightening when we keep in mind that we are all going to die. No exception. Some of us will die in our sleep and we don’t even know if that is as peaceful as it is usually depicted. Others of us will have a terrible disease or will be hit by a truck and bleed to death, while others might drown or step on a landmine, burn in a fire or starve.
Please excuse the drama, but are you beginning to see that choosing one’s time, place and manner of death might be quite a sensible wish after all”?
Spoken for truth. Amazing how the sucide prevention crowd refuses to address this directly. All they do is deflect to make the case that no one really wants to die. But how ironic it would be if it turns out that all the effort they (and society in total) put into RESISTING the inevitable, instead of embracing and easing into it, is the root all of the world’s pain/suffering. Contrary to popular belief, suicide is not “rushing” unless one assumes a long life. But how is that a given? Every newborns die horrible deaths for crying out loud. So in my estimation, the whole “let’s wait and see” procrastination stance is just passive resistance.
In shamanism we know that to take ones own life is no different from taking someone elses. If we die prematurely it means a great deal of mess in the afterlife and for the living. There are eternal consequences if a person does not die when they are supposed to.
There is no afterlife and there is nothing “supposed” about anyone’s life. It’s not like there is some central committee for planning the lifespan of every person. In any case, it wouldn’t have any democratic legitimacy.
Thank you for this blogpost.
I am now completely ready to die, and at peace with this decision. I simply…. do not want to be here.
Sure, there are reasons and logic, arguments and the like. But, my gut, and my heart, tells me it is time for me to move on from here. The universe will go on, people will go on, and it is selfish of people to expect, nay DEMAND I stay. When I have already checked out of the hotel I never had a choice of staying in to begin with.
I believe this world is not for me, and have for a long time. Am I depressed? Sure – people cycle through these things regularly. Is it clinical depression? What is that but a term or phrase used to label. I do not want drugs, I do not want counselling. Because, I do not want to be.
The thought of my end now fills me with a peace I don’t think I have experienced in this existence. I believe we are the sum of a gazillion atoms, uniquely formed to make who i am, with a sum of experiences in my 40 odd years to create this being. I believe, when I die those atoms will gradually scatter, and parts of them may form use for another creature on this planet, or indeed this universe in years to come.
What I do know is this particular combination, right here and now, cannot stand this place any longer. And in a lot of ways the thought of freedom from that, gives me comfort.
This is my favourite article regarding suicide and it makes pro-life seem like the sane and sensible party to support. No one in this world should be able to make someone regret something or second-guess themselves and suicide is no exception. Thank you for publishing such truth, covering it with sensitivity and justice.
Thank you, Ma’am!
Makes sense. Sometimes, when it comes to suicide, I think about video games. Some video games have certain achievements that must be achieved at specific times and/or places with specific tools and/or weapons in specific ways with specific characters etc. There are all these invariables when it comes to these kinds of achievements. There are some achievements at certain points, with certain characters that are impossible to attain after a certain amount of time or after certain actions. The only way to attain those achievements after they are unattainable is to start a new game or maybe even play on a different system that hasn’t played that game before. Some games may frustrate a player so much that the player turns the game off or restarts or maybe stops playing it altogether. Some people hate the controls or the controller and buy a different system. Some people have other stuff they want to do so they sell the system and never play it again. Life to me, is like the game of the higher self. There are many y different ways to live and many different things to do in and/or with a life. In life, death is the only way to stop living. I mean, someone or something can simply change their lifestyle. Some lifestyles took years to finally live. Some things take a lot of time and effort to accomplish. Sometimes, some people dont want to simply start over in the body they have. Sometimes people want a new body. They dont want the memories that they have anymore or the thoughts or the history. They want the body to die (the game or save to be deleted or retired) whether or ot they want to play the game again from scratch or with a different character. Sometimes people want to leave any and every box that there is and reimagine a life from scratch and be born into that life starting from Conception. There are many existing concepts of afterlife and rebirth. There are also many concepts of spiritual awakening or retirement such as retiring a spirit or mentality and adopting a new one. Sometimes satanists become devout Christian’s or vice versa or sex exhibitionists that wanted to stay polygamous for life switch up and get married and want to stay faithful. Sometimes people desire to die physically and lay the memories to rest permanently and/or the records that they left behind. People dont always want to continue in the body they live in. Hitler committed suicide. What would he have had to endure if he had have lived? Torture? Execution? Public torture/execution? I would hate to be a victim of anyone or thing let alone torture or execution/murder, but I can imagine that many people wouldn’t care if I had tortured and/or executed/murdered someone else, let alone multiple people if not countless. Sometimes people are going to do what they want to do regardless of how it makes someone else feel. I am no exception. Many slaves ran away from their captors because they were tired of it. They would rather be homeless and start their own lives and villages and civilizations that simply slave for another’s. I mean, how would you feel if you had to live in poverty simply because your bloodlines inventions were stolen and patented/copyrighted by someone else for generation after generation? How would you feel if someone else made millions or billions from your own hard work and/or labor and simply hurt, tortured or killed you whenever you opened up about it or fought for at least an equal share in the profits? Slavery/racism/patriotism is only one aspect of why someone would want to commit an act of suicide or even homicide or even genocide or maybe robbery or deception. It’s not always easy to live in a universe or partake in a reality that is not appreciated by yourself, let alone others. The more that people do not want to experience partaking in such a reality and the more that the people will band together, like in the civil way and world war 2, in order to negate such an unwanted reality and have a chance to partake in a more desirable one.
This is fucked up. Suicide is awful and ur such a fucking bitch. This shouldn’t be aloud on the internet. U fucked up psychopath bitch. actually u are messed up even to think it COULD EVER be a good thing asshole. WORST ARTICLE EVER. SUCIDE IS BADDDDDD AND YOUR HERE MAKING AN ARTICLE ABOUT HOW ITS OK LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING BUDDY YOUR FUCKING WRONG
So many grammatical mistakes, but that’s no reason to kill yourself!
Firstly I respect your right to hold your opinion about suicide. Secondly, my sincere sympathies as you clearly must have some view from personal experience to feel so badly that you posted so angrily and extremely.
However, your tone, and to denigrate someone as you have, is not on, regardless of your view.
The poster has the right to their view as do you, and I don’t see how you can possibly think it’s right to post what you have. People around here feel very low. Obviously they feel differently to you about suicide and whether they it’s for and to them, something not that terrible a thing if you want the right to exert the ultimate rights to one’s own life and body – a view I for one agree with.q
You disagree – on, respect that view. But to abuse the poster as you have is appalling and you obviously have issues for which I in equal measure am sorry and find hard to feel sorry for.
Pull your head in and remember people have rights to all views. But they don’t deserve such disrespect.
Anonymous – please shoot yourself in your worthless face
This is fucking messed up. Suicide is a serious thing that everyone should be concerned about and ur supporting it! U fucking psychopathic bitch!!! How can u actually say that. That shouldn’t be aloud in the internet. Ur just fucked up buddy. This is the WORST ARTICLE EVER! NO ONE SHOULD EVER SEE THIS! Ur fucked up u asshole.
🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕 u have one mega fucking nerve to say these words. I would hate to know you. it is so fucking messed up to say someone is “courageous” to go and kill themselves. you have one life and your choosing it to tell people to kill themselves in a sense. that’s messed up dude.
Please kill yourself. 🤗
I agree, please end your useless cunt life immediately.
Yall gona fuking kill yo self for some no good fuking reason. WoW
And others will live for no good fucking reason.
I think anyone should habe the right to decide to end its own life and get help to do it
The author actually makes a realy good point.
Thank you, Sir!
Mr. Moser does not understand the fact that suicide is never the problem.
Depression and impulsiveness among other things are problems and suicide is sometimes a symptom of those problems. Suicide is NOT a logical solution to really any of the problems nor does it ever help the individual. It is a symptom of our flaws and it itself leads to nothing. Whether we agree with someone’s suicide or not, it is always the symptom of tragedy and is itself a tragedy.
Existential philosophy frames the question of life in a depressing and unhelpful way. Life does have meaning, we create that meaning ourselves and the lack of objective meaning is as irrelevant as the lack of all other objective version of subjective things. Most of the beautiful things in the world are subjective and personal and their beauty and value are accentuated rather than diminished by their subjective nature. Instead of framing the question of life around the things we don’t have, it’d be better to frame it around that which we have gratitude for.
I think suicide is a good option to stop the pain and fear. I tried to hang myself 10 years ago when I was 55 but couldn’t jump from the ladder. Now these thoughts have returned and even stronger as I am older and more hopeless. Hope this time I will have the courage. As for the people I leave behind, my sons are adults and everyone else is ok. They will surely feel pain but I can’t linger on another 20 years just for that.
Not sure if this article is still up, but thanks for it. I’ve lived a good long life. I watched my Dad go through a stroke and I still watch my family age. Couldn’t have children, so wouldn’t be hurting anyone. So, what is wrong with going out on a positive note? I don’t want to go through a long diseased death.
The Happy Hermit eh? I played Bass for some people that went with the hermit thing.. I’m not going to mention the bands name or who the star of the show is, but from my first first appearance till now I have not been a “Happy Hermit”. In fact right after after the first show, I was told that I will now and forever be a hermit. I wasn’t sure how to accept what had just been whispered in my right ear… Just that I took it as an honor and gave a big smile and bow. That was in ’97… Quite some time ago. And my life has just been like totally different as i was to remain single to this day! I hate my life. Oh sure, I loved all the things I had accomplished including making the grade to play in that band. Ends up I’m diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder, PTSD from some sressfull times I had spent in the Persian Gulf war (op.Desert Sheild) and also I had sustained some serious head injuries while in the Philippines and suffered from complete amnesia for a short period of time. I didnt even know my own name or the fact that I was in the Navy and recently had a daughter only two weeks in to deployment. I have just really gotten to where I am starting to feel beyond down these days and seemingly feel that I hate my life. I’m not happy bout much. So, thats why I chuckled when I read “The Happy Hermit”. Maybe if I could re-put-together my resume’ , maybe you folks there at the Hermit might have a small place for me that I could maybe somehow be apart of and ya all could maybe rub off on me and I could be happier and id be a step closer to living like id like to… And thats happy again. I really used to be pretty kick ass, as they say in the Navy. I was “Shit -Hot”! At only 52, I feel like I should be alot older to feel the way ive gotten to be. Anyway, thank you folks for taking a bit o time for me. I pray that it was enlightening even if just a tiny bit!
You’ve giving me the courage to finally go through it. Youre right, I’m not the one being selfish, they’re the one being selfish. I have every right to die and my family will be better off without me anyways thank you for such a thoughtful and inciteful article. I hope things turn out well for you.
Thank you very much!
The way I see it is that I was nothing before I was born. I was not scared or anything for that matter because there was no ‘I’. That is what you go back to. Life on the other hand… well if it sucks, you have the ‘going back to before you were born’ to look forward to: Nothingness. Even describing it as nothing is too inaccurate because that description comes from this world.
If you are mad at people who commit suicide just know it is something you cannot comprehend(at this moment at least) otherwise you would not be mad. Also try not be mad at those who are mad. As they are blessed to not have to know the reality of the suicidal.
Very good points!
I often advocate against children, for environmental and personal reasons, and people usually reply: “But imagine you weren’t born.” Well, I would never know it because “I” would be exactly in that state that you describe: non-existent, not even thought of.
I’m very encouraged to have found this article. At least in my neck of the woods, people are almost all not just against suicide as a basic constituent of personal freedom, but they’re also downright condemning towards the suicidal. It’s as if, being suicidal, you threaten what they find most holy. Despite the obvious lack of any scientific or convincing philosophical evidence that life has value beyond what people make of it, even our state and medical institutions vilify the suicidal. There are online blogs hosted by professional mental health specialists who teach at world famous universities in which the blog owners proudly assert “there is no such thing as rational suicide.” Any attempt to engage them in even respectful dialog is censored out of existence unless a clear anti-suicide sentiment pervades the comment.
Nor are the anti-suicide pundits humbled that in a Western capitalistic market as extreme as that of the US where, according to the UN’s own 2017 report on the state of poverty and human rights in the US, extreme poverty is growing, the judicial system actively works to keep people submerged in poverty, the political system is virtually wholly disinterested in the poor, and yet survival costs have exploded beyond the means of growing numbers, no one besides oneself is responsible for how–or if–one survives. An Amazon manager, in response to ongoing worker publications of dissatisfaction over worker exploitation in Amazon warehouses in the US, recently published a social media message that “no one has any right to a job” in the US–where money is a survival requirement today. And US corporate lobbyists-controlled legislators have repeatedly voted down presidential American Jobs Acts that would protect the most vulnerable and federal jobs guarantee proposals leading economists provide compelling evidence would serve a major blow against poverty. All this despite the international evidence about the independent effects of poverty and joblessness on population suicide rates.
Yet while no one has any right to many of the things we need to survive, and while hosts of academic and government studies show the state of affairs in the US is worsening for many, and despite no one else being responsible for us, we don’t even have the right to opt out of life. Even if physicians all chose NOT to participate in the administering of medically competent and compassionate physician assisted suicide (which we already know not to be the case), citizens could still at least have access to relatively painless and less “messy” means to leave life. But no, these are also denied us. So many of us have to settle for hoping our chosen methods, cobbled together after surreptitiously reading online forums governments actively try to censor, will be painless, quick, and relatively easy. This in a nation that claims to prioritize personal autonomy.
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir. Still, I’m grateful for the (too) rare online article that recognizes the individual’s ownership of him- or herself. And that doesn’t revel in unctuous self-congratulations for tolerating others’ freedom to choose yet still obliquely condemning suicide with hackneyed, off-handed remarks about “obvious mental illness.” For my own part, my once-oldest friend told me, “It’s not a matter of if you will commit suicide. Only when.” He was right. This is my year. I wish I didn’t have to waste so much of it struggling to put together everything on my own. But, here I am.
Thanks to the author. And the many personal autonomy supporters in the comment section.
And THANK YOU very much for your beautifully written comment and for highlighting the connection between poverty (at some levels desired or at least gladly tolerated by some economic systems) and suicide.
I am in Germany, not quite as bad as the US, but I recently went to a talk by a homeless person who explained that many of the people who jump in front of a train are homeless people who got diagnosed with a severe disease and who don’t have health insurance. (We don’t quite have universal healthcare in Germany.)
When discussing this topic, I feel that too many doctors, mental health professionals and academics are so out of touch with severe, long-lasting poverty that they cannot imagine what it feels like.
What a beautiful article, unlike the propaganda we find in mainstream media. In general, the world is full of despair, misery, sorrow, deception, secretive evils, corruption, greedy politicians, and many people full of ulterior motives. Living is difficult — full of confusing, propagandistic pressures (straight, gay, gender x to name a few), and societal pressure with so many regulations and reduction in a person’s intrinsic rights, but taxes and death ate guaranteed. Isn’t suicude a beautiful thing, considering gloabl elitists, such as Bill Gates’ and Ben Netanyahu’s, reach to cull the world of useless eaters contributing to global warming ???
A topic more relevant right now than ever!
Great article and brave of you to post it despite the controversy it might bring (and did). I was surprised to read word for word what I have always thought in your last two paragraphs.
Thank you very much!
It was not easy to write (or to publish) this article, but the feedback over the years has shown that a great many people think and feel similarly.
literally fuck you.
For what it’s worth. I absolutely agree with this article and I applaud you, Andreas, for writing it.
The landscape of suffering is variable for each individual and we need to respect the rights of someone who decides that they are in a valley for which there is no possible, easy, or economical escape. For those who disagree, who are you to impose your will on others? I’d love to subject you to the pain a terminal patient feels for one day, maybe you’d reconsider?
For those with religious arguments, a growing many of us do not believe in your angry dictator sky god and I could bet money that you have not closely read the old testament or the quran (both despicable, violent and horrific). Funnily enough, those that do read it literally, commit suicide although they usually do so while committing mass murder.
We were all dead for 13.8 billion years before we were born, and for some of us, maybe many of us, it was far better than this.
Thank you very much, Sid, for your eloquent arguments! And I appreciate the jibe at the religious mass-murderers/suicidists. ;-)
The guy who wrote this article, seems to be an expert on Suicide, and depression. My guess, is he’s probably dealt with suicidal thoughts, and maybe depression. He should memorialize this blog by dining on a bullet himself. I mean he’s got a point, and what a way to show leadership.
Did you actually just publish a comment suggesting someone else should kill himself? It’s a testimony to Moser’s equanimity that your comment even made it to publication. And judging from the growing popularity of much of Moser’s and others’ similar arguments, regardless the obliquely antagonistic cloaked-threats/insults like yours these arguments invariably arouse, more world governments will eventually conclude that, yes, our lives belong to us to do with what we want, including ending them when we see fit.
thanks for your comment!
In Germany, the Supreme Court recently did indeed come down on our side with a ruling against a ban on assisted suicide. I have meant to write about this on the blog, but as always, there are too many ideas for articles and too little time.
Thanks for some of the best news of the year so far, Andreas. After reading your comment, I looked up the German Supreme Court’s ruling de-criminalizing assisted suicide. I was ecstatic to read the court’s deference to the individual’s prerogative. Together with the recent (last few years) acquittals in Europe of health care workers tried for assisting suicide, Germany’s decision adds another powerful legislative blow against archaic, moralistic, and hypocritical anti-suicide views used as justification for controlling others’ most personal decision.
Thanks for your comment again! You made me realize that the German Supreme Court publishes some of its press releases in English, so I can link to it here: https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2020/bvg20-012.html
But sadly, I live in a country where it’s not so easy to get a bullet, let alone a firearm.
Tell us how you really feel ! The trouble with invective like yours is that it’s not possible to tell if you’re against the whole genus or just the bad species. That is, against all anti-suicide measures, or just against some, the bad ones.
As to assisted suicide, that’s not simple. The flaw is manifest here: “an act of autonomous self-determination.” Ordinarily it is not an “act of autonomous self-determination” to scream and bend down and kiss the ground. But if a bad man were to twist your arm to the breaking point and if necessary beyond, then you might! Question: would that be an autonomous act of self-determination?
If circumstance of life drives an individual to suicide there’s not much to be done about it, because it’s done. In the case of assisted suicide, motive matters. Can there be anylegitimate motive to assist suicide? What does the agent say? “He wanted to die, and, I thought he should die”?
Hmm. It seems to me the German law is couched in terms that make it unreal in practice – perhaps an example of German efficiency. The real test is not whether one may commit suicide, but the status of any who provide active assistance. Imo it’s not an unsolvable problem, simply one not to be solved in any facile way.
Here is another way of viewing it.
1) Do you buy the notion that in general would-be suicides are making autonomous, self-determined decisions ? I accept that in theory an individual may resign his life in the same way a chess-master resigns a chess game. That is, the chess-master knows it’s all over but for a move or two – life, of course, differing from chess in some significant ways.
Kant was against it, categorically. But I find no reference in Kant to the situation of the terminally ill and suffering person already near death. It’s possible that situation was rare and self-resolved soon enough in any – almost every – case.
2) On the assumption that would-be suicides are making a “good” decision (criteria here unspecified), is the community obliged to facilitate assistance either actively or passively? That is, on request is your doctor obliged to give you the lethal pills or administer them himself, or alternatively, may some set up businesses to render that service while the community “looks the other way” ?
I’ve already shared how I feel about suicide. I don’t feel I or anyone else should have an obligation to explain to others why we wish not to exist. Nor do I feel that any explanation would necessarily be convincing to others that the person making the decision is justified in their decision. Only the individual is qualified to judge whether life–their own life in particular and life in general–is worth its inevitable costs. With few exceptions, judgements of what constitutes a “good decision” strike me as irrelevant here beyond the obvious–that others may exert physical, at least, force to impose their will on us (forced commitment…). Hence, the need to beg … sorry, I mean convince others of our rationality.
So long as I (or others) choose to participate in society, we may agree to abide by various rules. But at least some of us do not concede that the state, any (other) institution, or anyone else has any say in what we do with our bodies and our private lives–over which we consider ourselves holding ultimate ownership. I don’t have to explain to you or anyone else why I want to discard something others might perceive to be valuable. So long as I own it and in discarding it, I do not inflict immediate harm on others. There’s nothing I feel more so about than my own existence. Others’ philosophical disagreements with me are to me utterly irrelevant. My life. My body. My decision. Period. The increasing popularity of suicide in my own country, The US, despite the ubiquity of anti-suicide campaigns, argues that I am not alone in my feelings and my resolution to do what I wish with myself.
As for whether the state has an obligation to help people like me die with less pain, I do recognize this to be a matter of public opinion, law, and policy. In the US, polls find that the majority of Americans agree–and increasingly so–that adults ought to be entitled to decide when we die. More US states are implementing death-with-dignity legislation, reflecting the significant shift in the culture’s feelings on the matter. In a culture that refuses to tackle effectively growing and gravely threatening inequities and a globally embarrassing disenfranchisement of the burgeoning population of poor from the very political and legal systems they desperately need (but find little) help from–on and on–adults should be free to opt out of life AND to have access to what WE judge to be compassionate means to do so.
In any regards, even if society chooses NOT to allow people like me to access for ourselves both the knowledge and materials to end our lives less painfully, we will continue to do what data on suicide here in the US and abroad show: more and more of us will exploit the means we have available to escape what we find intolerable. I can’t control whether others agree with me or not–nor am I interested in trying to do this anymore. I am determined to do what I have reasoned is right FOR ME. I respect your right to decide for yourself what is right for you. It saddens me deeply not to have this respect reciprocated.
I’d say most people commenting here could shoot themselves in the fucking face and nobody would give a shit, or even know you’re laying in a pool of your own brains. That or they’d be so happy they would throw a fucking party.
@Andrea — I don’t think comments like C’s are worthy of direct responses. But I do think they’re important because they’re a record of how many people actually feel about others’ lives. If it weren’t for the honesty in comments like this one, the positivity cult would go unopposed when they argue that the world is a bright, compassionate place that offers satisfying solutions to everybody’s problems. No, a lot of people either don’t care about what others are going through OR they’re happy others are suffering. So “thanks” to C for the honest testimony and thanks to you for preserving it…
Fuck you, you calloused piece of shit. You don’t suffer, so love your charmed life and shit Roth fuck I’ll about how the suffering (unlike yourself) feel. You know nothing. I have a host of people 500 + who would mourn and yet understand my suicide. I was tortured from infancy by my mother, raped repeatedly by my dad…then the foster system tortured me. I have severe incurable PTSD, and TBI, so fuck your goddamned judgements against the suicidal you callous murderous fuck!!!!
What do you want, a fucking medal?
Find someone who gives a shit!! 🖕
How about fuck you?
Why so aggressive?
Vanity of vanities is “life”. All I have to look forward to is the death of this body. 👍
No. This is irresposible. My father died of suicide and left me behind as a young girl. Was he in excruciating pain? Yes. Was it selfish? Also, yes. That hurt is something no one can understand unless they’ve experienced it. He chose to bring me into this world only to leave me when I could not yet fend for myself. I inherited his bipolar disorder and have been so low to the point I seriously considered suicide myself. We all have pain, some more than others. We also have free will, but it doesn’t make it morally right to commit suicide. No one HAS to stay, but it is the right thing to do. In my lowest moments, I do stay alive for people I care about. We have to encourage a higher moral standard than this article. Why not spare people that irreversible pain? You never get over it. You are never the same. It is not selfish to desire that your loved ones make a choice to stay alive. That is the bare minimum of claiming to truly love and care for any human being.
thank you for sharing your tragic experience!
As I write in the article, I think children are really the only ones to whom others have a responsibility, which may include the responsibility to stay alive.
Anon, I think just about everyone here feels for people who are suffering. But that we suffer because of others’ choices doesn’t argue that others are guilty of some crime or moral failing (or that they’re “selfish”) for making their choices. Research shows, just as an example, that children can suffer lifelong harm from divorce. This doesn’t justify banning divorce, even just among people who have children together. Because we already have evidence that children growing up in dysfunctional families also suffer lifelong harms. When people we love die from terminal diseases like cancer, we hurt. And it can be devastating to kids. But as a community we try to support and help the bereaved. That’s the best we can do. Loss is inevitable. I don’t think there’s any net gain from vilifying people who’re already in so grave pain that they choose to leave life. While kids may not understand this, we adults can choose to–despite missing those we’ve lost.
I also don’t think referencing morality is here at all effective. I’m not picking on you–really. But different people have different moral standards. Whose perspective is right? For example, many believe that the individual owns her/his life and so holds the only authority to decide whether to keep it or end it. They believe, also, that the rest of us are unacceptably selfish to expect others who’re in grave pain to stay alive just so WE avoid the pain of loss.
And then there’s the “morality” of public policy. It’s noteworthy that the people who have power–governments and corporate billionaires–generally don’t choose to spend (as much) money where our research evidence shows over and over again the efforts are effective at decreasing suicide: increased healthcare access, adequate affordable housing, more worker protections, a fair and truly accessible legal system, community engineering that prioritizes family and individual health and emotional well-being… On and on, the people who control the world have consistent expert evidence about WHAT actually works to decrease suicide risk, but they choose not to implement these things despite what some argue is “morally right.” I think this is because “morally right” is merely an opinion.
You’re right that your father assumed a responsibility for you when he became a parent, but then again, our global cultures strongly promote reproduction (it benefits the state and the corporation…) even among many of us who might not be ready for parenthood. Worse, then our cultures fail to support the many resources-poor children and families, perpetuating the related cycles of poverty, depressed mental health, and suicide. So again, what may appear to be the individual’s responsibility or an act of selfishness can be seen as consequences of larger social forces.
I’m really not trying to be insensitive. I lost my mom (and closest friend). I think about her every single day. And I know many of my problems stem from the way I dealt with her loss. But I also know she was in terrible pain and don’t wish her still alive, suffering, to allay my own grave suffering. Wishing her alive and suffering while I feel better, to me, would be selfish.
I’m really sorry for your pain. But I hope you come to accept your father’s choice as what he determined was best for him–perhaps what he saw as his only real option. And maybe someday you’ll feel a bit relieved that your father’s suffering wasn’t prolonged further. Peace.
I’m killing myself. No one will miss me. I gurentee not one of you care, especially evengelical christians who think I’ll be with god. No one will miss me. I lost my job christmas day. Lemme get good and drunk and I will be gone.
I am dreaming of a society where losing one’s job doesn’t lead to despair and poverty. Where we are citizens and human beings, not workers and consumers.
I agree with the author completely. Only reason I have not acted is because I have a young child who needs me and I cannot morally abandon her. It’s really hard for parents, even more so to try and get help, as their idea of help is ‘antidepressants’ or ‘we take your child’. I long for the sweet release…..
I understand suicide is a logical conclusion about this world and life. By observing this world of continuous competition among humans and endless conflicts sometimes I think why I have to continue to participate in all of this? Why I don’t have a right to leave this ugly game for ALL OF THEM but not me?
Let’s them fight each other but I want vacation rest from all pains of this world.
I fully understand you, especially as you raise the point of constant competition. It seems we have degenerated from a a market economy to a market society.
I for one have decided to opt out of competition. Like a conscientious objector. I am not trying to earn more than I need, I am not trying to become faster or fitter, I am not trying to impress anyone.
Obviously, that has left me single and with few friends, because they think of me as a traitor to the system in which they participate. But it leaves me all the more time to walk through the forest and read books (which I get for free from the library).
But, to be fair, I admit that this works much better in a country with a social safety net, like Germany.
People who had good lives from birth with NO TRAUMA are lucky. Briefly, age 6, dad died ,abusive stepdad age 10+I’m the eldest of 8 siblings. Had extreme poverty. Heard mum almost
being killed most nights,wandering if she be alive the next am. leave home age 16 to live with abusive family, (ex neighbours)the dad used to abuse me. Betrayed by so called friends who groomed my daughter,+encouraged her to do dangerous activities. Daughter got murdered, at age 20,
dumped like garbage, found after 5 weeks, I couldn’t say goodbye.ID by teeth.
I’ve carried on living! Despite my guilt , I must keep going for my other grown child. Iv survived
cancer,partner is terminally ill, Ithink about suicide every day ,especially since being menopausal which brings back all past memories.my life is hell
Cheryl here again.Has any1 had enough empathy to put themselves in a murder victims shoes?
Unless the victim dies immediately, +doesn’t realise it’s happening, ( for example,shot from behind),they v not suffered. But imagine being held captive by killer for minutes,hours,days,possibly weeks,+poor victim knows they l die.imagine torture,rape added on. I don’t no how it happened with my girl ,as the killer stayed silent at the trial. So that’s 1 reason may be I have slight misgivings
reg suicide as the murder victim will be desperately thinking how much they want to live+yet
they don’t get the chance. Same with terminally ill patients in hospital who may have had lots of
treatment desperately wanting to stay alive but will still not survive. What would they think of
people who end their lives through their own choice? So when I think of life from that point of
view I have mixed feelings,. Anyone see my point?
Right now I am dealing with a situation that involved an individual who took her life. A mother of 3 young children, just took her life. This is tough for me two deal with and is the third suicide of an individual I have known.
This article and the comments have been eye-opening (save for some comments which were a bit rude). I sought this article out after a breakdown in which I was crying and screaming hysterically, yanking locks of my hair out, and beating my hands against every hard surface I could find throughout the day. (Therefore, this comment is centered mainly around the suicidal motive of depression.) It was in the aftermath of that episode when I realized, if someone is suffering severe depression, and spends their 24/7 feeling like this (or worse), then why make them stay on this planet? I am fine with stopping someone if they are in their teens or younger and/or still have a chance to find treatment. But if someone is, say, 20s or over, and/or has tried multiple treatments/therapies and had nothing work, then I see no reason not to let them (I agree with the exception about having children, though). I also believe that if suicide (or death in general) was not such a taboo, forbidden subject, then people would not have to hide to do it, it could be done more peacefully, and goodbyes could be said (most of which was said in the “social stigma” part of this article). I’ve seen many say that it is devastating to not know you will never see your loved one again until it is too late. To this I want to reply, “But, perhaps they did not tell you because they knew you would try to stop them, and they had made up their mind and did not want to be stopped. If they had told you, and you had let them, maybe you could have said goodbye.” Some say suicide is selfish, but I believe it is more selfish to guilt someone into remaining in a constant internal prison because YOU would be sad to see them go. You cannot decide the value of someone else’s life. Only they can decide whether it is worth it to continue living. Losing someone to suicide is hard, and people who have lost someone this way deserve every bit of sympathy. But if the person who committed suicide was certain in their decision, and was in such despair that they truly believed death would be a better option than living through another day, then why make them stay?
I’m done with this world. It sucks. My last breath will be my most peaceful. Done! Competition over. I hated Monopoly when I was young, and now living it in real terms is my idea of hell.
I have found a middle way for myself: withdrawing from the competition.
Like a conscientious objector to capitalism.
Suicide is romantic and awesome unless you’re part of crab-mentality-preventors with hero complex syndrome campaign.
Have your heard Romeo And Juliet, or Titanic, would it be awesome romantic story if it’s not ended with suicide?
Oh yes, from Socrates, Alan Turing, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson to Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington and Robin William … don’t you think they’re more awesome than pro lifers? Of course they are.
I appreciate your perspective and it opened my eyes to look at suicide in a different light. It does take alot and who knows what someone’s reason is but you are right in that we all live our lives for ourselves and do not owe anyone except ones children any expiration. Thank you and my condolences about your cousin. My first husband committed suicide and I felt guilt for awhile but then realized it had nothing to do with me and he didn’t do it to hurt me or anyone else. He did it because it was his solution to whatever he was contemplating
People are just too selfish and think everything is about them when nothing is about them in reality.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful and kind words!
Oddly enough, it is often the close relatives, parents or spouses who seem to understand better than the distant relatives or acquaintances, who think they know someone just because he replies “fine” when asked “how are you?” – as if most people would really want to know the truth to that question.