Ethics of suicide

  • Apophany 06-17-2016, 07:04 AM
    Disclaimer: I myself am not currently suicidal, I'm just looking for a discussion about the act from a philosophy standpoint.

    What does lewd think about the morality of suicide? Should people have the right to end their own lives? Is it a universally selfish act, or can it be a reasonable choice?

    In my own opinion, each person's life and the circumstances surrounding it are different, so they should be treated as individual ethical dilemmas. It's neither universally immoral and unreasonable, nor universally moral and reasonable. Therefore, it shouldn't be provided as a "right" that everyone has. On one hand I do think there are cases in which euthanasia is the right thing to do, but on the other, I do think most people are incapable of appraising the value of their own life. While they are the only person experiencing it, they're also a biased observer.

    Using myself as an example, I know that I'm mentally ill, and in a way that negatively influences how much value I place on my own existence. However, I also know there are logical, external reasons I suffer. What it comes down to is, how much of that suffering is based in circumstance, and how much is a direct result of my illness? And me being the sick person, do I really have the ability to make that distinction soundly? My own appraisal is subject to things like delusional thinking and negativity bias, just as much as other people's perspectives are external to my subjective experience and therefore potentially unreliable. Even if the distinction could be made accurately, and even if it were true that my suffering was all directly caused by my illness, the ethics of my suicide would still depend on something that's yet unknown--that being, whether my illness can be sufficiently mollified with intervention, and if so, how quickly.
  • malmon 06-17-2016, 07:31 AM
    I think that suicide should be considered as a "right", since it's your life, I believe you should be able to do with it as you please. While it does come with the unfortunate consequence of strongly affecting those close to you, I don't believe that one should have to carry on with a life of psychological pain just because it's otherwise considered selfish - by this logic, it was selfish of your parents to have brought you in to the world in the first place.
  • Paarthurnax 06-17-2016, 07:39 PM
    Before you read my comment then please understand that this is my standpoint as I am normally neutral in this and I would not want people that has had this experience to rage at me in that way but rather tutor me.

    Some people have difficulties and others have a life of living easily. But everyone should indeed have the right of their own life even if it can affect others near you. For a person that thinks suicidal I believe they see the shadows of negativity.

    An example ; Why do you keep living, what is the point? Why continue the game? Let us say as in the video below that the life you live is a game that you bet on. If you want to bet on this life it has to have a purpose. What if there is no purpose then the game is not worty of betting on then suicide is an option. You see the world around you based on others and your own mood.
    I will sa this that everyone goes through depression or suicidal thoughts atleast once in life and when they do they take it differently. Religion and treatment of childhood is important in this due to you might be taught that recardination and Buddhism is an option or you might be taught that your God is you, or an imposted God or even no God.
    You will feel that the world is a trap and that it is against you. You always will because when you are doing something that you like, the road to continue doing it and the road to keep expanding it is going to be real hard. Always.

    But then again your brain will think " Why should I give up now that I have this thought ".
    Now there really isn’t anything radically wrong with being in depression or suicidal. Who said you’re supposed to survive? Who gave you the idea that it’s a gas to go on and on and on?
    I will say this that there are different perspectives on this always. Some might take it the wrong way and have the guilt on them for their life that they did not help you and some may not care. But that is not the point with life. The point of life is to do what you want. There is nothing more you can add onto that. You can not say that there is a point in life to ship a God or to walk this path, or that path. No. You need the proof of that but this far in our evolution you can only say that you will walk your own path following and doing what you appreciate to be able to enjoy life as you wish and see it. If you can do that then you can keep on living.
  • Red 06-18-2016, 01:19 AM
    From chapter five of Chesterton's "Orthodoxy."

    Quote:"Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage. For it destroys all buildings: it insults all women. The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not: that is his crime. He cannot be bribed, even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City. The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them. But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it. He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake. There is not a tiny creature in the cosmos at whom his death is not a sneer. When a man hangs himself on a tree, the leaves might fall off in anger and the birds fly away in fury: for each has received a personal affront. Of course there may be pathetic emotional excuses for the act. There often are for rape, and there almost always are for dynamite. But if it comes to clear ideas and the intelligent meaning of things, then there is much more rational and philosophic truth in the burial at the cross-roads and the stake driven through the body, than in Mr. Archer's suicidal automatic machines. There is a meaning in burying the suicide apart. The man's crime is different from other crimes -- for it makes even crimes impossible."
  • Kyoko.AVNo 06-18-2016, 09:53 AM
    While I'm a diehard individualist, I don't know that there's any circumstance in which I'd be comfortable with letting someone go forward with committing suicide.  This is because I know very well that feelings and situations are transient and thus can change even over the course of a single day, as well as that suffering and trauma are not insurmountable obstacles.  They can be exceptionally difficult to handle on occasion, but they're not omnipotent.  Far from it.

    For that matter, what if all it took for someone to begin recovering and feeling better was to get psychotherapy, or to start a new hobby, or to make one really good friend, or to throw out their daily routine and reevaluate their day-to-day life?  With all of these possibilities and innumerably more floating around in my head, I couldn't in good conscience let someone kill themself when the key to their mental well-being could in all likelihood be within arm's reach.

    Having said that, I think the notion of suicide being selfish due to its effects on others' feelings is ridiculous.  Isn't it equally selfish by the same metric for a suicidal person's loved ones to expect said person to keep suffering for the sake of their own feelings?

    Also, note that my reservations about suicide don't exactly apply to euthanasia.  If someone who's terminally ill without hope of treatment and racked with pain around the clock wants out, that's considerably different than what I was describing above.  Namely, one can potentially be helped, while the other cannot.
  • Forlorn Memoir 06-21-2016, 09:16 AM (Edited 06-21-2016, 09:18 AM)
    I'm personally conflicted on this. I can never understand how people think it's selfish to take your own life - obviously if you were thinking of ending everything, and embracing the finality and frailty of life, your suffering should be acknowledged and trump any family's feelings. I mean, at the end of the day, you're dead and they're still living; to imply the dead man is the selfish one only implies their's an admiration for his act, a whine of "I wish I were dead already", which often isn't the case.

    Now if we're going on the morality between the individual and the creator, that's where it gets confusing. I myself have had bouts where I've wanted to kill myself, not due to some severe mental anguish, trauma, or even self-hatred, but apathy in my life where I'd like to simply die rather than do things due to a lack of enjoyment. The final thing that has stopped me from doing it is a full force belief eternal damnation awaits me and whilst I might not entirely enjoy this life, continuing life in the absence of the Father seems almost paradoxical. When you kill yourself, it is not your life to take. It was bought at a price, and you were given it and to take something outside the Plan would be akin to snubbing your nose at the creator.

    At the end of the day though, if a person has committed to their belief of either eternal or simply none existence - I wouldn't encourage them, but making it a taboo is like trying to make a corpse sit in the jail for its previous owner's "crime": fruitless. There is no satisfication for any party as the person will not inhabit the shamed body, the family is denied closure, and people who aim to kill themselves in the future only feel more guilt than they already do which would ironically push them further into the grave.
  • floattube 06-26-2016, 02:05 AM
    This is something that hits very close to home for me. I was extremely suicidal and all I would ever think about was killing myself. I would never talk about it, but it was always in the back of my mind. Then when I actually did try, and fail, I ended up in a mental hospital and thought it was ridiculous that I couldn't do what I wanted with my own life. If I wanted to die, why couldn't I? It is my life and my body, why can't I do what I want with it? But if someone ever came up to me and said they wanted to kill themselves, I would never be able to tell them that they have that option. If someone told me that I could kill myself if I wanted to and didn't even try to reach out to me, I probably would have tried again and again until I did it right. So I don't know, I can't say that suicide is ever the answer, however.
  • bpseudopod 09-24-2016, 10:15 AM (Edited 09-24-2016, 10:15 AM)
    I recommend we do this.

    We will allow each individual one attempt at suicide in their lifetime. This attempt will be highly regulated: a team of medical professionals will stand by, and only a limited number of methods will be allowed. They will not be allowed to simply swallow pills or choke themselves out in the car; these are too slow, and you could very well fall asleep and think, when I wake up, the attempt will have failed. No, the attempter must do something direct and painful. Perhaps they must take a knife and personally drive it into their wrists, watch the blood slowly seep from their veins as their strength drains away from them. Or perhaps they will be strangled, so they can feel themselves struggle and gasp for air until yellow splotches flood their vision and they pass out from lack of oxygen.

    But most importantly, the method must be reversible without too much internal damage. Blood can be replenished; the respiratory system can be restarted. For in the hand of the attempter will be a big, red button, and as long as they are conscious, as long as they have the slightest bit of strength left, they will be able to press the button, and the medical personnel will rush into the room and give them all the medical treatment they need to stay alive.

    That is to say, the problem of suicide is not that someone living died; rather, the problem is that someone might die who wants to live. The real problem is that, in their last moments, they might not fully believe that eliminating themselves would be the best possible way to improve the world.

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Ethics of suicide