• Waya
    900
    Many people struggle with suicidal thoughts and it is often condemned as something terrible, even by those who do not profess any religion. What causes this to be considered wrong? From my perspective, merely thinking about something rather dark while still holding relatively firm to even a weak thread of hope is not wrong or necessarily bad. After all, if there is a reasonable explanation for the existence of one's being, then thinking about it without strong emotions involved should be a beneficial exercise. The fear seems to be based on if there either is no reason to exist or if one cannot deduct a reason because of clouded judgment (emotions, for example).
  • MindForged
    546
    Because by and large the people around one don't usually want them considering going through with it. This seems pretty straightforward.
  • Waya
    900
    Even if they did go through with it, what makes that wrong? And why should anyone really care?
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    I hold the notion that "suicide" is the conclusion of emotional reasoning gone wild. Otherwise, if you're happy, then why would you want to commit suicide? It seems like the misery of life, that can get to a person is the reason why one would want to commit suicide.

    Hence, the need to be cautious about the conclusions derived from emotional reasoning.
  • Moliere
    1.4k


    As far as what people generally think, I think @MindForged hit the nail on the head. I don't think it's a moral problem as much as a moralized emotion. For myself...

    There is nothing morally wrong with being sick. And in the great majority of cases where suicidal ideation occurs it is the result of sickness, and not deliberate action. So it is right to intervene in those cases since the person's very agency is compromised by the sickness.

    Suicide is not morally wrong -- it's a tragedy, not something to be condemned, even in cases where we might say a person is rational rather than sick.

    The terribleness of suicidal ideation has more to do with the pain associated, and not with some sort of moral duty or something. There is also the real threat that someone could die from it, just as someone can die from lung cancer.
  • DingoJones
    228
    I see no problem with suicidal thoughts, people should think about death alot in my opinion, so that it demystifies it. Fear and anxiety over death is at the root of many evils.
    Obviously, if someone is sick, they should be helped but thinking about suicide doesnt mean you are sick. Indeed, we would want someone to think long and hard before they commit suicide. Its no small thing.
    As for suicide itself, I also don’t see a problem. There is just something unacceptable about forcing someone to live if they would rather die to me. Whatever sovereignty a person has for themselves, the last shred of it will be found in the ability to, if nothing else in life, decide when you keep living or not.
  • Waya
    900
    I hold the notion that "suicide" is the conclusion of emotional reasoning gone wild. Otherwise, if you're happy, then why would you want to commit suicide? It seems like the misery of life, that can get to a person is the reason why one would want to commit suicide.

    Hence, the need to be cautious about the conclusions derived from emotional reasoning.
    Wallows

    Perhaps it is not emotional reasoning, in some cases, people struggle with those thoughts regardless of the emotional state. Happiness is an emotion, hence the reason to NOT die would be a result of emotional reasoning.
  • Waya
    900
    As far as what people generally think, I think MindForged hit the nail on the head. I don't think it's a moral problem as much as a moralized emotion. For myself...

    There is nothing morally wrong with being sick. And in the great majority of cases where suicidal ideation occurs it is the result of sickness, and not deliberate action. So it is right to intervene in those cases since the person's very agency is compromised by the sickness.

    Suicide is not morally wrong -- it's a tragedy, not something to be condemned, even in cases where we might say a person is rational rather than sick.

    The terribleness of suicidal ideation has more to do with the pain associated, and not with some sort of moral duty or something. There is also the real threat that someone could die from it, just as someone can die from lung cancer.
    Moliere

    Interesting perspective. What if a person who was sick had no desire to be cured? Likely due to depression, but is it justifiable for another to act contrary to the suicidal person's will to prevent suicide?
  • Waya
    900
    I see no problem with suicidal thoughts, people should think about death alot in my opinion, so that it demystifies it. Fear and anxiety over death is at the root of many evils.
    Obviously, if someone is sick, they should be helped but thinking about suicide doesnt mean you are sick. Indeed, we would want someone to think long and hard before they commit suicide. Its no small thing.
    As for suicide itself, I also don’t see a problem. There is just something unacceptable about forcing someone to live if they would rather die to me. Whatever sovereignty a person has for themselves, the last shred of it will be found in the ability to, if nothing else in life, decide when you keep living or not.
    DingoJones
    Some people have more of a fear of dying rather than mere death. Serious contemplation of suicide seems to be in a way, hopeful. Hopeful that there is an escape from the issues one faces. Yet, on the other hand, it can be quiet dark, as there may be other solutions available. In some ways, thinking about it can be a bit of an anxiety release as one has that option, and at least pondering it helps sooth the claustrophobic sensation of being trapped in life.
  • DingoJones
    228


    I agree, that kind of perspective is what I mean by demystified.
  • MindForged
    546
    I didn't reference going through with suicide or the morality of it. In fact, I think people ought to be legally allowed to seek assisted suicide methods (with a few caveats). What I meant is that the people don't want someone they know to be thinking about it for many reasons.

    Even if one thinks it's permissible to do X doesn't mean they think one ought to consider it, for various reasons (context, severity, repercussions, and so on).
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    I'd say yes. Mostly because the very disease already compromises what would normally be a violation against said person -- namely, it compromises their autonomy. The disease itself is coercing the individual already, so coercion -- whether initiated or merely allowed to continue -- is part of every decision.

    I don't mean this in a universal sense, exactly. But rather in a more general way -- more often than not it's justifiable to intervene, because more often than not the sick person's agency is compromised regardless of what we do -- and this would be the main reason why it is normally wrong to intervene on the decisions of others (again, only in a general way -- obviously there are exceptions, and obviously there are other values we have to consider besides autonomy)
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Perhaps it is not emotional reasoning, in some cases, people struggle with those thoughts regardless of the emotional state. Happiness is an emotion, hence the reason to NOT die would be a result of emotional reasoning.Waya

    Oh, I don't know. It seems to me that to want to commit suicide requires some sort of emotional backdrop where one is depressed, anxious, or in persistent extreme pain. I don't know of any cases where one was happy and thought about committing suicide.
  • Dan84
    40
    Several points from me

    when I’m being dragged down into the inferno my suicidal thoughts manifest themselves as fantasy, an irrational urge to end a (struggle).

    When I’m flying high the thoughts appear as something equally irrational but strangley rather beautiful.

    When “normal” I think it’s a ‘rational’ conclusion of the critical thought of a sensitive individual. A kind of post-modernist intrusion upon the classical soul.

    It’s beauty that keeps one alive in my view.

    That’s just a few ramblings that come to mind. Another I guess just quickly is suicide and death may be scary for some but it’s entirely dependent upon philosophy but I do wonder upon that final moment. The Anna Karanina moment. And also the Martyred Socrates moment.

    Apologies for rambles
  • Dan84
    40


    Are you suggesting that assisted suicide be legal (given caveats). The reason I ask is I still don’t quite have the handle of the reply and quote system. Any if that is what you are suggesting I think it’s an extremely interesting debate. One that we need to really consider.
  • Dan84
    40
    Worth to note that throughout history how many deeply intelligent and wise people live with suicidal thoughts. It’s easy using a scientific or medical eye to potentially conflate the thoughts with a dysfunction of mind. But maybe it’s just we underestimate a vast difference between experience that modern science cannot answer due to the strict refusal of a metaphysical. Artists, poets, writers arguably see the world much clearer than Drs and lawyers.
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.2k
    If I may share a piece with this thread that I came across recently that really illustrated what the day after your choice to commit suicide will look like and why maybe there is a better way...

    “The Morning After I Killed Myself” is a poem by 22-year old Meggie Royer, who writes at Writings for Winter. She has two published poetry collections, “Survival Songs” and “Healing Old Wounds With New Stiches.” Her Poem, “The Morning After I Killed Myself,” is a message about the finality of suicide, the impact it has on loved ones, and the lost opportunity for a better day.

    “The Morning After I Killed Myself”

    The morning after I killed myself, I woke up.

    I made myself breakfast in bed. I added salt and pepper to my eggs and used my toast for a cheese and bacon sandwich. I squeezed a grapefruit into a juice glass. I scraped the ashes from the frying pan and rinsed the butter off the counter. I washed the dishes and folded the towels.

    The morning after I killed myself, I fell in love. Not with the boy down the street or the middle school principal. Not with the everyday jogger or the grocer who always left the avocados out of the bag. I fell in love with my mother and the way she sat on the floor of my room holding each rock from my collection in her palms until they grew dark with sweat. I fell in love with my father down at the river as he placed my note into a bottle and sent it into the current. With my brother who once believed in unicorns but who now sat in his desk at school trying desperately to believe I still existed.

    The morning after I killed myself, I walked the dog. I watched the way her tail twitched when a bird flew by or how her pace quickened at the sight of a cat. I saw the empty space in her eyes when she reached a stick and turned around to greet me so we could play catch but saw nothing but sky in my place. I stood by as strangers stroked her muzzle and she wilted beneath their touch like she did once for mine.

    The morning after I killed myself, I went back to the neighbors’ yard where I left my footprints in concrete as a two year old and examined how they were already fading. I picked a few daylilies and pulled a few weeds and watched the elderly woman through her window as she read the paper with the news of my death. I saw her husband spit tobacco into the kitchen sink and bring her her daily medication.

    The morning after I killed myself, I watched the sun come up. Each orange tree opened like a hand and the kid down the street pointed out a single red cloud to his mother.

    The morning after I killed myself, I went back to that body in the morgue and tried to talk some sense into her. I told her about the avocados and the stepping stones, the river and her parents. I told her about the sunsets and the dog and the beach.

    The morning after I killed myself, I tried to unkill myself, but couldn’t finish what I started.
  • Waya
    900
    Good point, as those inflicted probably would not see that the problem with their thinking.
  • Waya
    900
    Several points from me

    when I’m being dragged down into the inferno my suicidal thoughts manifest themselves as fantasy, an irrational urge to end a (struggle).

    When I’m flying high the thoughts appear as something equally irrational but strangley rather beautiful.

    When “normal” I think it’s a ‘rational’ conclusion of the critical thought of a sensitive individual. A kind of post-modernist intrusion upon the classical soul.

    It’s beauty that keeps one alive in my view.

    That’s just a few ramblings that come to mind. Another I guess just quickly is suicide and death may be scary for some but it’s entirely dependent upon philosophy but I do wonder upon that final moment. The Anna Karanina moment. And also the Martyred Socrates moment.

    Apologies for rambles
    Dan84

    Yeah, it used to seem like a fantasy to me too, but anymore it is becoming more and more realistic. I should be disturbed at this, but I'm not terribly worried.
  • Waya
    900
    Interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing.
  • Fortress of Solitude
    5
    I think it represents the capitulation of human will in face of nature's oppression on all living beings. The cause of suffering is that we are aware of our existence. When we can't find meaning to existence despite being conscious to it, it creates a self contradiction - a "lack of meaning". Your body follows the mind in this, your brain changes itself if this is repeated. The reason we find it so terrifying is because if you have a meaning, or you still have hope of finding it, it discourages you from the chance of success, chipping away the hope. Not to mention the fact that we all will die, so there is a strong empathy we will with almost everyone who dies, even if they were considered bad. Overall, I see the inevitableness of death as the best reason not to give up hope: why hurry, when you still have time to find meaning?
  • Emmanuele
    7
    Suicidal thoughts are confessed to be bad because at large the people are often considering other things in regards to their own survival; not their death. So usually I come to see that the people at large tend to concentrate on matters that regard their own survival and existance. Anything that goes against this is trash and wasteful. This then causes people with suicidal thoughts to feel even worse about their situation, in all situations to be considered ill-minded when in all reality it is simply a consequence of being an intelligent self-aware individual.

    Not to mention the fact that many cannot and will not debate their own existance. Many even here claim that suicide comes from an illness but it is all the contrary. Narcissist fear death the most, next to psychopaths, etc.
  • Fortress of Solitude
    5
    “To perceive is to suffer.”
    ― Aristotle

    I also found this quote for you, I pretty much said the same in longform.
  • All sight
    287
    It's wrong because it's murder. You don't have that right. It is conceivably worse than murder in long term contribution to death toll through influence. There are three times the suicides as there are murders, implying that it is more contagious.

    You are punishing yourself due to some unfulfilled desire, goal, or dream, and it is the losing and clinging to hope of this subpersonality which is punishing the shit out of you, and threatening your murder for your failure to fulfill it. It's what needs offing. It's what needs severing, abandoning, killing. Let it die. Don't let it do that to you.

    Pray for help.

  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47
    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: we don't know how to effectively treat mental illnesses.
  • Nils Loc
    362
    The strange thing about the general prohibition against suicide is that seeking help from loved ones or even a clinic (ie. exposing the problem) also feels taboo to a lot of people. Maybe this has to do with American individualism or being a man. No one really wants to be bother others, either by the cry for help or by the extra suffering of a realized suicide.

    To be suicidal and seek help is to admit to being weak and the stigma of being weak (dependent) is looked down on in our individualist culture.

    Being ill generally disgusts other people. Being ill with no loved ones at the level of poverty might as well be a death sentence.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47

    Well, suicide stigma seems to be worse in collectivist societies in my opinion. In collectivist societies, people often have a duty to their families, their community, and country. While in more individualistic societies, people have a duty only for their own personal well being and the well being of their children until they are 18. Collectivist societies are less likely to respect people's autonomy because the morality of the collectivist societies is often centered around social cohesion rather than respecting individual rights. Obviously there are some exceptions, but generally speaking this seems to be the case. A collectivist culture is more likely to think it has a duty to prevent people from committing suicide and it's also more likely to think the individual has a duty not to kill themselves for their family, friends, community, and state. This can often be used justify violating a individual's autonomy to decide to commit suicide. Although, on rare occasions, collectivist societies might even encourage people to commit suicide if they are a burden to their collective. I personally think that the preference of the individual should usually outweigh the preference of the collective in regards to suicide or any other issue. That is because while there are more preferences in a collective, they are weak compared to the preferences that the individual has for himself.
  • Nils Loc
    362
    Well, suicide stigma seems to be worse in collectivist societies in my opinion. In collectivist societies, people often have a duty to their families, their community, and country. While in more individualistic societies, people have a duty only for their own personal well being and the well being of their children until they are 18.TheHedoMinimalist

    It isn't easy to generalize this along the lines of "collectivist versus individualistic" cultures and I'm a bit wary of your conclusion. Though I concede I may be guilty of this in my post. By some measure we are all subject to the pressures you describe from the collective because as human beings we all depend on one another. Ideological tribes which appeal to individualism do so to maintain a specific kind of collective life that is free from the extra constraints of a central state authority.

    I personally think that the preference of the individual should usually outweigh the preference of the collective in regards to suicide or any other issue.TheHedoMinimalist

    Not when it comes to killing folks though? That is one tough kind of individual preference to favor but maybe it's no different than admitting that anyone is free to kill anyone else, so long as they're willing to deal with the collective's consequence.
  • John Doe
    187
    The strange thing about the general prohibition against suicide is that seeking help from loved ones or even a clinic (ie. exposing the problem) also feels taboo to a lot of people.

    To be suicidal and seek help is to admit to being weak and the stigma of being weak (dependent) is looked down on in our individualist culture.
    Nils Loc

    Yeah, but I think the opposite is true here too. The strange thing about the general prohibition against suicide is that to seriously entertain suicide and not seek help is a tacit admission of weakness within the secular bourgeois order in a way that essentially mimics what existed in the previous religious order. Namely, you're interpreted as a mental health case who is currently failing to cope with your weakness; but it's okay, see the scientific professional and you can overcome your personal weaknesses! (So now it's a weakness of mental health - see a doctor! - instead of moral weakness - see a priest!).
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47
    Not when it comes to killing folks though? That is one tough kind of individual preference to favor but maybe it's no different than admitting that anyone is free to kill anyone else, so long as they're willing to deal with the collective's consequence.Nils Loc

    Well, in the case of killing people without consent, you would be violating the preference of another individual to not be killed in order to fulfill your preference to have that person killed if you commit the murder. This would be a violation of the murdered individual's strong preference. I wasn't really specific or clear enough by what I meant when I talked about individual and collective preferences so I don't blame you for the misunderstanding. An individual preference is typically a strong interest that one person has for something to happen to him or not happen to him. For example, I could have a preference to be married to Susie but Susie might have a preference not to be married to me. Because both of our preferences are strong and I could only fulfill my preference by violating her preference, it would be unjust for me to violate her preference by forcing Susie to marry me. On the other hand, a collective preference is more like a series of weak preferences held together by a multitude of individuals towards the same unified consequence. For example, imagine most people in a local village in Africa have a preference to stone a woman for cheating on her husband. No one in that village, except maybe her husband, has a strong preference to have her stoned but rather a flimsy one. The woman, on the other hand, has a strong preference not to be stoned. Therefore, the strong preference of an individual should be privileged over the weak preferences of a collective. I hope this clears up any confusion.
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