The Right To Kill Yourself

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

I just watched the movie The Hours, I know I know I’m a bit late. For the kindred noobs, it’s a really interesting take on 20th century writer Virginia Woolf.
She was deemed ‘mentally unstable’ though not in the cock-eyed GRAABL BLAAGL I’MA CHEW ON THIS SOFA way but in the cool ‘oh I think I’ve quite lost my mind. I’m going to kill myself after having a cup of tea. Two sugars please.’ way.

Nicole Kidman wears a fake nose in the movie. I think that is enough incentive for all of you to watch it if you haven’t.

It raised this really, really interesting question in my head.

Why is suicide ‘not allowed’?
Yeah you can’t exactly get arrested if you kill yourself, but why is there a collective stance against the act?

I mean, even if we all were under religious law, ultimately it’s your decision to kill yourself and go to Hell or not (as any conventional religion says you do).

And since we’re not under a law that actually gives a solid reason why you cannot kill yourself – for what reason is it an absolute no-no?

Now before you get on my case, I’m definitely not condoning suicide (though seriously, all those people constantly whining about their lives and writing jaded death poetry, be my guest), because I am religiously inclined and am in no way for it. But this question just utterly tickles me, because I asked a few people, and nobody could give me an actual answer.

If the suicidee (newly invented term used for person committing suicide) is someone you love, then fine, you will stop him because it will hurt you to see him gone.
But take a random white guy in a suit, nobody knows him, walks into the middle of Galle Road, holds a gun to his head and says he’s going to kill himself.

What would everyone do?

Even if a bum that nobody cared about before, openly showed he was going to commit suicide, I am pretty sure there would be some sort of uproar.

Something along the lines of, ‘NOAR! SUICIDE IS NEVER THE ANSWER. NEVAR.’ Sure, it may not be the answer to a 15 year old overreacting to a bad results sheet, there’s more to life than school marks, but why does everyone think there is no reason on earth worth escaping life for?

Like in the movie, a clinically depressed person who feels constant and irreversible mental agony every day, takes their life. Who is anybody to say to someone like that, that they HAVE to live – without giving an actual reason besides ‘living is good, dying is bad’?

Maybe it is the coward’s way out. Maybe it is not the answer in a person’s particular situation from an observer’s point of view. But still. Who are you to actively stop someone from taking their own life if they feel like it? What is the logic behind the authority?

What is everyone afraid of, when they grab a suicidee and say, do not kill yourself? Is it the fear, of the essentially unknown, beyond life? Is it the idea that if people start voluntarily crossing over to the other side, the lives of those left behind will feel even less meaningful? Is it just, plain animal instinct, rising above any actual intellectual rationalizing?

Is it that, perhaps, if some people are allowed to think they have the right to feel like life isn’t worth living – you might be tempted to start thinking life aint as grand as it’s cooked up to be?

Tickled, I am. What do you think? Do you have the right to kill yourself? Would you let someone else have theirs?

“Hmmm I think I shall eat a bun and then go jump in the river today.”

  1. Chavie says:

    OK, the social aspect of suicide aside (you’ll be leaving a lot of your loved ones weeping and never being able to recover, i.e. Faye from QC – sorry, that was the best I’ve got) I don’t think it’ll be a good idea to kill yourself in a public place. 😉 There might be situations where you feel life isn’t worth living, but think about it: the thing that we love the most is ourselves. Even the act of suicide is done not because we don’t love ourselves, but because we love ourselves enough to escape *this* (less than ideal) life, expecting either eternal rest, heaven or a better life (depending on your beliefs).

    Ok I just typed all of that and I dunno where I’m going with this comment, but I’ll just say that suicide is perhaps the most selfish thing you can do, and other than that – I dunno – all you can tell them is to go die in a fire. 😉

    • makuluwo says:

      No idea where you were going with that comment either. 😛 Maybe somebody wants to commit suicide just to make this life stop. Isn’t everyone entitled to the right to be ‘selfish’ enough to make a personal decision to leave?

  2. Delilah says:

    been thrashed quite a few times for saying this, but i will say it again 🙂
    i’m pro choice. and that includes the choice to live or die.
    while i dont advocate suicide i think each individual should have the right to decide.
    if one gets to choose how to live why should one be denied the freedom to decide how/when to die?
    calling suicide a poor decision or a good one depends on factors like family/dependents you leave behind etc. but like any other decision we make in life, its up to each individual to make a responsible one.

  3. Chavie says:

    Something I remembered after reading Delilah’s comment: I do support a terminally ill patient’s right to (assisted) suicide. The fact that we let them suffer any longer due to the *law* is, IMHO, unacceptable.

  4. Melissa says:

    Going to a public place is weird. If someone really wanted to end their life, they’d do it alone, not in front of people that could stop them.

    It is a person’s choice to end their life, not the people around them. I think that people asking you not to is selfish. They want you to stay because they will miss you. They would rather you feel like crap every day, instead of making the pain go away.

    People do have the right. It’s their life, their afterlife.

  5. Well, I haven’t thought of it outside of religious values actually… There must be a reason for it, will think about it now.

  6. Seesaw says:

    I think the reason it’s banned by law is the common notion that people who want to kill themselves are depressed and thus not in the correct state of mind. Therefore, why have a life wasted when they could have been treated/helped to overcome their agony.

    However, this depends on IF they can be helped, and if they are in contact with anyone who is willing to help them.

    But it’s not upto someone to call another an idiot (I’ve had this argument with people before) for wanting to kill themselves, if they’re not willing to offer some help and compassion to that person. Because at the end of the day, they are the ones living in pain.

  7. papertrails says:

    i think if u don`t want to live, u should have the right to end your life. Nobody asked me whether i wanted to be born or not;so i should atleast have the right to decide whether i wanna stay or not.

    as for stopping someone else from killing themselves, i think the majority of ppl stops a suicidee(as u`ve called)from committing suicide is because of the notion that its bad.Nobody really thinks what happens to him/or her afterwards.

  8. Aamina Nizar says:

    For those of us brought up with the idea that suicide is a big No No, we will think twice before attempting it. Which is something positive considering we experience moments in our lives where we feel utterly devastated and would like to take that drastic step. However, we will stop ourselves because we are inculcated with the idea that life goes on. Shit happens. Deal with it.

    Also it leaves the people around you shocked and unhappy. It starts a chain reaction of sorrow and desolation. Suicide can be infectious that way.

    While I am pro choice to most issues, the problem with suicide is that it kills the one main ideal that keeps the human race alive ..and that’s HOPE.

    Someone who contemplates suicide is one without hope. If somebody thinks failing an exam or going through a devastating break up is enough of a reason to kill themselves. They are missing out on the other endless possibilities life has to offer. Maybe they weren’t meant to pass that exam but rather become an artist. That partner was not really worth it and the love of your life might just turn up the next week.

    We tend to under rate hope. But it’s what keeps this Earth moving. And that’s why suicide should not be offered as an alternative ( not referring to euthanasia here as that is a different topic altogether).

    Trying to be all pro-choice about it doesn’t really mean you’re liberal. Logically it might make sense that ‘it’s my life, it’s my choice.’ Realistically, no one would want to be in a situation where they have to take their own life nor would they want someone very close to them to kill themselves.

    A pro-choice stance will only drive people to seek suicide as a solution. I mean if your friend comes to you depressed and thinking about suicide. Do you really think an answer like ‘Oh it’s your life, if you really feel it’s too difficult to live maybe you should consider it’ is going to help?

    Think about it..
    Or call Sumithrayo

  9. ysoglum says:

    I agree with the fact that everyone has the right to choose when it comes to ending their life and so on. Suicide is a serious issue. I shudder to think what compels someone to take the initiative to kill themselves. What agony must go through their heads prior to the act.

    But suicide is not the answer. It never should be. Because death is absolute, and there’s no turning back.

  10. Shopgirl says:

    Why do you have to be “depressed” to kill yourself? Maybe you are like me well insured, deep in debt, upside down on my mortgage, with small dependents. Frankly, if I die my kids would have a home paid for and $3k a month in benefits. I am finding it hard not to wish I was dead daily. Not that I want the scourge of sucicide on my record. I just walk around daily wishing I would get the Darwin today and my family would get hit the “Lottery” so to speak.

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