Suicide is Selfish....But isn't that the whole point?

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    Oct 23, 2010 4:20 PM GMT
    I'm sure this has been covered before but I couldn't find a thread dealing with my specific concern.

    I recently spoke with a friend of mine told me how a guy he knew committed suicide and how it was so selfish of him to do that. It was like he was blaming him for ruining a big party or wedding or something.

    In my opinion, it was HIS life...He could choose to end it if he wanted to...No other person who says "it'll be okay, just wait" will ever be able to live life in his shoes...

    Why are the big choices we make for ourselves everyday in life not considered selfish but when a person commits suicide they are suddenly not considerate of others?
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    Oct 23, 2010 4:42 PM GMT
    Having contemplated suicide more than once in my life, this is not an easy topic to answer. It is not black and white to say that in and of itself, it constitutes being selfish...Leaving the ones who love you behind to shoulder the pain, remorse, guilt and what you have left, is thoughtless and can be viewed as selfish. That is from outside the fish bowl perspective..

    From inside the fish bowl, however, when you are at the brink of ending your life, the rest of the world has been shut out and thoughts are turned inward. Whatever has driven you to the brink seems SO insurmountable as to leave you in total despair and there is no thought left for anything or anyone else.

    If we had a cure for suicide, perhaps this topic would never again surface. We don't, it will, and suicide and life will go on.

    Note: I have come to accept and understand that this dark demon will live with me, for whatever reason, for the rest of my days. It therefore behooves me to know how to contain him when he approaches and how to defeat him for the moment. Being aware is keeping me alive....Keithicon_cool.gif
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    Oct 23, 2010 4:46 PM GMT
    I don't think it's selfish...it's your own fucking life! When people start saying that crap, it just pisses me off because you never know what that person went through.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Oct 23, 2010 5:04 PM GMT
    Indy404 saidWhy are the big choices we make for ourselves everyday in life not considered selfish but when a person commits suicide they are suddenly not considerate of others?


    It stems from the emotional investment. There's no emotional investment, with certain circumstances excluded, from friends and family when you make big choices like purchase a car, take a new job, or buy a house. But when you abruptly terminate your relationship that has been built over many years by killing yourself, you can see how to them that would be inconsiderate.

    But like yourself, I do agree that ultimately the person has, by virtue of nature, the right. They have the right to self. However it's something I strongly discourage and would urge the person to find another outlet.
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    Oct 23, 2010 5:10 PM GMT
    Suicide is a very complex topic.....
    Choosing suicide vs euthanasia is even more complex and subtle....


    SUICIDE is a bigger and more broad-stroked term referring to an act of desperation to escape situations that appear to have no reasonable positive way out...
    Euthanasia is "a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering"....it is a very specialized type of "suicide", done with the loving intent of ending pain and suffering that would be considered untreatable, incomprehensible TORTURE.....

    Our society has evolved to believe that death is always a "bad thing" or that it is always undesirable or a mistake or a punishment, that would never be a choice for a sane rational person......The "intent" of the death and the surrounding circumstances definitely changes the equation.....
    People get angry and blame a suicide victim because the mourning individual has not come to terms with their own feeling and beliefs about death, or that they feel some sort of guilt over not hearing their family member/friends concerns /wishes/problems or they are afraid of being alone...or any of a bunch of other issues and beliefs. Somehow it is always about "ME"...which implies.."selfish". The suicide victim chose death and is selfish...those left behind are unable to change this permanent decision and were never consulted about it, so they feel guilt or left out and alone....so it is about how they perceive the death...In the final analysis....who cares if it is a "selfish" action. it happened and can't be changed. That is why we need to love each other and listen to and pay attention to and not ignore those that we love or our friends or co-workers.....
    I understand this...for I have SERIOUSLY contemplated and attempted suicide 3 times in my life. The last time ...I was 23 and I actually killed myself....FORTUNATELY the EMS/Paramedics shocked me and brought me back...
    Pain and torture and having "loaded guns" pointing at you from all directions can really skew your ability to deal with pressure and stress. Sometimes the hardest choices are the right ones, but few want to do the hardest work, so they go after other options...sometimes disastrous and deadly...please talk to someone or use local services or online services.....there are other options that you may not be aware of........icon_cool.gif

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    Oct 24, 2010 7:46 AM GMT
    creature saidIt stems from the emotional investment. There's no emotional investment, with certain circumstances excluded, from friends and family when you make big choices like purchase a car, take a new job, or buy a house. But when you abruptly terminate your relationship that has been built over many years by killing yourself, you can see how to them that would be inconsiderate.


    From this it sounds like the people who remain alive are the selfish ones...
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    Oct 24, 2010 7:59 AM GMT
    it is not selfish. Everyone has a right to end their life at the time of their choosing.
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    Oct 24, 2010 8:01 AM GMT
    Indy404 saidI'm sure this has been covered before but I couldn't find a thread dealing with my specific concern.

    I recently spoke with a friend of mine told me how a guy he knew committed suicide and how it was so selfish of him to do that. It was like he was blaming him for ruining a big party or wedding or something.

    In my opinion, it was HIS life...He could choose to end it if he wanted to...No other person who says "it'll be okay, just wait" will ever be able to live life in his shoes...

    Why are the big choices we make for ourselves everyday in life not considered selfish but when a person commits suicide they are suddenly not considerate of others?


    Because the reality is, you don't really belong solely to yourself. You are a part of a several social systems -- from family, friends, school, work, society, etc. The illusion that "you are your own person with no obligations to anyone else" is just that, an illusion. As John Donne once wrote, "No man is an island." If we remember this more often, maybe we would treat each other better.

    John Donne, Meditation XVII, English clergyman & poet (1572 - 1631)
    No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
  • coolarmydude

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    Oct 24, 2010 8:03 AM GMT
    The idea of suicide being selfish is rooted in Catholic dogma. A person who contemplates suicide isn't trying to take something from someone else. They're trying to rationalize an ultimate solution to their own problem(s).


    When someone commits suicide, you hear people say, "He took his own life", not "He took his life away from us."
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    Oct 24, 2010 9:14 AM GMT
    TerraFirma saidBecause the reality is, you don't really belong solely to yourself. You are a part of a several social systems -- from family, friends, school, work, society, etc. The illusion that "you are your own person with no obligations to anyone else" is just that, an illusion. As John Donne once wrote, "No man is an island." If we remember this more often, maybe we would treat each other better.


    So that means I'm OBLIGATED to continue suffering just because it would hurt the feelings of other people if I did it? If thats the case then no one should ever be fired from their jobs or even allowed to quit their jobs...no one should be able to move out of the country away from friends and family...no one should be able to make any decision about their own life if it means that we'd be absent to some people who are in one of our "social systems"...

    I lost touch with ALL of my high school friends when I moved away for college...so that was selfish of me and inconsiderate?

    [note: I'm NOT contemplating suicide btw...just posing the question.]
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    Oct 24, 2010 9:29 AM GMT
    Suicide my be self destructive, but usually people attempt it only for a really fucking good reason. i know i was at a point in my life where i was hearted broken, and i reached out for psychological help and it really helped. Even though you might feel alone .. but there are people out there that care, they may be complete stranger but its there job to make sure you don't off yourself. You make feel like this .. but the most important thing is to just remember with each day its going to get better .. if you don't believe that .. then iam sorry just it wont.. you have to believe it personally and positively saying .. " I Will be Ok" and think about it from someone else prospective.. someone else out there in the population of the whole world someone could have it worse off then you.. it will be ok in the end. in 5 years from now.. you will look back and remember what you have learnt from that experience and taken the good and forgot then bad.. and remember the lessons you have learnt along the way..
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    Oct 24, 2010 9:46 AM GMT
    Indy404 said
    TerraFirma saidBecause the reality is, you don't really belong solely to yourself. You are a part of a several social systems -- from family, friends, school, work, society, etc. The illusion that "you are your own person with no obligations to anyone else" is just that, an illusion. As John Donne once wrote, "No man is an island." If we remember this more often, maybe we would treat each other better.


    So that means I'm OBLIGATED to continue suffering just because it would hurt the feelings of other people if I did it? If thats the case then no one should ever be fired from their jobs or even allowed to quit their jobs...no one should be able to move out of the country away from friends and family...no one should be able to make any decision about their own life if it means that we'd be absent to some people who are in one of our "social systems"...

    I lost touch with ALL of my high school friends when I moved away for college...so that was selfish of me and inconsiderate?

    [note: I'm NOT contemplating suicide btw...just posing the question.]


    No, you're not "obligated" to "continue suffering". You're "obligated" to find a positive reason to live, as your life is valuable, extremely valuable and integral, to those around you. You have gifts, talents and skills that add to the quality of your social circles. You are truly unique, and no one can add the flavor to this world than you can.

    True, one can always look upon this negatively, as being "forced to suffer", but the positive of who you are in community is the primary focus of this corporate idea of belonging. You are a value to society. Period. We are "obligated" (to use your word) to find a solution for our lives that would work best for you and for others.

    On the flip side, others would be "obligated" to not let you or make you suffer. They too are "obligated" to help you find your purpose and meaning in life, as they too have obligations to themselves, to you and to one another.

    PS - To keep in touch with ALL your high school friends is a practical impossibility. ... however, not nowadays, you got Facebook icon_biggrin.gificon_eek.gificon_lol.gif
  • beaujangle

    Posts: 1701

    Oct 24, 2010 10:03 AM GMT
    No, you're not "obligated" to "continue suffering". You're "obligated" to find a positive reason to live, as your life is valuable, extremely valuable and integral, to those around you. You have gifts, talents and skills that add to the quality of your social circles. You are truly unique, and no one can add the flavor to this world than you can.

    True, one can always look upon this negatively, as being "forced to suffer", but the positive of who you are in community is the primary focus of this corporate idea of belonging. You are a value to society. Period. We are "obligated" (to use your word) to find a solution for our lives that would work best for you and for others.

    On the flip side, others would be "obligated" to not let you or make you suffer. They too are "obligated" to help you find your purpose and meaning in life, as they too have obligations to themselves, to you and to one another.

    PS - To keep in touch with ALL your high school friends is a practical impossibility. ... however, not nowadays, you got Facebook


    Well said!
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    Oct 24, 2010 10:23 AM GMT
    its selfish if you do it to end your own suffering.... but selfless if you do it to end another's or save another's life...

    for instance, taking a bullet for someone you love

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    Oct 24, 2010 11:12 AM GMT
    TerraFirma said
    Indy404 said
    TerraFirma saidBecause the reality is, you don't really belong solely to yourself. You are a part of a several social systems -- from family, friends, school, work, society, etc. The illusion that "you are your own person with no obligations to anyone else" is just that, an illusion. As John Donne once wrote, "No man is an island." If we remember this more often, maybe we would treat each other better.


    So that means I'm OBLIGATED to continue suffering just because it would hurt the feelings of other people if I did it? If thats the case then no one should ever be fired from their jobs or even allowed to quit their jobs...no one should be able to move out of the country away from friends and family...no one should be able to make any decision about their own life if it means that we'd be absent to some people who are in one of our "social systems"...

    I lost touch with ALL of my high school friends when I moved away for college...so that was selfish of me and inconsiderate?

    [note: I'm NOT contemplating suicide btw...just posing the question.]


    No, you're not "obligated" to "continue suffering". You're "obligated" to find a positive reason to live, as your life is valuable, extremely valuable and integral, to those around you. You have gifts, talents and skills that add to the quality of your social circles. You are truly unique, and no one can add the flavor to this world than you can.

    True, one can always look upon this negatively, as being "forced to suffer", but the positive of who you are in community is the primary focus of this corporate idea of belonging. You are a value to society. Period. We are "obligated" (to use your word) to find a solution for our lives that would work best for you and for others.

    On the flip side, others would be "obligated" to not let you or make you suffer. They too are "obligated" to help you find your purpose and meaning in life, as they too have obligations to themselves, to you and to one another.

    PS - To keep in touch with ALL your high school friends is a practical impossibility. ... however, not nowadays, you got Facebook icon_biggrin.gificon_eek.gificon_lol.gif


    No offense, but I think you have a very naive outlook on suicide and mental illness. I think your views are quite nice, but I don't believe they accurately fit into reality. It's kinda like talking about world peace.

    When you are holding a razor to your wrist... watching drops of blood run down your hand from the point of incision... angling the blade as to sever as many arteries and veins as possible once you make that quick swipe... enjoying the moments ahead when your blood spills all over....

    The last thing you are thinking of is selfishness or finding ways to think more positively. I thought of relief, happiness, freedom, peace, and silence.

    As the person who saved me often says, "People don't really understand mental illness or suicide unless they've exprienced it personally or lived with someone who has." And I completly agree with my mother.
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    Oct 24, 2010 11:31 AM GMT
    i always thought it was selfish, but also thought that selfishness was tempered by the desperation felt by the person who committed it...

    however if you take the literal meaning...

    lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure

    ...i think you'd be hard pressed to say that the person committing the act actually derives pleasure or profit from it at the expense of others...

    completely agree with the guy that talked about owing a debt to society and society owing that debt...
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    Oct 24, 2010 2:19 PM GMT
    In my experiences with people that committed or attempted suicide I found the reasons were as varied as anything else.

    For some it was all about getting even in a 'they'll be sorry' thought process. To those I said, "You won't know, will you?"

    For some it was shaking off, to them, insurmountable odds and the razor knife of constant fear. There were a fair number of these in the beginning years of the Great Plague before there was even a way to test for HIV or even knowledge of how it was spread (at first kissing was thought to spread it).

    For some there was depression, the weight of existence crushing out desire for life.

    So, sometimes it's selfish, very often not. The worst thing I've seen is what happens to all the people that loved the suicide (person). They are devastated, thinking about what they might have done to cause it; if they could have done more to prevent it somehow.

    I told one young lady to stated to me quite calmly that she'd done everything and saw no reason to continue in a completely void and bland existence (at the whopping old age of 40),

    "So your life is worth nothing to you and should be simply disposed of?"

    "Yes", was the answer. So I suggested instead of throwing away a perfectly good life, giving it to someone else.

    I asked her about her Dad, and how much she loved him. She told me he was everything in the world to her. So I suggested she give her life to him.
    So....she moved in with Dad and took care of him. Dad introduced her (quite by accident) to a friend's son who was a higher-up in the US military. They fell for each other, hard. Who'd a-thought?

    She went back into therapy - cognizant behavioural this time, and two years later married the guy. Herself and Dad and new hubby now all live down in the US.

    -Doug



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    Oct 24, 2010 2:35 PM GMT
    "instead of throwing away a perfectly good life, give it to someone else"


    icon_biggrin.gif
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Oct 24, 2010 2:46 PM GMT
    amar_m saidits selfish if you do it to end your own suffering.... but selfless if you do it to end another's or save another's life...

    for instance, taking a bullet for someone you love




    Quoted for WTF?!

    If you're "taking the bullet" for someone, you're not the one pulling the trigger!!
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    Oct 24, 2010 2:57 PM GMT
    conscienti1984 saidNo offense, but I think you have a very naive outlook on suicide and mental illness. I think your views are quite nice, but I don't believe they accurately fit into reality. It's kinda like talking about world peace.


    Please don't misunderstand. My comment wasn't addressing the subjective experience of suicide and mental illness. I was merely responding to the OP's raising the issue of why suicide might be perceived as ultimately "selfish" and offered a perspective that we often overlook, namely that we belong to one another.

    Yes, what I described may seem like an ideal such as "world peace", but just because it is an ideal doesn't mean we should not pursue it, or set out in that direction, in how we live our lives. "World peace" doesn't accurately fit into our reality either. Both seem an impossibility. But that's what makes them "ideals" and not "reality" by very definition. But the pursuit of both is good for all.

    That said, my point was mere a presentation of a perspective of an "ideal" that is often missed due to the overly individualistic bent of how Western culture perceives personhood. From the perspective of emphasizing "personal rights", etc. naturally, it'd follow that we would come to the conclusion of "I'm suffering, so I get to choose (or "have the right to choose") how to relieve my suffering.". But it's not the only way to understand this issue, in my opinion.

    P.S. - If it makes anyone feel better to know, I've had my own bouts with depression and suicide, so yeah... been there, done that. icon_eek.gif
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    Oct 24, 2010 3:40 PM GMT
    Here, this may shed some light on things; it's a great movie to watch (16 minutes) and thanks to Metta8 for posting this!

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/1199829

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    Oct 24, 2010 9:43 PM GMT
    I think if anything this discussion is showing me that a lot of people are VERY inconsiderate and self-centered...

    The responses I'm getting from the 'outside looking in' people (not all of them) are reinforcing the reason I posed the question in the first place...

    There's a lot of ME, ME, ME in here...

    - How your suicide makes ME feel
    - How the void left affects ME
    - How you left ME questioning what more I could have done
    - How your non-contribution to society now affects ME
    - I know what's good for you


    I've NEVER considered suicide but I have somewhat of an idea of what that kind of depression must be like. To my understanding, most suicide attempts, successful or not, come after much thought and deliberation. There are rarely any spontaneous suicides.

    So while I'm with others in that I'd think it'd be better to be alive than not, who am I to say you are "obligated" to continue suffering for a debt you owe to society? Life is your choice...Does this same obligation apply to a person who has a "Do Not Resuscitate" order in place? Are they also obligated to "stick it out", vegetative state and all? Where does the piousness end?

    Instead of being self-centered, I think its best to consider what the person must have been going through and accept that even with avenues for therapy, counseling, medication, etc...they made a choice. I know its not that easy, but my point is we all make choices. Some are good decisions, some are horrible decisions with no turning back from...heck, some are what we thought were good decisions, but they led to our deaths via accidents or random violence.

    I think much of what has been said here should only apply to murders and accidents. In those cases, there was no choice given. That person who WANTED to continue living was forcefully taken from us.
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    Oct 24, 2010 9:54 PM GMT
    Indy404 saidI think if anything this discussion is showing me that a lot of people are VERY inconsiderate and self-centered...

    The responses I'm getting from the 'outside looking in' people (not all of them) are reinforcing the reason I posed the question in the first place...

    There's a lot of ME, ME, ME in here...

    - How your suicide makes ME feel
    - How the void left affects ME
    - How you left ME questioning what more I could have done
    - How your non-contribution to society now affects ME
    - I know what's good for you


    Boy did you hit that nail center mass!
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    Oct 24, 2010 9:56 PM GMT
    lol, Indy, in the mental health profession there are many tales about suicides that change their minds, sometimes too late for anyone to rescue them.

    Mental health professionals will tell you as well that sometimes suicide attempts are a cry for help, and some of the successful suicides unintentional. A cousin of mine was one.

    She had a huge fight (she was well known for her temper tantrums) with the BF in Orange County and took a bunch of pills and scattered the rest in trails around the apartment leading to an angry 'I'll show you' suicide note. No one found her for 6 hours. The doc said that just a couple of hours earlier and she would have survived. Her little 6 year old was devastated and she ended up in therapy for years. She abrogated responsibility to her child.

    -Doug

    Surely you must realize that there are many reasons for suicide, some selfish, some not!



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    Oct 24, 2010 10:03 PM GMT
    meninlove saidSurely you must realize that there are many reasons for suicide, some selfish, some not!


    Absolutely...but the notion that because for some people it was a cry for help, that must be the case for ALL is wrong. Look, I don't wanna stray into the territory of "is suicide wrong or not"...The question I posed was about the people AFTER the suicide who accuse the person of being selfish.