Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, “to kill oneself”) is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death.
Here I had written on the meaning of life as a review of A. Camus book the Myth of Sisyphus. In this book, Camus argues life is absurd and meaningless. He further says man finding his life absurd should not commit suicide but must revolt. An absurd life calls for revolt not suicide.
In this post however, I want to examine whether there are situations when a man should be allowed to commit suicide. I want to show here that there are instances where suicide is justified. There are situations, for example an inmate in prison for life without parole, where suicide should be allowed, why waste his life waiting to die naturally within the four walls of a prison cell? There is likely no contribution he is likely to make to the rest of humanity and he lives his days praying for death to come sooner.
The biggest objection to suicide is highest among adherents of the Abrahamic religion. To them suicide is a great sin, a sin against god, and anyone who attempts suicide and succeeds doesn’t get a decent burial, and those who fail are arrested and put in jail. They believe god is the giver of life and only can take it. Question is, if we have no evidence for a god, then why should we consider suicide evil? Why not allow fellow-men the right to die in dignity?
Suicide has also been considered a disease and an act of desperation. Some people have killed themselves because of depression, heartbreak after being jilted by lovers and for many other reasons as there are human beings. For situations such a these, if there is an opportunity to restore the fellow to his senses, by all means let us do that but let us not put him in chains and send him to prison. Jail-houses are not hospitals, let us get the man a shrink and help him. Let us not increase his suffering.
If we are agreed that there are no gods, then all depends on us. This being the case, if a person having reached a point where they are convinced their lives have no more meaning and they are not adding to the joy of their family should be allowed to choose to die and can’t be vilified in choosing to quit. Many people argue that if this were allowed many people would be killing themselves whenever things got tough and this is simply not true. Cigarettes and alcohol are legal in most places and not every one is a smoker or alcoholic, so this argument simply cannot hold. I don’t know about you, but I think it would take a lot of courage to take one’s life. Consider a situation of a man who is terminally ill and the doctors feel there is no return, why should this person be kept alive on life support instead of being allowed to die with some dignity? Some of the theists who argue that life is sacred have no problem with the death penalty, why should they have a problem when one chooses when and how to die? Why should anyone have a problem with a person who chooses to die on his/her own terms?
To claim that god is the giver of life and only him/it/she can take it means that the same god enjoys to see people suffering till they get to vegetative state. Why would anyone want to live like this? I would not want to. If we have made laws in defiance of the gods, then we must make another in their defiance. We must allow man the dignity to choose when and how to die.
Any christian who opposes suicide is acting against his religion. The christian religion is based on suicide. God, in the form of Jesus[whether he existed is a matter of a different blog post] goes willingly to his death. Many want to call it self-sacrifice, I will call it suicide, except he places the responsibility on other people’s hands. So if you reject suicide, you must reject Christianity as well. There are no two ways about it.
I think there are several other instances where committing suicide would be the most moral in the circumstances which I don’t want to enumerate but I would rather like to hear your opinions on this matter.