thoughts on suicide


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.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

29 thoughts on “thoughts on suicide

  1. Christians think their god gave them free will yet they will prevent people from exercising that free will through suicide. Preventing someone from doing something that you think is immoral is to pervert the course of your god’s master plan. Don’t ask me how their god has a master plan and omniscience AND also allows free will… just don’t, because I can’t even figure that out.

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    • makagutu says:

      I don’t get christians my friend. They make claims regarding free will and when some one uses that free will, they are acting against god! They should put their heads together and agree on what they want.

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  2. Daniela says:

    Those who commit suicide, neither need nor ask permission.

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  3. niquesdawson says:

    Suicide is absurd. @myatheistlife, it’s not Christians who were given free will … it’s humans, as in, people, with souls and a conscience! Not Christians. The Muslims have it, the Budhist have it, even you have it. And that’s why, out of your free will, you chose the path you at now.

    Back to Matters Suicide — it is just as much a social evil as rape, robbery, adultery, stealing, murder, corruption etc etc etc. You can name em all.

    Now, if any of the above thrills you, on reason of free will, be my guest, feel free to practice them whenever, wherever.

    Should any befall upon you or yours, even when a sane family member commits suicide, only know, it’s an act of free will.

    On reason that one is terminally ill, if killing him eases his pain, that’s a matter of ethics. That’s a topic for another day…

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    • makagutu says:

      Nick the social evils you name, that is, rape, robbery, murder are offence against someone. You can’t rape yourself, you can’t robe yourself. Suicide is an act of courage, well, sometimes it could be a result of depression or some sickness but not all the time, to classify it with rape is to miss the point entirely.
      When does the soul enter the human person?
      You talk of free will, what do you mean by free will?

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  4. I find that suicide is a valid answer to some problems. The thought of it has given me comfort in some tough times, reassuring me that I do have at least that much control. Then I go about my life, doing the best I can in the circumstances. I can see how it can be a selfish act, but is it any more selfish than someone who insists that you can’t commit suicide becuase it would make *them* uncomfortable?

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    • makagutu says:

      In fact I do think many times suicide is unselfish. We see it as unselfish from our perspective and most times for most people who believe in a deity, they see it as usurping the powers of the said god

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      • agreed. I also think it’s a convenient way to say “that’s bad and not what God wants!” when as usual the theist is the one who doesn’t want it. I wonder if it also has to do with them seeing death as a punishment, since many theists, especially Chrisitans are sure that their god will return and take them bodily to heavey, no death involved.

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  5. Tina says:

    When you feel your life is out of control, and you’ve lost all control of yourself.. suicide is another way of gaining back that control. I don’t look down upon it, who knows what others are going through. But it’s a shame that they feel the only way to escape the pain they have, is to leave this world.

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    • makagutu says:

      Tina, there are situations where there is no shame. Consider a situation where you have been taken captive by people who are going to torture and then kill you. Do you wait to go through the pain or you beat them to it by quitting on your own terms?

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  6. john zande says:

    Agree with all you points. I found the recent suicide of the founder of Kodak terribly interesting. Here was a man, an inventor, a business owner, a billionaire who’d simply decided he’d done enough and had seen enough. he was happy. he killed himself. there was no drama.

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  7. moonshinestill says:

    There is a marvelous video crated by Terry Pratchett, who is the prolific author of the Discworld series of fantasy books.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slZnfC-V1SY (the full video is here)

    He has developed Alzheimer’s Disease and decided to document his progress, or rather, his deterioration. As part of his documentary, he produced a video of his investigation into assisted suicide, and visited the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, which is where British people go when they desire assisted suicide. It is illegal to assist someone to commit suicide in the UK. Swiss law allows both nationals and foreigners to commit voluntary suicide.

    He feels that the UK law should be changed to allow certain people in the UK to be assisted when they want to die. In recent news in the UK, there was a man with locked-in syndrome, who could only communicate via minute twitches. He had been able to somehow express, through computer technology, his wish to die – but obviously was unable to carry out that wish by himself. The UK courts ruled that he could not be assisted.

    In the video, which moved me tremendously, there is footage of a man drinking the poison that Dignitas has prepared, and dying with his wife present. I say this, by way of warning, in case a potential viewer is not comfortable with the naked truth.

    I hope you get a chance to watch it.

    As far as your point regarding voluntary suicide, I agree completely. Whether the underlying cause is depression, illness or some other reason, who is the state to act as the owner of a life? The person living, is the owner of their own life, and as such should have the unassailable right to dispose of it at a time and place, and in a way that he or she chooses. At what point does the state have the right to decide?

    anyway, I hope you get to watch the film, my friend, because I can highly recommend it for anyone who would like to understand the concept of assisted suicide, and dying with dignity.

    Strega 🙂

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  8. […] have written two articles here and here on suicide and I read a lot of assisted dying here and whereas am saying any one who wants […]

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  9. How courageous would it be look at yourself every morning while you were brushing your teeth and think, “I could kill you. But, I’m not going to kill you. Because, I want you to live today.” If EVERY DAY we made the CHOICE to be alive?

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  10. Robert, the writer of this post is a good guy, so I’m not looking to engage in a battle with him, but this is what inspired me to ask about this …

    http://humansareweird.com/2013/03/26/is-suicide-a-cowards-way-out/

    I’m tempted to post something about suicide, but I’m not sure I would treat it right.

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    • makagutu says:

      Am going to read it and then most likely respond to him.

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      • It’s a bit of a delicate situation, because its like his pep talk to himself.

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        • makagutu says:

          I read it and didn’t comment as you have said correctly he is talking to himself mainly and patting himself on the back for not taking the option of voluntary dying the many times he has been depressed.

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          • I know. Now, I feel guilty for HAVING to comment about it. But, I think that dwelling on suicide being cowardly is not healthy & does not necessarily make a person less prone to take their own life. In fact, if someone were truly feeling like a coward then it might even help justify it.

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          • I feel the need to clarify that I have personal reasons which justified a comment and wasn’t just being an audacious twit.

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          • makagutu says:

            No problem. I saw all your comments and that was not my impression. I could have commented had you not forewarned me of your appraisal about him which becomes evident when one reads his responses to the comments.

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          • This IS something that I’d like to approach. But, I’m not sure how to do it, yet, without making it seem like i’m suggesting suicide.

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          • makagutu says:

            Even in Camus where he agrees with suicide, he says at the point where man finds his life as being meaningless and absurd, he ought to rebel. The only way to rebel is to live but if you must quit, he says one has become like the gods. Just write what you feel about it, besides you do very well with several topics.

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