Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Suicide Is Painless

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is this article from The Independent.

There's an unwritten rule about being respectful of the recently deceased. With, it seems, 2 exceptions: When the deceased is "evil" in which case their corpse can be paraded around like the FA Cup filled with blood, or when the deceased committed suicide.

The general reaction to the death of Wales football manager Gary Speed has been genuinely touching, yet there remains a largely insensitive attitude to suicide. Phillip Hodson's article in today's Independent is basically well handled, until the very end; if someone commits suicide, "they got it wrong."

This blog probably isn't the appropriate forum for a considered debate about the morality of suicide, prone as it is to descend into THINGS LIKE THISSASJKHADJHASjklsdsfa. But to look at someone who killed themselves 2 days ago and declare it "wrong" seems utterly jarring.

The argument is that suicide is selfish because you leave behind a guilt-ridden group of friends and family. But if you, upon hearing the news of someone's suicide, respond "well that's selfish", surely you are the selfish one. What right do you have to tell them when they're allowed to die? A right to life means autonomy over one's own life. And while I recognise the pain that the family must feel, they must recognise the pain that the deceased felt; their pain was so profoundly intense that they would literally rather be dead than alive. But anyway, regardless of your views on suicide, surely there is something insensitive about labelling Gary Speed's actions as WRONGjkhasdhgashgjasaaa. Told you.

This blog doesn't exactly have a reading list, but I'd urge anyone to read David Hume's 'On Suicide', a defence of suicide so strong that apparently a friend of Hume's killed himself as soon as he'd read it. I can only hope that this blog has such an effect.

I'll leave you with the song that this blog is named after, which is the brilliant theme tune from the brilliant M*A*S*H. Enjoy!


  1. I agree we shouldn't condemn anyone for it, but in terms of objective definition suicide is a selfish act.

    In the end you have to accept the individual's decision. If they suffered, and you can only assume they suffered alot, then you can never call it the 'wrong' choice.

  2. I find it hard to understand why you would suicide so I find it hard to say whether it is a selfish act or not. I think its basically a massive waste when somebody (particularly someone with something to offer society, arguably everyone) decides to die before nature kicks in. Whether it was the right or wrong thing to do I can't say: right and wrong are not concepts I'm happy using. I would agree with Stevo if I had to set down an idea right now, his view seems the most reasonable one.

    I'm forever puzzled by the respect for the dead thing though. Not because I don't, but because sometimes I don't understand why we do.

  3. If it is "selfish" by definition then the "selfish" used to deem it wrong has different connotations.

    And I'm with you on the respect for the dead thing Harry, I don't see why we should. But if we will, and it seems that we do, then that should be extended to all the dead, not just the ones who died a certain way