Morality of Suicide

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Andre_5772
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Morality of Suicide

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Post by Andre_5772 »

For quite some time, I have been of the opinion that suicide is always immoral. This intuition arises out of my awe at how complicated and delicate the human body is, yet how elegantly all these systems work together, for the most part.

However I read something the other day which was to the effect of, "Life is for learning and growing, not for suffering through." I have to admit that this makes a lot of sense to me, too. But this leads to the possibility that at times suicide is justified. Specifically, when one can reasonably expect an excess of suffering in the future, and this condition will prevent any significant growth as a person, contribution to society, or whatever that person finds meaningful.

When I thought about this further, I realized that I probably wouldn't begrudge someone who committed suicide, provided they had rationally come to the conclusion that these criteria were satisfied. While I would never advise suicide, I think my view has changed to the point where I can accept it in certain circumstances without condemning it. I'm wondering what others think about the morality of suicide. Is it on par with murder because it ends a human life? Or is it a different act because rational beings are free to choose death for themselves although not for others?

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Post #71

Post by HandsRaised »

AkiThePirate wrote:[Also, if God is calling all the shots, he must have created souls destined for eternal torture, no?
As a professional Computer Scientist and armchair String Theory guy -- I know for certain that we don't know anything for certain (not to be cute).

We don't know what 96% of the Universe is made of!!! (Dark Matter, Dark energy), we find logical space for Multi-verses. We don't even know how gravity works! For all we know we all exist in our very-own instance of reality -- connected only by a shared database of objects and events ("reality"). Even "reality" appears to malleable based on our own observations and expectations (collapsing wave functions).

We just don't know enough to do or say anything except that we are certainly not in control of this reality -- even if we have input. The Anthropic Principle seems wholly unlikely here. The mystery is so profound that we no have right to end-it. Anyone or anything that went to this much trouble to create this reality deserves to be the final arbiter of it. Suicide is not that.

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LiamOS
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Post #72

Post by LiamOS »

[color=olive]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:We don't know what 96% of the Universe is made of!!! (Dark Matter, Dark energy), we find logical space for Multi-verses. We don't even know how gravity works! For all we know we all exist in our very-own instance of reality -- connected only by a shared database of objects and events ("reality"). [...]

We just don't know enough to do or say anything except that we are certainly not in control of this reality -- even if we have input.
Granted.
[color=orange]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:Even "reality" appears to malleable based on our own observations and expectations (collapsing wave functions).
Not quite... 'Observation' doesn't really mean what most would think it does.
[color=green]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:The mystery is so profound that we no have right to end-it.
Non sequitur.
[quote="HandsRaised"]Anyone or anything that went to this much trouble to create this reality deserves to be the final arbiter of it.[/quote]
For somebody with an interest in string theory, this is disappointing.
You're not considering the possibilities that nothing created this, that something did and doesn't care, that something did and chooses suicide to take our lives.
How is it that we have no choice, but we can choose to kill ourselves?

You appear to be working with the preconception that suicide is entirely wrong, yet I don't see how your views on the universe as a whole support that without making a great amount of other arbitrary assumptions. Could you clear this up for me?
Also, did you agree with the rest of my post?

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Post #73

Post by HandsRaised »

AkiThePirate wrote:Non sequitur...
For somebody with an interest in string theory, this is disappointing.
You're not considering the possibilities that nothing created this, that something did and doesn't care, that something did and chooses suicide to take our lives.
(*hee-hee* ). Yes I assume the role of Deism for myself in this particular forum. Such assumptions can strain polite discourse without clear Truth-in-Advertsing Let's do work from the assumption that I link Deism directly if not exclusively to morals and moral behaviour -- such as not harming others by our actions. A uinversal and self-evident "Golden Rule" if you will.

I extend The Uncertainy Principle to obliquely exclude the proof of God (nothng to work-with). We don't get to prove the super-natural -- except to our subjective selves. So I can only cite subjective perceptions of a classic "Personal Working God". That's not an argument at-all -- just an explanation.

I have experienced supernatural events -- that directly benefited me -- in the midst of despair. There, my premise is simple. My external logic is implied and admitted here.
AkiThePirate wrote: How is it that we have no choice, but we can choose to kill ourselves?
By string theory you would first branch into an Parallel Universe where that event probabilty did exist. Choice exist only in choosing a Parallel Universe where pre-determinism allows your intended action. But it's only a theory --with some weird general physical anomalies as hints. We don't really get to know do we?
AkiThePirate wrote: You appear to be working with the preconception that suicide is entirely wrong, yet I don't see how your views on the universe as a whole support that without making a great amount of other arbitrary assumptions. Could you clear this up for me?
Yes, my citied subjective experience of a Personal Working God (dialog) -- in a classic sense -- should explain my assumptions. I infer no right or wrong -- only a preferred behaviour reinforced by my subjective experiences.
Also, did you agree with the rest of my post?
There is no agreeing on these matters. It boils down to belief. Atheism is a belief -- just as Deism is. We can only hope to be honest with our hearts. We journey-on to Truth by that method.

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Post #74

Post by LiamOS »

[color=orange]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:Yes I assume the role of Deism for myself in this particular forum. Such assumptions can strain polite discourse without clear Truth-in-Advertsing Let's do work from the assumption that I link Deism directly if not exclusively to morals and moral behaviour -- such as not harming others by our actions. A uinversal and self-evident "Golden Rule" if you will.
Unfortunately, I must have been neglected by your deity as I see such actions as neither universal or self-evident. Please explain how they are objectively so.
[color=green]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:I extend The Uncertainy Principle to obliquely exclude the proof of God (nothng to work-with). We don't get to prove the super-natural -- except to our subjective selves. So I can only cite subjective perceptions of a classic "Personal Working God". That's not an argument at-all -- just an explanation.

I have experienced supernatural events -- that directly benefited me -- in the midst of despair. There, my premise is simple. My external logic is implied and admitted here.
You claim to have experienced supernatural events. I would therefore ask you to prove that those experiences were of the supernatural.
[color=red]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:By string theory you would first branch into an Parallel Universe where that event probabilty did exist. Choice exist only in choosing a Parallel Universe where pre-determinism allows your intended action. But it's only a theory --with some weird general physical anomalies as hints. We don't really get to know do we?
But by string theory that branching would be random, rendering the meaning of 'choice' inane.
[color=blue]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:Yes, my citied subjective experience of a Personal Working God (dialog) -- in a classic sense -- should explain my assumptions. I infer no right or wrong -- only a preferred behaviour reinforced by my subjective experiences.
Very well.
Please note that I and many others here do not consider subjective experience evidence, and were it to come from others and contradict you, I suspect you would not either.

[color=violet]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:There is no agreeing on these matters.
Why not?
[color=olive]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:It boils down to belief. Atheism is a belief
Not being an Atheist per se, you don't have to accept my definition, but Atheism is usually defined as lack of a belief with respect to the existence of a deity.
[color=darkred]HandsRaised[/color] wrote:We can only hope to be honest with our hearts.
I usually try to be honest with my brain, but whatever works for you...

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Re: Morality of Suicide

Post #75

Post by Shar0n »

Suicide still means taking the life of a human being, so I think it is up to par with murder and is morally unjust.

Suicide is still different from murder because you aren't affecting the lives of anyone else (except maybe causing severe emotional pain to loved ones) but your own. With murder, you are taking away the life of someone else and that's unjustified because the murderer does not have the authority to someone elses life.

But then the question becomes "do we have the enough authority over own life to take it away?". Hmm. As a religious person, I would say that only God has that kind of authority because he is the one who gave us life. And also, is there really such a thing as death? I thought death was just moving on to a different place outside of the world and placing ourselves before God.

Those who are dead can't tell us what death is like. And when we die and learn for ourselves what death really is (whether the living people's perception of death is rationale or not) it'll be too late. Our bodies die, but what about US? We are more than this shell we live in right?

I guess what I'm saying is that it's impossible to comprehend death. Therefore, it's impossible to tell if suicide is morally unjust or not? But if you want to take a religious stance against it, suicide is a sin.

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Re: Morality of Suicide

Post #76

Post by realthinker »

Shar0n wrote:Suicide still means taking the life of a human being, so I think it is up to par with murder and is morally unjust.

Suicide is still different from murder because you aren't affecting the lives of anyone else (except maybe causing severe emotional pain to loved ones) but your own. With murder, you are taking away the life of someone else and that's unjustified because the murderer does not have the authority to someone elses life.

But then the question becomes "do we have the enough authority over own life to take it away?". Hmm. As a religious person, I would say that only God has that kind of authority because he is the one who gave us life. And also, is there really such a thing as death? I thought death was just moving on to a different place outside of the world and placing ourselves before God.

Those who are dead can't tell us what death is like. And when we die and learn for ourselves what death really is (whether the living people's perception of death is rationale or not) it'll be too late. Our bodies die, but what about US? We are more than this shell we live in right?

I guess what I'm saying is that it's impossible to comprehend death. Therefore, it's impossible to tell if suicide is morally unjust or not? But if you want to take a religious stance against it, suicide is a sin.
Sharon, this is rather an aside, but I'm wondering how you reconcile the fact that all of religion's consequences are after death with your uncertainty of what death really is. You mention that you're a religious person. What does religion offer you if you don't have the certainty of religion's afterlife?

I'm not questioning your commitment or your practice. I'm simply curious of your ideas about religion.
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Re: Morality of Suicide

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Post by alex00ander »

Andre_5772 wrote:For quite some time, I have been of the opinion that suicide is always immoral. This intuition arises out of my awe at how complicated and delicate the human body is, yet how elegantly all these systems work together, for the most part.

However I read something the other day which was to the effect of, "Life is for learning and growing, not for suffering through." I have to admit that this makes a lot of sense to me, too. But this leads to the possibility that at times suicide is justified. Specifically, when one can reasonably expect an excess of suffering in the future, and this condition will prevent any significant growth as a person, contribution to society, or whatever that person finds meaningful.

When I thought about this further, I realized that I probably wouldn't begrudge someone who committed suicide, provided they had rationally come to the conclusion that these criteria were satisfied. While I would never advise suicide, I think my view has changed to the point where I can accept it in certain circumstances without condemning it. I'm wondering what others think about the morality of suicide. Is it on par with murder because it ends a human life? Or is it a different act because rational beings are free to choose death for themselves although not for others?


I think that suicide is immoral except in the rare case where you are going to be killed. No matter how much suffering someone is experiencing there is always a chance they can shed light on the world and experience Joy in the future. No one can no what the future will bring and be absolutely positive their suffering will not subside. For this, I think that suicide is immoral.


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Re: Morality of Suicide

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Post by McCulloch »

alex00ander wrote: I think that suicide is immoral except in the rare case where you are going to be killed. No matter how much suffering someone is experiencing there is always a chance they can shed light on the world and experience Joy in the future. No one can no what the future will bring and be absolutely positive their suffering will not subside. For this, I think that suicide is immoral.
It appears that your objection to suicide lies in your rejection of the conditions outlined in the OP [font=Georgia]one can reasonably expect an excess of suffering in the future, and this condition will prevent any significant growth as a person, contribution to society, or whatever that person finds meaningful. [/font]

Am I right?
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Re: Morality of Suicide

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Post by realthinker »

alex00ander wrote:
Andre_5772 wrote:For quite some time, I have been of the opinion that suicide is always immoral. This intuition arises out of my awe at how complicated and delicate the human body is, yet how elegantly all these systems work together, for the most part.

However I read something the other day which was to the effect of, "Life is for learning and growing, not for suffering through." I have to admit that this makes a lot of sense to me, too. But this leads to the possibility that at times suicide is justified. Specifically, when one can reasonably expect an excess of suffering in the future, and this condition will prevent any significant growth as a person, contribution to society, or whatever that person finds meaningful.

When I thought about this further, I realized that I probably wouldn't begrudge someone who committed suicide, provided they had rationally come to the conclusion that these criteria were satisfied. While I would never advise suicide, I think my view has changed to the point where I can accept it in certain circumstances without condemning it. I'm wondering what others think about the morality of suicide. Is it on par with murder because it ends a human life? Or is it a different act because rational beings are free to choose death for themselves although not for others?


I think that suicide is immoral except in the rare case where you are going to be killed. No matter how much suffering someone is experiencing there is always a chance they can shed light on the world and experience Joy in the future. No one can no what the future will bring and be absolutely positive their suffering will not subside. For this, I think that suicide is immoral.


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So, part of the social contract should be a personal and binding obligation to accept that the personal cost of real and highly predictable continued suffering is offset by the potential value of an arbitrary future unit of time, regardless of the fact that the value is entirely subjective and the probability of realizing that value very low and incalculable.

Of course. Makes perfect sense. Especially if you grant those establishing the obligation arbitrary license to overrule any individual's personal evaluation of their life based on, say, religion for example.
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Post #80

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It always stikes me as strange how Christians - whose primary focus in this life is to make sure they reach 'the next life', are always so afraid of Death. It implies to me that they either lack faith that their afterlife dogma is correct, or they lack faith that they actually know what to do to achieve it.
Go figger.

I have no fear of death - it's just the next journey. Barring accident or crime, I will be choosing the manner of my own death, when I'm damn good and ready. There are things I want to accomplish, for myself, my family, my community. When that's done, laissez les bon temps roulez, baby!
8-)

Suicide is not only an ethically defensible decision, it is logically preferred to about 10 million ways to die. Burn to death? Drown? Cancer? Impalement? Talked to death by a spouse?? No. I'll go out with my hair on fire and my spirit soaring, expressing my final corporeal act of self-determination.
"Do Good for Good is Good to do. Spurn Bribe of Heaven and Threat of Hell"
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