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Arguments against suicide always fall short for me. What I seldom see addressed in the suicide discussion is the most important point that we were all born into a world we didn’t ask for. Either we have the freedom to leave this world that we were pulled into or this life is a trap. One of those must be true. Tell me which.
The worst I hear is when suicidal people are guilt-tripped and labeled selfish. The selfishness of people who want to leave the life they never requested is not greater than the selfishness of people who demand that they stay. The condemnation of the selfishness of the suicide is a terrible hypocrisy. Remove the log from your own eye.
Another ridiculous argument I hear usually goes something like this: “Man A wants to kill himself. Man B has it harder than A, but B remains alive. Therefore A should remain alive.” False. B’s persistence does not compel A’s persistence. It could instead be true that B should kill himself too and would be foolish not to.
The only instance I can think of where I’d say someone is obliged to remain alive is a parent who created a new dependent life. The parent should first see that the dependency is addressed before the suicide occurs. I would add that the creation of that unrequested life in the first place was a presumptuous act indeed.
Camus did speak of this a lot in his book, but many words do not an argument make. For those that fear death it may be convenient to imagine Sisyphus happy, but the convenience of the idea does not compel the truth of it.
Speaking personally, I think about suicide a lot. I’m a single 45-year old man who currently has a comfortable life but a tortured past clawing out of the twisted reality that my family and the Catholic Church brainwashed into me in my youth. I never had kids primarily because I don’t believe in bringing new life into a life I don’t believe in myself. And this crazy modern world is another reason I don’t want to have kids. Frankly, I distrust in the integrity of the persuasion made against suicide by mothers who need to believe that the life they nurture was worth creating.
I remain alive mostly because of the inertia of the chemical processes that comprise me. I still have the revulsion of being a corpse that evolution programmed into me. And I’m a bit afraid that death wouldn’t remove my susceptibility to feel pain before it removes my ability to correct it. Another thing that keeps me going is the idea that life is fairly brief compared to the vast eternity of time and it will soon be all over anyway. There’s no need to hasten an exit that could come soon enough.
If I tell you I want to die, will you tell me I underestimate what I mean to others? First, I’m not sure I do underestimate it. And second, why should I care? I’ve spent plenty of time in this life giving without getting in return that I no longer owe it to anyone to stay. The world has gotten more than enough from me. People who really cared would understand and let me go.
Will you tell me I underestimate what the future holds for me? I’m 45 and I’ve done and considered much and I’ve seen the remarkable consistency in my life and it’s already half over. I’ve come to understand things quite well. I think I do have a pretty good I idea what the future will hold. It will hold same it always has, but now more tired and old.
If you genuinely like your own life, then fine. If you want to request that I “stay” you can. Don’t think I’m obliged to honor the request, though. A person like me isn’t going to be convinced by hypocrisy or poor reasoning.