Is Suicide Selfish?

Wilkine Brutus:

Wilkine Brutus responds to the suicide of actor Lee Thomas Young.

26 Comments on "Is Suicide Selfish?"

  1. Having personally experienced the aftermath of two suicides, I feel compelled to say yes. Suicide is selfish. Everyone around the person is wracked with awful emotions. Sometimes for years. Anyone who is feeling like the only solution is to commit suicide would do best to speak with a professional.

    • Calypso_1 | Sep 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

      They should speak to anybody.
      And anybody who has even the slightest notion that someone is suicidal should directly ask them about it.

      • I’ve encountered a few people online who expressed their suicidal ideations. One person actually went through with it. It is my experience that expressing such online is only good if they intend on accepting the support (e.g. call the suicide hotline, contact a professional a.s.a.p.). If it’s just to share with others what they will do, then imo, it’s extremely selfish. The person on the other end can do little to prevent.

        • Calypso_1 | Sep 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

          I was able to intervene in such a circumstance through the hosting provider and get a LE welfare check. It helped to have credentials.

    • jasonpaulhayes | Sep 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm |

      How dare you, most people who commit suicide are the victims of some abuse or crime. 3 times I’ve stopped a suicide attempt in progress and if I were to blame them for my feelings about it as much as it does hurt, it would be terrible and selfish of me not them.

      • I commend you for your success at supporting others. The person I attempted to stop, killed themselves soon after hanging up.

        Essentially they called me to let me know they were doing it. This person then called the suicide hotline and shot himself in the head while on the phone with the person on the suicide hotline.

        A message to people considering suicide:

        It will hurt everyone you know deeply, and stick with them for the rest of their lives. Don’t do it. Find tangible support.

        • Calypso_1 | Sep 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm |

          I volunteer a hotline shift. When it happens & they go, in that moment is the only true prayer I know – Liberation.

        • jasonpaulhayes | Sep 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm |

          Look, of course people like Robert Dwyer and other criminals, that simply cant live with what they’ve done or can’t face punishment, chose suicide for obviously selfish reasons. On the the other hand… the majority of victims are simply lost in the dark places of the world and the mind.

          Though we miss them and cry for ourselves, it’s okay to cry for them too and not blame the victims of suicide as though they genuinely intend to be selfish or hurt others because we all know that’s simply not true.

          • I am sharing my experience so those who may be in dark places understand what their actions will create. At my lowest of times it’s been what has prevented me from taking action.

            I don’t blame them, I think they gave up.

          • jasonpaulhayes | Sep 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

            Perhaps as Wilkine says… forcing them to think of living for the sake of others and their acceptance lends credence to their self-hate and thoughts they are hurting others.

            I said to one victim after me coming across them bleeding out that “I’m very disappointed” but I wish I hadn’t because we are our brothers keepers and I was just as disappointed in myself that I couldn’t find the right words to lend them strength to fight.

          • Perhaps.. thank you.

      • Calypso_1 | Sep 8, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

        Thank you for your efforts to stop suicide. I think it is easy to understand both of your sentiments related to the emotional states of others. You have been able to achieve a level that is commensurate w/ those who work in this area. It also true, however in treating both attempted & completed suicides that the care for the emotions of friends and family is a significant factor. I have seen chains of suicides among friends. There is no need to apply a moral quality of ‘selfishness’ to anyone in these situations, but often you will have to help others who do see it that way.

        • The second person was someone I associated with in junior high. I hadn’t spoken with nor seen in several years. He was an alcholic and a shut in. His addiction ruined his marriage and he couldn’t handle that.

          Even though I hardly knew the guy, his suicide affected me. I felt guilt that I wasn’t there to support, even though that is irrational. Considering I had no way of knowing that he was in turmoil.

          It also brought to surface the past of the other. That was a bad winter.I commend you as well for what you do.

  2. Anarchy Pony | Sep 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm |

    While I do believe someone should have the right to end their own life if they feel they must or if they are terminally ill, I don’t really think a person should(except for the terminally ill person, no one should have to continue to suffer unnecessarily if there is no hope of survival), especially if they will leave behind friends and family that will be devastated by it.

    • Calypso_1 | Sep 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm |

      It is good to make clear distinctions in these cases. It should be an option for dignified death. However, the severe depression associated w/ illness is one aspect of the suffering and that should not be overlooked in treatment. When someone comes to that choice you want to have brought them as close to ‘sound mind & body’ as possible.

  3. mauriziojuvefc | Sep 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm |

    It really isn’t that black and white and while a lot of the time it is a selfish act there are examples where it really isn’t. Euthanasia and the acts of the kamikaze pilots are two examples.

  4. You can’t tell me that ending one’s life – with everything that it entails (the absolute ending of one’s life, and intentionally harming other people) is a purely selfish act. You don’t increase your power, worth or reputation in this life by ending it. You don’t make yourself happy. You don’t overcome anything – indeed, your problems are given the final word in what happens in your life if you kill yourself. The wrong people are harmed (and the wrong people are comforted) by a death in your hand.

    In the light of all the above, how suicide CAN be considered selfish is beyond me and will likely stay beyond me.

    • It isn’t usually a selfish act. As others here have mentioned this is a grey area. Some suicides are, for lack of a better phrase, “cutting off the nose to spite the face.” The two suicides I’ve known weren’t that, but were entirely due to my missed friends’ personal demons. Maybe a little selfish in that they didn’t consider how it would make their friends feel, but of course they didn’t do it out of spite. I just wish they had reached out to me before they did it. And they might have and maybe I didn’t notice.

  5. Suicide is not selfish. Saying someone shouldn’t kill themselves (if they want to) because of your emotional well-being is selfish. Either way, someones hurting, them or you.

    Although I’d rather see less negative emotions flowing throughout humanity, regardless of whether they’re from suicide or anything else, it’s not easy for some people to find a/the point to this life.

    • I don’t think the argument is so much that, “They shouldn’t kill themselves because of your emotional well-being.” I think the “selfishness” argument comes from when someone kills themselves without even talking about it to friends and family. This is wrought with problems too, I know, because most people will just blindly react with, “yo dude don’t kill yourself that is totally wack.” without trying to understand the pain a person is going through.

  6. To me, suicides can be split into two sides, those caused my mental
    illness (and by this I mean someone wanting to kill themselves and not
    knowing/reasoning with themselves why) and those who reason there is no
    point to life. Some may say they are one in the same, and that thinking
    there is no reason to live is a form of mental illness on its own. I
    disagree with this. I believe the former to be tragedy, and the latter
    to be a result of the dynamic human mind.

    If someone has
    reasoned there is no point to live, I hope they can find someone to
    discuss the meaning of life with (provided they even give someone the
    chance, which I understand is not often the case). I respect others
    opinions, whether or not I agree with them, and while I would surely
    debate with someone who is suicidal on why I think they’re mindset is
    wrong, if they could not be convinced, I believe it would be selfish of
    me not to respect their decision on what to do with their own body/life.

    In essence I suppose I’m making a case for reasonable suicide, to which I think of the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson.

  7. Honestly….I completely get WHY people feel this way. If someone I love, someone in my family, killed themselves….I’d be devastated…and angry.
    However, who’s more selfish…the person who cannot live under unbearable pain anymore and makes a personal choice about their own life…OR…the person who likes having that person around and doesn’t want to go through the pain of loosing them.

    It’s like saying, “Yeah, I get that your pain is so bad, you’d rather be dead. But…if you did that, I would be in a lot of pain. So…because MY potential pain is more important to me than yours, I’m going to guilt-trip you into sticking around so I don’t have to go through that.”

    It’s pretty blatantly obvious where the selfishness lies.

    You don’t OWE other people your life. Every single person was born onto this planet without being asked about it first. Some people end up in absolutely horrific lives. Some people, worse of all, end up with brains that(by no fault of their own) make it IMPOSSIBLE for them to experience joy, peace, love, happiness of any sort.

    About 4 years ago, I took some medication…and one of the side effects was that it drastically lowered dopamine levels. It was only temporary though.
    So…I thought, ‘no big deal. I’ll manage.’
    Well…once my dopamine levels dropped, I was plunged into the most existential dark void of utter despair with zero hope, warmth, or meaning.
    It was the most nihilistic feeling I’ve ever experienced. And even though I KNEW it was just a TEMPORARY side effect and would soon go away….I still thought, “oh well, this is it. My life is pointless and always will be.”

    If I HAD to live like that 24/7, I honestly would kill myself. For those that DO have to live through that, by mere virtue of having a shitty brain, I could never be so arrogant as to tell them they’d be selfish to check out.

    There’s no rule that you MUST live. No one asked you if you wanted to be born. And many people get a terrible hand of cards.

    I’m NOT saying people should be flippant about it. It’s absolutely something worth talking about, going to therapy, trying medication, etc. But, in the end, if nothing works, it’s still your choice.

    Suicide isn’t selfish. It’s the most fundamental right one ought to have.

    • “Yeah, I get that your pain is so bad, you’d rather be dead. But…if
      you did that, I would be in a lot of pain. So…because MY potential
      pain is more important to me than yours, I’m going to guilt-trip you
      into sticking around so I don’t have to go through that.”

      No, it’s a don’t be a coward and fix your loose ends. Instead of being a weak person who will do something extremely selfish that will deeply hurt everyone you know.

      Suicide isn’t selfish. It’s the most fundamental right one ought to have.

      If so, then that person should take note of the rights of the people who have to clean up the mess of their ignoble action.

  8. If people don’t have the unambiguous moral right to terminate their own existences, why bother calling them people? We’re all clearly someone the property of somebody else if the choice of when and how we die isn’t ours.

    No. I understand the arguments to the contrary, but I will never agree with them. Denying the right of another to end their existence is appalling, it is selfish, it is cruel and inhumane.

    • I agree with you in parts, but I don’t think this is a discussion of having a moral right to self-terminate in a universal sense.

      For example, consider the difference between someone in intense and horrible pain at the end stage of incurable terminal cancer, and someone who, through whatever situation (be it their fault or not their fault) is in intense pain which itself is perhaps likely to pass.

      Most of us go through very difficult periods in our lives. Some take place in the middle and some take place at the end.

  9. Yes it is. As is failing to draw attention to the common causes of suicide, particularly alienation.

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