The harms of suicide are not necessary.

SisterY argues that the harms of suicide come from the following sources:

1. The suicide prohibition (such as the perception of suicide as “tragic,” when we should be supporting it).
2. A sense of entitlement (that is to say, the absurd belief that we are owed this person’s company and support).
3. The arrogant belief that we “know better” (as when we evaluate someone’s life as being worth living, when they themselves do not).

See her full entry for more information.

15 thoughts on “The harms of suicide are not necessary.

  1. Gomi May 11, 2012 at 21:33

    I disagree with your interpretation of number 2.

    If someone I love dies of natural causes, I’m “harmed” by the loss. An emotional harm, if nothing else. That doesn’t mean I think I’m entitled that person’s company. It just means that I have a negative emotional response to them being there, and then them not being there.

    Suicide is that person choosing to harm me (again, an emotional harm, if nothing else). I’m still not saying I’m entitled to their life, but that person is choosing to suddenly not be there. That choice might be discussed and agreed upon, or might be taken unilaterally by the one committing suicide.

    Like natural death, that harm is inevitable, at some point. Everyone dies, whether by their own hand or not. And that death, if they have loved ones, causes harm. It’s how things work.

    So, this isn’t an argument to ban suicides or anything (I think they should be perfectly legal, rather). Suicide is just voluntary death. But I don’t think you can so blithely dismiss the harmful impact of that death on others as an “absurd belief” or “sense of entitlement.”

    • Francois Tremblay May 12, 2012 at 00:06

      “The most commonly cited harm inflicted by suicide is the harm to the surviving friends and relatives. What, exactly, does that harm consist of? Certainly, it is not merely the fact that the person has died. Everyone dies eventually; suicides are not unique in this. Family and friends must eventually come to terms with all of our deaths. The only special harm attributable to the suicide is that he has died early. The survivors are deprived of an expected period of the company and support of the person who has committed suicide – specifically, that period between the time of suicide and the time the person would have otherwise died. During that time, the lover or spouse no longer enjoys the affection of the suicide, the relative no longer enjoys his visits and presents and sidewalk-shoveling, the friend no longer enjoys his opinions and companionship, the parent may no longer hope for grandchildren.

      The problem is that little of this “company and support” (and reproductive capacity) is morally obligatory.”

      • Gomi May 12, 2012 at 05:16

        I thinks that’s a very stilted interpretation, though.

        Like it says, all death hurts the survivors, but I think the added pain if a suicide isn’t an entitlement, but the idea that the deceased *chose* death rather than your company. It’s a rejection, the added pain of the voluntary rejection. The suicide voluntarily inflicts that pain of loss on others, and knowing that they did choose that is it’s own pain.

        • Francois Tremblay May 12, 2012 at 13:40

          “It’s not always about you.”

          • Gomi May 12, 2012 at 18:57

            That’s exactly right, and applies equally to the survivors and the suicide. The pain of rejection is a valid emotional response, but doesn’t negate the necessity of suicide. Like I said, suicide needs to be perfectly legal, because there are times it’s a needed option. But, at the same time, the suicide should consider the harm their action will do to others, both in their death and in the rejection on top of that. If that harm is outweighed by the harm of continuing living, then go ahead and commit suicide.

            But the harm done to the survivors shouldn’t be so callously rejected as “absurd” or “entitled.” The pain of loss and rejection is legitimate.

            • Francois Tremblay May 12, 2012 at 19:04

              No, Gomi. As always you are a fuckwit.

              • Gomi May 12, 2012 at 19:09

                And, as always, you present a lucid and eloquent counter argument.

                • Francois Tremblay May 12, 2012 at 19:18

                  Like I’ve said before, I am done arguing with you. Quoting something you grossly misread is hardly an argument, fuckwit.

                • Gomi May 12, 2012 at 20:10

                  Then maybe you should better explain what you mean, if I’m misreading it, rather than simply swearing and insulting me.

                  Putting SisterY’s post into your own words, you said the source of the harms of suicide include a sense of entitlement, calling it an absurd belief that the survivors are owed the suicide’s company. I think the harm of a suicide comes from legitimate emotional pains of loss and rejection, which is neither absurd or entitled.

                  Did you intend to say that list of sources only includes the illegitimate harm’s from a suicide? I’d agree with that, as I agree entitlement is an illegitimate but observed response to suicide.

                  But you phrased that list as encompassing all the harms of suicide, turning all of them illegitimate. And I disagree with that, as I think suicide does cause legitimate harm to others.

                • Francois Tremblay May 12, 2012 at 20:12

                  Why do you write such long comments when you could shorten them to “Hi, I’m an idiot”?

                • Gomi May 12, 2012 at 21:01

                  Because I believe in attempting to communicate, rather than simple infantile tantrums.

  2. Francois Tremblay May 12, 2012 at 21:12

    No, apparently what you believe in is bickering endlessly when I refuse to engage you, apparently. I know you always want to have the last word, but I won’t let you get away with insulting me for no reason. This is my fucking blog, I get to decide who I engage with and who I don’t, and you don’t get to complain about it. Fuck you.

    • Gomi May 12, 2012 at 21:41
  3. […] harms of suicide come from the following sources:1. The suicide prohibition (such as the perception of suicide as […]

  4. […] harms of suicide come from the following sources:1. The suicide prohibition (such as the perception of suicide as […]

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