Friday, July 25, 2014

Dangerous Questions… (trigger warning)

If you are feeling suicidal, I urge you to speak with someone. If you live in Australia call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to this webpage and click on the red button -->

Sitting in the car this morning, I was listening to a discussion about suicide. It was discussing new research that challenges the perception of suicide as a selfish act. The radio personality interviewing the spokes person from SANE, attempted to link the story of this research with the news that Dr Nitschke (infamous for his euthanasia advocacy work) had had his medical licence suspended under suspicion that he has been involved in a suicide cult.

The concept of 'cult' has arisen from the revelation that organisations exist to help people end their lives without investigating why they want to end their lives, and not showing concern for people who are young and not terminally ill, even quite healthy who want to end their lives.

Here is where I start to ask some dangerous questions and I must preface this by stating, I am not suicidal, and I do believe most suicidal people are experiencing deep pain and probably would like to continue living if only they were able to perceive their circumstances improving. I have been there myself, worked through that pain and come out the other side.

That said, in accepting that the vast majority of suicides and suicide attempts are a matter of pain, is it inconceivable that a small minority of suicides and suicide attempts are acts of self-determination NOT as a result of suffering?

The lady on the radio went to great pains to state that suicide is not self and it is not weakness, but at the same time she felt that people who were suicidal needed to be convinced to continue living at all costs. The (not particularly bright) radio interviewer went on to state that it happens that people who have been suicidal and work through that pain go on to live more fulfilled lives than some people who never experienced that pain. That argument, to me is highly subjective and designed to elevate 'deciding to carry on' above 'never wanting to stop'.

People end things all the time. People decide to stop working on a particular project - do others implore them to continue because 'it will get better'. People decide to stop believing something - are they encouraged to continue believing beyond the point they value that belief because 'You don't know what the future of maintaining this belief will hold!'

What is it that is so terrible about making a conscious decision to end your own life. I know for people of religious faith, suicide is a slap in the face of God. Not valuing the gift he has given the individual. I won't dispute that because it is a belief.

But what is it to people who do not have a religious faith. Why does society value preserving life above all else, even a life which feels to the 'liver' to be finish, complete, if prematurely in the eyes of others.

'First do no harm' is the medical doctors creed. What constitutes harm? The majority believe death to be harm, but is it? Death is an end for some. A chapter for others. For some people it is believe to be a reboot. So then why is wishing to reboot or begin again or move on to the next chapter so terrible it is viewed as irrational (irrationality being the biggest sin in our modern word)?

Why must we assume that choosing life is the only rational choice, the only valid choice?

I'm sure I have upset most every one of you. I feel these questions need more discussion. We fight for a human's right to self-determination in every aspect, except death.

This post is absolutely not an encouragement to a person in pain to end their life, I still believe a thorough investigation of motif is the best policy. 

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Good Job!