I am aware that, sometimes, I fail to say what it is exactly that I mean, this little opinion piece of mine is almost an example of that. I am not suggesting suicide as either a personal resolution, or an economic one, but to call such an action selfish is so hypocritical that it beggars belief. You can probably guess what brought this opinion on and I am sorry that such a thing ever came to pass, but at least He has found peace; at least He managed to take his demons with Him. My thoughts are with His family as they mourn their loss, but He was a great man and who am I to say what He should, or should not, have done?
The act of ending one’s life does not appear, to me, to be so great a thing. What is death, after all, but an ending? Perhaps not an ending of narrative as a whole, but an ending of one’s part in said story, one’s minor role being suddenly cut out. I cannot, in good conscience, say what a tragedy it is for someone to commit suicide. Suicide is, in its very nature, selfish. It is what one believes to be best for the self, when one finds it unbearable to live in one’s body, in one’s mind, for a moment longer
But every decision is selfish and, ultimately, is done for one’s own desires. Why should suicide be any different or, in fact, be judged as selfish? It is selfish to live, when you waste valuable resources on your own mediocre existence; it is selfish to die of your own volition. The only ‘selfless’ action, in complete disregard of the meaning of that word, is to die in a way which you have absolutely no control over, though I am hard pressed to think of more than a few examples of such a way.
If half the population were to be, suddenly, struck with some existential awareness of themselves, of their own mediocrity and insignificance, how many would choose to kill themselves? And, if they did, can we not say that the country, whose main problem currently appears to be over-population, would be the better for it? Even if we took morality or preconception out of the equation, replacing it with logic, would a cull of the population not be a good thing? Would we not be better, in a way, to take the program enacted in Will Varley’s Sketch of a Last Day into effect? To offer some incentive for those who do not suffer from existential crises to end their lives, thereby leaving society open for the remainder?
But do not get me wrong, I have no desire to go on some killing spree, like a stereotypical American teenager, and I have no desire to enact any forced-executions. I simply believe that, if it is selfish to end one’s life, due to the effect it may have on one’s friends and family, is it not more selfish to force other’s to live, that you might enjoy their company? We act as though surviving is always the best option. It cannot be. There are some lives I would not wish on anyone, and I would rather find some way of executing myself in excruciating, if temporary, agony, rather than living with such terrible things.
Life, for the most part, is a miserable, ugly affair. There are moments of joy, of course, but joy is, by its very nature, impossible to maintain, whilst misery is the natural state of conscious thought. Think, if you will, how things could be so much better. Think of all those struggles which our ancestors endured, all those protests and scandals our parents lived through, all those terrible, terrible events; think of terrorism and ignorance, of persecution and greed, these things into which man falls so naturally.
Everything that has ever happened, ever, has led to this moment. Everything rests on you, reading this mild opinion of mine, and do you think that you are worth it? Our grandparents, our great grandparents, fought in bloody wars that we might have the world in which we live now. Was it worth it? Would you send a million young men into muddy death and dismemberment simply so that Facebook could exist, that you could post pictures of yourselves with your loved ones and your dogs and slide some artistic filter across that image?
But I digress.
Suicide then, is not a good thing, nor a bad thing. It is, simply, a thing that happens. It is the combat of selfishness against selfishness. No human is of sound mind, it is an impossibility when in contact with others of our species, when confronted with the guilt, the desire, the dependency of ourselves, but logic does say that our lives are nothing, meaningless, that our actions are unseen by the universe and, even if they could be, would we honestly want them to be?
Depression and logic are completely different things, often misunderstood. Certainly, when I would explain, as I am doing now, the very basics of this argument to my peers, I would often end up in my old college’s chapel, trying to describe logic to a God-fearing fool and, when that failed, a mental health councillor. None of these people could refute my arguments, they merely told me that I needed to believe in God or that I needed drugs.
God is the very enemy of logic, drugs are unable to cure it.
Suicide is a choice, it is never something that can controls someone’s actions so suddenly. It is a decision one comes to when faced with reality, without the blanket of some Deity’s presence or self-delusion. For all that my sympathies are with the families and friends of these victims of the self, of the universe, I am glad that such people find peace, that their torture, for that is what life must be to them, is at an end.