So I was looking into other cultures’ and time periods’ perspectives of suicide (spoiler: not universally demonized) and in my readings learned through Schopenhauer that my undergrad fave David Hume wrote an essay refuting his society’s condemnation of the act – which was suppressed for quite some time, it would seem. I thought some salient points would be worth sharing here, though I really recommend the actual essay itself.
- First, if you’re of the religious ilk, he argues that killing yourself is no more going against the divine will or whatever than doing literally anything else. “God” fashioned the entire universe, any and everything that happens is a result of this original design, meaning that the same is true of human actions. How could it be that certain human actions are in line with the order of nature and this one thing is somehow against it? It’s not. If we weren’t “supposed to” commit suicide, we wouldn’t be able to.
- Second, some say that it’s a harm to society to take one’s own life. Perhaps – if you are indeed able to contribute to society. If you are so unwell, for whatever reason, that this isn’t possible, you’re likely to actually be doing society a favour of ridding it of a potentially burdensome existence. Even if you are able to contribute, there’s nothing that says the good of others requires your continued misery. Someone going off and becoming a hermit is an example that we don’t find utterly reprehensible, so why so with suicide?
Pretty validating stuff for me. This has been ebbing and flowing for four years but things have really come to a head recently. Some of the main things stopping me from feeling serious have shifted too, for better or worse. I lost my best friend to suicide years ago and would hate to leave that black hole in anyone’s life, but none of those people are going to, or should have to, do everything in their power to make sure I don’t. I see now why people might deliberately make a failed attempt on their life – normies just don’t fucking get it, sometimes even if you say it flat out to them. Forget if you’re trying to dance around being direct for fear of upsetting someone, shit.
Well, what started off as a somewhat upbeat post had characteristically devolved into being very blah, and I haven’t even gotten into details of my own shit. I guess I’ll conclude by just reiterating that the perspective of suicide as “wrong” or “bad” is a total social construct; yes it is an awfully miserable thing on all sides, but so is famine, war, genocide, whatever else, and these things seem to be part of whatever existence is. People always say things like “it’ll get better” or “you can fix (problem x y z)”, but what they mean is that those are POTENTIALLY possible. Things could very well never get better, or in fact worse. Your efforts to solve those problems could lead to new ones added to the heap. We just don’t know either way, and it’s a total farce to say with confidence either reality will unfold. It may be tragic to give up, but in the end, isn’t it far more tragic to continue fighting a losing battle?
When you don’t seem to be able to take control of anything, there is an utter liberation between taking control over putting up with all the bullshit at all, and simply quitting.