A Case for Suicide

Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, form or manner planning, thinking about planning, planning of thinking about planning or attempting suicide. Quite a bit of time in my anthropological learning process was devoted to the study of suicide, this stems from that. Some bits and pieces also come as a result of my delvings into existentialist philosophy. Thank You.

Emile Durkheim talked about both suicide and anomie; anomie being a state that can culminate in suicide. Snitching from the linked site, we get two definitions:

Egoisitic {sic} suicide resulted from too little social integration. Those individuals who were not sufficiently bound to social groups (and therefore well-​defined values, traditions, norms, and goals) were left with little social support or guidance, and therefore tended to commit suicide on an increased basis. An example Durkheim discovered was that of unmarried people, particularly males, who, with less to bind and connect them to stable social norms and goals, committed suicide at higher rates than unmarried people.

The second type, Altruistic suicide, was a result of too much integration. It occurred at the opposite end of the integration scale as egoistic suicide. Self sacrifice was the defining trait, where individuals were so integrated into social groups that they lost sight of their individuality and became willing to sacrifice themselves to the group’s interests, even if that sacrifice was their own life. The most common cases of altruistic suicide occurred among members of the military.

Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus makes a philosophical case against suicide, something which Camus was mightily concerned. His assertion that suicide is a statement that life is not worth living seems to apply more to Durkheim’s egoistic suicide than the altruistic version, this makes sense to me because Camus is concerned with a person as an individual entity instead of someone who can dampen their will to sacrifice for others. A meaningless life is the ultimate absurdity and this is fine. What seems to have troubled Camus so is that suicide is a rejection of life because the life does not fit the mold of the person living it. Suicide is therefore the dumbest philosophical thing someone could do.

Those bloody Romans had all kinds of ideas about suicide too. But all too often it seems that suicide was more of a political act than done for Durkheim’s take on altruistic or egoistic reasons. Cato for instance, did not kill himself because of the degree to which he was or was not integrated into society. He killed himself because he would not live under Caesar. This seems to threaten Camus’s take as well, because I don’t see how Camus can denigrate Cato’s use of Cato’s life for a suicide that is done in this manner.

In one of my recent National Geographics, a statement [which coupled with a sort of A Modest Proposal spin gave me the idea for this] along the lines of ‘Only a ninety percent reduction in human population can result in the preservation of endangered and threatened species in natural habitat.’ This was in order to keep some species from being wiped out and others from being mere curios [only kept alive by constant human breeding and intervention]. This brings me to my case for suicide. Instead of folks killing themselves because ‘no one cares’ or because ‘the world is a terrible place’ why not axe yourself in the name of conservation? It is altruistic and you’ll be in good company with the likes of Cato, because you are also doing it because you will not live in a world where animals are mistreated. I’d do it myself but I’ve got to go spread the message. You understand I’m sure.

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