Can Suicide Be Justified?

The society views suicide as something very negative, destructive, shocking, appalling and even disturbing. It may not be wrong to say that suicide evokes stronger reactions in society than death, including other forms of unnatural and untimely deaths. Then why do people commit such an act, and should we condemn further, for falling a victim to their own miseries..
Can Suicide be Justified?
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What is Justified?

Before we debate on the justification of suicide, let us first be clear as to what is justified and what is not. There is a thin line that differentiates 'justification' from 'rationalization.' We tend to rationalize anything and everything that we want to do or we may have actually done. Psychologists consider it a form of innate defence mechanism against the stress induced by the stress of guilt or confusion created by conflicting desires. Justification, on the other hand, is a result of objective thinking for which intellectual honesty is a pre-requisite.

Another, more important factor to keep in

mind while discussing rationalization is the subjectivity that arises from different perspectives. Why we need to do what we do ? Who benefits from it ? Is it our personal self, or the family, or the society, or the nation, or our religious community ?

So, for a suicidal terrorist, he is a hero in the eyes of his associates whereas he would be biggest villain in the eyes of those whose dear ones are his victims. Isn't justification then a matter of great subjectivity ? Can anyone really say that there is any action that is not subjective to a particular interest, and is yet fully justified ? Is there ANYTHING in this world that is beneficial for the whole universe ? Just think of it, the whole human existence in the universe is nothing more than an inconsequential dot that no other part of universe really gives a damn about. In fact, the universe does not give a damn about anything. If that be so, then nothing is justified, and everything is justified. In fact, objectively speaking, the concept of justification itself is unjustified.

Why Society Discourages People from Committing Suicide?

Having discussed the limitations of justification and the difficulty of objectively differentiating it from rationalization, now let us make clear as to what we are talking about. We are talking about discouraging people from committing suicide in a moment of sudden depression, because we, from our experience of life, know that such moment, like all good and bad memories of our life, will pass very soon. What we are talking about is to make people understand that such moments of weakness when the pain of living seems so much more worse than the pain of death, will very soon seize to exist, and would have little more importance than a nightmare that was just that, a nightmare - it was not real, because nothing is real for long enough, and life in any case, is too short for being considered real ! What has passed is no more true, and what is true right now will no more be true in the next moment. When that is so, when the moment is itself going to seize to exist, why bother about it anyway !?

We say that there cannot be any justification for suicide, not because we are sure as to the justification, or the objectivity, or the certainty of our argument. We say so because we know that a suicide creates pain,


not for the person who has seized to exist, but for those who are still alive. Even when a destitute dies, it hurts our sensitivities, because it reminds about death, and by an ill fate, if a person committing suicide, leaves survivors and dependents who are truly fond of him, such a death would result in immense pain to so many among us.

Anything that makes the human society worse cannot be justified from the perspective of social norms. So even if the life is tough, even if the pain of living is more than the perceived pain of death, the person must live on, to ensure that pain is not caused to the rest of the society.

That, my dear, is the reason why society does not accept any justification for suicide.

Why Does a Person Commit Suicide – The Perspective of an Individual

But then, if the life of a person is actually causing pain for the society which might get relieved by his death, be it suicidal one, then will it amount to sufficient justification ? We are not talking about the pain to the individual, we are talking about the pain to the society that can be relieved by the person's death.

You might tend to ask that why should the society itself not take the decision to kill such a person ?

Well. Sometimes, the society does exactly that, like in the case of serial killer, who is punished with death.

But many a times it is not crime that may be the cause for this pain arising from life. For example, it could be extremely painful to see a person who is absolutely debilitated, and yet it would be considered unjust to kill the person because it would be against the values of preserving life that we have inculcated in our society. It would be unjust to kill a person just because he or she has become a burden on the society.

But what if that person wants death to skip the pain of living, knowing fully well that his pain of living will continue into the next moment and every moment after that till his misery ends, and sees no point in continuing his misery any further. In such a case, there is no reason why his wishes should not be respected. From the subjective justification of our society, there is nothing to hold it as unjust.

An Unending Debate

I know that not many will agree. Some will quote ethics, others morality, still other would raise issues like legality and values. Actually, these are all unreal abstract concepts, created and nurtured by a society to fulfil its own interests. Unfortunately, having created them, the society often gets entangled in its own net.

That is the reason we are having this debate!
 



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