In my quest to attain sheer rationality and objectivity I had to overcome my own biases, prejudices and subjectivity. In doing so, I concluded that there is no rational basis for choosing life over death.
Why then, should one, when facing the meaninglessness of life, not commit suicide?
I suppose the best answer I can give is that basically life is what you make it mean. After all there is a bigger picture to it all; we just choose to see the smaller more immediate portion of it.
For me I see it like this, the universe has been around some 13 to 15 billion years, and out of it all, came me. What’s more is that we happen to be living in a time when mankind is coming to realize the nature of the universe, past, present and future. And of that, only a small percent of the race has the wish (or desire) to fully see, appreciate and embrace that knowledge without first having to filter it through secularist eyewear. We now know more fully the processes have gone on in the past to have brought us into being. I would also assert that the fact that we have a consciousness is by far one of the most remarkable aspects of being.
Therefore to throw away my life at this point would be an admission that I have exceeded the limits of my imagination and intelligence and therefore I cannot see what greater efforts I can contribute to the world as a whole, even if only for myself.
After all, with the billions of years that has gone into the evolution of life on Earth, for me to finally come into being only to use it as an opportunity to kill myself, now that WOULD BE meaningless.
I agree regarding your statement that there is no rational basis for choosing life over death. Have you read the book "Between the Dying and the Dead?" a bio on Jack Kevorkian's life; a man who dared to challange the "taboo against death" as he "dared to suggest that we might treat dying, suffering and suicide rationally." - Great read towards your quest :)
I have some bad news: the only way to be completely rational at all times is to become either a robot or a vulcan. There are just times, because of the brain and all its wonders, where I am going to be irrational. I have made my peace with that.
I've tried the suicide route and it is not fun. The possibility that you could get it wrong and end up either a veggie in a hospital bed or not able to move from the first lumbar down is a bigger chance than actually dying. If you try pills, you have to go against your body's natural response, which is to vomit. If you try a gun, you really have to rig it just right. And because we are human, we won't be able to get it *right* the first time.
Then there is the possibility you actually do get it right. So now you have many family members and friends who are very angry at you. The work you were doing at your job? Someone else has to pick up that slack.
But if someone really cannot cope with the raw deal they are given, after all else has failed, the choice is ultimately theirs. I chose to live. Granted it took having my best friend and my cousin to commit suicide and having to go through all the emotions that go with that(survivor's guilt? you betcha) to make me realize I never want to inflict that type of damage on anyone I love.
It's not a taboo against death on my part, it's just a healthy respect of it. I've lost a lot of family and friends. And I cannot get them back. I will never see them in any great beyond.
Of course we all die, and when we die none of us will be completely "ready". To assume we will have everything just right is like sitting in front of a locked door that leads to a secret part of the house. We can assume all we want, but until we unlock and open the door we'll never know.
I respect your prespective and experience and do not argue the consequences associated what you describe however, imagine living in a society where doing "it right" was achievable and acceptable. The question society debates is "who's life is it really?"; many would say "God's", I would say "mine".The faith based idea that life should be lived without choice of death as it is "God's choice", is so ingrained into societies "horror" over the concept of suicide. I work in the healthcare industry and every day I am faced with visually seeing the great lengths we go to in attempt to achieve life over death. People are kept alive for weeks and months, non-responsive, dependent on humans and machines to maintain a beating heart....it's not how I every want to be treated...
Why not commit suicide....
I wondered if when my parents died, if I would't lose the last inhibition to killing myself. Now when I think about ending it, there's my partner. I wouldn't want to put any of them through that.
I don't know, though. There is a biological impulse to live, just like there's a biological impulse to eat, have sex, and breathe.. I think that's the real cause of continuing to live. It's not rational, but neither are a lot of things we do. Actually, dark chocolate, sex, and a good glass of wine ARE reasons to live.
So Andrew, I will just tell you don't do it because I said so. I know you dont know who I am and don't care, but don't do it anyway.
About 12 years ago I was suffering from cocaine addiction and depression. I often contemplated suicide.
I got professional help and was hospitalised for 2 months. I got better and life has been better ever since.
So things can get better and your mental health can improve.
Remember, you are going to die anyway so you may as well stick around to see what happens.
I'm doubtful that there is such a thing as being completely objective or that there is a rational answer to your question.
People often call suicide selfish, which I can understand, but it's also selfish to want a completely miserable person to stay alive just for other people.
I've been suicidal before. Strangely I am more afraid of nonexistence now that I've actually really thought about it.
Why would you want to overcome your own subjectivity?
If you think of life and the world in terms of mathematical logic, then there is absolutely no reason to select life over death, because there's no real room for evaluation at all. Values are subjective; if you ignore the subjective, you ignore values.
You also ignore art. If a worldview results in the loss of something like art, you've gone wrong somewhere.
Suicide is not always irrational (regardless of what the medical field has dogmatically asserted). However, in light of art, and love, and beauty, and things, I think there's more than enough of a foundation to live. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.