Right to Die Part 2: Preventable Suicides 49 replies

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Nittany Tiger Forum Mod

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#1 2 years ago

I wanted to make a side topic to the first thread on rights to die, but for reasons other than terminal illnesses.  I've faced situations in my life where this is relevant.

So, if someone is faced with severe economic hardship, severe permanent non-terminal physical or mental disability, or severe social rejection due to physical, mental, or psychological conditions, does that person have the right to end their existence, and it is selfish for them to do so even if the circumstances that caused their suicide could have been changed or prevented?  I feel this issue exists more in countries with poor social safety nets or conservative societies where more strict standards are placed on individuals.  This results in many people feeling trapped in their lives because they can't escape whatever situation is causing their extreme distress, and sometimes they choose to end their lives either to ease the economic hardship of others, to end their own seemingly endless personal suffering, or both.

I'm pretty sure many people would never accept a suicide by choice for these or other non-terminal reasons, so I feel the discussion should go towards prevention and ethics.  It's something that's driven me politically and why I'm for socialism as a whole since stronger social safety nets can prevent many people that need help from falling through the cracks and being driven to end their lives because of economic hardship brought on by a largely uncaring and competitive society, along with acceptance for any race, gender, sexual preference, and religion instead of intolerance and prejudice.  Its something I wish more people would understand so fewer other people didn't have to choose to die because they didn't "fit in."




Lindale Forum Mod

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#2 2 years ago

That is going to change wherever you go. We all now Japan expects you to suicide if you failed and/or brought dishonor. America tends to see suicide as the coward's way out.

But I do see the point in what you are saying. Socialism is based around helping people, especially the ones who genuinely need the help.

Under Capitalism, it is all about profit, and doing the least amount of work to make the most amount of profit. That is what makes Capitalism work. No one can get a job unless they have a Bachelor's degree, minimum. Good luck getting that Bachelor's unless you are born into a wealthy family, or are willing to take on $50,000 in student loans that you will never be able to pay. Anything less than Bachelor's, employers will only hire Mexicans, or sell the business to China, because paying a dollar a day is better for profit than paying an honest wage and health insurance. Worse yet, the search for profit will completely eliminate human workers altogether, and replace them with robots.

Little by little, Capitalism is turning into a polite euphemism for fascism. Little by little, Capitalism is taking jobs away from the hard-working Americans who genuinely need the jobs. I never thought I would see the day when a white male would never be able to get a job, but that day has come.

In my own case, the only way I was ever able to get a job in the first place was by going through a government agency that helps disabled people. That is the only reason I have that job. If not for that, I probably would be unemployed until the day I died.

But is that reason to commit suicide? That does not solve the problem.

If not being able to get a job was a reason to kill yourself, then everyone born after 1990 would need to die.

If not being popular was a reason to kill yourself, then all the nerds, all the genuinely intelligent people would need to die. That would set back civilization to the stone age, because hulking sports grunts lack the intelligence to understand technology.

If you commit suicide, the problem is still there, and just goes on to hit the next unlucky bloke.


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Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#3 2 years ago

Why should it be selfish to want to end your life? Is it not more selfish to force that person to live, using guilt as a weapon, when they have made it clear that they no longer wish to do so? Will that person not grow to resent the people forcing them to stay alive? Is it not selfish to force them to live, despite said life being anhedonic to them, just because it would upset you? Why is it irrational to realise that there is nothing here for you, and it would be far easier and less painful for all involved if you were't here? Unless you have a religious agenda, there is literally no reason. 




Lindale Forum Mod

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#4 2 years ago

In many cases, suicide can be prevented by substituting it with something you are good at, no matter how small that may be.

The trick is finding that ONE thing.

In my own case,it was replaced by guitars, which was the one thing I was able to do without completely ruining everything. Even still, guitars keep me going. And as long as guitars stay a constant part of my life, I think I will get by well enough.


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#5 2 years ago
"Nittany Tiger"So, if someone is faced with severe economic hardship, severe permanent non-terminal physical or mental disability, or severe social rejection due to physical, mental, or psychological conditions, does that person have the right to end their existence, and it is selfish for them to do so even if the circumstances that caused their suicide could have been changed or prevented?

Personally I feel like these are three different questions, which don't necessarily have the same answer.

If someone is faced with severe economic hardship, I don't believe suicide is ever the answer and should not be given anyone's blessing, society should assist these individuals through the process of bankruptcy or social financial support, combined with counselling and guidance on financial management. As far as I am concerned there is no economic situation in the western world so dire and so permeant that death is a reasonable option.

A severe, permanent, non-terminal disability, on the other hand, it depends on what that disability is. If it's a lost limb, then no, it's not reasonable, and likewise with a mental illness, these are things that with the correct treatment and support, an individual can overcome. Again, death is a very permanent solution to a temporary problem, and not a particularly effective one.

BUT, in the situation of, for example, being totally paralysed, unable to communicate, an illness that meant the general quality of life was basically zero, that would be another matter to me, being trapped in your own body to live out a meaningless existence isn't fair. So if the condition was severe enough, and the quality of life so poor, then yes, it may be a reasonable option.


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Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#6 2 years ago

People kill themselves for reasons. Not all of those reasons are logical, but that's the nature of feelings. Many of those feelings, at least based on my limited familiarity with the subject, are tied to what people don't get in the first place or what they've lost. Social belonging, meaningful achievement, resiliency, hope. At least to my understanding those are all things that are important to preventing suicide, barring chemical imbalances people who have those things don't often seem to kill themselves.

They're also things that the nature of economic, social and technological change increasingly distance us from. The person who is stuck in a dead end job and takes drugs, or blows their brains out, or whatever? They're not wrong about a matter of fact. Not really. Their life just didn't offer them something worth sticking around for. That's not something you can treat, save by brainwashing, and it's not something you can reason them out of. You can't make the uninteresting interesting, nor can you make the trapped feel free and leave the cage intact save by the same means. You can't command someone to hope.

You have to give them something to hope for.

And then they have to be involved in actualising that hope. Otherwise it's on the one hand a dictatorial imposition of your own values and on the other a life that they no longer own.

... And that's why I'm in favour of suicide, under all conditions. Or at least the option thereof. Saying that the suicide is wrong is saying that someone should stick around to live in your world. It's the cop-out answer:

"Life is worth living and you're wrong to kill yourself!" "Okay, what makes it worth living?" "Well, there's this stuff that I like and have." "Not convinced, don't have that, didn't enjoy it when I did." "Ah well, figure it out yourself, but remember: Suicide is wrong. Kthxbye!"

And it's the cop-out answer to debatably one of the most important questions any of us have: Is life worth living, what makes you happy? Should you kill yourself or not?

The solutions to those questions are not going to be simple. Although philosophy can help, there's no agreed upon standard for eudamonia; the good life. There's not one reason that people kill themselves either. For some it's going to be an education system that doesn't throw you overboard the minute you turn eighteen. For others it's going to be employment support. For others it's going to be counselling or community groups. For others still it's just a chance to get away from a world that's overwhelmed them with some trauma or another.

Even worse, some of those answers involve trade offs against things that people don't want to trade off against. Things that seem mutually exclusive. If you want meaningful employment, at some point you have to accept that employing people here when you could automate or employ elsewhere increases prices. The obvious extreme being that if everyone has a replicator no-one has meaningful employment. You and I might be okay with that... but not everyone is.




Lindale Forum Mod

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#7 2 years ago

More to the point:

"Life is worth living, and you're wrong to kill yourself!" "Okay, what makes it worth living?" "Well, there's this stuff that I like and have." "I have never had that stuff to begin with." "Ah well, figure it out yourself, but remember: Suicide is wrong. Kthxbye!"

So help these people. Don't just accept the fact that they have never had a good life in the first place. If you have the ability to help, help them. That is what a government should do. That is why I support socialism. You should never NOT have anywhere to turn to.


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#8 2 years ago

It's a hard question to answer. I think people need a sense of purpose, or  a feeling that they are useful in some way. Sans this, there's not a whole lot of  reason to stick around to see the show, especially when it looks like it probably won't have a happy ending.

Humans, as far as we know, are the only species with any degree of intelligence to  even ask these questions. I'm personally very interested to see what happens through the course of my life, be it good or bad.

Back to the question at hand: One possible answer is that you never really know what tomorrow might bring, and that amazing things have happened to people in seemingly hopeless situations who refused to give up. Perhaps it a fool's hope, but things just might get better if said person keeps trying. But I wonder, is trying to keep everyone we can alive and happy, no matter their condition, short-sighted?

Humans evolved to where we are by survival of the fittest. Will keeping  the genetics that are more susceptible to disease, mental, and physical illness spoil the whole batch hundreds of years down the road? That's opening an entirely new can of worms that I'm somewhat fearful to think about, because if such a policy were to be  adopted, who's to say who is fit to live and who's not?




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#9 2 years ago

"Lindale"More to the point:

"Life is worth living, and you're wrong to kill yourself!" "Okay, what makes it worth living?" "Well, there's this stuff that I like and have." "I have never had that stuff to begin with." "Ah well, figure it out yourself, but remember: Suicide is wrong. Kthxbye!"

So help these people. Don't just accept the fact that they have never had a good life in the first place. If you have the ability to help, help them. That is what a government should do. That is why I support socialism. You should never NOT have anywhere to turn to.

As an ideal, I agree. As a practical concern, I don't. There are some very challenging cases out there which require an incredible amount of support, and providing that support means that whoever is doing so cannot be spending the time supporting others. Meanwhile there are people who have less challenging cases but who will have bad outcomes if they don't get support. You've got to decide where to put your resources. Socialism doesn't save you from that concern, for all that most of us live in more or less socialist societies; ones with reasonably strong social safety nets.

I've worked in support industries before, and an awful lot of the support I provided was built around 'the hardest to help.' Which was sad because you'd regularly see people who you knew you'd be seeing again in six months or a year with a far more serious problem, but you couldn't help them then, when it would have been easy, because they didn't meet the criteria yet.

If you're good at what you do, and if your resources are limited, it doesn't make sense to take the hardest cases. It makes sense to take the ones that are on the edge of easy and help as many of them as you can - before it turns into a massive shitstorm.

In a utopian society, with unlimited resources, of course everyone should have somewhere to turn. In a more... pragmatic... society, whilst a level of support should be there for everyone that support cannot be unlimited. Say you've got a budget of 6k hours of adviser time in your team to expend on supporting people every year... it doesn't make sense to invest that time in helping 40 of the hardest to help as compared to helping 1,200 of the ones that are merely a bit tricky.

For all that utopia is somewhere to aim for, at some point you have to let a problem go. The alternative is worse outcomes for more people.




Nittany Tiger Forum Mod

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#10 2 years ago

  Nem, wouldn't the best solution be to help those that need little help to support themselves and then find permanent support for those that are too sick to work or take care of themselves?  In my opinion, if you help and assist those that can provide back to society in some way with obtaining employment, they can give back through taxes and spending their income and eventually not need government support, which is a win for the person and the government in the long run.

  One of my largest frustrations in life is living in a country or state or whatever where I can't obtain employment because I can't compete due to mental disabilities like Asperger's and the government not helping me get into a job through some placement program.  I feel like I'm still forced to compete in a race I can't win.  I also deal with major anxiety over most jobs, and an uncaring job market doesn't help.  My state does have vocational rehabilitation for disabled individuals, but it feels half-assed.  They only talk about me going back to school for an associates in computer science to get into programming work, and most of me feels like that's a waste of time since I have a bachelors in physics and masters in meteorology.  Two years out of the workforce is a long time, and I'm not getting any younger.

  Just recently, I tried for Microsoft's autism hiring program at the encouragement of my friends and my psychiatrist, but they turned me down.  I took the news very poorly because I was told by all of my friends that I would get in with my education.  It's like life is playing a cruel joke on me.  It's times like this when I wonder if suicide is the best option because apparently I'm not good enough for anything but a drain on society despite fighting for a master's degree and overcoming my issues for it.  I constantly get told I'm smart enough for work in programming and that I don't need to go back to school because I know how to do it, but then I get rejections like this, and then people say I need to network and need corporate skills like communication and leadership and stuff I have shortcomings in due to my ADD and Asperger's.  I've recently just become very frustrated at everything and want to give up because I'm tired of not being given a chance to show someone that I can do this work and I can learn those skills and just need a damn break. Everyone wants to turn me down because I'm a cripple in the race.  I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to employment or where to begin in programming and I feel too stupid or underqualified for every single job now, and I can't do it the normal way because it overwhelms me too easily.

  What would you do if you overcame a childhood of social rejection to go to college, then overcame a major illness to get a graduate degree in science only to have the corporate world piss on you because you're not a perfect candidate for any full-time job and society refuse to support you because you're deemed not disabled enough to need social security income and medical insurance, and are chased after by debt collectors who refuse to forgive your debt due to your disability?  Seems like some sort of fascist nightmare where the disabled are quietly left to die, and I'm part of it and wonder if I ever had a chance to succeed to begin with in a country that touts opportunity but denies it to those in the most in need of it.  I seriously have zero self-esteem, little hope, and a bleak outlook on life when not 10 years ago, in college, I had a different, more positive view because I was getting the help I needed and was working hard as I could to succeed and thought that I would get what I deserved, not get told I didn't do enough because of mistakes or shortcomings.

  I'm like Lindale.  I live in a society that's too far right-leaning to give a shit about helping the poor and disabled and want socialism.  I'm tired of a selfish rich-get-richer society that doesn't want to give me any breaks and say I'm only good enough for the crumbs off the table.  It would be easy to prevent me from thinking about suicide if society just gave me a damn chance instead of making me feel like a useless failure.  If society isn't going to give me the chance to succeed, then stop making me suffer.