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Suicide: right or wrong?

Discussion in 'Religion & Spirituality' started by Celtic Skogsra, 30 March 2016.

  1. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    What are your thoughts on suicides? The post-Christian but clearly extra-Christian Irish traditions speak of a place known as Dorchadas gan Phian 'darkness without pain', a kind of 'limbo' for those such as the drowned, the unborn and those who chose suicide all of whom were denied a normal burial and Christian judgement. Its form is a cold dark swamp nonetheless there sinless people live as comfortable - not joyful - a life as they could have had in the mortal world.

    In Egypt suicide could be virtuous or cowardly; it was to take one's complaints to Anubis, more correctly to the judgements of Osiris. As the judge of the dead he would make the correct, situational judgement of the particular suicide. Similar situational attitudes existed also in Greece ie. Plato, Aristotle. Whereas in Persia, suicide in itself was an impurity without concern for situation - as opposed to Athens, for example, where only most suicides were denied a normal grave on grounds of purity. The Persians did not believe that the gods may favour an individual’s departure.

    What are your thoughts on suicide?
     
    Last edited: 6 April 2016
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  2. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    "Every criminal says: 'I will take you,' but you are dead, though your name lives. Yonder is a resting place attractive to the heart; the West is a dwelling place, rowing to the tomb. If my guiltless guardian angel listens to me and its heart is in accord with me, it will be fortunate, for I will cause it to attain the West, like one who is in his tomb, to whose burial a survivor attended..."
     
  3. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    It's always important to distinguish between the entirely dissimilar forms of suicide: Suicide for shame, such as the well-known cases of seppuku and the Roman act of falling on one's sword; Self-execution, e.g. Socrates, - or the similar case of a person who accepts their death, as the Christian martyrs did and are doing; Religious suicide such as for commitment, e.g. Sati (which, I think, had some presence in Japan), or for other ritual ends, e.g. sokushinbutsu; Self-sacrifice, as Arnold von Winkelried did, or as with priests tending to lepers; More literal self-sacrifice, where people willingly had themselves entombed (as occurred in Ancient Egypt or with Saint Odran) or otherwise willingly brought about their death (some Norse funeral customs, the Mesoamerican sacrifices, etc.); the depressive suicide-of-despair; and maybe even a distinctly modern form of suicide, - the transgressive-fetishistic death, e.g. as with that peculiar chap who killed himself that he may be cannibalised. It's a damn shame that we don't have a word less broad, really, since ones commentary for one type of suicide often has absolutely no bearing on the other forms.

    Edit: Or people that kill themselves rather than suffer; Or the case of Cato the Younger, - which is one of history's most moral examples of suicide.
     
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  4. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    But when do the gods favor suicide? When someone is a burden to the group, for the common good? When is the common good?
     
  5. Plantagenet

    Plantagenet Heroic Member

    Personally I am against suicide for a variety of reasons. First, I believe as Buddhism teaches that obtaining a human birth is a difficult and precious attainment and hence should never be wasted--however bad things get in ones life, there's always the possibility to renounce the world and die symbolically by taking up a monastic vocation, wherein the human life energy can be put to a positive use. Secondly, I believe murder is wrong and suicide essentially is murder of oneself. Third, I believe suicide is generally a selfish choice because, even if a person is suffering, likely such a person has loved ones, family, or friends who will have to suffer due to the suicide. Finally, since I believe in transmigration, I don't believe suicide will solve any problems since one will transmigrate regardless, and having ended ones life through killing and potentially harming others emotionally, likely the next life won't be better off for it.
     
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  6. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    Raisin might like this about the Romans and their attitudes to human sacrifices, touching upon suicide and fatal self-sacrifice. It isn't really what I meant, though, so the last two sentences are most relevant; it implies that some suicides are acceptable as sacrifices to the ancestors. The Manes would seem to correspond to the Gaelic realm of Dorchadas, neither judged evil (Lemures) nor good (Lares).

    Other instances where the Romans clearly employed human sacrifice is in the devotio of Roman generals, sacrificing themselves to the Manes, as did Decius Mus in 340 BCE (Livy VII.9.1-10). By a special rite the general first offered himself to the gods, then charged headlong into the enemy. If he did not happen to die, then to fulfill his vow a larger than life statue of himself was to be buried in substitution (Livy VIII.10.12), just as in the use of the argei puppets. Victims of human sacrifice, certain criminals, and some suicides were prohibited from being cremated. They could only be buried. That too may point to the distinction made in Plutarch's question, that human sacrifices were made to the Manes and Dii Inferi rather than to the Di consentes and the celestial gods.
     
    Last edited: 31 March 2016
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  7. I am not certain that the issue of suicide can be evaluated in terms of culture, politics, or religion. The issue of relativism exposes the arbitrariness of such bias in ones evaluation of data, and inadvertently leads to paying more respect to a given culture or nation than the issue of suicide itself. Of course such mindlessness is rather common to this age, with so few conducting thought or spirituality on their own transcultural grounds, that indeed the question "What are your thoughts on suicides?" may as well be "What politics and Religionism do you subscribe to?" and you would then simply observe their legal codes and supposedly sacred text in order to determine what they have been indoctrinated to believe and accept.

    Personally, I have formed my own opinion pertaining to this issue, which I would describe as Situational Ethics in conjunction with natural Law (Morality), though I refrain from forcing that opinion upon others because I also believe that it is logically consistent to assume that if I am sovereign and possess my own body and mind, others too possess their own bodies and minds, such that it is not for me to decide on their behalf, nor judge them for their decision to commit suicide (providing the suicide was Moral). I would further define an immoral suicide as one which directly and negatively impacted another, such that they were harmed or their free will was violated (abandoned children or dependence, broke an oath, left personal debts unpaid to burden another et al.).
     
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  8. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    Right: the Taoist perspective. What is 'nature' for one is not so for another. And ultimately, pretty much all ethics is crap. Only a small % of the worlds population will an hero, it doesn't really matter, consequentially.
     
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  9. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    Well it does insofar as the suicide rate of a group is symptomatic of some broader socio-structural problem, of which value systems play a major role.
     
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  10. Celtic Skogsra

    Celtic Skogsra Heroic Member

    Correct. Look at Japan and Korea.
     
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