A philosophical look at suicide

No one asks to be born. We are delivered into this world, not necessarily healthy nor whole. We go through the motions of life; some better than others. Some achieve greatness. Some write their names in history. Some waste their lives away. Others use theirs for destruction.

But in the end, everyone dies. Regardless of how well or how badly a life has been lived, it eventually comes to an end. This cycle will go on, if not forever, for at least an immeasurably long time.

We are pushed into this cycle with absolutely no say. For most of us, leaving this cycle is also out of our hands.

But what if it wasn’t so? What if there was a way out of this involuntary cycle?

There actually is. But the topic is enormously taboo, especially in an engineering institute. But we shall still discuss it.

Suicide is the only way a human can opt out of this involuntary cycle with his own hands. But this article does not seek to romanticize suicide. Regardless of the nature of the gift, life is surely more precious than anything else. And it is easy to argue that throwing it away is a wrong decision in every case.

But as a philosophical, theoretical problem, suicide is interesting. In a way, it is a very brave thing to do. It involves the severing of every single tie, every single connection and a plunge into something entirely unknown. Why do this? What guarantee is there that the removal of oneself from this cycle doesn’t lead to dropping oneself in another involuntary cycle? There is none. But one could argue that the same solution (for lack of a better word) could be applied in that cycle as well. And so on for as many cycles as one may encounter until one ceases to be.

One other aspect of suicide is the irreparable pain it causes to those related to the doer of the deed. In this way, suicide is selfish. It affects more people than necessary. But one may argue that in the same way that one doesn’t ask to be born, one doesn’t ask to be loved. The effects are collateral damage. Inevitable. It is the price that is paid for the cycle to end. One can also say that death is inevitable, so the way of death doesn’t matter.

But it does. Suicide takes a much larger toll than a natural death. Or even an unnatural death from outside. Suicide is viewed as way out; as an alternative when life just seems too bleak. And this is possibly what contributes to the worldview that suicide equates to a troubled soul.

But what about when life is taken into one’s own hands, and eventually taken away, for the sole purpose that it was a gift unasked for?

I would like to argue that regardless of the nature, life is an amazing gift. Regardless of theory, I believe that every individual owes it to life to live and make use of their time on this earth. Because at the end of all cycles is nothingness, and it would seem that something is better than nothing; even when that something is unasked for.

Note: The author does not seek to romanticize or support suicide. It is a serious issue, and the article does not make light of it. It is merely a view from a different perspective.

– Ajay Srikanth

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