Is suicide morally or ethically wrong?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Vajradhara, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Just an aside:

    The phrase "commit suicide" comes from a time when it was a crime (the criminal logic of which is beyond me). It therefore immediately, by the very term, saying that it is an incorrect action in some way; the same as "committing" any other "-cide" is. As it is no longer a criminal offence I would prefer it if people did not use the term. A person may take their own life, but surely they have committed no crime (in the legal/criminal sense).

    s.
     
  2. Dharmaatmaa

    Dharmaatmaa New Member

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    Very good linguistic research. And, no doubt, "commit suicide" takes its origin from "commit a crime". I may ensure you that in several, if not in most, languages this analogy's usually saved.

    For ex, Latin "criminem committere", if I remember right, means the same. Polish phrase "popełnić przestępstwo" means verbatim the same as English. And Russian "совершить преступление" means word for word "to commit a crime". In all these cases, "to commit" goes nearby with "suicide" every time. I believe it has its logical ground. It was a linguistical viewpoint.

    Next. In most law systems of the modern world humane life is the biggest value. Criminal laws prove that. But suicide isn't a crime, because in the structure in such a crime there can't be object of a crime. Any crime consists of subject, object, objective and subjective parts. If any part lacks - the crime doesn't take place. It's the Criminal Law.

    And ethically mud this viewpoint is. Suicide is a crime! And it doesn't matter if state protects it by criminal laws or does not.
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste snoopy,

    thank you for the post.

    doesn't a being commit themselves to a course of action? commit themselves to a cause? if such is the case i don't see the negative connotation with the term commit.

    commit Averb
    1 give, dedicate, consecrate, commit, devote

    give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause; "She committed herself to the work of God"; "give one's talents to a good cause"; "consecrate your life to the church"

    Category Tree:use; utilize; utilise; apply; employgive, dedicate, consecrate, commit, devoterededicate
    vow; consecrate



    2 invest, put, commit, place

    make an investment; "Put money into bonds"

    Category Tree:transfergivepayspend; expend; dropinvest, put, commit, placebuy into
    speculate; job
    tie up
    shelter
    roll over
    fund






    3 commit, institutionalize, institutionalise, send, charge

    cause to be admitted; of persons to an institution; "After the second episode, she had to be committed"; "he was committed to prison"

    Category Tree:move; displacetransfercommit, institutionalize, institutionalise, send, chargehospitalize; hospitalise




    4 entrust, intrust, trust, confide, commit

    confer a trust upon; "The messenger was entrusted with the general's secret"; "I commit my soul to God"

    Category Tree:transferpass; hand; reach; pass on; turn over; giveentrust, intrust, trust, confide, commitobligate
    recommit
    consign; charge
    commend




    5 perpetrate, commit, pull

    perform an act, usually with a negative connotation; "perpetrate a crime"; "pull a bank robbery"

    Category Tree:act; moveperpetrate, commit, pullrecommit
    make



    like many words in English the context is very important to determine the meaning of the term in question, so it would seem.

    that said, the question isn't so much of the legal status rather the moral implications.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  4. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Yes, one can commit to an action and the verb can be "neutral" in that sense. But the phrase "commit suicide" seems to me to be an anachronism; pertaining to a time when it was a criminal offence; -cide, as in homi- etc.

    I'm not really trying to get all legalistic, except insofar as there is a moral dimension to an act simply if it is considered to be (or have been) an illegal / criminal act.

    The taking of life (one's own) is a tragic occurrence, without it being tainted by such out-of-date and disrespectful overtones IMO.:eek:

    s.
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    With all kindness, Snoopy,

    I believe in the US it *is* yet a crime to take one's life. Hence the difficulties we still have reconciling laws to that effect in Oregon, or dealing with actions of the likes of Dr. Kevorkian. Or coming to terms with proposals by the Hemlock society and others.
     
  6. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste juan,

    um.... so.. let's say a being is found guilty of taking their own life... what sort of punishment is there?

    metta,

    ~v
     
  7. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi juan,

    I didn't know. (clearly!)

    I'm shocked, amazed, saddened...I'm running out out words...

    s.
     
  8. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Crazy huh?

    Still, the perpetrator of the crime will be easy to find, eh? It must do wonders for the "clear up rates" for the police; their targets and statistics and stuff....



    Suicides last month: 8.

    Offenders detained: 8.

    Clear-up rate: 100%.

    Now...what shall we do with the body....



    This is just too surreal to contemplate....

    s.
     
  9. Nick_A

    Nick_A Interfaith Forums

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    Suicide from the point of view of external morality is a crime against the state. The person contmplating suicide must be made to feel guilty for contemplating such a thing which implies that the state does not give him sufficient cause to live. This is clearly intolerable.

    The state must have a way to make anyone contemplating suicide to feel guilty. This can be done by punishing the surviving spouse, sibling, child, or favorite pet by taking their life which compensates for the insult to society perpetrated by the one committing suicide. The idea is that if the person committing suicide knows their illegal action will bring another with them, they will feel guilty and it will act as an effective deterrent.
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Maybe this will help with the secular and physical aspects to which I was referring:


    Google Answers: Suicide laws

    I found it a little easier by narrowing my parameters to Florida, but I think one will find that most of the 50 states are pretty well similar, Oregon being the one notable exception.

    As you can see, a person cannot be convicted after the fact, the courts cannot try a corpse. However, a person can be convicted and committed to a psychiatric / mental institution / hospital for *attempting* to commit suicide. And persons aiding another to commit suicide can be tried and convicted of manslaughter. So yes, it is against the law.

    Perhaps this stigma of incarceration and institutionalization helps explain why men are more likely to succeed in committing suicide, even though women are more likely to attempt suicide.

    As for the metaphysical repercussions, the jury is still out, no? Whether bad karma or sin, surely there would be some penalty for checking out too soon?

    And while I am not sure what Nick is on about, he broaches another matter to consider; the impact on the loved ones left behind, including but not limited to cancellation of life insurance policies. It would certainly cast a pall over the memories and emotions of the children, family and friends of the suicide.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  11. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Better make sure the attempt is successful then if the state thinks it has some stake in one's desire to continue this life or not.

    From the Times newspaper yesterday:

    “I believe it inhumane and ultimately futile for the law to deny this right to choose,”


    MSP with Parkinson’s tries to legalise assisted suicide - Times Online

    s.
     
  12. Francis king

    Francis king New Member

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    In the UK suicide was also once a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment... I think suicide was decriminalised in the UK as late as the 1970's, but will check...
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Good quote, but it goes further, and I think the crucial part is at the end of the quote:

    “I believe it inhumane and ultimately futile for the law to deny this right to choose,” she said. “I believe that the law must change to protect not only dignity in death for patients, but also to ensure that medical staff are not coerced into helping a patient die before the natural end of life.” emphasis mine, -jt3

    What I feel and believe on a personal level is a bit different than what I believe and feel on a social / communal level. I have legalistic nightmares of "Soylent Green." It is quite one thing to provide a dignified manner of checking out of this existence if the future of one's health doesn't look very bright. It is quite another to be...coerced...cajoled...forced...into checking out early for the convenience of the state. That's my concern about legalizing suicide.

    That, and the industrial sideshow certain to follow. "We'll help you kill yourself for only 19.95! Step right up and enjoy our monthly special!"
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Yes, I can see that there is a balance to be struck and the whole thing needs careful scrutiny and controls to be in place.

    s.
     
  15. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    First death under state's assisted suicide law

    This was in yesterday's paper:

    First death under state's assisted suicide law - On Deadline - USATODAY.com
     
  16. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    This one puzzles me aswell. But say you survived the ordeal then would you get prosecuted for attempt of murder in the first degree?
     
  17. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Not quite...you get locked away in an asylum and fed lots of mind numbing drugs.
     
  18. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    ah yes I suppose they would..
     
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Yeah, for those that try to commit suicide and fail they should get the death penalty, that'll show'em
     
  20. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    From my personal perspective that would clearly be better than the alternative. Zombied out on drugs is hardly a preferable situation. But that is presuming some underlying and extremely painful disease process. In the case of somebody wanting to do themselves in because a boyfriend or girlfriend jilted them or something as trivial, then maybe a "time out" in a rubber room is just what the doctor ordered to bring them around to their right mind again.
     

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