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View Poll Results: What do you feel about suicide and euthanasia?

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  • Yes, I agree one has the right to take their own life.

    9 40.91%
  • No, taking your life is not acceptable under any circumstances..

    2 9.09%
  • Under certain conditions euthanasia should be allowed

    5 22.73%
  • Not sure how you feel.

    2 9.09%
  • We should feel compassion for those who take their lives.

    4 18.18%
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Thread: Suicide and Euthanasia

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Suicide and Euthanasia

    Edited to add: You can cast your vote privately without commenting on the thread if you wish.

    I was just wondering, perhaps some of you know a friend or family member who has committed suicide. Its very sad for those who are left behind, but I have to wonder... doesn't one need a lot of courage to take ones life? Personally I don't think I have that kind of courage. Or do you think suicide is a weakness?

    Then we have euthanasia, would you consider it if you are an emotional and financial burden on your family or friends? Should euthanasia be legalized? I mean abortions are legal in many areas in the world, so could euthanasia fall into the same category, for those who want to pass away peacefully with dignity?

    Is suicide considered a sin religiously? I think I was told once, that somewhere in the bible it says that committing suicide is not considered a sin. I am not sure how credible my source was on this. Anyway I have been wondering what all religious and belief systems feel about taking ones life. I have noticed its not a subject which is talked about that often, and many people will not feel comfortable disclosing if this untimely death has affected them personally.

    In some cultures suicide is considered an honor, for example Kamikaze pilots knew they were going to die before they got on board the plane, as did those who flew into the Twin Towers. Some people are committing suicide slowly by killing their liver with excessive alcohol abuse. Others are smoking themselves to an early grave, is that not suicide?

    I can fully understand euthanasia under certain circumstances. What do you think?
    Last edited by dizzydoll; 05-11-2010 at 03:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    I would consider suicide an action for one who is weak. I do not agree that it takes courage. Consider Hamlet's soliloquy for a moment. His option was to take the easy way out or to "take on a sea of troubles." Of course he chose the "sea of troubles" because he wasn't sure about what was to come in the afterlife. I personally think that life itself is too valuable than "the burden" that people are concerned with.

    As far as "sin" goes, people often quote the passages that address, "You should not kill." I don't think that those passages are referring to suicide. I don't think that God wants people to kill themselves, but I don't think that it's really a "sin" issue. Usually those who are considering suicide are dealing with a burden. There are only a couple of in the Bible who committed suicide, King Saul and Judas Iscariot to name two. But their SIN was not in the suicide, but the conduct in their life while they lived.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  3. #3
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    I support voluntary euthanasia completely. Someone with a terminal disease has the right to choose death as an option instead of palliative care. I would not support involuntary euthanasia, which would be the deciding of whether to kill or not by doctors or family members unless their right to make such a decision was otherwise stated in a will.

    Suicide in general is a trickier matter because of mental health issues. It is easy to understand why someone dying of a painful disease could make a logical choice to end their life, while it isn't as easy to understand why someone who is mostly healthy would. I don't think it's possible to make a sweeping statement about all cases of suicide. We can't know if it was a good or bad decisions, if it was weakness or strength, without knowing the circumstances.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    I would consider suicide an action for one who is weak. I do not agree that it takes courage. Consider Hamlet's soliloquy for a moment. His option was to take the easy way out or to "take on a sea of troubles." Of course he chose the "sea of troubles" because he wasn't sure about what was to come in the afterlife. I personally think that life itself is too valuable than "the burden" that people are concerned with.
    I think this is a rather naive statement. Mental illness is a complicated issue, one that people often downplay. To draw an analogy - I assume you would not consider a terminally ill patient who is suffering to be weak if they decide to opt out of suffering by euthanasia. This is effectively suicide, but it does not make the person weak. Now, consider a person who is mentally ill. The brain is an organ just like any other; like the heart, liver, kidneys, it can be diseased. There are some people who are mentally ill who cannot find any relief through treatment. These people often undergo years of treatment without any relief. They suffer, just like the terminally ill patient. What is so different about these two cases? In my opinion, suicide is not so far removed from lobotomy. And yet there is not the same public reaction against lobotomy as there is against suicide.

    Of course, this is not to say that I believe suicide is a solution for those who are mentally ill and cannot find relief. I think it is an unwise decision, as there is always the possibility of a new successful intervention, new medicine, change of environment, etc. However, at the same time I do not think that the decision to commit suicide necessarily makes a person weak. On the contrary, many suicide victims must have had a lot of strength to have dealt with their suffering for so long.

    And while Hamlet is a great play, and its playwright a great genius, these mental health issues were not so prevalent or problematic in Elizabethan England. Life was very different back then. I do not think that Shakespeare was familiar with the mental illnesses that can cause people to commit suicide today.

  5. #5
    Registered User keilj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrphanPip View Post
    I support voluntary euthanasia completely. Someone with a terminal disease has the right to choose death as an option instead of palliative care. I would not support involuntary euthanasia, which would be the deciding of whether to kill or not by doctors or family members unless their right to make such a decision was otherwise stated in a will.

    There are a couple of countries in Europe now (the Netherlands perhaps - I can't remember for sure), where they legally have places where the terminally ill can die in a peaceful and dignified setting.

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    I agree with ktm. For someone who is so desperate that suicide is the only option left them (whether completely 100% 'sane' or otherwise) it has to be a tremendously courageous act. If death is the only release left them, just think of the agonies involved when they are weighing up the practicalities of how to commit the act. 'Weak'? I think not.

    True, it is also seen as selfish (particularly towards those who are left to grieve) but for many people life itself is a battle, and choosing to make the final exit before summoned is not an act of weakness.

    Hamlet's flaw was that he did not have the courage to act on his feelings - his love for Ophelia, his disgust at Gertrude's marriage to his father's murderer, and finally his self-disgust. Which is why even contemplating suicide was a trial - and performing it far beyond his courage.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post
    I agree with ktm. For someone who is so desperate that suicide is the only option left them (whether completely 100% 'sane' or otherwise) it has to be a tremendously courageous act. If death is the only release left them, just think of the agonies involved when they are weighing up the practicalities of how to commit the act. 'Weak'? I think not.
    thanks for saying this



    In some ways, suicide is an insistence on human dignity

  8. #8
    Ditsy Pixie Niamh's Avatar
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    My Mams best friend had manic depression and some other mental health issues including hearing voices.She attempted suicide on many occasions and was in and out of hospital. She jumped in front of a train because she couldnt handle it anymore. I dont think that was weak. She was finally free of her mental torment she'd delt with for years.
    Terry Pratchett has alzhiemers and wants Euthanasia legalised so that he can have it done. He doesnt want to loose his mind and be remembered for what he became.
    People with terminal illnesses who are in pain everyday who commit suicide to end their suffering that killing them anyway are putting an end to their own suffering and the suffering their illness is causing their families. Sometimes although its tragic, suicide can be the end of a lot of suffering and heartache. It takes a lot of strength to make that decission and a lot more to do the act.
    Suicide pacts on the other hand i dont agree with. There have been some cases that are heartbreaking. One family in county Wexford went and ordered their coffins before killing their children and commiting suicide because they couldnt cope. Why did they have to kill the children though? So innocent.
    "Come away O human child!To the waters of the wild, With a faery hand in hand, For the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand."
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  9. #9
    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    suicide takes more guts than we can imagine I think, I can say for me that for a long time it was the only thing on my mind but I was just to scared to do anything and just hurt myself a little, just as much as I could. Sometimes it's just because your at a point of no return your so far into depression or whatever is going on and you know you have caused pain and this is a way to stop it... but it's a subject everybody needs to figure out for themselves this is just how I feel.

    euthanasia on the other hand, I work in a home for the elderly and I watch them in so much pain and so depressed and there is nothing I can do about it. I know of some people who just stop eating and they die very quietly and calmly. being able to just go to sleep when you are in so much pain and there is nothing to do except drugs and no life ahead I think it should be allowed to help people get that sleep. I have always said that this is one thing that animals have that we don't. and I know that when my dogs dad died it was clear in his eyes that he was ready very old and very sick. he just wanted to sleep. I know many people at work wish for the same thing and some even beg us to let them just sleep but we can't. if they try to eat less we just give them more vitamins and minerals. everything to prolong their life.
    I hope death is joyful, and I hope I'll never return -Frida Khalo

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    @ Niamh - you make a very good point about suicide pacts. There have been stories in the press about one estranged partner killing him/herself and his/her children to 'get back' at the other partner. Such suicides are horrifically cruel and unjustified. Suicide can only be 'justified' when it is a private matter - one person choosing to end one life.

    @ Helga - what a sad story you tell but you are fortunately here still to tell it. Some young people seem to go through a phase in their lives when they view suicide as an easier option than living. Personally I think that is a damning indictment on society - that we turn our backs on our young people so callously that they feel abandoned enough to seek an escape for good.
    I have no knowledge of your personal situation nor would I intrude, but some 3 or 4 years ago an entire community in South Wales suffered a series of teenaged suicides. Most of the authorities assumed it was a hysterical reaction to a single young girl's decision to take her own life. Some suicides posted their intentions on social networking sites. It begs the question why do young people feel so isolated from 'normal' life.

    As for euthanasia to avoid a lingering death - personally I am all for legalising it.

  11. #11
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktm5124 View Post
    I think this is a rather naive statement. Mental illness is a complicated issue, one that people often downplay. To draw an analogy - I assume you would not consider a terminally ill patient who is suffering to be weak if they decide to opt out of suffering by euthanasia. This is effectively suicide, but it does not make the person weak. Now, consider a person who is mentally ill. The brain is an organ just like any other; like the heart, liver, kidneys, it can be diseased. There are some people who are mentally ill who cannot find any relief through treatment. These people often undergo years of treatment without any relief. They suffer, just like the terminally ill patient. What is so different about these two cases? In my opinion, suicide is not so far removed from lobotomy. And yet there is not the same public reaction against lobotomy as there is against suicide.

    Of course, this is not to say that I believe suicide is a solution for those who are mentally ill and cannot find relief. I think it is an unwise decision, as there is always the possibility of a new successful intervention, new medicine, change of environment, etc. However, at the same time I do not think that the decision to commit suicide necessarily makes a person weak. On the contrary, many suicide victims must have had a lot of strength to have dealt with their suffering for so long.

    And while Hamlet is a great play, and its playwright a great genius, these mental health issues were not so prevalent or problematic in Elizabethan England. Life was very different back then. I do not think that Shakespeare was familiar with the mental illnesses that can cause people to commit suicide today.
    I am sorry. I did not address the terminally ill patient situation. My comments about suicide being a weakness, I would not apply to a terminally ill patient who either wants to escape suffering or wanted to take a burden off of their loved one.

    I was really referring to someone (like Hamlet) who had a lot of problems that needed dealt with, who was looking for an escape. Mental illness on the other hand, I would not pass any judgment at all, since the mind's state in completely unknown. Many people in that situation are not acoutnable for their actions.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    I am sorry. I did not address the terminally ill patient situation. My comments about suicide being a weakness, I would not apply to a terminally ill patient who either wants to escape suffering or wanted to take a burden off of their loved one.

    I was really referring to someone (like Hamlet) who had a lot of problems that needed dealt with, who was looking for an escape. Mental illness on the other hand, I would not pass any judgment at all, since the mind's state in completely unknown. Many people in that situation are not acoutnable for their actions.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding.
    But it seems like you are blaming the suicides of mentally ill people on them "not being accountable for their actions". You are excusing them on a false premise; you are basically accusing all mentally ill people of insanity. But many people who commit suicide because of their mental illness are quite sane, quite accountable for their actions.

    For instance, David Foster Wallace committed suicide because of his depression. Do you think David Foster Wallace was not accountable for this decision? It's not as if he was psychotic... he was very much accountable for his decision. But should we blame him for it, and should we call him weak? Of course not.
    Last edited by ktm5124; 05-11-2010 at 07:11 PM.

  13. #13
    Jethro BienvenuJDC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktm5124 View Post
    But it seems like you are blaming the suicides of mentally ill people on them "not being accountable for their actions". You are excusing them on a false premise; you are basically accusing all mentally ill people of insanity. But many people who commit suicide because of their mental illness are quite sane, quite accountable for their actions.

    For instance, David Foster Wallace committed suicide because of his depression. Do you think David Foster Wallace was not accountable for this decision? It's not as if he was psychotic... he was very much accountable for his decision. But should we blame him for it, and should we call him weak? Of course not.
    ktm....stop putting words in my mouth. I said that "many people in that situation"...I did not say most, or all...my point is that I'm not about to pass any judgment for their decision (or accountability) because I do not know their situation or their mind. I'm not trying to start a fight here. I'm not blaming anyone for anything. My point is that in most cases, I will not pass judgments on suicides. However, I do not think that it takes "courage" to end your life. That is my opinion.
    Les Miserables,
    Volume 1, Fifth Book, Chapter 3
    Remember this, my friends: there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators.

  14. #14
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    It is difficult for anyone who has not been in the situation - where suicide has been considered an option - to appreciate what a huge decision-making leap it must be to finally contemplate transferring thought to action.

    Without assuming too much I'm guessing Bienvenu is applying the term 'weakness' to the kind of person who plays around with the idea of suicide in their heads without having the least intention of following through. Hamlet tugging with his inadequacies.

    As far as the 'mental illness' issue - this is very emotive. Perhaps taking that final plunge does require one to abandon rationality for an instant (otherwise the reflex action would be to think twice - our survival instinct is very difficult to over-ride I should imagine).

    Certainly no-one should be held to blame for taking their own lives (as I have already mentioned in a previous post above - unless someone else's life is also taken in the process).
    I think some blame would also apply to those individuals who involve an innocent party in achieving their own death - driving head-on into an oncoming truck, say, or commiting suicide by cop..... It's a difficult topic.

    EDIT - apologies if I'm treading on your toes, Bienvenu. I yped this while you were posting your latest response.
    Last edited by hillwalker; 05-11-2010 at 07:42 PM. Reason: addition

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    Quote Originally Posted by BienvenuJDC View Post
    ktm....stop putting words in my mouth. I said that "many people in that situation"...I did not say most, or all...my point is that I'm not about to pass any judgment for their decision (or accountability) because I do not know their situation or their mind. I'm not trying to start a fight here. I'm not blaming anyone for anything. My point is that in most cases, I will not pass judgments on suicides. However, I do not think that it takes "courage" to end your life. That is my opinion.
    I'm sorry if I was putting words in your mouth. I was irritated by the way you came across; it seemed to me that you were trying to discard the cases that didn't fit into your criteria ("many mentally ill people are not accountable for their actions"). Forgive me if this was not the case.

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