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Is suicide selfish?
08-11-2004, 05:07 PM
Post: #1
Is suicide selfish?

A likely suicide this weekend killed 6 others, disrupted the railways and will cause months of work for rail-safety workers, solicitors, inquest and inquiry workers without any likely solution to prevent a recurrance or resolution for the bereaved.

The majority of suicides are not pretty and traumatise those who find them -particularly if they are family members.

So -is it selfish (or even murderous as in this case)? Or should we feel sympathy for those who are driven to such extremes?
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08-11-2004, 05:19 PM
Post: #2
Is suicide selfish?
I think that suicide is extremely selfish - but think that most people who are in the state of mind where they want to kill themselves are probably unlikely to be able to give much thought into how their actions will affect others, so they are most likely not being deliberately selfish.
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08-11-2004, 05:29 PM
Post: #3
Is suicide selfish?
In this particular case, if it does turn out to be suicide, then I have no sympathy whatsoever for someone who, not content with ending their own life and making their loved ones miserable they also take the lives of others and cause injury, both physical and mental to many more not to mention the total mayhem and disruption to the rail service. To me that is pure selfishness and whilst I feel great sympathy for his family I have none for the man himself. His family will have to live with the burden of knowing that he was responsible for other people's deaths. So, yes, I do think he was completely and utterly selfish.

Each individual suicide is different though and I think you can still feel sympathetic towards someone who feels desperate enough to commit suicide whilst also realising that it is a very selfish act.
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08-11-2004, 05:45 PM
Post: #4
Is suicide selfish?
I have had a family member commit suicide, it will be nearly 5 years ago, but the thought of it never goes away. He hung himself whilst on holiday abroad, so my aunt & uncle had the trauma of getting his body from there. At first I was so angry with him for inflicting this pain and suffering, especially on his parents. It didn't take long though to start to think of why he done it, and what he must have been feeling as he actually went through with it. Everytime I see a film or anything on TV that shows a hanging or similar I have to turn away as it is a constant reminder. My aunt & uncle will never, ever get over it and to be honest for them, it doesn't get easier as time goes by not for them anyway, so I do still feel anger towards him in some ways. So I am kinda torn of feeling sympathy and anger.

I think if someone does commit suicide then their frame mind is not thinking of others, they have hit rock bottom and can see no way out, their thinking will be irrational and yes, selfish. However, I do feel sympathy towards them, sympathy for the fact that they didn't ask for help, they were unable to discuss their feelings and in some ways I do not think of it being a coward's way out, and don't take this the way it sounds as I am no way glorifying suicide, but it is brave, brave in a sense that you are actually going through with it. This may come out wrong, but I know what I am trying to say, it maybe just isn't coming too good.

With regard the guy on the train track, unless he has left a note then there will be no way of knowing exactly why he done it or exactly why he chose to take his life on the track at the risk of killing others. Like Max, I have little sympathy for this guy as he has inflicted pain and suffering on other families, but as I have said earlier his mind probably didn't even register that that could happen.

There are also the suicide where the parent (mostly the father) kills the children, for me that is the most horrific kind of suicide. However again, each suicide has a story and again, they feel at a total and utter loss and feel that this will be their answer to it all, but they are not giving a thought to the devestation that they leave behind.

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08-11-2004, 05:48 PM
Post: #5
Is suicide selfish?
In most cases, the suicidal person genuinely believes s/he is of no use to the rest of the world, and therefore would not consider their actions to be selfish,

However in the case of the incident at the weekend, I can see no way this person thought they could die without harming others, and I find this very difficult to understand.

Why did this man not jump from a cliff if he wanted to end his life so badly? Or why not get out of the car and lay on the track if he HAD to use the crossing?

I really cannot begin to imagine why he chose to do something that would take the lives of other, innocent, people.
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08-11-2004, 06:42 PM
Post: #6
Is suicide selfish?
How despondent and desperate a person must feel to take their own lives. Our lives are precious to each of us and someone must be in deep, deep distress to carry out this act. I don't regard a person as selfish who commits suicide, I regard them as a person that is ill and not in their right mind. Not all, but the majority of suicides are committed by people who are in irrational mind sets and unless you have been in that state of mind there is no way to understand how that feels. I don't think that a lot of people who have committed suicide can be held accountable for their actions as they would be mentally diminished. Although I do find it hard to feel sympathy for those who take other lives with them. It's just not fair at all. But unless we are that person and are feeling what that person was, then we really can't say, can we.

"You cannot teach people anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves."
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08-11-2004, 07:07 PM
Post: #7
Is suicide selfish?
Don't think people who successfully commit suicide give a jot or aware there is no sympathy for them.
Probanly felt the same when alive for whatever drove (bad word drove can't think of another)
Theie freinds and family will need lots.
In one case I knew of recently (Dizzy attended the funeral) the person was clear why they wanted to die, why they chose the method they did, and left clear instructions and money for the burial.
They left a heap of work that brings comfort and understanding.
It was their choice and they felt for them it was a right one.
INcidently has anyone seen the stats on suicides in young adults with mental disease like schizophrenia and death from other illness...last I saw it was a shock stigma for mental diseases and treatment are primitive and maybe its time we saw mental illness and uncompromising stress as life limiting conditions and wheeed out the same tender care some cancer sufferers can get. Schizophrenia manifests itself often in the 18 to 26 year old age group. It is a life sentence and a major factor in many suicides.
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08-11-2004, 07:30 PM
Post: #8
Is suicide selfish?
Ceridwen Wrote:In most cases, the suicidal person genuinely believes s/he is of no use to the rest of the world, and therefore would not consider their actions to be selfish,

However in the case of the incident at the weekend, I can see no way this person thought they could die without harming others, and I find this very difficult to understand.

Why did this man not jump from a cliff if he wanted to end his life so badly? Or why not get out of the car and lay on the track if he HAD to use the crossing?

I really cannot begin to imagine why he chose to do something that would take the lives of other, innocent, people.
Ceri has pretty much summed up my thoughts on this too. Suicide is selfish and almost always has a knock on effect for those left behind even in the best of cases (if there can be such a thing). But if this incident was suicide then I feel enormously sorry for his family that will have to carry the knowledge of the devastation his actions caused.
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08-11-2004, 07:46 PM
Post: #9
Is suicide selfish?
tigger767 Wrote:How despondent and desperate a person must feel to take their own lives. Our lives are precious to each of us and someone must be in deep, deep distress to carry out this act. I don't regard a person as selfish who commits suicide, I regard them as a person that is ill and not in their right mind. Not all, but the majority of suicides are committed by people who are in irrational mind sets and unless you have been in that state of mind there is no way to understand how that feels. I don't think that a lot of people who have committed suicide can be held accountable for their actions as they would be mentally diminished. Although I do find it hard to feel sympathy for those who take other lives with them. It's just not fair at all. But unless we are that person and are feeling what that person was, then we really can't say, can we.

Having had a lot of experience with people with mental illness, I am in the same mind as Tigger. A member of my family has Schizophrenia and as Sheoque says, it is a life sentance. I have seen 1st hand how desperate that can be.
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08-11-2004, 08:29 PM
Post: #10
Is suicide selfish?
When I think of someone committing suicide, quite a few words come to mind to describe their actions, but I never think of the word 'selfish'.

In some ways I think that to use the word 'selfish' is to demean, trivialise, and in some way seek to criticize and condemn what must surely be a desperate act of a disturbed person.

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