When is suicide justified?

  • Thread starter alexsok
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  • #101
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But again, I think you are missing the point. I am not saying that life does not have a subjective meaning, what I am saying is simply that there is -as far as we know- no objective reason for why one should get out of bed in the morning, or do anything at all for that matter.
"The meaning of life" has the same problem as any other philosophical question (or any problem in science for that matter); we basically have to postulate some axioms (which in this case could be e.g. "things that make me feel good makes life worth living") before we can proceed; you can't create a reasonably consistent system otherwise.

But the problem with this is of course that one has to accept these axioms in the first place and you can't persuade someone to do that just by appealing to their intellect.
Now, to a large extent these "axioms" (or whatever you want to call them) are hardwired into our us (we e.g. WANT things, food, love etc and we have reward centres in our brain that makes us feel good when we get them), but the interesting thing with the human brain is that we are aware that these things are just "hardware" meaning we can choose to ignore them or for some reason consider them to be "not enough" (as is to some extent the case in clinical depressions where the "feel good mechanism" do not work properly because of problems with seratonin levels etc).
If you are religious you can also postulate that some of the things we experience as "good" are not merely biochemistry but has some objective value.


No, but it does mean that I can't be SURE that I exist; which bring us back to what I wrote above about the problem with purely intellectual arguments in this case.
It would e.g. be very difficult (I would assume impossible) to persuade a computer (to be more precise a Turing machine) that life is worth living. I suspect that if we some day manage to create a true AI "life is worth living" is one of the things that will need to be postulated in its basic algorithms (and yes, I do realize that this is just Asimov's third law)
I get your point, but I don't understand what is indented to be "meaning". I guess you mean, super natural purpose, or reason for living. To say their is no intellectual reason to get up I don't agree with. I get up because if I don't I would be laying there all day. Why do you eat? You eat because if you don't you die. Is eating meaningless? I think it means something, it means that our body will digest the food and give us fuel and keep us healthy. That means something to me. It is not subjective that if you don't breath you die.

You also say that if their was a heaven then there would be a reason, or reward, but what would that reward be other than continued self awareness and "rewards of the mind". Therefore, if life itself has no meaning, then no supernatural existence would have any meaning either.

The very fact that a quantum vacuum can organize into particles, atoms, and so forth until life and self awareness is enough of a mysterious and amazing wonder that I don't need a religion to satisfy my desire for something supernatural. If there is a supernatural meaning to life, then all the better, but other wise, so what. I'm not sure I would want to live forever anyways.
 
  • #102
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WaveJumper said:
Only a life lived for others is a life worth living.

-- A.Einstein

Nothing against Albert, but that's a load of crap. There's no such thing as a life "lived for others"... everything has its roots in selfishness, and there isn't anything wrong with that. But that's another topic.

Homo sapiens are no longer pure dumb animals. If you think we are, you are wrong. We are animals but of a different sort. I've yet to hear of an animal that possesses altruism, beside some dogs that are willing to die for their owners. We feel compassion, we fall in love, we can't live without our children, that's what "life lived for others" means. Sure, there are pathetic idiots who never felt anything remotely similar to compassion or love toward anyone in their lives and that's why we sometimes call them "animals" or "apes"(at least in my own native language).

BTW, "others" does not signify "society" but "friends/loved ones".
 
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  • #103
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It would e.g. be very difficult (I would assume impossible) to persuade a computer (to be more precise a Turing machine) that life is worth living. I suspect that if we some day manage to create a true AI "life is worth living" is one of the things that will need to be postulated in its basic algorithms (and yes, I do realize that this is just Asimov's third law)
A machine will be what it is. A rock will be a rock and a blender a blender. There is no reason for living needed, just as humans do, they will perform their functions. I think the opposite of you, I think that a "true AI" would need to be programmed to think life is not worth living.

I think that the belief that life is not worth living is purely a malfunction in a brain which has confused itself with arbitrary terms. If the AI was intelligent enough it wouldn't make the mistake of self terminating because of confusing terminology.

"In science fiction, the Three Laws of Robotics are a set of three rules written by Isaac Asimov, which almost all positronic robots appearing in his fiction must obey. Introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although foreshadowed in a few earlier stories,..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

Fictional laws don't count.
 
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  • #104
baywax
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Suicide is Painless
Music by Johnny Mandel Lyrics by Mike Altman

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...

that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.

that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...

that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.


'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

...and you can do the same thing if you please.
 
  • #106
baywax
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Its like I said about killing yourself because you're in some sort of pain.

Just as your life is expiring and you drift into the unknown... the phone starts ringing and its the doctor, lottery, girlfriend, whathaveyou... with a cure for your ailment.
 
  • #107
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Suicide is painful to your family and friends. Plus it is a bad way to go down in history if you care about that type of thing.
Most important though, the attitude that led up to suicide is painful. You don't just go from being very happy to suicide in a moment and experience no pain. The person who wrote those lyrics must have been in some serious emotional turmoil.

Why inflict so much self emotional torment on yourself in the first place. You don't need to obsess yourself with hate and misery. Emotional pain is relative. One feels intense emotional pain if he can't keep his business going, or what not. To some who have much less they may feel the pain when they watch their family murdered. Yet their is a path to happiness for all free people, and to give in to your critical negative self judgment is a weakness. The least painful path to life is a way in which you would never want to kill yourself.

Maybe the mode of thinking that leads up to suicide should be included as the process of suicide, and then suicide cannot be called painless.
 
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  • #108
baywax
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Then there's always assisted suicide:

Britain's Sky TV criticized for assisted death film

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/081210/canada/canada_us_britain_death [Broken]

I think the main sticking point about assisted suicide is that we don't always know someone has requested to be killed. Its very hard to prove consent in other words. Especially with the progress being made in counterfeit signatures etc.
 
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