Or so the old theme song from M.A.S.H. goes. I honestly get really tired of people getting up in arms about suicide, like it’s the worst thing anyone could ever do. Personally, I’m fine with people deciding to kill themselves, but then again, I’m an atheist and I don’t have to pretend that offing yourself sends you to eternal perdition. That’s what the early Christian church had to do, after so many early believers were killing themselves to get to heaven with Jesus and the church was losing workers and income. They decided to declare suicide a mortal sin, just to keep their cash flow positive.
This is just an issue that has come up several times of late, both in a discussion about the suicide of Lee Thompson Young and another discussion about bullying, both of which have produced people who have some really, really strong feelings about suicide.
Me, I don’t care about suicide. I think that if a person wants to kill themselves, for whatever reason, we ought to let them. I don’t find suicide a tragedy, I don’t think it’s even an issue. I think people ought to have the right to decide when their life ends, be it to avoid painful, debilitating disease or simply because they’ve decided they’ve lived long enough. It isn’t like we’re going to run out of people if a few, here and there, take themselves out.
Yet we still live in a death-adverse world, where people are terrified to die so they seek to keep everyone around them alive as long as they can, without regard for the other person’s wishes. It’s part of the culture. We insist on extraordinary measures to prolong the lives of everyone, sick or not, willing or not, and impugn their sanity if they ever suggest they don’t want to go on.
Of course, the real issue here is that people are terrified of death and they not only don’t want to die, they don’t want anyone around them to die. They don’t want to see death, they don’t want to hear about death, they don’t want to be exposed to death. Therefore, they do their damnedest to eliminate death from their vicinity and to declare death a bad thing across the board.
Sorry, but it’s just not. Death is, in fact, a natural part of life. Everything dies. You die. I die. Everything I’ve ever known or loved is destined to die. Accepting this is an essential part of the maturation process. It’s also something that most people unfortunately never achieve. Are we supposed to believe that people have a rational right to declare that everyone has to do things to make them emotionally comfortable? Really?