The Fallacy of Fighting Suicide

cassandra-c-opedCassandra C., a 17-year old girl in Connecticut, is being forced by the courts to go through chemotherapy, even though she doesn’t want to go through chemotherapy, even if not doing so will kill her. Now some have argued that her reasons for rejecting treatment are irrational and suicidal, a sure sign that she’s got mental problems and she and her mother should not be allowed to pursue other options, but I’m not going to argue for this specific case, I’m going to use it as a means to examine, once again, the wholly irrational terror that suicide represents for most people in America.

I’m not going to say, in this specific case, that the girl ought to be helped to commit suicide, she isn’t an adult and legally, she doesn’t have the right to make those life decisions.  I do, however, object to the idea that she is being forced to go through uncomfortable chemo that she doesn’t want, just because people in the government, people who are terrified of death, think that keeping her alive at all costs is a good thing.  Even among liberals who typically argue for body autonomy, they’re still saying that anyone who ever says they want to die, or who follows another treatment option than the norm, they should be declared irrational, at least momentarily insane, and have their bodily autonomy removed until they adopt a more “mainstream” belief.

Doesn’t all of this just demonstrate the complete and utter fear that people have regarding death, to the point that they have to simply declare any desire to die, for any reason, to be irrational?  That’s really where the problem lies, not with the person who simply doesn’t wish to go on living, but with the majority of society who is terrified to let anyone die, simply because it might get in the way of their overwhelming fear of death.

Personally, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business if someone else chooses to live or die.  I don’t think there should be any psychological counseling to see if the person is really insane, as most people already assume beforehand.  The only person who is really affected here is the person who wants to die, and since they’re going to be dead, it isn’t like they can regret their decision later on.  Actions have consequences, people who want to die should be allowed to die.  Those that don’t like the idea shouldn’t do it.  It’s really that simple.  It all comes down to irrational fear and that’s nothing to be proud of.

10 thoughts on “The Fallacy of Fighting Suicide”

  1. Good evening.

    I appreciate many of your blogs, including this one. While it seems logical that people (adults) should have the right to a dignified death if they so choose, I strongly disagree that it only affects the person committing the act. What about family, friends and coworkers? What happens if a person contemplates the idea of suicide for a long time in his own mind, then acts without informing others? While he should technically have the right to do so, it suddenly, tragically affects those in his life. Suddenly, his coworkers need to pick up the slack and understand his role; suddenly, his parents have no son; suddenly his friends are bereft of a soul mate; and suddenly, his lover feels abandoned never knowing his internal struggles.

    This is not to say that I have no sympathy with those struggling with depression, or even suicidal thoughts. I've known many periods of depression. But there is a risk and a cost that needs to be considered here.

    1. But who says that it's any of their business? Anything that you do can affect others, but that doesn't mean they have any say whatsoever in what you do. Your life, your actions. Just because others might not like what you do with your life doesn't mean they have any right to force you not to take actions you want to in your life. This is especially true when there's no demonstrable loss. Your emotional status isn't my problem, the fact that you might feel bad about something I do doesn't give you the right to stop me from doing it.

      Sorry, "Waah, I'm unhappy" isn't a reason to stop anyone.

  2. I agree that the ultimate decision to take one's own life is ultimately up to the individual, but I'd like to think that I would only do so if there were no other viable option. I have told my wife that if I ever become mentally incapacitated from, say, Alzheimer's, which is usually progressive, at the firs sign of this disease, I'm outta here. What I'm getting at is that I think it's only fair to involve a loved one especially a beloved spouse in this decision rather than commit suicide with no warning to that person. That could be so traumatic for them that they might never recover. And I don't think I have the right to do that to someone just as I wouldn't want it done to me.

    I'm not saying that I would necessarily change my mind just because my spouse objected, I'm just saying that i think that as long as I'm in my right mind, it's cruel to do something so drastic as suicide without putting my loved one on notice first.
    My recent post Pope Francis' Words of (Dis)comfort

    1. Why? Is it so hard to understand that some people really have no interest in being alive? I've known a couple of people who reached the point where continuing to live was simply not interesting to them. Life, for the sake of being alive, isn't much of a goal IMO. That's why I have medical directives that state that if my body ever stops being capable of sustaining itself without machinery, I want the plug pulled. Likewise, if my mind ever becomes irreparably damaged and cannot be returned to a fully functional state, I want to die. It really doesn't matter to me how those directives affect others, it is my life, I choose how and when I want to end it. Certainly I've told everyone of my decisions so it's not a shock, but I am not reconsidering for any reason or for any potential consequences. My life. My choice.

  3. '"Certainly I've told everyone of my decisions so it's not a shock, but I am not reconsidering for any reason or for any potential consequences. My life. My choice".

    I don't see where we disagree here. Loved ones especially spouses deserve to be put on notice so that it's not a devastating shock to them. But in the end, the decision whether to terminate my life belongs to me.
    My recent post Pope Francis' Words of (Dis)comfort

    1. And that's been my point all along, I just think it's absurd how many people act like any desire to end one's life is seen as a mental illness instead of a valid choice.

  4. I agree with most of what you I say here, and I would not stipulate psychological counseling of a person wanting to do this. However, I would say an psychological analysis should be done though to see if the person is acting sane, as there are some viruses that may even make people want to commit suicide.

    Essentially, if someone wants a living will I think that is great. But even then perhaps a psychological analysis like they do for jobs should be required. In this way a person may also be able to say its for my job and then not get a negative feeling by some psychologist who does not want the person to die for the reasons you stated. Its kind of like a contract that is getting approved, yet the doctor does not know what he/she is approving. It will also save a lot of drama associated with turning of life support, as its a contract that must be obeyed as stipulated.
    My recent post Life, it truly is amazing

    1. That isn't psychological counseling, it's a medical evaluation. Either they have the virus or they do not. If they do not, then there should be no more requirements and they should be able to do with their lives what they want to do with their lives.

        1. This is exactly why I keep encouraging people to examine their biases from an objective point of view. People need to be able to step back and think, not only about what they believe, but why they believe it. There are a lot of people who are so wedded to their emotional biases that they are incapable of looking at them, questioning them, and if found wanting, rejecting them.

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