Suicide: Justified or Not?

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Suicide is indeed one of those issues which have been creating controversies all over the globe ever since the beginning of time. To begin with, what really is Suicide? Suicide is intentional killing of oneself. That’s how a lay man would explain suicide. But the question is not what suicide really is, but the question,is whether suicide is justified or not. Some of us believe that suicide with whatever motive it maybe is always wrong and the others believe that there is no harm in killing oneself. Well both the sides have their own pros and cons.

To begin with, the people who think that suicide is wrong believe this because they think that life is a gift which has been given to them by the God and no one has the right to take away that gift. Whatever your life is it is destined by God. God is the one who sent you here and he is the only one who has the right to take away your life. This is the religious argument against suicide. St Augustine was against suicide as the due to the 5th commandment :God’s command ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ is to be taken as forbidding self-destruction, especially as it does not add ‘thy neighbor’, as it does when it forbids false witness, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. On the other hand those who argue that suicide is justified say that, if God has given this life as a gift to us then we have the right to do whatever we want to do with it. As what we receive as a gift once becomes our property and ceases to be the property of the other.

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If one looks back one will find that many a great people in the past have committed suicide. Like Cleopatra poisoned herself just when her city was being over taken and Hitler, also killed himself. There are many such great people who did the same. But they had a motive behind killing themselves. They killed themselves in order to save themselves from any sort of shame that they would have to face after being captured. It was a tradition in the Rajputs that the women of the Royal households would usually burn themselves alive after their territory was captured by the Mughals. History is full of such examples. In such cases one cannot really argue that suicide was wrong because they were trying to escape from the torture that was to follow after being captured.download (1)

In order to justify suicide, the concept of autonomy also comes into play. Our life is our own and we can do whatever we like to do with it and no one else has a say in it. We have a right to live our lives and a right to end it the way we want to. The Libertarians say that, the connection we have with our body is the same as the one we have with the objects that we own. As we have a right to leave those objects when we wish to, we also have the right to leave our body whenever we wish to. There is also another view which says that not anyone and everyone can commit suicide. In order to plan and commit suicide one needs functioning rationality. An irrational person is not someone who can take the step of suicide.

If one flips the coin and sees the other side, suicide is not always right and justified. There are circumstances where people commit suicide with petty reasons. Sometimes people commit suicide because of hopelessness, loss of love or because of a not-so bright future. Suicide in such circumstances is wrong as there is always hope and one cannot always predict future. If someone has lost a loved one, that does not mean that the world has ended and nothing will ever get better. There are 6 billion people in the world that you haven’t met and it always does get better if you give yourself a chance.

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The ones who are committing suicide have a moral responsibility towards the people around them. If someone is contemplating suicide then their moral responsibility is to prepare their near and dear ones. And the decision they make should be based up rational thinking.

Suicide is not always right, life as some people say is a gift given to us, but sometimes there are times when we need to leave this body in order to save ourselves from the terrible future that might follow. Yes, future cannot always be predicted but in some will exist till the end of time. We need to get rid of the stereotypical thoughts about suicide which have been prevalent in the society for ages. There is nothing wrong in suicide. The only thing which can be right or wrong is the motive behind committing suicide.