Sunday, October 21, 2012

On Suicide

We always discuss suicide in a moral, legal or technical aspect. Should it be committed? Ought we to allow it? How do you do it?

To kill yourself is like two things simultaneously. First you walk out on everyone you know: your partner, if you have one; your children (ditto); parents; friends and colleagues.

Unilaterally, as if one day you simply booked a ticket on a train to nowhere and promptly took off.

Then, you turn yourself off in a more or less pleasant way.

In the fact it's the self-removal which is the more damaging; the people you walked out on are still there and have to live with it.

Suicide works better when one negotiates with family and friends about the exit. We've seen that with the terminally-ill. Still, it's always fraught with difficulties: if someone doesn't want you to go (and why should they?) how much of a veto do they or should they have?

I think Terry Pratchett must wrestle with this every day.