[lit-ideas] Re: Suicide in Europe

  • From: "Veronica Caley" <molleo1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2010 20:27:36 -0500

is hardly more acceptable, as a be-all and end-all explanation, than the Lawrentian view that it is

driven by perceptions of cultural malaise>.

Especially since the cultural malaise seems to be too much safety net. There was a recent study of populations trying to determine which people were the happiest. Seems it was the Danes. I don't know what the test consisted of or the validity or reliability of the test. Nevertheless, the same questions were put to people in a number of countries. If I were to guess why people in some countries commit too much suicide, my guess would be climate. Too harsh and too long winters and too much darkness.

Veronica Caley

Milford, MI


----- Original Message ----- From: "Donal McEvoy" <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 7:09 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Suicide in Europe



--- On Sun, 21/11/10, Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

He said he'd prefer to live among those who might kill themselves as opposed to those who might kill him. Made sense to me.>

In a city like London the homicidal person is perhaps less likely to disrupt your day* than the suicidal with their penchant for jumping in front of the tube at a busy station.**[*Provided they don't go on a killing spree on the tube;** for Londoners, important evidence in assessing whether suicide is a selfish act - why didn't they jump on the line at Cockfosters?].

The saying, "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem" rings very true to those who are not suicidal.>

Does it not also ring very true to many who have attempted suicide, judging by their subsequent gladness that the attempt failed? There must be a key distinction between adopting the permanent solution to a permanent problem, say terminal illness, and to a temporary problem. This distinction would no doubt be applied by professionals if they were to assess whether a person should be allowed an assisted suicide. Yet to the suicidal what is in fact a temporary problem will, I guess, seem to have the character of permanence [this being a symptom of depressed thinking]. This is one way they may not be perhaps that rational.

However, it is surely an overgeneralisation to say
the decision not to exist is not a rational one.>

The degree of rationality of such a decision varies. Conversely, the degree of rationality in the decision to persevere with life, no matter what, surely varies - unless we think prolonged torture must always be a more rational option than death.

The simple view that suicide results from
a screw up in brain chemistry>
is hardly more acceptable, as a be-all and end-all explanation, than the Lawrentian view that it is
driven by perceptions of cultural malaise>.

Many factors in many combinations may be at work.

Since Popper's conception of 'rationality' centres*** on our ability to learn from our mistakes [by correcting them] it does generally oppose, on grounds of rationality, actions that are irrevocable so that there is no possibility of correcting or learning from them. This puts suicide in a generally bad light from a rational POV, at least where it is successfully attempted. However, where reason would agree that the problem suicide would remove is itself permanent and irrevocable, it may be rational enough an act.

Donal
***That it goes wider than this is indicated by P's sympathetic response to the interesting paper from Paul Bernays in P's Schilpp volume.
Albion






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