Suicide is an act of bravery

The word “suicide” comes from Latin origins sui and caedere which mean the self and the action of killing (suicidium). There are few common prejudices toward suicide: most people have the same opinion about the reason that makes one commit suicide: despair.  We also tend to think it can come from mental disorders such as schizophrenia, an illness mainly defined by the difficulty to distinguish reality and unreal facts. We also tend to see suicide as a result of a psychologically weak state of mind. But in this post I will explain how suicide is an act of bravery.

Even if this act against oneself may have repercussions and symptoms on the deceased’s family and friends, a person might be extremely determined and must have a lot of bravery to commit suicide.

Let’s take few examples:

¥       Kurt Cobain
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Committing suicide can be related to passion and art. For example, Kurt Cobain officially killed himself because he had accomplished his passion entirely. He has managed to live it. People who kill themselves prefer dying on a good memory of their lives. Once they have touched the nirvana (without any play of word), they get a full self esteem and completely reached their goal. Kurt Cobain killed himself because his passion started to be destructive. He left fame and too much success because he was only looking for music and how music can be an outlet. He preferred leaving his life while his memories were the best. He wrote: “I thought I would let the world know how much I love people. I thought I would try to create something that I would personally like to listen to because a very large portion of this world’s arts sucks beyond description “in his diary that has been published in  “Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography Of Kurt Cobain (1rst edition by Charles R. Cross)“. His first and final goal was to accomplish the dream of people listen to his music. He fully lived his passion and had nothing to complain about. He chose to end his days. The number of suicides that are related to passion is consequent. Artists such as Ernest Hemingway or Kurt Cobain are numerous but there are other reasons for people to commit suicide.

¥       Kamikazes

The second example I will talk about is the kamikazes. Even if the reason of their suicide is debatable and can be qualified as a crime against humanity, those men were brave enough to die for their convictions. In his article of the newspaper “Daily Mail”, the journalist Max Hastings describes all details about the attack of Japanese Kamikazes on the American fleet. Many suicidal actions were accomplished to reach the same goal. To win the war and destroy the American army, the article reports some testimonies. The Rear-Admiral Masafumi Arima was one of the commander of the “Air Naval Flotilla” and testifies that “He was about to make a personal contribution to the art of war – by crashing his plane into an American aircraft carrier.” Max Hastings writes that “determination and pride show in the faces of young Japanese pilots trained as kamikaze flyers”. Those young men were determined by their bravery which was stronger than their fear of death. It was more than a conviction but a brave gift to their homeland. Thanks to them, Japanese were seen as a united homeland and extremely welded people. The self-sacrifice represents the death of the body but the psyche and the “mood for the moment” can be representative of an elevated mind. It reveals an extreme courage, that could be qualified as the biggest ambition those pilots have ever had. This sentence supports this idea: “Suicide attack, exploiting the pilots’ astonishing willingness for self-sacrifice, offered a prospect of redressing the balance of forces. Here was a concept which struck a chord in the Japanese psyche and caught the mood of the moment.” Kamikazes didn’t look for any reward and honour. They only had enough bravery to face their fate, accept that they would have no future, no family or successful career, any dreams to come true.

¥       The Virgin Suicides
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Another aspect of the topic is that suicide allows some people to release their mind, like in the book The Virgin Suicides. In his book, Jeffrey Eugenides tells the story of five sisters. When the younger sister, Cecilia Lisbon, killed herself, everything became strange, morbid and dark in the Lisbon’s house. The four sisters resting, even if they were beautiful and smart girls, decided to commit suicide as well. This is an act of solidarity. They preferred to be with their sister instead of having a “normal” life in which Cecilia would not belong to.

¥       Ryan Frenrey: Suicide is bravery

“ Imagine standing at the edge
No more reasons of anything in life to pledge
Looking down as the wind bleeds your eyes dry
When you fall you have seconds to say goodbye to the sky
Adrenaline causes the mind an instant rush
Anticipating freedom until you become crushed

Now a coward alive would say this man was weak
Yet this man in life couldn’t imagine thinking deep
Instead of jumping for problems, you take a jump for power
I’ll live more in 10 seconds than you do in a million hours
So as you’re standing at the edge giving life your last salute
Remember your brave, realize most wouldn’t jump even with a parachute
Most would run as they saw death screaming 1000 feet down
A brave man would dig is own corpse into the ground

So as you read about another suicide statistic being
He did it because of strength, something you’re not seeing
When life screeches to an end and you want to be saved
This ‘coward’ was brave, this soul was brave “
There are several different reasons that push people to commit suicide and each situation is unique and not always explainable. Suicide, depending on the point of view and the situation, may be the most appropriate issue. Mental diseases, strong conviction, sacrifice, release of mind or body are all acts of bravery. But, depending on the different cultures, it can be considered as a crime. For the Muslim culture, it is viewed as a sacrifice for Allah, which is heroic and nearly natural. Nevertheless, in the Christian culture suicide is an offence to God because God made the most beautiful gift which is life. To conclude, it will be highlighted that opinions on suicide depend on religion, culture and customs. But it is always related to Love, that it might be love for passion, love for family and friends, love for country or, the strongest love that exists, the love between a man and a woman. Pamela Courson, Jim Morrison’s love of his life, who died to find back her love, will best illustrate this statement.

In another context, it is important to talk about euthanasia which is a very controversial issue. It is a way to release body because of physical suffering but also because of a fatigue of fighting mentally for an illness that overcomes them. But before engaging conversation on euthanasia, please share your opinion about this post!

~Manon

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5 responses to “Suicide is an act of bravery”

  1. Gladi says :

    A well written post and a concept which i totally buy. However I do believe that while talking about such issues we need to mention one more aspect of suicide. Despite being extremely curageus it is also quite selfish, don’t you think? Brought to the very limits people think only about their own dilemas and problems in isolation, without realizing the broader resoults of their actions. Sometimes suicide may seem the best and the only way of dealing with life difficulties, but you need to bare in mind that no matter who you are and how deep is the shit you have fallen into there always will be at least one person who cares about you and who will spill an ocean of tears after hearing that you have taken your life. So is it morally just to abandon and break another person just to hopefully cure yourself?
    Greetings from Poland 🙂

  2. prethicsandissues says :

    Thanks for sharing your opinion Gladi 🙂
    Suicide can be quite selfish as you said and might be an act of despair or a way to escape the issues life can bring. But I also think it is the decision of not living possible happier moments in the future so… it is quite brave accepting that life gave us enough joy. What do you think?

    I agree with you regarding the fact that there are always people who care and who might suffer from it. Which makes the decision even harder to take.But let me put it another way: should one stay alive only for people who care about him/her when the only way he/she can feel free and peaceful is to abandon life?

    In some cases, might it also be a relief for the relatives if they see the person is suffering?

    Manon

    • Gladi says :

      No doubt that rejecting the possible joys of your further life is curageus. However, on the other hand it is also a great waste of possibilities. We live in a world where you have virtualy infinite ways of sculpting your life, shaping your character or establishing your own individual path. Everyone deserves happiness and can find it, the only problem is that you can not stop seeking in, no matter what.

      The second thing. I don’t think that abandoning life will necessairly make someone feel free and peacefull, because we don`t really know what is beyond the border. Even if you are a devoted and deeply religous or you have your own visions of the afterlife you can`t be really sure. You can not take your own presupositions in this matter or tenets of any religion for granted. Maybe suicide doesn`t really bring peace and comfort but instead takes you to a realm of greater suffering?

      Point three. I am not sure if you ment euthanasia, if yes I will agree, but only under some special circumstances, lika fatal diseases or tumours which cause great phisical pain and are impossible to cure. I would also be carefull while talking about euthanasia in case of some mental ilnesess, because depression for example (I might be wrong, but I guess the leading cause of suicide) is possible to get over. Just requires time and proper help.

      • prethicsandissues says :

        See, the trouble is though that we probably are not even close to understanding what misery it is to have suicidal thoughts and how hard it is to overcome them. Therefore, I believe it is a bit unfair to say that you can not stop seeking the possible opportunities for happy life. From our perspective it’ll always seem like something doable, but the reality is probably much worse.

        Regarding your second point, I absolutely agree about the fact that we can’t be 100% sure what the ‘afterlife’ (if one exists) is like. But I believe the point here is that you already feel free and peacefull WHILE ending your life, as you are ending the misery of yet another terrible day, that this time is not to come.

        Overall, I think it is very crucial to notice the issue of suicide and stop perceiving it as a taboo. The more people talk about it, the more they will be aware of consequences of, for example depression, and the more they will be able to help the ones they love. Of course, it is a very heavy topic of discussion but we must stop to pigeonhole people who have suicidal thoughts and be supportive instead. I believe suicide is not an individuals problem, but it is a threat to whole societies and it’s sad to see that people often don’t realise how their actions can influence someone’s life.

        -Aneta

      • prethicsandissues says :

        Gladi, about your second point, isn’t is brave to face the unknown and be curious enough to see what’s on the other side? 😉
        Of course we don’t know what’s after life. I won’t lead this discussion into a philosophical perspective but even if our body dies, I am persuaded that our soul doesn’t.

        One aspect of suicide might be depression as you say. And fortunately it is cureable. But even when knowing it is, some people take the decision not to try. And even if there is a lot of despair in committing suicide, I will keep on thinking it requires bravery, not weakness.

        Manon

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