Suicide – Cowardly or Courageous?

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For ages now, the word ‘suicide’ has had several negative connotations to it. Suicide is considered cowardly, immature, weak and is mainly seen as an act of giving up. We have so many centres which have counselling for suicidal people, but yet the number of suicide cases keep increasing. People generally commit suicide when they feel that their problems are impossible to solve. And sometimes they might be right. We never understand the magnitude or gravity of a person’s problems till we are in that same situation. But then, different people deal with things differently. The general idea is that the ones that commit suicide are weak-minded. But, is it so?

The notion of suicide being cowardly was something I believed in too. Whenever I read about a suicide case, I would mentally smirk as I thought it was a sign of weakness. Maybe it is, I don’t know.

However, recently I’ve been doing a little reading on the subject and that’s when I was exposed to this whole new dimension connected to suicide. Suicide need not necessarily be considered as something irrational or stupid.

Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, wrote: “When life is so burdensome, death has become for man a sought-after refuge”. We do not know or understand the problems people face. Sometimes, death seems to be the only answer for them. And if they commit suicide, it must not mean that they are basically weak in the mind; instead they are brave enough to end their life as and when they please. Some philosophers also argue that death by one’s hand is more honourable than living a life of protracted misery. Slyvia Plath, the famous poetess, also viewed suicide in the same light. To her, suicide was liberation – liberation from this world of pain.

If you look at it from a religious point of view, the act of suicide is considered unholy and very atheistic. Sometimes, it is also seen as blasphemy. No religion that I know of actually supports suicide. Even the act of euthanasia is frowned upon. Being agnostic, I obviously do not agree with any of these sentiments. I would not say that I am completely in favour of suicide either though.

As you delve deeper into the subject, you would know that it actually takes courage to slit your wrists, or to pop ten sleeping pills or to voluntarily jump off a terrace.

Conclusively, I am not as disgusted with suicide as I used to be. At the same time, I’m not completely in favour of it either. I have come across many people who laugh at the ones who are suicidal or at the ones who have committed suicide. I feel we must learn to be more accepting, or atleast tolerant enough, of such cases. Ideally, it would require more courage to face the crap, accept it and move on. But we do not live in a perfect world after all.

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