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The Philosophy Behind Suicide (And Why I'm No Longer Suicidal)

Updated: Feb 21

A man facing an image

In the modern world, there seems to be a disturbingly increasing problem for humanity: suicide. It is probably one of the biggest taboos in human interactions, and this possible fact could serve as a reason why many suicidal people choose to keep this subject to themselves.

Why? Because suicide is one of the most repulsive things other people can know about someone specific, and it's not necessarily bound to culture. It is generally a very uneasy subject for people of all cultures and nationalities. Therefore, it would be only natural for suicidal people to keep it to themselves, and not call for external help, even if such help is due.

Unless you're a fanatical terrorist who believes in afterlife rewards for terrorism, the motive behind suicide is simple: to permanently escape from life. Not only from commitments but also from emotions. Tension, anxiety, depression, melancholy, and anger. In many cases, our emotions can turn us against ourselves by deteriorating our health and even making us harm ourselves, like in the form of suicide.

Suicide is simply a means to stop whatever is happening in our lives, whether external, internal, or both. After all, it is assumed that, when we die, we will feel nothing, or at least not feel the current hardships we currently face.

The pain, the suffering. For some, the notion of feeling "nothing" is a reward of its own. The reward of not facing our responsibilities, our problems, our antagonists, and our current circumstances. A genuine desire for suicide out of escapism and the belief that things, theoretically, can't get any better than they are currently.

And the thing is, suicide is very tempting because the human body can easily be destroyed in many ways, which I will not mention. It is tempting because you can basically die anywhere. Your house, your school or workplace, a remote and solitary place -- suicide is "easy" because it can happen anytime. Suicide is "easy" because it is the ultimate defeat, and often the property of the weak.

All it takes is courage that transcends our existential directive to survive and live. Of course, we have directives of our own, individually, but I digress.

Once you're in a place where this very dangerous courage places you in, that's it. You're in a very risky state and thus bigger supervision is necessary to prevent you from doing things that may harm you.

I will only say that I was suicidal, and I "blame" it on none other than my philosophical thoughts back then. Like nowadays, I had a very deep desire for purposefulness in this life. To feel like I'm worth something that goes beyond the love of my parents and family.

I wanted to go out there and make a name for myself, so I could both be appreciated and contribute in whatever way I could, and that is what is best for me. The state I was in, back then, did not serve this aim. And because I was still at school, much of my free time was dedicated to studying. I liked studying, but school was tormenting, even for an A-grade student such as myself. Every day in school was either depressing or near depressing, because of all the noise and yelling. I felt oppressed, and it was then that I knew there was something wrong with the system.

However, while the call for killing oneself is very desperate, it is also very flawed in its logic. Why?

There are a few fallacies in wanting to kill oneself, with the most dominant being the uncertainty of death. Let's say you kill yourself. What is your next plan? What if there is an afterlife? If there is, which religion was the most correct about it? What if no religion made by humans was true, and instead you found yourself in a place you don't even know, all alone?

That is the more-philosophical problem of suicide. There is also another possibility, more practical, called failing. Yes, you can technically fail committing suicide, and the results may be even gloomier for you than your life may already be.

You might injure yourself severely, either in body, mind, or both, forcing yourself into a life of severe physical or mental disability. If you injure yourself physically, you might end up in a wheelchair or far worse; if you attempt suicide by overdose, you might paralyze yourself or cause any other unrepairable consequence.

This is why many suicidal people fail to realize that suicide is a very tough gamble, all in the attempt to escape from the things or beings that cause them the distress that makes them suicidal.

On the one hand, you succeed and force yourself into a very unknown realm of being; a realm that might as well not exist at all, and on the other hand, you risk severe conditions on yourself that might not be able to be redeemable, not necessarily morally, but medically, socially, and most importantly, physically or mentally.

In the end, there is no escape from this decision if you decide to execute it seriously enough, and I'm not talking from experience. I'm talking logically. People who were once your friends might stay away from you, and the same might go for family, too.

You can make yourself a walking taboo, as the world will feel uncomfortable near you, knowing what you have done to yourself. You'll either have to hide it or just deal with the consequences of being very, very reluctant to be in the state called "life".

After all of this, it is best to ask oneself: Is this gamble worth it? It's not only a gamble on your life, which is obvious, but it is generally a point of no return if you actually try to commit it. Ask yourself: Is your life really bad to the point that you would want to get rid of it forever? After all, it could still be changed, right?

There might be things that are beyond your control, and you might not get everything that you have ever dreamed of. But at least you'll get to live. And the thing about life is, that it is a collection of potentials. As long as you're alive, you can still do things you otherwise wouldn't be able to do unless you were dead.

And of course, there is this issue with eternity. This earth is not immortal, is it? We won't necessarily have the technological capacity to fly to another solar system and build a colony there. In other words, everything that we have ever done in this world, could very well be "useless" because it will be gone.

My reply to this issue is, so what? Things don't have to be eternal in order to be meaningful. In fact, eternity has nothing to do with it. Furthermore, it could actually lead to the opposite side of the argument!

If things are not eternal in their current form, why not embrace them, as long as they exist? If they don't exist yet, why quit when they might come into fruition? Whether you kill yourself or not, you'll die anyway.

Why then, waste the opportunities of life, when you can be out there, working, planning, or at least, hoping for them to happen, sometime in your life? You might be disappointed at the end of it all, but at least you can proudly say that you've tried, unlike your suicidal counterpart, who didn't as much (or at all).

We are not all slaves, in one shape or another, are we? We still have the power to change, to be bold enough to make advances, to alter our current reality. Some of our potential is even revolutionary in significance. After all, seeing yourself as a completely passive entity compared to the world you're in -- that's depressing. Depressing, and not necessarily true.

Just a few years ago, I took the initiative and moved somewhere else in my country because I had enough of the noise.

It was a bold move because I lived in a noisy metropolis for all of my life, and moving to a quieter area wasn't that easy to adjust to. I moved away from my family, and everything I knew. My isolation's been more extreme than it once was.

However, because I was determined to live a life of true peace, I refused in any way to give up on my former, apathetic neighbors, who were extremely noisy and harmed my mental health a lot. Now I can say that I am a far happier being.

Ultimately, for the suicidal person, there are three possible situations:

Do you wish, after reading this, to give up or to be willing to endure the current reality? Your answer could be of use to someone who is more professional than me, called a psychologist, which as well shouldn't be taboo at all. People shouldn't feel ashamed about getting help of any kind, when that help is required. Psychology is a legitimate treatment method that can be as good for the mind as orthodox medicine is for the body.

And to end this article, I will tell you the main reason I'm not suicidal anymore. I'm not suicidal because I have decided to take things into my own hands and not just be passive about things happening. People may be complaining about the faults of their own lives, but what about themselves, as distinct from said lives? What they -- and you -- can do to change yourselves, in the name of a better reality to occur by your actions?

I hope that with this article, I've managed to do some good in the world. Thanks for reading.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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