The fact that none of us consented to be born and inevitably to suffer through being born is just a tragic fact of reality. The right of the parents to practice their hubris and short sightedness will always be valued by our government and our society over the right of the innocent to not suffer and not exist without their consent. However, the fact that our government (and the pro-natal and Christian sentiments of our society) not only forces a child to be born but forces men and women to live is simply disgusting, evil and a violation of every beings right to self determination to the extent they can practice it. I was born without my consent. This I can never undo or rectify fully. But I can make the ethical choice of choosing to end my life and my pain if I see fit.
And though it is true that I can break the law and end my life without the government stopping me, the same can be said of any action that is currently illegal. To those who say, “who cares, just do it…” to suicide being illegal in this country, I would like to say the same to their most favored privileges. What if, god forbid, the right to sit in a room full of dunces and sing the same songs every week was not guaranteed? You could practice this ritual while being criminals in the eyes of the government. But what if you were caught? Same thing with suicide. The argument that one can go around the law should never be an argument for what is or isn’t legal. As a Negative Utilitarian, I believe that laws should exist to prevent suffering to the greatest extent possible. Putting people in prison (taking away their basic liberty and turning them even more so into mindless meat puppets) for doing drugs or in insane asylums for attempting to end their pain does not prevent pain efficiently. It prolongs it and creates it. It is unjust – from both a standpoint of human rights and human ethics.
There are severe injustices with our legal system and even greater general injustices in life. The fact that we will never rectify all of these problems, never right all the wrongs, never cure all the ailments, never stop all the pain; the fact that some people will always slip through the cracks of even the most compassionate and just society (which this most certainly is not) is all the more reason we must safeguard the right to die, the right to not exist, as the most fundamental right a person has the moment they choose to practice it. Forcing someone to live without their consent is essentially forcing someone to be a slave in their own body. A prisoner in this world of pain and inequity.
Those who seek help of any kind should, unless circumstances complicate things, always receive it. The two facts are not mutually exclusive. It is true that some people who are “suicidal” are merely people who are crying out for our attention and aid, but we must also accept the fact that there is an entirely different category of person, someone who does not want help. Is not concerned with “getting better” (as if being suicidal in all cases is a mental illness that one can “get better” from) or fixing what they very likely see as not being capable of being fixed – and they are often right. Either they have a painful illness that is incurable or the medical treatment itself is pain riddled, or they view life as a pain endurance test of futile hopes and dreams that have been crushed by a world apathetic to their desires. Suicide categorically or definitively being the result of poor thinking or mental illness is another rationalization optimists and pro natalists implement to justify their view of life. “No one could ever reasonably end all of this!” Really? Have you taken a look at the world? Taken an honest look at life as it is lived by most people? It’s far from a cake walk. And some of these problems of life can (at least theoretically) be solved with scientific implementation, a friendly hand or the correct frame of mind (philosophy), but we must be honest and accept the fact that some facts of life can never be remedied. We suffer. We long for what we cannot have. We quickly lose appreciation of what we have. We feel regret. We feel burdened by others. We drudge through life. It’s simply what we do. What we’ve always done. But if someone chooses for him or herself “not for me; not no longer,” we must respect their wish. If the foolish wish to condemn it, so be it. If they wish to call the suffering and sorrowful “weak” or, “sick” so be it. But the fact remains that suicide does not come easily to us. Billions of years of evolution has fostered a genetic lineage that benefit (or at least continue to continue, for in a sense it’s the genes and not the organism that’s attached to them that benefit) from doing everything in our power to survive. Therefore suicide does not come naturally. It stands to reason then that not only is suicide an act of courage, but if someone is willing to deny their biological programming and end their existence (being in effect a evolutionary failure – not that this in any way should be a metric of success; in fact it is this subconscious pro-natal aspect of our psychology I wish to dispel) then their lot (at least at that moment) must be very bad.
In our society, we make it incredibly easy for people to pursue their weakest most base urges of uncreative and gluttonous pleasure, yet we condemn those who wish to end their suffering by ending their lives. We allow life to be degraded and whole lives to be deteriorated and destroyed by the intrinsic and external effects of alcohol and tobacco (among other vices) yet we do not only a man to end his pain. Our society is sick – sick from being far too childish to accept life as it is. I am not arguing for a prohibition of vice. It simply astonishes me and shows the crass hedonism of our society, and reflects the majorities’ immoral outlook that they allow or even encourage the worsening of life through vice but lacks the compassion to allow hurting human beings to end their torment. Society wants to ignore the problems of this world or self medicate to momentarily alleviate the problems – while making more problems down the line. This is clearly immoral and irrational. But if society is to continue this way (as it vey likely will) it should at least have the decency to allow people to opt out of a raw deal they were forced into.
I’ve already expressed the reality of being forced into this life. But it’s worse than that. Because we not only force people into this world and disallow their voluntary removal of themselves from that which they did not ask, we also provide very little aid for what we force damned souls into. That is, we force them to live but make meager if any efforts to mitigate their torment. We force a child into life. The child is forced into adulthood. The adult is forced to take up a job. The job is hellish. May I remind the reader that no one can ultimately change their plight. No one can decide their genes or their environment. Causality is as causality does. The man who is enslaved to toil therefore could not have been otherwise. And he is in effect forced as a slave to work for he cannot choose (legally) to die or to live without the hellish burdens of life if that is what fate or god or whatever decides such things has chosen for him. His toil is not his own yet it is. He did not choose it yet it becomes him. He becomes his pain and it destroys whatever hope and goodness and innocence was in him. He is in effect raped by existence. Raped by his society. Raped by the apathy and cruelty of a society that focuses on the accumulation of base pleasures over the mitigation and elimination of pain.
The only fundamental fact of existence which is of any cause for relief is simply that – live is not only that which can be relieved, it will be relieved for every man, woman and child at some point. We all will cease to exist at some point and with the lack of our existence no longer be troubled with the agonies or complications of the existence we once had. This breath of sympathy, this breath of love and compassion and the understanding of it is intoned by those who speak truly the words: Rest in Peace. It is the wish of what is; the acceptance of a man’s fate of no longer being burdened as good. An acknowledgement that there is tenderness in the void; perhaps more so than on this earth.
I am saddened by the fact that the world is destined needlessly to suffering that can never be justified. I am repulsed that some attempt to justify our wretched fate through religious fairy tales or talks of “free will.” I am made happy when I see the capacity of human beings to consider the plight of others, and to wish to end another’s suffering before concerning themselves with themselves. Though the logic of Jesus’ act makes no sense (being the Son of God and sacrificing himself for humanities sins – when of course as God he could simply forgive humanity, let alone not damn humanity only to redeem them at a later point) the ethics of that act stand true. An act of love that is essentially jumping in front of a car to save a child. To suffer so others will not. It is this action that is a rejection of our egotistic impulses hard wired into us that must be commended almost above all others.
I hope this life treats you with as much kindness as can be given. And though I don’t wish to preach I hope you, the reader, come to understand that despite our instincts and compulsions the lack of pain is far more important than the fleeting presence of pleasure. Enjoy the placid and serene state you are in to the extent you are in it and that you can appreciate it. Do not chase after the pleasures of sex, or drink, or love or other things which will likely cause you more pain than pleasure. Learn to be truly ascetic and happy with this life to the extent that there is cause to be. For though there is great pain, one can still feel great beauty and serenity, and yes, even joy when one is bewildered by the capacity of the human animal to love selflessly and feel compassion for others.