Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Will to Life

Alfred Skogberg of Suicide Zero has faith in the Swedish government’s ability to do exactly that. He argues that individuals do not choose to commit suicide. Instead, suicides are “psychological accidents.” As such, they should be regarded as just as unacceptable and preventable as road or workplace accidents.
Nathalie Rothschild. Is It Possible to Eliminate Suicide?
I do not know if Mr. Skogberg arrived at his conclusion as a result of researching suicide, or out of the general sense that one encounters that the desire to live as long a life as possible is a universal trait of humanity. But I find his assertion that suicide is not a choice to be interesting, especially in light of movements for physician-assisted suicide once a person realizes they are nearing the end of their life - or simply the end of their tolerable life.

Which brings up an interesting question. To what degree is a person's life a thing; something that can be possessed, used or even discarded as the owner sees fit? In the end, when I read articles on both suicide prevention and suicide rights, the argument in play seems to center around this idea. For people who feel that suicide is never a rational choice, but indicative of some underlying problem that should be corrected, or at least mitigated, there is often an undercurrent of a person's life being a greater thing than the person themselves. Conversely, for those people who see suicide as a reasonable choice under certain circumstances, one's live is no different than any other thing that one owns.

I think that it will be interesting to see if Sweden is capable of completely eradicating suicide from their society. It strikes me as a very tall order, simply because, as one critic points out: “People [...] kill themselves because they feel bad.” Creating an entire nation in which no-one ever feels bad enough that death becomes and answer strikes me as completely infeasible. But then again, audacious plans often appear that way.

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