Friday, July 25, 2008

Welcome to the World of Suicide

In the year 2000, roughly one million people died from suicide which according to the World Health Organization amounts to 16 suicides per 100,000 people and a suicide every 40 seconds.

Their findings go on to say that though traditionally suicide was more frequent amongst elderly males, it has in recent times increased so much amongst teenagers that they are now the most likely group to do so.

You might be interested to know that Sri Lanka is as of March 16th 2008, the 13 highest country on the list of suicides. The data for our country it should be noted is taken from 1992.

Maybe for those of you who believe that God is testing us, what if it's a test to see if you'll give up what you value the most, your own life. I find that to be such a lame answer to half the questions that religions give. Well if you're a devout believer of your religion and really believe in heaven and hell, then hell must be getting really crowded.

Please note I make no allusions as to my own beliefs here, but merely explore the issue. Here we go:

Suicide has been around since our beginnings. The effect on society has obviously been a negative one, for one thing, the population decreases, and another the fact that seeing someone kill themselves is a serious de-motivator.

But really, how do we know the effect it has on the individual? Obviously society responds by treating it in most cases as being a violent sin, or one of the biggest crimes ever. But how do we know that those people who did kill themselves didn't catch the express train to that netherworld?

But suicide hasn't always just been about taking one's life. In ancient Japan, Samurai's would commit sepuku, which was an extremely painful method involving plunging a weapon in to the abdomen and moving it in a quick cutting motion. This was performed for a variety of then legitimate reasons such to recover one's honour or to avoid capture by enemy forces .

Of course suicides of a similar nature were also performed by several members of the Nazi party as the impending Allied armies approached Berlin. Hitler shot himself and apparently his new wife, Eva Braun as well.

Then there's that whole separate basket of eggs, Euthanasia. People who feel that individuals who are sick, dying or unable to live a normal life should be allowed to kill themselves vs those who believe just the opposite. And what about that whole Indian widows must burn themselves on their husbands pyre business back in the day (and I hope still not today)

Let us also not forget Kamikaze troopers that were used by the Japanese during World War II and the suicide bombers we hear of so often here in Sri Lanka. Our point of view is that they are misguided or brainwashed individuals performing an insane action. From their point of view they are martyr's, going down for the cause. It's that whole Rambo 'live for nothing, die for something' angle.

It's also not only the people who perform suicide bombings who believe this but sometimes the people around them. If you don't believe me check out this video (if you haven't already seen it before).

To sum up, I would like to leave you with a quote...

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"  William Shakespeare - Hamlet

... and a picture entitled 'Suicide The Way Out'.


  1. hmm really interesting post dude.. i guess there are many ways to look at suicide and it is mostly influenced by the society,culture and the way of life that one individual enjoys, we can all see that by the vivid examples you have brought upon..

  2. You forgot to add refusing medical treatment in disease situations though it's a bit off the topic.

  3. Interesting post. I think it takes a certain type of person and a certain type of situation to get someone to that level. Because like Hamlet also said 'Conscience doth make cowards of us all'.... A very complicated issue but nicely tackled!

  4. cool post man!! the reasons you've given for all those past suicide cases are seemingly acceptable but i believe that any attempt of suicide in any situation(except when one gives up one's life to save someone else's life-eg: 2 people drowning and only one seat in the rescue dingy) is "a means of running away".. thereby, making suicide a choice of cowardice..