Personal Choice & Suicide

June 6, 2014

A Case Against Suicide

The issue of suicide is a heated one. And it’s complicated. I want to look at it from the perspective of personal responsibility. The common responsibility argument goes like this: You have a responsibility to the people who love you; suicide will cause them to suffer so you shouldn’t do it.

I would argue that our first responsibility is to ourselves. I’ve built a business around the idea of empowering people to make their own choices. So then you might think, well Curtis, isn’t it a personal choice whether or not to commit suicide? Yes, it is. But whose choice exactly?

With most choices you make in your life, a future YOU will have an opportunity to make a different choice if you don’t like the consequences of the previous choice. Suicide, on the other hand, is the one choice that you make for yourself now and also for the future you.

Yes, you have the right to make a choice for you now. But do you have the right to make that choice for the future you? If you don’t want to live but some future version of you might want to live, do you have the right to take away that choice from yourself in the future?

This may all sound hypothetical, but talk to people who tried to commit suicide and survived. Many of them are happy to be alive now. And others like myself who considered suicide (I got so far as “suicidal ideation with a plan,” according to a friend of mine who is a counselor) are so grateful we never made that choice. I would never have met my nieces, I would never have started my business, I would never have visited all kinds of amazing places, I would never have written songs or made films, etc. What was I thinking that I would have given up all of that? Did that person that I was — that person that was so blinded by hopelessness and suffering — have the right to take all that away from me?

So my case against suicide is a personal one. You don’t owe anything to anyone else. But you do owe yourself. Be selfish and let yourself find out if life was worth living after all.

Advertisements