Interesting topic for a potentially interesting discussion

Uncertain's picture

One of the debates I had to adjudicate in the past few days was quite controversial and interesting, so I'll throw it out there.

The motion was: This House supports committing suicide as a form of protest

I'll leave my thoughts out for now... What do you guys think?


elph's picture

This argument has validity...

...only in the minds of those who suffer under the sorrowfully misguided certainty (i.e., belief/faith) that everlasting glory lies ahead for one who's sacrificed his life on earth for a "noble" cause.

Therefore... nothing's lost, and much is gained! BS!

So terribly sad this perverse ramification of...

Uncertain's picture

Hm, to prevent people from taking sides too early...

Not necessarily. I think it's an unfair characterisation to frame this as a religious debate.

We're talking about other forms of protest, most notably political. You're assuming all utility gained are internalised by the individual - and if the individual is dead then obviously he can never reap the benefits.

People protest for things greater than themselves all the time ie. environmental and political change. Given the utility gained can be externalised beyond the individual committing the suicide, and people are autonomous individuals who often choose to make sacrifices and tradeoffs all the time, why is this any different?

- Perhaps the most relevant are the suicide protests against oppressive regimes in Tunisia and nearby countries
- Self-immolation of monks in protest of the Vietnam war to draw attention to their plight
- Same thing in Czechslovakia when invaded by the Soviets during the Cold War

You don't need to believe in an afterlife to operate a rational calculus.

elph's picture

Your non-religious examples...

...are acknowledged.

However, I feel that the mental state of adherents (who would sacrifice their lives for ostensibly non-religious issues) remains under throes essentially similar to or indistinguishable from those inflicted by a controlling religion.

Whether there is an underlying belief in "salvation" following suicide is, admittedly, unknown. But I do feel that their minds are no longer under rational influence --- the same condition as encouraged by many religions!