Right to die.

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Re: Right to die.

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:55 pm UTC

I don't want to detract to much from the right to die thread with a criticism of modern psychiatric diagnostic criteria (start a new thread?), but I'm using the DSM-IV definition of depression when I say I've never met anyone who didn't suffer from clinical depression at some point in their life. Certainly my perception is not representative of the population as a whole, particularly since I've spent a disproportionate amount of time working with the poor, elderly and mentally disabled so I'll concede it's possible some people have never met, and never will meet the criteria for depression - I've just never met them.

But not to stray to far from the topic at hand, the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM-IV clearly support my claim in relation to the right to die issue. Depression is a poorly defined "condition" to begin with, and with widespread confusion between correlation and causation leads many people to assume depression has a physical cause because it has physical symptoms. My thesis for the purpose of this thread is that depression is diagnosed based on the ability of the individual to function in society - so to quote...

DSM-IV wrote:C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.


There is it an entirely subjective, socially justified, mandatory criteria for diagnosing depression. Don't get to bogged down on the "clinically significant" jargon at the beginning, it's already being criticized for being too inclusive and redundant. Depression is poorly understood because it's poorly defined, and we have a trivial understanding of how non-biological influences shape brain functioning. This a very common issue in young sciences which haven't yet drawn the distinctions required to properly name and study various phenomenon within the discipline. You can clearly see this pattern playing out with all the new "spectrum" disorders, and the continuous refinement and splitting of over generalized concepts.

Felstaff wrote: If depression (the mental condition) is a factor in somebody wishing to take their own life, then I believe there is a responsibility from a person of authority (i.e. doctor) to help prevent that person from doing so.


Unfortunately as pointed out previously in this thread, suicidal thoughts are part of the diagnosis for depression. It's the same assumption - it's irrational to want to commit suicide, so people who want to commit suicide are crazy by definition. The idea that depression causes suicidal thoughts doesn't even make sense in this context. It's social perception shaping psychiatry, most people don't understand it so they assume because it doesn't happen to them that it's indicative of a disorder. Until very recently this is the same justification used to defined homosexuality as a "disorder" - broadly assumed to be irrational, a minority are diagnosed, and doctors had a responsibility to treat it. Now that we've matured socially and accept homosexuality as rational it's no longer a disorder.

smw543 wrote:Schizophrenics, who you acknowledge suffer from a physiological condition Since there judgment is being influenced by a physiological condition, wouldn't you agree that we should take some preventative action?


This is a hard question to answer, as it's a highly subjective decision. Some schizophrenics are going to do just fine with support, others live in unbearable conditions with little or no chances for sustained recovery left to suffer until they die. For the former, certainly they can consider treatment, for the latter I don't think it's irrational to commit suicide. Certainly if I was in that position I'd want to die, just as I'd want to die if I suffered sever neurological trama, or had another condition that caused significant pain or suffering. I'd like to believe that as a society we value all life, and that there are enough people who are willing to work diligently to treat and rehabilitate those who can be help, however this is demonstrably false and until that changes I consider humane suicide as the most compassionate and dignified option for many people.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:20 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:I'll concede it's possible some people have never met, and never will meet the criteria for depression - I've just never met them.

Since my experiences are different, I asked the interwebs. Apparently 90% of Americans will never experience clinical depression in their lives. While not uncommon, it's certainly not normal.
Cleverbeans wrote:Depression is a poorly defined "condition" to begin with, and with widespread confusion between correlation and causation leads many people to assume depression has a physical cause because it has physical symptoms.

There are physical differences between depressed people and healthy people. Those physical differences are not necessarily causes, nor are they necessarily symptoms. The only thing we can say is that the condition is partly physical.
Cleverbeans wrote:Unfortunately as pointed out previously in this thread, suicidal thoughts are part of the diagnosis for depression. It's the same assumption - it's irrational to want to commit suicide, so people who want to commit suicide are crazy by definition.

Why is that bad? Pedophiles are criminals by definition. "It's a Catch 22!" It seems irrational to me to want to commit suicide. The rational, healthy people I hang out with don't do that.
Cleverbeans wrote:I'd like to believe that as a society we value all life, and that there are enough people who are willing to work diligently to treat and rehabilitate those who can be help, however this is demonstrably false and until that changes I consider humane suicide as the most compassionate and dignified option for many people.

What's demonstrably false? That we don't value life? I value life. Or is it that we don't have enough trained psychiatrists? Because if you're saying that we should allow suicide because there aren't enough psychiatrists to treat all the depressed people, then the real solution is to make more psychiatrists, right?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Goplat » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:Also, I don't think I've met anyone who's never experienced depression before, however I have met countless individuals who have never hallucinated so I'm still going to have to go with depression being pretty damn normal, since it happens to everyone.

Heisenberg wrote:Since my experiences are different, I asked the interwebs. Apparently 90% of Americans will never experience clinical depression in their lives. While not uncommon, it's certainly not normal.

No contradiction here, actually. Probably most people who get depressed don't go confessing it to everyone and getting imprisoned in a mental institution. (Hence, it never becomes "clinical".) Maybe Cleverbeans's depressed friends trust him not to rat them out, more than Heisenberg's do?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Since my experiences are different, I asked the interwebs. Apparently 90% of Americans will never experience clinical depression in their lives. While not uncommon, it's certainly not normal.


Please click the link on that page entitled "general information about data sources" and compare to the content in Darrell Huff's classic "How to Lie with Statistics". Shouldn't be to hard, they laid out exactly why these "stats" in no way resemble scientific fact. Not to surprisingly, they point out that depression isn't well defined and therefore hard to consistently diagnose. If you'd like to link more so called "statistics" that make my point obvious please feel free.

Heisenberg wrote:Why is that bad? Pedophiles are criminals by definition. "It's a Catch 22!" It seems irrational to me to want to commit suicide. The rational, healthy people I hang out with don't do that.


Was it bad when homosexuals were mentally-ill by definition? Turing received treatment for it, you know, for his own good. Ended up killing himself. Bet his psychiatrists didn't see that one coming...

It seems irrational to me to want to commit suicide. The rational, healthy people I hang out with don't do that.[/quote]
Do you value the ability to make your own choices about your health or should you be forced into treatment you disagree with? Is it better to err on the side of liberty or authority? Was Mengele wrong for trying experimental treatments for Noma without the permission of his patients? Even if he thought he was doing the right thing at the time?

Was it irrational for Terri Schiavo to ask her husband to pull the plug if she became vegetative? Is it irrational for an elderly woman on dialysis, with no bowel control, in constant pain and no family to beg her caregivers to kill her? Is it irrational for parents to abort a pregnancy when the test comes back positive for down syndrome in the first trimester? These are tough, subjective questions best handled by the individual and their doctor - which is the course I'm advocating.

Heisenberg wrote:What's demonstrably false? That we don't value life? I value life.


How much do you value it? Would you dedicate your life to it? Would you invite a homeless, schizophrenic, drug-addict to come live with you so you can help them clean up and get back on track? Even if it took a decade? Even if it never worked? Can you find one person in hundred willing to do it? How much financial support would you need to do it? Could you raise the funds? I can tell you right now, everyone's compassionate and cares until you ask for their money or their time. You value life, I value life, but as a whole, society doesn't. If we did, we'd have more doctors than soldiers.

Heisenberg wrote:Or is it that we don't have enough trained psychiatrists? Because if you're saying that we should allow suicide because there aren't enough psychiatrists to treat all the depressed people, then the real solution is to make more psychiatrists, right?


To address this, clearly we don't have an infinite supply of qualified and willing individuals to do this. Same problem as mentioned above, society as a whole doesn't value compassionate care, so they take jobs in finance instead so they can make a bunch of money and bang models at sushi bars or whatever it is bankers do when they're not snacking on the dreams of little children. More so, it doesn't address the cause - just the symptoms. It's like giving someone codine for a broken arm, sure they feel better but you haven't address the cause. The only reasonable solution is to keep doing what we're doing: study depression, refine our understanding, and trust that in the long-term honest scientific inquiry will figure it out.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Mon May 03, 2010 5:21 am UTC

I am not sure how you would enforce the person to not die, not unless you have a faculty anyway.

And to choose the time of your death is, of course, valuable.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Mon May 03, 2010 12:58 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:And to choose the time of your death is, of course, valuable.

Yes. Personally speaking, I'd rather die young than to live involuntarily for years or decades. Generally speaking, I'd rather prevent suffering than preserve individual lives at all costs.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Heisenberg » Mon May 03, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:Please click the link on that page entitled "general information about data sources"

Please list something other than your amateur analysis of limited personal experience to suggest that your theory: "Everybody is depressed so it's not a real thing" is something I should consider as an alternative to the current scientific consensus.
Cleverbeans wrote:Was it bad when homosexuals were mentally-ill by definition?
Funny story: Homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone. And before you come back with how two dudes fucking has somehow devalued your marriage, I'm talking about hurt as in 'plunge-knife-into-human' hurt.
Cleverbeans wrote:Is it better to err on the side of liberty or authority?

Liberty. Making exceptions only when life is at risk. I believe in the value of life and liberty. In the case of non-harming behaviors, like social anxiety, I have no right to infringe on another's liberty. However, in the case of a serial killer, a child rapist, or a severe self-harmer, I have not only the right, but an obligation to intercede.
Cleverbeans wrote:These are tough, subjective questions best handled by the individual and their doctor - which is the course I'm advocating.

Bullshit. They are objective moral questions. Do you have the right to deny medical treatment? Yes. Do you have the right to murder someone? No. Does a license to practice medicine give you a get-out-of-jail-free card for #2? No.

Re: Valuing life. Yes, I value life enough to dedicate my life to it. My home, my time, etc. Do you? Why don't we stop arguing and volunteer the time we'll save at a local shelter?
Cleverbeans wrote:More so, it doesn't address the cause - just the symptoms. It's like giving someone codine for a broken arm, sure they feel better but you haven't address the cause. The only reasonable solution is to keep doing what we're doing: study depression, refine our understanding, and trust that in the long-term honest scientific inquiry will figure it out.

First, I'd argue that giving every depressed person a handgun and instructions is not addressing the cause of depression. Treating them seems to be the better option to me.

I'm all for studying depression more, but until we do, I support erring on the side of protecting life.

Edit: Re: the last two posts. Choosing the time of your death is valuable. Preventing suffering is valuable. Human life is invaluable.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Mon May 03, 2010 7:09 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Do you have the right to deny medical treatment? Yes. Do you have the right to murder someone? No.

I don't see the difference, if that "someone" is me. The distinction between active and passive actions with the same outcome is not of much significance ethically. If I have the right to deny treatment if this will lead to my death, then why don't I have the right to access suicide meds in a similar situation - or ask for someone to kill me? To me, this distinction is pure constructivism.

Choosing the time of your death is valuable. Preventing suffering is valuable. Human life is invaluable.

Well... I disagree. (Edit: To avoid misunderstandings, I'm not devaluating human life per se. I disagree with your priority setting.)
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Heisenberg » Mon May 03, 2010 8:58 pm UTC

Hedonic Treader wrote:The distinction between active and passive actions with the same outcome is not of much significance ethically.

The only way this makes sense is if the means to an end are immaterial, and only the ends matter. Most of us are beyond that stage of moral development.
Hedonic Treader wrote:
Choosing the time of your death is valuable. Preventing suffering is valuable. Human life is invaluable.

Well... I disagree. (Edit: To avoid misunderstandings, I'm not devaluating human life per se. I disagree with your priority setting.)

So, when a suffering person is killed, you don't believe their murderer should be punished? Should we only prosecute murderers of happy people? That would be a logical conclusion if preventing suffering is more valuable than human life.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Mon May 03, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Hedonic Treader wrote:The distinction between active and passive actions with the same outcome is not of much significance ethically.

The only way this makes sense is if the means to an end are immaterial, and only the ends matter. Most of us are beyond that stage of moral development.

You think a consequentialist is inferior in his/her moral development than, say, a Kantian value ethicist? For me, the symbolic aspect of an action itself is meaningless. I do, however, acknowledge the intrinsic qualitativeness of subjective experience (like, say, suffering) and its embeddedness in a system of causality of which the actions of rational agents are a part - for me, that is the very foundation of ethics and morality. If there were no such causal relationship, I wouldn't care for the perceived morality of an action in itself. I really do think that all ethical considerations are a means to an end, and that end is generally the supremacy of well-being over suffering as real-world phenomena. There's more of course, but that's a rough outline.

Heisenberg wrote:So, when a suffering person is killed, you don't believe their murderer should be punished? Should we only prosecute murderers of happy people? That would be a logical conclusion if preventing suffering is more valuable than human life.

You seem to have an eagerness to regard all actions that end human life as murder. But murder has a rather strict definition, and to use it with the same moral weight in relation to suicide as to the non-consensual killing of another person blatantly negates the principle of self-ownership. The only somewhat convincing justification for negating self-ownership I've ever come across was a philosophical critique of individuality and the self, which may be sophisticated intuitive illusions rather than real entities. But the irony of course is that this would render individual death even less significant, and you'd end up exactly with the Utilitarian framework I hinted at.

But to answer your questions, if a suffering person is killed with explicit consent, I wouldn't call it murder in the first place since it doesn't violate self-ownership. The right to live is not an obligation to live.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Tue May 04, 2010 12:42 am UTC

Philosophically relevant:

Jean Baudrillard wrote:We can no longer speak Evil.

All we can do is discourse on the rights of man -- a discourse which is pious, weak, useless and hypocritical, its supposed value deriving from the Enlightenment belief in a natural attraction of the Good, from an idealized view of human relationships (whereas Evil can manifestly be dealt with only by means of Evil).

What is more, even this Good qua ideal value is invariably deployed in a self-defensive, austerity-loving, negative and reactive mode. All the talk is of the minimizing of Evil, the prevention of violence: nothing but security. This is the condescending and depressive power of good intentions, a power that can dream of nothing except rectitude in the world, that refuses even to consider a bending of Evil, or an intelligence of Evil.

There can be a "right" to speech only if speech is defined as the "free" expression of an individual. Where speech is conceived of as a form implying reciprocity, collusion, antagonism or seduction, the notion of right can have no possible meaning.

Is there such a thing as a right to desire, a right to the unconscious, or a right to pleasure? The idea is absurd. This is what makes the sexual liberation movement ridiculous when it talks about rights, and what makes our "commemoration" of the Revolution ridiculous when the rights of man are evoked.

The "right to live" is an idea that sets all pious souls atremble, but when this idea evolves into the right to die, the absurdity of the whole business becomes obvious. For, after all, dying (and living too) is a destiny, a fate -- be it happy or unhappy -- and certainly not a right.

Why not demand the "right" to be a man or a woman? Or, for that matter, a Leo, an Aquarius or a Cancer? But what would it mean to be a man or a woman if it were a right? What makes life exciting is the fact that you have been placed on one side or the other of the sexual divide, and you must take it from there. Those are the rules of the game, and it makes no sense to break them. No one can stop me from claiming the right to move my knight in a straight line on the chessboard, but where does it get me? Rights in such matters are idiotic.

The right to work: yes, we have reached that point, thanks to a savage irony. The right to unemployment! The right to strike! No one can even see the surreal humour of such things anymore. Occasionally, though, a certain black humour does burst out here, as when an American condemned to death claims the right to be executed despite the efforts of umpteen human-rights organizations to obtain a stay of execution. This is where things get interesting. The list of rights turns out to include not a few bizarre varieties: the Israelis, for example, claim as a sort of right the fact that there are criminals among their number -- whereas from time immemorial, Jews were only victims. Now at last they can enjoy the officially endorsed luxury of criminality!

There can be no doubt either that the USSR, with Chernobyl, the Armenian earthquake and the foundering of a nuclear submarine, has take a giant step towards an extension of the rights of man (indeed, beyond the accords of Helsinki or elsewhere), for the Soviets have clearly laid claim to the right to catastrophe. It is indeed your most fundamental and essential right -- your right to accidents, to crime, to error, to Evil, to the worst as well as to the best -- which, far more than your right to happiness, makes you a human being worthy of the name.

In the sphere of rights the irresistible trend is towards a situation where, if something can be taken for granted, all rights are otiose [i.e. useless --icy], whereas if a right must be demanded, it means that the battle is already lost; thus the very call for rights to water, air and space indicates that all these things are already on the way out. Similarly the evocation of a right to reply signals the absence of any dialogue, and so on.

...

Yet it is precisely now that the rights of man are acquiring a worldwide resonance. They constitute the only ideology that is currently available -- which is as much to say that human rights are the zero point of ideology, the sole outstanding balance of history. Human rights and ecology are the two teats of the consensus. The current world charter is that of the New Political Ecology.

Ought we to view this apotheosis of human rights as the irresistible rise of stupidity, as a masterpiece which, though imperilled, is liable to light up the coming fin de siècle in the full glare of the consensus?


From Le transparence du Mal, Éditions Galilée, Paris, 1990 [The Transparency of Evil, Verso, London, 1993]
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Re: Right to die.

Postby mister k » Tue May 04, 2010 10:55 am UTC

I'm interested to see the debate is about all forms of suicide here. I don't know if theres anyone present who'd deny the terminally ill their right to die? Thats a right thats denied in most countries (often people in such situations are unable to do it themselves, so require assistance). We know such a thing is achievable- its done in some of continental Europe after all. I really dislike the notion of being trapped, unable to end my own existence.


Heisenberg wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:Was it bad when homosexuals were mentally-ill by definition?
Funny story: Homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone. And before you come back with how two dudes fucking has somehow devalued your marriage, I'm talking about hurt as in 'plunge-knife-into-human' hurt.
Cleverbeans wrote:Is it better to err on the side of liberty or authority?

Liberty. Making exceptions only when life is at risk. I believe in the value of life and liberty. In the case of non-harming behaviors, like social anxiety, I have no right to infringe on another's liberty. However, in the case of a serial killer, a child rapist, or a severe self-harmer, I have not only the right, but an obligation to intercede.


Legislating on the pureness of emotional hurt is a really, really bad idea. As others have mentioned, cheating on people, betraying friends, all these things can inflict massive emotional hurt. As for morality? Hmm...

I would tend to disagree that most people who wish to suicide are in their right minds. I do think if people are physically healthy then with help and support they can get through to the other side, and it is the duty of others to do so.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Heisenberg » Tue May 04, 2010 2:20 pm UTC

Hedonic Treader wrote:You think a consequentialist is inferior in his/her moral development than, say, a Kantian value ethicist?

Yes. But you're not arguing from a consequentialist perspective, so it's irrelevant. Your argument seems to be that ending suffering and "self-ownership" is more valuable than the preservation of human life. It's a circular argument since "self-ownership" means "a right to kill oneself." So your argument amounts to "I have a right to kill myself because I have a right to kill myself." At least it's concise.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Tue May 04, 2010 2:34 pm UTC

Heisenberg, I suggest you read the article I just quoted from. The concept of "right" is flawed from its conception.

The question "Do you you have the right to die?" is basically the question "Should you ever want to die? Does this option need to be protected?" And this is a silly question, of course a point of your death is just as valuable as a point of living. And how could you protect it if it is almost impossible to take it away? Force it at gunpoint? lol.

Its classic that you chose Kant, whose reason for judgement a priori is that is because you have a FACULTY for it to exist.

Edit: So reanalysis of your analysis:

Your argument seems to be that ending suffering and "self-ownership" is more valuable than the preservation of human life.

Aka, the will to death is more powerful than devotion to human life.

It's a circular argument since "self-ownership" means "a right to kill oneself." So your argument amounts to "I have a right to kill myself because I have a right to kill myself." At least it's concise.
To kill yourself can be another discharge of power, so the argument amounts to "I kill myself because it is a discharge of power."

Edit: Remaking your statement:
Choosing the time of your death is valuable. Preventing suffering is valuable. Human life is invaluable.

The will to death is not as valuable as the preservation of life, because preservation of life is incomparable and valuable beyond this universe. That is, that the preservation of life is transcendental.
Last edited by infernovia on Tue May 04, 2010 7:21 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Goplat » Tue May 04, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:The will to death is not as valuable as the preservation of life, because preservation of life is incomparable and valuable beyond this universe. That is, that the preservation of life is transcendental.


Nobody really believes this, they just say it because they think it sounds good.

Case in point: cars. Traffic accidents cause about 2% of deaths, that's about 1,200,000 annual deaths worldwide or 45,000 in the US alone. Yet nobody seriously proposes that we ban cars because of this, which shows that convenience can be valued above life. Since convenience has finite value, it follows that life has finite value.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Tue May 04, 2010 6:53 pm UTC

they just say it because they think it sounds good.

Which still makes them wrong when they say it. What, I am not supposed to attack things that are aurally pleasing or convenient?

So they may not believe it, but they want to believe it. And selling your idea that you "don't really believe in" (actually, you mean that he was wrong) can still be shot down.

Edit: And I think your evaluation of the conversation is lacking its focus.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Tue May 04, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Your argument seems to be that ending suffering and "self-ownership" is more valuable than the preservation of human life. It's a circular argument since "self-ownership" means "a right to kill oneself." So your argument amounts to "I have a right to kill myself because I have a right to kill myself." At least it's concise.

Self-ownership entails more than the right do die, but never mind.

infernovia wrote:The concept of "right" is flawed from its conception.

Ok, let's use the concept of power instead of rights. For the sake of the argument, and for the sake of our everyday intuitions, let's assume that there is such a thing as a "real" self, it's consistent over time, and conscious experience is somehow "attached" to it.

If true, I want the power

- not to suffer against my will,
- not to live in depravity or degradation against my will,
- not to do what other people, including any employer, tell me to do against my will,
- not to maintain or start relationships against my will,
- not to experience sickness and ageing against my will,
- not to inflict suffering on others against my will,

most or all of which are incompatible with continuing to live against my will. And as a whim of empathy, I would agree to grant that same power to others, if it were in my power. In practice, we could give ourselves this power through a system that enables access to safe and painless suicide meds for consenting adults. I guess I would accept a temporary trade-off between paternalism and self-ownership, and include a mandatory cool-down period of 3-6 months for would-be suiciders to really think things through. But other than that, I would reject paternalism and any "moral" argument that someone made up in a whim of arbitrary symbolism.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Wed May 05, 2010 12:00 am UTC

Hedonic Treader, I don't really know if you are trying to disagree with me, trying to give me feedback, or agreeing. Your conception of power is also lacking in courage, that is, it is still based on the moralizing majority.

The will to power is not the will to preserve your happiness, the will to power deals with power.

I suffer because I want to discharge my power against something worth the challenge.
I die because I want to discharge my power against the life around me:

It is hard to reconstruct Peregrinus' own motivations for the events of his life, because Lucian, for general and personal reasons, presents a hostile view of Peregrinus. According to Lucian, Peregrinus strangled his father to death; became a Christian so that he could gain wealth; was imprisoned so that he could gain notoriety; gave his inheritance away so that he might gain favour among the people of his home town; studied under Agathobulus so that he could become more obscene; attacked the Romans to become famous; and killed himself to become infamous.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Wed May 05, 2010 1:30 am UTC

infernovia wrote:The will to power is not the will to preserve your happiness, the will to power deals with power.

That is such a meaningless phrase.

I suffer because I want to discharge my power against something worth the challenge.
I die because I want to discharge my power against the life around me:

More meaningless phrases. Power is nothing but the material ability to transform intentions into causality. And you don't suffer because you want something, you suffer if and because the physical universe forces you to.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Wed May 05, 2010 2:31 am UTC

Ah, so you are disagreeing with me then. This makes things simpler.

That is such a meaningless phrase.

I am pointing out that you are using the will to power as a way to keep morality, that is you refuse to come to the dangerous conclusions it supposes. Its all well and good to decry values, but yours is of a significantly weaker understanding.

And you don't suffer because you want something, you suffer if and because the physical universe forces you to.

In fact, I suffer because I want to (and not only as a means), I am in no obligation to keep with my happiness, well-being, and preservation. I certainly am not bound to happiness (it is not a duty), and I desire to go through dangerous states and understandings (by which I mean suffering), it keeps my mind focused.

Suffering not as a misfortune (an accident), but as an act of evil (fatal). A misunderstanding caused by too much historical basis on morality.


Nietzsche wrote: Of all writings I love only that which is written with blood. Write with blood: and you will discover that blood is spirit.
It is not an easy thing to understand unfamiliar blood: I hate the reading idler.

The air thin and pure, danger near, and the spirit full of a joyful wickedness: these things suit one another.
I want hobgoblins around me, for I am courageous. Courage that scares away phantoms makes hobgoblins for itself -- courage wants to laugh.

Unconcerned, contemptuous, violent -- that is how wisdom would have us be: she is a woman and never loves anyone but a warrior.
You tell me: 'Life is hard to bear.' But if it were otherwise why should you have your pride in the morning and your resignation in the evening?
Life is hard to bear: but do not pretend to be so tender! We are all of us pretty fine asses and assesses of burden!

And to me too, who love life, it seems that butterflies and soap-bubbles, and whatever is like them among men, know most about happiness.
To see these light, foolish, dainty, affecting little souls flutter about -- that moves Zarathustra to tears and to song.
You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I tell you: it is the good war that hallows every cause.

Thus live your life of obedience and war! What good is long life? What warrior wants to be spared?
I do not spare you, I love you from the very heart, my brothers in war!


I suffer because I want to discharge my power against something worth the challenge.
I die because I want to discharge my power against the life around me:

More meaningless phrases. Power is nothing but the material ability to transform intentions into causality.

Hmm, these phrases are used to signify the act as something more powerful than its opposite. That is, the will to die is stronger than the will to live, of course not always, but this scenario is easily fathomable.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Wed May 05, 2010 10:34 am UTC

(Off-topic discussions about the nature of power)
Spoiler:
infernovia wrote:I am pointing out that you are using the will to power as a way to keep morality, that is you refuse to come to the dangerous conclusions it supposes. Its all well and good to decry values, but yours is of a significantly weaker understanding.

I disacknowledge the idea that power is and end in itself. To me, it is a means to an end - regardless of whether that end is considered moral within a framework that others would accept, or personal in a way others would recognize as selfish and immoral. To imply that the "will to power" should be a part of anyone's goal system as an end in itself is at least arbitrary and to me just as meaningless as Kant saying I must never kill myself.

And by the way, I didn't decy all values. The prevention of suffering and the preservation of self-ownership are parts of my goal system, both for selfish reasons and because I have an empathy instinct. I accept that rights are a human convention, but it doesn't follow logically that they're not useful, or that all values should be rejected.

In fact, I suffer because I want to (and not only as a means)

I think we have a semantic difference in our concept of what suffering is. To me, the kind of suffering that is actually relevant enough to deserve the use of the term is both involuntary and severe. I assume you've never made this kind of experience, or else you probably wouldn't write statements like the above one, at least not without distinction.

Suffering not as a misfortune (an accident), but as an act of evil (fatal). A misunderstanding caused by too much historical basis on morality.

Wrong again. Suffering can be caused by malicious intent, such as sadism, dominance or other selfish acts within a social context, and that's why we evolved an instinct to consider these actions as immoral. This is not a misunderstanding, it's intuitive game theory.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Heisenberg » Wed May 05, 2010 3:50 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:
infernovia wrote:The will to death is not as valuable as the preservation of life, because preservation of life is incomparable and valuable beyond this universe. That is, that the preservation of life is transcendental.


Nobody really believes this, they just say it because they think it sounds good.

Nice cynical snark, unfortunately it's not true. Sure, someone who valued life and only life would in theory want to lock people in padded cells. But, as I already stated, I value other things as well, such as liberty.

Liberty also does not have a finite value, as long as you're against slavery. I know it's a bit controversial, but I'm going to go ahead and suggest that a person could be simultaneously against slavery AND murder.
Hedonic Treader wrote:If true, I want the power
to kill a yak from 200 yards away with mind bullets?

I'm just confused as to how writing down a list of things I want has any bearing on individual rights.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Wed May 05, 2010 3:58 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Hedonic Treader wrote:If true, I want the power
to kill a yak from 200 yards away with mind bullets?

I'm just confused as to how writing down a list of things I want has any bearing on individual rights.

What you call individual rights is itself nothing but a wish list of things (power options) you want individuals to have. And if we agree on that wish list politically and succeed in enforcing them socially, they will have those rights. And if we don't, then they won't. You're just arguing semantics because you don't want to actually grant self-ownership to people lest they might use it in a way that you don't like. Such as, say, ending their lives at the time of their own choosing. Or any of the points on my "wish list".
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Wed May 05, 2010 4:35 pm UTC

I don't really care about the topic of individual rights. We are talking about the topic at hand, that is the Right to die. I am telling you that rights are basically options that you protect and you fear will be taken away. How do you take away the option for someone to kill themselves?

The whole thing is absurd.

But, as I already stated, I value other things as well, such as liberty.

Liberty also does not have a finite value, as long as you're against slavery.

Liberty (at least, the way I understand it) and preservation of life are the complete opposite of each other, you can't just apply infinite value to them and pretend to make sense. Imagine we get the freezing/unfreezing people to work, what is cryonics but a preservation of life. No, nothing is transcendental, and you must compare values.

I think we have a semantic difference in our concept of what suffering is. To me, the kind of suffering that is actually relevant enough to deserve the use of the term is both involuntary and severe.

The semantic difference comes necessarily from our understanding of suffering. There is a great bit of eastern philosophy that I read, which I unfortunately could not find in the internet. So forgive me for killing the poetic moment:

A general comes to the monastery and is about to chop the monk's head. "Look, I hold your life in my hands."

The monk replies, "No, I am giving my life to you."

I assume you've never made this kind of experience, or else you probably wouldn't write statements like the above one, at least not without distinction.

There is a great thing Nietzsche says about the russians. Their ability to withstand suffering is much greater than ours.

Wrong again. Suffering can be caused by malicious intent, such as sadism, dominance or other selfish acts within a social context, and that's why we evolved an instinct to consider these actions as immoral. This is not a misunderstanding, it's intuitive game theory.

See above.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Thu May 06, 2010 6:49 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:How do you take away the option for someone to kill themselves?

The whole thing is absurd.

Well, there still is the question whether people have the option to access safe and painless suicide meds, and if physically debilitated but mentally competent people can get help to die a painless death at the time of their own choosing. There is nothing absurd or trivial about these questions.

There is a great thing Nietzsche says about the russians. Their ability to withstand suffering is much greater than ours.

Even if Nietzsche's machismo projections were scientifically valid (which is of course absurd), there is no intrinsic value in enduring suffering. More symbolism, zero meaning.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Thu May 06, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

Hedonic Treader wrote:Well, there still is the question whether people have the option to access safe and painless suicide meds, and if physically debilitated but mentally competent people can get help to die a painless death at the time of their own choosing. There is nothing absurd or trivial about these questions.


Forgive me if I don't really care about the side issue, I am focusing on the topic. If one wants to die, pain and suffering that lasts only a minute (or even 10 mins) is a small price to pay for the elimination of yourself. I don't really care if a medicine is made or not, if it is mass produced or not, or even if it is used or not. Just WHY is the action preferable, once you understand that, the action is a matter of execution.

Edit: On a side note, aren't there many poisons that already destroy the human body in mere minutes?
there is no intrinsic value in enduring suffering.

Only in the sense that there is no intrinsic value in not suffering. As for suffering being valuable, it makes us stronger for having gone through it. I find the action fairly inconsequential if one does not suffer for it (that is, one does not have the challenge). As for having scientific basis, you will find that psychology is very aware of individuals who put their survival in the line, who deal with pain. And who act because of the challenge.

Human history is also completely filled with it too, the ascetism of Brahmins in India, the sacrifice of the luxury life by Siddhartha etc.

Note that I am using suffering in contrast to being content and satisfied.

OP wrote:I believe this because if we do not have the right to kill ourselves we do not have the right to do anything that could possible shorten our lives.
Now if you wish to draw a line about where it is acceptable to be self-destructive (I.E. over-eating, smoking, dare deviling) I am interested in your thoughts as to why the line should be where you have placed it.

This is very smart of the OP btw.

I would like to state that my intent in making this topic is one of constructive discussion and awareness on the issue of rights.
I also would like to add that I strongly discourage suicide.

I think my evaluation of rights definitely goes along with what the OP had in mind, of course, my evaluation of the situation eliminates the need for rights all together. So who knows.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby jakovasaur » Thu May 06, 2010 8:25 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:lots of weird shit

Am I the only one in this thread who has no clue what this person is talking about?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Zamfir » Thu May 06, 2010 8:37 pm UTC

jakovasaur wrote:
infernovia wrote:lots of weird shit

Am I the only one in this thread who has no clue what this person is talking about?
he wants to tell us he reads nietzsche
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Thu May 06, 2010 9:22 pm UTC

Am I the only one in this thread who has no clue what this person is talking about?

Its pretty simple.

    Death is valuable, and sometimes it is much better to die than to live (indeed, death is what makes living so enjoyable).

    That suffering is valuable.

    There is no need to create magical drugs that kill you with no pain (although I think they already exist) when the person finds it necessary to kill himself.

    That living (in the sense of preservation) is not invaluable, that is there is no need to preserve life beyond everything (it is not infinitely valuable like Heisenberg states).

    That preserving life is a slavish way to live, so that would contradict with the idea of Liberty.
And yeah, I do read Nietzsche. What of it?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby jakovasaur » Thu May 06, 2010 9:37 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:
Am I the only one in this thread who has no clue what this person is talking about?

Its pretty simple.

The desire to die is as valuable, and sometimes it is much better to die than to live (indeed, dying is what makes living so enjoyable). There is no need to create magical drugs that kill you with no pain (although I think they already exist) when the person finds it necessary to kill himself. And that life is not invaluable, that is there is no need to preserve life beyond everything (it is not infinitely valuable like Heisenberg states). Also, that preserving life is a slavish way to live, so that would contradict with the idea of Liberty.

And yeah, I do read Nietzsche. What of it?

You keep saying all these random ideas that are tangentially connected to the topic, without ever really addressing the issue of whether the freedom to end your life should be preserved as a right. Half of the content in your posts seems like perversions of quasi-philosophical ideas you think you read somewhere.

For example: "Dying is what makes living so enjoyable" is not only a meaningless conclusion without a supporting argument, but has no bearing at all on this issue.

Or:
infernovia wrote:I think my evaluation of rights definitely goes along with what the OP had in mind, of course, my evaluation of the situation eliminates the need for rights all together. So who knows.

I can't figure out what your evaluation is supposed to be, but if you disagree with the concept of rights, why are you arguing in a thread about whether we should have a certain right?! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

Sorry if I'm being harsh, or maybe I just don't understand, but you keep derailing this thread, which I am trying to follow, with these inane comments.

Also, regarding Nietzsche, you should probably stop reading the Wahnebriefe.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Thu May 06, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

freedom to end your life should be preserved as a right

I feel that I already mentioned this, how do you preserve something that is not in danger? How do you REMOVE the ability of a person to kill himself? Or even die for that matter! As long as you aren't in prison, the necessary materials aren't exactly hard to get.

For example: "Dying is what makes living so enjoyable" is not only a meaningless conclusion without a supporting argument, but has no bearing at all on this issue.

I edited afterwards, dying is simply a form of living. Death is what makes life enjoyable is what I meant. And it is relevant against Heisenberg's statement that the preservation of life is invaluable (which means that he would rather ban the ability to kill oneself).

but if you disagree with the concept of rights, why are you arguing in a thread about whether we should have a certain right?! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

Because people are arguing about something that will fundamentally get them muddled in a subject that the topic has nothing to do with, that is depression. And of course, one can't forget the ideals that they are arguing with each of their statements.

Sorry if I'm being harsh, or maybe I just don't understand, but you keep derailing this thread, which I am trying to follow, with these inane comments.

I wouldn't have even posted anything, if it wasn't for people arguing with ideas that were destroyed by the 19th century.

Also, regarding Nietzsche, you should probably stop reading the Wahnebriefe.

Haven't even started them yet.

EDIT: Second attempt. The right to die will only become a fundamental problem (an issue worth discussing) if someone managed to create immortality. That is cryonics, or something not as stringent.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Goplat » Thu May 06, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:
freedom to end your life should be preserved as a right

I feel that I already mentioned this, how do you preserve something that is not in danger? How do you REMOVE the ability of a person to kill himself? Or even die for that matter! As long as you aren't in prison, the necessary materials aren't exactly hard to get.
The necessary materials for the methods that are any good (e.g. overdosing on general anesthetics) are restricted. Most suicide methods are either excessively painful, or have a chance of failure (and failure results in imprisonment in a mental institution to prevent a second try).

So the government doesn't removing the ability to kill oneself completely, but they certainly do infringe on it. Same as any other thing they make illegal: some people get away with murder, but a lot fewer than would if it wasn't prosecuted.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Thu May 06, 2010 10:41 pm UTC

The necessary materials for the methods that are any good (e.g. overdosing on general anesthetics) are restricted

There is also smoking, drinking, and all those things that shorten your lifespan. You can even get into waveboat racing if you are rich enough. Or, you can just wait for your death. Because death isn't even close to being removed yet. Its certainly not something you can pretend to remove from happening.

But the culture of life preservation and health, I do agree that THIS is a problem (and the reason I argued Heisenberg). The slavish mentality of preserving one's health, one's body, etc. is getting to the point of absurdity.

So the government doesn't removing the ability to kill oneself completely, but they certainly do infringe on it

Yeah, infringing on like... tail ends of it. And mostly because they are afraid of wholescale murder rather than suicide. Certainly, most of the options aren't pretty, but the conclusion is annihilation man.

Again, the only clear threat to the right to die is immortality. Granting a right to something only shows you that it is in the way out of the culture.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Hedonic Treader » Thu May 06, 2010 10:53 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:There is also smoking, drinking, and all those things that shorten your lifespan. You can even get into waveboat racing if you are rich enough. Or, you can just wait for your death. Because death isn't even close to being removed yet. Its certainly not something you can pretend to remove from happening.

This is a rather silly point, considering that political demands of the "right do die" movements revolve around deciminalization of euphanasia and availability of suicide meds. In any meaningful discussion about the topic, the "right do die" is just a shorthand for such practical demands.

Certainly, most of the options aren't pretty, but the conclusion is annihilation man.

A significant percentage of suicide attempts fail. According to Geo Stone, something around 90%. Even if it's lower, it shows that people don't have the option to just decide they want to die. Even if they're ready to accept quite some pain in the process, the outcome is far from certain. A significant number of people end up living, but in a permanently damaged state. I personally did a lot of research before I found a method that is both painless and relatively certain of success, and even then it's a matter of fumbling with a platic bag and a gas container that wasn't produced for the purpose. It could succeed, or then again, it might not. (I don't plan to do this anytime soon, but I want to have the general ability if only for the illusion of personal freedom.)

And now think you cross the street tonight and get hit by a car, ending up with quadriplegia. And people are criminalized if they help you die. Sure, you can rationalize the suffering and pretend it makes you stronger - all the while knowing you will never move your arms and legs again. That's why I call it meaningless symbolism, it's detached from reality.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Cleverbeans » Thu May 06, 2010 10:55 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Please list something other than your amateur analysis of limited personal experience to suggest that your theory: "Everybody is depressed so it's not a real thing" is something I should consider as an alternative to the current scientific consensus.


This is impossible, because there is nothing resembling scientific consensus on the definition or diagnosis of depression. How exactly do you generate scientific data when you've only got a vague notion of what it is you're studying, and the best means of diagnosis has obvious flaws?

Heisenberg wrote:Funny story: Homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone.... I'm talking about hurt as in 'plunge-knife-into-human' hurt.


Red herring much? Claiming something to be morally wrong because it's socially defined to be wrong led directly to the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Classifying suicidal ideation as a mental disorder falls into exactly the same category - society considers it amoral and that's sufficient justification to oppress those who would participate in the behaviour.

Heisenberg wrote:Re: Valuing life. Yes, I value life enough to dedicate my life to it. My home, my time, etc. Do you? Why don't we stop arguing and volunteer the time we'll save at a local shelter?


Somehow I doubt you're working in mental health services, if you were you'd know that what I'm saying is true. I spent a decade working in group homes and nursing homes and I assure you that people who are willing to commit to helping others are by far the minority.

Heisenberg wrote:Bullshit. They are objective moral questions.


Objective moral questions? You have some objective piece of evidence to substantiate your claim that wanting to commit suicide is always wrong? Like on some stone tablets handed to you on a mountain somewhere or...?

Heisenberg wrote:Liberty. Making exceptions only when life is at risk. I believe in the value of life and liberty. In the case of non-harming behaviors, like social anxiety, I have no right to infringe on another's liberty. However, in the case of a serial killer, a child rapist, or a severe self-harmer, I have not only the right, but an obligation to intercede.


That's a very broad claim. Would you have stopped Ghandi from fasting to the point of atrophy on the grounds he was a self-harmer? Where does something like smoking, gambling, drinking or talking on the phone while driving fit into your spectrum of non-harming behaviours? Should welding be an illegal profession because it significantly decreases life expectancy? Should we ban military recruiting? You're opinion as to what constitutes sufficient grounds to circumvent liberty is hardly an objective standard...

Heisenberg wrote:First, I'd argue that giving every depressed person a handgun and instructions is not addressing the cause of depression. Treating them seems to be the better option to me.


Except that we don't know the cause of depression so we can't treat them, at best we can mask the symptoms by getting high. I can understand that in general you feel we should be trying to address the causes and I'm certainly right behind you, however I'm not so nieve as to believe this is currently possible.

Heisenberg wrote:Choosing the time of your death is valuable. Preventing suffering is valuable. Human life is invaluable.


I assume this is on the aforementioned stone tablets?
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Thu May 06, 2010 11:27 pm UTC

I think a significant portion of the failed suicide were done using meds and other stuff right? Overdosing isn't really reliable, but there are more violent methods that are more certain. Requires you to withstand a lot of pain though.

I agree that people value the preservation of life too much, and pretty much the only reason I think the topic is even worthy of being talked about.

"right do die" movements revolve around deciminalization of euphanasia and availability of suicide meds.

Yeah, I don't know about that. The OP was talking about the other things that shorten your lifespan too.

Sure, you can rationalize the suffering and pretend it makes you stronger - all the while knowing you will never move your arms and legs again.

And I am sure that the loss of the arms and legs will teach something to me, only if it is accepted . A great cost, but the stupidity was great before then anyway (but seriously, that doesn't sound like a good way to do it). Giving an arm and a leg for common wisdom that people have realized before, sometimes there are people like that.

Or they can just suffer and keep bitching about how life sucks etc.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby jakovasaur » Thu May 06, 2010 11:36 pm UTC

infernovia wrote:
"right do die" movements revolve around deciminalization of euphanasia and availability of suicide meds.

Yeah, I don't know about that. The OP was talking about the other things that shorten your lifespan too.

The OP only included those things as a reply to those who would say preservation of life is more important: If someone says we don't have the right to die because we have to preserve life, then the OP is asking where you could possibly draw the line. If we can't kill ourselves, does that mean we can't smoke or eat unhealthy food?

That's just a side argument though. The point of the right to die debate is clearly about euthanasia and the right to commit suicide directly.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Thu May 06, 2010 11:44 pm UTC

Just a few points:
a) Please don't call being committed "imprisonment". There is a significant difference.
b) Suicidal ideation is not a mental disorder, it is a symptom and often a warning sign. If an individual expresses a desire to die or harm themselves, it is generally considered cause to look in to possible reasons for this desire. A patient with terminal cancer may be thinking rationally when they ask to die. A healthy fourteen year old is rarely thinking in rational terms when they make an attempt.
c) Treating depression with medication is not getting the patient high.
d) Please be more sensitive to the fact that you are talking about a delicate issue. A lot of people on the fora have dealt directly with the hypotheticals put forth in the thread.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri May 07, 2010 2:28 am UTC

Virtual_Aardvark wrote:a) Please don't call being committed "imprisonment". There is a significant difference.


The word imprisonment means "to confine as thought in a prison" which is exactly what's happening to someone who's put into a mental health facility against their will. It's exactly the right word to use in the context in which it was used.

b) Suicidal ideation is not a mental disorder, it is a symptom and often a warning sign. If an individual expresses a desire to die or harm themselves, it is generally considered cause to look in to possible reasons for this desire.


I completely agree, and certainly people who are considering suicide require professional advice. Hardly a reason to make it illegal.

c) Treating depression with medication is not getting the patient high.


Taking drugs to feel good is getting high. I certainly don't object to the practice, but I don't have to pretend it's somehow fundamentally different because the drugs are legal.

d) Please be more sensitive to the fact that you are talking about a delicate issue. A lot of people on the fora have dealt directly with the hypotheticals put forth in the thread.


On both sides of the debate I'm sure. It is Serious Business after all.
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Re: Right to die.

Postby infernovia » Fri May 07, 2010 5:50 am UTC

The OP only included those things as a reply to those who would say preservation of life is more important: If someone says we don't have the right to die because we have to preserve life, then the OP is asking where you could possibly draw the line. If we can't kill ourselves, does that mean we can't smoke or eat unhealthy food?

Ugh, "can't" makes the whole thing so muddled. If we force us to not kill ourselves, shouldn't we also force us to not eat unhealthy food? etc.

Basically, this goes back to what I was talking about earlier. There is no way to preserve life, in the sense that life is the exchange of energy, conflict. Any preservation will lead to a sort of stagnation (ie, boredon). It is a good thing that we all do not build nuclear shelters and have ourselves frozen using cryonics. At some level, we realize that complete preservation, complete security, complete paranoia, complete denial of all harmful things (not of its existence, but in the sense of protection) is ultimately not life-affirming. At some level, we understand that there is no reason to slave over our physical survival. So in this sense, death and all harmful things are needed.

That's just a side argument though. The point of the right to die debate is clearly about euthanasia and the right to commit suicide directly.

Given the treatment of old people and their insane amount of medication and necessities, I can say that there would be a certain time where I would feel like a dead man walking. Maybe the solution would be not to go to doctors? But arthritis and shit like that sucks, just have enough pain killers?

I am always impressed by those who fight against abortion, saying "what if you were that fetus?" My usual response is, I would have been dead. Its pretty much the simplest answer I can think of.

The problem is, there is just too many that have learned to be weak nowadays. I haven't dealt with depressed kids and I don't really know how to turn them into non-death seeking people or what their actual problem is, or what a society that would accept euthanasia/eugenics would do. I also wonder if it is more of a modern thing, that is depression even out of security and material satisfaction.

Edit: Just to be clear, I don't really care for depressional suicide. I don't really think that there is much to gain from the physical act of eliminating your body, usually a function only used for those things rotten and used. But, I do find a necessity, and I don't really care much for the progress in medicine in sustaining the life without vitality.
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