[ExI] Right to Suicide

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 25 13:48:06 UTC 2016

the bulk of suicides happen among people with problems that can be treated
(even if they do not see it that way) or when people try to send strong
signals and miscalculate.  Anders

Not to disagree at all but to point out a few things:

There are many points of view here:  the one of the person, and those of
the people who view him.  We must be careful not to project our own
feelings onto the person.  While we might feel that death is far to strong
a fix for what's wrong, and that what's wrong can be fixed, the person
often does not see it that way.  Who are we to judge?

If the problem is within the person, they may have tried to fix it multiple
times with no success.  If the problem is in the environment - relatives,
bosses, friends, lovers, then we may be able to do little to help them, and
their efforts may have failed every time and they get desperate.  If the
problem is with past life experiences, such as deaths or betrayals and
such, then again we are likely to be able to do little.

Another point of view that can interfere with our interpretation of the
situation is our own feelings toward the person or just to people in
general.  We may feel terribly hurt when another person threatens or
commits suicide, and focus on our feelings rather than theirs.

Anders points out the personality disorder problem.  I saw one of these
when I was a psychiatric aide.  She came in with her entire forearm covered
in cuts she made with a can lid.  She was treated and released and three
weeks later she came in having done it to the other arm.  Clearly not a
suicide attempt but a call for help.

Here is a link for those who want to know more.  It is just wrong to say
"Oh, he's just depressed."  This obviously ignores the various types and
depths of depression, including those who don't present outer expressions
of it.


Freud viewed depression as aggression turned inward, and there is something
to that.  The violent crimes book is full of depressed people - usually
against friends and family.  You read about it often:  "Killed his whole
family and then himself."  Do not mistake a depressed person as one who is
harmless - he is often very dangerous.  Do not belittle his depression or
you could be attacked viciously.  Be very very careful of drunks who may be
depressed - alcohol releases emotions like violence.

bill w

On Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 5:19 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> On 2016-09-24 23:48, Chris Hibbert wrote:
>>  Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> It's not as simple as that. Most people who try to suicide do it as a
>>> result of a situational crisis or a depressive illness, which we know
>>> will
>>> pass even with no intervention beyond keeping them from killing
>>> themselves
>>> during the worst moments.
>> Can you point to evidence of that? Maybe it's the phrase "try to do
>> suicide". I'd be surprised to find out that people with "depressive
>> illness" can get their shit together well enough to successfully kill
>> themselves. I don't have as much doubt that they "try". Is there evidence
>> that most successful suicides are also the result of transitory situations?
> This is basically what I learned in Psychology 101. People in deep
> depression are too inert to do much, but sadly when antidepressants start
> working they sometimes get enough energy to suicide. There is also a lot of
> suicides due to other mental illness such as schizophrenia, anxiety
> disorders, substance abuse, and anorexia nervosa. But a lot of attempted
> suicides are part of signalling patterns rather than intended to actually
> end life; this is where you get more of the personality disorders.
> http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wps.20128/full
> http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.6.909
> https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medici
> ne/article/psychological-autopsy-studies-of-suicide-a-
> systematic-review/49EEDF1D29B26C270A2788275995FDEE
> http://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327(13)00036-0/abstract
> Overall, people often tend to think that suicide is usually a somewhat
> rational response to unbearable suffering. But while this happens and
> should be defended, the bulk of suicides happen among people with problems
> that can be treated (even if they do not see it that way) or when people
> try to send strong signals and miscalculate.
> (A relative once said to my mother over the phone: "Now I will grab my
> knife and go into the forest." She responded with relief: "Yes, *please*
> do." A risky strategy, but he is still alive.)
> --
> Dr Anders Sandberg
> Future of Humanity Institute
> Oxford Martin School
> Oxford University
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