Elite Engineer

Argument against suicide

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8 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

Why I think it doesn't matter in this case what other subjects feel about life (that it has intrinsic value) is because if a given subject does not feel that it has intrinsic worth, how would it be relevant to them if others think it does, unless it is some objective quality which is universally applicable (particularly to their own situation)?

I agree with iNow, you're asking for objective answers but the parameters you set ("a given subject does not feel that it has intrinsic worth") are entirely subjective. If you're claiming this is an objective question, wouldn't this have to be the way everyone feels about their worth?

If you want the only objective answer about life that applies to this line of thought, it's that life is much more efficient than non-life in using light as energy. Even if you have nobody that gives your life personal meaning beyond yourself, the planet/system/galaxy/universe will always be a tiny bit more meaningful and useful with you in it. Living, you represent a potential that doesn't exist for inanimate matter.

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3 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I agree with iNow, you're asking for objective answers but the parameters you set ("a given subject does not feel that it has intrinsic worth") are entirely subjective. If you're claiming this is an objective question, wouldn't this have to be the way everyone feels about their worth?

If you want the only objective answer about life that applies to this line of thought, it's that life is much more efficient than non-life in using light as energy. Even if you have nobody that gives your life personal meaning beyond yourself, the planet/system/galaxy/universe will always be a tiny bit more meaningful and useful with you in it. Living, you represent a potential that doesn't exist for inanimate matter.

I am willing to follow your line of reasoning, but I suppose we will have to iron out either where I don't understand or else where a certain conclusion must rest (at least insofar as together we have reached a stand-still). I don't know what you are asking when you ask "wouldn't this have to be the way everyone feels about their worth?".

Is it then fallacious or somehow misguided to ask, "If a given subject does not feel that life has intrinsic worth, is there reason for that subject to feel that it does?"

Though you didn't say so, I do still think that this line of questioning is relevant to the thread, because if an individual does not experience their life as inherently meaningful enjoyable, or valuable, what would be a reason to keep living (ie. an argument against suicide for this individual)?

11 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I don't care...

It certainly depends on life, isn't that a condition?

The question of suicide is dependent on having a life to take. Is that what you're saying? If so, I will agree to that, but I don't think that the question of whether one should commit suicide is completely encaspulated by that fact.

The original post of yours I am particularly referring to runs as follows: "It’s preferable to prevent an immediate prospect of death in favour of a less certain future, even if that future seems unavoidable (which it isn’t)."

One problem I have with the comment is that you don't give an explanation as to why it is "preferable", but it also relies on the ability of someone to experience a future which makes life somehow desirable or worthwhile, which isn't a given. I don't only mean that someone may live an entirely tragic life, which is a possibility, but that someone could experience anything that happens as undesirable.

The reason I am putting this in this particular thread is because, in particularly the latter case (that all is experienced as undesireable) is there still an argument against suicide? That is also why I felt that the issue of the intrinsic worth of life is relevant, rather than extrinsic (some event or else some meaning which is given to it by experiencing subjects).

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5 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

what would be a reason to keep living (ie. an argument against suicide for this individual)?

 

Because tomorrow won't be the same... 

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2 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

Though you didn't say so, I do still think that this line of questioning is relevant to the thread, because if an individual does not experience their life as inherently meaningful enjoyable, or valuable, what would be a reason to keep living (ie. an argument against suicide for this individual)?

It's a line that's consciously/unconsciously designed to fail, or to explore a single conclusion. Is there ANYTHING reasonable I could mention that you wouldn't automatically declare isn't "enjoyable" or "valuable"? You've now added two more huge subjective terms to this allegedly objective question.

If you're trying to look at this objectively, you'd be looking at things that are common to all instead of specific to some. If objectivity is your goal, you're applying far too many subjective parameters to the line of questioning.

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10 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

I am willing to follow your line of reasoning, but I suppose we will have to iron out either where I don't understand or else where a certain conclusion must rest (at least insofar as together we have reached a stand-still). I don't know what you are asking when you ask "wouldn't this have to be the way everyone feels about their worth?".

Is it then fallacious or somehow misguided to ask, "If a given subject does not feel that life has intrinsic worth, is there reason for that subject to feel that it does?"

Though you didn't say so, I do still think that this line of questioning is relevant to the thread, because if an individual does not experience their life as inherently meaningful enjoyable, or valuable, what would be a reason to keep living (ie. an argument against suicide for this individual)?

The question of suicide is dependent on having a life to take. Is that what you're saying? If so, I will agree to that, but I don't think that the question of whether one should commit suicide is completely encaspulated by that fact.

The original post of yours I am particularly referring to runs as follows: "It’s preferable to prevent an immediate prospect of death in favour of a less certain future, even if that future seems unavoidable (which it isn’t)."

One problem I have with the comment is that you don't give an explanation as to why it is "preferable", but it also relies on the ability of someone to experience a future which makes life somehow desirable or worthwhile, which isn't a given. I don't only mean that someone may live an entirely tragic life, which is a possibility, but that someone could experience anything that happens as undesirable.

The reason I am putting this in this particular thread is because, in particularly the latter case (that all is experienced as undesireable) is there still an argument against suicide? That is also why I felt that the issue of the intrinsic worth of life is relevant, rather than extrinsic (some event or else some meaning which is given to it by experiencing subjects).

I'm not suggesting tomorrow is nirvana but if you die today, how will you ever know???

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7 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

It's a line that's consciously/unconsciously designed to fail, or to explore a single conclusion. Is there ANYTHING reasonable I could mention that you wouldn't automatically declare isn't "enjoyable" or "valuable"? You've now added two more huge subjective terms to this allegedly objective question.

If you're trying to look at this objectively, you'd be looking at things that are common to all instead of specific to some. If objectivity is your goal, you're applying far too many subjective parameters to the line of questioning.

Okay, I will accept that you say, but somehow the issue I am pointing out still stands, don't you agree? If we then accept that the issue must be subjective, because the subject must decide whether to take his/her life, then on those grounds, there isn't really an argument against it, as is attempted by the OP of this thread.

The reason I added the word enjoyable, for example, was because I wondered whether someone thought that a life which is not enjoyable could still be worth living (for that individual).

4 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

I'm not suggesting tomorrow is nirvana but if you die today, how will you ever know???

I think that my discussion with Phi for All might be coming towards the issue that I was trying to get at.

The problem I am having with the line of reasoning that you're giving is that it has to be supposed that someone would want to know or experience what comes next whatever it is. Phi for All has pointed out that I am setting up an argument which is designed to fail, but rather than that being a criticism of what I'm doing it's kind of the point. I know that may sound strange, but it is because I am trying to probe the limits of subjectivism (value is generally held as subjective in our age, whereas in previous ages it was not held as subjective) and there are consequences of this. For example moral nihilism.

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12 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

The problem I am having with the line of reasoning that you're giving is that it has to be supposed that someone would want to know or experience what comes next whatever it is

The point is, it doesn't matter...

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12 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

The reason I added the word enjoyable, for example, was because I wondered whether someone thought that a life which is not enjoyable could still be worth living (for that individual).

So we need to remove any meaning, enjoyment, or value from a person's life in order for you to explore whether that life would be worth living? I suppose that means the basic physics aren't relevant either? Is there anything else you feel needs to be stripped from this individual before you can decide if they should live?

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8 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

So we need to remove any meaning, enjoyment, or value from a person's life in order for you to explore whether that life would be worth living? I suppose that means the basic physics aren't relevant either? Is there anything else you feel needs to be stripped from this individual before you can decide if they should live?

What I am getting at is this: If meaning is not inherent in things - which seems to be the consensus, then it depends on an individual giving a meaning to the thing. But if an individual is unable to believe in a meaning then the process is impossible. Likewise for value. Enjoyment of things is dependent on an instinct (one does not choose to feel enjoyment for a particular thing, it is an experience which arises in the individual). Because these things are based on instincts (whether one is instinctually able to believe or to feel enjoyment) then they are not bound by reason. They are in a sense irrational aspects of the human.

I wanted to explore whether life is still worth living for this individual. Is there something about life itself that makes it worth living, or is it some aspect of the experience.

I'm wondering when you asked "Is there anything else you feel needs to be stripped from this individual before you can decide if they should live?" if you are somehow angry about this, as if I am committing some kind of injustice by asking. I am not stripping any individual of these things. If I must be honest this individual is myself, and I haven't stripped myself of anything that was not already missing.

14 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

The point is, it doesn't matter...

Can you elaborate on why you think it doesn't matter? If the experience is to be negative (even hypothetically), why would the individual wish to continue surviving to experience it?

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2 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

If the experience is to be negative (even hypothetically), why would the individual wish to continue surviving to experience it?

Why is it negative? Surely that's subjective?

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41 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Why is it negative? Surely that's subjective?

Yes, I agree that it's subjective. But I think that's the issue, because our experience of a thing (positive or negative) depends on an instinct, not on a reason. So a given individual might not be able to choose the reaction they have to things. What I am wondering is whether, if the instincts of a given human being predispose them to have negative reactions to stimuli (subjectively), is the life worth living which is experienced in that negative light?

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5 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

Yes, I agree that it's subjective. But I think that's the issue, because our experience of a thing (positive or negative) depends on an instinct, not on a reason.

One day we'll find out if we live long enough... 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

One day we'll find out if we live long enough... 

Do you mean humans (as in through generations of accumulated knowledge) or individuals by the end of their lives? I'm also curious if you have any reason for thinking so.

 

To expand on what I'm getting at for the sake of clarity (hopefully). In the past, value was not conceived subjectively, people thought in moral absolutes. But we have come (most of us) to locate value in the subject who gives it to things. The problem which I am trying to illustrate is that these applying of value depends on an instinct (rather than the rational function of reason), we have to already value things, instinctively. But in the absence of that instinct (whether it be towards life, towards morals) there are not arguments (at least that I can see, but I am open to hearing arguments from others) which can convince us to see the world in such a way that we don't already. I would be willing to follow this line of reasoning with others, which is what I'm trying to do by posting here.

I do not revel in the above described situation. I think that it is also true for morals though, but I think the question of whether to keep living is more central. I am not the first by any means to go over this issue. It is the subject of the work by Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (Sisyphus being a figure akin to the one I'm describing, whose existence consists of rolling a boulder up a hill which subsequently rolls back down only to roll it up again and repeat for all eternity). That work by Camus is focused on whether suicide is philosophically justified.

Edited by Pembroke

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1 hour ago, Pembroke said:

Enjoyment of things is dependent on an instinct (one does not choose to feel enjoyment for a particular thing, it is an experience which arises in the individual). Because these things are based on instincts (whether one is instinctually able to believe or to feel enjoyment) then they are not bound by reason. They are in a sense irrational aspects of the human.

I would urge you to reconsider the use of the term "instinct" for what you're describing. I thought I was moving closer to understanding your issue until you brought this up. I don't think humans have much in the way of instincts. We have a higher intelligence that's much more sophisticated, an intelligence that's capable of determining its own path to happiness, as well as deciding NOT to pursue anything that would give a life value, meaning, and enjoyment.

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1 minute ago, Phi for All said:

I would urge you to reconsider the use of the term "instinct" for what you're describing. I thought I was moving closer to understanding your issue until you brought this up. I don't think humans have much in the way of instincts. We have a higher intelligence that's much more sophisticated, an intelligence that's capable of determining its own path to happiness, as well as deciding NOT to pursue anything that would give a life value, meaning, and enjoyment.

If I reiterate what I mean, would you then provide a response to it? When I used the word instinct, I meant that, when engaging in a given activity, I will either feel enjoyment or some other positive emotion or else I will feel discomfort or some other negative emotion, I might also feel ambivalent or neutral towards the experience. When I say that enjoyment is based on instinct, what I am saying is that the enjoyment I feel of a thing is not a rational decision, it is a reaction which takes place in me. It would be similar for seeing something as beautiful, it either strikes someone that way or it does not.

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6 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

When I say that enjoyment is based on instinct, what I am saying is that the enjoyment I feel of a thing is not a rational decision, it is a reaction which takes place in me. It would be similar for seeing something as beautiful, it either strikes someone that way or it does not.

Reaction is a much more precise term to use for what you're describing. 

Why is choosing to do things you find enjoyable NOT a rational decision? 

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7 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

If I reiterate what I mean, would you then provide a response to it? When I used the word instinct, I meant that, when engaging in a given activity, I will either feel enjoyment or some other positive emotion or else I will feel discomfort or some other negative emotion, I might also feel ambivalent or neutral towards the experience. When I say that enjoyment is based on instinct, what I am saying is that the enjoyment I feel of a thing is not a rational decision, it is a reaction which takes place in me. It would be similar for seeing something as beautiful, it either strikes someone that way or it does not.

Is a cup half full or half empty? The answer is, it's always full.

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5 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Reaction is a much more precise term to use for what you're describing. 

Why is choosing to do things you find enjoyable NOT a rational decision? 

I wouldn't say that choosing to do things you find enjoyable isn't a rational decision, my appologies if I gave that impression. What I'm saying is that one doesn't rationally choose to gain enjoyment from a thing or not, it is an experience which arises from the interaction with the thing.

6 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Is a cup half full or half empty? The answer is, it's always full.

But is this analogy pointing to something like, even if the experiences are negative, they are sill analogous to the fullness and in some way worthwhile? If it is the latter then I don't see it.

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1 minute ago, Pembroke said:

I wouldn't say that choosing to do things you find enjoyable isn't a rational decision, my appologies if I gave that impression.

17 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

what I am saying is that the enjoyment I feel of a thing is not a rational decision

It wasn't an impression so much as a direct quote, you see.

3 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

What I'm saying is that one doesn't rationally choose to gain enjoyment from a thing or not, it is an experience which arises from the interaction with the thing.

Except when one goes to a movie one has been excited to see. Or when one looks oneself in the mirror before work, smiles, and sets out to make it a great day. Or when one is waiting for their child to be born, and vows to love it unconditionally always. 

Except when one decides they hate another person so much that they'll never enjoy ANY experience that involves that person, ever. Or when one chooses never to try any dishes with a certain ingredient one didn't care for once upon a time. Or when one can't see the good in participating with fellow humans to achieve a mutual goal and instead becomes a lonely hermit.

Oh wait, there's a lot of times one rationally chooses to gain enjoyment from a thing, or not. 

 

Even discounting anticipation as a rational choice, emergence is an even better argument against suicide. Like dimreepr's tomorrow-will-be-different approach, searching for all the possible emergent properties one could discover as one interacts with life is an argument that would seem to be finally objective, and universal to all people. You're unique, and interaction with you produces other things that are far greater than any of the things separately.

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27 minutes ago, Phi for All said:
1 hour ago, Pembroke said:

what I am saying is that the enjoyment I feel of a thing is not a rational decision

It wasn't an impression so much as a direct quote, you see.

No I don't see that in the quote you provided there. I still think that enjoyment I feel is a reaction in a moment to the experience and not a decision.

29 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Except when one goes to a movie one has been excited to see. Or when one looks oneself in the mirror before work, smiles, and sets out to make it a great day. Or when one is waiting for their child to be born, and vows to love it unconditionally always. 

Except when one decides they hate another person so much that they'll never enjoy ANY experience that involves that person, ever. Or when one chooses never to try any dishes with a certain ingredient one didn't care for once upon a time. Or when one can't see the good in participating with fellow humans to achieve a mutual goal and instead becomes a lonely hermit.

Oh wait, there's a lot of times one rationally chooses to gain enjoyment from a thing, or not.

First, one may not experience anticipation or excitement to see a movie in the first place. Even if one did, one could watch it and feel a disappointment in the movie, which wouldn't be rationally chosen but a reaction to the experience of watching it itself. 

One could stand before a mirror and smile but not truly feel happy, and hope to have a good day but experience a bad one. The same for the rest, the actual quality of the experience is a reaction that a person experiences and not one which is chosen. The same for negative experiences. I don't see you have proven anything, you are merely trying to say that one can choose to feel a given way from an experience, but that isn't true or by any means given.

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18 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

No I don't see that in the quote you provided there. I still think that enjoyment I feel is a reaction in a moment to the experience and not a decision.

It's in your own words, so I don't know why you don't see it. I gave examples of times when enjoyment IS a decision.

20 minutes ago, Pembroke said:

First, one may not experience anticipation or excitement to see a movie in the first place. Even if one did, one could watch it and feel a disappointment in the movie, which wouldn't be rationally chosen but a reaction to the experience of watching it itself. 

One could stand before a mirror and smile but not truly feel happy, and hope to have a good day but experience a bad one. The same for the rest, the actual quality of the experience is a reaction that a person experiences and not one which is chosen. The same for negative experiences. I don't see you have proven anything, you are merely trying to say that one can choose to feel a given way from an experience, but that isn't true or by any means given.

Now you seem to be moving the goalposts. Your earlier statements were much more unequivocal:

"What I'm saying is that one doesn't rationally choose to gain enjoyment from a thing or not, it is an experience which arises from the interaction with the thing."

I gave you examples that counter what you said above, and now you're saying "may not" and "could" instead of "it is" and "one doesn't". I objected to your asserted statements. Besides, making a conscious decision to enjoy something is done regardless of the outcome. Your day may turn out shitty, but it started with a smile and a decision to make the extra effort to have a great time.

I don't know why this is so hard to understand. Personally, I have to take some extra time to decide to enjoy any experience that starts out standing in line waiting. If I don't acknowledge that queueing turns my mood sour and take pains to counter it, it can ruin a good concert or Comic Con. I rationally choose to gain enjoyment from many things.

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2 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Reaction is a much more precise term to use for what you're describing. 

Why is choosing to do things you find enjoyable NOT a rational decision? 

You say here "Why is choosing to do things you find enjoyable NOT a rational decision?"

I said: "what I am saying is that the enjoyment I feel of a thing is not a rational decision "

 

Those are different. What you said implies that one already finds something enjoyable and then subsequently chooses to do it or not, whereas what I said is that one does not choose whether one feels enjoyment of a thing in the first place. So no, they are not the same, and that is what you have quoted me saying above.

27 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

Now you seem to be moving the goalposts. Your earlier statements were much more unequivocal:

"What I'm saying is that one doesn't rationally choose to gain enjoyment from a thing or not, it is an experience which arises from the interaction with the thing."

I gave you examples that counter what you said above, and now you're saying "may not" and "could" instead of "it is" and "one doesn't". I objected to your asserted statements. Besides, making a conscious decision to enjoy something is done regardless of the outcome. Your day may turn out shitty, but it started with a smile and a decision to make the extra effort to have a great time.

I don't know why this is so hard to understand. Personally, I have to take some extra time to decide to enjoy any experience that starts out standing in line waiting. If I don't acknowledge that queueing turns my mood sour and take pains to counter it, it can ruin a good concert or Comic Con. I rationally choose to gain enjoyment from many things.

I don't get why this is so hard for you to understand either. The quote of me in bold I still stand by. The first example you gave of a person choosing to enjoy a thing:  "Except when one goes to a movie one has been excited to see."

You said that I used the words "may not", and the context I used those words in was to say that a person may not feel any excitement to see a movie. That is the case for me now, I actually don't enjoy watching movies in general and I don't feel any excitement towards the prospect of watching any of them. I can't choose to feel excited about it, because that feeling does not occur to me at the prospect of watching any movie. I said that even if I was excited to watch one which I'm not), then it could happen that I watched a movie and felt disappointed in it. While I don't have that current experience in a movie, I have a memory in my youth of feeling excited for Halloween to go with my family to a pumpkin patch and when we went on the outing I felt strangely empty about the experience and frankly disappointed. I was young then and I did not engage in a process of consideration of all the reasons I did not like the pumpkin patch, I simply had a reaction of disappointment to it.

I think this is applicable to all of your examples, that one simply reacts to these stimuli with approbation or disapprobation, one does not choose beforehand to enjoy or not enjoy, one feels that way as a result of the experience.

You used the example of a good Comic con (something you enjoy). That is very well that you enjoy it, I'm not in any way discounting your feelings, but just because I do not have an equivalent of Comic Con, does not mean that I can rationally choose to materialize something that I react with a feeling of approbation towards. I am driven to respond on this site, for example, but honestly I get a feeling of anxiety at the thought of it, rather than a feeling of enjoyment... and that is how my experiences are. I don't really want to  personalize this conversation because I think it works on the level of ideas, but I can use myself for the sake of concrete examples.

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16 hours ago, Pembroke said:

But is this analogy pointing to something like, even if the experiences are negative, they are sill analogous to the fullness and in some way worthwhile? If it is the latter then I don't see it.

You remind me of my step mum, (she would find something to moan about if she won the lottery) she's so determined to find fault in the experience she forgets she's having an experience. Instead of moaning that nobody smiles at you, smile first and if they don't smile back, have yourself good old rant and feel free to enjoy it. ;)

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3 hours ago, dimreepr said:

You remind me of my step mum, (she would find something to moan about if she won the lottery) she's so determined to find fault in the experience she forgets she's having an experience.

Moaning about everything, at any moment, even such good one as winning the lottery etc. , might be sign that she has depression.. (95%+ the reasons for this topic)

 

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53 minutes ago, Sensei said:

Moaning about everything, at any moment, even such good one as winning the lottery etc. , might be sign that she has depression.. (95%+ the reasons for this topic)

1

Perhaps, but she has less reason than a woman/girl who has to walk 25K just to get water, but who is more likely to commit suicide?

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