Rational Suicide
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11-11-2011, 06:09 PM
Rational Suicide
So, it's open season at my work and I'm reviewing my insurance options. I'm hitting 50 next year and my term life insurance premium is gonna go way up. I currently maintain 7 times my salary so I'm thinking to myself "Well, I guess the question is do I think I'll be dead in the next 7 years or not." Then I realize that there is no indemnity escape clause against suicide in my policy so I could always just off myself at any point and game the insurance company.

Does anyone else play these rational suicide games? Here's an academic treatise of the topic I found, although I'm not at all sure I agree with their argument. What is Wrong with Rational Suicide?

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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11-11-2011, 06:32 PM
 
RE: Rational Suicide
(11-11-2011 06:09 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Does anyone else play these rational suicide games?

Word of caution, GirlyMan!

Somerset Maugham, the English writer, has a marvelous short story, "The Lotus Eater", a classic, in which a bank manager chose early retirement with an annuity that was to last 25 years, fully determined to kill himself when the money ran out. Follow the link to see how the story ended. Big Grin
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11-11-2011, 06:36 PM
RE: Rational Suicide
Well, it beats the hell out of irrational suicide! Even though i'd rather the ratio of rational to irrational people in the world increased in the opposite direction....

I didn't read the whole thing: i was instantly put off by the opening.
Permissible? Forbidden? Kant forbids? ...
See, Amsel doesn't get to forbid and neither does Kant, and neither does the government or the church or any other body. It's my life and my decision.

Any particular intended death may well be a mistake in the eyes of the community or a shrink or another outside party, and still be the exact right thing for the suicide hemself. It may also be a mistake from the point of view of the suicide under changed circumstances - but circumstances aren't going to change for someone already dead, so it will never be known whether it might have been a mistake. Even if it were a mistake in the same circumstances, looked at from a different perspective, there won't be anyone alive to do that looking, so the point is moot.

In your case, 57 is probably too low a lifespan target; you should probably make alternate plans.
But i can think of lots of sound reasons to end one's own life. Morality comes into it only the form of fallout: who will be hurt, bereft or burdened, in what way?

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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11-11-2011, 06:39 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2011 06:44 PM by mysticjbyrd.)
RE: Rational Suicide
There is apparently a lot of death on the philosophy forums. Have we been taken over by goths?

PS:
If you are going to kill yourself to scam the insurance company, then you have to make it look like a real accident.
Many policies award double if its an accident.
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11-11-2011, 06:50 PM
 
RE: Rational Suicide
(11-11-2011 06:39 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  There is apparently a lot of death on the philosophy forums. Have we been taken over by goths?

It is Halloween time -- what do you expect? Big Grin
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11-11-2011, 07:14 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2011 09:22 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Rational Suicide
(11-11-2011 06:32 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Somerset Maugham, the English writer, has a marvelous short story, "The Lotus Eater", a classic, in which a bank manager chose early retirement with an annuity that was to last 25 years, fully determined to kill himself when the money ran out.

Nice. An indoor charcoal BBQ is not a reliable way of offing yourself is what I get from that. (But a gas stove was good enough for Sylvia Plath, but still not a very reliable technique.)

(11-11-2011 06:36 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  I didn't read the whole thing: i was instantly put off by the opening.
Permissible? Forbidden? Kant forbids? ...

That part didn't bother me. I never bought into the Kantian ideal of complete rationality in the first place.

(11-11-2011 06:36 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  In your case, 57 is probably too low a lifespan target; you should probably make alternate plans.

I'm not worried about me, I'm thinking about how to go about trying to figure out when I should go out to maximize the benefit for those I leave behind.

(11-11-2011 06:39 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  There is apparently a lot of death on the philosophy forums. Have we been taken over by goths?

Nothing to worry about, just a bunch of old people rebalancing the forum after an unprecedented influx of teenage angst. Wink

(11-11-2011 06:39 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  If you are going to kill yourself to scam the insurance company, then you have to make it look like a real accident. Many policies award double if its an accident.

Yup. That's true with my policy as well. Not a problem mysticjbyrd, already considered.

Don't misread me, I'm not suddenly just considering offing myself. Been playing these rational suicide games for some 30 years ever since I met Camus and Sartre and I'm still here. I'm just curious whether anyone else plays these games.

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11-11-2011, 07:45 PM
 
RE: Rational Suicide
(11-11-2011 07:14 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(11-11-2011 06:32 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Somerset Maugham, the English writer, has a marvelous short story, "The Lotus Eater", a classic, in which a bank manager chose early retirement with an annuity that was to last 25 years, fully determined to kill himself when the money ran out.

Nice. An indoor charcoal BBQ is not a reliable way of offing yourself is what I get from that. (But a gas stove was good enough for Sylvia Plath, but still not a very reliable technique.)

The moral of the story is that he did not have the will power to follow through with his plan. When his money ran out, he started borrowing, then begging, then bumming around, despised by everybody, a pathetic wreck of a man. His final attempt at suicide was just as botched as his entire plan had been.

We cannot be sure, until the time comes, if we have what it takes to kill ourselves.
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11-11-2011, 07:49 PM
RE: Rational Suicide
(11-11-2011 07:45 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  We cannot be sure, until the time comes, if we have what it takes to kill ourselves.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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12-11-2011, 01:09 AM
RE: Rational Suicide
There is a point where pain of the body or pain of the mind can ease the decision to a point where there is little doubt in one's ability to proceed. When fear becomes less that the pain, it's only a matter of how. Death is no big deal, it's how you get there that is the quandary.

Who can turn skies back and begin again?
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12-11-2011, 06:29 AM
RE: Rational Suicide
Well rationality is in the eye of the beholder, who may not be entirely rational at the time.

Although I do agree suicide is an understandable act, one which allows somebody to escape the dread of waking up every day and/or the pain of everyday living, it is difficult to discern whether one is taking an expedient route which they may regret if they could live another month or so.

Impulse becomes dangerous here; it toys with "rationality" and thus may result in the suicide of somebody who should not have died.

It is in human instinct to grieve lost ones, so another by-product of suicide is the inevitable harm it leaves on others. Although those who cling to the unhappy preventing their deaths may be perceived as selfish, it is also selfish of the person to take their own life without at least telling somebody, and possibly being helped out of their depression and/or pain.

Life is ultimately about enjoying life, and to cut short your own can only be seen as rational if the pros of being dead (mindless nothingness) outweigh the joys and experiences of life. Rational suicide is tricky, because in many cases it isn't rational, as there rarely a rational 3rd party to intervene and judge the worth of the act.
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