Most people believe the answer to this question is “no”. But then most people ultimately want to be alive.
And this is the case even if they are suffering. Even most people who are suffering do not want to die. Yes, they want their suffering to end, but not so much that they want to end their lives.
For most people it’s a very simple equation: suicide doesn’t make sense because life does make sense.
But what if life doesn’t make sense? What if your life is your suffering? What if life itself is simply something you don’t want? What if the reason you want to end your life is because of life itself?
Death makes sense to these people. And the only reason I’d say suicide doesn’t make sense here is because euthanasia makes more sense.
In his article in The Guardian this week, Christopher de Bellaigue met a Norwegian family whose son chose to end his life using the euthanasia services available in their home country. He writes:
“Privately, even surreptitiously undertaken, suicide leaves behind shattered lives. Even when it goes according to plan, someone finds a body. That openly discussed euthanasia can cushion or even obviate much of this hurt is something I hadn’t really considered before meeting the de Gooijers.
Nor had I fully savoured the irony that suicide, with its high risk of failure and collateral damage, was illegal across Europe until a few decades ago, while euthanasia, with its apparently more benign — at least, more manageable — consequences, remains illegal in most countries.”
It was good to read someone who is wary of euthanasia in general (the article looks at whether current euthanasia services have “gone too far”) seeing euthanasia as a real option to the alleged messy death of suicide.
And the only reason people choose suicide is because, outside countries like Norway, we leave people who don’t want to live without any other option.
So I give a hesitant “yes” and say that suicide does make sense… but only because euthanasia is not widely available to those people who no longer want to be alive.