Saturday, July 21, 2007

What suicide really is...

I must admit that there has never been anyone close to me who has actually committed suicide, but the concept has fascinated me. No, I am not talking about gory scenes in abandoned rooms so much as I am thinking of certain individuals who had so much going for them but they ended up squandering their gifts. This more protracted form of suicide is pervasive in our day and age, and is something from which one should always run. Of course, there are also the famous people who have committed suicide and the public is well aware of them, whose deaths generally sadden and frustrate the world.

Last night I came across such a jaw-dropping quote on this matter from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy that I have to cite it in full. Read on, but please be ready for some serious analysis of this world:

....Grave moderns told us that we must not even say "poor fellow", of a man who had blown his brains out, since he was an enviable person, and had only blown them out because of their exceptional excellence. Mr. William Archer even suggested that in the golden age there would be penny-in-the-slot machines, by which a man could kill himself for a penny. In all this I found myself utterly hostile to many who called themselves liberal and humane. Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take and interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage. For it destroys all buildings: it insults all women. The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not: that is his crime. He cannot by bribed, even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City. The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them. But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it. He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake. There is not a tiny creature in the cosmos at whom is death is not a sneer. When a man hangs himself on a tree, the leaves might fall off in anger and the birds fly away in fury: for each has received a personal affront. Of course there may be pathetic emotional excuses for the act. There often are for rape, and there almost always are for dynamite. But if it comes to clear ideas and the intelligent meaning of things, then there is much more rational and philosophic truth in the burial at the crossroads and the stake driven through the body, than in Mr. Archer's suicidal automatic machines. There is a meaning in burying the suicide apart. The man's crime is different from other crimes-for it makes even crimes impossible.

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