Another good question which the movie Cloud Atlas presents by a gay love story, which ends tragically. Robert Frobisher commits the deed, sadly, but in his very last letter he wrote:

My dearest Sixsmith, I shot myself through the roof of my mouth this morning with Vivian Ayrs' Luger. A true suicide is a paced, disciplined certainty. People pontificate suicide is a coward's act. Couldn't be further from the truth. Suicide takes tremendous courage. Don't let them say I killed myself for love. Had my infatuations, but we both know in our hearts who is the sole love of my short, bright life.

We all see half of the debate, in these times, that is a a coward's act. After watching the movie with friends, we have came to this choice:

Suicide is courageous. It is the final step, which these people take to find a new door to the future. To plan out their last moments in what we see as "reality". For someone to take the 'great next step' of our life's, courage is needed.

I am starting to rethink it is courage that it takes to commit the deed. I still don't see it as being a coward... is there something even more to all of this then what we are believing?

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    It seems like the presumption here is that we have to assign a moral value to suicide at all -- that it's inherently 'evil' or 'good'. What if it's just good or bad based on the way of living it's associated with? I'm thinking in particular of the way in which assisted suicide might conceivably be merciful in the case of extreme/intolerable suffering. – Joseph Weissman Mar 24 '14 at 12:06
  • Voting to close - as it stands, this is a question as subjective as it gets, imo. – iphigenie Mar 25 '14 at 8:38
  • @iphigenie I don't see what you are seeing in the question. I am trying to get at there is something more than just courage to do it. But what is it? – user5797 Mar 25 '14 at 8:52
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    @Traven There are guidelines to how we should ask and answer here. Subjective questions are a problem, especially if they aren't "backed up with facts and references" and are nothing more than opinions. I feel like this is a question everyone can have an opinion to, and everyone can simply disagree, for there is no definite answer to it. That's why I voted to close. Btw, I think that the answers given confirm what I just said. – iphigenie Mar 25 '14 at 8:58
  • I worry this is not necessarily the most careful framing of the problems here. We have to be extra-cautious when discussing these sorts of concerns so I want to make sure there is a real problem here, arising from your study of philosophy -- in other words, more than just reflection on some dialogue from a movie and polling for opinions/interpretations. – Joseph Weissman Mar 25 '14 at 22:10

Suicide is usually an expression of a lack of motivation.

So it is not an expression of fear or courage.

So you are neither courageous nor cowardly in attempting suicide. You are just lost and don't know any other way out other than the ones you tried already.

A good expression could be: "Death by mental or emotional starvation by constant repetition of the same acts."

A person that dies of hunger also is not a coward or courageous. He is just lacking nutrition. Or in other words, he has no choice but to die. So it really is not a choice, but a lack of options to choose from.

If you are referring to the actual step of harming yourself. Well life is just slow death anyway. So we all are committing suicide everyday until we succeed. The actual suicidal person just found a way to get there quicker. He lost the will or the reason to live he lost the illusion that kept him going.

Could he find a new illusion. Yes sure. But love is pretty strong.

If you boil it down to logic it is just like begging your enemy to kill you finally vs. leaving you to die slowly and in agony. It just makes rational sense. You could say he is a coward for not wanting agony or you could say he is courageous for wanting to die vs begging for mercy. Either way. The individuals perspective says, there is no way out, let's end this instead of continuing to suffer without purpose.

  • This is a very subjective answer. Your "definition" of suicide to begin with. Maybe that's because the question is opinion-based in itself. – iphigenie Mar 25 '14 at 8:38
  • Of course it's subjective. Because the only person that can objectively judge this is the subject itself. Above was my reasoning. And yes I have thought about the topic a lot and no I have not attempted overt suicide. But still every life is by definition suicide. – DisplayName Mar 25 '14 at 8:56

Beside all the psychological nuances that surround the act of suicide (of which I am less aware), I would say a person committing suicide displays both courage and cowardice among other things (helplessness, disappointment, lack of motivation etc).

It's definitely not easy to take one's own life – something one holds dear all the time. Doesn't one display some rare courage in committing the act then? I think he does.

But from an another perspective, if we choose to downplay the emotional turmoil that forces the victim to take that unfortunate step, it appears as a sheer act of cowardice because it just doesn't make sense that one should commit suicide just because one has been unable to cope with the things that have happened in one's life.

We can argue over this endlessly but I am not sure if this argument would produce any results that can actually help us prevent suicides.

  • "We can argue over this endlessly but I am not sure if this argument would produce any results" - which is why this question should be closed. – iphigenie Mar 25 '14 at 8:39