Conversation about suicide
The evening after his friend's funeral, I asked my friend Phil Osof about his attitude to death.
"Well," he replied, "death is part of life."
"It must have hit you very badly," I said sympathetically.
"I loved my friend. It is really very painful for me that he is no longer there. It is as if death had torn a piece out of my world. "
"Many find it difficult to understand that someone can voluntarily commit suicide."
"Suicide is a matter of opinion," replied Osof. “This attitude is a matter that should be left to everyone. Nobody and nothing should tell a person what to do with his life, which is his sole property. This also means: Nobody should have the right to determine the life and death of another while they can still decide for themselves.
And: From my point of view, it should be enshrined as a human right that you can commit suicide if you want to.
Because we were put into the world without being asked. For that we should also have the freedom to decide how long we want to live.
My friend's suicide was due to an incurable disease that caused excruciating pain. He put an end to this suffering with the death fast.
The life instinct that we all have within us is one-sided. You can see that from the fact that it continues to work even when life becomes a pain. If this instinct wants to continue to exist, then humans do not have to act so blindly. Should one live only for the sake of life? Regardless of yourself?
Many people are afraid of death. a. probably because then you no longer exist. But you cannot fall out of the universe, because even if you are dead, you always stay in space. Seen in this way, nothing changes: everything comes from one, everything is in one, everything goes into one, everything stays in one. Death itself is not a bad thing, you have everything behind you and you are at peace.
Of all living beings, only man has the freedom to decide about himself and his life - if he can overcome the life instinct. If impossible goals, like getting well, even though you are terminally ill, are causing you mischief, then this is slavery. If you can overcome yourself then you will miss it. This is how my friend faced death by taking his own life. Therefore, the loss of his life was a gain for him because he could overcome himself, more precisely: his life instinct. "
"The feeling of being helplessly exposed to the pain and the sickness was probably unbearable for him," I said.
"Yes. Finally, he decided to put an end to suffering through fasting. So, he voluntarily died by stopping eating and drinking.”
"Did he suffer?"
"Absolutely not. It is a gentle method if you do it properly. Refraining from eating and drinking is generally not painful for the dying. My friend was 70 years old, at that age the feeling of thirst decreased. It is therefore easier for older people in particular to die fast.”
"What do you have to do except stop eating and drinking?"
"Always keep the mucous membrane in the mouth moist: The feeling of thirst arises especially in the mouth when the mucous membrane dries out there. As a rule, death fasting proceeds in such a way that if no food is supplied to the body, so-called hunger metabolism occurs after one or two days, in which as little energy as possible is used. At the same time, the feeling of hunger subsides. Then the body releases endorphins, which makes hunger more bearable and can lead to euphoric feelings. As a result of dehydration, the kidneys have too little fluid to maintain their excretion function. There is an increase in the amount of urea in the blood, which makes you sleepy over time. Death usually occurs during sleep due to cardiac arrest.
The complete renunciation of food and fluids - with good oral care and well accompanied by relatives and a doctor - leads to a gracious death by falling asleep with kidney failure.
For my friend, fasting to death was a gentle farewell.”
"You accompanied him when he died?"
"As I said: I loved him. It was a need for me to be with him until his death, which came after eleven days.”
We gave ourselves up to our thoughts for a while.
Then I said: "They said: 'If life is only a terrible agony and this can no longer be changed - whoever manages to overcome himself to commit suicide grows beyond himself'!"
"That's how I see it," he nodded, "I mean, if life is just a wasting away and there is no hope left, then it is better to let go of life's drive and freely choose death. That is why I advocate suicide: to help people who are in a hopeless health situation and who may be in severe pain.
Because let's face it: aren't poor people suffering from unbearable pain but unable to end their lives themselves because they have learned or internalized that there is an authority, let's call them God, that prohibits them to take your own life? So, wait for this instance to end your life! Aren't they really poor people, to whom life is a horrible burden and who pray to a God to take them? You could redeem yourself, but are not able to do so because of the cultural components in you.”
"Isn't it often life that forbids them to commit suicide?" I asked.
"Yes, it hangs like a burdock on many people whose lives are only a chain of suffering, they cannot shake it off. On the one hand, there is often a clear mind that says: 'If life is only a pain, then you should end it.' On the other hand, there is the life instinct, which no matter how difficult a person is with terrible pain must torment, wants to continue to exist. It is a blind, emotional mechanism. "
"I want to admit that suicide is a salvation for the sick," I admitted, "but how do those close to them feel? Suicide is a social act that can have enormous consequences for others!”
Should you torture yourself until you die?" Asked Osof. "I would call it extreme selfishness if those close to you ask those suffering from excruciating pain to continue to live until 'natural' death occurs."
"Then these people are also victims of their culture?"
"So, you can see it."
He looked at me thoughtfully.
Then he said, "Dying is made easier when you accept the fear of transience and ultimately see death as what it is: A Redeemer."
"The thought of taking your own life is horrible for many," I said.
"Well - then they have to endure their suffering to the end. Man, also has this freedom.
I would like to say again: When people are so attached to life, I wholeheartedly wish them that they never get a gruesome illness that cannot be cured and that includes pain that can no longer be mastered. That they never become one of those poor people who are in a coma and cannot come into contact with the outside world. In such cases, the patient is awake but without perception. These people cannot speak, cannot move arbitrarily and cannot react in a targeted manner. It is often years of vegetation until she dies. Even if, when they were in good health, they decreed that they would not want to stay alive under all circumstances, because the very idea of having to stay in this state until the end is a nightmare often affects them socially Ideology and makes it suffer further.
There are people with lung diseases, such as asbestosis, who can no longer be helped and who are just waiting to die of suffocation. Isn't that horrible? Because it is possible for people to put an end to their own lives and not have to endure the terrible agony. "
"Some people think that someone who has the idea of suicide is sick," I remembered now.
"I would rather say that those who carry the idea of 'life at all costs' are the sick," replied Phil Osof.
“Life can be like an addiction. You may see that a person only torments himself until his death and that it would be best for him to commit suicide, but cannot overcome the barrier to life that makes us shy away from death. "
"So, your attitude is not to live as long as possible?"
"No, it's about staying as healthy as possible as long as you live."
"Does society see the life of the individual as their property?"
"It often seems to me that way."
The following question came to my mind: "Are you not afraid of death?"
"No. Why should I? Death is a saviour. I then no longer exist as a unit, but I am still in the universe because nothing goes by. At least that's what my mind says, which is attached to the objective world.
(By the way: the dead don't take stock.) "
"And your feeling?"
“If you ask that, it looks different, it is inclined to the subjective world. The life instinct prevails here. Feelings forcefully continue to live. And to do that, when people have death in mind, they work with fear.”
"I wanted to ask: If something now comes to you that threatens your life - doesn't fear come up in you?"
"I think so - certainly at that moment. This happens automatically because the life instinct feels threatened. These dull feelings, which can be terrible, can create fear.”
"What exactly happens in you when you can no longer avoid death?"
“You will always be able to recognize four phases of dying: rejection (ignoring), struggle (wanting to get rid of), sadness / depression (not being able or unwilling to let go) and agreement (accepting).
This process does not only happen in the face of death. It is generally the case that when something new occurs that does not suit him, man does not want to take note of it. If that is not possible, the next step will be to eliminate it with more or less valid arguments or violence. If this does not succeed, depression can occur, sadness due to having to loosen up. Finally, if everything goes well, you agree with the new one and accept it.
Such processes occur particularly clearly when people are close to death or existential upheavals are approaching them. And generally, in a weakened form when something that is loved or deeply buried has to be replaced by something new.
This is always the case in the course of life, because constant changes take place in the world and in yourself, you have to adapt again and again, change or delete old structures. The way to do this is through these four phases because the old has a certain persistence.”
“That was probably what you meant when you said: 'If someone loses a loved one or something else, they are attached to, they have to change their own structure. This transformation can be tremendously difficult, the harder the more you loved the lost. Because again and again you want to slip into the old shape, the old world and relive the feelings of that time. ""
"Yes. If there is a change in the structures in the world that you have to perceive against your will, then the corresponding midpoints must also change in yourself. And you mourn the past. "
"That means you have to separate yourself from your shape, which is dear to you and structured by hanging on the object of love?"
"Yes. Man, ultimately mourns for his own structure, or in other words: the structure of his world has been hurt, and he mourns for this change.
When you finally reach the fourth phase and can say: 'What happened had to happen, how it happened', you make peace. ”
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