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killing yourself to save

Caramel
Posts: 855
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1/1/2011 4:01:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Is it inherently immoral to kill oneself when the situation isn't imminently dire?

I was listening to a story on npr last night about microlenders in India, and how they are lending to poor people and then using strong-arm tactics to collect on the debts. One family had 5 loans going (they can take out loans to pay on other loans). These insurance companies also own life insurance policies on their debtees, and hence this family was put in the position where it was becoming more equitable for the debtee to die than to continue with the harassment and damage to the family. The debtee's 17 year old daughter mistakenly thought that her own death would free the family of the mounting troubles, and lit herself on fire using kerosene from the kitchen. She unfortunately also miscalculated how much to use, because it took two days for her to die of her self-inflicted injuries. The story is in npr's current news feed (can't cite it from phone).

My question: was the daughter acting morally or immorally? I'm conflicted... giving your own life for the redemption of your family is noble but such a planned horrific act can't be a good thing. I personally value the means over the ends so the fact that it didn't work to me is moot to judge her morally. Did she act reprehensibly?
no comment
wamba
Posts: 688
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1/1/2011 4:19:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 4:01:44 PM, Caramel wrote:
My question: was the daughter acting morally or immorally? I'm conflicted... giving your own life for the redemption of your family is noble but such a planned horrific act can't be a good thing. I personally value the means over the ends so the fact that it didn't work to me is moot to judge her morally. Did she act reprehensibly?

Yes, she could have done something useful such as steal from others, get a job, flee the country, murder the lenders, drown herself in chocolate
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
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1/1/2011 5:23:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 4:01:44 PM, Caramel wrote:
Is it inherently immoral to kill oneself when the situation isn't imminently dire?

I was listening to a story on npr last night about microlenders in India, and how they are lending to poor people and then using strong-arm tactics to collect on the debts. One family had 5 loans going (they can take out loans to pay on other loans). These insurance companies also own life insurance policies on their debtees, and hence this family was put in the position where it was becoming more equitable for the debtee to die than to continue with the harassment and damage to the family. The debtee's 17 year old daughter mistakenly thought that her own death would free the family of the mounting troubles, and lit herself on fire using kerosene from the kitchen. She unfortunately also miscalculated how much to use, because it took two days for her to die of her self-inflicted injuries. The story is in npr's current news feed (can't cite it from phone).

My question: was the daughter acting morally or immorally? I'm conflicted... giving your own life for the redemption of your family is noble but such a planned horrific act can't be a good thing. I personally value the means over the ends so the fact that it didn't work to me is moot to judge her morally. Did she act reprehensibly?

This reminds me of the time when God crucified himself
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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1/1/2011 7:29:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
family

Such a silly concern. Don't kill yourself for your family, people. Leave your family to wallow in the debts they have contracted.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Caramel
Posts: 855
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1/2/2011 12:47:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 4:19:31 PM, wamba wrote:
At 1/1/2011 4:01:44 PM, Caramel wrote:
My question: was the daughter acting morally or immorally? I'm conflicted... giving your own life for the redemption of your family is noble but such a planned horrific act can't be a good thing. I personally value the means over the ends so the fact that it didn't work to me is moot to judge her morally. Did she act reprehensibly?

Yes, she could have done something useful such as steal from others, get a job, flee the country, murder the lenders, drown herself in chocolate

How ignorant; an impovershed child in the middle of a billion + other poor, voice-less people somehow gets herself noticed by the world and you can't even make the connection that it was useful.
no comment
Caramel
Posts: 855
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1/2/2011 1:22:15 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 5:23:58 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
This reminds me of the time when God crucified himself

I've never heard of anyone seriously calling God immoral (although it's up for debate) so I will assume you are seeing this girl's actions in a favorable light.

While both this girl and Jesus essentially used their own deaths to accomplish a non-violent attack against a formidable adversary, Jesus' is easier to justify because he merely stood his ground while this girl snuck off and took her own life. But I do see the parallel and the argument could be made that she had no other choice to make her statement - after all, if there is one thing Jesus' story has taught us, it's that it is a bad idea to drag someone into the street and beat them to death because a martyr is what you end up creating and the people will eventually turn on you. Today's ruling class is much more clever; by keeping brute force to a minimum you can keep a fully-justified police force and get what you want out of the people through capitalism and law. Manipulation is now the name of the game.

Since her options were limited, this was her vehicle for the message. Her motives were probably along the lines of
- freeing her family from financial ruin
- stopping the pain she was enduring
- expressing her disdain for the entities pursuing her family

My moral system defines immorality strictly in terms of
- wrath
- lust
- envy
- gluttony
- pride
- sloth
- greed

Therefore, I cannot assign her an immoral state unless I can show that she acted with these intentions in mind.

I'm having trouble assigning a moral state to her actions (which is quite rare for me) because I can't seem to figure out her motives. On one hand, I could say that she was acting out of wrath (striking out against the lenders), pride (trying to protect her family's reputation), and perhaps greed... although the greed part is impossible to know without more information on what could be considered "excessive" given her circumstances. If the loans were to secure clean water, then I would certainly not apply this logic.

On the other hand, perhaps she was not acting out of anger. It's hard to imagine killing yourself without some sort of emotional trigger, but it's possible to make a calculated decision without being angry to kill oneself. The greed and pride components could be non-factors as well... In this case I would be unable to show morally that she was in error.

Getting back to wrath, I am wondering what the psychology behind suicide is understood to be. I have noticed that it seems to usually be a bug "f*ck you" to the world... but MUST this be the case? Is it possible for a suicide to be used in a calm, collected manner (free from my list of vicious intents) and actually be a positively-moral event?
no comment
Caramel
Posts: 855
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1/2/2011 1:23:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 7:29:07 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
family

Such a silly concern. Don't kill yourself for your family, people. Leave your family to wallow in the debts they have contracted.

That can be extremely painful.
no comment
Caramel
Posts: 855
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1/2/2011 1:25:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 8:13:30 PM, darkkermit wrote:
That depends if the family wanted her dead.

Kermit I believe you are concerned with ends. Whether ends or means shall be used is of course always up for debate but we aren't going to be speaking the same language.

You are saying that if the family really did want her dead, then it would have been immoral because these ends were carried out?
no comment
badger
Posts: 11,793
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1/2/2011 2:15:16 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/2/2011 2:13:47 PM, badger wrote:
ah, she was suicidal already. :)

sorry.. i mean she did it for herself, the bitch!
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badger
Posts: 11,793
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1/2/2011 2:15:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/2/2011 2:15:16 PM, badger wrote:
At 1/2/2011 2:13:47 PM, badger wrote:
ah, she was suicidal already. :)

sorry.. i mean she did it for herself, the bitch!

that was cold.
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Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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1/2/2011 7:59:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/2/2011 1:23:20 PM, Caramel wrote:
At 1/1/2011 7:29:07 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
family

Such a silly concern. Don't kill yourself for your family, people. Leave your family to wallow in the debts they have contracted.

That can be extremely painful.

To whose what?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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1/2/2011 10:48:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/2/2011 1:22:15 PM, Caramel wrote:
At 1/1/2011 5:23:58 PM, vardas0antras wrote:
This reminds me of the time when God crucified himself

I've never heard of anyone seriously calling God immoral

How long have you been coming to this site Rob?
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
adealornodeal
Posts: 8
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1/3/2011 4:08:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 4:01:44 PM, Caramel wrote:
Is it inherently immoral to kill oneself when the situation isn't imminently dire?

I was listening to a story on npr last night about microlenders in India, and how they are lending to poor people and then using strong-arm tactics to collect on the debts. One family had 5 loans going (they can take out loans to pay on other loans). These insurance companies also own life insurance policies on their debtees, and hence this family was put in the position where it was becoming more equitable for the debtee to die than to continue with the harassment and damage to the family. The debtee's 17 year old daughter mistakenly thought that her own death would free the family of the mounting troubles,

This by itself pretty much shows that she did it for her family - not for herself. A bad decision, but according to your summary, it's a bad decision with good intentions.

and lit herself on fire using kerosene from the kitchen. She unfortunately also miscalculated how much to use, because it took two days for her to die of her self-inflicted injuries. The story is in npr's current news feed (can't cite it from phone).

My question: was the daughter acting morally or immorally? I'm conflicted... giving your own life for the redemption of your family is noble but such a planned horrific act can't be a good thing. I personally value the means over the ends so the fact that it didn't work to me is moot to judge her morally. Did she act reprehensibly?

As a Muslim, I believe suicide is always punished; but in situations such as this... I can't bring myself to see it as immoral. And judging by the moral code you posted, it's definitely not immoral. Maybe under-thought, but not immoral. If anything, I'd say selfless.
adealornodeal
Posts: 8
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1/3/2011 4:09:29 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/1/2011 4:01:44 PM, Caramel wrote:

The story is in npr's current news feed (can't cite it from phone).

Did you find/can you post the link?
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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1/3/2011 5:55:04 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 1/2/2011 1:25:02 PM, Caramel wrote:
At 1/1/2011 8:13:30 PM, darkkermit wrote:
That depends if the family wanted her dead.

Kermit I believe you are concerned with ends. Whether ends or means shall be used is of course always up for debate but we aren't going to be speaking the same language.

You are saying that if the family really did want her dead, then it would have been immoral because these ends were carried out?

If you are a burden on everyone, nobody likes you and have no chance to redeem yourself in the future, then yes you should kill yourself.

Also, based on libertarian ethics, suicide is justified.
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