Sometimes suicide is a conscious choice
An Oct. 20 letter to this column used a religious philosopher’s argument that most suicides, with some exceptions, are victims, just as one is with cancer or some other physical illness. He concludes they die not by their own choice.
This view, while it may have some merit in a rare case, such as psychosis, robs the person who commits suicide of his or her fundamental human freedom. Suicide can be a conscious and rational act. And it can also be a powerful act of expression. The monk who immolated himself as a protest against war in Vietnam is an example.
Trying to explain why a person takes this path is never easy, but let’s view it from a humanistic, psychological perspective rather than vague religious sentimentality.