“What does it mean to ask whether life is worth living?”
AND HENCE –
“Under what conditions, if any, could suicide be justified?”
A lot in what both FOS and Mendy Lou wrote.
We each have choice.
Like both, I have considered suicide in some of the darker times in my life, and like Mendy Lou found it easy to imagine not quite getting the job done, and ending up unable to move or affect my situation and in far worse pain than anything I was currently experiencing.
And now my situation is different.
I have had many painful situations.
It is hard to explain the pain of multiple rapidly growing tumours, every heart beat reducing the ability to hold a coherent thought to near zero. Driving with such pain, with vision reducing to a tiny circle like looking down a drinking straw, with each heart beat, yet needing to get home to get help.
And that is now almost 7 years in my past.
I have had some pains since, including shattering my collarbone, then getting back on my mountain bike and riding to the hospital one handed, stopping occasionally as the waves of nausea interfered too much with balance and vision.
And now I have something I didn’t have in my suicidal days, and that is an understanding of complexity, and our exponentially expanding ability to create technologies that deliver more with less, and a belief in a possibility of a future with infinitely expanding possibilities that make enduring anything in the present worth doing whatever it takes to survive, and to play whatever role I can in creating a future of security and freedom for all. And I am clear that freedom in such a context is not the freedom to follow any whim or fancy or feeling, but comes with a responsibility to consider the likely impacts of actions on others, and to not do anything that imposes significant risks on the life or liberty of anyone else. And there can be no hard boundaries on such assessments, there are so many uncertainties that all any of us have is our best guesses in a truly fundamental sense.
So for me, suicide is now extremely unlikely, in any context.
For me, what makes life worth living is the experience of being, the experience of choice, the creative participation in many different fora.
Sometimes it is standing at my window watching the dolphins at play in the bay, sometimes it is writing, sometimes it is playing golf, sometimes mountain biking in the bush, sometimes cutting firewood for winter, sometimes making love with my wife, sometimes having a shower, sometimes writing a computer system to save others time doing tasks they don’t enjoy, sometimes telling a story to others that helps make a difference in their lives, sometimes it is just sitting in my chair thinking the thoughts that come, sometimes it is crafting ideas into a package that can benefit many others.