"Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune or "broken heart" is excuse for cutting off one’s life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death. It is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one."

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (suicide note)


"There is only one serious philosophical problem-the problem of suicide."

Albert Camus

The Myth of Sisyphus


"The prevalence of suicide, without doubt, is a test of height in civilization; it means that the population is winding up its nervous and intellectual system to the utmost point of tension and that sometimes it snaps."

-Havelock Ellis (1859-1939)


"I take it that no man is educated who has never dallied with the thought of suicide."

-William James


"The power of dying when one pleases is the best thing that God has given to man admidst all the suffering of life."



"It is the part of cowardliness, and not of virtue, to seek to squat itself in some hollow lurking hole, or to hide herself under some massive tomb, thereby to shun the strokes of fortune."

-Michel De Montaigne (1533-92)


"Nine men in ten are suicides."

-Ben Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanac)

"No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide."

Cesare Pavese


"There may be reason in saying that a man should want, and not take his own life until God summons him."



"The thought of suicide is a great source of comfort: with it a calm passage is to be made across many a bad night."

-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


""Then it is sin

To rush into the secret house of death

Ere death dare come to us?"

-William Shakespeare 

Antony and Cleopatra


"Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren't in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life."

Vaclav Havel


"If you must commit suicide....always contrive to do it  as decorously as possible; the decencies, whether of life or of death, should never be lost sight of" ."

George Borrow (1803-81)


"We cannot tear out a single page from our life, but we can throw the whole book into the fire."

-George Sand


"To practically everyone at some time in his life comes the thought of suicide in greater or lesser degrees."

Dr. Thomas W. Salimon


"If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will."

-Antonin Artaud


"Each of us kills himself in his own fashion. Slowly or quickly-he does it. The reasons are many, and some are beyond explanation. Nevertheless, if you understand the implications of this truth, you will enhance your chances of delaying or obstructing your own destructive processes."

Peter J. Stein Crohm M.D.

How to stop killing Yourself



"Although homicides tend to garner the headlines, a different and perhaps more disturbing form of violent death is on the rise around the world: suicide. Since the mid-1950s, global suicide rates have jumped by 60%. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 1 million people will die by their own hand.

Analysts are generally loathe to attribute rising suicides to any single cause. However, researchers have uncovered a seemingly counterintuitive trend: As a nations’ living standards increase, its suicide rate tends to rise as well. A 1984 study of 43 countries worldwide found that rising quality of life-measured by such factors as education, health, women’s status, and economic and political stability-is associated with declining homicide rates, but increasing suicide rates.

Social scientists hypothesize that people who experience deteriorating living standards may attribute their suffering to external factors and thus are more prone to take out their frustrations on others. This view is consistent with studies linking increases in income inequality with higher homicide rates. But when individuals experience steady improvement in the quality of their lives, they may blame continued unhappiness-whatever its true causes-on themselves.

Living in a more Violent World….Foreign Policy


"My work is done. Why wait?"

George Eastman….suicide note….


"The theme of these pages is born of a double astonishment: that the notion of a Christ who would commit suicide should have been born so early, as early in fact as the Gospel of John; and that this notion should owe virtually nothing to the anti-Christian polemic of the first centuries. The idea of the suicide of Christ will have been, before all else, a Christian if not indeed a Christological idea."

Pierre-Emmanuel Dauzat

Le Suicide du Christ


"In 1610, Donne wrote Pseudo-Martyr, a dismissal of the dissident Catholic martyrs of the early seventeenth century as deluded suicides. Then, just a year later, he wrote Biathanatos, a defense of outright suicide in which Jesus himself is chief among the exemplary suicides of the past. Biathanatos-so daring in its day that it could be published only after Donne's death-is a tour de force of authentic intellectual passion. A fiercely brilliant scholar who once confessed a "sickely inclination" to become a biathanatos,(that is, a suicide: the Greek word means "one dead by violence, especially self-inflicted"), Donne was paradoxically strengthened by his pathology to trace Christian martyrdom to its source in the suicide of God Incarnate. Pseudo-Martyr, by contrast, seems a politically expedient work of conventional religious propaganda. yet who is to say that Donne did not believe what he wrote both times?"

Jack Miles

Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God


"So why do almost all cultures condemn suicide as a general and/or religious principle? People better qualified than me have tried to answer that. From a cursory glance at various cultures it is obvious that suicide is a threat to society, as well as an indication of both personal and societal weaknesses. "My God, people don't do such things," Hedda Gabler's husband Tesman says on discovering his wife's body. In a sense we are all Tesmans, making our world sane by making it familiar and orderly, and ignoring those aspects of it that disrupt that order. Suicide disrupts our world far more than simple death, because death is inevitable and suicide is not. It is a clear indication that something is wrong with an individual, and therefore possibly with us all. Recall that hole in the fabric of society that needs to be repaired after any death, to prove that life goes on. It is doubly hard to fill after a suicide. The very nature of the death implies the fabric may be rotten and not worth repairing."

Greg Palmer

Death: The Trip Of A Lifetime


   "Suicide unfortunately is an act of supreme egotism whether it be viewed psychologically-the most "brutal way of making sure that you will not readily be forgotten"-or theologically-the usurpation of divine authority. Consequently the quickest way to defrock martyrs and deprive them of their laurels has been to accuse them of "tragic show," as the emperor Marcus Aurelius did of the early Christians, or of "Suicide while of Unsound Mid," as did the fourth knight of Thomas Becket in Eliot's Murder In the Cathedral. The only really effective rebuttal to such an attack is the one directed at Thomas Thackham in 1557 which accused him of bias and self-interest. Thackham had dismissed Julius Palmer's death at the stake as self-murder, and Palmer's defender wrote, "(I) sayeth that he died a martyr unto the Lord; you say in effect that he ended his life as a castaway and willful destroyer of himself. To be short, the story justifieth the martyrdom, You, to justify yourself, deface the martyr."

Lacey Baldwin Smith

Fools, Martyrs, Traitors: The Story of Martyrdom In the Western World


Book: "A Full Inquiry Into the Subject of Suicide: To which are added two treatises on dueling and Gaming" by Charles Moore

Book: "History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture" by Georges Minois

Book: "The Enigma of Suicide" by George Howe Colt

Book: "Kamikaze: Japan's Suicide Samurai" by Raymond Lamont-Brown

Book: "Final Drafts: Suicides of World-Famous Authors" by Mark Seinfelt

© 2001



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