The Murder of Oneself

Written by Sam Vaknin

Those who believe inrepparttar finality of death (i.e., that there is no after-life) they arerepparttar 132650 ones who advocate suicide and regard it as a matter of personal choice. Onrepparttar 132651 other hand, those who firmly believe in some form of existence after corporeal death they condemn suicide and judge it to be a major sin. Yet, rationally,repparttar 132652 situation should have been reversed: it should have been easier for someone who believed in continuity after death to terminate this phase of existence onrepparttar 132653 way torepparttar 132654 next. Those who faced void, finality, non-existence, vanishing should have been greatly deterred by it and should have refrained even from entertainingrepparttar 132655 idea. Eitherrepparttar 132656 latter do not really believe what they profess to believe or something is wrong with rationality. One would tend to suspectrepparttar 132657 former.

Suicide is very different from self sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one's life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing and self inflicted death that isrepparttar 132658 result of coercion. What is common to all these isrepparttar 132659 operational mode: a death caused by one's own actions. In all these behaviours, a foreknowledge ofrepparttar 132660 risk of death is present coupled with its acceptance. But all else is so different that they cannot be regarded as belonging torepparttar 132661 same class. Suicide is chiefly intended to terminate a life repparttar 132662 other acts are aimed at perpetuating, strengthening and defending values.

Those who commit suicide do so because they firmly believe inrepparttar 132663 finiteness of life and inrepparttar 132664 finality of death. They prefer termination to continuation. Yet, allrepparttar 132665 others,repparttar 132666 observers of this phenomenon, are horrified by this preference. They abhor it. This has to do with out understanding ofrepparttar 132667 meaning of life.

Ultimately, life has only meanings that we attribute and ascribe to it. Such a meaning can be external (God's plan) or internal (meaning generated through arbitrary selection of a frame of reference). But, in any case, it must be actively selected, adopted and espoused. The difference is that, inrepparttar 132668 case of external meanings, we have no way to judge their validity and quality (is God's plan for us a good one or not?). We just "take them on" because they are big, all encompassing and of a good "source". A hyper-goal generated by a superstructural plan tends to lend meaning to our transient goals and structures by endowing them withrepparttar 132669 gift of eternity. Something eternal is always judged more meaningful than something temporal. If a thing of less or no value acquires value by becoming part of a thing eternal thanrepparttar 132670 meaning and value reside withrepparttar 132671 quality of being eternal not withrepparttar 132672 thing thus endowed. It is not a question of success. Plans temporal are as successfully implemented as designs eternal. Actually, there is no meaning torepparttar 132673 question: is this eternal plan / process / design successful because success is a temporal thing, linked to endeavours that have clear beginnings and ends.

This, therefore, isrepparttar 132674 first requirement: our life can become meaningful only by integrating into a thing, a process, a being eternal. In other words, continuity (the temporal image of eternity, to paraphrase a great philosopher) is ofrepparttar 132675 essence. Terminating our life at will renders them meaningless. A natural termination of our life is naturally preordained. A natural death is part and parcel ofrepparttar 132676 very eternal process, thing or being which lends meaning to life. To die naturally is to become part of an eternity, a cycle, which goes on forever of life, death and renewal. This cyclic view of life andrepparttar 132677 creation is inevitable within any thought system, which incorporates a notion of eternity. Because everything is possible given an eternal amount of time so are resurrection and reincarnation,repparttar 132678 afterlife, hell and other beliefs adhered to byrepparttar 132679 eternal lot.

Sidgwick raisedrepparttar 132680 second requirement and with certain modifications by other philosophers, it reads: to begin to appreciate values and meanings, a consciousness (intelligence) must exist. True,repparttar 132681 value or meaning must reside in or pertain to a thing outsiderepparttar 132682 consciousness / intelligence. But, even then, only conscious, intelligent people will be able to appreciate it.

We can fuserepparttar 132683 two views:repparttar 132684 meaning of life isrepparttar 132685 consequence of their being part of some eternal goal, plan, process, thing, or being. Whether this holds true or does not a consciousness is called for in order to appreciate life's meaning. Life is meaningless inrepparttar 132686 absence of consciousness or intelligence. Suicide flies inrepparttar 132687 face of both requirements: it is a clear and present demonstration ofrepparttar 132688 transience of life (the negation ofrepparttar 132689 NATURAL eternal cycles or processes). It also eliminatesrepparttar 132690 consciousness and intelligence that could have judged life to have been meaningful had it survived. Actually, this very consciousness / intelligence decides, inrepparttar 132691 case of suicide, that life has no meaning whatsoever. To a very large extent,repparttar 132692 meaning of life is perceived to be a collective matter of conformity. Suicide is a statement, writ in blood, thatrepparttar 132693 community is wrong, that life is meaningless and final (otherwise,repparttar 132694 suicide would not have been committed).


Written by Joan Bramsch

Saturday, September 22, 2001


The castoff child escaped 11 years ago, rescued from a hell called Orphanage No. 4.

An Orlando woman moved by a television report and a hole in her soul plucked him from a Romanian orphanage brimming with garbage and apathy.

He had a shaven head, piercing brown eyes, and white spots streaking across his thighs where injections of sedatives had scarred him.

Soon he was thousands of miles fromrepparttar smoldering reality of revolution, living in a safe, sun-drenched city where people only have to step through theme-park gates to experience lands of make-believe.

Day by day,repparttar 132647 waif grew into Nick Simon, a suntanned Florida boy eager to catch up on years of missed chocolate bars and loving hugs.

In June, more than a decade after he leftrepparttar 132648 orphanage, Nick stumbled upon a 20/20 TV special that captured his interest. ABC correspondent Tom Jarriel had returned to Romania to see if anything had changed forrepparttar 132649 orphans since his eye-opening 1990 report. It had: Thousands, now in their late teens and early 20s, were living inrepparttar 132650 sewers. Waves of haunting memories washed over Nick.

He searchedrepparttar 132651 despairing faces of children -- once warehoused, now turned out onrepparttar 132652 streets -- staring, knowing. Knowing amongrepparttar 132653 faces might be children with whom he shared a crib and a cry.

Knowing among those faces were children certain to barter their bodies to survive, sniff glue as an escape, die lonely deaths from AIDS. Knowing his face could have been among those flashed in a blur across a 32-inch television screen.

But he knew, most of all, something must be done. And so it was that a grass-roots campaign, "Backpack Carepak," a drive to collect and send winterwear and hygiene products in gently-used or new backpacks to street urchins in Bucharest was born inrepparttar 132654 heart of a 16-year-old native son.

"What really struck me," he says, "was, like, `Whoa! Hold up a second. They're living inrepparttar 132655 streets now? I was lucky to get out of there atrepparttar 132656 time that I did. I could have been one of these kids living inrepparttar 132657 streets. Not enough people are speaking out forrepparttar 132658 kids out there that need help."

Nick slides into a cramped booth at Panera Bread near Lake Eola on a recent afternoon and regards his lunch: tuna on honey wheat, Greek salad, a Pepsi.

With his nut-brown mop, bushy eyebrows, and an elongated face that narrows to a rounded "V" atrepparttar 132659 chin, Nick could pass forrepparttar 132660 shy, boyish cog in a boy band -- if he were shy. Truth be told, Hollywood is where his head is. Already he has appeared as an extra in films and starred as Jesus in a Godspell production.

He likes his girls cute and speaksrepparttar 132661 lingo. As Nick puts it, he is, "out there," which is, apparently, something desirable, inrepparttar 132662 way that bad means good.

By all appearances, Nick is your average red-blooded, American teenager. Nothing likerepparttar 132663 51/2-year-old who came to America unacquainted with Santa Claus. He stabs at his feta, looks up glassy-eyed.

"I still have dreams of Romania," he volunteers.

Sometimes when he sleeps, he says, his mind paints Jackson Pollocks, scored by Rambo. Flashes of white, blue, red. Dogs barking. Guns rat-a-tat-tatting. Sirens screeching across his mind.

It was only later, whenrepparttar 132664 woman he would come to call Mama told himrepparttar 132665 story behind his coming to Orlando, that Nick would tie his dreams torepparttar 132666 revolution in 1989 that swirled around Orphanage No. 4.


In 1992: They look like a typical family; Mom, Dad, kids andrepparttar 132667 family dog. But Connie & Paul Simon, with a young Nick and Liana, paint their own special portrait of that theme.

The brush, however, isrepparttar 132668 same:repparttar 132669 need to love and be loved.


It began inrepparttar 132670 summer of 1990, when Connie Simon, then a teacher at Howard Middle School in Orlando, traveled to Romania to distribute 14 boxes filled with toys, clothes, and medical supplies gathered by students, staff and others moved by a 20/20 segment on Romanian orphans.

The report priedrepparttar 132671 lid off a secret shame, born ofrepparttar 132672 tyrannical 25-year reign of Nicolae Ceausescu. In an effort to swellrepparttar 132673 Romanian population, he banned birth control and abortions and heavily fined couples that produced fewer than four children.

Unable to care forrepparttar 132674 offspring, many parents handed them over torepparttar 132675 state. According to estimates, about 100,000 children languished in Romanian institutions.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use