Thursday, August 14, 2014

MY MOST CRITICIZED BLOG ENTRY (August 12, 2014)

A BOOK WORTH READING


I was not surprised by the reaction to my blog entry on suicide.  Opposing viewpoints are not new to me and I am not offended or crushed by them.  I did not delete a single comment made on Facebook about what I wrote.  I truly believe everyone has a right to their own opinion.

I have not changed my mind, but that does not make me right.

First, let me address the point that suicide is caused by mental illness which seems to be one theme running through the folks that felt I had maligned people who had committed suicide.  There is no hard scientific evidence that there is any such thing as what is referred to as mental illness.  There are no good studies as to why people who have completed the act did it.  We don’t know enough about either the brain or suicide to say what caused a certain person to kill themselves. The quote below addresses the state of our knowledge about the field of psychiatry.    

“Kandel, (Dr. Eric R. Kandel) who won the 2000 Nobel Prize in medicine for using sea slugs to gain insight into memory storage and readily calls himself a ‘delusional optimist,’ admits that we’ve made ‘only modest improvements’ in treating the most serious psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This is a widely shared view: In reporting on Stanley’s million gift, the Times noted, ‘Despite decades of costly research, experts have learned virtually nothing about the causes of psychiatric disorders and have developed no truly novel drug treatments in more than a quarter century.’” Newsweek You can read the entire article at http://www.newsweek.com/2014/08/22/when-will-mental-illness-finally-yield-science-263630.html

Secondly, I believe a person has the right to take their own life if that is what they decide to do.  I don’t believe the state owns a person’s body. Therefore; I do not believe the state has the right to force treat a person to prevent a suicide.  I do not believe in forced treatment under any circumstances.  Forced treatment is a human rights violation.  Period.

Thirdly, I agree with Jennifer Michael Hecht when she says in her book Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It ,”If suicide has a pernicious influence on others then staying alive has the oppositive influence.”  ( Introduction page 5) Staying alive can keep others alive.  She also says a person “owes something to his or her future self.”  She points out in the same introduction that she means no disrespect to anyone who has already committed suicide.  I thought I had done the same thing with my dedication of the blog entry to those who lived through.  I guess the title of the blog entry and other things made some readers think I was the devil.

So, this is my stand.  We don’t know enough about the brain or suicide to say what causes it, but we know when someone commits suicide it shatters the people who love them and may cause others who have been thinking about it to go ahead and complete the act.  I don’t believe in forced treatment under any circumstances including possible suicide.  Staying is good for the community and killing oneself is bad for it.  Disagree till your heart is content.

© Ed Cooper, August 14, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
    All rights reserved   


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