Poll: Can suicide be prosocial?
Poll Options
View poll results: Can suicide be prosocial?
Yes.
27 50%
No.
13 24%
Don't know/care.
14 26%
Voters: 54.
#1
I tried the searchbar and nothing similar came up.

I am currently writing one of my PhD proposals (1 out of 3) and the topic I'm planning on looking at is the title - does suicide have a prosocial component?

Basically, the main causes of suicide are usually related to financial problems (bankruptcy, etc.), emotional problems (such as loss of a loved one, divorce, a break up, etc.) and mental illness (e.g., depression in one form or another). Although there are many other reasons, these are just some of the more popular ( http://www.suicide.org/suicide-causes.html ). So, for some of these, there may be a feeling on the perpetrators part that they should or deserve to die, or that it would be better for everyone concerned if they did, and so on. Which are somewhat prosocial reasons (from their perspective at least).

Anyway, I thought this would provoke an interesting discussion among pit users. So - does suicide have a prosocial component in some cases in your opinion?
Last edited by Matt_Malmsteen at Jul 8, 2010,
#3
Quote by Matt_Malmsteen
So - does suicide have a prosocial component in some cases?



Quote by Matt_Malmsteen
there may be a feeling on the perpetrators part that they should or deserve to die, or that it would be better for everyone concerned if they did, and so on. Which are somewhat prosocial reasons (from their perspective at least).


looks like you've answered your own question. Enjoy your Ph.D!
This is why I don't like arguing on the internet.
Quote by damian_91
If only you could back that statement up.
Quote by Zombee
Wolfgang's Philadelphia Study. Look it up yourself.
Quote by damian_91
No need to, absurd generalizations aren't my thing.
#4
How long does the paper have to be? Most PhD papers in my field at least (Linguistics) should be at least a hefty chapter of a book, so maybe 300 pages. Could you really write that much on one expanded sentence?

Not to mention some of your doctorate defence professors might find it an offensive topic.
#6
From their perspective, maybe some sort of religious bat shit suicide cults?
Quote by Zero-Hartman
I just Google "Elephant penis", and was strangely aroused.



Apparently, I'm a good shitter

Quote by TomusAM
jonne.i just took the best dump I ever seen
#7
Quote by Mistress_Ibanez
How long does the paper have to be? Most PhD papers in my field at least (Linguistics) should be at least a hefty chapter of a book, so maybe 300 pages. Could you really write that much on one expanded sentence?

Not to mention some of your doctorate defence professors might find it an offensive topic.


I'd probably do some kind of analysis of suicide letters or interviews/focus groups with people who have attempted suicide (if I could get access to them). The main reason I considered this is because people often have this idea that suicide is a selfish act. When in some cases it might be the complete opposite. The fact that it's offensive makes it just that little bit more interesting.

Plus I have a couple of other ideas that I'm writing proposals for too.
#8
I think prosocial refers to a benefit for a society, so if a society member kills himself I don´t really see a benefit on that. On the other gand, if that poor mofo killed himself it's beacause he couldn't handle his life properly, so the society would do better without them... Now I don't know what to think, lol

There's

NEVER

enough

GAIN


#9
@ Ibanez - i don't think college professors find anything offensive. except conservatism and christianity.
#DTWD
#11
Quote by Damaged Roses
I think prosocial refers to a benefit for a society, so if a society member kills himself I don´t really see a benefit on that. On the other gand, if that poor mofo killed himself it's beacause he couldn't handle his life properly, so the society would do better without them... Now I don't know what to think, lol


there would be less of a drain on the welfare system. more food/resources to go around with fewer people on the planet.
#DTWD
#12
Maybe someone may feel that they're such a burden to the society and have nothing to give, for example a homeless drug abuser or alcoholic.
Quote by Zero-Hartman
I just Google "Elephant penis", and was strangely aroused.



Apparently, I'm a good shitter

Quote by TomusAM
jonne.i just took the best dump I ever seen
#13
If someone see's themselves as a drain on society, that they don't contribute then they may feel their death would be beneficial.
I think it's an interesting idea but I don't know how much material you can find or if it will be enough of an open topic for a Ph.D.
#14
Quote by Matt_Malmsteen
I'd probably do some kind of analysis of suicide letters or interviews/focus groups with people who have attempted suicide (if I could get access to them). The main reason I considered this is because people often have this idea that suicide is a selfish act. When in some cases it might be the complete opposite. The fact that it's offensive makes it just that little bit more interesting.

Plus I have a couple of other ideas that I'm writing proposals for too.


That's cool. How come you got to go straight from an undegrad to a phd without doing a master's degree? And what are your other ideas?

I'd like to do this sometime but there is no way in hell I can afford it
#16
Quote by primusfan
TS, be careful. make sure peter singer hasn't done this already. at least in the field you're writing for. i assume you're sociology.



Yeah Durkheim studied this as well, although they are all starting points you can use.
#17
Quote by Mistress_Ibanez
Yeah Durkheim studied this as well, although they are all starting points you can use.


oh yeah! i'd forgotten about him. i had to do a presentation on him in class once. naturally i got the dude obsessed with suicide. [/emo]
#DTWD
#18
So if suicide is a prosocial behavior then we should encourage more people to engage in this act in order to benefit society. If the benefits are deemed substantial then we should enforce this behavior upon those we previously only encouraged. If this is found to be an inefficient or ineffective means of gaining the benefits we are seeking then we should simply round these individuals up and execute them.

Suicide is not a prosocial behavior.
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
You should be careful what you say. Some asshole will probably sig it.

Quote by Axelfox
Yup, a girl went up to me in my fursuit one time.

Quote by Xiaoxi
I can fap to this. Keep going.
#19
Quote by Mistress_Ibanez
That's cool. How come you got to go straight from an undegrad to a phd without doing a master's degree? And what are your other ideas?

I'd like to do this sometime but there is no way in hell I can afford it


If you get a 2:1 a lot of universities will let you go straight onto a PhD course without an MSc (London School of Economics and Political Science won't though...bastards). If I don't get on a PhD course though I might try and worm my way onto a MSc course...maybe.

My other ideas are to look at how people use the idea of the 'other' - other people, other groups, nationalities, cultures, etc. To create their sense of self-identity - be that group identity or otherwise. I'd like to do that by looking at publically available material such as internet discussions, video blogs, political rhetoric and so on. And, the last idea is reserved for if I can get into a university in Asia. If you've ever been to China or Japan or anywhere like that you'd probably notice that A LOT of advertising there, especially for so-called "luxury goods" is done with caucasian people, not natives. And I think that could play an interesting part in their self-identity, confidence and so on. So I'd like to examine that by doing some kind of qualitative research. I'm pretty big on qualitative methods, as you can see.

As for whether I could get enough material for a PhD...I think I probably could find a lot about suicide, hell, Durkheim wrote a whole book on it. Plus I'd be getting data myself too, so I think it's doable. Plus it's only in its proposal stage, so after discussing it with a supervisor I could refine the idea more.

Thanks for creating some good and interesting points so far everyone!

Quote by primusfan
TS, be careful. make sure peter singer hasn't done this already. at least in the field you're writing for. i assume you're sociology.

http://www.verumserum.com/?p=15115


Thanks for the link, I'll take a look. And no, I'm doing psychology.
Last edited by Matt_Malmsteen at Jul 8, 2010,
#21
Quote by Jackal58
So if suicide is a prosocial behavior then we should encourage more people to engage in this act in order to benefit society. If the benefits are deemed substantial then we should enforce this behavior upon those we previously only encouraged. If this is found to be an inefficient or ineffective means of gaining the benefits we are seeking then we should simply round these individuals up and execute them.

Suicide is not a prosocial behavior.


That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that from the perpetrator's point of view it could be seen as prosocial. I'm not for a moment promoting suicide, rather, I'm interested in looking at it from that angle.
#22
No. The consequences of someone commiting suicide might result beneficial to some, doesn't mean it's a prosocial behaviour.
Quote by Pleasure2kill
The truth is, Muslims never apologized for their faith having something to do with the attacks on 9/11.
#23
Quote by Matt_Malmsteen
That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that from the perpetrator's point of view it could be seen as prosocial. I'm not for a moment promoting suicide, rather, I'm interested in looking at it from that angle.

I'm sure there are a few people that have committed suicide in the belief that they are doing everybody else a favor. I've got to believe though that the overwhelming majority of suicide victims are suffering from severe depression. Whether or not it is a long term case of clinical depression from a mental health issue or depression brought on by seemingly insurmountable issues the individual is still depressed. In that state of mind I don't believe you can generate a valid point on the act being prosocial. These people are all seriously disturbed.
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
You should be careful what you say. Some asshole will probably sig it.

Quote by Axelfox
Yup, a girl went up to me in my fursuit one time.

Quote by Xiaoxi
I can fap to this. Keep going.
#24
Quote by Jackal58
I'm sure there are a few people that have committed suicide in the belief that they are doing everybody else a favor. I've got to believe though that the overwhelming majority of suicide victims are suffering from severe depression. Whether or not it is a long term case of clinical depression from a mental health issue or depression brought on by seemingly insurmountable issues the individual is still depressed. In that state of mind I don't believe you can generate a valid point on the act being prosocial. These people are all seriously disturbed.


Actually, there's something funny about that because some research has suggested that people with depression have a more realistic outlook than so-called "normal people", which kind of puts the whole "disturbed" thing on its head.

I think you have a point, but as I'm not going to be attempting to apply the findings (if it got to that stage) to everyone who has attempted or committed suicide ever, I doubt that'll be a huge problem. Because I'm going to be using a qualitative method I can only suggest that it counts for that group of people but other people may be similar.
#25
Quote by Matt_Malmsteen
Actually, there's something funny about that because some research has suggested that people with depression have a more realistic outlook than so-called "normal people", which kind of puts the whole "disturbed" thing on its head.

I think you have a point, but as I'm not going to be attempting to apply the findings (if it got to that stage) to everyone who has attempted or committed suicide ever, I doubt that'll be a huge problem. Because I'm going to be using a qualitative method I can only suggest that it counts for that group of people but other people may be similar.

My wife suffers from depression and her outlook on life is often more realistic than mine. Realistic may not be the right term. Fatalistic maybe better.

Good luck with the study if you do proceed with it. Stop back and give us a peek at it when and if you finish it.
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
You should be careful what you say. Some asshole will probably sig it.

Quote by Axelfox
Yup, a girl went up to me in my fursuit one time.

Quote by Xiaoxi
I can fap to this. Keep going.
#26
Regarding suicide I have always thought that people who commit suicide are not cowards. It takes a lot of courage to admit that your life is not worth living. The coward's way out for a suicidel person is really to keep on living in my opnion but I do not in anyway condone suicide of course. On the other hand I don't condem either.

Regarding your subject, I really think you should it some thougt, how you will expand your subject. In my opnion you are being too specific. Can suicide be prosocial? Sure it can and you might also be able to find a case story of a prosocial suicide but is it really enough to serveral hundred pages? I might add that, I am no expert on the subject - I am studying journalism myself(and in another country add that).

If you expanded into the subject of reasons for suicide in general - you might have more to fill out the servarel hundred pages. Then again you will be right there with the heavy weights like Durkheim which could prove a challenge. I would really like to hear your final research question and also I would love be proven wrong because it's an interesting subject.
#28
Quote by Jackal58
So if suicide is a prosocial behavior then we should encourage more people to engage in this act in order to benefit society. If the benefits are deemed substantial then we should enforce this behavior upon those we previously only encouraged. If this is found to be an inefficient or ineffective means of gaining the benefits we are seeking then we should simply round these individuals up and execute them.

Suicide is not a prosocial behavior.


I agree with this statement.
#29
Wouldn't it be considered anti-social behavior? I find this stuff interesting but am an idiot when it comes to it lol
Last edited by guitar-guy69 at Jul 17, 2010,
#30
If the person is taking from others in their life - eg. life support, welfare etc; then it could be regarded as beneficial to the hospital's/state's funding for them to die (though I don't know about the kind of ratings->funding scenario in a hospital that can lead to).

If the person is giving to others (eg. as a parent, carer, employer, vital employee) or in debt that others would have to take on if they die, then it could be regarded as antisocial.

I would think that in most cases there would be elements of both of these, complicated as especially adult human lives are; but the conflation of lots of separate elements of a person's relationships and interactions into a weighing of "mostly pro- or mostly antisocial" would be stupid.