Suicide

Suicide is everywhere. It haunts history and current events. It haunts our own networks of friends and family. It most likely haunts your private thoughts, too. Why delay the inevitable silence, particularly when this world can be so painful? The specter of suicide looms large, but the topic is taboo because any meaningful discussion must at the very least consider that the answer to the question — “is life… read more

Suicide is everywhere. It haunts history and current events. It haunts our own networks of friends and family. It most likely haunts your private thoughts, too. Why delay the inevitable silence, particularly when this world can be so painful? The specter of suicide looms large, but the topic is taboo because any meaningful discussion must at the very least consider that the answer to the question — “is life worth living?” — might not be an emphatic yes; it might even be a stern no.

Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School in New York City, takes on the precarious question of suicide in this darkly fascinating book. Through a sweeping historical overview of suicide, a moving literary survey of famous suicide notes, and a psychological analysis of himself, Critchley offers us an authentic portrait of what it means to possess the all too human gift and curse of being able to choose life or death.

With poignance, empathy, and scholarly thoroughness, Suicide takes us to the humming cliff of death. Here on the edge, Critchley calmly and pacifically whispers the ecstatic secret of life to us.

Product Reviews

Once in a while, you come across a book that blows your mind away. This book is just that. Simon begins off with introducing people who committed suicide after submitting their work on suicide. Sylvia Plath came to my mind and had me thinking what if there is a correlation between people who have penned their thoughts on suicide and the actual act of committing suicide. The data suggests such a possibility but this book is not about that.
Mehwish, Goodreads
A philosophical treatise on suicide may not, on the surface, sound like the most appealing of reading matter, but this brilliant and enlightening little book is written with clarity, perspicacity, patience and even humour. Critchley provides a rich and illuminating examination of the theme of suicide, picking apart the logic of the suicidal person as well as those who deem them selfish. Both religious and non-religious arguments against suicide are criticised and debunked as well as the idea that death would provide an apparent solution to our problems. It is simultaneously a historical overview, a tirelessly inquisitive philosophical work and a psychologically fascinating and deeply personal piece of literature. Despite its grim subject, I read the whole thing in a day without feeling at all depressed.
Samuel, Goodreads
Critchley is a philosophy professor at New York’s New School for Social Research. However, he wrote this short essay from a beach hotel in East Anglia. Although he reassures readers with his first line that “This book is not a suicide note,” he also hints that its writing was inspired by personal trouble: “my life has dissolved over the past year or so, like sugar in hot tea.” Not suicidal himself, then, but certainly sympathetic to those who are driven to self-murder.
Rebecca, Goodreads

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