Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Would You Do?

Watch this.

I'll explain: this woman tried to kill herself by jumping from a pole into the Tagus river. Apparently the pole wasn't high enough and she just succeeded in getting horribly bruised, humilliated and wet.

The comments section for this video is full of condescending people wondering why the people who were filming this didn't try to stop her or didn't rush over to help. Others frown upon the dude that was casually stretching his hand out from time to time in the eventuality the woman got her shit together and finally reached the small pier.

I myself enjoyed the this-did-not-just-happen-kind of 'No...' that the guy with the camera uttered and the not-so-encouraging 'you're almost there...' from a girl watching the struggling suicidee.

What would you do? Would you jump in and help her? (The water is as healthy as it looks; meaning it's not.) Would you not? Would you panic? Would you blame all those people that didn't actually help her in a significative way? My reaction upon first hearing the story was 'if she wanted to die so much that she actuallly jumped, why didn't she just resign and drown?' Does that make me cruel?

Does it make me a bad person that I don't care if I sound cruel? Does it make you a good person if you think I sound cruel? Who ultimately cares? I guess that if I thought about it enough to actually post about it, I can't be that bad. Look at me! I'm a nice girl afterall! I don't have it coming at all! XD


  1. That was just incredibly stupid. Why do people trying to commit suicide always think of the most spectacular and attention catching way of doing it? I'm sure there's a study out there showing that most people commiting suicide are actually doing it as a call for help, and not to actually end their lives.

    Since you seem to be ok with being a bit morbid, I'll explain my view on the whole life/death thing. I've spent a lot of time contemplating life, death and suicide, not because I am depressed, mentally unstable (well, that's debatable) or have a difficult life, but because I'm curious. As a result my view on these things is a bit nihilistic, in that I believe there is nothing before birth and nothing after death (Epicurus' "Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come. And when death has come, we are not." is on one of my wallpapers to remind me of that).

    I believe that mentally stable people should be allowed the right to assisted suicide should (just look at poor Pratchett). I wouldn't jump after her, it's her own decision. I would help her if she wanted help. Otherwise it's none of my business.

    And when you say "why didn't she just drown herself", you do realise that something like that is as difficult as killing yourself by holding your breath (impossible)? Humans, as every other creature, have an inbuilt survival instinct that kicks in in such situations. People will ALWAYS save themselves if they are able to. Also, it is my belief that there's even a psychological survival instinct that kicks in when contemplating suicide that can only be overrode by very stressful situations or pyshological problems (a healthy person that isn't depressed as a result of a major tragedy will never be able to commit suicide).

    As for helping others and compassion, there was a podcast I listened to where they presented a strange phenomenon, The Trolley Problem. It's very interesting how human compassion works.

    Sorry for writing this wall of text, but I find the subject very interesting. Should have made it into a post tbh. :S

  2. Tell you what: if you make a post about it I'll read it too.

    I'll be honest, I didn't even consider survival instinct, being mad at the woman was just my first reaction. Although it is also my belief that you can do anything you set your mind into, leading me to believe she wasn't really all that serious about offing herself. She could've always swam/waddled the other way.

    Or could she...?

    On the topic if she wanted help or not... Well I think everyone there was kind of wondering the same thing and that was why they were so meek with the assistance they eventually provided. She was yelling incoherently but, again, that might be the survival instinct thing kicking in.

    Talking about Morbid reminded me of this picture. I don't know what language is that but no doll should be anything near morbid (although all of them kind of are).

  3. I don't think dying is something you can achieve by simply trying very hard. It's extremely difficult unless you are in a particular situation where you can disregard the survival instinct (the pyschological one). I think that even in a failed suicide attempt you'd try to save yourself, regardless of what your state of mind was when you attempted it.

    On that doll the English and German text that say "soft" leads me to think Morbido means soft. After translating it with google, it is indeed Italian for soft. :)

  4. I think you can achieve death if you try hard enough. Just look at japanese Samurai. Are you telling me those guys couldn't get dead if they really wanted to? Would they really seek out help after ripping open their guts for honour?

    As said, I think human will is more powerful than simple instinct. Well, most instincts at least. I won't argue the whole 'holding your breath thing' :P

  5. I don't think seppuku is an example of someone in a perfectly fine condition and situation committing suicide. The samurai only performed seppuku when they felt like they had nothing to live for, lost their honour, committed something completely against their principles and morals and such (depends on the society and the Samurai code was on par with the Knighthood code, if you believe that).

    So they definitely weren't themselves when they did it. What I'm saying is that you can't go "oh this suicide thing, let's try it out" and do it, because you can't. :)

    And yeah, I now realise this argument is kinda stupid because suicide is by definition something you don't do just because. So nevermind. :D

  6. Yeah I was just about to reply, in a quite heated way, that feeling "like they had nothing to live for" was probably the reason why most people who attempted suicide and lived to tell the tale would give.

    But I see you've come to your senses. Now wasn't this the refreshing discussion.