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POLL: The right to harm yourself.

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Darkwolf, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. Big Tank Gems: 1/31
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    Well, I believe in the right for a person to harm themselves physically, because if a person's in that situation, the last thing they would want to hear is that it is "illegal" to cut themselves.

    Now remember, suicide used to be illegal in North America as well (the reason why it is called suicide) until relatively recently.

    Do I believe that they should be legal? Yeah, I do.

    Do I encourage it? No, because I've went through it myself.

    But would I give others the choice to make their own decisions even if there's a chance they might harm themselves? Yes, because how else would they get better?
     
  2. Lokken Gems: 26/31
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    a person with a desire to harm himself stands out from majority, and in that alone, is judged to be mentally instable and in need of treatment. At least in the society I live in.

    And I dont think it should be a rigt to harm yourself, sorta like suicide. Both are illegal here, though if you really want to go through with it, well there's not really anyone to stop you.

    Its a matter of principles, and I dont believe in the cause of harm.
     
  3. Taza

    Taza Weird Modmaker

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    I believe banning causing harm to oneself just leads to more trouble. Anything (including breathing) can be seen harmful, and not getting something (let's use breathing as an example again) might be harmful too.

    So to stop people from harming themselves we would have to stop them doing anything while they're doing everything.

    Both breathing and not breathing, the same person, at the same time... and he still might be harming himself.

    Quantum society doesn't work.

    (note 1: I'm 120kg and eat a lot less of fast food than your average person. Banning certain types of food doesn't work on obesity. Only banning food would, and that has kinda bad side-effects. :p )

    (note 2: Chev. Blaming depressing music for depression? You could blame depression for depressing music, so there's no point in that. )
     
  4. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Music conveys mood; it can incite is as well as express it. I don't believe that aggressive music has no bearing on levels of aggression, nor that suicidal music has no bearing on suicide ratios.
     
  5. Darkthrone Gems: 12/31
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    I think we need to distinguish between one's right as in "morally permitted, legitimately" and the right as an instrument of stately authority, i.e. "legally".

    I believe that anyone is free to choose to harm himself or kill himself. That's that. No use discussing treatments of mental illness.

    A state, however, mustn't allow its subjects to harm themselves. For two reasons:
    1. The state has an archetypical function. It has to set standards and rules, whether it is possible to enforce them or not. A state is not just the sum of its citizens, hence it mustn't think like one of them.
    2. Harming oneself may, for all the state knows (please note this restriction), turn into harming others at whim. The state has to be afraid of anything it can't control. Therefore, since the possibility of harming others may exist, auto-aggression and suicide is not allowed.

    If the state enforces to administer a therapy for this, it is not because the state is a loving father caring for each single child. It is because it is afraid for the well-being of all children at large.

    @Chevalier: Unfortunately, your believes are not supported by any scientific study whatsoever. Best to leave subjective preferences (music, movies, operas, pictures,...) out of the discussion. You'd end up condemning Shostakovich's Cello Sonatas for their disturbing moods or Mahler's Sinfonia No. 2 for its depressing beginning...
     
  6. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    The main and as far as I know only reason that suicide is illegal in Sweden is that it is then possible to put suicidal persons who perhaps have failed once or twice under lock with 24h watch. That came off, the point is that when it is illegal suicidal people can be taken in for treatment and observation whether they want to or not.

    As for the drugs the choice of which drugs are legal or illegal is mostly cultural and historical, basically arbitrary as have been pointed out. Chandos if you think it would all be nice and wonderful if drugs were let loose you can just see the damage alcohol have on our societies. Here we have a legal, readily available drug which is reasonable cheap. People may not do that much crime to get it but the amount of crime being committed under the influence is staggering and the cost of treatment for all these alcoholics is just as staggering. This is the result of a rather "soft" drug which is not overly addictive. There have been attempts of banning it and believe it or not people do drink less now than 100 years ago. Cannabis would probably not be worse than alcohol but why let loose yet another substance to wreak unchecked havoc on society? Believe it or not but just the very fact that drugs are illegal are keeping a lot of people away from them. Could you imagine what legal heroin or crack would do to our societies? If there is no legal barriers against it? If anyone can go down to the supermarket to get some?
     
  7. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Wrong. It doesn't take scientific analysis to notice that agressive young people listen to aggressive youth music. All too often brooding malcontents who go on about how world and life is hopeless, have musical taste similarly adjusted. In the latter case, it might be more of a result than a cause. In the former, however, it's part of the culture that glamorises aggression, unnecessary and excessive violence and no regard for other people's feelings. Kids pick it up like new swearwords from songs, you know. Some music is inherently tied with criminogenic environments. Some goes this route, some strikes the "life is hopeless, I have no reason to live, I'd better die" chord. We need to crack down on both. And on all such disturbances, for that matter.
     
  8. Foradasthar Gems: 21/31
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    You have the right to harm yourself. Whatever other people say about it doesn't affect it. The thing is, you're going to pay for the consequences.

    Right now our society at large is extremely fearful of death, and sees life as something that must be preserved no matter the cost. So the society does everything it can to make sure people don't harm themselves. In many cases this is probably right, as more often than not harming yourself will result in emotional or economical harm to others. But in some other cases, who can tell?

    I believe all of us are insane one way or another. I know I can't tell when someone is "out of their mind" enough for me to have the right to go and prevent them from doing something stupid. When it's my friend, I might be able to tell this. But in the case of any unknown person, I would have no idea.

    Rambling on here again. Anyway as I said, harming yourself is your right. It's something given to everyone from the moment they were born. If you really feel you have to kill yourself or somesuch, then go for it. For the sake of others though, do it in a manner that doesn't harm innocent people. That it isn't accepted in the society is most likely a simple attempt to try and keep the whole of humanity as efficient and flawless as possible. Violence and suicides etc are a huge loss of resources afterall. In the grand scheme of things the "humanity" aspect that is so much talked about is nothing more but a practical name for the emotional stress and weakness us humans have. Catering to it is nothing but part of the grease used to keep the cogs turning ever more vigilantly. Or something.

    Yeah, I'm pretty tired.
     
  9. Darkthrone Gems: 12/31
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    *sigh* How could you possibly shoot a "wrong" against my statement? Your answer should read: "Agreed. But I don't need scientific analysis to notice ..."

    Your observation of aggressive people listening to aggressive music may or may not be right. I lack the data, and so do you. From experience I'd doubt your observation. I'm calm. I'm Death Metal. I'm joyful, I'm Gothic.

    But even if your observed connection between emotional inclination and musical tastes were right, there is no evidence anywhere that the latter leads to the former. Or vice versa. That's what Taza meant. And he's right.

    Next: do you have any idea what art is? Part of the idea of art is to challenge the listener/watcher, to force him into a dialogue between the subject matter and the subject. As long as it is not l'art pour l'art. And this does include any negative emotion as well as any positve one.

    Now, how do you distinguish Eminem from Prokofiev or Slayer from Scriabin? One is an artist, the other one is crap? Ha, I'd like to see your definition of art that doesn't include "... and it has to be given my blessing!"

    In your case it would only be logical to extend your disliking of "aggressive youth music" to any part of music that invokes any negative feeling. No more "Verdi Requiem". No more "Kindertotenlieder". No more "Fist****ing God's Planet".

    We certainly do not "need to crack down on both". Or do you think that someone who is endangered to commit suicide could be saved by playing the Las Ketchup song to him?

    And culture... well, obviously you're talking about sub-culture. You think the cause is the music and the result is joining your local gang? Better think again. If it wasn't "aggressive youth music" it would be something else. Anything else, really. If you're young, it's of biggest importance to you to distinguish yourself from the others, to be part of an exclusive group that sets itself apart from the mainstream. The means how to achieve this are secondary.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    * me opens a can of worms *

    OK, I can't believe this hasn't been brought up yet, but on the subject of harming oneself, and discussing it as a right, shouldn't the foremost example by euthenasia?

    AFAIK, euthenasia is illegal in the U.S. with the exception of Oregon. Euthenasia is also legal in some European countries. When asking if it's OK to harm oneself, it seems only logical that the most extreme form of harming oneself (through possibly justifiable means) would be ending ones life when suffering from an incurable and debilitating illness. I view euthenasia as a completely different argument than suicide. In the case of the former, one is truly in a hopeless condition in most cases. Extending ones life may be possible, but only for a very limited amount of time, with no possibility of improving the quality of life. In the latter (suicide) while the person may perceive his/her situation to be hopeless, there is the possibility of improving the quality of their life further down the road.

    Now, switching gears:

    I agree with the first two, but not the third. Some people simply have eating disorders. One of my wife's co-workers is like this that she simply can't stop eating. Seriously, she can't go for more than hour without putting something in her mouth. She is a teacher. She brings food with her in the car on the drive to work. She keeps health food bars in her desk and eats one between every class. The woman simply can't stop eating. It's not like she makes a choice to eat - it is just as hard for her not to eat for an hour as it is for the typical person to not eat for an entire week.
     
  11. Big Tank Gems: 1/31
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    To add to the previous points that everyone else has listed, I believe that the subject of physical self-harm and related things should be brought out into the light instead of being a taboo subject.

    Sure, it isn't really something to talk about at the dinner table, but communication is the key for prevention in these types of situations.
     
  12. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    I'm not sure what you mean by a "soft" drug. If you mean alcohol (which I don't think you do), as there are many families that are shattered by domesitic abuse, child negelect, loss of employment, not to mention the health risks and all the people killed or injured by drunk drivers.

    If you believe that tobacco is a "soft drug" do yourself a favor and visit a cancer ward and listen to the sounds of the dying; it's like something from Dante.

    By the way, I never said things would be "fine" because people were using drugs. My problem with the issue is the approach to the drug use problem, which has been completely asinine.

    [ December 02, 2004, 04:21: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
     
  13. NonSequitur Gems: 19/31
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    Depends on your definition of "freedom". I believe people should be free from state interference insofar as their actions do not injure or violate the rights of others. Even suicide, as tragic as it is (believe me, I've had too many friends and relatives kill themselves to forget about the effects of that), shouldn't be subject to forced intervention - how do you predict it? How do you justify intervention when there is nothing to prove that event X was prevented (the Crime Prevention dilemma I have to deal with)? And how would you feel about it on the receiving end - you've tried to end it all, only to end up institutionalised for surviving; could you get any more bizarre?

    The problem, as has been stated, is that it's rarely that simple - there are all sorts of incidental damage and cause-and-effect that complicate the issue. "Harmful" is constructed in so many ways - from a pharmaceutical point of view, tobacco is more "harmful" than heroin. Of course, since heroin is illegal, and therefore beyond any official regulation, it ends up in the hands of organised crime. That is why there are so many more harms associated with regular heroin use - because of how it is provided, how it is controlled (by legal and illegal bodies), how it is used (why smoke something that cost you $100 when you can shoot it, get a stronger hit and be less likely to get busted with it?) and how pure/impure it is.

    @ Aldeth: I'm not going near that with a 20ft pole.

    @ Chev: I don't think we can necessarily tie this just to aggressive or suicidal music. Sure, in some cases, I agree with you, but these are social responses that are usually a lot more complicated than you seem to be willing to concede.

    @ Darkwolf: I agree - the War on Drugs is an almost unmitigated failure except at a symbolic level. Watch how long someone who tries to legalise and regulate illicit drugs lives - and I'm not talking politically, either. Still, I'm surprised at how much agency you assign to people; it's not as though we all have total control over our own behaviours and actions and can reasonably portion out "total responsibility" for one's situation. I think you can do a lot, but to expect that of everyone would ignore the fact that the playing field isn't level when anyone begins - there are always people higher and lower than you.

    [ December 02, 2004, 04:03: Message edited by: NonSequitur ]
     
  14. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    I was actually meaning alcohol, and I wrote soft within "'s the people who classify drugs tend to classify alcohol and cannabis as soft and I thought I made it very clear that I was aware of the damage alcohol have.

    I would barely list tobacco as a drug, it takes some 20+ years of daily abuse for it to significantly impact your lifelength and there is no intoxication for you to committ crime in. Which actually makes it kinda pointless.
     
  15. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Well, there are two lines of argument running through this thread: is it ok to harm oneself? and the harm done to society. Tobacco is really just in the first category. But, ever wonder why it's the second question life insurance companies ask you? The first is your age.
     
  16. Rallymama Gems: 31/31
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    @Joac: Tobacco is HIGHLY addictive, and is often considered a gateway drug, soft or otherwise. Drugs are usually defined by their intoxicating impacts, not their negative effects.

    @Darkwolf: You said it, brother. People should be able to do whatever whatever they please as long as they foot their own bills for the results. Don't make MY taxes go up to pay for the impacts of YOUR bad habits, and I'll do the same. :)

    @Aldeth: Someone with an eating disorder has a medical condition that should be covered by insurance. That's a lot different from the person who eats fast food all the time because s/he's too lazy to learn to cook for him/herself, and ends up morbidly obese.
     
  17. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Not really, the idea is that social responses tend to depend on cultural issues a group has with the rest of the society and, especially with teenagers (or mental teenagers) and among those especially among the social margin, music makes the most of it. Movies follow. There are pieces of music and movies aimed specifically for that audience (and those normally outside the said audience, who nonetheless identify with it) and they base on relevant issues and divisions and inflate them even further. After all, that's what makes room for their music or movies on the market and brings them money, isn't it? That's why cracking down on music, movies and games that glamorise aggression, violence, hostility and general merry law-breaking might be a good start. Of course, this alone won't do any good without addressing all the roots of the problem, that is granted.
     
  18. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Rallymamma, I am myself a severe tobacco addict so I am all too aware of how addictive it is. That said the greatest negative influence the kind of tobacco I use is on my "charisma", most women just dont find it sexy with a man with his mouth full of snus, snuff, skoal, copenhagen or whatever is a good name for it in English. Whatever adverse effect it has on my health is existing but it is reasonably small. I still have a theoritical will to kick the habit though.

    As for the gateway drugs, well all drugs are gateway drugs. I wonder how many proper junkies who did not start with cigarettes. I know that at my workplace I do not think there is one drug addict who doesnt smoke as well. I still think there is a sharp line between alcohol/tobacco and cannabis and the rest just because one group is legal and the other is not. In my opinion there is a smaller step from nothing to cigarettes than between cigarettes and cannabis but of course it is smaller than between nothing and cannabis.

    Chandos, I would say that tobacco, mainly smoking, is both a societal ill and a personal ill. Cancer care is expensive. In my opinion a strong case for banning tobacco could be made by just listing the cost of health care for all patients with cancer or other diseases they have got from tobacco. Seeing as this is really the only adverse affect it is hard to make a strong case which would not be shot down by people crying big brother.
     
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