Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Agent of Destruction

… Joel P. Smith, a man in Wisconsin who has survived multiple suicide attempts, wrote to me, “I am alone. A large proportion of depressed people I know are more or less alone, having lost their jobs and used up their families and friends. I become suicidal. I ultimate guardian – namely myself – has not gone off duty, but so much more dangerously, has become the advocate, the agent of destruction.” (p. 268)

… If I had truly believed when I was ill that my situation is permanent, I would have killed myself. Even if I had believed that it was cyclical, as Virginia Woolf knew her complaint to be, I would have killed myself if the cycles seemed too much weighted towards despair. Woolf knew that whatever pain she was feeling would pass, but she didn’t want to live through it and wait for it to pass; she’d had enough of waiting and time and it was time to go… (p. 274)

I would say of suicide not that it is always a tragedy for the person who dies, but that it always comes to soon and too suddenly for those left behind. Those who condemn the right to die are committing a disservice. We all want more control over life than we have, and dictating the terms of other people’s lives makes us feel safe. That is no reason to forbid people their most primitive freedom. Nonetheless, I believe that those who, in supporting the right to die, distinguish some suicides absolutely from others are telling a lie to accomplish a political objective. It is up to each man to set limits on his own tortures. Fortunately, the limits most people set for themselves are high… The thought of suicide makes it possible to get through depression. I expect that I’ll go on living so long as I can give and receive anything better than pain, but I do not promise that I will never kill myself. Nothing horrifies me more than the thought that I might at some stage lose the capacity for suicide. (p. 283)




彼が腎臓を病んで早世したのかどうか知らないが、腎臓の具合をたずねた。やっぱり彼が何を話しているのかわからなかった。 彼の家と自分の家の間あたりのある場所を探していた。どんな場所なのか、探している理由はわからない。「ここから下って、JRの線路を越えて、うちとの間となら……西福寺あたりだね」と言うと、彼も妹も「そうだ」と口を揃えた。

現実には高校生になってから彼と知り合ったのだが、西福寺が経営していた同じ幼稚園に通っていた。 それから、「“(シンガポール)領事館”に行ったとき、そこで働いている同級生のYさんに会った」と伝えると、2人とも驚いた様子だった。



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