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A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.
Ronald Kutulak
Vincent van Gogh's drawing

Suicide is the act of killing oneself. A number of thinkers have closely observed or analyzed the backgrounds and reasons that leads to suicide.


  • But if there be an hereafter,
    And that there is, conscience, uninfluenc'd
    And suffer'd to speak out, tells every man,
    Then must it be an awful thing to die;
    More horrid yet to die by one's own hand.
  • Our time is fixed, and all our days are number'd;
    How long, how short, we know not:—this we know,
    Duty requires we calmly wait the summons,
    Nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission.
  • The common damn'd shun their society.
    • Robert Blair, The Grave (1743), referring to suicides in Hell. Attributed to Lamb, but not found in his works.
  • The suicide bomber is an explosion of a contradiction in its paradox, victim and victimizer, yin and yang, two sides of the coin, fire bomb and fire extinguisher, prosecutor and defendant, hangman and hanged.
  • The beasts (Conservatives) had committed suicide to save themselves from slaughter.
  • Don't commit suicide, because you might change your mind two weeks later.
    • Art Buchwald, in a humorous personal mantra he used to combat his states of depression, published in Too Soon to Say Goodbye (2006).
  • The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men. As far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.
  • 死神の附いた耳へは、意見も道理も入るまいとは思へど、さりとは愚痴の至り
  • Fool! I mean not
    That poor-souled piece of heroism, self-slaughter;
    Oh no! the miserablest day we live
    There's many a better thing to do than die!
  • Who doubting tyranny, and fainting under
    Fortune's false lottery, desperately run
    To death, for dread of death; that soul's most stout,
    That, bearing all mischance, dares last it out.
    • John Fletcher, The Honest Man's Fortune (1613; published 1647), Act IV, scene 1.
  • The Wood of Suicides has changed since my last visit to Hell. I remember it as a tiny grove. Now it resembles a forest.
  • If suicide be supposed a crime, it is only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence when it becomes a burden. It is the only way that we can then be useful to society, by setting an example which, if imitated, would preserve every one his chance for happiness in life, and would effectually free him from all danger or misery.
  • What a silly thing to do, he thought. What a goddam silly thing to do. You wont even be there to watch their faces.
  • Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
    I have been half in love with easeful Death,
    Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
    To take into the air my quiet breath;
    Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain …

  • There are a great many ways to commit suicide, you know.
    • Stephen King, The Stand (Uncut), chapter 55, p. 799, unidentified edition
  • A low serotonin level . . . can dry up the wellsprings of life’s happiness, withering a person’s interest in his existence and increasing the risk of depression and suicide.
    • Ronald Kutulak, in his book Inside the Brain. Cited in Awake! magazine, 10/22 2001.
  • While foulest fiends shun thy society.
  • Ah, yes, the sea is still and deep,
    All things within its bosom sleep!
    A single step, and all is o'er,
    A plunge, a bubble, and no more.
  • When Fannius from his foe did fly
    Himself with his own hands he slew;
    Who e'er a greater madness knew?
    Life to destroy for fear to die.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. AD 86-103), Book II. 80. Same idea in Antiphanes—Fragment. Comicorum Græcorum, p. 567. Meineke's ed.
  • He
    That kills himself to avoid misery, fears it,
    And, at the best, shows but a bastard valour.
    This life's a fort committed to my trust,
    Which I must not yield up till it be forced:
    Nor will I. He's not valiant that dares die,
    But he that boldly bears calamity.
    • Philip Massinger, The Maid of Honour, (c. 1621; printed 1632), Act IV, scene 3.
  • If you like not hanging, drown yourself;
    Take some course for your reputation.
  • Suicide kills two people. That's what it's for.
    • Referring to the guilt and grief close surviving dependents feel after a suicide
    • Arthur Miller, After the Fall.
  • We cannot tear out a single page from our life, but we can throw the whole book into the fire.
  • Sleep is good,
    death is better,
    but the best is to have never been born.

    • Gut ist der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser—freilich
      Das beste wäre, nie geboren sein.
    • Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), Morphine poem.
  • Suicide is a private thing.
  • Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp;
    Guns aren't lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful;
    You might as well live.

  • My duty will be to continue to endeavor to do the work I seem to have been put into the world to do; and when the moment arrives at which there seems to be no rational hope of making my life useful, my duty, as I see it, will be to treat my life just as I would an aching tooth that there was no hope of making useful. I will have it out.
  • Dying
    is an art, like everything else.
    I do it exceptionally well.
  • Death is before me today
    Like the recovery of a sick man …
    Like the longing of a man to see his home again
    After many years of captivity …
  • Some people might say, I have a right to die, when they are arguing the case for suicide. And while this is true, it is also true that the people on your planet need every bit of help and encouragement they can get from each person alive. In a certain sense, the energy of each individual does keep the world going, and to commit suicide is to refuse a basic, cooperative venture.
  • Against self-slaughter
    There is a prohibition so divine
    That cravens my weak hand.
  • To be, or not to be,—that is the question:—
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them?—To die, to sleep,—
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to,—'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;—
    To sleep, perchance to dream:—ay, there's the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause: there's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life;
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
    The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office, and the spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,—
    The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
    No traveller returns,—puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know naught of?
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
    And enterprises of great pith and moment,
    With this regard, their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.
  • The more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even Christian.
  • Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong; Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat: Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass, Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron, Can be retentive to the strength of spirit; But life, being weary of these worldly bars, Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
  • You ever-gentle gods, take my breath from me;
    Let not my worser spirit tempt me again
    To die before you please!
  • When Goblins Kill themselves it's called stupidity. When Humans do it, it's called heroism.
  • Suicide? To tell you the truth, I disapprove of suicide more than anything.
    • Vash The Stampede, "Trigun".
  • Suicide is self-expression.
  • The man, who in a fit of melancholy, kills himself today, would have wished to live had he waited a week.
    • Voltaire, "Cato", Philosophical Dictionary (1764).
  • There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.
    • Daniel Webster, Argument on the Murder of Captain White (April 6, 1830).
  • Britannia's shame! There took her gloomy flight,
    On wing impetuous, a black sullen soul…
    Less base the fear of death than fear of life.
    O Britain! infamous for suicide.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 436.
  • It's better to burn out than to fade away.
    • Neil Young, My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) on the album Rust Never Sleeps (1979). Quoted by Kurt Cobain in his suicide note.
  • Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
    • Widely used expression, used by many authors, it appears at least as early as in Death and Dying (1979) in the Social Issues Resources Series, Vol. 1, p. 35.
  • People who try to commit suicide — don't attempt to save them! . . . China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people.

Cesare Pavese[edit]

  • Consider this point carefully: nowadays, suicide is just a way of disappearing. It is carried out timidly, quietly, and falls flat. It is no longer an action, only a submission.
    • 1936-04-24
  • Here's the difficulty about suicide: it is an act of ambition that can be committed only when one has passed beyond ambition.
    • La difficoltà di commettere suicidio sta in questo: è un atto di ambizione che si può commettere solo quando si sia superata ogni ambizione.
    • Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-01-16
  • No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.
  • The act—the act—must not be a revenge. It must be a calm, weary renunciation, a closing of accounts, a private, rhythmic deed. The last remark.
  • Suicides are timid murderers. Masochism instead of Sadism.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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