There’s apparently a twisted sort of commemoration to Robin Williams making the rounds, a frame from the Disney cartoon, Aladdin, of the jinni being freed from the lamp with the caption, “You’re free, Jinni!” It’s a clear allusion to Mr. Williams’s voiceover of the jinni, with the implication that suicide is freeing. I heard one psychiatrist complaining “Why are they making my job more difficult?”
That piqued my curiosity. In what belief system would suicide be considered freeing? If you don’t believe in an afterlife, death is not freeing. It is oblivion. That’s not freedom it’s just nothing. An end. Except for those who are left behind with pain, disbelief, and, maybe, guilt.
I don’t believe it would be considered freeing in Hinduism which teaches reincarnation. I’m no expert on Hindu metaphysics but my understanding is that they believe that we are born and reborn until we are freed from the circle of birth and death by a genuine understanding of the nature of things, referred to as mokṣa. When you have attained mokṣa, you would be completely at peace. Therefore suicide is ipso facto evidence that you have not attained mokṣa and are, consequently, not at peace, and not freed from the circle of birth and death. Since they also belief that your actions in this life affect your next life, I see no way that suicide would be seen as freeing by Hindus.
Many Christians believe that suicide is a sin worthy of eternal damnation, the opposite of freeing. I can imagine circumstances under which that might not be the case but it would nonetheless produce a term in Purgatory, for those Christians who believe in progress after death (one of the oldest Christian beliefs, attested from the First Century onwards).
I don’t condemn suicide. It is not for me to condemn. I think it is always sad and painful.
Under what belief system would suicide be freeing?