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Feb 8, 2019


Free yourself from archaic prejudices about life and death and organize socially the right to have your life to become freer, more serene and happier.

The time of the troglodytes ... For a long time, in the West, everything has happened as if the Men, not content with being dispossessed of their life, still consented to be dispossessed of their own death - or, more precisely, of their right to die.
Now, in the name of what ethics, what values, can we deprive anyone of the fundamental right to take leave with dignity of existence? What is a society where the very man who is put on notice all his life to take responsibility is treated like a coward, a child, when he demands a "soft death"? What is a society which supplies each individual with “communication machines”, state-of-the-art tools and which, faced with the ultimate decision, faced with the most serious moment of its existence, leaves him as destitute as a troglodyte? As if the one who allowed himself a peaceful death was guilty of hybridism (that is to say of pride and excess) ... As if he had to die at the appointed time, with the consent of his god . As if the one who wants to die before the hour had to shed his blood, pay his tribute ...
The dying person is not only the Man who is left to die as an outcast, like a vegetable, but also Western civilization, which refuses to give Man civilized means to put an end to his ordeal. This manifesto is an appeal to everyone so that the control he exercises over his own death gives back to his life that taste of freedom without which it is worse than death.

In camera ... The state and the medical services do not like suicides: it is a manifestation of social disaffection, a break in the ban, an act of civility, insubordination. On the one hand, the therapeutic State cannot respond to the demand for surveillance, assistance and solicitude from its citizens, and on the other hand tolerate that one withdraws from this supervision on its own. To give is to give: as soon as one has entrusted body and soul to the services of the State, one discredits the latter by giving him company. Like the totalitarian countries, which avoided reporting on illegal emigration, the State made sure that the media rarely mentioned suicides.
In principle, however, the law allows suicide, and sometimes even assisted suicide. But, in reality, no one can kill himself by chemical means without having obtained the precious prescription from his doctor, by friendly pressure, by corruption or by cunning. Self-delivery recipes published with the best intentions in the world by associations such as Exit (Association for the right to die with dignity) are useful especially to the state medical services, which diligently peel them to ban as and when as drugs that could be used for suicidal purposes. It is much easier today to get a sachet of heroin than a drug of this nature. The state prohibits both, but we have to believe that it is selective in its prohibitions and that it only really applies them to chemicals that are harmful to its authority ...

The deserters ... In contrast to the sweet death, there is that - emblematic - of Christ and the martyrs of all religions and all causes, from the most noble to the most futile: we can immolate ourselves by the fire to protest against tyranny as one can shoot himself in the head for losing a football match. No doubt it is futile to want to draw a dividing line between reasonable suicides and those which we consider absurd: it is up to each one to establish his scale of values, being careful not to forget that the most wobbly are not necessarily the least solid.
These suicides have an altruistic connotation: one sacrifices oneself for God, for humanity, for one's homeland or one's faith. Soft death does not pretend to prove anything; it does not rely on any absolute, it is in the service of no one ... and that is what embarrasses. There is desertion in the air and the deserters have an unfortunate reputation. We give leave to an existence that is no worse than another and, by the same token, we break the enchanted and painful circle of all those who think that life is the supreme good and that it is necessary to hold on only cost. Why ? We will never know, it is one of these evidences that it would be wrong to dig. The philosophers themselves, if they do not want to be discredited as were the cynics, the Schopenhauériens or the stirnériens, respect the rule of the game: to question everything except our presence on this clod of earth where, between two massacres, we launch distress calls, pathetic and vain SOS which do not dissuade us from continuing to work for the perpetuation of the species: the more the times are catastrophic, the more the imperishable seed of pain is generously lavished.
So goes life which is stronger than anything ... and it is from her that we would like to take leave? What outrageousness! What a presumption! What ingratitude! Like Prometheus, you are chained and you will remain chained. Like Prometheus, an eagle will torture you by tearing your side and feeding on your liver. Support yourself and abstain. Learn to love suffering; learn to love life, to say thank you to your executioner. Christ and the martyrs set an example. It's up to you to follow him. And never forget that your life is not yours: it belongs to God, the state, the party, your loved ones - you are not free to dispose of it. This is the lie that is hammered all day long at catechism, at school, in families, businesses or unions. This is the message that the proponent of a right to a soft death rejects.

Morbid universe of the fault ... The Greeks and the Romans recognized with the free men the right to have their own life. They condemned, however, the suicide of women, children and slaves, whom they then considered as sedition or an attack on the master's property. Even for Socrates, it goes without saying: "If it happened that among the individuals who are your property, there was one who killed himself without you having expressed his desire to him, would you not be angry against this individual, and wouldn't you punish him if you had a punishment? He says in Le Phédon.
Now, with the establishment of Christianity as a state religion, God has become the master of all men, and he has the punishment that Socrates invoked as an unworkable hypothesis: eternal damnation. Each individual is indebted to the almighty creator of his existence and justiciable for its preservation. God has, so to speak, conquered human life, and he has secured his monopoly by means of a tribunal more inflexible than that of civil society: the internal forum. From now on, suicide is no longer a challenge but a sin. Such guilt, following the internalization of a balance of power or property, illustrates the Nietzschean genealogy of morality well. Suicide is caught in the morbid universe of Fault, it is the object of an anathema of religious or metaphysical essence.
The succession of ecclesiastical power through temporal power has only shifted suicide into a pathological register without fundamentally modifying its definition: there remains an evil, a symptom of a mental affection or a social dysfunction. It will therefore fall within the competence of doctors. He obeys in this a general process of medicalization which Thomas Szasz characterizes thus: “For centuries, Men and women believed they could escape guilt by making morals a matter of theology; now they make it a medical business. (The Theology of Medicine).
Formerly, men attributed evil to the grip of the demon; the criminals were possessed whom the priest had the task of exorcising. Today, these are patients whom the doctor is responsible for curing. This means that evil continues to be treated externally, like an inhuman and harmful force which must be fought by exorcists endowed with special powers. We persist in repressing what could engage our responsibility and arouse our guilt: the death instinct, the destructive impulses, the anti-social desires, the conflictuality necessary for the human condition.
When one of our fellows takes action and thinks of our common monstrosity too bluntly, we take him away from criminal justice and refer him to the doctor-psychiatrist as a pathological case, that is to say foreign to our mentality. Criminals know that by making their crime odious enough to make it a mental illness, they will be relieved of their responsibility. So they make it so that the crime itself, as a morbid symptom, serves its own absolution - they sort of make themselves innocent of crime by crime.

The paths of freedom ... It is suicide as abortion before its legislation and the development of the technique of extraction of the egg by the vacuum cleaner of Karman. Previously, every year and in every country in the world, thousands of young girls were subjected to the abortive tortures of angel-making girls, plunged knitting needles into their bodies, threw themselves down the stairs or rather let themselves die than carrying their pregnancy to term. Today, abortion has become as commonplace and as harmless to teenage girls as a snack in a trendy tearoom.
Ultimately, one can understand, without approving, the opponents of foeticide: women do not only have their own body, but also the life of another human being. A debate that quickly turns short, like the one on the death penalty (by the way, why, in countries where the death penalty has been abolished, lifers would not have the choice between the execution of their sentence and a smooth disappearance?), so weighed down with metaphysical presuppositions and loaded with archaic fantasies. But finally, we can legitimately maintain that the dissipation of the fear of hell, the invention of the pill and the free disposal of her body by women are all steps on the paths of freedom. Without forgetting that there is only one thing that Men prefer to freedom: bondage.
Paradoxically, suicide, which is not legally considered a crime, is often suppressed by psychiatrists and made increasingly difficult despite chemical advances in this area. The suicidal who, after all, only commits his own life, is more severely penalized than the woman who decides to abort. There is something incongruous about it. In addition, as Maud Mannoni notes, our generation popularized chemical contraception and in doing so, it desecrated an area over which the God of Christians reigned absolutely. Now the Man who has come to master birth wants to have the right to master his death.

Suicide and the State ... Skepticism commands that we accept ambiguity: it is at the heart of things, it accompanies each of our actions, it nourishes our most intimate thoughts. Idolatry, whatever form it takes, is a denial of reason. Life no more than death should be absolute - and a religion of nothingness whose supreme sacrament would be suicide should elicit the same sneers as any other religion. If we advocate soft death, it is also because it contributes to desacralize suicide - and, consequently, death - by passing it from the order of the instinctual to that of the rational, from the register of fatality to that of freedom, of the exaltation of transgression to a serene lucidity.
Without pathos, without despair ... just the feeling that this passage between two nothingness, ephemeral as it was, deserved a conclusion of our own: we will never leave it to anyone to decide what end we want to give to an adventure which has meaning and price only through the exercise of our freedom. "I am the absolute source", wrote Merleau-Ponty in Phenomenogy of perception: it is only me, through my freedom, which can give meaning and a price to the adventure of my life, that is why l 'You cannot respect me without respecting my freedom.
The idea of suicide can be a crutch on which to rely when life is too intolerable. But beyond that, it gives man the feeling of his dignity by allowing him to exercise control over his own death and, consequently, over his life. As long as death is in our power, we are not in anyone else's power, said the ancients already. And Benjamin Constant adds: "Suicide is a means of independence and, in this regard, all powers hate it. "

The ghosts of God ... We must consider death, and in particular the question of suicide, as the keystone of the whole symbolic system in which we are caught. It is clear once again that we are dependent on the Judeo-Christian stigma attached to self-appropriation. God is not dead, we rejoiced too quickly. It is also the Judeo-Christian mentality that makes us feel guilty before each agony as before that of Christ. Man seems condemned to replay indefinitely this psychodrama of the Passion which makes him his own idol and his own torturer. This means that dechristianization and the conquest of individual autonomy first pass through the freedom to die.
Put at a sacred distance, withdrawn from our grip by theological anathema, death returns to us like a supernatural and vindictive power. Subject to an apprehension which can become obsessive, it goes up the course of our life and never stops starting. Enemy old age: the suppression of the afterlife, like a water hammer, has postponed ante mortem the end of the punishment by making old age a secularized hell. This is how we must understand this verse of the great Mexican poet Inès de la Cruz: "You will be dying from birth ...". You will be born, you will work, you will give birth, you will grow old and you will die in pain: these are the consequences of a religiosity which, ultimately, is up to us. It is up to us to make death a deliverance rather than a threat, a definitive sleep rather than an agony, a right rather than a punishment. We are free to invent a happy ending to the scenario of our existence to modify the spirit, according to the same retroactive logic which still places it under the authority of a fatal outcome. Old age would surely be transformed. Like maternity, it will only be truly livable if it is freely consented to, if not desired. We must be able to terminate it like pregnancy, without having to give any justification to anyone.
Restoring old people and people with disabilities to their dignity should first of all respect their autonomy, that is to say their right to control their lives and their bodies. By making old age the object of a choice rather than a fatality, we would take away its most inhuman component.
To kill oneself is to affix one's signature at the end of a life that we have not chosen, which has proven to be a series of setbacks, disgraces and failures and which, thanks to this gesture of supreme awareness of his dignity, belongs to us at last. There is no freedom more accomplished than adherence to one's own death: ethical adherence as much as aesthetic. Also, it is at the moment when our existence assumes in our eyes its highest price that we should take leave.

For an ethical pluralism. If it were still possible, however, to effect a pluralist turnaround, we should no doubt begin by freeing the doctors themselves from the ethical yoke - to all honor! Perhaps the men of art would thus find the use of the first person of the singular, that is to say a plurality of principles which, with them as differently as in any other corporation, goes from religious fundamentalism to libertarian thought, through business, professional competition, the technological creed, etc.
A Catholic doctor thinks that God gives life and has only the right to take it back; can we ask him to perform an abortion, to assist a suicide or to shorten an agony? Conversely, why ask an atheist doctor to conform to Christian ethics? Why should those who have a religious respect for life impose their principles on those who have a scrupulous respect for individual autonomy, and vice versa? Some doctors effectively design and organize their practice as a business; why ask them for extra soul?
Why take refuge hypocritically in a nebulous consensus which saves the appearance of morality, but which frustrates in the last resort and the patients and the doctors of their true aspirations? Is it fatal that the therapeutic relationship implies the normalization or the ethical laminating of the respective convictions? Why should it not open up to the diversity of ideologies by rather facilitating their pairing, so that each patient can benefit from the care of a practitioner who shares his convictions, without having to comply with a collective standard? Obviously, this could only be conceived under conditions of transparency. A priest is expected to publicly profess his religion, a politician to display his ideas, a school that she announces if it is public, private, affiliated with a religion, or a sect. , etc. Likewise, each doctor should announce his principles: respect for life at all costs (at the cost of suffering), alleviation of suffering at all costs (at the cost of life), search for medical performance or commercial profit, etc.
The institution of such a use would exempt doctors from these hypocritical detours or from these clandestine acts still imposed by ethical monolithism. And above all, this deontological diversity would guarantee patients care in accordance with their wishes and freed from any moral or legal sanction. The market economy that is obsessively advocated today will remain basely materialistic if it does not become generalized in competition with ideas and principles. Thus, when we speak of liberal medicine, we mean above all, if not exclusively, the privatization of fees. It is medical ethics that we propose to release.
We are still far from such pluralism. To achieve this, one would have to start by being suicidal in the ethical field, one would have to proceed with the dissolution of a civil religion which has no other foundation than gregarity. Ethics, we said, no longer proceeds from a supernatural focus but from a circular mimicry which, moreover, is accelerating. In the name of secular values such as happiness or health, the therapeutic state expands day by day its skills and invades our private life. He threatens with death those who smoke, those who use drugs, those who drink, those who eat too much, those who do not exercise, those who do too much, those who expose themselves to the sun, etc.
It is only suicide, precisely, that seems to escape this verdict by short-circuiting it. In a so-called tolerance society which has learned to integrate its marginalized, to recover contestation, and even to take advantage of terrorism as a pretext for overdeveloping control devices, voluntary death appears as a way out that l The state apparently strives to lock in by all means: by prohibiting barbiturates, by raising railings on bridges, and above all by affecting suicide of an infamous, morbid or pathetic nature.

Models of deviance. However, this strategy obviously goes to the opposite end, since the rate of teenage suicides, in particular, continues to increase. One can wonder if this counter-finality does not proceed in the last resort from a cynical resignation, and even from a social logic at the same time unconscious and devious: the multiplication of suicides, it would be the forced ransom of a system of life based on school competition, technocratic selection, structural unemployment, "therapeutic" overprotection, etc.
A social strategy can be oriented by a purpose which does not necessarily presuppose a conscious subject. Even if there is no one to rejoice in it, the suicide of young people functions objectively as a safety valve for the social body. By demonizing it, it is designated to potential rebels as the royal way of refusal. Adolescents who have broken their drug addiction or commit suicide, and the state is getting stronger! This is also the effect of prohibition in this area, which verifies the theses of Georges Devereux on the social management of prohibitions. In his Essays on general ethnopsychiatry, Devereux uncovered the activity of a structural unconscious which leads each society to secrete not only rules of behavior, but, in counter-dependence on these norms, models of deviance. (Sartre would not speak of the unconscious but of a conscience of bad faith, which does not want to know what it knows, but the bottom of the problem remains the same). In other words, the community insures itself against those who could threaten its equilibrium by implicitly suggesting to them conduct which is manifestly refractory, but which is dangerous only for themselves. Indeed, among the models of deviance in the consumer society, there are mainly drug addiction and suicide. In spite of the good faith of those who run media prevention campaigns, they have an incentive effect: they signal with their alarmism even the acts of self-destruction that will have the most emotional repercussions.
In the security context that is ours, suicide has thus become a powerfully expressive act, over-invested with emotional, moral, fantastical meanings, etc. The infamous, pathetic or morbid reputation that has been made of it amounts to offering it to those who feel misunderstood as the last chance to challenge, feel guilty or grieve those around them. Suicide, manual: long before the work of Claude Guillon and Yves Le Bonniec which hit the headlines so much, suicide already had its symbolic manual, coming from a black mythology, celebrating, so to speak, the wedding of 'Eros and Thanatos - a symbolism far more engaging than technical recipes.

Learn to die. This offers us the opportunity for a development. Our purpose is not to encourage or discourage suicide, but to consider it in a way that makes better use of it. In its current aura, by a terrifying paradox, suicide appears as the resource for supernumeraries of the human species to provide proof that they exist. I commit suicide, therefore I am: a desperate version of the cogito, which finds its ultimate resonance in the imprecations of Antonin Artaud.
"Suicide of society": we propose to remake an active verb, and even a reflexive verb, in every sense of the term, that is to say liberated from its melodramatic connotations. It is not suicide in itself that is pathetic, it will be the social or existential dead ends which will have determined (or influenced) it. To attack suicide as such amounts to shaking the thermometer when the temperature does not suit us. Those who persist in preventing people from dying are usually the very people who kept them from living.
It is not suicide that must be prevented, it is prevention. We must learn to consider death no longer as a specter but as a friend, or as a nurse. As soon as we can count on her to come to our aid (that is to say, to have euthanasia drugs), she will stop poisoning our existence, she will rather dissuade us from shortening it. Let us make the death that prowls in this twilight of the second millennium a little alive by giving it the colors of freedom - or let's say, colors a little pastel, that adolescents will find exquisite, but too old-fashioned for them ...
Living must not obey a duty, but a desire. We did not ask to be born, and we must only consent to life by virtue of a contract renewable from day to day and cancellable within the same term. To be able to take leave without pathos or pain, we will consider existence with more casualness and more humor.

Dying of his own death. "You have to acquire either reason or a rope to hang yourself," said the Stoic Antisthenes. It would be wiser to say that you have to acquire both reason and the rope to hang yourself. The awareness of our mortality is the sign that we have acquired reason. But as this consciousness cannot remain levitating in the sky of ideas, reason commands us to be ready to leave the place without regrets, without remorse and without excessive masochism, as soon as the sum of the suffering prevails over that pleasures. Reason commands us both to be satisfied with all the pleasures that are within our reach (it would be a shame to leave bitter or embittered the banquet of life - even if, once dead, we will not be able to regret anything) and to constantly have at our disposal the resignation pill.
Paradoxically, the first objective is easier to achieve than the second. Probably because there is pressure from all sides to make us believe that life is something unique and desirable, wonderful and shimmering (we learn quickly, and often at our expense, that it is tasteless, brutal and vain), while suicide would be worse than rudeness: a breach of sacred duties that implies our presence here below. Many people still think with Rousseau that “suicide is a sinful and shameful death; it is a robbery made to the human race ”, and rare are those who dare to affirm, with Montaigne or Schopenhauer, that it is advisable to make fun of the pretension displayed by the community to retain us in spite of us for the accomplishment of do not know what social duty.

Become lucid and serene. Nothing is more surprising than our unconsciousness in the face of death. We choose our holiday resorts with the greatest foresight and we show a staggering carelessness when it comes to leaving life. Certainly, as Seneca writes in his Letters to Lucilius, when one has courage, there is no shortage of ideas for dying, but reason prescribes us to do it, if possible, without pain.
This possibility exists today in practice. It could, it should be within everyone's reach. No one cares. Politicians, from the most reactionary to the most revolutionary, the teachers of wisdom, from the most moralizing to the most libertarian, the Men of the Church, from the most tolerant to the most sectarian, all continue, on different scores, to hum the same catchphrase, preaching it is up to each of us to contribute to changing life, to making human relationships more harmonious and fairer ... without admitting, because it would be the supreme sacrilege, that Man can be disgusted with himself or overwhelmed by misfortune at not to prefer death to life. And this death which reason commands him, and which could be not a final attack, but a reconciliation with himself, we refuse him. He must throw himself under the metro trains or hang himself or defenestrate himself or poison himself - with the horror that these expedients of another age generate and the risks of failure they entail - while the compassion and fraternity would like us to grant, to the wise as to the desperate - there is sometimes a lot of despair at the bottom of wisdom and wisdom in despair -, this lethal cocktail which will finally get us forgotten. Help people to live? This should not mean forcing them to hold onto the raft on the pretext that others are refusing to let go. This stranglehold on the ultimate freedom that Man has has a name: it is, depending on whether it applies to society or to the individual, a moral scam or an encouragement to self-authentication. Help men die? Give them the means to leave this world, at their will and without suffering? Nobody thinks about it. By promising punishments in the afterlife, by condemning any candidate for suicide to moral and physical torture, we are working to make infernal the vision of this passage to other shores (or rather to nothingness) to which however no one will not escape. Let us think about it serenely: is it really to be unreasonable to want this passage to take place under acceptable conditions? Would it not be for each of us unparalleled comfort and help to know that, on this earth, the worst can be spared us when we leave it? To ask the question, is to answer it. How is it that this response remains echoed?

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