The myth of Sisyphus and other essays.


Suicide Bombers, Authoritarian Minds, and the Denial of Others


Theoretical Grounding: the “Missing Link” in Suicide Research


Four-Dimensional Model of Suicide

Published in “Back to the Future: Refocusing the Image of Suicide,” ed. by J L McIntosh

Absurdity and Suicide: a Reexamination

Ellen West’s Suicide as a Case of Psychic Homicide

The purpose of the present paper is to suggest that the suicide of Ellen West, which was argued by Binswanger (1958) to have been the correct & necessary path for her to take, might more correctly be viewed as a case of psychic homicide. The author explores what this phenomenon is, & how it pertains […]

“One Size Fits all”: an Existential-Constructivist Perspective on the Crisis Intervention Approach With Suicidal Individuals

The empirical data on the relationship between suicide & suicide attempts are interpreted as suggesting that the contemporary assessment & intervention approaches to suicidal individuals are, by & large, ineffective. The authors focus on the crisis intervention model as one example & suggest that the crisis intervention approach to responding to suicidal patients is at […]

Understanding Suicidal Terror Through Humanistic and Existential Psychology (IN: The Psychology of Terrorism: a Public Understanding, vol.1, ed. by C E Stout)

This chapter discusses 1 psychological outlook on Islamic suicidal terror, with 3 basic assumptions: 1) suicidal terrorism is seen as heroism that mega-overcompensates for inferiority & as a search for fulfilling peak experiences (psychopathology is dismissed as a possible explanation for the behavior); 2) this heroism & sacrifice are aimed at a domestic audience – […]

Why Bother: is Life Worth Living?

This essay presents a justification for suicide. Rather than asking what the purpose of life is, it asks the question, why bother to live? The author emphasizes that living is a personal choice made over & against the existential option of suicide.

Nietzsche and Bankei Zen: on Dying Rightly

This paper utilizes Nietzsche & the 17th Century Japanese Zen Master Bankei as antidotes to the nihilism that prompts teenage self-destruction. Both thinkers offer counsel addressing the overwhelming hopelessness & self-lacerating regret youth can feel when confronted with societal demands to capitulate. Distinguishing between consummatory actions & acts of fulfillment, the paper plays with “bridging” […]

The Absurd, Death, and History

This chapter analyzes philosophical tenets regarding suicide offered by Camus, the Stoics, the Epicureans, & the Existentialists. Issues of free will, consent, involvement, abstract liberty & repetition of events throughout history are discussed. The philosophical tenet that the world is absurd is evaluated according to the attitudes of various philosophers. The author notes that suicide […]

Human Person, Spirituality and Thanatology (Basic Human Spirituality for the Thanatologist) Persona humana, espiritualidad y tanatologia

This article is an English translation. The original Spanish text is also available.

The Last Chapter of the Book: who is the Author? Christian Reflections on Assisted Suicide

In this paper the author argues that a narrative approach to understanding assisted suicide has been compromised by the notion that all narratives cannot seem to cohere or be both coherent & unified. He questions what society is to do with those narratives that cannot seem to cohere or be other than full of disunity, […]

Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Profession’s Gyrocompass

A professional ethic is a gyrocompass pointing in a precalibrated direction. It neither trumps all countervailing claims nor capitulates to anyone. This article argues that grounding legal permission for suicide in a medical professional ethic is unnecessary & misleading. The premise that suicide must be medicalized to be licit improperly shifts the authority for the […]

The Myth of Sisyphus (IN: On Suicide: Great Writers on the Ultimate Question, edited by J Miller)

This is an essay by French philosopher Camus, who states that the ultimate philosophical question is suicide, as it askes whether life is worth living. The relationship between individual thought & suicide is discussed. Suicide is confessing that one does not understand life. Camus tells the story of Sisyphus, who, because he enjoyed life, was […]

Survival of Suicide as an Opportunity for Transcendence

This article examines the experience of surviving a suicidal act. An existential-phenomenological approach is used. Survivors’ psychological suffering & their potential for finding in this experience an opportunity for growth are addressed. A dialectical resolution of the paradox of life & death is described as the catalyst for transcendence. Particular attention is given to the […]

Kafka Lived Life of Self-Condemnation

This article describes “The Trial” by Franz Kafka. The book is about a limitless bureaucracy & one man’s helplessness to fight against it. The article also describes Kafka’s home life, in which he was dominated by his overbearing father, was frequently depressed & often attempted suicide. With his writing, his usual pattern was to spend […]

Suicide and the American College and University: A Review of the Literature (IN: College Student Suicide, ed. by L C Whitaker and R E Slimak)

Offers a primer on the major sociological, psychological, & existential theories of suicide that lead to a discussion of suicide in European education prior to & at the advent of the 20th century. Literature of suicide in American colleges & universities is reviewed in depth, especially after 1950, discussing studies of incidence, sex differences, personality, […]

Suicide Intervention: The Existential and Biomedical Perspectives (IN: Suicide: Understanding and Responding: Harvard Medical School Perspectives, ed. by D Jacobs and H N Brown)

Discusses existential & biomedical views of suicide & presents ethical & empathetic dilemmas arising from both perspectives. Addresses questions such as “Is life worthwhile or not?”; “Does the individual never or always know what he or she wants?”; & “Is length or quality of life more important?” 61 refs. (LH).

On Suicide

Interventions with Native Americans (IN: Preventing Adolescent Suicide, ed. by D Capuzzi and L Golden)

Native American adolescents are at high risk for suicide attempts & completions. This chapter discusses Native American suicide trends, treatment issues such as intentionality, self-report measures, diagnostic protocols & the use of the DSM-III; treatment approaches such as client roles, psychoanalytical & existential foundations, family & systems therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy & group therapy & implications […]

The Components of Personal Despair (IN: Essays in Self-Destruction, ed. by E S Shneidman)

Diggory presents an extensive study of the elements of hopelessness, providing background from the fields of history, philosophy & sociology as well as psychology & psychiatry. The components of personal despair, he states, are those conditions under which an individual’s special reason for existing are rendered non-existent. Either he is not equipped to pursue the […]

The Will to Live, the Will to Die (Micro HV 6545 G58 1974)

The purpose of this study was to provide a philosophical analysis of self-destructive behavior from an existential frame of reference. An examination of attitudes toward suicide throughout history revealed positions of total acceptance to rigid condemnation. The author sees suicide as an individual’s last exercise of the ultimate existential freedom, the freedom to live or […]