Monday, 21 November 2011

The Bucket List

Upon reading this amazing article http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/suicide_life_ends_six_meters_above_ground-78133, my priorities have really been mashed and swapped and generally tossed about. My initial reaction was quite simply elation - though after that in the post-"I can escape" haze, I realised something that I hadn't quite realised before: there are still things I want to do in this world. One of those things, the capture and acquisition of Japanese, is easily going to delay me about 5 years or so. AT LEAST. But, back on topic here, this whole experience has essentially resulted in me planning to create an autobiography, a bucket list (or a 'Fuck-it' list, as in, 'Fuck it, I'm going to die soon'), and to finish those quests I've been undertaking since my childhood - I want to become educated, I want to have sex, and I want to experience those things said to be the greatest among escapist outlets. After I've finished taking what I can from the world, I'll finally bolt away, as a thief, before the world can take anything more from me.

Another thing I've been thinking about: on what chance can you risk your livelihood on, provided you are in the same kind of situation as I am? Only on 100% certainty of escape (natural death) or on something a lot lower, such as 50% chance of finding the exit (say, slitting your wrists). Personally, what with a fall providing me with perhaps a 95-98% chance, and with the added bonus of a lack of pain, owing to imperfections in my mental apparatus (though similar ones are most likely the reason for me undertaking this operation in any case), I would wager my life (or, more accurately, my death) on that. But I'm not taking this lightly. I really do think you have to take count of outcomes as well as risks. The outcome of death 0.95 x the amount of good it does me (-0.7 of a life to 0 for no life = +0.7 utility), gives 0.665, while the outcome of, let's say becoming paralysed, with very conservative estimates - saying it happens the other 5% of times, gives 0.05 x (-0.7 to -1.0 =) -0.3 = -0.015. So since the good outcome is significantly better comparatively, based on my rough, amateur estimation, I'd easily stake my mortality on that. But there are a lot of factors to consider. If my life were significantly better, for example, say it yielded me an average of -0.2 utility, then that simple change would completely turn my way of thinking about these things around (0.95 x 0.2 (0.19) compared with 0.05 x-0.8 (-0.04)). The choices would not be significantly different, and as a result, I could basically make NO decision, and would simply live my life regardless, since it would take least effort to do so.

8 comments:

  1. I can definitely relate to the idea of unfinished quests, however irrational and unrealistically optimistic the desire to finish them is.

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  2. I understand what you mean, none of this will matter whatsoever once I'm dead, and I cannot go back and review what I've done, either. But at the same time, it feels quite liberating knowing that I may now have that option open to me so long as I live, and as a result of that liberation, I feel as if I should sort out my unfinished business, since I have all the time I need. Note that the ultimate reason for my death will be an emotional one (pain), so since my emotions are telling me that I have to clear up some things first, I feel I am at least being consistent by following them. As to why I am going against my previous argument: just as I cannot force myself to go without food for a long period of time without my emotions kicking in and forcing me to eat, I cannot go on living so long as to wait for my parents' demise.

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  3. So the argument here is basically that if you jump from a tall building you won't feel anything when you hit the ground because your brain won't have time to register it?

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  4. Sorry Stacy, yes that's the main argument. Provided it is true, it would provide many people with an easier, less painful suicide method than those currently available (since most people probably have neither the means nor expertise to create and utilise a 'suicide bag')

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  5. I would think the fear experienced during the fall is at least as unpleasant as a strong impact. Fear might not be pain, but it doesn't make it "easier". Also, why have peopled survived falling from the Golden Gate bridge?

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  6. Oh there's never 100% certainty about things, and besides that, I'd think that falling into water would have a lower mortality rate than say, falling onto concrete. The main 'you won't feel a thing' clause is essentially linked to large falls, like from a skyscraper - where falling head first should definitely prove fatal (though even then, the human body being a resilient little rascal, it's still only about 98-99% fatal). For the fear part, I understand that the walk to the destination, the ability to ponder before jumping etc. would all add to the difficulty - I've tried myself and failed about thrice as it goes - but still, it still, to me at least, being definitely afraid of only feeling pain before dying, would make the whole process a hell of a lot easier. Though you're right, I guess, maybe other people experiencing the fear before the final impact would make it more unpleasant, though I would add that that basically should occur before any suicide is completed, unless you're on a lot of drugs.

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  7. There might be some practical barriers to jumping off a building, since most tall buildings have quite a bit of security, and roof access is usually limited only to people who need to have access.

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  8. "I want to have sex."

    What?! Sex is evil and got me here. Rude.

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