Salvation of a Saint and the Etiquette of Suicide

Keigo Higashino’s Salvation of a Saint is a nice read. An enticing, elaborate murder mystery with enough emotional meat to hook us in. Without going into too much detail it suffices to say that this is modern day Conan Doyle material.

Suicide Etiquette

Suicide is man’s way of telling God, you can’t fire me. I quit. But how you quit shows your class.

One thing I realize while reading the book is the strength of Japanese hierarchical etiquette.

Suicides are a phenomenon not given its due in society maybe because it is irrevocable. It liberates one from all miseries and bondage. A seductive abyss of nothingness which one can slip into. I suspect most of the fear surrounding the act is around the vehicle one chooses to commit oneself to extinction. Ranging from premeditated Euthanasia to Seppuku, the gruesome ritual of disemboweling oneself to make up for the cowardly act of quitting on life, suicidal modes are varied and most conjure up painful nightmares.

The Japanese society has codified the act of willful termination of one’s life. There is a nod, an ability to look it in its eye and an acknowledgement of the act. It has been analyzed, written about and ritualized. I read somewhere that women committing Seppuku tie their legs together so that in their death throes they do not lose decorum and maintain form.  Such consideration. Such constriction to conform.

In Buddhism as far as I know there was the act of Nirvana and PariNirvana by the enlightened. They accept and embrace the passing away of one’s consciousness with the calm and dignity that it deserves. The teachings that help sever human bondage serve to view this event of death as inevitable. Something that I have found many of us fail to achieve.

Even healthy adults and ageing parents flinch at the mention of death. It is viewed with terror and fear. And suicides are mostly committed out of emotional upheavals. These to me seem crass.

Why commit suicide for something that is meaningless to live?

Do broken marriages, infidelity, poverty, betrayal etc. disallow life? No. They do not. You let it. So those are petty excuses.

If it was indeed revocable, how many of us would try it? The ultimate bungee jumping. I would. I think.

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