Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

4.1.2 Application/Discussion

Whoever takes their own life does not violate the fifth commandment, nevertheless acts against the will of God as Creator. Today, killing oneself is not generally viewed as sinful but rather as a pathological action. It is additionally burdened by the fact that it almost always does or even should leave behind guilt due to the delayed realization that timely help was not given. 

Recently killing oneself has also come to be glorified as an act of freedom, for instance by Jean Amery in On Suicide: A Discourse on Voluntary Death. In this topic as in others, society swings from one extreme to the other: the one-sided perspective that suicide is exclusively sinful is suddenly supposed to yield to the opposite belief. From a professional standpoint, the pathological illness component has been recognized more today than ever before. This is also the justification of the intervention of first responders. 


Thesis: Suicide is predominantly a pathological action with very few exceptions such as Socrates or Jochen Klepper. Source: Erwin Ringel: Selbstmord – Appell an die Anderen, München 1974. 

Suicide is widely recognized as a consequence of Depression and just as importantly understood as Aggression that is 

  1. Strengthened
  2. Inhibited 
  3. Directed against oneself


“Nobody kills themselves who did not first have the wish to kill or at least the wish that another dies.” Alfred Adler quoted by Erwin Ringel. 

For example: a daughter is supposed to kill her beloved dog and instead takes her own life

Suicide is often associated with harm done to bystanders and is then immoral. 

For example: someone throws themselves in front of a train: Policemen and first responders must then gather up the remains. Travelers on the train are impacted. 

E.g. true crimes are committed by the 33% of “real” wrong way drivers who are willing to risk the death of innocents. 

It is important to recognize the “pre-suicidal syndrome”

  1. Constriction of personal possibilities (Animal in a cage). Terrible is the fact that these are often purely imagined: suicide out of fear of cancer 
  2. Constriction of Emotions (Seeing the world through a black lens)
  3. Constriction of interpersonal relationships (up to the point of clinging to a single person on whom one depends for their whole existence. This may result in deaths that go tragically unnoticed). 
  4. Constriction of Value Systems: no more value-setting, no hobbies, predominance of entirely subjective values.