It is said that, in Greek antiquity, there was a philosopher, Hegesias, who advocated suicide and recommended death. He must have had very good arguments since it is said that his teachings caused an important wave of suicides, to the point that his books were forbidden, his school was closed and he himself was banished.
If it is not possible to achieve happiness, if happiness is indeed a chimera, and if what we really have is pain, what is the meaning of life? And what would be the solution? Hegesias will say without hesitation, death. Hegesias wrote a book that has survived? until our time, precisely, a book that makes an apology of death, the APOKARTERÓN “the one who starves himself”, “the one who sacrificed himself for nothing”, whose argument is centered on a philosopher who decides to die of starvation and maintains a dialogue with his colleagues defending this decision.
I am struck by this story because before seeing the apology to suicide (which it is also), I see the pessimistic possibility, certainly, that someone assumes the fate of his life in its entirety. It is a paradox that could be applied in several ways to explain the state of our time, because society and its idea of progress, has not managed to advance in that people, can fully assume the destiny of his life, on the contrary, despite democracy and its alleged progress, we have not advanced in freedom as “the possibility of assuming in an integral way the meaning of our life”, if we consider the limitations, lack of opportunity and even hardships to which we are exposed day by day due to the increasingly poor and difficult conditions of our society.
On the other hand, the desire for one’s own death reveals the profound significance that the act of ending one’s own pain has, as opposed to the irrelevance of the desire to end, or at least limit, the pain of all. In this case, sacrificing oneself for nothing would not be the sacrifice of one’s own life in the act of suicide, but the sacrifice of a life that is not one’s own in a context that we do not even control in spite of our reason, our laws and our supposed democratic system.