Everyone’s life is extremely valuable. However, a person who does not believe in himself or herself, is doomed and needs to keep his or her honor, or is being forced, will take his own or her own life. While most people that committed suicide were people that very few will ever know about, some were famous politicians, writers, artists, and other celebrities.
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All these people, well-known or not, have each impacted the world in many small and/or large ways. By killing themselves, they denied themselves the ability to make more changes and choose more choices. The history of the world could be immensely different if it were not for the people that took their own lives.
The first recorded mention of suicide is in an Ancient Egyptian document, The Dispute between a Man and His Ba, in which a man wants to kill himself but his soul threatens to leave him if he does. If the ancient Egyptians were writing about suicide four thousand years ago, people must have been killing themselves even before then.
The first recorded suicide of an important non-Biblical person was that of Socrates, a Greek philosopher. Socrates came up with the basics of what would eventually become Western philosophy and taught some of next next great philosophers, Plato and Xenophon. Socrates’s ideas were contrary to those of almost everyone around him, so he was told to either abandon his philosophy or to poison himself. Socrates could have escaped instead of doing either, but he chose to kill himself in 399 BC. If Socrates escaped to another land, he could have created more great philosophers and world-changing ideas.
Around the 12th century, a form of ritual suicide called seppuku was created in Japan. Samurai who were about to be defeated on the battlefield or had escaped before or after losing would cut open their stomachs and bleed to death. This was considered more honorable than fighting to the death or capture for their cause. These samurai could have gone on, possible achieving what they wanted, but instead, they allowed their enemies to determine the fate of Japan. One notable case of someone performing seppuku is that of Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga was trying to unite feudal Japan. When one of his allies turned on him, he was injured. Supposedly there was nothing he could have done, but instead of trying to finish his quest he performed seppuku upon himself on June 21, 1582.
On March 13th, 1881, suicide was used as a weapon for the first time. Ignaty Grinevitsky, a member of a terrorist group called The People’s Will, killed both himself and Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Tsar Alexander II was had modernized and greatly reformed for Russia and improved relations with America and European nations. After Alexander II, Russia’s leadership went in a downward spiral towards the rule of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, who spread Communism throughtout the world.
Even the art world has been affected by suicide. Many great artists have killed themselves; one notable example is Vincent Van Gogh. Today, Van Gogh is regarded as one of the best artists of all time. It is not known why Van Gogh killed himself, but the fact that he did deprived the world of many more of his majestical masterpieces.
Sixty years after the first suicide bombing, on December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the American naval base of Pearl Harbor. Fighters that were damaged or disarmed flew into the ships below to deal a final amount of damage rather than flee. This tactic was coined kamikaze, or divine wind, and was used later in the war. Nearly 7.5 thousand planes were flown into American ships and 120 American ships were sunk.
On April 30, 1945, the second World War was coming to a close. Adolf Hitler, one of the most, if not the most evil man to ever live, had nearly been defeated. Hitler could have tried to escape into the countryside, but instead he chose to both shoot himself and take cyanide rather than be publically humiliated when caught. Adolf Hitler, the one ultimately responsible for the 70-85 million worldwide deaths of World War Two and the worst tragedy in human history, the Holocaust, could have escaped and later caused more trouble. Thankfully, he rid the world of his horrible presence.
Today, suicide seems to be everywhere. Prevention techniques are taught to schoolchildren.
Celebrities often kill themselves, casting a good light on the act of suicide. People see or hear that an associate, friend, or person that they do not know has committed suicide frequently. According to the World Health Organization, someone somewhere in the world commits suicide every forty seconds, or eight-hundred thousand people in a year.
People have been taking their own lives since the times of the Ancient Egyptians, if not before then. Since then, millions of people have committed suicide. Since determined individuals have changed their country and/or the world many times throughout history, those millions of people could have made a massive difference with their lives. However, suicide has taken many great people and people that could have been great from our world, altering the course of history forever.
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