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Apeiron Society for the Practice of Philosophy

Tuesday April 7th, 2015 at 7:30 pm
in the Valhalla Room of the Scandinavian Centre,
739 – 20th Ave N.W. Calgary.
Topic: “A Terror Beyond Falling:
The Myth of the Selfish Suicide”
Speaker: Laura Pylypow
Suicide Hotline Responder and Trainer

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The Talk:

In September 2014, the World Health Organization published its first-ever official report specifically about suicide, calling the need for better prevention a “global imperative”. Between 800,000 and a million people end their lives by suicide every year, yet the phenomenon typically receives less of our collective attention than other threats which are far less lethal. The subject of suicide is inescapably an upsetting one. We don’t seem to like thinking about it, and even when we do, many of us don’t seem particularly rational. Why would we call self-destruction “selfish”?  Why would be we call overcoming our fundamental survival instinct “cowardly”? Can we learn anything from the stubborn persistence of these harsh moral judgements about people who are arguably as miserable as it’s possible to be?  What can science tell us about the suicidal mindset, and how do these insights inform the ethical choices we make in suicide prevention? Do suicidal people have anything to teach us about happiness, or about what we might do better to pursue instead of happiness?

Biographical Notes:

Laura Pylypow is an IT professional with a background in applied mathematics and theoretical physics.  Her lifelong interest in the causes and prevention of suicide derives from personal experience of both suicidal crisis and suicide bereavement. She has been a Leadership Volunteer, active on the crisis line and as a trainer, at Distress Centre Calgary for over twenty years, and for the past decade has also been involved in online suicide intervention..