Suicide as "Thingified" Death
This article examines the issue of suicide in South Korea, where the overall suicide rate has increased significantly since 1997. In 2004 South Korea had the highest suicide rate among all OECD countries. The article begins with a definition of suicide as "thingified" death. Suicide is "thingified" death insofar as the agent is deprived of the possibility of a good death or the right to die with dignity. The article presents a description and analysis of typical cases of suicide in South Korea. After considering the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of suicide, the article provides theological and ethical analyses of suicide. The Old Testament story of Job is introduced as a theological model of enduring life no matter how much suffering it involves. Finally, the article evaluates the notion of ownership of life, individual autonomy, and the freedom to kill ourselves in light of Eastern philosophical and religious traditions.
Keywords: suicide, "thingified" death, Job, ownership of life, religious wisdom