Why do we fear death? Is it within our nature to fear death or do we fear it because the society has taught us to fear it? This question has always plagued my mind from time to time. As I explore in my mind to find the answer to these questions, I realize that no answers can be concluded, only more questions. However, it is possible to answer some things to a certain extent, if I limited my questions to a specific topic. So the question now is, when is the fear of death diminished? Is it possible to overcome death for a greater cause? The answer is obviously yes, as history has shown. But what about the people who commit suicide, or more specifically, altruistic suicides. .
What goes on through the mind of people who commit altruistic suicide, and, more importantly, what makes them carry out such a behavior? After researching more about altruistic suicides in articles and the Internet, I came to theorize that suicide is altruistic when a person commits suicide for their learned and internalized belief, which they rank as superior to their self-worth. In addition, I hypothesize that, the greater the social status of the person, more likely is the person commit altruistic suicide, as compared a person of lesser social status.
The main article I examined is titled Durkheim's Heroic Suicide In Military Combat, written by Dr. Jeffery W. Riemer, a professor of sociology at Tennessee Technological University. In his articles, he invokes intriguing questions such as: Consider what must be involved in a decision to give your life so that others may live. What social and emotional dynamics are involved in these heroic acts of self-sacrifice? Combining with his study of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, he uses Emile Durkheim's classic statement on heroic suicide as well an earlier study by Blake on altruistic suicide in military combat. The data used are consistent with Durkhemi's views of behavior on heroic suicide; however, few more factors are added in the article, as the author brings about two new topics, the leadership role dimension and the emotional element present.