Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of Hoover Hog interviews.
There are limits. If you want to stockpile AK-47s or burn Old Glory or fuck for cash or snuff your fetus, your appeal will be met with rehearsed huzzahs from the wings. A constituency is waiting. The polemics are signed and delivered, neatly punctuated with practiced elocution. Live and let live, young rebel. This is your heritage. Our ethos. Nobody's business if you do.
But how quickly those huzzahs fade when the subject turns to suicide. The confident rights rhetoric, so loudly trumpeted at every familiar turn, is traded for a different set of chords. The responsive default becomes concern. Becomes discomfiture. Becomes bristling incredulity. You peer into the maw of nonexistence, only to be assured, emphatically and from all sides, that what you are contemplating is wrong. Your death wish is an expression of acute turmoil; it is the illness wanting, not you. Applied to your pathologically confused desire, pop-libertarian slogans always read as perverse. There is no vocal constituency for suicide rights. There is no audible discourse over "choice" in this peculiar context. There is only removed compassion and anger, and a hotline.
Because everyone knows. Suicide is a cry for help. Suicide is an act of cowardice. Or hostility. Or strange mettle. Suicide is the easy way out. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Suicide is not chosen; it is the failure of choice. Cosmically irrational. Properly understood, suicide is foremost a public health issue. You have your whole life ahead of you. You can get through this. Think of how your friends and family will feel and tomorrow is another day and there are coping strategies and there are people who've been there who can help and you are suffering from a mental illness and there are treatment options and there is medicine and there is always hope. You're not thinking clearly. This isn't you. It simply can't be. Do you have a plan?
Even in academic circles, the study of suicide is aswarm with muddled premise-rigged thinking. Dubious statistics and theories are regurgitated with credulous deference. Emboldened by a deeply entrenched public health paradigm, scholars bow to the the coolly disinterested vantage of epidemiology to promote measures meant to thwart the scourge of self-destruction. This is for the good, they insist. Just look at the graphs.
When a choice is predefined as sick, it always circles back like this. And if you disagree, help is on the way.
Of course, there is another point of view. A heterodox suicidology, relegated to the fringe. This is the view under which the reasons of the would-be suicide can be considered in good faith. This is the view that sees suicidal ideation not as the symptom of some lazily presumed brainsick malaise, but as a rationally founded confirmation that the burden of existence is, at least for some, intolerable. This is the view that turns conventional assumptions on their head, by asking not whether self destruction is morally wrong, but whether a ubiquitous culture of "forced life" has blinded us to a far greater harm.
As Sister Y would have it, this is The View from Hell.
The moral issue of suicide has usually been stated in terms of whether suicide is morally permissible, under any circumstances. . . . This formulation assumes a major premise: that it is the suicidal person who must justify his refusal to live, rather than the community being required to justify the action of forcing him to live. These notes will focus on the moral reprehensibility of forced life, rather than attempt to justify suicide from a defensive perspective.
Known to her readers as "Curator" (possibly a nod to the Miller Williams poem), Sister Y stands virtually alone, asking questions that are disallowed by the prevailing life-biased consensus. When she isn't working through the vicissitudes of "Forced Life and its Ethical Alternatives," she enjoys hiking, M. Night Shyamalan movies, square-dancing, and Vietnamese cuisine. She is a triathlete in training. And yes, Sister Y wants to die.
You can take or leave it if you please.
FORCED LIFE AND ITS DISCONTENTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH SISTER Y
HOOVER HOG: You describe yourself as a "currently non-practicing" suicide. What does this mean?
SISTER Y: I am very much in favor of my own death, and I've actively pursued death in the past, but I'm not actively pursuing death right now. I think "suicide" connotes someone who either has killed herself, or is actively trying to kill herself. A "non-practicing suicide" would be someone with the mental status of a suicide (a stable, long-standing desire for death that is not the product of a delusion) but not currently taking action to achieve death. I'm not acting on it because (a) I find the methods currently available to me to be unacceptable, and (b) I am still working through the morality of suicide in general and in my case in particular, especially regarding my family and social obligations.
I've found that many people -- usually those who have never seriously contemplated suicide -- scoff at the notion that self destruction might be especially difficult, either for psychological or practical reasons. Has this been your experience? And how do you respond?
I don't think I recognized the difficulty of suicide until I made a serious attempt. Just because someone is rationally set on suicide does not mean that one's hard-wired self-preservation instincts disappear. Most methods of suicide that are fairly reliable call for the suicide to do something extremely unnatural and difficult (shoot oneself in the head, cut an artery). Other methods have a high likelihood of failure, and many are also likely to result in sequelae. The only comfortable, reliable method of committing suicide is to take an overdose of barbiturates, which are now extremely controlled and almost impossible to acquire, even on the black market. Almost no other drug will reliably produce death, and certainly not without substantial pain. I graduated from one of the top engineering schools in the country, and spent nearly two years researching suicide methods, and came up pretty much empty-handed. I encourage anyone who thinks suicide is easy to spend some time on the various pro-choice suicide boards on the Internet. These people are desperate to die, but come up against problems with the available methods. It's even worse in countries outside the United States, where guns are restricted or illegal, but even in the United States, those with previous mental hospitalizations may not buy or own guns, limiting the method's utility.
In most western cultures, individual choice is highly valued. People have come to be relatively tolerant of conduct that they may view as being morally wrong or even harmful, provided that the harm is self-inflicted and contained. But those who advocate greater personal freedom to use drugs or engage in risky sexual activity seem less enthusiastic when the topic turns to suicide. There may be some allowance for end-of-life scenarios, but a more general "right to suicide" has never emerged as a mainstream libertarian issue. What do you think accounts for this difference in attitude?
There are so many reasons for this. A major one is the pathologization of suicide. An important piece of received knowledge in our culture is that suicide is, by definition, always the product of mental illness, a premise that is more axiomatic than it is supported by real data. The more people are aware of the variety of human experience, the more even compassionate people tend to favor the right of consenting adults to do whatever they please, so long as they do not harm others. But this logic doesn't tend to include suicide, because to the degree that suicide is seen as somehow the product of mental illness, it's not seen as a free choice, and therefore it's not seen as compassionate to support a right to suicide. (The attempt to medicalize, and pathologize, various actions- from alcoholism to drug addiction to "sex addiction" - might be, among other things, an attempt to subvert our societal tolerance of individual choice in each of these areas by making them appear to be less than free choices.)
Another problem is that suicide does, of course, emotionally harm people other than the suicide, to the extent that the suicide has family or friends. I think people get confused when evaluating the pain caused by a suicide. They tend to compare it to murder - where a person takes the life of another - rather than to truly analogous situations, such as ending a relationship or quitting a job. Suicides are not seen as having the right to inflict emotional harm on others, even though we don't generally posit a right to other people's company or association, and this is exactly the type of harm that a suicide inflicts (denying others his company).
People have strong emotional reactions to the idea of suicide which, I think, prevent them from analyzing the morality of suicide in a fair way. The above reasons partially explain this. But there is another reason: people have so much invested in life being generally good, and the idea of rational suicide threatens that belief. If someone can rationally choose to stop living, especially when he or she isn't facing impending intolerable pain and loss of bodily and mental function, that must mean it's not an undeniable fact that life is, on balance, good. Jim Crawford of antinatalism.net calls this "souring the milk of foundational meaning that everybody's sucking down."
But doesn't research show that the majority of
people who attempt suicide and fail will never make a second attempt?
And don't failed suicides frequently come to express profound regret
over their prior actions? Why shouldn't such observations lend
support to the view that suicidal thinking is the product of a deeper
mental pathology that should be treated therapeutically rather than
There are studies that show that few people who attempt suicide go on to kill themselves within a short period of time afterward. I'm aware of one study, though, that found that between 13% and 19% of people who attempt suicide by self-poisoning go on to successfully kill themselves during their lifetimes - and that the rate of suicide doesn't decrease with time after the original attempt. A suicide attempt remains the single best predictor of future death by suicide (though I've been seeing the statistic tossed around recently that bipolar disorder comes close, with 10-15% of people with the diagnosis ending up as suicides).
Still, that leaves us with 75% or so of suicide attempters "deciding" to stay alive. Indeed, many express regret and say they are glad to be saved from their suicide attempts. But, given the suicide prohibition in our society and the general hostility toward suicide, I don't think it's fair to say that this means that most people who attempt suicide don't really want to die. Many people simply cannot manage suicide for practical reasons. Others may be reabsorbed into the anti-suicide position of mainstream society.
An analogy might be to members of an authoritarian religion in a country dominated by that religion. It might be true that few leave the religion, and many eventually "come back into the fold" if they do try to leave, but it's not fair to use that as evidence that leaving the religion is pathological and the product of a diseased mind.
But hasn't it been established that over 90% of suicides have a pre-existing mental illness? And if this is true, doesn't it complicate the notion that most suicidal individuals can rationally desire death?
The statistic that 90% of suicides have a mental illness is often tossed around. Check the sources, though, and it becomes very questionable.
The source for the statistic cited on the National Institutes of Mental Health website, for instance, is a completely uncontrolled study using the questionable "psychiatric autopsy" technique. Let me emphasize again: it's a study with no control group. It's a myth, but it's cited as if it were scripture. There have been some attempts at controlled studies demonstrating this, again using that "psychiatric autopsy" business. One of the larger controlled studies indeed seemed to demonstrate the accepted 90% statistic - but that study also found that 37% of its control group had a mental illness! Are we willing to believe that 37% of people walking around are so mentally ill as to justify interfering with their actions?
The other problem I have with this statistic is what is held to constitute a mental illness. The DSM-IV criteria for depression (Major Depressive Disorder), in particular, are so vague as to be nearly meaningless. By its definition, almost anyone could be diagnosed with depression at any time. The idea of suicide being a product of a mental illness is more definitional than descriptive. (Interestingly, the study about the Chinese women found that very few of them had any mental illness.)
Though the 90% statistic is, in my analysis, a myth, it is true that many suicidal people have a mental illness (bipolar disorder is particularly likely to lead to suicide). But it's still a leap to suggest that people with a mental illness should not have the right to commit suicide. A mentally ill person may still make a will or sign a contract or be held liable for a crime, for instance, so long as he was capable of understanding his actions at the time. Mentally ill people are still, in many cases, capable of forming rational desires. It seems presumptuous to say that, as long as you're mentally ill, you couldn't possibly rationally desire to kill yourself - although you might rationally desire other things. In fact, the unrelenting suffering ensured by many mental illnesses makes suicide, if anything, more rational for some people with mental illness than for those without mental illness.
People want to protect others. People are compassionate. But I think there is an important failure of compassion when it comes to suicides: people want to "protect" others from death, not from suffering, even when suffering is preferable to death. I do not think it is compassionate at all to substitute one's own judgment for that of the person enduring the suffering.
You make reference to Jim Crawford's antinatalism site. You would describe yourself as an antinatalist, correct?
Do your views on the ethics of suicide entail philosophical opposition to having children? The fact that you characterize the central problem as one of "forced life" seems to suggest a connection.
There is a connection, but I don't think that the one entails the other (suicide rights --> antinatalism - antinatalism may entail a right to suicide, though). I think it is wrong to force people to stay alive, and I think that bringing people into existence is a similar, though not identical, wrong. But there are many people who, I think logically and coherently, support a right to suicide but do not subscribe to antinatalism. In the general population, support for a moral (and legal) right to suicide seems rare, but it is the norm among professional philosophers. However, antinatalism is still a position held by few.
Suicides are the ones in the best position to understand that they have been wronged by being brought into existence. Of course, antinatalism has very little to do with suicide, and Benatar's antinatalism implies that everyone is wronged by being brought into existence, suicide or not. I worry that my intertwined support for both suicide rights and antinatalism will increase the confusion between the two, which seems rampant among non-philosophers.
You've devoted a fair portion of your project to exploring antinatalist ethics and have specifically defended philanthropic antinatalism against attacks, yet you express misgivings about the the pain/pleasure asymmetry emphasized by David Benatar in his book, Better Never to Have Been. What do you see as being the central weakness of Benatar's core argument? Is there a better approach?
I don't think the argument is weak, but it is built on intuition, as is almost all interesting philosophy. This gives people the option of claiming not to share the intuition underlying Benatar's claim when they come up against its uncomfortable consequences. I think this move is usually dishonest - people claim not to see the asymmetry, but they really do. But it's possible for people to either genuinely not share the intuitions underlying the asymmetry, or to have such a radically different conception of value that the asymmetry (and the interests of those brought into existence) is not dispositive of the question of the morality of procreation. Some people think it's so important that humanity go on that any amount of suffering is acceptable. I'm not sure there can be much of a response to this position. But this kind of honest objection to antinatalism is rare; I've much more often encountered dishonest and somewhat muddle-headed objections. But the idea is new in philosophy time; serious philosophical challenges have yet to appear, and I await them with interest.
Early on in your web project, The View from Hell, you observe that ethicists tend to treat suicide as an option that demands careful moral justification. You question the foundation of this default view by asking why the burden should not rest on others to justify laws and customs aimed at preventing suicide. Why do you think that scholars so often approach the morality of suicide in these terms while seldom considering the morality of "forced life," as you put it?
I don't know why this should be. I haven't come up with any explanations for this that I find compelling. Perhaps it's the psychological salience of the act of suicide, or the ubiquity and ancientness of the prohibition, although philosophy is usually able to get behind such things. To some degree, I wonder if the lack of self-advocacy by suicides allows people to assume that the suicide prohibition does no particular harm. This is part of the justification for my project.
But most lives are filled with voluntarily assumed obligations and relationships, from the trivial to the profound. Assuming that an unpaid sewer bill is assigned less countermanding weight on a continuum where a marriage or close friendship may be injunctive, how do you address the seemingly inevitable clash between positive obligations and suicide rights?
I think that one of the factors that weighs in favor of a right to suicide is the lack of having taken any action to come into being. But it's not the only moral consideration. Voluntary action is not all - I am in favor of a moral right to bankruptcy and abortion on demand, both cases where the consequences of voluntary action are so harsh as to require an "out."
Many voluntarily assumed obligations, from friendships to contracts, are relatively minor compared to the pain of existence for a suicidal person. Procreation is one case that seems to weigh heavily in the other direction - voluntarily creating a new person seems qualitatively different from making friends with someone. Children seem to have a claim on their parents that other relationships do not entail. It seems fine for a person to sell all his possessions and move to Vietnam, "abandoning" his friends and even siblings and parents, but it does not seem fine to do so if it entails "abandoning" his children.
I am circumspect about other obligations trumping a right to suicide. One distinction I have been examining is that between exclusive and non-exclusive relationships. By becoming friends with a person, one does not limit their capacity to make other friends (though one does hurt them by committing suicide). But by having a child, or entering an exclusive romantic relationship with someone, one limits the partner's capacity to acquire a substitute and "hedge" against one's suicide. A similar principle operates when we impose liability on a rescuer for doing a crappy job rescuing someone, because by undertaking a rescue, the person deprived the endangered person of the possibility of being rescued by a competent person.
As you imply, I don't think any of this should affect a legal right to suicide. Mostly, I think, by procreating, one gives up one's moral right to suicide.
Can you explain your concept of "mismatch and meaning," particularly as it might relate to the problem of forced life?
I have tried to make a list of some of what I conceive to be serious limitations on human happiness. One of these is the idea of the absurd as conceived by Camus - that, while there is no objective meaning to life, humans naturally desire for life to be meaningful. One of the possible results of accepting that life is not inherently meaningful, but that one will always desire for it to be so, is a rational wish to end one's life. I have focused on the limitations on happiness in order to show that "rational suicide" is not such a crazy idea.
My understanding is that women attempt suicide about twice as often as men, yet something like 75% of suicides in the U.S. are actually committed by men because they employ more lethal methods -- primarily firearms. This disparity is often interpreted to mean that for many women, attempted suicide may be more of a desperate means of communication -- the cliched "cry for help" -- than a sincerely intended act of self destruction, while male suicides mean business. You have questioned this interpretation. Why?
Lack of suicidal intent on the part of females is the usual explanation for the disparity in success rates for women versus men. It's unquestioningly, universally accepted. But I've almost never seen any actual evidence for this claim.
One piece of evidence the "cry for help" explanation does not explain is that female physicians commit suicide much more frequently than females in the general population, that is, at approximately the same rate as men. (The suicide rate for male physicians is elevated above men in the general population, but not nearly as dramatically as that of females.) Those who have investigated this phenomenon (which is mirrored in the veterinary and chemistry professions, though not in, say, finance) chalk it up to the hardship of gender discrimination affecting female doctors. There's no evidence for this, though, and to me, the obvious explanation is that female doctors, as opposed to general population females, have access to acceptable and lethal means of suicide, and hence kill themselves more often.
Most male suicides are gun suicides. Many more men than women own, and are familiar with the operation of, guns. In every measure of violence, men far outperform women. Both in a practical and in a psychological sense, gunshot is not a method that is available to women, while self-poisoning is. Their failure to successfully commit suicide is a function of the lack of lethal drugs in the United States, as demonstrated by the high suicide rates of female physicians and of females in countries where lethal pesticides are commonly available, such as China (a February 2008 study in Current Psychiatry Reports revealed that female suicides actually outnumber male suicides in China by a 3:1 ratio).
It is access to lethal means that are psychologically acceptable, and not lethal intent, that separates women from men in terms of suicide success, in my analysis. However, the idea that the success disparity demonstrates that women want to be "rescued" from suicide attempts is often used to justify coercive suicide prevention tactics.
You also challenge the prevailing view of suicide contagion, the so-called "Werther Effect" (referring to the spike in suicides said to have followed the publication of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther). In the first instance, you argue that the purported relationship between highly publicized suicides and imitative events may result from a kind of selective pattern recognition or apophenia. But perhaps more intriguingly, you are critical of the public health assumption that impulsive suicides justify preventive or interventionist policies since they constitute a departure from some theoretical (and arguably acceptable) baseline. Your view seems to be that this view is biased by the failure of experts to apprehend the nature and trajectory of suicidal thinking, which may, at least for some people, necessitate a trigger event. Can you describe your current thinking on the empirical basis for suicide contagion and on the conceptual issues that may bias researchers to read impulsive or "excess" suicides as special grounds for preventive public policy?
I start from the position that preventing suicide for its own sake is not a valid policy goal. In other words, suicide is not, in and of itself, wrong or bad. Suffering so serious that it leads to suicide is bad, and policies to remedy that suffering are well justified, but policies designed to staunch the suicide rate, but do nothing about the suffering behind it, are merely cruel.
Preventing a suicide may be either good or bad, depending on the individual situation. It is not automatically good. Preventing a suicide is bad when it amounts to trapping a miserable, but rational, person with a long-standing, clear wish to die in a miserable, unwanted existence. Existing barriers to suicide, such as the drug prohibition and the pervasive anti-suicide message ubiquitous in our culture, function to prevent such suicides all the time. It is not good that they do so.
What might be considered an "impulsive" suicide by an outside observer - a suicide triggered by a crisis, for instance - could very well be the suicide of a person trapped into a miserable existence by the unfair, immoral coercive anti-suicide practices of our society. A person who clearly, unambiguously wishes to die may not be willing to shoot himself in the head under normal circumstances, but in the middle of a crisis, he may become willing to do so. This may appear to be an impulsive suicide, but is really a genuinely desired suicide that was unfairly prevented by arbitrary barriers.
In The View From Hell, you frequently wrestle with the ideas of such thinkers as David Benatar, J. David Vellemen, John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Thomas Nagel, and Seana Shiffrin -- thinkers who tend to address moral problems in the language of what might broadly be considered contemporary normative ethics. Readers enticed to your site as a philosophical forum on suicide may be surprised by the paucity of flirtation with Continental-branded celebrity philosophers more commonly associated with the subject. I'm thinking of guys like Kierkegaard, Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Batailles, Schopenhauer, Amery, etc. (Even your obligatory discussion of Camus is appended with a note in which you begrudge his vaguely mystical free-floating style and approach.) Why has your focus centered around these more analytical currents in philosophy? I mean, if you're a suicide, doesn't that mean that you wear black, listen to Godspeed You Black Emperor and carry around a dogeared copy of Being and Nothingness?
I find continental philosophy aesthetically irritating, but honestly I don't know enough about it to trash it. Heidegger has his moments, but I see the continentals as involved in a different project from the one I'm interested in. I'm not doing deep epistemology. The American/English-diaspora analytic style seems more suited to applied ethics. And the continental stuff seems weirdly groundless. Camus, for instance, throughout all of Sisyphus, doesn't seem to be making a single recognizable argument.
As for myself, I wear pale blue and ride a bright red bicycle and listen to Erykah Badu. I would never make fun of the goth kids, though. They're fine by me.
In your discussion of Oregon's Death With Dignity Act (which allows terminally ill patients under approved circumstances to be prescribed -- but not administered -- a lethal dose of barbiturates), you argue that this amounts to merely a narrow liberalization of existing drug prohibition and cannot seriously be viewed as a form of "assisted" suicide. But in the Netherlands the law permits more clear-cut forms of assisted suicide and even allows euthanasia at the discretion of physicians. The Dutch law has been criticized by the suicide rights advocate, Thomas Szasz, who contends that by entrusting too much power in doctors, the law circumvents individual autonomy and leads to abuse. Szasz argues that suicide rights are best ensured by lifting current suicide laws and through a wholesale repeal of existing drug laws. Do you think there is a danger that suicide rights advocacy could give way to more paternalistic "pro-death" policies that may prove harmful? And what specific policy reforms would you propose to redress the problem of forced life?
The Oregon law is a step in the right direction. My main criticism of that law is that it limits access to comfortable suicide to those judged to have terminal illnesses. I don't see a good reason for this distinction.
But another problem with the Oregon law is that it limits physician assistance to offering a prescription, not helping to administer the drug (e.g. intravenously). This does no good to a person who rationally wishes to die but whose physical functioning is limited. I cannot see what difference it makes how the means of death is administered, so long as it is at the request of the person who wishes to die, and the wish to die is long-standing, clear, and not the product of a delusion or of coercion by others.
The main problem others claim to have with the Dutch or the Swiss situation is the possibility that lethal drugs will be administered without the full consent of the person who is to die. But cutting off access to lethal drugs is not the answer to this problem. Cutting off all access to lethal drugs ensures that many people are forced to remain alive against their will, which is a horror that few are willing to address. Why is it ethical to remove the freedom of those who wish to die, to prevent a theoretical risk to those who might not wish to? The harm of being forced to remain alive is real. Most advocates of forced life treat the harm of being forced to remain alive as a non-issue. But wouldn't it be more rational to have safeguards in place such as Oregon has? Oregon has strict requirements for mental competence and witnessing to ensure that the decision to die is not the product of coercion. The purported fear of people being put to death against their will has not materialized there.
If we're concerned about coercion and consent, we can prevent that without prohibiting comfortable, reliable suicide altogether.
There are many reforms that would allow society to stop forcing people to remain alive while still respecting life. One is the ability to legally opt-out of being forcibly "rescued" from a suicide attempt, perhaps after demonstrating one's sound mind and a clear, long-standing wish to die that is not the product of a delusion. Another is to allow doctors to write a prescription for a lethal dose of barbiturates to anyone under the same condition. (Recognizing a diagnosis like "unwanted life," similar to "unwanted fertility," could provide a medical model.)
You often refer to your online writing as a "project," but projects tend to have a conclusion. Do you foresee a point when The View From Hell is complete? A synthesis?
I suppose you're right about projects usually having conclusions. I
can't say that my projects usually do, though. This interview is
forcing me to do a bit of synthesis. But I suppose the goal is to have
all the arguments written down in one place, where all the moving parts
can link together.
This may be a dangerous area, but suppose someone is reading this who is considering suicide. Let's say this person is rational, has resolved the ethical problems to his or her own satisfaction, and remains determined. Do you have any moral or practical advice to impart to such a person?
It is legally dangerous, because in most states "assisting" a suicide is a crime, which could, theoretically, include advice about methods. (A Vail, Colorado, man was recently charged with manslaughter for giving his friend a shotgun after they had spoken of suicide.)
But I am not in a legal bind at all, because I don't have any practical advice about suicide. Suicide remains extremely difficult and risky as a practical matter. There is no easy, comfortable, sure, and widely accessible method available - no Peaceful Pill. I argue that this is a moral horror.
As for moral advice - I think people need to make the decision free from pre-packaged, demeaning judgments like "cowardly," "selfish," "stupid," and "crazy." I think the decision to commit suicide or to remain alive requires a wide, balanced, and nuanced approach. That is currently not happening in our society - only various flavors of anti-suicide messages are tolerated. Like anti-drug messages, these become unreliable to those considering suicide. I think a balanced approach, respecting a right to suicide and realizing that suicide may sometimes be morally acceptable, is more likely to help people understand what their true moral duties and desires are, and to act maturely on this reflection.
Thank you for your time.