Will to Live

Currently, I’m considering writing my paper about the human will to live. In Dawn, Lilith is given a chance to commit suicide, to escape her seemingly grim future among the Oankali, but doesn’t seize this oppurtunity.  Later, when assessing the potential humans to wake, Lilith notes that nearly all of them never once attempted suicide during their captivity.  Even faced with the knowledge that Earth (and the human species) as they know it is dead and the knowledge they are being held captive by extraterrestrial creatures not one of them attempts to end their lives.

Comparably , in The Year of The Flood, both Ren and Toby are isolated and running out of supplies to sustain themselves after the waterless flood hits.  They have no reason to believe that anyone else survived.  The only thing that seemingly awaits them is death.  But neither one truly considers committing suicide.

Suicide, unless committed for a cause (Japanese Samurais/ islamic suicide bombers), is considered a symptom of mental illness in modern culture.  The human will to live is thought to be instinctual.  However, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US (higher among the male population), while the topics of euthanasia and “death with dignity” have gained media attention. So, is there really a human instinct for survival?  A universal will to live? And if so, how strong is it?


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