Allan Kardec

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Sacrificing one's own life

29. For he who finds himself tired of life, but who does not wish to extinguish it by his own hands, would he be wrong to seek death on a battlefield with the intention of making his death useful?

Whether a person kills themself or causes another to kill them, the intention is always to cut the thread of existence. Therefore there is intent to commit suicide even if there is no actual fact. The idea that this death would serve some purpose is mere illusion, just a pretext to cover up the act and for the person to excuse themself in their own eyes. If they seriously wished to serve their country, they would do their best to stay alive so they might be able to defend it, rather than seek death, because if they are dead they can no longer be of help. Real devotion consists in not being afraid of death when it is a matter of utility, of facing danger and, when necessary, in sacrificing one's life without thinking about it. But in seeking death with a premeditated intent by exposing oneself to risk, even if it be in service, annuls all merit for the action. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).

30. If a person exposes themself to imminent danger in order to save the life of a fellow being, knowing that they will succumb, will this act be considered as suicide?

If there is no intention to seek death in this act, then there is no suicide, only devotion and abnegation, even though there is a certainty of death. But who can be sure? Who can say that Providence has not reserved an unexpected means of salvation at the last moment? Is it not possible even to save one who is before the cannon's mouth? On many occasions it happens that Providence wishes to take a trial of resignation to the extreme limits, in which case an unexpected circumstance will ward off the fatal blow. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).

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