I'm interested in the influence of authority. I would like to know if it is possible for authority to urge someone to commit suicide.

By urge, I mean not using any negative force, so affected person feels that suicide is 'right thing to do', and doesn't feel (consciously) forced to do it.

  • $\begingroup$ The basic section of your question is a bit broad (and can easily be addressed with a Wikipedia search) and your specific question should be split into two separate question. Would you mind editing your question to correct these problems? $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Jan 21 '16 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, please break this down into smaller questions as it would be very hard to answer this in one attempt. $\endgroup$ – Peter Slattery Jan 22 '16 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ I edited my question. $\endgroup$ – DannyX Jan 22 '16 at 6:59
  • $\begingroup$ Are you looking for historical records? Or are you looking for the mechanics of how such persuasion can exist? $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Jan 25 '16 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Seanny123; Im looking for mechanics. $\endgroup$ – DannyX Jan 25 '16 at 7:05

I believe that this has been proven by history and is also happening in the present world. During World War 2, there were (1)kamikaze pilots. In today's world, there are (2)suicide bombers.

(1) Kamikaze - This was a direct order to Japanese pilots from their authorities to kill themselves and take out as many of the enemy as they could.

(2) Suicide bombing - This too is a direct order from religious authorities.

It can also be argued that culture is an "authority". Culture is passed down from elders who are authority figures. In Japan, there was Seppuku. Samurai who were captured would disembowel themselves, because their culture dictated that this was the honorable thing to do.

I hope I understood your question correctly and was able to answer it.

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    $\begingroup$ I would include mass suicides cases as examples, such as people temples, and Heaven's gate. They're similar and perhaps works on the same mechanism as suicide bombing. $\endgroup$ – Nono Mar 1 '16 at 3:25

Absolutely! First and foremost most people commit suicide on their own authority. I discovered that suicide can seem convincingly rational and sound. Suicides are with ease driven by the thoughts and feelings that it is the best that can happen to ones loved ones and society if you die, solves all their problems, good riddance. So yes, it is fully possible to give strong enough incentive over time if it is the subjects whole environment that pushes the same self image onto the person, that image should include diffuse feelings of being a problem, not quite living up to standards anywhere(shifting goalposts on what the standards are) making the subject aware of it causing disappointment repeatedly.

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    $\begingroup$ This answer seems to be mostly based on personal experience. These types of answers are discouraged CogSci.SE. Could you find some formal studies to back up your impressions? $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Jan 22 '16 at 17:18

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