Altruistic suicide is suicide committed for the benefit of others. Falling on a grenade is one such example. Émile Durkheim notes that tribal people sometimes see it as their duty to commit suicide, as when a wife kills herself after her husband dies, or a man kills himself in old age; but Durkheim also observes that altruistic suicide is unlikely to occur much in modern western society where “individual personality is increasingly freed from the collective personality.” Altruistic suicide has been described as an evolutionarily stable strategy. Altruistic suicide has a long history in India, even being noted in the Dharmashastras.
- JA Blake (1978), Death by hand grenade: altruistic suicide in combat., Suicide & life-threatening behavior, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/675772
- Deniz Yükseker, Lecture on Emile Durkheim, http://home.ku.edu.tr/~dyukseker/lecture-durkheim2-05.doc
- S Mascaro, K Korb, A Nicholson, Suicide as an evolutionarily stable strategy, Advances in Artificial Life, http://www.springerlink.com/index/dq0nchqjf0n2n2q7.pdf
- L Vijayakumar (2004), Altruistic suicide in India, Archives of Suicide Research, http://www.informaworld.com/index/714860330.pdf