But I think the suicide's problem runs deeper, because his action is an affront to the prevailing mythos of the culture i.e. life is intrinsically good; or, at least, intrinsically worth the cost. He's not only hurting those close to him in a personal, relatively superficial way; he's actually souring the milk of foundational meaning that everybody's sucking down. His threat has become transpersonal, and an insult to THE core belief of most of the species.
What most people tend to misunderstand is that these mythic structures weren't originally top-down edifices; they arose from within pre-societies to support and satisfy individual emotional needs and desires en-masse. Of course, these things tend to take on a life of their own, in a feedback loop sort of way, and pretty soon people are hearing their own petty supplications magnified and bouncing back as the voice of God (or some other sort of moral authority; either concretized, or more abstract). So in a sense, the suicide is spitting in the face of God. And you're not generally gonna get much of a rational...and dare I say, unselfish?... response to THAT! [Emphasis mine.]
I think Jim correctly identifies the source of the vitriol that citizens often direct toward proponents of suicide rights and antinatalism. The suicide, by his act, is making a statement that life is not worth living - and this challenges the deeply held, but largely unexamined, belief that most people seem to have, that life is a precious gift. Even for those of us who have long questioned life's value, it's easy to imagine the feelings of discomfort and fear that might come from being forced to confront, for the first time, the possibility that life is not so great. Suicide, even a mere discussion of suicide, forces people to confront the reality that many people do not think that life is worth living. (I previously posted on the fascist East German government's response to its high suicide rate, a challenge to the government's image, which was to at once vilify and ignore suicide.) The evidence from the "suicide contagion" studies shows that, indeed, suicide acts as a powerful social proof that life might not be worth living, that its value is at least questionable.
It is possible that people hate the idea that life is not worth living because many of them have invested a great deal of cognitive energy in believing that life is worth living, and have built ways of life on top of that fragile foundation. I'm reminded of the recent words of Ill. Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), in arguing that atheism is a dangerous idea and children should not know that atheists exist:
It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat! . . . You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.
I must admit, it is possible that God and the value of life are what "the state was built upon." But that does not conjure them into existence, nor render it morally wrong to challenge their existence.