Can suicide be seen as pointless if in fact there is no afterlife/conciousness after death? If one ends one's life due to excrutiating pain, would it not be better to "live" with the pain than to not live at all? It seems paradoxical that if one commits suicide to escape something that one's death would not end anything because one cannot "reap the benefits" of no longer living. So would it not be greater to live poorly than to have not lived at all?
Your question assumes that every life is worth living, and that theonly point to ending one's earthly life would be to "trade up" to apresumably better afterlife. But if one's life is so bad that it is notworth living, there is no paradox in preferring oblivion. Your exampleof a life dominated by excruciating case might be an example where somewould find life not worth living; I could imagine that slavery could sodegrade those who are enslaved that their lives seem not worth living.My sense is that the prospect of avoiding future degradation orsuffering gives suicide salience in cases like these, not just theprospect of enjoying a better afterlife. Socrates' discussion of the afterlife in Plato's Apology is a fascinting philosophical discussion of possible attitudes towards the afterlife.