WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE ABLE TO CHOOSE WHEN AND EVEN HOW YOU DIE? Would you prefer to be eaten alive by a shark? Or in your sleep? Car crash maybe? Seriously painful and demoralising old age?
If you said no, well you actually did just choose… yea but nothing. And regardless of the answer, you chose, consciously or not. You don’t have to be afraid of it, even if you believe you will have more life after the end, we all die, we all have to give back what we have taken, this is what we know, regardless of what you believe.
Automatically logic tells me that I have been given the right to live therefore, I would obviously have the right to die on my own accord. Well if you attempt suicide in the UK that seems to be legally ok, they’ll treat you as ill and take the appropriate steps. Whereas if you seek help, say, from a healthcare professional to assist you in, let’s call it a peaceful and orderly departure from consciousness; that can lead to prosecution and 14 years in prison for those who assisted.
Euthanasia has always been just another fruitless debate where people have the excuse to vent their moralistic frustrations out on one another. The death topic, like any other major controversial topic is always intrinsically entwined with the natural, logical argument versus morals, ethics and always, my favourite, religion.
So if you were laying in a hospital bed suffering in unimaginable agony where the physical pain is so excruciating that our strongest drugs become a necessity rather than a luxury. Not to mention the unfathomable disorientating confusion that one must feel to experience their mental condition sliding further and further away from loved ones, and into a shifty, foggy haze of uncertainty and delusion. A befuddling and perplexing thought for all the rest of us that take our current healthy states of minds severely for granted. It is difficult to appreciate your mental health or the ‘normalcy’ of your standard psychological condition when you have never experienced your days without it. So how then would you be able to inform someone on their rights of being a human when the very thing that makes us human (our consciousness) begins to rapidly recede into the vastness of oblivion… and don’t forget about the excruciating pain.
So would you then prefer a doctor to flick a switch, hope that you are physically able to do it yourself when nobody’s looking, get on the next plane to Switzerland (because it’s legal there) or listen to some preaching fairy blowing hot air in your face, talking about the importance to live even if it’s against your will. I think by this time if you haven’t already told the preaching fairy to f**k off and up the morphine, what kind of things would you say back to them from your own perspective to help them be more empathetic and understanding?
It seems as though for a change, the vast majority of British citizens (80%) agree that they should have the choice to ‘die with dignity’ as well as 64% of general practitioners. Yet due to the ‘taboo-ness’ surrounding death (I’d call it more of a suffocating fear) the parliament have yet to legalise euthanasia.
So what is the argument? The religious are obviously in their element regarding this debate with talks of the afterlife and the like as they desperately try to fling their superstitions and beliefs onto anyone who doesn’t question them. Some seem to think that muttering the words “Thou shall not kill” is the obvious and simple solution. But surely they must be aware that we can be responsive of such commandments guided by reason without the need or desire for religious revelations? What about justified wars? Capital punishment? Killing in self-defence? Killing is not absolute, nor is life or our definitions of it. This is where religion fails, as believers are guided by an absolute idea, from an age-old era, with age-old guidelines, stemmed from outdated information which is then injected into today’s 21st century. Believers have their right to their own misgivings, not and I repeat not, to impose them on anyone else who do not share their ideologies, experiences and perspective.
The birth of humans brought the birth of meaning. So if life is more to us than just to exist, to live a life with a feeling of purpose and happiness, and if happiness is pleasure free from pain and distress of any kind, the answer, you would think would be an easy one. But this enquiry seems to be interlaced with some of the most elusive questions of all time, like, what is the meaning of life? No wonder we have not agreed on a solution yet. Obviously we all have different ideas on how we should carry out our existences and are ruthless in trying to persuade others to adopt our own personal philosophies. However, the struggle also comes more from our inability to shift the negative connotations surrounding death, as we certainly have a hard time accepting its normality and necessity. Also by giving the concept of death divine attributes and labelling it the property of celestial beings where it is not to be tampered with, just adds fuel to the fire if I may be cliché.
Nevertheless, killing, dying and death are as embedded into our existence as nature itself, where there is positive there is always a negative and vice versa. We’re all aware of this on some level but it makes us uneasy, that’s because we are essentially caring creatures, bound by the very thing that makes us human… the complicated skill of reason.
Consequently, when people argue that suicide in any scenario goes against nature, must they not understand that just like our natural instincts to self-preservation and protection, we also have been given the intrinsic ability to reason too? This means that mankind also have the capacity to examine their own welfare and question whether instinct is indeed serving them well, or not. Therefore the idea of one’s own destruction going against nature would then be deemed irrelevant… sorry.
We have to seriously question more of the deeply rooted virtues that have guided us through our fortunate and colourful existence with open eyes, hearts and minds. It seems as though we have the opportunity in doing that now more than ever with all the resources and information which has been made available to us, all free to share on a global scale. Hopefully now we will gain more of a firsthand insight into each other’s similarities, differences and most importantly, perspectives. The importance of accepting the vital truths of various viewpoints in each other’s lives is crucial if we are to move forward together. Above all, we are designed to follow our inborn inclination to actively empathise with others, regardless of what religion, science and philosophy have to offer us. In saying that, here’s something Neitzsche said..
“There are no facts, only interpretations”