Editorial on – Assisted Suicide

Sorry for no posting in a while, been stuck with exams, nonetheless here is a thing I did for English a while back then it is back to Aleksei Gherman and his films.

 

Ahhhh yes the glum topic of assisted suicide. One of those issues that everyone will have an opinion on, and one that is exclusively moral aka requires no evidence. For morals have no basis but opinion, there is nothing at all in the world apart from what we as humans have said, that shows us what is moral and what is not. And Assisted suicide (or Euthanasia) is something that straddles the line between being outright abhorrent to have, or outright abhorrent to not have. Between freedom of choice, consciousness and humanities feelings around death it is quite the complex and nuanced topic. So let’s talk about why it is a brilliant idea!

That line probably got a reaction from you, whether it be disgust, curiosity, or the good old head nod of agreement. However before any ranting about my pseudo rant begins, do note that this is a morally driven topic, therefore I must accept and put forward that there is no ‘right’ opinion, and I may even be wrong. All I can say is my own opinion, after all we can’t get statistics from those who have had Euthanasia, we can’t discuss such issues with them, so all I have is my own moral basis of which I will try to argue. Be prepared for perhaps some bitterness though, and of course a dark topic.

Euthanasia, for those of you who don’t know is the idea that one can go to the doctor, get an appointment and be killed the next week. It is the idea that one can willingly give up their life, after being sick of it. As well as die in a more painless and less public way, so they don’t do something gruesome like throw themselves in front of a truck. Of course the exact details of a topic can be vast, should there be a waiting period? Should you need a terminal illness? Should you be able to if you have been diagnosed with a mental condition? How about if you just want to die and have nothing really that bad going on? Should you have to pay? However to get hung up on these questions would miss the point, that is the fact that morally, if someone wishes too, they should be able to kill themselves in a peaceful and quite way.

Terminal illness’s are a pretty obvious one for me, they are going to die, and dying in such a way can be very painful, and the treatments for such illness’s, like Chemotherapy for Cancer, aren’t an easy time, so this leads to the natural conclusion that one should be able to just die, instead of going through what is extreme hardship if the wish. It is cruel to demand someone go on if they 1. Don’t wish too and 2. Even if they did, might not even survive, Chemo aint a 100% chance, cancer can come back, it can be missed.

Terminal illness’s are where most of the debate comes from, most shy away from Euthanasia as related to Mental Conditions or just simple Depression, for there is the hope that they can move on, that they can have the emotional strength to power through adversity. For the topic of Terminal ilness’s which are by definition going to kill you and likely very painfully, countries like the Netherlands have introduced the right to die. Often called dying with Dignity, it is put in place for situations where one will die from their illness. So instead of being reduced to a wreck unable to move and stuck to your hospital bed, one can die as they are. A very grandiose idea I have put forward, but nonetheless it is still at its core the reality of the situation, one can die miserable or in pain, or one can die painlessly, and without having to handle what could be weeks of intense misery.

However Terminal illness’s are quite boring, one can keep their mora values strong during such a question, but what of other situations? Mental conditions for example? Well I must say on such a topic that yes, of course they should be able too.  Why oh why must they go on? There are arguments a plenty when it comes to convincing someone not to kill themselves. The good old “it gets better” That old and naïve sentiment. Admittedly it does for some, it can get better but since the human race is so diverse and we don’t live in a perfect world, for some it won’t. For some there is no hope in their future, there is no shining beacon of light at the end, there is only depression, self loathing and anxiety. Plus that sentiment doesn’t even fix the fact that at the moment, there is a significant amount of misery in the persons life. Surely if one wishes to help they should try fix the problem, instead of just telling them eventually it’ll be fine. This excuse, for it is an excuse more then a reason, serves only to give some vague idea that things will get better, of course that get better could take 5 years of misery, or even more, it serves to give hope yes, but a fragile glassy hope which can easily be broken.

What else is there? Oh! The wonderful “You have so much to live for” Which lacks any actual reason again, just a vague nebulous idea but for the sake of curiosity and exploration of these ideas we’ll have a look at what this could mean. Could it be talking about the pleasure of life? Good food? A hobby such as watching Sports? Well these are merely distractions, they are hollow, simple, vacuous and empty and do nothing to help, at least from my own experience. What else then? Family and friends could help you but again they only serve to distract, it doesn’t matter if in the end when you are left to your own devices you have nothing but misery for company.

Then of course we get to the world, ahhhh yes the horrific and brilliant world. The world that is in it’s most prosperous time, a fact which I can’t decide whether to react to by cheering we have come so far, or crying out in horror that this is the best we have done. The world is perhaps the most unlikely thing this argument is referring to. However we can find in it a potential answer for why someone would want to die. The world built so if you even go slightly off the built narrative you are attacked. Dare to even just be yourself and the world demands that you can only be yourself within the design. Dare to ask that the world treats you equal and plenty will laugh, insult you, call you names despite the fact that not even the religion they twisted support their bigotry supports them, that not even their scientific knowhow supports them even one little bit. Then you ask to die, for if the world will not change, not accept you, if this is how the world that you didn’t wish to be born into is, then you want none of it.

People will then shout of selfishness, talking of how you will hurt your family (in the process completely ignoring your misery), then go on and demand, so you fit the narrative of society, that you pick yourself up and show the world it can get better if you have the strength to go on through hardship. Presumably after this happens they also think you will fly to the sherbet kingdom on a winged marshmallow. For that is at its core how fantastical such a demand is. The reason people do this is not just because they wish to help, it is also very much a will by people to have their hope. After all if you power through your tragedy it can prove that their misery can be beaten, or show that the world isn’t awful. Because suicide is seen as losing, as a loss, as a failure. Perhaps it is, but it is not a failure of the individual, it is a failure of humanity to create a world that is even tolerable to live in. To create a society that is accepting of you. To create a society that will help you instead of incessantly question your every move, looking like vultures for one false sign that you were in fact faking this condition of yours.

At its core such issues are complex in their reasoning, and it is never so simple as not wishing for people to die. If the world was so concerned about such issues as death there would be a more feverish obsessive search for extension of life, and more outrage when 100,000 people die in a war built on lies. Not to say humans embrace death, but the massive chasm in sympathy for such issues when contrasted with suicide show us that there is something else that disturbs people about the idea of suicide, especially assisted suicide. One could say it is the fact we as a species have something we value an awful lot. That of consciousness, after all death in not just the fact you can’t move or talk, it is the fact you cannot think, you can never again think, this free will is utterly destroyed and gone. Which is of course why suicide is the path some wish to take, for then the intense pain they feel, or the society they have to face no longer exists. Suicide is where someone is driven to such a state that nothing, literally nothing, an endless abyss of no thought, something so utterly nonexistent that nothing will happen again, is preferable to the pain of living. What this spiel of descriptive words is building up to, is the fact that the thing about suicide, at it’s core, is consciousness deciding to end itself. Which is a scary concept, to accept suicide and assisted suicide as a viable choice for some also means, whether the person likes it or not, that it is a viable choice for them. It implies that such a choice can be valid, can be a way to fix any intense emotional pain they feel. To let your mind stew on such issues as death is disturbing for it’s sheer implications, so in an attempt to destroy such ideas, they disallow it being a viable option. This has admittedly started straying into more of the area of philosophy, so hopefully it didn’t become to pretentious for you to read.

One last thing to touch on is the sheer culture of positivity some try to keep up for people with such feelings. We have this idea of positivity, often when people refer to going through such periods of sadness, depression and suicide. The often given piece of advice is that old “c’mon cheer up”. Put on a smile and face the world bravely, look for positive things in your day. I for one would disagree with this approach being the only way, nor even the best. Sometimes, what people fail to realize, is that what people in such conditions want, isn’t some vague promise of it’ll be fine, sure perhaps sometimes it is useful. However the most helpful things during such times can be someone to wallow in depression with you (for lack of a better expression) Someone who will not give stupid, ridiculous and over optimism, but a somber, sad company that lets you now that 1: You are not alone in such situations and 2: Lets you drain yourself through catharsis, lets you sit with someone who will accept and listen to your misery and won’t give a false hope but that allows you to laugh at the absurd or at least reply with a simple remark on the misery that we can face. Such approaches, though not always right or the best, are sometimes warranted and deserve more attention, for at least through listening we can understand and help those in such a mindset then just simply giving them simple, wasteful advice.

In the end though the people who wish it will die, so do we not owe it to them for it to be peaceful. After all, those who regret the decision will have the ability to stop it for the days leading up to the meeting. If these methods to not exist then horrific methods will be used. We get decomposing corpses hanging on nooses. We get someones brain blown out onto their wall. We get a traumatized truck or train driver, because there are so little quick methods they must hurt someone else in the process of ending their miserable life. This isn’t an argument for suicide, this is an argument that even if you are against it, by refusing people a humane means of death, the only result you are gonna get is a corpse mangled under train tracks for a funeral.

If someone truly wishes it they will find a way, and you cannot stop some people, some people you are just unable to save. Some can be saved, some can, however in a world where if you have a mental disability that makes you act odd you are shunned for your honesty or your odd way of wording. Where some things simply don’t make sense and people can’t be bothered to explain. In a world where if you wish to live as you are you are more likely to be unemployed, harassed, and weekly have to read news about suicide or murder of your group. In a world such as that, though I personally don’t find the option appealing, to deny it to others because of your selfish ideals of human emotional strength is ridiculous. If the world that humanity has built fails to make someone want to live in it, then they should be free to leave, for no one asks for consciousness and life, no one asks to be born with a disability, no one asks to be born trans, no one asks for any of that, and if one wishes to stop the endless horrific pain, they should be free to. And when people make such choices one must realize why, and work to change the world so it is worth living in.

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