Talking about death is not unusual for philosophers – it is talked about all too freely, it used by philosophers from Marx to Sartre, and Bentham to Singer as the great leveller. What is unusual is being faced with the following statement:
‘So I assumed, because of your disability, you had an advance directive, or living will’.
Now, the man I was speaking to is a good friend, and I have to assume, in view of our friendship, hitherto preferred me alive. He was also aware that my cerebral palsy is not a condition that is ‘life-span inhibiting’. There is no reason, quite frankly; I shouldn’t be at my youngest nephew’s 40th birthday party. I’ll be 75, but nonetheless, I think it is a reasonable goal.
I cannot find it in my heart to blame my friend for what he said, he sees the way I walk, knows that I am in pain, and made an assumption – and with the recent Physician Assisted Suicide cases going before the courts, in a way, not an unreasonable one. At times, it must seem to others, that my lot life is so bad, I must have least considered the issue.
And, of course, I have. But I came to the conclusion, that if I had a terminal condition, and was in too much pain (I think I already am in that, but hey-ho), I still want every effort made to keep me alive. Why you might ask? My reason is simple. Life is always better than death, because life is something I can experience.
This may sound trite, but life is too interesting. Death doesn’t really scare me except that it’s the end of my relationship with this life, dying would mean I would never get to what happen to my friends and family. I quite possibly over-optimistically believe that tomorrow is the best day. I’m always going to want to know what happens to the next. Hell, I want to see the next episode of Game of Thrones. Therefore, I shall always want to remain alive.
My question is, when the desire to give those who are truly suffering, with no hope of ‘getting better’, and desired to end their life, turn into to a love of death?
This has been quite a depressing blog post to write, and probably not much better to read. I’m afraid I can only leave you with this to cheer you up. Bob makes everything better.