I am working on my transitional doctorate in Physical Therapy and in one of my classes we were asked to participate in a discussion (in writing) and provide our argument whether we are for or against one’s ability to choose when his or her life should end as “Patients are taking a much more active role in the process of death and dying” today. I took this assignment to a personal level and so I thought to share my thoughts with you.
I am afraid I do not have a strong or interesting argument on this matter that most people will agree with. I tend to think rather simply in terms of life and death, and so please forgive me if my argument seems rather simple for such a complex question.
I do not believe that we have the right to murder. No matter how we sugarcoat it or make it sound more politically correct or compassionate, the matter of fact is that we are talking about murder here, specifically suicide (taking of one’s own life).
Here are the questions we have to ask ourselves. What does it mean to be human? When does life begin? What is life? What is the purpose of life? What is the meaning of life? What is our destiny as human beings? Who has the right to take life away?
I believe that it is the person’s worldview that shapes the answer to our assignment’s question and to the above questions. My worldview teaches me that every human being, from the unborn to the oldest and most disabled one, has dignity and value. It teaches me that human life is more than just the collections of atoms that happened to be by some random chances. It teaches me that human is more than just another animal. It teaches me that there is something more to humans. It teaches me that people, no matter of the color of their skin, their size, their disability level, their health status, their age, or any other qualifier, all have an inherent worth and unmatched, in the natural world, abilities and consciousness. That is why as human beings we also see the value of animals and the rest of nature as a whole, and are on a never-ending pursuit to protect and better the natural world. Ironically, we live in times when animals are being humanized while the very human being is being dehumanized.
The taking of life is taking of life. Period. All the sugarcoating that it is the loving and right thing to do, or that we make it easier on the suffering patient, only painfully remind me of the communist days about which I know a lot. I grew up during communism. My great grandparents lived through the horrors of the Nazis. Today, we have a different kind of extermination but with the same ideology – get rid of the weak, suffering, disabled, unwanted unborn, and any other vulnerable “category” by brainwashing people to believe that it is actually good for them, that it is ok, and that it is their God-given right “under certain circumstances” to choose when one’s life should end.
We live in times when people are being fed a constant diet of “do as you feel,” “it is your right…” and “what’s right for you is right for you.” This kind of mindset not only normalizes the taking away of one’s life, be it by abortion or euthanasia, but it effectively brainwashes people to reduce the value and dignity of human life to zero. People are being lied to and led to believe that it is ok to kill “under certain circumstances” – be it because you can do with your body as you please because it is your body, your choice or be it because it is your life, hence, it is your choice whether you want to go through any more suffering and pain. I have seen enough in my life and if there is one thing I can assure you, it is that, if we continue with this worldview, the USA will be committing the greatest genocide – to its own people – in the history of humankind, without even its citizens realizing it, but actually praising themselves for the “progress” achieved.
I simply refuse to believe that in the XXI Century, when we are investigating ways to reach and colonize Mars, we cannot do better than to give death as an option to our own patients or family members. I refuse to believe that we haven’t evolved enough, mentally and technologically, that we cannot help the suffering ones survive with improved and sufficient relief, and in an environment of love and quality support through one’s last days and suffering.
There is nothing loving or compassionate in being able to choose when one’s life should end, but rather there is selfishness and fear because we know what it would mean if that person lives. May be it would mean that we’d have to self-sacrifice or that we’d have to work harder. May be it would mean that we’d actually have to show love and compassion in a real practical way to the suffering people we serve or have in our family. May be we’d have to pay more. May be we would be stressed, distressed, and stretched in unimaginable ways. Whatever the “may be” may be, one thing is for sure – it will cost us more to support and encourage the person in their trial of pain and suffering. And may be… we want the less costly and more convenient thing.
Choosing to end one’s life may definitely be the easy and most convenient way out, but that does not mean it is the right way.
And I think this is where people clash in these discussions. Because defining what this “right way” is truly comes from one’s own worldview. The question here to ask is – who are you allowing to shape your worldview?
One of the biggest impressions, that I have had since immigrating to the USA and that my family and friends who have also lived under communism have, is that there is silent communism, as we call it, creeping in the USA. Those in position of power have learned their lesson from Stalin and Hitler, and know that in order to control the mind of the populace and shape their worldview, they cannot go through the “front door” anymore as those cruel leaders did because people in the U.S. will see-through it and react. The way that it is being done for many years now is to shape people’s worldview by getting in “through the back door” via education and entertainment, or simply – edutainment. Teach the people from little that it is their right to be the gods in their lives. Teach them that they have the right to choose whether or not someone is considered a human being or not, and whether or not they have the right to live. Teach them that these are, ironically, their human rights. And little by little, watch to see how the human person, especially the disabled, elderly, suffering, and unborn, is being exterminated by so-called compassionate and loving government-educational and politically-led initiatives and worshipped celebrities, which have done their job to teach people about “compassion,” “love,” and “progress.”
Lastly, let me say, that I understand that I have probably irritated a lot of people with my post. It is not my intention. But if this is our assignment, I want to exercise my freedom of speech, while I have it, to state what I believe and why. I just want to say that I, my family, and my whole Bulgarian people have been through so much pain and suffering individually and as a nation, that present day Americans cannot even imagine. I am afraid that while teaching “tolerance” in the schools and across the U.S., the American people have been robbed of one of the most important life-sustaining abilities, necessary for humanity’s survival, – that is the tolerance to pain and suffering.