Tag Archives: human rights

Euthanasia, or the case of doctor assisted suicide, and communism in the USA

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.

 

 

 

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Is this love that I’m feeling?

“My little one is still unwell, and I am very tender and pitying. You and Syutayev may not especially love your own children but we simple mortals are neither able nor wish to distort our feelings or to justify our lack of love for a person by professing some love or other for the whole world,” Sonya, the wife of the great humanitarian intellectual, Tolstoy once wrote to him when their child was terribly ill but he chose to leave and go out to help the world instead.

In his book Intellectuals, Paul Johnson notes that “Sonya was raising the question as a result of observing Tolstoy’s behavior over many years, not least to his own family, whether he ever really loved any individual human being as opposed to loving mankind as an idea.” She raised a question that we all should raise today.

Tolstoy’s wife rightly observed that he was “…incapable of the privacy and intimacy needed for [true] person-to-person love, or real friendship. Instead he embraced humanity, because that could be done noisily, dramatically, sensationally on the public stage.” (1)

The record of our friendships, families, children, spouses, co-workers… is what reveals if we truly have love for human–ity. This is it, and contrary to popular belief it is not about how caught up we are in human rights issues or how much we contribute to humanitarian causes. No matter what we proclaim with our lips, or with our wallet, or with our volunteering time for some cause – it all means nothing at all unless we proclaim the same and give the same time, if not more, to the real people present in our day to day life. At home, to your wife as you are concerned about women’s rights elsewhere. At home, to your husband as you preach about love to the world (or the social media).  At home, to your very own children and for their welfare first before becoming an advocate for the welfare of kids in Africa, let’s say…. Otherwise we are simply hypocrites, as the word ‘hypocrite’ comes from the Greek word for ‘actor.’ We are actors staging our own super act and playing a role for the public, but forgetting that our husband or wife, our children, our mother and father are part of that humanity we so proclaim to love and serve.

Is the love for humanity – something that is general and not specific, universal and not personal, something that is far off removed physically and spiritually from our real personal daily life and space we inhabit but that gives us a pat on the shoulder and testifies that we are concerned citizens…. Is this love really what love is?

We speak up and work on issues that address abuse and violence in other places but then we cheat on our spouse or criticize him constantly. We neglect the love our children need and don’t  invest in their well-being in terms of nutrition, education, spiritual upbringing (and I mean our own kids not your neighbor’s in Bulgaria). We are the biggest advocate for animal rights and have saved hundreds of animals from being euthanized but we are also the first to defend abortion as if a baby’s life has no sanctity and no worth. I guess… an animal life is more sacred and worthy than human’s? We are the first to provide good nutrition and literally save an animal from malnutrition (or a bad hair day, and I ain’t joking here… just go down the streets of Los Angeles to see all the dog and cat hair salons) but then… we feed our own children a cheap toxic diet that is sure one day to disease, if not even kill them and are burdened by having to do yet another laundry. Sometimes it feels that we have humanized animals and things, and dehumanized the very human being.

We claim love for humanity and working for human rights, even the planet’s as a whole but we are dictators, oppressors and uncaring masters to the HUMANS in our personal lives, especially at home… do we forget that they too make up humanity? That very humanity we are so passionate to defend and work for its betterment? Is our “love for mother earth and mankind” nothing more than a fallout of our hate and dissatisfaction towards specific persons in our life, and of our fear to actually know and express real personal love with real specific persons in our life? (1) The land of the Western world is full of men and women who are lovers of humanity and yet who forget to love the very persons in their own daily life.

Paul Johnson remarks about Ibsen in his book Intellectuals, “When individuals and groups were embodied as ideas (i.e. the workers)… he could handle them with great insight and empathy. The moment they stepped into his life as real people, he fled or reacted with hostility.” Are we the same? When individuals and groups are embodied as ideas such as the ‘suffering,’ ‘abused,’ ‘minority,’ ‘victim’ of some horrible disease, etc. we readily handle them with love, compassion, support (including financial) and even become their advocates… But the moment they step into our life as real people – as your child, husband or wife, mother or father, sibling, a friend, we flee, react with hostility or simply withhold our love, support (including financial) and compassion. If that is the kind of love that we love with, it is a heartless, self-serving, hypocritical kind of love. And as such, we are nothing more than “Tolstoys,” “Ibsens” or “Shelleys.” We may have a brilliant talent or two, and we may be passionate for people in general but at the end, our genius and love of mankind are like the brilliant poet’s, Shelley. We are capable, like him, of some imaginative compassion for entire groups of people – people we had never set our eyes on but then the very people in our homes that we set our eyes on daily are abused by our lack of love, care and sympathy. We, like Shelley, are “capable of feeling for, in the abstract, the whole of suffering humanity, yet finding it manifestly impossible, not once but scores, hundreds of times, to penetrate the minds and hearts of…” and to love the very people in our lives with whom we have daily personal contact. (1)

Like Rousseau, “we love humanity in general but are often cruel to human beings in particular.” We burn with a fierce love for mankind and the poor mortals who come near the flame are scorched. We put ideas and causes before people, and the lives of the great intellectuals and humanitarians, who have shaped the philosophy of the last few centuries, are a testament of how heartless ideas and humanitarian causes can be. Because we cannot love the real person who’s right in front of us, we readily (whether as an escape mechanism or a superiority complex) transfer our affections to an “idea-made-flesh.” (1)

We see this great love for humanity ‘in general’ but absence of love and compassion towards real people ‘in specific’ not only in the lives of intellectuals like the above mentioned but also in the lives of great spiritual and humanitarian leaders. Take for example, Gautama Buddha, who after getting completely disgusted and disheartened from the sickening pleasure driven life he lived as a royalty, had gotten on the path of enlightenment  seeking the ultimate ‘how to’ get rid of suffering. He gets on the quest to eliminate suffering while knowingly causing suffering to the closest people in his life, his wife and children by abandoning them. Or, look at one of the most beloved humanitarians of the world, Gandhi. Many know about his greatness and humanitarian efforts. But do many know what was really behind them? Do many know that the Gandhi movement was essentially created by the British rule? Do many know that the great humanitarian, who lived in utter poverty for the sake of humanity, was actually sponsored by some of the richest to be living as such? As one of Gandhi’s close circle people observed once, “It costs a great deal of money to keep Gandhiji in poverty.” As Paul Johnson writes in Modern Times, “In fact Gandhi’s own ashram, with its own very expensive ‘simple’ tastes and innumerable ‘secretaries’ and handmaidens, had to be heavily subsidized by three merchant princes… Gandhi was expensive in human life as well as money.” And we see the love of humanity in general but the lack of love toward the specific people placed in one’s life as in his middle age, Gandhi has turned against his very own children. He had also radically turned against his wife and their sacred marriage covenant. Indeed, he had turned against sexual intimacy itself though he carried out his “so-called Brahmacharya experiments of sleeping with naked girls solely for warmth” continually. (2)

Though these great lives lived demonstrate (supposed) love for humanity, do they demonstrate love for a human being (in reality)?

Our ability to love humanity is often a cover up for our inability to really love a person. Our total commitment to the causes of humanity is often a cover up of our inability to commit to the causes of those real people who are in our life and need us the most, day by day. It is our cover up in order to justify “our lack of love for a person by professing some love or other for the whole world.”

But let’s remember that love is not about ideals. It is about real people. The person right in front of you. The one whom you will set your eyes on after you have shut off the computer. As I’ve been reminded by Peter Kreeft, “Scripture never tells us to love humanity or to love ideals, only to love our neighbors, all of them, one by one.” I look up to Jesus, and I see the only perfect, ideal, real life lived as an example of that. That is why, as for me and my family, Jesus is the only one worthy of following and looking up to.

My hope is with those few who truly love. The ones who love first the real people present in their daily life, and who love them in spirit and in truth, in word and in deed. And out of the abundance of this love manifest in real time, real life, real persons comes the love for the rest of humanity. May we all love with such love.

My prayer is for all of us. May we be tender and compassionate, may we be forgiving and giving, may we be committed and faithful to advancing the cause for the well-being and life of all those whom God has placed in our immediate life, daily – your wife, or your husband, your father and mother, your child, your brother or sister, your friend, your coworker, the cashier in the store, your neighbor, your boss, the person on the street corner. May we love one another for real.

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Resource:

(1)  Intellectuals, Paul Johnson.

(2) Modern Times, the World from the Twenties to the Nineties, Paul Johnson.