Tuesday, February 27, 2007

stealing like prometheus, or simply avoiding sisyphus's pains?

suicide is a very difficult issue. we try to steer people away from it, and often quite rightly so. we don't want to lose someone, or we think we can help that person, etc. but officially prohibiting it, in the form of euthanasia is, i think, quite wrong.

one important argument for not allowing euthanasia is that human beings have no right to do so, that we cannot claim the lives God gave us, especially because God gave them to us and that therefore they are His. man cannot laugh in the face of God and claim the ultimate power over his life and kill himself. but some problems arise here.

to begin with, should this idea really be the same for atheists? yes, one could say, because if there is a God He/She accounts for all creatures, including the atheists. but what makes the opinion of a christian more valuable of that of an atheist? and even more so, should religion really intermingle with governmental decisions?

and what about us not laughing in God's face by making the decision of life and death? people who prohibit suicide are, by doing so, deciding over other people's lives. even more so, they are often the same kind of people who will help kill people by waging wars, by reducing health care, by increasing poverty, by making all kinds of decisions that have such a profound impact on lives that those politicians are becoming pretty God-like themselves. so what's this? we can't decide over our own lives, but we can decide over other people's lives?

and are we not forgetting something? let's see. i am over 21 years old, so that means that i can smoke, drink or drive in most countries. i don't do the first two, but suppose i smoke two packs of cigarettes a day. even though i can't do it in many public places any more, i can still smoke away in the privacy of my house, or out on the streets. moreover, many of the tobacco companies have got strong (financial) bonds with governing bodies. so that means i cannot choose a calm death in a hospital environment when i am suffering too much (be it mentally or physically), but i can slowly but surely kill myself with lung cancer - which is very painful - and buy my little suicide-packages at the newsstand right around the corner. it's the irony of life, i guess. either that or the folly of man.

one final thought: let us never, ever underestimate other people's pains, be they mental or physical. we cannot feel what someone else feels, and if someone cannot bear the state he/or she is in, it is horribly cruel to force that person to go on, even if he/she does not want to. oh, and by the way, i am not simply a European attacking those naughty Americans. i am not simply interested in getting involved in some US-bashing; my concern is about our entire globe and every human being in it. aint i the noble one.

ps: long live the music of chance. i had been thinking about these things on my bike earlier this day. the minute i came home, my mp3-player played Anne Clark's song Self-Destruct, of which the first words are "Suicide is an urban disease".

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