Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Zombies and Suicide

Twice today suicide has raised its head - not for me personally I hasten to add but it got me thinking enough to reach for the blog...
In the aggregate blog on religious issues that I follow, Ann Neumann conflates the campaigns for and against
euthanasia and reflections on the philosophical and ethical musings prompted by zombie movies and in particular, The Walking Dead series.http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/6985/end_of_life_lessons_from_the_walking_dead
She makes a point which I had not previously considered, that the very improvement in general health care which has us living longer - has us dying of more exotic and unpleasant diseases than previous generations were subject to and which have prompted the increased desire for euthanasia or assisted dying, or decriminalised assisting of suicide. So the general improvement in our quality of life leads to the quality of life argument in our final years. This was an issue my ex and I could never agree on, she firmly for the right to exit in the face of say, oncoming dementia and I convinced that no amount of safeguards would prevent some people being, however subtly, pressured into it or of their own accord, not wishing to be a burden to a fault. In any case, for myself, from teenage years onwards when I first envisaged such scenarios, I thought that you must wring every last drop of experience from life, even the frustration of diminished capacity. I feel I could never commit suicide - even if I had done some terrible and shameful act then the experience of remorse and if possible, amends would be the experience that must be gone through. I was reminded of this by a programme on BBC Radio 4 about Dr John Watson founder of Behaviourism who even when heartbroken after the death of his second wife and love of his life, wrote a pamphlet on "Why I didn't commit suicide" - in essence "that however bad your current fate is, something may turn up and if you have the willpower, you will conquer it..." http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rl75h
I reserve the right to change my mind but so far it has been my experience that these moral markers set out in youth have remained true for me and I have faith that they will continue to do so. I hope I don't have any of the really testing conditions such as those that reduce one to a zombie,and that if I envisage dying in my sleep at a right old age, it may come to pass...

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