On Questions of Life and Death
As a peppy opening discussion for the first class, my professor handed out an article reprinted from haaretz which was about the following story:
A man and his wife, both around the age of 84, both survivors, had apparently made arrangements to commit suicide together. They thought the whole thing through very rationally, and left detailed instructions about how to arrange all of their affairs and what exactly needed to be done after they were gone, and took a bunch of pills. The wife died, but their son found the husband in time to call Madah and he was saved. The court then put him on trial bc they suspected him of murdering his wife.
We were told to break up in groups of three and discuss this. The two questions were: 1) Does man have the right to kill himself? 2) Does society have a right to stop him?
At first I didn't know how to react to the situation. I don't believe in suicide for multiple reasons, mostly bc of the after-effects on family and friends. Killing yourself isn't just making a life-decision for you, it's making a life decision for everyone you know and care about. That's the kind of responsibility that I don't want, personally. It's bound to hurt someone. Plus, I'm not into destruction. I'm into preservation. And if it is in any way possible to preserve something, especially something as huge as a life, I'm generally in favor.
But I realized that there were situations where it might seem rational to someone, where it might seem to be the best option, especially when alternative ones offer ridiculous amounts of pain and suffering. So, I couldn't really judge for the couple in question.I mean, it's not like I have the right to judge people for their decisions in general, but especially when they're in, or are facing, tremendous amounts of pain.
Of course the question involves basic questions of morality - like, is there such a thing and how would it apply here?But I didn't feel like getting involved in that end of it (it's another discussion from another class and I didn't have the energy to re-hash it) so I ignored it.
From the aspect of the law; it always seemed silly to me to make a law against suicide bc come on now. Some one considering suicide is clearly not worried about what the law is going to do to them for it. That's the last thing on their minds. Aside from the very obvious point of the fact that the government can't do anything about it.
From the perspective of the government however, I see why there needs to be that law. Firstly, it is the job of the government and the police force, and any other authoritative body of the law, to protect the people. This is an extension of that duty. Plus, if you don't, it just makes things messy. I mean, how would it look to be pro-suicide? you know, aside from the idea that murderers might use the excuse of "It was just assisted suicide man. I swear, he wanted me to kill him." Which would be difficult to disprove. But making suicide legal is messy in general.
This post was mostly written on a head cold so I'm sorry it isn't more polished and intelligent. But I wanted to know what the blogosphere thought. Anyone?