Welcome to yet another session of “Obvious Truths with Aleks” and I’m your host - Aleks Baklanovs.
Isn’t it curious that there is a wide range of things we consider to be a given? Things that are a huge part of our existence, often regardless of our cultural backgrounds and financial capabilities. Like the right for free speech, the right to freely express oneself, the right to live. I did say “often”, I didn’t say “always”, which, admittedly, is a shame. But isn’t it even more curious that there is an enormous void where some of the things we should have the right to take control of get into the dangerous territory of morals, religion and the like?
No one asks to be born, but a lot of people do treasure the life they get. We don’t get a lot of it, compared to the cosmic time scale, so it’s only natural that we think everyone who was given a life should have the right to live it. But shouldn’t control over the way a person lives their life also encompass the way they want to die? There is, of course, a multitude of cases where people terminate their own lives for reasons that could have been fixed (depression, inaccurate prescription of drugs). It is fantastic that we, as human beings, care for each other enough to try and help these people resolve their problems (physical or psychological) and with that help the will to live often comes back. But also there are people whose judgement is sound; people, being tormented by terrible diseases; people who are slowly losing their own self and are conscious and perceptive enough to see it go. Isn’t it strange that denying them release, letting them suffer is considered a more right, a more humane thing to do? “Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying” is a strange book. A sizable amount of it consists of describing methods that a suffering patient might use for dignified suicide if their country outlaws both euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. It is a surreal read, but I think the main reason why - is because the legislation often puts the patient into a dead-end and forces to take the matter into their own hands. If surgery would’ve been outlawed - an informative manual on removing one’s own appendix written in everyday language would’ve, no doubt, looked as surreal.