I knew I couldn't go through that. So I decided I would take my life at the appropriate time. I still hold to that decision. I did the planning, I have the means.
But something happened that I didn't expect. As I have got worse, it's never quite felt the right time. I am much worse now than I thought I could ever stand to be, for a long time I have been reconciled to death, but life is still worth living enough to live.
I wonder if I will ever take that step. I absolutely reserve the right to. But I am constantly surprised at the value of my own life, even stuck essentially in two rooms, and requiring constant care.
The very black-and-white, all-or-nothing, I know how it's going to be 100%, attitude in this post struck me as naive. I strongly believe that it's his life and it should be his choice. But it did feel naive to me.
My grandmother loved it. Until that time she had been living in her own home and I guess she was pretty lonely. In the retirement / nursing home, she made a lot of friends and was far busier than she was when living alone. There was a routine she had to follow and that structure was great for her. She sang in a choir, played a lot of cards, found a boyfriend, got her hair done every other week, and could go on a field trip to the mall or a Walmart or a diner a couple times a week.
I only saw the negatives and I think my grandmother only saw the positives.
If, like when my father was dying slowly of cancer, there comes a point when it is clearly no fun any more, I want an option to exit. If I'm still finding life worth living maybe I'll never actually hit the exit button and go quietly in my sleep.
I think you did the right thing developing a plan for taking your life. Now you are in control of your life instead of being caught in the medical machine like a lot of other people.
Recent drugs can already significantly slow down demyelinination but these stronger drugs come with stronger side effects. And that's why I suppose you are doing a MRI follow-up to check the activity of disease: so that doctors know which drugs they should prescribe you.
Today immuno-neurology research is a hot field in which converge both research for neuro-degenerative diseases and research for various forms of cancer. You probably already know that most MS pts have an almost normal life expectancy. I think it's quite probable that in the next decades the disease will become stoppable for the majority of patients. (just think of tech and medicine 30 years ago...)
The biggest problem with the book I think, has been that I have been unable to program for a while. So I was glad to be able to work with the publisher on a third edition, to solve some of the bitrot problems.
Live well. You seem to have high strength of character.
Thanks for sharing this.
After I retired I wanted to write a novel. I did that with voice recognition. I did some consulting via Skype. I wrote a chapter for a textbook. As the fatigue made long form writing more difficult, I wrote more short stories, and now poetry. My goal, such as it is, is to complete another collection (I wrote one years ago). I get an hour or two a day of reasonable clarity. Some days, though, I spend it farting around on the internet (ohai!).
Tragically, later in her life, she had a fall and ended up in the hospital in a coma, with the doctors saying they were not sure if she would come out of the coma. She did, with big chunks of her memory gone, but her first lucid communication was sheer panic at the idea someone might pull the plug. It took a while to reassure her that no one was going to pull the plug.
That incident has stuck with me all these years. People make bold statements about how they would behave in a crisis, and much of it is nonsense, the lack of an ability to truly put yourself in that situation, coupled with other factors like pride.
Likely, when the author gets to the inevitable stage in his life, he will change his mind, and he won’t be a different person. Instead, if at this time he retains enough cognitive ability and memory, he will say “what a fool I was”.
He likely will have a different opinion because he's a different person. The person living in the old folks' home is simply a different person, and is satisfied with different things in life.
I know someone who was put into the situation of having to decide whether her very elderly mother, who was in a coma, should be put through emergency treatment, or allowed to die.
She made what she thinks was the wrong decision - but of course there was no right decision. No normal person could ever find that choice easy - which is why we try to leave it to doctors who aren't personally involved.
I also know someone whose mother had a severe stroke, which left her unable to move or speak. She's absolutely convinced her mother was trying as hard as she could - unsuccessfully - to tell her she wanted her suffering to end.
End of life is unbelievably traumatic for everyone. Unlike most life changes we get almost no warnings about what can happen, and no preparation for it.
End of life is the one absolute guarantee. If you are not aware that your life (and that of everybody you care for) will end at some point, you are delusional.
Preparing for the end of life has been big business for almost as long as humans have walked the earth.
Religion is completely predicated in providing the assurance that there is something beyond death. The growth of cryo freezing of bodies is in the hope that somehow you will be fixed of whatever killed you and you will be able to return to life.
Death does not have to be traumatic. What is traumatic is unexpected death. There are many stories of the death of sombody both old and young after extended decline being a relatively calm event.
The best thing you can do is to be open about your death with your family and friends. You don't have to dwell upon it, but your significent others should certainly be aware of your views on things such as organ donations and end of life resusitation desires. It makes everything a lot less traumatic if you have some idea of the desires and beliefs of the person in question.
For some reason western cultures want to avoid the truth of their own mortality, and because of this death somehow comes as a supprise, as if it is somehow avoidable.
I went through an awful ordeal with my mom in late stage ALS. My mom was always adamant about being kept comfortable and taking an early exit.
But. Her sister convinced her to move to South Carolina instead of Washington with me. This led to a nightmare of her getting eventually moved to a terrible hospice facility, hen getting an airlift so she could be in a better hospice in Washington.
By the time she got to Washington, we were out of time to go through the right-to-death paperwork and self-administration. She had to go out the hard way, which in her case was slowly shutting down over weeks, including ten days of being unable to drink anything and slowly becoming unable to breathe. We watched Gilmore Girls together, slowly waiting for the end, and me torn between wanting her to be released and wanting every second with her.
I’m saying this so people understand, if you want a way out, get to a right-to-death state. It needs to be a priority.
Death might not be non-existence. Many religions, philosophies, spiritual teachings, say that it isn't. Of course, maybe they are all baloney–and a lot of them have to be mostly that–but there is at least a chance there is some truth in one or more of them.
Maybe quantum immortality is true, and all of us live forever, but it is a lonely existence, cut off seemingly forever from family and friends. (I hope that isn't true, it sounds rather hellish.)
Could we be living in a computer simulation? If we have no idea, shouldn't we assign a 50% probability? But, if we are in a computer simulation, our simulators might decide to provide an afterlife for us. And if we have no idea whether they would or not, shouldn't we assign a 50% probability to that? Which gives us 25% chance of a simulated afterlife – not the best odds, but far from the worst either.
We could be physically resurrected into some paradise by various random processes (quantum tunnelling, quantum fluctuations, thermal fluctuations). The probability of that happening is immensely small but non-zero. No matter how small it is, if the future is infinite, then almost surely it will happen eventually.
Most people who think death is non-existence accept a materialist position in the philosophy of mind, but often without giving any great thought to the alternative positions. If idealism is true–and we have no hard evidence it isn't–then death being the cessation of existence is far less likely. If idealism is true, then quite possibly minds are inherently immortal, in which case an afterlife would be metaphysically necessary.
About "wishful thinking", many people really want there to be an afterlife, but conversely at least some people really want there to not be one. Some people fear hell, or that everlasting existence might become boring (apeirophobia). Others find the idea of oblivion and infinite nothingness as reassuring. see e.g. Swinburne's Garden of Proserpine – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45288/the-garden-of-p...
At the risk of sounding all "woo-woo", this statement bears some qualification.
How do you define existence, here? Are you equating it with consciousness? Surely your constituent parts (atoms, molecules, particles, etc) existed before your consciousness, and continue to do so afterwards.
I think you'll also agree that the arrangement of matter and energy you call "your life" is regulated by natural processes.
In principle, it's possible for the thing you call "your life" to be a brief window within some larger process (a meta-life, if you will) of which you have no recollection.
I don't know if I believe any of this to be true, but metaphysically speaking, it's not at all obvious that we "didn't exist before birth".
Yeah, I, for one, equate it with consciousness. I could not give less fucks if my "atoms, molecules, particles" existed before me or will exist after me.
I want the whole conscious being, able to kiss, hug, think, love, hurt, eat a steak, and so on to extend.
>I think you'll also agree that the arrangement of matter and energy you call "your life" is regulated by natural processes.
In principle, it's possible for the thing you call "your life" to be a brief window within some larger process (a meta-life, if you will) of which you have no recollection.
If I don't have "recollection", then I still don't care.
The whole point being made was that "metaphysically speaking, it's not at all obvious that we "didn't exist before birth".
Which I say is irrelevant, if we need to distort "exist" so much as to mean some "larger processes" or our "atoms and molecules" existing.
Metaphysically speaking it might not be obvious, but the way the grandparent, me, and almost everybody else uses the term existence (i.e. regarding the conscious person, or at least their soul) it's obvious that we very much do not exist.
Yes, you've caught on to this notion, and that's really the best we can ever do in our present state. Funny how we imagine our little 3 pound mass might someday fathom the secrets of the cosmos. Could a fruit fly trapped in a jet airliner ever comprehend the turbo jet mechanics keeping its carrier aloft?
I would argue that it's fairly safe to conjecture a continued progression of "higher" dimensions beyond time and space; beyond our human imagining. Might as well think of the progression itself as infinite.
From this, entire books could be written about the imagined implications, such as every possible timeline "emanating" from every point in time. Relatively rudimentary approximations of what we can not fully imagine.
So, how does this relate to the afterlife. Well, once it's established that at least everything our puny brains could ever imagine does cosmically exist, then our continuation is certainly included in that. So is choice / free will, simply put. Of course, there would exist many individual continuations and wills, even variations of individuality. It's interesting to consider and one inevitably encounters a thickening cloud of paradoxes, indicating that our mental models are laughably incomplete.
Immortality in the Carl Sagan sense that we came from stars, and one day will be there again, or even within a cycle of nature on mother earth, sure that seems reasonable. Particle immortality. Remarkably complex tales of hades, meeting everyone who has ever lived in paradise or cute red guys with a pitchfork require remarkable evidence.
On impending nonexistence, I've never quite understood why this is a struggle for so many to contemplate - maybe that's something lacking in me, who knows. I always just figure it like the tungsten filament after you flick the switch; fade then off. Why's that difficult? Why must it matter more? Can't it just be? It just is. I am perfectly chill with that, and always have been. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The earth actually is (roughly speaking) the centre of the observable universe, which quite possibly is all the universe we can ever know.
If this is a computer simulation, you'd expect some parts of the simulation to be much more accurate then others. Our psychology would be simulated to a great degree of accuracy, distant galaxies would be simulated at only a very coarse level. So, the centre of the simulated universe, the area with the highest degree of simulation accuracy, would be this planet. So, if we are in a computer simulation–and if we don't know, let's say the probability is 50%–then the earth is the centre of the universe after all.
If philosophical idealism is true, and esse is percipi, then the area around the earth (which is highly observed by minds) exists in more detail, has a greater degree of existence, than distant galaxies. So, philosophical idealism can lead to a similar conclusion as the simulation thesis, that the earth actually is the approximate centre of the universe.
If the universe is infinite then we are always likely to be at the centre of whatever range our instruments manage. In a universe where there is no such thing as centre. If it's simulation, it seems reasonable for the edge of observable to be the limit of simulation - the rest being under the galactic equivalent of fog of war.
Of course we don't know if it actually is centred, or just appears so from being in a local hotspot. Without knowing the extent of simulation that may be unknowable. There could just as easily be countless other species in other parts of the sim, or earth as an insignificant backwater with all the real activity outside our range. Unless it's encoded in an easter egg we may one day find, I suspect it will always be unknowable. And that's without considering multiverses. :)
Have you seen just how weird people are? I think the psych simulation is loaded with bugs.
No sense wasting glucose on thinking about things that are beyond our probing.
One thing that has given me a bit of comfort was an answer I heard when somebody asked one of the great minds of the 21st century, Jennifer Lawrence, "what happens after we die?"
1. Don't worry about the gods; they're too busy being gods to bother you.
2. Don't get anxious about death; you didn't exist before you were born, and I don't recall that being unpleasant.
3. What is good is easy to get; friendship, wisdom, bad jokes.
4. What is bad is easy to endure; if it gets too bad, you'll die (see #2).
I believe I want to live forever if it's forever in health and non-poverty and freedom.
The fact that I will not live forever really effects my thinking and what I'm willing to do. As just one example, being older I know that I can't go dedicate 10 years to living in another country to learn a language or I could but I've only got at most 2 10yr chunks left, more like 1, before my ability to be free and healthy and non-poverty change. Or similarly to change my career or go back to school. I'm already in my mid-50s.
Conversely I'm lost, isolated, and without direction, have no close friends, no partner, and find it exceedingly hard to fix and so the thought of just calling it quits does pop into my head.
It stunned me. I couldn’t sleep. I could NOT imagine non-existence. It terrofied me.
In the next few years I learned more about the world and grew far more comfortable with my place in it. I don’t feel nearly as puzzled about nonexistence as I used to.
For me, I see myself as a cell in a greater body — humanity — and I see humanity as part of an even greater whole, the universe. Does a single cell worry about its fate after death? No. It merely does what it is supposed to do, does it well if it can, and then ends gracefully when its time has come.
I feel the same way about my own life. I am part of a whole, humanity at one level, the universe itself at another. I do my best with the limited time I have; I do my duty; and then I die.
I have grown quite comfortable with this view of life and death over the years. It gives nonexistence found at the end of life its appropriate meaning. It is the natural end of a temporal life.
No one talks about death in real life, we just kind of go with the flow of "death is bad" yadda yadda. If you deconstruct your view on death and looks at how other societies or cultures sees deaths it can be eye opening. It's only bad if you see it as a bad thing.
"But tell me, do you consider it fairer that you should obey Nature, or that Nature should obey you? And what difference does it make how soon you depart from a place which you must depart from sooner or later? We should strive, not to live long, but to live rightly; for to achieve long life you have need of Fate only, but for right living you need the soul. A life is really long if it is a full life; but fullness is not attained until the soul has rendered to itself its proper Good, that is, until it has assumed control over itself. What benefit does this older man derive from the eighty years he has spent in idleness? A person like him has not lived; he has merely tarried awhile in life. Nor has he died late in life; he has simply been a long time dying. He has lived eighty years, has he? That depends upon the date from which you reckon his death! ... Nay, he has existed eighty years, unless perchance you mean by "he has lived" what we mean when we say that a tree "lives.""
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Moral_letters_to_Lucilius. (letters 4, 24, 26, 61, 82, 93)
It may be in your philosophy, and I'm not arguing that. But it's not universal.
The nearer I approach death the more I feel like one who is in sight of land at last and is about to anchor in one's home port after a long voyage. -Cicero
The fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown; and no one knows whether death, which people in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. -Plato
Also, remember that when you're gone, it won't hurt, and you won't miss anything. Everything in your life, from the worst torture to the most minor itch, hurts more than being dead.
From all the existentialists I've read Peter Wessel-Zapffe, a Norwegian philosopher (considered the comedian among philosophers) has helped me understand the importance of always facing the bleak side of life. As somebody who is no stranger to depression (and thoughts of suicide every couple of weeks) facing the reality of death and even seeking it out as a topic is the only way I'm able to be happy.
Also worth reading is Denial of Death.
 The Last Messiah: https://philosophynow.org/issues/45/The_Last_Messiah
 Ernest Becker "The denial of Death" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denial_of_Death
The idea of any afterlife in which my personal identity is still coherent fills me with dread, frankly.
And since having kids I find permanent nonexistence even more painful to contemplate.
My mum's a physician and she saw many people degenerate in their own homes, and find themselves in trouble (fell/got stuck, had to wait for someone to find them). For them that was disturbing, but they also saw people get quite lonely as they and their friends could no longer make it out of the house. Their friends are dying too. And finally they realised it just takes more and more time to accomplish simple tasks like paying the bills. They'd rather be living than looking after their lives.
This author is American and my parents are living in the USA as well. There's very little support for old people in the US except for unpaid labor by daughters or daughters in law (the number of adult sons looking after aging parents is much lower!). In home care is expensive (1.5% of US GDP already -- I looked it up) and thinly served. When I compare that to the care my grandparents had and my in laws (in three other countries) the US appears to be the least supportive -- though in part this is due to people moving around a lot.
Increased automation will allow a significant number to “just” do the fun parts — no bedpan or nappy changing.
There are other forms of horror I've witness family members live through, like slowly losing your memories. Forgetting your loved ones and yourself bit by bit.
I'm fine with withering away, even in an old folks' home. But at some point you lose who you are. I'd rather be dead than linger in a state in which I have no concept of who I am, or who I once was. No memory of what I find precious, or of whom I love. The moment I'm just a scared animal in pain, with no hope of ever being human again, please just kill me.
I think what's difficult is the combination of hope that it will get better, and the fear that you are ending life before it has a chance to get better.
I absolutely feel the same away about my own life as you do, but it's harder to pull the trigger (metaphorically) when it is someone else's life, even when it is obviously the right choice.
That led to a long conversation of mortality with my gf and both of us promised that we'd help each other out if we got into that state and were ready to leave. I hope by then it's legal.
Whenever I find myself feeling a bit envious about the obvious advantages that are there in western countries, the reminder of the existence of this absurdity immediately removes all feelings of jealousy.
No matter how my life turns out, I will still do the same for my parents as they have done for theirs.
For large swathes of the population, putting your parents in and old-age home is seen as a complete and utter betrayal for the sacrifices they made for you.
What’s better for you? For your children? For your parents?
A granny flat may be acceptable, but having the in-laws under your roof? It was awful when I was a kid, and we had mother-in-law round for a week or so after she came out of hospital for a knee replacement. We all found it intolerable.
I don’t want to be a burden on my kids, and my parents dont want to be a burden on me.
Unlike in India though, I wouldn’t sue them.
The visit may have been uncomfortable for you because of the absence of societal and cultural rules to help streamline these situations.
I see that as part of the problem in the west, especially if you are educated and have some sort of specialization, you are kind of expected to travel to get a "better job" - though that's a fairly personal decision to be fair. Certainly my parents put more of an emphasis on getting ahead in the working world rather than staying close.
Also I have met a few Indians here in Europe, as far as I am aware they don't have plans to go home, whats the expectation there?
It might surprise you but leaving India for education or employment is actually pretty commonplace and is not actually in conflict with the picture I have painted of India.
However, India hasn't been as successful as China in rapid development without it affecting cultural values. China has pretty swiftly achieved modernization without westernization which I think was one of the sub-goals of it's architect: Deng Xiaoping who laid the foundations of the same in the 1980's.
Our equivalent of Deng was unfortunately only a brilliant economist, so his 1991 reforms were limited to economic reforms with no social safeguards to help avoid Westernization.
As such, India right now is in a massive state of flux. There are Indians abroad similar to the one's you had met who have siezed the opportunity given to them to massively elevate their quality of life. There are also Indian's abroad who left the country with a very specific goal of either: 1) bringing their family in the next decade or so or 2) secure enough money for an early retirement and return to India.
It really comes down to the type of mindset their parents valued, not the country they were born/raised in.
"Unlike in the West where the elderly dread the thought of being dependent on their children, the elderly in India expect to be dependent on their children. Eyebrows are raised if this equation is not seen in a family"
For the lack of other options, family caretaking is typically presented as a virtue (just as GP does here). But it has its share of rarely mentioned horror stories with children and relatives… not doing adequate caretaking job with their parents to say least.
Can this concept be extended to a parent-child relationship where the parent is replaced by a trained professional?
You asserted that as long as the quality of the care is acceptable, the source shouldn't make too much of a difference. I tried to give an example that would meet these requirements and still be questionable and you completely shut down.
Or to equate it more fairly, if a parent paid somebody to permanently take care of their children while they they visited them periodically, would that be as moral as putting their parents in a nursing home?
There are parents who reject their children or even kill them: apparently infanticide in India is not uncommon. There are relatives who try getting rid of their inconveniencing elderly. You can't be unaware of it, these are plot devices in a number of Bollywood films and there are specific laws to deal just with that. In a country size of India, the number of people not receiving adequate care or outright abused has to be in millions. An independent safety net greatly improves their odds of survival and life expectancy.
Approximately noone is looking forward to watching after incontinent, or demented, or paralyzed patients while trying also to get on with daily life. It becomes a full time job very quick, and many simply have no proper means to do so. Lacking any other options, most people would do that however out of basic humanism, but it's not to say they find that process rewarding or they do any good job at that. Quietly hoping for timely death of the patient in their care while hating yourself for it isn't uncommon.
So again, for the lack of any alternatives you present the social order you live in as a virtue. But you can only make moral choice when you have any realistic choice at all.
I only ask that you don't let the plot devices of Bollywood films have a non-trivial influence on your world view.
The statement of yours that I was originally replying to was:
As long as you can provide good quality care, there isn't much of a moral difference how it's done. Just don't see how a trained professional changing vessels is worse than resentful daughter-in-law doing the same.
The extended case I wanted to talk about was of a healthy, financially sound adult. Not kindergartens or extreme circumstances that lead to foster care. Say this adult wanted to put their 3-year old into an institution of permanent professional care. Would you find that to be the same as putting one's parents in an old folks home? Or is there some difference?
I am going to assume that you have children, because your entire tone changed when I brought up kids. If I'm wrong, please correct me. Would you be fine with putting your children in such an institution if you felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of child-rearing?
To your question: if I was an unfit parent, say an additct or abusive or schizophrenic, and maintained enough reflection to realize that, yes, absolutely. Otherwise there is no reason.
Now answer my question: are you really looking forward to wiping shit on an immobile incontinent patient for 15 years? Not asking if you would do that mind you, but if you dread thinking it.
What is confusing to me is your insistence to see the worst-case scenario and treat what is the last 3 months of their lives to the year-to-year scenario.
Please don't call me simple minded when I'm trying to be civil.
Now, back to your reply. You're saying that for you to put your child in professional care you would have to be an addict or abusive or schizophrenic. However, these don't seem to be preconditions for putting your parents in professional care. So going back to the statement I was focusing on:
As long as you can provide good quality care, there isn't much of a moral difference how it's done.
Is it fair to say that you feel this is true for one's parents but not for one's children?
Just don't see how a trained professional changing vessels is worse than resentful daughter-in-law doing the same. 
Noone puts their folks to elders home just for fun of it, I thought that much is clear. The freaking article we discuss here describes demented, incontinent elderly, yet you prefer to ingore the context.
Regarding "unrealistic" scenarios, I know people who lived through what I described (and worse).
Now, you did not answer my question, which is outright rude. I am not in an interrogation here, questions go both ways. Now of course I know your answer already, and it's uncomfortable enough for you to keep deflecting. But if you are unwilling to face it, this conversation is over.
This is the first time I dropped the second sentence. I've only quoted it twice and I quoted it fully the first time.
I tried to answer your question by trying to inform you that the scenario your painting is incredibly, incredibly unrealistic.
I also feel that the context of the argument changes when you take into consideration what my top-most statement was.
I was expressing disbelief at the prevalence of old-age homes in western civilization. I took the article as a way to express that sentiment.
I acknowledge that dementia can be rough, and even I have had one or two extended family members who have gone through the same. My own grandfather passed away from Alzheimer's and yes, the last year was difficult. I'm not uncomfortable to face the question. What is a hypothetical to you was a brief reality to me. I'm just trying to make you see things from a different perspective.
All I was trying to do was to understand what I felt was a dissonance in your world view w.r.t how we treat our children vs. how we treat our parents with regards to professional care. That's all.
EDIT: The only reason I omitted the daughter-in-law statement is because it paints you in a poor light if you think that it's her duty to take care of aging in-laws. It came off as a bit sexist and I didn't want to derail the conversation.
You know that though, and your edit serves no other function than an insult. So go screw yourself.
And almost every view you have of India, even your most recent one seems to be based on stereotypes and Bollywood films.
If you actually said these things to an Indian in person, they would call you a bigot.
^ That was an actual insult.
Another place you mention daughter-in-law caring for the elders. Totally ignoring the sexist nature of that proposition. Also in reality that whole in-laws under the same roof, has its own set of complications. Often resulting in a very unhealthy dynamic. When children also get affected in the politics of the grown ups.
I think, this is a very complicated and painful problem. For that no universally good solution exists. Its a problem worth solving though, anywhere in the world.
There are challenges in taking care of your in laws but raising a child is easily a more painful and arduous task, so it's not very extreme in the larger scale of things.
Also, I didn't bring up virtue. One of the other commenters is fixated on me demonstrating moral superiority so I'm trying to speak to only that person w.r.t. virtue.
I originally replied to that commenter with a statement that implies that there is literally zero virtue in taking care of your parents in India. Nobody praises you or holds you in higher esteem for doing so over here.
My comment will probably get down-voted for this next part, but it's not meant to be mean-spirited, self-righteous, condescending, or anything like that. Just one person's point of view.
Despite my preference, my hope is that I would surrender to and accept God's will. The Lord's Prayer says "thy will be done" and not "my will be done". Jesus did not press the easy button.
What happens if one of the care workers in the home starts raping you? Is that God's will that you need to surrender to and accept, or is it entirely preventable suffering that we need to stop?
Star Trek: The Next Generation has an absolutely brilliant episode on this topic that touches on a lot of the things brought up in the article, as well as a concern you've brought up here in your comment:
I definitely wouldn't want to put this kind of binding decision over future me
A character facing this very conceit admitted that in the past, he was-like many others of his species-in favor of a policy whereby at 60 years old their kind would sacrifice themselves in an honorary fashion so as not to impede the progress of their descendants.
Fifteen to twenty centuries ago, we had no Resolution. We had no such concern for our elders. As people aged, they... their health failed. They became invalids. And those whose families could no longer care for them were put away, into... deathwatch facilities, where they waited in loneliness for the end to come, sometimes... for years. They had meant something; and they were forced to live beyond that, into a time of meaning nothing. Of knowing that they could now only be the beneficiaries of younger people's patience. We are no longer that cruel
But the character later has a change of heart over the policy he was invariably complicit in supporting, while IMDB doesn't have the quote, paraphrasing it poorly-he opined about how his present and potentially future self may rebuke his past self for such a policy--a question of hindsight.
Great episode, I encourage one who's interested in the discussion created by this article to read it. It's one of my personal favorite TNG episodes, as it creates an interesting confluence of emotional narrative and philosophical narrative that comes to a narrative conclusion, but leaves the philosophical question open in ways most episodes of the same 'template' don't.
Ethics at least covered the idea that Worf (paralysed) contemplating suicide.
The specific episode I referenced it wasn't so much about perfectly healthy people being forced to die against their will, since the character in question intimated quite heavily that their species had made a conscious decision that this is how their elderly would "pass on".
He repeatedly made it appear as if their species treated it as an honorable affair, and that it was a celebration.
Further in the episode, his daughter comes onboard the Enterprise and expresses that she does still love her father but is ashamed of him for defying a long standing tradition.
So I'm not sure if it's a matter of anyone being "forced" in this case to die before they may emotionally be ready to.
The episode kind of plays on this through the meta-narrative/"B Plot" of the character (Timicin is his name, by the way) working to revive a dying star and save his species, after the entire episode and all of the build up, his experiment ultimately fails, dooming the star to die anyway, his planet doomed to the same fate.
The episode routinely ruminates on the concept of death as a choice, only once do we see an instance of what could be called 'force' when Timicin's government demands he comes back and undergo the ritual suicide, but even they finally relent to his wishes and tell him that if he wishes to stay with the Enterprise and continue living, he may-they wont pursue him further, but he will effectively be disregarded by his society and his scientific achievements effectively destroyed.
The takeaway, I believe it was Picard who noted that sometimes death must come in whatever manifestation it comes, even if we feel it's something that can be stalled by wit, intuition or will-this happens during the scene we see the experiment fail and the cast comes to the realization that there may be nothing that can be done with current technology to save the local solar system.
Timicin ultimately makes peace with it, as does Counselor Troi's mother (who fell in love and didn't want to see him throw his life away), and realizes he can still die in peace and allow his contributions to flourish with younger generations of scientists who might be able to learn from his research and keep their local star from dying out for good.
Also make sure your power of attorney and DNR guidance is up to date. Also have a frank conversation with those you give emergency power about your true wishes, AFTER you have a long hard think about what those are.
I did this with my mom a few months back and while difficult it was helpful. She assumed we knew what she wanted to do. I know a lot better now.
Mother in law had heart attack, ended up with low function. She had 10 good years, then the "evil zapper" as she called it, would trigger regularly. She hated it and directed that it be turned off.
Two blissful weeks followed. Just knowing it was not going to happen again perked her right up. The last night, she got up late and I made her a great sandwich. She knew this was it. Went to sleep, and was lucid only one more time.
She said thank you.
The other was my Father in law. He was very old, fell and broke his arm. His body just could not cope. He ended up in hospice care, both of these at home, BTW. Neither wanted to be in some hospital room.
He went through a very painful week of shutdown, but was mostly lucid. This was terrible.
Medical cannibis was available in my state, and he requested a "stiff dose" because the opiates made him a mess. Experiencing some cannibis was on his bucket list and smoking it was out of the question.
I looked up how to make a very potent drink, did it and we gave him a shot glass full of it.
Frankly, the next 10 or so hours were amazing. He got up, out of bed (not supposed to be possible at this point), came out to see everyone, yell at the idiots on TV, and tell us all stuff he wanted to tell, along with old songs and jokes he wanted people, his grand kids to remember.
We all asked (What the hell?), and he said I am stoned enough to forget I am dying. No more of that talk, gimme a beer. (We did) He was Irish, and to him this kind of thing was "going out right and proper"
He passed a day or two later. After that fun night, he went to sleep, restful, seemingly way more comfortable. Was not lucid again.
We did not have to use much of the death drug kit they sent us home with.
I have only done home hospice. I think it has beauty and pain. I think it is a just and solid choice for one to make when they have family they trust completely.
Both thrived. Was brief. No way would it have been the same in a sterile boring, unfamiliar room.
Both contained meaningful end of life experiences. Both appear to have a worthy end. Worthy in that is was their terms more.
That is all. Hope this helps.
For what it is worth, I was moved. I will definitely go that way should my end be known and it being possible.
I'd rather be alive than decomposing.
We had to go down this path last year with my mom to get her out of living alone in a house. I thought the options were to move in with one of us or put her in an old folks home. Turns out there are many different levels and options: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, Private Duty Nursing, Hospice, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, etc.
We found an independent living situation that gives my mom the independence she needs but also the social, dining, and transportation needs that enable her to live a good life without us having to worry about her safety and well-being. Of course, she does like to say with a wink that we put her in an old folks home but she enjoys it.
Make it 65, and then find something to look forward to in 20 year's time. Even if it is just GTA XXI
I don't know where I stand on this issue, truthfully. I feel that people should have the right to choose, but it seems like most people really struggle to predict what they will want when push comes to shove.
How a doctor trully dies.
1) Self-harm is the best predictor of death by suicide, so the fact that some people make a "suicide gesture" means their risk of death by suicide is significantly higher than the general population. By trivialising self harm (which is what you've done here) you further increase their risk of death.
2) The common methods of death by suicide in places without guns are i) hanging followed by ii) self-poisoning. Self-poisoning is very dangerous, and always requires emergency medical attention. The fact the US has an opioid crisis with huge numbers of people dying from overdose should be enough evidence.
3) Stop posting links to pro-suicide websites. Your actions kill people.
All sourced to the most recent NCISH report: https://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=38469
It's a much nicer way to go out than many alternatives, and once it becomes more common knowledge I'm sure we'll see much more of it.
Sadly even the idea tends to make people angry, esp. if they have invested in a worldview where the brain is the sole originator of consciousness, death is the end, etc, even though all they have to do is try it for themselves, though for some reason most don't. Just don't tell me it's a hallucination until you've done it successfully yourself. I'll say I was certainly surprised. It is like sticking your finger into an electrical socket and then being shot out of a cannon out the top of your head into another world.
If you're interested look it up, it's not nearly as hard to do as people make it out to be, though I still can't do it exactly on command, I am getting better at it with practice. I don't claim to know everything about it, but the world you enter has some strange properties and its not as simple as
just waltzing around as a disembodied spirit with x-ray vision or something. There's some overlap of the objective world and this other world which is not as rigidly objective as this one. Future researchers will figure it out I'm sure. It's a fascinating frontier of human knowledge, and I will say as far as hacks go, hacking your consciousness is a pretty good one.
<Holds up flame shield>
I cannot resist, I've done meditation with never performing the out of body experience and I've read about it in great detail. I would still think the possibility of it all being a hallucination and even if performed with thinking it was definitely real. Hallucinations can be so real that they're impossible to disprove. Consciousness might not even be real in the sense that most people think about it as because reality tends to be deterministic with the impossibility to prove otherwise.
FWIW, this wasn't actually my goal when I started meditating, it just happened after some months of regular meditation, and I had to piece together what it was from limited information. As you can see from the number of downvotes, there's still a strong prejudice against even the suggestion that these are valid experiences with potential utility. So it goes!
It would also be possible, though ethically controversial, to test whether or not a person in an OBE state could reliably alternate between being pronounced dead, and then resuscitated. It would be a substantial finding to learn that someone could will themselves to both "die" and also to be revived.
What is certain is that as meditation becomes more popular these experiences will become more common and no longer ridiculed. We will then learn more by virtue of level-headed people sharing information about them. Who knows what we'll find?
"Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable." -Goethe
The irony for me is that I too used to think it was all nonsense, until I started doing the meditation. It's much harder to dismiss when you start to experience a litany of things you can't explain.