gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

the slippery slope.

editor's note: i myself am having second thoughts about my reference to eskimo tradition. although my information comes from a reliable source, i may not have put the ancient, repsected culture in the proper light and for that i apologize. i may take further action, make further changes, but wanted to add this asap. regards; nathan. ps; actually, no. it's all good...

i've been thinking about death a lot lately. i know. i know. i write about death often. that's because i think about life often. but, it's not just me. there's been a lot of talk lately about end-of-life assisted suicide. i never used to think about death. of course, i was younger then. i had a great jump-shot, a full head of hair and i could maintain a, a, a conversation without forgetting the topic.

everyone has heard that eskimos used to put their old folks out on the ice to die when they could no longer contribute. of course, if not contributing were the main consideration, i would've been floating down-stream a long time ago. and one has to wonder how compliant those old folks were as they got shunted on to the ice without a sweater. the question begs asking: were they waving happily goodby or hollering about how much better they've been feeling lately? the fact is, it was apparently not the usual practice, more often just when times were pretty desperate.

a basic pillar of ancient buddhism, of course, is non-violence. therefore, euthanasia was not really considered a right action under any circumstances. they also believe that the suffering of the unfortunate person would only be transferred to his or her or its next life. there's not a lot in judaism about an after-life. i read somewhere that was a reaction against ancient egypt's preoccupation with an after-life. in either case, i have found no indication of assisted end-of-life suicides, but those groups have always been open and even eager to help each other in that regard. in ancient greece and rome, physicians apparently often prescribed poisonous medicines to end their patients' suffering. in the 1800s the use of morphine began to attract alot of attention for the purpose of an easier exit.

it's interesting that euthanasia began to gain popularity in the 1930s during the great depression. 'popularity' may be an unfortunate choice of words, but certainly the eskimos seemed somewhat to be on the right track, or ice floe. it has been a slippery slope since then. dr. death, as jack kavorkian was euphemistically called, assisted in his first suicide in 1990. he even assisted in a suicide on television in 1998. he was convicted of murder a year later, which is curious considering the show had tremendous ratings.

personally, i don't like the idea of assisted suicides any more than i like the idea of abortion. but i cannot imagine judging anyone who may be actually facing the situation, no matter their decision. i've never been pregnant and the only time i ever considered 'checking out' was when, at the age of 48, i moved back in with my parents after 23 years in india. my mom kept angrily telling me to stop wagging my head and she positively barked at me: "shut up with the 'no problem no problem' already!" i did in fact check out soon after and that's how i ended up in wakefield, but that's another story.

'perhaps they are not stars but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.' eskimo proverb.

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