The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

April 01, 2005

Life or death

To me, the cases of both Terri Schiavo and the Pope are examples of how totally helpless we are when it comes to dealing with death. Modern medicine and technology have given us the means to extend life much longer than we used to, but the question that seems impossible to answer is in which cases we are extending someone's life, and in which cases we're merely extending their death. Everyone seems to have a different view on this one.

Posted by Horst on April 1, 2005 08:32 PM to news of the world | Tell-a-friend

laura said on April 3, 2005 12:37 AM:

"Soylent green is people!" Remember that cry, from the movie where everyone was euthanized when they turned 35? Somewhere between that idea and being hooked up to machines for 20 years is where the aging baby boomers of America will end up. Western nations have the luxury of extending life ever further. But who decides whether that life is worth living?

dieter said on April 4, 2005 12:11 PM:

Logan's Run was a film that both fascinated and haunted me during my adolescence. In my view, the pope merely demonstrated our inability to deal with death and especially with the death of public figures. He was old, he had various diseases, and what is more, he looked back at a rich life. so what is the fuss? The really annoying thing is the overall media coverage. What is so great about this man? Is he really irreplaceable? I don't get it.

Whereas there was no moral dilemma involved in the pope's dying, there is indeed one in the case of Teri Shiavo. No one knows if she can feel anything, and no one can tell if she would rather die. You could also question if it is justified to spend millions on keeping someone with practically no chance of recovery alife for years when elsewhere children die from simple diarrhea, but watching her starve after all the efforts is also quite a thing...
Many unsolved questions, all to be adressed rather delicately. I hope, her public death will lead to lengthy discussions and not only to dogmatic or populist reflexes.

Horst said on April 4, 2005 03:16 PM:

"Logan's Run" and "Soylent Green" are two very different movies.

Monika said on April 4, 2005 03:32 PM:

and the case of Harald Juhnke is an example of how totally helpless we are when it comes to dealing with alcohol.

I'm glad that I wasn't the person in charge of deciding about Ms. Schiavo's death. I totally agree with dieter's second paragraph. It must be horrible to see one of one's beloved ones in this condition for so long.

Horst said on April 5, 2005 02:39 PM:

Yes, I had wanted to write about Harald Juhnke too, but somehow didn't manage to get him into the story without getting incoherent and/or bizarre. But you're right that he _does_ fit in there, too.

As for life/death decisions, I've even seen people who found themselves in such a situation change their mind 180 degrees (in either direction) when they found themselves in an extreme situation, so there's no way of telling what the right decision is.

laura said on April 6, 2005 07:14 PM:

The movie I was thinking of was "Logan's Run."

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