Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another First-World Luxury

A very interesting article on Oli's blog by a woman whose father committed suicide twenty-two years ago. It examines the whole notion of the right to die from the perspective of a person who has had to pick up the pieces after losing a loved one to suicide. She makes the point:

It is said that for every suicide, on average there are eight people left behind who are seriously and often permanently damaged.

Her conclusion, having lived for some years in a developing country is:

The right to die is clearly much more of a concern among the wealthy and highly educated of the developed nations.

Naturally, you might argue — because we are wealthier and healthier, because we live longer, because we are provided with more life-saving drugs and surgery, we are also, as a consequence, confronted with this problem of choosing when to end our lives.

But I put to you that perhaps the choice itself is just another First-World luxury. A privilege, like so many privileges of the wealthy — something that poses as a symbol of self-determination and freedom but ends up, paradoxically, to be yet another source of suffering.