If you think that life is about living without having to experience pain or suffering, you certainly came to the wrong universe.
I understand and commend people that feel very strongly about “leaving the world with dignity”. However, one must first understand what “leaving the world with dignity” really means. Does it mean to be able to decide how much pain or suffering am I able to put up with? Does it mean someone else should be able to choose my destiny since I am unable (e.g., in a vegetative state) or unwilling to decide?
Whatever it may be, the main issue seems to be centered on “suffering,” and “mercy.”
I have seen far too many movies where they pretend to show this act of killing as “merciful” by quickly putting at end to the suffering. In fact, they are just showing the need to put an end to the “unpleasant experience” of who are observing and need to move on. Instead of slowly and calmly contemplating the emotions of true love and compassion that emerge by caring for the one in pain and suffering, if only by empathizing.
Suffering and pain, thus, have been gravely misunderstood.
Many people associate it with “punishment,” which is understandable from a purely hedonistic perspective.
From a practical perspective, however, it is simply absurd.
Far too many people seem unable and/or unwilling to understand the meaning of pain and reject it without any thought.
Actually, it is human nature to reject suffering and pain.
One must comprehend, nevertheless, that pain and suffering have a much higher purpose than just making us feel miserable, i.e., are a blessing in disguise.
The purpose of pain and suffering may be linked to a story about a kite and its string. Pain and suffering are the adverse winds that blow and push the kite around but it is thanks to the string that keeps the kite connected to the ground what allows it to soar high and remain up in the sky.
If we cut the string, through euthanasia, the opportunity to soar over the mundane is gone.
Pain and suffering must be seen through the eyes of faith to understand that that pain and suffering afford us humans the opportunity to further develop our Spiritual Conscience and become more than mere mortals.
It is only through pain and suffering, i.e., being tied to the world, that we can grow not only physically, intellectually and emotionally, but much more importantly, Spiritually.
JC Wandemberg Ph.D.
About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.