A friend got very upset with my dark thoughts post from the other day. I can’t really blame her, it must have come as a surprise. But the thought does occur, why do we place such a high value on human life? Why is it such a terrible thing for someone who is in pain to want to end the pain?

First, let’s try to detach ourselves from the knee-jerk reaction. I know most of us were brought up to view suicide as bad. It’s a sin, it’s a waste, you are gonna burn in hell, yada-yada-yada. Follow my thought process, if you dare.

First, we start with government sanctioned capital punishment. Someone is found guilty of a crime so severe that we, as a society, choose to remove them not just from the populace, but from our entire race. So, according to government mandate, ending a life is fine, as long as it’s for punishment or protection.

Ending a life = OK if done by government.

Next, let’s move to euthanasia. It’s a lot more socially acceptable. Yes, it’s still controversial, but at least we have a firm footing on it. Someone who is in terminal, chronic pain can choose to take a drug to end their life. This isn’t some seedy back-room pill swallow, but a measured, calibrated process for someone to drift off and not wake up.

Ending own life = OK if you are in pain.

So, why is it any different if you are in mental pain versus physical pain? Is the pain somehow diminished? Is it less real? Pain is pain in my book.

Stop, I can already hear the rebuttal. “Mental pain can be cured, cancer can’t”.

Bullshit. If someone has a physical imbalance in their brain which causes too much or too little of a chemical to be produced, the symptoms can be managed, but not cured. How is this any different than telling a cancer patient that their wasting away and nausea can be managed with pain-killers? We grant relief for one type of pain, but not another?

Why are we so afraid of death anyway? Are any of us under the delusion that we can live forever? Death comes for all of us. ALL OF US. It’s just a question of when and how. Why is it so bad to choose how we want to go?

If we take a critical look at our lives and realize that we aren’t contributing to society, why is it so bad to remove ourselves from the gene pool? Why do we flee death? Why can’t we realize that death is just part of the experience, no greater or worse than life?

If we take the religious approach, there is a paradise beyond this life. Why not hasten our wait to that paradise? You will notice that I discount hell, because if one truly believed there was a “lake of fire and brimstone” waiting for us, we would have lived our lives to avoid such a place.

If we reject the religious argument, then there is no meaning beyond this mortal shell. If we are in pain (physical or mental), how can anyone argue to keep us in such suffering? If you do, can you really question who is and is not mentally ill?