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Facing Death

The New York Times Magazine has a lengthy article on the breaking trend of providing end-of-life patients with drugs. Psychologists are effectively administering magic mushrooms and hailing "the healing power of psychedelics." One of the leading researcher's reports:

On psychedelics you have an experience in which you feel there is something you are a part of, something else is out there that's bigger than you, that there is a dazzling unity you belong to, that love is possible and all these realizations are imbued with deep meaning. I'm telling you that you're not going to forget that six months from now. The experience gives you, just when you're on the edge of death, hope for something more.

The role which psychedelics are hoped to serve at the end of life is pretty much the same as that supplied to most people by religion. One doubts that the writers at the Times know any such people. So, the substitute for faith is hallucination. Perhaps the Times sees them as one and the same. But I suspect most people comprehend the difference.

My first reaction is that this is a cowardly way to approach death - just as drug use is a cowardly way to approach life. Such a solution has always been available. Re-branding it as science, medicine or progress changes nothing. Those of faith have nothing to fear and everything for which to hope. Atheists at least have nothing to fear. And sinful sorts can benefit from a little fear and trembling.

This is not medical advancement. It is social regression.
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Discussions - 3 Comments

Thanks Justin for the description of psychedelics. This is was the drug of choice of the red diaper dopers babies of the 1960's who are now running our education system and Washington D.C.

It also accounts for the reason why Liberalism is a mental illness.

Dying is hard, and while I can see some good coming from courage at that stage in life, I think it's a distinctly Catholic view that dying the death God made for you is somehow an essential duty. My own view is that easing someone's passing is a good thing to do if 1) they agree to it, and 2) it does not interfere with last-minute business (e.g., visiting with family/friends).

Let's face it - there are a lot of really crappy ways to die. I see no harm in easing someone's suffering as long as rules 1 & 2 are honored. And suffering as one dies doesn't get you closer to Heaven. It's how you lived that matters in the end.

However folks want to go out is fine by me. But I also think most drugs should be leagalized, but that employers should retain the right to screen and deny employment for drug use. So that means if you are say 80, and you no longer have any contract duties to stay sobber, go for the drugs if you want them.

I am not sure that Justin's view is distinctly catholic. Also on Western cultural grounds I am not sure it is a form of cultural regression. The capitalist mindset is one of pleasure maximization. So John Stuart Mill has nothing against old folks increasing utils of pleasure by dopeing.

On this note, the way Justin presents it, the New York times article is a remix of the cocktail party Marx: "religion is the opiate of the masses".

Actually among some atheists who lean stoic, the idea of being saved by opiates of some dude in the sky, is a repulsive weakness. So for some dying the death you made for yourself with open eyes and a clear mind, is part of taking accountability for the only life you will ever have. So the idea that this is not advancement is part of the Marxist critique of Capitalism. Essentially man's topiarization to the pleasure structures of Benthamite Capitalism. But this variation is almost certainly Facist.

I think it is more cultural regression among say the warrior class. So the idea of facing death with dignity and honor is mainly Sammurai or Viking. Assisted suicide, or self medication is for Benthamites.

The idea that one cannot dodge suffering in death really is a component of the Warrior Class ethos.

Justin has just been brain washed by the Marines, and taken in too much Sammurai literature on death. It is social regression according to Bushido. It is social regression for the "Guardians" so to speak.

But since all our "guardians" are basically covered under contract law, except for the marines who have some sort of eternal cultural obligations...I am pretty sure it is okay for most of society.

For the Warrior class the highest way to approach death outside of battle is still Seppuku. But I am pretty sure most folks prefer the cowardly way.

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