fear & control & the roots of our discomfort …

… about the mystery of life …

“I think fear is a very big element in what we do–our living in a global reality probably elicits a lot of free-floating anxiety. We’re the first humans to have to do that. You try to find something to fix that anxiety on, and take control over whatever that is, to reduce the fear and anxiety. The remedy for intense fear is taking some control over what frightens you. So, one way to live intense individualism is by shutting down and going into yourself, saying, “These are my decisions,” thereby reducing the anxiety and fear by taking some control. We are enormously uncomfortable with mystery, and the current attitude toward mystery is to turn it into a problem. Instead of saying that, for example, there is a mystery to death and to traveling with someone on their journey through the mystery of death–and eventually it will be us who will be in that mystery–instead of that, we convert the mystery of death into the problem of death, and we seek technological solutions. The technological solution to the problem of death is a lethal injection–euthanasia. But it’s the antithesis of experiencing the mystery of death. Psychologists studying the psyche of society talk of terror-reduction mechanisms. Euthanasia is such a mechanism, as we are terrified of death. We don’t know how to deal with it.”

Interview with Margaret Somerville – professor in both the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Medicine – McGill University. Author of The Ethical Canary: Science, Society and the Human Spirit and Death Talk: The Case Against Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide as well as The Ethical Imagination: Journeys of the Human Spirit

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  1. Pingback: autonomy … control … unhinged?

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