In a societal ocean full of crashing waves and cracking thunder, it’s appalling that many are forced to endure a bitter battle to stay afloat—legally barred from swimming to shore and finding peace on land. Truthfully, our world is nothing more than a cruel and turbulent ocean that forces those who have no desire to sail to either continue on with the last string of their will or drown themselves along the rocky shores of life. What human euthanasia ultimately is, is the ability to lay anchor for one last time. To allow those who are suffering, tortured by the mechanisms of daily life, to find peace on land and to find comfort in a fictional heaven.
It is integral to understanding the necessity of euthanasia and by proxy, death, to first contextualize the experiences of the disgruntled—the experiences of those with no motivation nor desire to exist. Life with depression and/or any similarly severe mental illness is incomparable to the life of the majority of people. The many activities and ideas that you consider comforting or exciting are painful and stressful for others to think about. The purpose of life is to ultimately find happiness, to make sense of the entropic nature of existence and to find purpose within it, yet if you cannot find happiness or purpose there is ultimately no purpose to life. If every day is a painful struggle to continue, where the future just seems like a nightmare slowly creeping upon you, there is no reason to be forced to live. Life is only beneficial when you’re happy, and being forced to live is nothing more than a curse that you force upon a person. Nobody chooses to live, so people should be given the choice to die if they need to.
Given the unique circumstances, personalities, and thought processes of all people, it’s important to note that many aren’t cut out for a happy life. Not because they’re bad people or they’re somehow inferior, but because their entire existence conflicts with what our society desires. A society that, without the right to die, only works to ensnare and abuse people. Like a dog diagnosed with death, at some point, you must give one the option to end their own suffering—to find complacency in the total neutrality that is death.
Before moving forward, it is integral to note the boundaries necessary with human euthanasia. It would obviously be unwise to allow everyone, with no consideration of history, to sign a form and kick the bucket. Such legislation would be inconsiderate of the common mood swings and hyperdramatic nature of the human condition, many acting upon impulse as a reaction to setbacks. Obviously, someone who has failed to seek help nor show any history of suffering shouldn’t be allowed to do such a thing, as it would simply be irresponsible. On the other hand, those with a history of sustained pain—physical or mental— along with a track record of treatment, an already demonstrated desire to recover, and then an unfortunate inability to recover. In such cases, with nowhere to go and pain building up upon their backs, death is unfortunately the best course of action.
Think first of those with terminal physical conditions, such as Cancer or Alzheimers, who literally have no other course of action than death. Does it matter if one has their life taken in six months on the accord of some illness or now under their own conditions and preferences? When the outcome will inevitably be the same, does it not make sense to cut off the constant stream of pain that infects one’s body in such times? Does it not make sense to give peace to those with no hope? There is no world where someone should be forced to live tied to a hospital bed, living off of tubes and machines until the pain finally gets to them.
There is no world where families of patients should be confronted with the emotional dilemma of preparing for one’s inevitable death, the trauma that is watching someone in pain— watching someone they love reduced to nothing more than a bag of bones slowly over time. Ultimately, there is no world where a constriction of such an important right can be considered morally just. There is nothing worse than a long drawn-out illness, and by proxy, a long drawn-out illness from within the mind. An illness that may not take physical form but nonetheless infects your body and constricts you from within, leaving you as nothing more than a shell of the past.
Just as horrific as physical conditions are, mental conditions are simply another side of the same coin that to this day is still overlooked and diminished by our general society. Struggling with mental illness isn’t far different from an infectious virus or a terminal illness, simply one that requires recovery through more implicit avenues than simply a few injections or a doctor’s care. With constant waves of setbacks and anxiety crashing down upon you, it is difficult to forever stay afloat and continue on, and even when you do it is both displeasing and an excruciating struggle— one that you can’t simply “get over” or “cope with”.
There comes a point where the best therapy and the most sophisticated drugs fail to ail the most severe of mental anguish, and at that point, death is a necessity of choice. Truly, there is no point to life when every day is torture, one where from the moment your eyes flutter open to the moment they shut tight at night you feel nothing but the same suffering that you’ve seen as the new norm, and at that point does one not deserve the right to choose to die? When treatment and care are no longer effective, why should anyone be forced to fight through their struggles for the small chance of redemption?
Choosing death isn’t dishonourable nor selfish, for many it is simply the smart decision—a choice that allows one to resolve their wrongs and provide closure to their loved ones. It is a final day that feels right and in place before they sleep peacefully for the rest of eternity. Death is a moral right for everyone, and it is a right that is often ignored within the world. Just as everyone has the right to live a fair life, everyone has the right to die from a fruitless and painful existence.
Finally, it’s important to note the importance of a safe death. One that is quick, painless, and fully fatal. As the common saying goes, there’s a lot worse than death, and that horrible state often finds itself in the motions between life and death. A state of pain, shock, and often lifelong impacts. Scattered along the papers are stories of suicides gone wrong, filled with horror stories that wrench at one’s heart.
People jump onto train tracks only to have their bodies permanently mangled and their lives ruined. Hanging attempts in which the victims find themselves not in the pearly white lights of heaven but under the bright lights of institutionalism, suffering from permanent and debilitating brain damage. According to the University of Michigan, only 1 in 25 suicide attempts actually work, meaning that for every story of death there are 24 more of lifelong suffering and bodily debilitation. Truly, there’s nothing worse than wanting to die and being put in a place where you can neither ever recover from your current state nor attempt to end it all once again. When people are forced to take their lives through unsafe and painful methods (hanging, jumping off of bridges, drug overdoses), you only prolong the pain that they’ve been suffering from throughout their life and desperately hold them back in the realm of life with no consideration of the consequences.
There is no reason that to find peace and tranquillity in death should people have to go through agonizing pain first. When you put an animal down, you don’t slowly peel off its skin and rub them with salt, no, you slit its neck and allow them to die instantly. Just as it would be cruel to slowly kill an animal, there is no reason to ever inflict the same treatment on other human beings.
Ultimately, those who desire to take their own lives will do it, all we can do is make it easy, safe, and as peaceful as possible. Legalize euthanasia, and create a society where we eliminate the sadness behind death and replace it with calming neutrality. A society where there is no stigma behind suicide and one where life isn’t placed on the impossible moral pedestal that we see today. With euthanasia, a world can be created where those in pain aren’t forced to bob up and down under the crashing waves, gasping for a breath of relief and shivering from the icy suffering of illness. With euthanasia, a world can be made where people are given the option to lay forever on the sandy beaches that is death, blissfully nonexistent and able to forever rest in peace along the hot sandy shores of release, finally free of the tendrils of terror that had constricted them their entire lives. That is the dream of many. To be able to close your eyes for one last time, and for the first time in your life, or rather death, be able to breathe.