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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Autonomy - Philosophy as a Belief system

On this day of last year, I received an unexpected text message. My friend announced her terminal illness and her imminent death. I was trembling from shock. The next day, I was unable to visit her, following a mix of disbelief and devastation. The final stage of grief, acceptance, arrived the following day which allowed me to share 3 beautiful weeks with Joan.

Autonomy is a human belief that we are entitled over our own lives - and death. Autonomy is better known under different names: euthanasia (for terminally ill people) and suicide (a desire to die). In 2016, a liberal-social Dutch political party proposed a law in assisting the ending of "completed" healthy lives as of 75 years (page 7, Dutch NewsGuardian).

Humans are the only life-form which has beliefs. The evolutionary sequence appears to be: consciousness (all life-forms), external curiosity (many animals, all humans), self-awareness (certain animals, all humans), internal curiosity (humans), thinking (humans) and beliefs (humans).

These human beliefs have evolved into my concept of the 7 Belief systems, being Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth. Any Belief system is defined by the willingness of sacrificing your life for a certain cause. Hence, the belief of autonomy over your life and death is an example of Philosophy as a Belief system.

The premise of full autonomy is usually disputed by 2 other Belief systems: Politics and Religion. I stress the word “full” as there is a conflicting view between sacrificing your life for a cause and self-sacrifice. Sacrificing your life in defending your country may make you a hero. Self-destruction, self-murder or suicide is still a social taboo.

The difference between sacrifice and self-sacrifice is in the presence - or absence - of a goal. In my view, the primary goal of humans is helping each other in life. Helping each other in death only makes sense when acts of compassion, dignity and/or mercy for terminally ill people are involved. Essentially, this is an act of Love (the 7th Belief system) for another human.

In 2013, I experienced a severe burnout and depression. One of its characteristics is that you push people away, people who care about your well-being. I have had (very) dark thoughts. One day, my eyes were repeatedly drawn to a certain DVD. After seeing that movie, Constantine (IMDb), I realised what I was up against. I can imagine that some people lose that fight inside their mind. That fight isn't particularly fair.

Helping non terminally ill people in dying feels wrong on a philosophical level (eg, UoL). We are here to help other people in life rather than in death. This view is not about Religion as Religion is a man-made institution in the Power domain of the 7 Belief systems. It is Faith that makes me conclude this. Faith doesn't separate Ahura Mazda, Allah, God or Yahweh (Sumerian & Jewish), Religion does. Faith brings willpower and strengthens beliefs (my blogs).

The people at the fringe of our society know all too well that they are unneeded, unwanted and unbelieved. Offering them help in dying rather than in living, is an extreme human belief. Its message is carefully wrapped in words of compassion. It is compassion for death, not life.

Lyin' Eyes (1977) by The Eagles - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

You can't hide your lyin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes