Monday, July 23, 2018

Good News From Abroad

Thanks to reddit antinatalism for the link!

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Senicide is the abandonment to death, suicide, or killing of the elderly.

I'm getting old and falling apart. Not looking for sympathy here. It's just a fact of life everybody goes through who lives long enough to get old. I don't want to put my children through the stress of taking care of me in my old age. Frankly, the idea disgusts me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way. However, I also don't want to burden my kids through the stigma associated with suicide. How much better would it be if there was a societally acceptable way to shuck off this mortal coil, without causing undue distress to loved ones? (see previous post 'Resolution')

We are burdens, fellow old folks, plain and simple. We eat up medical resources faster than a whale feasting on krill. We take advantage of our childrens' love and sense of duty by stealing their time and money. Oh, we pitch in here and there when we can, but on the whole we are bleeding the younger generations dry. On top of that, our ludicrous attempts to extend our lifetimes through any means possible is a huge factor in our planet's human reproduction blues. Let it go, senior citizens, and realize that WE are the biggest turds in the toilet bowl.

I'm not saying run out into the shed and shoot yourself this minute, although I personally see suicide, especially the rightly motivated kind, as an honorable and unselfish act. As per my previous post, I believe that we can approach this subject carefully and kindly as a culture. I mean, we all die anyway, right? Why not take our deaths into our own collective hands, by enacting new traditions that support a cooler approach to an otherwise explosively emotional subject? And while we're at it, lets put an upper age limit on who can run for elected office, let some new blood take the reins. I swear, if I see one more bony-handed octogenarian pontificating about foreign policy as seen through the lens of the Franco-Prussian war, I'll fall off my walker!

Btw, I've opened up moderated comments for the time being, in case you want to sound off on this very controversial subject. Best to you all.

Friday, July 20, 2018


I just now belatedly discovered that the actor David Ogden Stiers has recently died. Besides being on tv's 'MASH', he was also on one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek TNG, 'Half a Life'. The plot centered on Mr. Stiers' character, an alien whose society only allows its citizens to reach the age of sixty, after which they are gently (one would hope) euthanized via a custom called 'The Resolution'. This custom had come about over environmental concerns due to overpopulation. In subsequent generations the practice took on a sort of a ritualistic feel as the idea became further embedded in the culture. There were parties in the months leading up to the big day, familial and professional celebrations of a lifetime well lived. Ironically, the whole shebang served as an affirmation of life through an acquiescence to the reality of the Void, the place from which we emerge then return to in so short an amount of time. Our original home. No Thomasesque fist shaking here, just the sagely aggregate smile of a populace that's taken the maxim 'easy come, easy go' to heart. Warms this old promotalist's bones.

Of course, we're talking about a tv show here, and a good story needs conflict, yes? So the aliens come in contact with the Earthlings, Deanna Troi's perpetually horny mother hooks up with Stiers character, and the requisite trouble ensues in the form of human moral outrage and diplomatic sabre rattling. For on Earth, death is something to be fought against tooth and nail, and is CERTAINLY not an affair to be extolled or, dare I say, welcomed with open arms? No, death is something that really shouldn't be spoken about in mixed company. The ultimate boogey man to be perennially chased back under the bed and forgotten lest we remember that he dwells in every single moment, over our heads, under the earth, on the streets, in our beds, between each heartbeat, and wound like a silver ribbon into the very structure of our dna.

Fortunately (imo, anyway), Stiers' character recovers after a short lapse in good judgement due to Lwaxana Troi's morally charged haranguing, listens to the arguments of his daughter and others, and submits to his own peoples' traditional practices. Wrapped up nicely if not particularly satisfactory to the majority of viewers, I guess.

Here's how it is: We bring these non-consenting people into this world kicking and screaming, supposedly with love in our hearts, but also knowing full well that death awaits us at the end of our joys and travails, no exceptions. Meanwhile, humans are quickly turning the planet into an uninhabitable place onto which we continually add fuel to the toxic fires. What's the solution, if not lowering the numbers?

On one hand, and as a card carrying antinatalist, I should probably be applauding the demise of the ecosystem. However, I suspect that humans are probably smart enough that no matter the intensity of the plague, war or famine, there'll always be a vestige that survives and eventually ramps things up again. Of course, that survival rests on the back of unimaginable suffering for large segments of the populations of the world. Wouldn't it all run so much smoother if we treated death as a manageable affair. No, more than that, as an ultimate expression of, again ironically, love toward sentient existence, but this time including its inevitable unweaving?

You might argue that my borrowed scenario lacks one important ingredient, the freedom of choice for the elderly person who doesn't want to die at his/her socially prescribed time. I admit this is a flaw in my mortalist's wet dream; on the other hand, how many of us codgers might willingly bite the bullet if we knew that the suffering of our surviving loved ones might be mitigated to a large degree by a tradition similar to the one I've briefly outlined? I realize it's a complicated proposition, fraught with potential mistakes and abuse. So, what's new? That's the game we're destined to play, it seems, but I don't see passivity in the name of 'we've always done it this way' as a particularly noble expression of the human spirit. Do you?

"There is no death to my life. No beginning to my death. Death is life." I always liked this line from ELP's Brain Salad Surgery (RIP Keith and Greg). When I was young, because it was 'deep' and spooky sounding. Nowadays I see it as an anthem celebrating the part of sentient existence that nobody wants to talk about, i.e. the end of it.

We're here for just a flash, the thinnest sliver of time that we can slice, set against the vastness of eternity. Some day, we might get smart enough to realize that this is all a no-win game and causes a lot of the people we throw into it considerable discomfort. Maybe we can even ease ourselves into this realization one step at a time, lest our survivor oriented evolutionary tendencies get too startled and fight back. So, I'm definitely not saying let's go out now and round up the old people. But voluntary euthanasia would be a good start, exercised compassionately by whatever agency we wind up putting in charge. Honest education regarding the suffering some people willingly put themselves through, merely out of feelings of guilt for leaving their loved ones. Telling the truth about the environmental holocaust that's coming down the pipe thanks to human overpopulation. Et al.

Culture definitely seems to be taking a twist lately. Hell, even the Saudi women are driving now! This might be an opportune time to start reassessing. Now that we're here, what are we in this for? Do we want to build something sustainable, so that our descendants aren't drowning in excrement because of the choices we've made? And why must we go down kicking and screaming, instead of settling down into the warm bath of the knowledge of irrevocable temporality in our hearts?

I imagine a future where the choice to die will be looked upon as an honorable choice, supported by families as well as the culture at large. Maybe we'll never reach the point where death is actually mandated at such-and-such an age, and maybe that's even a good thing. As usual, I'm a little bit conflicted. However, I definitely think we need to rethink the 'keep them alive at any cost!' approach. Not just legally, but philosophically and emotionally, too. It's a kindness that's been a long time coming.