Monday, August 01, 2005

Its My Life!!!

Ideasmith asked an interesting question in the comments of my last post.

Question: If a person has rights over his own life, does that include the right to end it too?

Personally I think so. But the law doesn't agree, if Bollywood is to be believed..."Aatma-hatya kanooni jurm hi nahin, paap bhi hai!!"


This takes me back to one of the classic plays written by Shakespeare. Julius Ceasar. There is a character called Cassius whose phrases stand out so clear, I have not forgetten them since I first read the book.

At one stage he mentions, "Why, he that cuts off twenty years of life, Cuts off so many years of fearing death" to justify the killing of Ceasar. Cassius was someone who strongly believed that ones life was in his own hands. And God has given him the ultimate power to end it when he wants to. On the other hand, Brutus was not a firm believer of this idea.

The following by Cassius had made me think about what IdeaSmith mentioned many a time.

" I know where I will wear this dagger then;
Cassius from bondage will deliver Cassius:
Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat:
Nor stony tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeon, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit;
But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself.
If I know this, know all the world besides,
That part of tyranny that I do bear
I can shake off at pleasure. "

Come the fifth-century. Theologian Augustine of Hippo, argued that offing yourself is never justifiable because it violates God's injunction "thou shalt not kill."

My take on this? I rather make it illegal. What do I mean by this? Take the tradition of Sati. It is suicide in a way. People forced the woman to jump into the funeral pyres. This was banned. But, what if some woman, without any pubic pressure wants to go Sati because she cant live without her beloved husband? Its still banned. But if this was allowed, as in suicide by choice, people could manipulate the womans mind to go for it, yet make it look by choice.

But without the strings of public pressure and all attached, "If a person has rights over his own life, does that include the right to end it too?", I would say YES. But as a law, its a strict NO!

Its my right to drive on SV Road. I pay road tax. But the law says I have to stop when the light turns red.

You have the right to your life, but a law which stops you from ending it. I prefer to keep it that way.

You didnt start it, dont be the one who ends it. And if you do.... please write all your money and belongings on my name.


Blogger iyer education said...

all i have to add here is the fact that "life, even at its worst, is so beautiful that it would be stupid enough to end yourself and abstain from that beautiful experience called life"... and that would be foolishness... i still am confused as to whether one has the right to end his / her life...

August 01, 2005 1:13 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima said...

this definitely is a very confounding topic to debate upon.

On one hand, its said the only thing that differentiates man from other beasts is the fact that we have 'free will' (i disagree but anyway..)
So having free will, automatically means we have the right to end our life, yes?
It sounds ok in theory, but we all know that theory hardly ever applies in real life.
Sigh. More questions..less answers.

What if suicide were made legal? Is it enough that we hope that better sense prevails?
No idea, honestly.

Um also..u spelt 'public' as 'pubic'
hee hee

August 01, 2005 11:14 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Well if you believe in Life after then ... even if you take this life, you have to come back again here. I run with the theory that we are here to learn something (Celestine prophecy) and if we dont then we come back till we do. Sounds crazy but thats what I feel ...My 2 cents :-)

August 01, 2005 5:17 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Depends on what can be termed life. Clinical term or otherwise. Many people are already dead or have preferred to stop "living", come to Mumbai you'll find many here that have lost everything & have already died, though clinically they may be alive.

Something as simple as driving (atleast for others, if not for me) should not be used as an example for such a complex term as "living/alive/life". I wouldnt want any constitutional bench using the examples of driving & motor laws while they debate on euthanasia.

Lastly, as i'd read someplace (think Paulo Coelho) "let me die while I am alive"

August 02, 2005 4:10 AM  
Blogger couchpotato said...

Interesting... Think I'd support the cause. Because it's your life.

August 02, 2005 8:42 AM  
Blogger abhi said...

Utterly confused!!!

Who wants to end life here?

And if its a hypothetical discussion/rant ... WHY THE *****??

And yes, I'd go with bird's comment/thoughts .. for sure ...

I once asked a hapless mob to define God ... and actually got responses (instead of tomatoes) ... good committed ones at that ...

Life/Death seem to fall pretty much on that scale of complexity and relativity ...

So when are we committing the Sati act on Pals? september? i shud be there then ... it'll be the first Sati act in US ... what say?

August 02, 2005 10:32 AM  
Blogger IdeaSmith said...

Just want to add to this discussion my comment seems to have sparked up: I am not talking about the philosphical kind of dying (Bird's comment) nor am I considering the forced by rituals death...that's murder in some manner, as far as I'm concerned.

I think I have the right to run my life or ruin it, if I so wish. There just might be a learning in the latter too, don't you think, Dan?

At a purely tangible level, I would say that a human being is defined by his/her awareness of self and at some point if he/she wishes to terminate this life, no one else has a right to interfere.

August 02, 2005 3:41 PM  
Blogger APOO said...

I could have gone in the direction of Life is too beautiful at any stage to end it... but stopped myself from that since the core of the post was do u have a right to end your life.

Mahima: The spelling was on purpose to see who reads my blog with great care and concern. From now on, u r my favorite reader.

Bird, I was not using driving as an example for life/death. For those who couldnt understand something like having the right to do it, but it being snatched away by the law, it was an analogy to make things simpler.

Smithy, I agree with ya on the moral grounds. On legal grounds if there is a law which stops one from doing so, I aint against that law.

Heck, am I making any sense?? Even I am confused now!

Abbs: We have a few issues. We need to get Pals married off for doing Sati. Very difficult to find someone ready to marry pals. Second, we need to make sure the person dies so that Pals can go Sati. Thirdly, we need to trace Pals. Fourth, if pals is around, it will rain. No way we can burn him unless we risk it inside the house.

August 02, 2005 10:54 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima said...

woohoo! take that other readers! im his favourite!
i rock!

August 02, 2005 11:15 PM  
Blogger IdeaSmith said...

*Applause* for madame mahima! Guess that rules out the wise man on the mountain for good then, Apoorva...

Who is this Pals and if he makes it rain, plzzzzzzz take him out of Mumbai...I'm even sick of ranting about the weather now.

August 03, 2005 5:52 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima said...

yea who's this pals fella?

August 03, 2005 8:22 AM  
Blogger APOO said...

Hmmm... who is Pals. Now thats a brilliant question which deserves another post. But I think Abbs and Bird can explain better about who is Pals. Specially Bird... what say Bird?

August 03, 2005 8:39 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home