Euthanasia is an age-old debate. Few countries allow it; few don’t. When it was not allowed in Canada, one man enabled death for a few willing albeit suffering people. He talks about why and how did he it.
Losing a dear one is a heart-wrenching thing. One is so overwhelmed with sorrow and helplessness that it is difficult to think that happiness can happen after the loss. Yet, we move on. And for many of us, though that permanent gap in the heart remains, we learn to appreciate, we learn to laugh, and we learn to live.
I find predictions fascinating. Forecasting about the future is difficult. Nevertheless, it makes for interesting conversations and critiques. The author in today’s article talks about how the future won’t bat an eyelid when it comes to assisted death and choosing death. How it won’t be such a big deal! How people would be able to choose their time and place of death and the police would not interfere – perhaps it is more of wishful thinking on the part of the author than a prediction about the future.
I remember a school teacher (who was a Christian) raising a question on why Hindus dress up in white during mourning (and why not black as Christians do). Some students replied that white is a symbol of purity reflecting the purity of the departed soul which had departed heavenwards (something like that). The teacher said that black symbolizes sadness or grief and was therefore a more appropriate colour for funerals. Everyone’s entitled to his/her opinions and beliefs in the matters of death; what matters is that people should be able to see off their dead with dignity. Returning to the idea of black colour for mourning, I read an article on how wealth and power among others factors decided the quality and style of black dresses for widows in the past century and how the grief fashion evolved:
appreciating art, art of writing, art of writing an obituary, death, Douglas Martin, dying, Margalit Fox, museum, museums, Obit, Obituary, paintings, Professor Pawelski, Slow art, slow art days, slow art tours, The New York Times
The art of writing an Obituary
Writing about the dead does not seem to be a pleasant business. If the journalist does not want to write something clichéd, he or she would have to do a bit of research about the life of the dead person – which would involve talking with a grieving family or looking up varying sets of information on what was special about that person. We might think that the entire business of obit writing is dark and sad. Cheerily, most of the times it is the opposite as in the interview this journalist tells us: “98 percent of the obit has nothing to do with death, but with life.”
Slow Art: Getting more by seeing less
In our world of instant media, when we tour museums, libraries or tourist places, mostly we go about clicking pictures and telling everyone what we have been up-to every few seconds or minutes. In doing so, we rarely spend time appreciating a piece of art, a book, or a sunset. The author recommends slow art – going about a museum checking out pieces of art, then deciding which one appeals to you most and finally spending time with a single compelling piece. That, the author says, could lead to a richer experience.
Robin Williams and Suicide
Losing Robin Williams is sad. It is sadder that we lost him to suicide. Here’s a well-written piece on how brilliance and intelligence can be isolating, how fame is never enough for a fame-hungry star, how good work is never enough for a perfectionist, and why the death of Robin Williams makes such large ripples than most deaths.
Charles Bukowski’s letter of gratitude
As much as I liked the writing in the article mentioned above, I like to talk about people who are not only survivors but more. Here is a letter of gratitude from writer Charles Bukowski to a publisher – John Martin (whose help freed Bukowski of his day job and got him to dedicate his time following his passion – writing) – with some beautiful insights. Bukowski tells us about how slavery never left us and that we are slaves to systems, processes, and work in general. Worse, we go back every day to the slave job. He says it better himself: “They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work.”
I am in awe of majestic creatures such as the elephants – gentle souls who themselves do not understand the sheer strength they possess. And, we slaughter these magnificent beings for greed of ivory. Similar is the case with African Rhinos, which are killed for their horns. And, although cutting off their horns should not kill them as they can survive without horns, poachers attack them so brutally that the rhinos can’t live. Countries are coming up with stringent laws to lessen/eliminate the menace of poaching. However, that does not translate to enough action. Will it be too late for us to keep this magnificence alive?
What if after death one’s body could be frozen for future use, or future revival maybe? Some people do believe in it and are ready to pay for it. Here’s a first person viewpoint – from the driver of cryonics ambulance:
(You may not be able to access the FT link on phones or tabs)