Sunday, April 1, 2012

Puck on... Rights, pt. 3

A right to die?

Oh, don’t go misconstruing my words.  I can tell from your tone.  No, not in some Kevorkian-esque manner.  Ritual suicide, while mildly amusing depending on the circumstances, is no more desirable for me than you.  It’s the ending of the game, and a rather abrupt ending at that.  It’s the equivalent of flipping the table when you find you’re not doing as well as you would like.

Hamlet toyed with the idea but came to the conclusion that the risk was too great. 

“In death, what dreams may come…”

To die.  Perchance to find nothing.  Perchance to find everything.  Perchance to find something you did not expect, something you did not want.  Oh, why don’t you read the classics more?  You’d learn so much.

No.  No.  I’m afraid I must agree with you.  (Don’t act so surprised.)  Your right to die does not entail a right to choose when, how or if.  The problem is in your definition of the word.  A right is something you think you exercise based on your free will, something owed to you by the sheer fact of your existence.  But what exactly do you think you are owed?  Life, liberty, happiness?  These things come and go.  If they are granted at all, they are done beyond your power, though you rarely see that.

However, there is one thing that comes to all men equally.  One thing, which all men must taste and which is owed, in a way, to the fact of your existence.


Yes.  It is your right, by birth.  All men die.  How should you not call it a right?

But if suicide is not an option-

How then do you exercise it?  Oh, but you already know that.  You die.  It will happen sooner or later, so you needn’t worry that you’ll miss your opportunity.  You see, that is where your definition is wanting.  You think a right is something you always have, a tool or weapon you can wield to your desire, whenever you like or wish.  But that is not what a right is.  That is a freedom.  And don’t even get me started on that.  A right is something all together different.

Supposing you saw it less as a toy for you to play with and more as something granted to you to perform rightly, at the proper time and in the proper way?  Would not death be a right then?

But, then again, that would require a certain level of thought, of concern, of, dare I say, reason involved.  And when have you ever really considered your rights?  But we both know why you haven’t and why you would not want to.

Because once you ask the question, you have to consider the answer.  And that is what you are most afraid of.

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