Terry Pratchett Wants To Meet Julia Gillard
So that he can ask her in person, ‘Why is assisted suicide banned in Australia?’
To save you the trouble of talking to Julia, I’ll tell you Terry.
Assisted suicide is banned in Australia because it is wrong, and Australia is a civilised nation, where doing wrong is discouraged.
Terry says this is about seriously ill people being allowed to die with dignity.
No it isn’t.
Diginity is not about avoiding difficulty, pain, dependence on others. We might wish to avoid those things, and it is not wrong to do so when we reasonably can.
But they are part of life, and we do not and cannot know either what it means to be human, or who and what we are, without them.
What a bizarre notion of humanity it is that claims dignity is about remaining free of the very things that teach us to be humble, thankful, patient.
Diginity is not about avoiding pain, but bearing it with courage. Not about being independent of others – we can never be that in any case – but about being so strong in our weakness and dependence, that even in our darkest times we can still be an inspiration to others.
No man is an island, and no woman either. Despite ‘my rights,’ my life does not entirely belong to me.
I do not ask to avoid pain or loneliness or even fear – all those things will come to me no matter how vigorous my asking that they may not. I cannot avoid them without avoiding humanity.
I do ask that when I face those things, I do so with such courage and gentleness that I inspire courage and hope and gentleness in others.
That is dignity. That is what it means to be human.