Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

The Ghost in the Machine

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU
 
baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 10:03 PM
Original message
The Ghost in the Machine
For millennial humanity has struggled with the question: is a person merely the some of his parts, or something more?

Christian philosophy has always held that the body is nothing but a shell. God intended that it be a vessel in which the soul resides. The soul is the important part: The soul is what is "saved". The soul is what is immortal. My hand, my heart, my lungs - even my brain - aren't me. They have the same intrinsic worth as the steering wheel of my car - parts of a machine. With the right technology, techniques & parts, all could be replaced. The "ghost in the machine" - the soul - IS ME.

At least, thats the way it was until Terri Schiavo came into the public conscienceless. Now, suddenly, supposed Christian fundamentalists have decided that Ms Schiavo's body is the most important thing she has - and have tossed out 2000 years of Christian thought in the process. For them, her body is more important than anything - and everything. More important than her soul, certainly more important than any dignity she may have left.

==========

I come toward this issue from a very personal, if not unique, perspective. Some of you may remember that my mother died last October. She had contacted lung cancer, and had had her lung removed the previous November. Spent five months in ICU with a vent & feeding tube, most of the time either unconscious or drugged senseless. When she did finally regain her wits, the first thing she asked me to do to kill her.

She had spoken about her wishes with the family before the operation, and made very clear that she would not want to live if something went wrong. Her belief was that living as a vegetable is not living. And we were universally supportive of that decision.

Of course, I didn't kill her. Even though she could barely speak, didn't have the strength to move, and got fed through a tube in her stomach - her prognosis was good. We had a difficult time getting her to believe that. For a long time her biggest problem was depression.

Until the cancer returned at the end of August.

It was inoperable this time. And she was too weak for chemotherapy. All that could be done was to make her comfortable, and wait. In the end, she died at home in her bed surrounded by family. I believe it was the best we could have hoped for under the circumstances.

==========

The are literally thousands of people in similar situations. Millions of people have dealt with a family member in various stages and gradations of artificial life support. As a nation, we know that it's a difficult decision but it's one that we are prepared for for the most part. And one which we absolutely do not want to be made for us.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 10:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sounds like excerpts so, do you have a link to the original?
Thanks. It raises a legit point.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Hey, I've got a couple college degrees.
I'm not incapable of stringing more than two coherent thoughts together.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. Have you read Koestler's book
of the same title. Classic.

He and B.F. Skinner had a vitriolic running feud.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sun Dec 17th 2017, 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC