Monday, June 14, 2010

Patholysis, the Destroyer of Suffering

Enjoy the dark hilarity of sweet, innocent, slightly stupid Dr. Sanjay Gupta getting more than he bargained for in interviewing the (presumably antinatalist) suicide choicer Jack Kevorkian:
Not surprisingly, [Kevorkian] strongly advocates assisted suicide, or euthanasia, or what he calls "patholysis." Terms matter to Kevorkian, and this is the term he prefers when describing the "medical procedure" he performed on at least 130 people, by his own count.

"Path means disease or suffering," he said to me.

"And lysis, [sic] means destruction," I said.

"Exactly," he answered. Patholysis, he repeated. The destruction of suffering.

Kevorkian at one point asks Gupta if he wants to know the worst moment of his (Kevorkian's) life. "The single worst moment of my life... was the moment I was born," he says.

See also: my argument for an"unwanted life" diagnosis.


  1. Golden.

    Kevorkian's a hero.

  2. I agree. A regrettably unsung one in our time, though I have hope that history will remember him as a hero.

  3. I can't believe this man actually had the bravery to risk a conviction for homicide to get his case before the supreme court... That certainly is heroic! Or am I just of particularly cowardly nature... ?

    Also, I like what he says about Oregon and Washington. (On this note, you might want to have a look at this:

    It's doubtful that history will remember him, though... Even if the law should be changed one day, he won't be the guy who got it changed.

  4. ""The single worst moment of my life... was the moment I was born," he says."

    Blew me away. I never realized he felt like this.

  5. If Kevorkian does feel that way and hasn't offed himself because he wants to continue alleviating suffering, a Buddhist might deem him a bodhisattva.

  6. He may actually see himself this way. At least, a secular version, what with his talk of purpose and 'missions'. A truly interesting fella.

  7. I was impressed with most of the comments on the Gupta article. Generally the sane comments were well-liked, even though the interview itself was slanted against Kevorkian. Lots of "Likes" even for people who advocated voluntary assisted suicide for people without terminal illness. It looks like assisted suicide for terminally ill people is almost mainstream, and the comments on the article (if they represent most Americans' opinions with any fidelity) suggest a similar tolerance may eventually develop for ALL voluntary assisted suicide.

  8. I certainly hope you're right!

    I have yet to hear any arguments against a general right to suicide that trouble me in any way. I think the only reasons people oppose it are emotional and/or religious - hard to change through rational argument.

    I sometimes think of it as a "solved question" because none of my friends is against a general right to suicide - though most of them do not buy antinatalism. However, as I think Rob Sica recently pointed out, 77% of Americans still think suicide is wrong. Only 50% think abortion is wrong. Who knows what that reveals?


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