The question of euthanasia is a political one. Some religious people condemn euthanasia as wrong. However, many reach no final conclusion although seeing several relevant spiritual perspectives. Has one the right to live and thus the right to die. Should the individual choice of those who want assisted suicide be respected? Should one be allowed to die to escape intolerable pain and loss of independence? Is there any point in keeping someone alive past the point he or she can contribute to society?
Turn on the television news and there is an almost overwhelming focus on financial mess, social problems or crime. So what actually is the meaning of life? When I look around me I can’t help longing for a better kind of world. Sometimes I feel we are so used to the unsatisfactory state of things that we have given up hoping for something better.
Is idealism completely out of fashion? Have we become too cynical to have a vision of utopia? Or are we too scared of being tarnished with the same brush as the fanatical extremists who have not been slow in broadcasting their own hate filled criticism of modern life. Perhaps I’m being hopelessly idealistic but surely society could be better. How can I find my perfect society? What follows are the prejudices of an idealist.
by Hans Fallada (Translated by Michael Hofmann) Penguin Modern Classics.
The author of this absorbing novel has created a story about a decent character, Otto Quangel, who with his wife lives in Berlin during the second-world war. Working in a factory and living amongst a people whose private misgivings and criticisms of their political leaders are silenced by fear, Otto, also has a daily horror of the possibility of being reported to the authorities for having a wrong political attitude or for having committed some minor misdeed against the state. Such accusations could well result in arrest and torture or even a death camp. Yet he is prepared to communicate his criticism of the government’s oppression and unjust social policies as well as their military conquests abroad. For the regime in seizing absolute power, have destroyed any vestiges of democracy.
I wonder how we would react in similar circumstances? Thank goodness I do not have to face such a test. But many people in the world today who live under dictatorship have to find some way of accommodating themselves to corruption in their society while maintaining their self-respect.