Metaphysics advocates the survival of energy in a wider sense, and includes topics such as reincarnation and the survival of the human spirit. But so do other branches of science and physics nowadays, and for that matter a lot of other people who prefer not to wear name tags. Does this collective slant or silent witness automatically address the dilemma of suicide or assisted suicide? Maybe not, because it is an entirely personal decision and the choice of those involved. Metaphysics looks at the condition of the human spirit within the human body. In a religious sense, it is only the Spiritualist Organisations, and maybe the Buddhists, who go beyond the confines of material existence and actually examine the potential connection between the ‘here and there’.
With the onset in recent years of extreme medical intervention into fields undreamt of and unheard of a hundred years ago there is a growing case for people wanting to risk the dimension ‘beyond the veil’ as a preference to living within the perimeters of what some (no doubt) extremely well meaning physicians have decided is a good enough quality of life.
Where are the guidelines though? where are the no-go zones to say what is good medicine and what is counter-productive tampering? Perhaps there are none! perhaps that is a question best left to the patient (if they are conscious ) and only the patient. And what of the people who are unconscious with no-one to speak for them? This is surely where the wisest of the medical world need to be consulted, not just the cleverest and those with egos to prove or papers to publish.
Does modern medicine goes too far in its absolute insistence on life here at any price! The victory of the Diane Purdey case is a victory for the right of the individual over one of the most important acts of life, the act of passing from mortality in the way best suited to their state and condition, and the supremacy of intelligent free will over doctrine.
Everyone must have a right to die with dignity because that is the right of control over their own physical body. Their spirit is another matter and one which exceeds this argument. Some people may actually prefer the oblivion of death - they do not need a belief either religious or metaphysical in spiritual survival to uphold that, and whether or not people believe in life hereafter is an issue for them. It is the church who outlawed suicide in any form, of course, so it is the church now who will oppose it, because unlike medical science they do not gallop ahead, or indeed move on very much at all. Most churches openly eschew the idea of any sort of tampering with the area beyond death, if you exclude euphemistic references to heaven, squeamish as they are about the limitation on total proof. But the right to die should not be a theological or even a moral argument. It is a civil, psychological and humanitarian matter.
Some people are living with the most hideous suffering . And to use a tired old cliché, we wouldn’t do that to an animal! (no, we often do worse, but that is yet another argument). It is all very well for zealous medics to pioneer their knowledgeable discoveries, and those of pharmaceutical manufacturers, and to use their brilliant expertise and cleverness without exercising wisdom - because that is what healing is; it is not merely technical and physical efficiency, it is something more and requires the co-operation and the trust of the patient.
Medical intervention possibly has gone too far, and when we have have a great percentage of society in some kind of acute but just about bearable torment (and torment is mental and emotional as well as physical) then it’s time for some ‘wise’ person to say ‘enough’.
There is just no denying, especially to anyone who has witnessed it, that in the case of ongoing and terminal illness it gets to a stage of not being afraid to die but of being afraid to live.