Prothanasia: Personal Fulfillment and Readiness to Die
Falliers, Constantine John, Humane Health Care International
Correspondence and reprint requests: Constantine J. Falliers, Allergy and Asthma Clinic, 360 South Garfield, Denver, Colorado, 80209
The steady spate of papers about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide should remind us that death can be approached, as it were, from the opposite direction. Death (Gk. thanatos; Lat. mors, mortis; Goth. dauthus) generally has been viewed as a "failure" (to survive); efforts to prevent--actually only to postpone--death have become a preoccupation of modern medicine that indicates a widespread thanatophobia. Historically, in most societies, death has served as the ultimate penalty for evil and unlawful deeds, even though many have questioned both its deterrent and its ethical aspects, ever since Diodotos' address to the Athenian Assembly--recorded by Thucydides nearly 2500 years ago: (1) national ideals have glorified a readiness to die for patriotic purposes and certain religious movements have promoted death as a way to attain transcendental bliss and eternal redemption. Also, many societies have accepted death as evidence of the fulfillment of principles, prophesy or destiny--Socrates, Jesus Christ and others, and/or, more commonly, as the end of unbearable suffering (euthanasia). From an individual point of view, a "wish to be dead" has been the traditional expression of the lovelorn Sappho, quoted in Lesbos. (2)
This essay examines a conscious preparedness for death not from a sense of duty, or as a response to suffering, or as an attempt at redemption, but as a consequence of the fulfillment of a personal aspiration. The term, prothanasia, has been …
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Publication information: Article title: Prothanasia: Personal Fulfillment and Readiness to Die. Contributors: Falliers, Constantine John - Author. Magazine title: Humane Health Care International. Volume: 13. Issue: 2 Publication date: Summer 1997. Page number: 35. © 1997 Humane Health Care International. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
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