Monday, February 11, 2008

A hardened cultural view of death

O God, O Lord of heaven and earth, Thy living finger never wrote that life should be an aimless mote, a deathward drift from futile birth.

What is wrong with our world? The callousness is abominable. Cruel, systematic removal of all shame, all emotion, all associations between value and life. O abhorrent media!

Today, for reasons beyond the scope of this post, I ran to class ten minutes late, only to be stopped by a fellow student and assured that there was no need for haste. Our professor, it seems, had become stuck in her driveway so the Dedicated Tutor was showing a movie instead of lecture. We could watch if we wished, or not. I elected to watch.

The first section was extremely well done. It was clear from the first few minutes that the film was British made. The narrator could possibly have come from the US, but all other persons featured were possessed of extremely British accents. Even the cliches and phraseology were British.

In the first section, we were shown how the body repairs itself in youth. A young girl falls from her bicycle and fractures her radius. The film lead us sequentially through every minute step of the healing process. For some reason, the makers seemed to emphasize the amazing abilities and potential of youth. At first that stress on youth seemed to be a proper thing.

But then we began to watch the second half of the movie. And then the callous systematic God-lesness began to emerge. I would not necessarily say that this aspect is essentially British, but I opine that this element of candidly laying out facts is characteristic of that culture.

The second half of the movie began with octogenarian "Bob". Bob was once young. Bob was once valuable to society. But now Bob has fulfilled his evolutionary purpose. He has reproduced, passed on his genes and now is just biding his time till death. He is dispensible to society. His body isn't working as well, so Bob's "quality of life" is diminished. In other words, there's no reason for the guy to be around anymore.

After cooly stating these facts (and others) the makers go on to show Bob lovingly interacting with his dog, his son, his grandson. During all these familial interactions, the film flashes inside Bob's body and explains how his organs aren't working and why their malfunction will kill him. It's just sickening. You could tell from about ten minutes into it that the film would end with Bob's death.

What made the experience even more troubling for me was that two of my fellow students had brought their little children to class. Two small girls, not over the age of 8, were hearing in the plainest terms that this kindly, gentle, grandpa-like elder had only one destiny in life: to die. And they listened wide-eyed while the film explained step by step the reasons Bob's life would end. Oh heartless world! To show to your young impressionable children the horror of death, without feeling, without emotion, simply stating the facts. Have you no pity? Are you so calloused that you yourself feel no pain?

So we watched as Bob went from playing games with his grandson, to having a ruptured artery spill blood into his stomach. From there, step by step we learned the processes by which a human being, (a soul, not just a body) dies. We heard about neuron death, heart death...I can't and don't want to remember everything this film discussed. It ended by showing Bob stop breathing.

And to top that all off, this is supposedly the best thing for society, to get rid of dispensible members. Following this statement, we see Bob's grandson finding a note from his 'grandad' which reads, "Every dog has his day..."

Will no one weep with me over our heartless culture?

I have no problem dealing with death. Death for the Christian is joyful. But the view advocated in the film was neither Christian nor joyful.

I weep at death. It is the result of 'one man's sin'. Death is not a good thing. God did not intend for us to die. In His mercy, however, he has made death "but the gate to life immortal". But though I will not despair at death, I do not love it. Whether we wish it or not death is connected to emotion. I cannot but feel emotion at the end of a person's earthly life.

For a culture to treat death as a good thing - still more, to treat the death of the elderly as the greatest good for society - is sickening. To systematically desensitize oneself of all emotion about this event, is only to numb and blind oneself to evil and to sin. When we look insensibly at death without facing the question of sin and suffering, we simply hide another skeleton away in a closet.
As a culture we are desensitizing our children. If we succeed, they will be left without shame, without feeling, without conscience. They will view fellow humans as disposable.
Lo and behold, they do!

This is a plague on our western culture.

I need to eat lunch, so I will end my rantings now.


Snap said...

Which class was that in?

TruthQuestioner said...

Pysiology. Dr. Norris was stuck in her driveway....

Otherwise, we wouldn't have seen that.

TruthQuestioner said...

Make that, "PHYSIOLOGY"

Snap said...


Matt said...

How can you eat with those images on your mind?

TruthQuestioner said...

Unfortunately, quite easily.

My stomach seldom turns at aught nor does it desist from growling in anguish at deprivation

Snap said...

It comes from being the child of TWO Doctors Indeed, dinner conversations can be quite interesting.

Snap said...

There should be a period in between "Doctors" and "Indeed"

Dat One Splatted Mag said...

Talk about euthanization. Poor little girls.