The Church of Euthanasia
Dear brethren, today I would like to share with all of you a letter we
received last Tuesday. Our reply was sent out the next day, and so far we
haven't heard anything back. It's hard to know exactly what's going on right
now, but things are surely coming to a head; obviously this is a very exciting
and special occasion for all of us.
You've convinced me. I am going to kill myself tonight. Or at least, I
want to. But I don't know if I can. I've tried before, and I just don't have
the nerve. Oh why oh why does it all have to be like this? Isn't there some way
for it all to be resolved? Well, I guess that's why people become Christians,
so it can all make sense and feel nice. I was a Christian once, and though I
wasn't always happy, at least I never felt the anguish I feel now. The anguish
of NO FEASIBLE SOLUTION, the anguish of complete failure. It could have been
really great, but somehow everybody managed to fuck it up and now all I can think
of is killing myself. But WHY? I mean, if I've managed to be selfish for this
long, selfish and blind, why can't I just go on doing it? I mean, come on, if
there's one thing I lack, it's conviction. I could just forget all about this
COE thing and go home and eat spaghetti (hey, at least I'm a vegetarian, right?
That's just about as futile as my killing myself) and go to rehearsal for the
totally irrelevant play I'm in and then later tonight go to sleep and dream my
dreamy dreams. Except that tonight I'm not going to, because I'll also think
about Tim and how he's going crazy and I can't stop him, and about how I don't
have enough talent to make it in the real world, and how I'll never have enough
money, and my friends are all back-biting sons of bitches and everything in the
world is beyond reclamation and when I'm numb with despair I'll slit my wrists
and lay in the bathtub, just like that guy in Caligula.
Vivien. it's not even my real name.
Whatever your name is, keep up the great work! You're very close! Wanting
to kill yourself isn't quite enough though. You've got to actually DO IT. It's
either that or continue to experience the tremendous PAIN of a life lived badly.
The only other option, of course, would be to take responsibility for your life,
acknowledge your tremendous debt to the Earth, and devote the remainder of your
existence to repaying that debt as best you can. Sounds crazy, but there it is.
We're all struggling with this here at the church. Self-knowledge is a one-way
process: you can't go back to being selfish and blind, because you just can't.
What's worse, unlike a less intelligent person, if you fail to change, you'll
have to live with the knowledge that you knew better, and wilfully chose death
over life anyway. Isn't life fun? Just remember, you CAN change, if you really
WANT to. It's the WANTING to that's so difficult, not the changing. Once you
really and truly want to change, there is nothing in the universe that can
possibly stop you, and quite the reverse, the universe will actually start
HELPING you, incredible though it may seem now. I don't pretend to know exactly
HOW you should change; I can only speak for myself, and say that if I ever
manage to develop any gumption in this life, the first thing I'll do is sell
everything I own, move to Arizona, and try to make some kind of contact with the
Hopi elders who still live there. From there, who knows where I'd wind up, but
I'm sure it would be somewhere different. It's either change or die, and there's
not all that much time left to make up your mind. In the meantime, I thought the
following quote from Jeremy Rifkin's Entropy: Into the Greenhouse World
might cheer you up...
[An American] is probably the most unhappy citizen in the history of the
world. She has not the power to provide herself with anything but money, and her
money is inflating like a balloon and drifting away, subject to historical
circumstances and the power of other people. From morning to night, she does not
touch anything that she has produced herself, in which she can take pride. For
all her leisure and recreation, she feels bad, she looks bad, she is overweight,
her health is poor. Her air, water, and food are all known to contain poisons.
There is a fair chance that she will die of suffocation. She suspects that her
love life is not as fulfilling as other people's. She wishes that she had been
born sooner, or later. She does not know why her children are the way they are.
She does not understand what they say. She does not care and does not know why
she does not care. Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make her
suspect that she is basically unattractive. She feels that all her possessions
are under threat of pillage. She does not know what she would do if she lost her
job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies went on strike, if her
husband left her, if her children ran away, if she should be found to be
incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of course, she consults certified
experts, who in turn consult certified experts about their anxieties.
Now let us take a moment, and pray for the deliverance of this soul from her
suffering, whether by life or by death, so be it.
We have been corresponding with a certain inmate of the Michigan Department
of Correction who wishes to be know as R7, and he brings us the following words
of wisdom: "...if you feel the need to kill yourself with a gun, insert it in
your mouth, use hollow points, and wrap a towel around your head, thereby
avoiding the messy aftermath, and have a well-considered death." Many thanks to
"R7" for this advice, and also for the following excerpt from Human
Diversity by Richard Lewintin:
The only certainty about the future of our species is that it is limited.
Of all the species that have ever existed, 99.999% are extinct. The average
lifetime of a carnivorous genus is only 10 million years, and the average
lifetime of a species is much shorter. Indeed, life on earth is nearly half
over: Fossil evidence shows that life began about 3 billion years ago, and the
sun is due to become a red giant about 4 billion years from now, consuming life
(and eventually the whole earth) in its fire.
Of course, such facts help us to realize a more universal perspective, but do
not in any way lessen the reality of our immediate spiritual problems. Because
our time is necessarily limited, one might carelessly conclude that all is lost,
and that nothing matters, when, as we have seen, exactly the reverse is true.
In the Newtonian world-view of the Octopus, all of the universe is merely matter
in motion; every event is infinitely repeatable, and reversible, so much assembly
and disassembly of machines. Small wonder that the citizens of modernity lose
hope, and compassion as well. How can the soul survive, when its every
experience is believed to be repeatable, the mere consequence of deterministic
laws? Why should the soul strive to master itself in this instant of time, when
another instant will do just as well?
Only when each instant is seen for what it truly is, does the soul begin to
feel its power to change itself, and the world as well. With each breath, the
mystery of the universe unfolds as a vast web of perpetual change; death is
certain, and transformation is everywhere around us. Each moment becomes a
unique opportunity, never to be repeated in the life of a soul, or even in the
life of the earth. When the passage of time is felt and understood, the smallest
deed becomes an act of power, its consequences irrevocable. When the finality
of death is accepted, time becomes infinitely precious, and all life becomes
sacred. In this extraordinary world, real responsibility begins with proper
reverence for the limitations of life.
"Only if one loves this earth with unbending passion can one release one's
sadness," Don Juan said. "A warrior is always joyful because his love is
unalterable and his beloved, the earth, embraces him and bestows upon him
inconceivable gifts. The sadness belongs only to those who hate the very thing
that shelters their beings."
-Carlos Castenada, Tales of Power
"No excuses ever, for anyone."
-Albert Camus, The Fall