Core values and end of life

medical_business_partners_core_valuesThere are times when I reflect on someone else’s life and wonder how they manage. There are so many tragic stories out there. I have wondered how I would react if asked to live life as a paraplegic…if I could not longer feel anything but my face. What would be my reaction to being trapped in my body with only a mind to make me feel alive? Would I cope or would I seek to end my life?

How would I react if my husband required 24/day care and I didn’t have the money to hire someone to help?

In life there can be some living nightmares. Scenarios that we not only wouldn’t want to be in but also wouldn’t wish on someone else.

It is an ethical dilemma to make decisions when things like this happen. Would you be willing to help someone die? (Assuming of course that their life was full of nothing but pain and imminent death.)

These are core questions. The kind that we hope we never have to come up against but they are real.

What are your core values? If faced with this kind of decision how would you decide?  It can be difficult to envision this ever happening to you but this kind of thinking does help you to understand deep moral questions. For those of us with a faith underpinning we hope that we would turn to that for guidance.

decisionIn my time as a nurse I have seen families struggle with decisions that can tax their moral ground. I have seen them divided over the answers and sometimes torn apart by it. Many times we would like for the doctors to tell us what to do but that is not their decision to make. Most of them will avoid giving an opinion which makes it harder.

If you have never considered having a living will to take the burden off of those around you please think about this. We tend to think that this sort of thing is for older people but the worst struggles come when something happens to someone young. You are never too young to fill out this important document. It seems morbid but it is important.

If you don’t know how to get an advanced directive leave a comment and I will answer.

Protect our moral values

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. R. Buckminster Fuller

Science is a wonderful thing. Conversely science is an awful thing. As people find out new things about how everything works there are some wonderful discoveries. We are learning more about DNA, RNA, genes and what their impact is on our lives. We are heading toward curing some terrible diseases. This is a wonderful thing. If we use this information to increase wellness and reduce pain and suffering that will be good.

cloning_21

However, in some ways we have opened Pandora’s box. The Nazi’s wanted to “purify” the race and make selections for genetic manipulation. There are people who would like to do that now. Imagine if a like-minded group rose up and used the information we have currently to change the people of the world to suit them. We have the knowledge  available. Science can run amok.

Everyone in the world is not working from the same moral code. There is great diversity among cultures. Those of us in the western world have (hopefully) been exposed to a culture that values human life. I’m not so sure we have conquered honoring diversity. The thought of some group deciding to make all genetic choices for us is frightening.

ethics-of-scientific-research-rc-d-ec-2014-16-638Science is a wonderful thing but it must be monitored to keep it within moral limits. If we are not careful we will find ourselves with no say in the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perspective

perspectivePerspective is a funny thing. Each of us has our own. Ours is like ourselves. It is unique. Different from anyone else. Initially our perspective came from our family. As children we were influenced by how the people around us felt about things. Probably, at least initially, accepting their point of view. As we grew and our horizons widened we began to measure that perspective against the wider world. We were influenced by our teachers, and our peers. We began to question the ideas we learned from our family and measure them against what we were learning. We began to make our own choices or match those of the people who influenced us.

When we became adults we already had a set of values that came with us. Those ideas are the perspective that we use to weigh ideas. The viewing point from which we function. For most of us the perspective glasses that we look through will change over time but for some people it is ingrained and any suggestion of change is beyond imagining.

glasses

We can see those people in our world. They are the ones who see gays as sinful, trans people as unthinkable, people of a different color as “other,” mentally ill as those who should be locked away. Sometimes life events can work their magic and these people can alter those glasses but sometimes not.

We will encounter all sorts of people in our journey through life. We have to learn to recognize those who are unable to change and let them fade from our vision. They cannot change and their aversion and hatred will just color our own view. They were shaped the way they are and we must move on and not let their negative persona influence our lives.

gandhi 1

There are people who are open, accepting, and who offer love and support. Let the thoughts of the others roll off you and into the void where they belong. God has created only good. That includes everyone. Even those whose glasses will never change.

I weep, truth must be heard

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.-—George Orwell

This quote speaks so clearly to me of our times. It seems that truth has passed away and we should be mourning.  There are no more statesmen only politicians. There is no more consideration for the good of people or nations but only for the people in control. Because of the rapid sharing of information this virus has spread throughout the world. Power, money and position are all that matters.

truth

I weep for the world. I weep for the children and their children. I weep for all that was before. Mankind has never been perfect, never been without greed or hubris but it wasn’t the total driving source. Goodness was found in the past and can still be found but it is being pushed into dark culverts and trash strewn alleys. The voice of truth and wisdom is almost not recognized. It has become a foreign language.

truth-is-not-always-hard-to-finit-is-often-staring-you-in-the-face-the-problem-with-walter-darby-bannard-105-50-62

We must, somehow, begin to be heard. We must speak until our voices rise above the corruption and greediness of the powerful. We cannot stay silent. Each of us has one voice but one voice added to another voice doubles the sound. We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced.

Quotation-Cornel-West-There-is-a-price-to-pay-for-speaking-the-truth-86-73-83

We must speak out about injustices: sexual, racial, status, health, lifestyle, position, occupation, age and any others that rise to minimize others. We must speak clearly about the state of the earth, a living thing with animals, plants and humans, and our abuse of the resources we pillage. Nothing else will do.

I weep for us all. I weep.

We must speak. It is time for truth.

Are we ready for these decisions?

experimentToday we went to see the movie Jurassic World. If you have seen the other Jurassic movies you get the gist of the story. I have pondered since the first movie on the theme that runs through them…”what are we doing to our world?” As part of my nursing career I worked for a while in Neonatal Intensive Care. That was a long time ago and yet we were already struggling with many ethical issues. Were we saving babies whose quality of life would not make sense? When is enough…enough?

We are still struggling with consuming issues in medical ethics. In the films it is portrayed by creating animals long gone and what is the impact of this on our current world? This comes from our continuing research into the very basics of life…studies of DNA, cells and beyond. What do we see for the future? Will be creating people with specific characteristics? Will we be able to live forever? Is any of this a good idea?

The ramifications of where we are in biological studies is way beyond my ability to decipher. The scary part is that the decisions will work their way out of anyone’s ability to oversee them. We will try with laws but there are always those who don’t follow the law.

ethical-considerations-in-clinical-trials-11-728

The things we are learning can be wonderfully enlightening and heal many genetic illnesses. The cure for cancer may not be far away.

Unfortunately these things can be used for evil as well. We may yet create a master race.

I can add this to my list of things to worry about for my children, grandchildren and great grandchild. That’s just in case I have nothing to obsess about.

How do you foresee us handling the ethical issues facing us very soon?

Will you stand up for your faith?

Having studied a good bit of history and over the years a lot about the history of my faith I have noticed some interesting parallels in today’s world.

women in the churchIf you learn about the early church and the followers of Jesus it is apparent (although seldom mentioned) that women played an important role. After all, they were the first to see Jesus after his crucifixion. Mary Magdalene was a follower of his and important in his ministry and NOT a prostitute. She was relegated to that role later in church history when the Roman church did its best to disavow the roles of women. Women were the personification of sin and not allowed to be a meaningful part of the church. The church did a good job and it wasn’t until centuries later that the protestant traditions began to reverse the trend. It has always been interesting to me that priests were not allowed to marry in spite of the fact that our beliefs sprang from Judaism which believed that men should marry.

So much for the past. Now, in a parallel to removing women,  the culture seems to be set on destroying belief in any religion. They are intent on removing the one system that wants to employ a moral code. Religion is being mocked and followers are thought of as not intelligent enough to see reality. This may also follow the “I” principle. “I am more important than anyone else. Others don’t matter nor can I be held to someone’s outdated moral code.”

stand upI am offended by this trend and concerned for the life of believers. Who knows…maybe we will end up being persecuted and it will revive the faith. Hardship and persecution does seem to bring out the best in belief.

At my age I have learned to speak my mind and not be afraid of the outcome. I will continue to follow my faith and be willing to stand up for it.

 

hear the music

A Wrinkle in Time: thoughts

time2

 

For those of you who have never read Madeleine L’Engle’s books I am sorry. She wrote a great many: fiction, fantasy, theology, biography etc. I think I have read everything she wrote and had to get some out of print by searching. Today I went to see the film “A Wrinkle in Time” and they didn’t do a bad job with it although it’s hard to reproduce the amount of science (mostly physics) that she incorporated. The average movie viewer wouldn’t get it.

 

 

 

wrinkThe graphics were absolutely beautiful and although I don’t usually do 3D it just happened to be at the time that I wanted and I am glad I did. It made the graphics gorgeous. L’Engle was a deeply theological person and so much of that is subtly in her fiction books. It is the kind of thing that makes me say WOW and AHA! There was some of that in the film but I definitely recommend reading the books. You may think they are for children but not so. Like Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia there is much to learn and much joy in reading. I have read this series several times as a adult but  (they came out after my childhood) but I am going to pull them out again.

I only caught one AHA! statement in the film. There probably were more but I couldn’t catch them fast enough. One of the characters said “It is okay to fear the answers but you can’t avoid them.”

When the book was published originally many fundamental groups banned them because the said their were”witches” in them. There is a Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit who could be equated as witch like characters.

time

For me her Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and An Acceptable Time are worth adding to Lewis and Tolkien. Hers are more like Lewis but she could have joined that writers circle.