domingo, 12 de junio de 2016

BioEdge: Will Belgium grant euthanasia for unwanted sexual attraction?

BioEdge: Will Belgium grant euthanasia for unwanted sexual attraction?

Will Belgium grant euthanasia for unwanted sexual attraction?

Along with unbearable physical pain, mental suffering, and dementia, a new reason for seeking euthanasia in Belgium has emerged in the media: paedophilia.

The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire program interviewed a 39-year-old man who has requested a lethal injection because he has intense feelings of attraction to adolescents and young men.

Sébastien (a pseudonym) says that he has been through 17 years of therapy and medication and has come to the end of his tether. He told the BBC that he came from dysfunctional family background, with a strict Catholic upbringing and a mother who had dementia. His father is estranged from the family.

"I was extremely lonely, extremely withdrawn, very inhibited physically - scared to go out, scared of being seen, all the time scared, hugely shy. And growing up, I met a boy and I fell crazy in love. We were both 15. And it was just unbearable for me, you know? I didn't want to be gay."
The interviewer never manages to ask Sébastien whether his torment is due to the fact that he is attracted to minors or to men.

In any case, he cannot accept that he might be a homosexual, that he is attracted to people he should not be attracted to. But he has always had morbid thoughts about death, as well. When he discovered that euthanasia was available for psychiatric issues, he applied.

However, he told the BBC reporter, he would step back from the brink if someone could give him a miracle cure. Curiously, he may actually be hoping that the application will fail, because then, he says, the health services will offer other options. He thought that electric shock therapy might have some potential for curing him. At the moment, the authorities have not made a decision.

The BBC asked Gilles Genicot, a bioethicist at the University of Liege, to comment on the case, as he is also a member of Belgium's euthanasia review committee. He said:

"It's more likely he has psychological problems relating to his sexuality. I cannot find a trace of actual psychic illness here. But what you cannot do is purely rule out the option of euthanasia for such patients.

"They can fall within the scope of the law once every reasonable treatment has been tried unsuccessfully and three doctors come to the conclusion that no other option remains."
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You probably remember the scene in The Matrix in which Morpheus explains to Neo the terrible secret: “You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
In the jargon of The Matrix, I’m a blue pill person and believe that I’m in touch with reality. Perhaps I am deluded.
Elon Musk, billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, on the other hand, is definitely a red pill person. Last week he told a conference of geeks in San Francisco that we are probably part of a powerful computer simulation. In fact, he estimates that "There's a one in billions chance that this is base reality”. (See story below.)
Musk is an intelligent man, but I wonder if he understands the ethical implications of the red pill. If we are really marionettes in a super-human intellect’s simulation of reality, nothing much matters. Certainly worrying about right and wrong is a waste of time. Human life doesn’t matter much either, as we are all just blips in a gigantic computer game. There’s not much incentive for social solidarity.
What do you think? Are we living in The Matrix?

Michael Cook

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