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WOB is Optimal
Death is inevitable. And “since I cannot escape death” said Epictetus: “am I not to escape the fear of it? Am I to die in tears and trembling? For trouble of mind springs from this, from wishing for a thing which does not come to pass" (The Discourses of Epictetus, translated by P. E. Matheson [Heritage, 1968].
However, for the last two millennia Death turned into a dreadful metaphor. Western religions and particularly Christianity perpetuated the notion that death is the consequence of the Original Sin. It originates in Adam’s corruption. Christianity associated death with the Evil. Ever since the Original Sin was conceived, Death in the form of a human skeleton holding a scythe accompanied the terrified and lonely dying person in her last moments.
The Swiss born American physician Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004) demolished this evil metaphor. Death is natural, and because death is a part of nature, it is only rational to accept it. "Acceptance of death is the most realistic thing that a person can work through since all of us have to die sooner or later." In her book Death and Dying, she suggests that patients should accept "the reality of their own finiteness." Above all she attempted to rescue the patient from his loneliness and isolation.
Dr. Kübler-Ross identified five stages that many people go through :
- Denial -- "I can't be dying. Not me."
- Anger -- "Why me?"
- Bargaining -- " Can I put off death for a while?"
- Depression -- When hope is lost
- Acceptance -- "I accept my fate and am ready to die."
The loss of hope is the price that the patient pays for being rescued from her loneliness. Actually the physician is instructed to enlighten the patient and explain to her what she is up to. From the present perspective, despite the good intentions of Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, she actually initiated in the patient a mind-disease, called here mind-death.
One begins contemplating death when WOB sends signals of dis-ease. Particularly in a chronic disease like cancer. However dis-ease is not a death signal. It is a message to the mind that WOB needs help. For WOB death is meaningless, only the mind may take dis-ease as a death indicator. Why should the mind expect death when its major role is to assist WOB in sustaining life? The notion of death is inspired by the society and its culture.
Voicing the society, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross noted: “In listening to our terminally ill patients, we were always impressed that even the most accepting, the most realistic patients left the possibility open for some cure, for the discovery of a new drug or the "last minute success in a research project." . . . No matter the stage of illness or coping mechanism used, all our patients maintained some form of hope until the last moments.. . . Yet Dr. Kubler-Ross always attempted to maneuver the patient to the stage of acceptance.
These five stages obviously do not apply to a patient in coma whose life is sustained by WOB. Here death is utterly meaningless since WOB is not concerned with it Instead of perpetuating mind-death, the physician ought better to assist WOB in sustaining life.
In her attempt to rescue the individual from the curse of the Original Sin, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross joined Darwin who regarded death as a natural phenomenon.
Further reading: Religion and Mind disease
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