In contemporary Holland the reasons given for requests for euthanasia, surprisingly, do not usually include the existence of unbearable physical pain. The most common reasons for such requests are a weariness of life, the feeling of loneliness, a fear of the loss of dignity, but above all a general inability to see in suffering any kind of sense. The problem of euthanasia thus clearly transcends the boundary of the doctor-patient relation, and marks a change in the climate of European society as a whole. While in an earlier religious context the life of a person was understood as meaningful journey from somewhere to somewhere else, in the Darwinian paradigm a person becomes a “piece of matter“ which has evolved amongst other such pieces of matter, and which lives out its time in the middle of a universe in which there is no sense, no God, and where one can scarcely discover any meaning behind suffering. Requests for euthanasia are, therefore, not the individual choice of particular people, but rather a disturbing symptom of the whole of European society.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.