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Prolonging the Life

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The question on whether we should delay death with the use of drugs, even though the same would decrease the value of life would lead us to answering other questions. First, we must ask whether the act of prolonging the life of a person is tantamount to delaying his death. Second, we must also ask whether taking drugs in order to prolong the life of a sick person is contrary to the laws of nature. And finally, we must ask whether the act of prolonging the life or delaying the death decreases the value of life. Answering these questions is necessary in order to make an account on whether it is right to use drugs as cure for what seems to be an incurable disease.

The first question requires us to define death and life. When speaking of using drugs to prolong the life or to delay the death, we are usually referring to the biological life and biological death of a human being. However, if our aim is to relate the issue of quality of life with the discussion of life and death, reducing the terms “life” and “death” to mere biological life and death of a person would be too limiting. Life and death, therefore, should not be reduced to mere existence of the person, but rather be related to his essence. When a person takes drugs because he has dementia or is otherwise suffering from other diseases, it is better for us to think that the person’s aim is not to delay the death but to prolong his life. Though they may refer to the same thing, i.e. the physical death will soon come; there is a difference with focusing on one than on the other. If the focus is on prolonging the life, the person is giving importance to the things that he could do while still alive, including the authentication of his essence as a person. Focusing on life implies the acceptance of the idea that life is worth living; that life is good if we desire so, even though we may physically die soon.

Second, taking drugs when one is sick is not contrary to laws of nature. A person naturally desires to prolong his survival. Hence, any method that he would use in order to prolong this survival is only natural, as it is in accordance with his nature as a person. The thing that is unnatural is the act of giving up on life and on survival. A person who desires death more than life suffers from problems and chooses to give up on these problems. But a person who desires life and takes drugs to prolong the same is only acting in accordance with the nature of human beings. No normal person would desire to die, but every normal person would desire to survive.

Lastly, the act of taking drugs to prolong the life does not decrease the quality of life. The person might suffer more physical pains if he chooses to take more drugs and submit to several scientific cures. But the additional physical pains do not amount to a decrease in the quality of life. They are more of the expression of the person’s desire to make the most of whatever he has in order to make the most out of his life. Saying “yes” to life, and thus, saying “yes” to taking drugs to prolong the life is tantamount to saying “yes” to living a quality life within the short span of time left for the sick person.

Based on the aforementioned, there is nothing wrong with taking drugs to prolong a sick person’s life. He is only expressing his desire to make the most out of his life, which is also the desire of each normal human being. In the same vein, every effort to save lives is not unnatural but is instead encouraged.

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