There’s a modern craze for euthanasia—the Canadians are very into it. This is nothing like classical euthanasia, where a Roman patrician would slit his wrists and sink into a warm bath. That was all about honour—you did it yourself, or perhaps you had a comrade or slave hold a sword for you to fall on. It was painful (the hot water helped), it was about honour.
Modern euthanasia is about rational pain-reduction—it’s about rationalism more generally, “Well, I’ve had a good run and can’t really do so much now—looks like I have Alzheimer’s and that will be painful to live through so I’ll take my own life now. It makes financial sense, too—don’t want to burn through the inheritance paying for carers and all that nonsense.”
This has no connection to the ancient euthanasia—which was almost all about honour (“My noble name cannot endure this insult, I must die” versus “From a tax perspective and, given I’ll be bed-ridden for four to six years, better to get it over and done with now.”).
Hence modern euthanasia has a squalid aspect to it—as with most things in modernity it’s small-minded bean-counting; it’s not Brutus under the azure Tuscan skies who dies to honour his gods and ancestors, it’s Michael Brown from Toronto who doesn’t want to “clutter the place up like a useless old fart”.
It’s utilitarian—it’s about convenience and pain-reduction, both seen as morally laudable; and, from a modern male perspective, it’s about how “useful” you can be—for a Roman aristocrat this wouldn’t make sense, life was about honour not “usefulness”. His existence was its own justification—honour the gods and your ancestors, so went the command.
Yet the modern male, schooled in rationalism and utilitarianism interlarded with a residual secularised Christian ethic, conceptualises himself as “a useful man who serves his wife and children—the wider community”. When he can’t do that, his function—specifically as a male—becomes null. Hence, the rational male, being no longer “useful”, should just kill himself—let another robot slot into his place, stick in a new pair of batteries.
Paradoxically, it’s about fear of death: we fear the unknown, hence we fear the ultimate unknown—death—and one way to reduce our fear is to choose when we die. At least we can know when it will happen and control the circumstances, and in that way we can reduce the fear.
It’s why it feels wrong if someone was run over by a bus on the way to the euthanasia clinic—the point was to be in control of death, not to extend or shorten the life as such. To die on the way to the euthanasia clinic is to lose control, hence it defeats the point and becomes “a tragedy” (of a macabre kind, almost a Christmas cracker joke—if Christmas cracker jokes were actually funny).
Again, that wasn’t the primary motivation for classical euthanasia—but it is in modernity when basically everyone, even self-professed religious people, doesn’t think there’s an afterlife (you can tell most self-professed religious people don’t think that anymore because they don’t act like they used to—they don’t burn each other to death or launch crusades; they’re prudent modern people who think this life is “it” and they’re not about to squander it, for Jesus or any other deity—after all, these are just “symbols” or “metaphors” for life’s inherent mystery; nothing to get excited about).
Ancient euthanasia was also about responsibility—you had to slit your wrists or fall on your sword (so better not muck it up, or it’s going to hurt a lot more than it needs to). Modern euthanasia, by contrast, is all about expertise and the surrender of responsibility to supposedly benign experts.
Nobody really wants to take responsibility for euthanasia—it violates the Hippocratic oath (which is being phased out anyway)—so they’re always inventing (again, very modern) “suicide pods” and similar devices that are ergonomically designed and look like a Tesla (control, management, precision—scientific; and, therefore, high-status and safe).
The machine will kill you, there’s a “dead man’s switch” that kills you—although it’s all an illusion; someone, whether you or a technician (what doctors really are today), will have to push a button at some point. Yet everything has been done to evade responsibility—for you or your physician.
It’s not like you walk into the clinic and the “euthanasia device” is just a short gladius sword—and, guess what, if it were then most euthanasia campaigners would turn their noses up at it (“Err, yes, I’m desperate to die, it’s a humanitarian necessity—but what I had in mind was a painless process for which I have no responsibility whatsoever. Otherwise I can put up with the pain, thanks.”). Well, perhaps you don’t really need euthanasia then…
So it turns out it wasn’t a “humanitarian necessity” to die, anyway. I think another aspect about the modern euthanasia craze is that it’s a progressive ploy to make children kill their parents. Progressives want to invert everything—particularly the family, particularly the father; and the best way to do that is to get the children to passive-aggressively bully their parents into suicide for “rational reasons”.
It’s like abortion—abortion is like a counter-initiation for progressives because once you’ve “bloodied” yourself, either by the abortion or by procuring it, then you are bound into the wider belief system (unless you want to be a “bad person”—which you don’t; it’s like when the mafia gets you to commit a crime to join, a crime everyone knows you did and has evidence you did, so that if you get second thoughts they can say, “Guess it’s time everyone knew who set that fire at Murphy’s Bar that killed 12 people—including women and kids.”).
It’s why they’ve destroyed the Hippocratic oath—they want doctors to kill their patients, because it’s an inversion; and because the oath stands against “social justice”, because doctors are asked to neglect white patients to tend POC patients—and that’s against the oath. The oath is also religious—pre-Christian really—so it has to go too.
Christians will often say, as with modern loose sexuality, that this is a return to “paganism”; but it isn’t at all. As described, it’s nothing like classical euthanasia—it just parasites the cachet around a Latin word and appeals vaguely to the classical ideal (“philosophical”, “Stoic”). In reality, it’s utilitarian, rational, and hedonistic—it’s democratic. In the same way, modern sexuality is not “pagan” unless you just use the word, as Camille Paglia does, to mean “images and shit”—in which case, yes, Madonna is a “pagan goddess”.
But real paganism had a metaphysical stance behind it—to say “paganism is worship of images” or “paganism is worship of man” is to accept a Christian frame, a biased and unsympathetic frame. Pagans didn’t think that “sex is the root of all evil”, as Christianity says—but in non-decadent times pagan societies advocated sexual austerity and abstinence, though perhaps without the shame aspect Christians are particularly into.
It’s Aristotle’s injunction to be moderate versus the Christian idea that you should monitor your mind for “dirty thoughts” all the time and then feel very, very ashamed if you have one—because even to think it is a sin.
As Jesus said, in paraphrase: “Adultery in your hearts is the same as actual adultery”—is it though, Jesus? If I imagine I kill someone, is that the same as if I kill them? And what does any crime mean if to imagine it is the same as to commit it?—and can we then punish anyone if to have imagined it preclude us from stoning (punishing) the perpetrator?
Modern sexual promiscuity is based in feminism, in rationalistic ideas about how “women and men are the same” and “sex is like drinking a glass of water”—i.e. a contractual matter, hence the concern with “consent”. What has this to do with Lupercal and pagan ecstatic rites where participants almost “eat” each other, like sex-wolves?
You get this contrived situation because the Enlightenment dressed up in pagan garb to attack Christian societies—hence the French revolutionaries and Founding Fathers larped as Romans and Greeks (with togas and laurels and fasces). Yet, to channel Evola, the values they enunciated under “neo-paganism” were not pagan at all—they were rational, scientific, secular; and, in a way, owed more to Christianity than paganism because they retained Christian universalism and a concern for the marginal, albeit in a pagan garb.
This leads to a modern confusion where residual Christians, staunch Catholics for example, will regard euthanasia and sexual promiscuity as a “return to paganism”—but beyond the names and superficial symbols, these have little to do with ancient paganism.
Indeed, the whole procedure where children guilt-trip a parent into suicide owes much more to Nietzsche’s slave morality, to the Christian desire to “do what’s best in the service of your wife and children—in the service of mankind”. It’s the secularised version—the guilt-trip.