What would you do if the very means by which you said your life had no meaning suddenly gave your life meaning? Tony Nicklinson is having just that problem.
So just a few days ago [and this will probably become a famous remark in the history of social networking], he wrote this: “Hello world. I am Tony Nicklinson, I have locked-in syndrome and this is my first ever tweet.”
Among the many fascinating things about this technology is that the very nature of the euthanasia debate means that well-meaning relatives will argue with well-meaning lawyers over a person who cannot speak for him or herself.
Yet now this man can – and not just to the High court, but to the court of public opinion as well. Within five days of his first tweet he had gained 15,000 followers, many of whom were expressing openly supportive opinions of him and his right to die.
He’s got more followers than most folks desperate for followers. Which leads to the conundrum.
But here’s the potentially extraordinary thing about Mr Nicklinson and Twitter.
People have begun asking him whether he still thinks his life’s worthless if he can enjoy a conversation with anyone in the world on the internet.
Mr Nicklinson’s reply suggests an open mind: “People want to know if I will change my mind because of Twitter. Let’s hear the judgement first and maybe I’ll tell you.”
It’s not about wanting to die. It’s about wanting the freedom to choose and say, “I am done. It’s my life. It’s my death.”
Bioethics is controversial.
No one endorses the ideas or concepts explored here, not even me.
You will develop a strong opinion about something you find here. I want to hear it. Philosophy is a conversation.
popbioethics [at] gmail [dot] com