“This talk is about death and dying. Not about dying unexpectedly or by accident, but about dying as an event that in principle is within our control”
Questions regarding the end of life — about dying, suicide, and death — have been with humanity from ancient times. Many thinkers have wrestled with the realities of suffering and mortality, and how we as humans, individually and collectively, can be the most humane, compassionate, and just in the face of such certainties.
Only one thing appears sure, and this is that people draw upon different resources and perspectives when facing the end of life.
“Reflections on Dying”: Keynote address by Dr. Eike-Henner Kluge
In a keynote address presented at the Simon Fraser University conference The End of Life: Dying, Suicide, Death, University of Victoria professor Dr. Eike-Henner Kluge [pictured, top of page] suggested that to institutionalize dying — to turn it into a purely medical phenomenon that has no connection with how we have lived our lives, or to shape it according to laws that are reflective of a traditional morality that is out of step with our competent values — or, what is even worse, to be denied a death that is in keeping with our competently held values and forced to live where every breath is a reminder that our values have been measured and found wanting — is to alienate us from what grounds us as human beings and as persons.
If that happens, Kluge suggests, “Our death will be the end of our journey, but we will not own it; and our life, if such should be forced on us, will not be genuine but a forced game.” His talk, Reflections on Dying, is about “dying as persons, and about what that means.”
Dr. Eike-Henner Kluge is a professor of biomedical and applied ethics at the University of Victoria. This keynote address was presented at Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver campus on November 2, 2016.
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— People First Radio (@peoplefirstrad) November 25, 2016
The End of Life: Dying, Suicide, Death
Dr. Samir Gandesha, director of SFU’s Institute for the Humanities,
moderated a panel discussion with academics as part of The End of Life: Dying, Suicide, Death
Simon Fraser University’s Institute for the Humanities hosted a conference in November 2016 called The End of Life: Dying, Suicide, Death. The conference was intended to provide space for pondering the complex and agonizing decisions regarding the end of life. Space for such conversations is especially needed given the 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada declaring that the prohibition on physician-assisted dying infringes upon Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the introduction of Bill C-14 which has resulted in debate about who, when and in what circumstances an individual may make such a decision.
Speakers included academics, graduate students and practitioners who spoke from their own particular perspectives: legal, ethical, medical, and spiritual or religious. The presentations also drew upon insights from literature and art, some of humanity’s most treasured resources.