You are an experience – a living being with an indisputable claim to your perspective and understanding of the world. The world flows before you. You immerse yourself in its current, without losing your unique perspective.
Who are you? You are, before you are anything. Giving names to things is helpful, but should always remain suspect. What ARE you? That question asks for what sort of thing are you?
Society is divided into those who view the people as sometimes-useful objects, and those who see that society arises organically from the desires of individuals, living individuals. Their will should be respected.
But instead, we commercialize them, label them, divide them and sell them. The commodification of the citizen has been so gradual and unmentioned, that it has swept through without a ripple.
Fundamentally, logically, one can look at a citizen as a worker who has through his/her productive times given into the reserve, either directly for Medicare and Social Security, or giving to the wealth and value of the community. Some say that in the nonproductive older days of such people, their days are measured by how much they take back from society – cost money. When they go into the red, and become a net cost to society, it is time for them to leave. We can imagine such a curve, and an intersection. What we do not recognize how fundamentally ghastly and inhumane this is.
Hospice is viewed by some people as such a mechanism. Hospice is for the dying, so very well then – this includes the net nonproductive. There is no concern about preserving the gene pool from defectives – these elders at neither mentally crippled, or breeding. They are simply running up a debt to society, as the care of the feeble is a financial lose. Margaret Sanger brought forth these ideas; no thinking Nazi in the early 30’s could imagine an Endlösung, a final solution without reading up from the American literature of racial hygiene and removal of the defectives from the gene pool.
We, in our experience, are willing to treat others as things, in defiance of Kant’s Categorical Imperative, the Golden Rule. We must believe that others are unique experiences, each as different as the snowflakes. Or we may put them in a bin by number, and use them.
I fear that in our society, we have chosen long ago.