Do we live too long? Science allows us to keep people alive longer, but is it the right thing to do?

“In a certain state it is indecent to go on living.  To vegetate on in cowardly dependence on physicians and medicaments after the meaning of life, the right to life, has been lost ought to entail the profound contempt of society.” Friedrich Nietzsche  1860. Not much fun that boy Nietzsche.  Certainly not much fun if you are as Yeats phrased it “old and grey and full of sleep and nodding by the fire” but then maybe you would be totally … Read more

Life, death and heartbeats…

The diagnosis of death is mostly straightforward; the medical practitioner looks for somatic, cardio-respiratory and neurological features. Clearly, someone with rigor mortis is dead. Someone with no spontaneous breathing, no heartbeat and no pulse, and whose pupils are fixed and dilated presents the classical features of death. This is usually enough to diagnose most cases of ‘death’, though as the Victorians had a morbid dread of being buried alive, the tradition of requesting a surgeon to open an artery persisted … Read more

The Irish way of death celebrated

Katherine Butler has contributed a very touching piece to the Indy commending the Irish way of death, compared to death as the last English taboo. This is one area where the twin cultures differ, perhaps because of the earlier English retreat from religion. Will the Irish follow and lose touch with  death eventually?  Even if Protestants tend not to observe the full three fold  ritual favoured by Catholics,  they still owe a lot to it whether they realise it or not..I’ve … Read more

Government apologises over Majella O’Hare killing

Another of the wrongs of the past forty years here in Northern Ireland has been acknowledged. The BBC are reporting that the government has apologised in writing to the family of Majella O’Hare who was killed by a soldier in Whitecross Co. Armagh on 18th August 1976. Miss O’Hare (aged 12) was on her way home from church when she was shot in the back by Private Michael Williams. At the time Williams claimed that he was returning fire on … Read more

POTD – Notre Dame Cathedral, Port-au-Prince

A blind and still traumatised man is led over the rubble of Notre Dame cathedral in Port-au-Prince by his niece. I spent about 10 minutes here and heard the story of this man Christophe,whose wife had been killed during the quake as she prayed in the Cathedral. He pointed to a roofless room that  had the bodies of 120+ people still buried under the rubble. His wife was amongst those. This man appeared as we spoke to and started strumming … Read more