“I Am Thrilled That He’s Dead.”

Andrew Sullivan has what at first seems like an alarming reaction to the death of his friend David Kuo, following a ten-year-long battle with brain cancer. Watch:

I feel a revulsion to this line of thinking, that someone has gone “to a better place,” or as Sullivan calls it, “home.” It obviously comes from the ridiculous idea that we all go to a warm, soft, fuzzy afterlife once we drop dead, a state that is allegedly better than the best of mortal life on Earth.

But I also find some of Sullivan’s position, apart from the theological stuff, refreshing, in that he casts a skeptical eye on life-for-life’s sake, the idea that it might just be okay to let go when all you know is pain. (And that there is a heavy dose of hypocrisy in many Christians’ maniacal avoidance of their beloved afterlife.)

As for me, however, I just want to live. I know it’s all I’ve got — this life — and it’s literally all I’ll ever have. So if it’s a choice between the pain, nausea, boredom, tedium, etc., and not existing at all, I will err on the side of staying alive.

So I guess that while I like Sullivan’s allowance for nuance and variation in how a human being deals with his or her own death, I part with him on both fronts for myself: Yes, life-for-life’s sake, because there’s no home but here.

6 thoughts on ““I Am Thrilled That He’s Dead.””

  1. And, of course, once again Sullivan puts himself in opposition to his church’s dogma.
    Suffer for suffering’s sake. No putting an end to the suffering. Not for any reason whatsoever. Never. Ever. Ever.
    He’s not just a cafeteria Catholic. He’s a heretic cafeteria Catholic.
    I sometimes wonder if his corpus callosum isn’t damaged. To hold views that are so diametrically opposed to one’s church’s teachings while still calling yourself an adherent requires some special brand of cognitive dissonance.


    1. I’m going to amend this well thought out and extremely well said reply with something a bit pedestrian, just to keep the balance.
      Fuckin’ A dude. Nail head, meet hammer.


  2. Sullivan is as much a Catholic as I am ,and the last time I was in a Catholic church was three years ago for my wife’s cousin’s wedding.


  3. Eh, I actually kind of understand his perspective, although for wildly different reasons. There is indeed “no home but here”, but from the perspective of consciousness, we can never experience anything other than “here”. Random rocks on Mars aren’t experiencing their lack of existence, and neither is Julius Caesar, or my hundreds of potential siblings who were never born. From the perspective of consciousness, there is ONLY life and existence. If you ignore the focus on the ego and individual identity, than consciousness can only ever experience existence. It’s logically impossible to do otherwise. If an instance of consciousness was suffering and that suffering is over, then I think that they are, in a sense, “in a better place”. I’m not the exact same person I was 5 years ago, but I am still “in a better place” than I was 5 years. I am also not the same person as a starving medieval peasant from the dark ages, but I am another instance of consciousness, and I’m certainly in a better place.
    ..although that was certainly not Sullivan’s reasoning.


  4. “Had euthanasia not been against my religion I would have practised it. Instead, I decided to murder her!” -a roman catholic nurse’s jusification in Loot by Joe Orton.


  5. “So if it’s a choice between the pain, nausea, boredom, tedium, etc., and not existing at all, I will err on the side of staying alive.”
    Myself and most of my atheist friends all have a “please pull the plug” agreement in the case that any of us are either going to be a vegetable or suffering until whatever has us suffering kills us outright.
    If suffering is all that is left for my time, I’d rather have ended with some dignity.


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