The Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) features Dr. Solomon Benatar discussing how living and dying has changed in a globalized world. At the Joint Centre for Bioethics, Dr. Benatar is revered as a leader in the industry. He also teaches at the University of Cape Town and the University of Toronto. What are the highlights of living and dying today? The conditions of humans are incredibly diverse. There have been great advances in technology and economical growths—but still, more than 50 percent of people live in horrific conditions without clean water or adequate food.
Death can be a mediator for some, as there is pain relief and solid care for many. For others, death comes prematurely from lack of care or treatable conditions. Without access to end of life care and pain relief, they have nothing to treat pain and suffering. Life expectancy, ranging from 40-80 years around the world, is indicative of just how diverse our care and health are on a global scale.
A Global Problem
Why all these disparities? It’s a result of the economical growth around the globe. There are unrealistic senses of entitlement in developed countries, which is evident in medical advances. You may find that people expect near-miracles in some situations. In some ways, suffering has been intensified with lonely and expensive deaths. Health costs have become too expensive, unsustainable, and simply unrealistic. If you have so much, and expect more, knowing how the global economy has shifted in your favor is key.
How is this impacting others? By living beyond our means, all while fearing death, it undermines life as a whole on the planet. Improved health in the 21st century won’t be achieved by business as usual. We need a new paradigm.