It’s also important to recognize that suicide is a perfectly valid option for those near the end of their lives when only ever-increasing suffering lies ahead. Although the US fantasy death is painless while surrounded by smiling loved ones, reality for 85% of the population is quite different: alone, afraid, confused and in pain in an anonymous hospital ward with various tubes stuck into one’s body, bed-sores generating perpetual discomfort, and all manner of other ailments that can often be excruciating. Intelligent informed people may consider this way of reaching one’s end to be entirely unsatisfactory (though of course for the hospital it’s an excellent source of revenue) and opt to take an immediate and painless alternative. Sherwin Nuland’s book How We Die, although written many years ago, is still very informative on this topic.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.