I don’t like inconveniencing others, and for many parents the possibility that one day they could be a burden on their children scares them much more than death. I think this is a noble sentiment, and would gladly sacrifice myself when I’m old so that those I care about can live better and more fulfilling lives. If we’re going to talk about human dignity, I could think of nothing less dignified than ending a proud and successful life in diapers and with your brain rotting away, making your children miserable and preventing them from reaching their full potential.
Just want to flag the planted axioms (unstated governing assumptions) here:
- A “proud and successful life” is an independent life;
- Conversely, dependence on others is shameful;
- To care for a person who is dependent on you is only a source of misery.
Paging Leah Libresco!
What if human dignity isn’t to be found in being proudly independent, but in loving and being loved, in caring-for and being-cared-for?