I recently read “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande which discusses hospice care and the importance of communicating the minimum quality of life you’d accept with those around you.
As much as I want to believe that I’m the exception that’ll never die, I must face reality: I engage in fairly risky activities on a daily basis – driving, eating new foods, traveling, etc.
Thought Process & Result
To figure out what minimal QOL I’m really okay with, I have to think – what makes life worth living?
This is quite a difficult question when you consider that I don’t even know what I truly enjoy yet. I can, however, pinpoint several things I deeply enjoy.
- Socializing and learning about others. If I can still communicate with others in some capacity (including HCI tools), then I’d be content. How about less?
- What if I lost a sense? Some are replacable. Talking can be replaced with sign language/typing. Listening can be replaced with sight, so as long as I could still have I/O, I’d be content. What about less?
- Suppose I couldn’t talk (or move), or couldn’t see (which is the bare minimum requirement if I can’t hear). Let’s suppose I can’t talk (or gesture). I’d almost be a vegetable at that point, and would only be able to view as a pure passenger. Watch tv, maybe get carted around, etc. No capacity to apply myself or communicate. I think I’d prefer to die at this point.
- Now suppose I couldn’t see or receive input. I think this would be an interesting world to live in, but once again there was a study where they severed a person’s ability to gain input for some time and he went crazy. I’d likely also want to die here.