“Why?” is one of the first questions we humans ask. Developing ethical justifications to support decisions is an essential part of my participation in the CEC: the details of “why” influences life-and-death decisions made by patients, caregivers, family, and health proxies. Facts are cold. I believe that real life decisions ultimately depend on love.
The CEC (Community Ethics Committee) works hard to establish a rational basis for conclusions and positions. But I’m realizing that our emotions usually decide. I’d like to think that love wins, but lots of emotions have to be considered too.
When our daughter was making college decisions, I was the rational engineer who got out the whiteboard and made lists of schools, reasons pro and con, and mapped strategy in a perfectly reasoned way. But neither my daughter nor her mother looked at the reasoned charts, and I ultimately agreed that we would trust our daughter’s gut. What she felt was the right destination for the next four years of her life was what mattered. Rational decision making had almost no influence.
The idea that our positions and decisions are based on feelings more than reason was affirmed again when I read about religion’s place in secular medicine: some basic moral philosophy and meta-justifications are all we have at the end of it. In any case, authors quit before they get to the best part, the decision on life or death. I’m convinced now that it is our emotion, “who and what we love” that counts.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.