Monday, June 12, 2006

The dignity of a corpse

When someone is brain dead, he is permanently lost to us. While his body may remain, it is at best an hollow vessel emptied of its most important content. Yet, we assign this empty vessel a dignity which approximates that of a live human.

Our rites and rituals honour the deceased by honouring the corpse. The funeral, by granting a dignified end to the body, allows for the 'soul' of the dead to depart in a dignified manner.

I wonder, of course, if all of this is sentimental rubbish. Does a human body really possess some form of dignity? Is this dignity more important than the life of another? Of course, I am talking about organ transplants. How can we condemn one to die in order to defend the rights of a cadaver?

I believe this issue merits further investigation.

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