Life/Death

In western society, I think the culture of biomedicine puts biomedicine and allopathic treatments above any other medicine. In other cultures, biomedicine is often times inferior to western biomedicine, but this also could be because other cultures put holistic medicine above allopathic medicine. This is important to western culture because in this day and age, and as seen in the Pill Poppers video, we have pills and medicine to fix and improve just about everything. It’s these different cultural groups and even different beliefs within a cultural group that look at different dichotomies, such as life and death, with a different perspective. Most people accept that life ends where death starts, but where does life start? Some would say at the moment of conception and some would say at the moment the baby takes its first breath. Where does life end? Some argue that it ends when the body stops breathing, but others argue that the body is dead if it requires a machine to breathe for it.

I personally believe that life begins when a fetus develops a central nervous system, which is heavily debated when it comes to abortions. I think my views come from my biological understanding of life. I was always taught that life meant a heartbeat and a functioning brain, which is why I believe life starts when a fetus is able to pump blood though its body. As for death, I believe that one is dead when they have no more brain function or internal organ function. Essentially, I don’t believe one is alive if they are brain dead or if they require machines to live for them. I think this view comes from when I was a child and my grandpa was on a respirator. Although my family said he was still hanging on, I just didn’t see how he could be alive if he couldn’t survive without being attached to a machine.

I believe this dichotomy is accepted in Western Society, yet I also believe that many other people have their own beliefs and views on this dichotomy. I think this is accepted because of how we grow up and what we are taught and what beliefs we develop. I accept this dichotomy as logical because of how I learned about biological processes and because I witnessed my grandpa living the last weeks of his life on a respirator. This dichotomy is shaped by culture and its beliefs.

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