Suicide of David Goodall in Switzerland – why this media obsession?

Publié le 30 May, 2018

David Goodall, a 104-year-old Australian, has just ended his days in Switzerland, with international media coverage and material support from Eternal Spirit and Exit International. But why has this triggered such a “media obsession”? “The scientist had hoped that this would push Australia and other countries to review their legislation”.


Bertrand Vergely, a philosopher and theologist, and the author of several books on death[1] gives his analysis. For some of our contemporaries, David Goodall is a “hero”, because old age is seen as a real “nightmare”. Ending old age would be a lesser evil until science discovers how to “end death”.


According to the philosopher, the main characteristic of modernity is that “pleasure is more important than life. Pleasure is sacred. It gives dignity to life”. If there is no more pleasure, life is no longer worth living in our “materialistic, pragmatic, utilitarian and consumerist” world.


Bertrand Vergely goes even further, explaining that “the modern world rushes to find a number of pleasures to compensate for the loss of happiness and joy”. As for seniors themselves, they “scare us. Living a life that is not pleasant to watch, they threaten our desire for pleasure. We don’t want to hear about it because we only want a life full of pleasurable experiences”.


The lesson the philosopher draws from all this is that “our world has become a world of people who use life, consumers of life who want to find satisfaction or be reimbursed. Euthanasia has to be understood in this consumerist logic. You don’t enjoy life any more? Undergoing euthanasia is one way of reimbursing yourself as a dissatisfied consumer. 


[1] La Mort interdite (J.-C. Lattès, 2001), Une vie pour se mettre au monde (Carnet Nord, 2010), La tentation de l’Homme-Dieu (Le Passeur Editeur, 2015).

AFP (10/05/2018)

Atlantico (11/05/2018)

Share this post

For further