You don’t know Jack by Misha Lyuve

Aug 7, 2011

Can one loathe euthanasia and, at the same time, admire Jack Kevorkian , its most prominent advocate, for the strength of his convictions and commitment? In other words, what would it take to separate a person from a cause he represents?

As if our support of gay marriage, women’s choice, or assisted suicide turns us into fair open-minded people; and our opposition makes us good Christians, or whatever good we are aspiring to be. Or as if one could really judge intentions and talent of our politicians based on their yes-no answers in the scorecard of controversial issues.

Watching “You don’t know Jack”, a movie about the life of late Dr. Jack Kevorkian and assisted suicide, made me think about how our society deals with controversy. There are plenty of reasonable arguments about personal choice, freedom, god, sanctity of life and a role of a government in our lives. Controversy starts when contradictions among these arguments lead to moral and philosophical dilemmas. A myriad of positions on a controversial issue are based merely on which arguments are more important to different people.

Let’s take Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who performed 130 assisted suicides, challenging legal and social orders and became synonymous with the cause itself. For his supporters he is a hero. His opponents blame him for being negligent and consider him a serial killer . But outside of the labels, who is Jack Kevorkian? His interviews and art give a lot of material to start answering this question, and in my opinion, “You don’t know Jack” is a great attempt to understand his motivations, struggles, and the character.

As for my life and death, I have a clear point of view how I think those should go. However, as for everyone else’s, I’m the first to admit, I don’t know jack. In fact, I think the most productive way to start participation in a debate on a controversial topic is with “I don’t know.” This would allow some real dialogues and could lead to finding much more effective solutions for controversial issues, leaving us much less divided and more compassionate and accepting.

Nearer my god to thee by Jack Kevorkian

Nearer my god to thee by Jack Kevorkian

About the painting in artist’s words:
This depicts how most human beings feel about dying — at least about their own deaths. Despite the solace of hypocritical religiosity and its seductive promise of an after-life of heavenly bliss, most of us will do anything to thwart the inevitable victory of biological death. We contemplate and face it with great apprehension, profound fear, and terror. Sparing no financial or physical sacrifice, pleading wantonly and unashamedly, clutching any hope of salvation through medicine or prayer. How forbidding that dark abyss! How stupendous the yearning to dodge its gaping orifice. How inexorable the engulfment. Yet, below are the disintegrating hulks of those who have gone before; they have made the insensible transition and wonder what the fuss is all about. After all, how excruciating can nothingness be?

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  1. Alex

    Intense issue!!!a lot of`people say that “they are not ready to talk about death” but I think we must talk about it as we talk about taxes,pedicure or dental control over dinner, since sooner or later it will happend and thats for sure!!. I work with chronic patients and very often assist them on their last days, so “I know Jack a bit” and wish to get to know him better…..there´s a group of 3rd age people in Australia called “the last exit” and their goal its to have a pill on their first aid kit at home to take whenever they feel they have become “dependent”, when they start depending on somebody else to do the basic activities in life for them….that day, they just want to have “that pill” and end it up peacefully at home, no ER no doctors no hospitals… I really admire their courage and hope they get that freedom someday….whenever they feel ready for that “final disapointment” ( its thats all there is? ). About Jacks art work I must say I find it very interesting! intense! reminds me of Frida Khalos but for a change, it doesnt reflects the artists suffering and strugles, it shows how close Jack has been to those who have had the courage to ask for an ending to their suffering…..the ones who were not scared of going back to nothingness.

  2. Alex

    I just watched the interview…..great!!! thanks Baby for sharing this, I loved it!!! and will look for more!! missing you guys! love

  3. Jahan Mohammed

    its very beautiful read and understand ?

    • Patamon

      there are those who have eyes and see not, and those who have ears and hear not – in others words, they are tlheacuabne. Was Dr. Kevochian one of those? I think that is highly possible. He said in one of his interviews that if there was a God after he died, he would ask him, “Why did you not make me smater?” Maybe God tried to tell him through others, and he would just not listen.