Stephen Hawking, Loneliness and Assisted Suicide

President Obama Gives Hawking a Medal
President Obama Gives Hawking a Medal

Taking ones own life is a decision that touches all classes of men and women alike, including intellectuals and scientists. Just recently, famous Cambridge professor and physicist Stephen Hawking stated that he would consider assisted suicide if he believed he was a burden to others and had no more to contribute.

Hawking is no different than a growing number of elderly, disabled and those suffering wasting diseases, and even chronic pain, for example who believe that they should have the legal right to get help from a professional in taking their own lives. In any event, Hawking has made multiple contributions to society, and any burden he has been on others is arguably easily outweighed by the benefits his existence has had on millions of people around the galaxy.

Hawking made the statements in an interview airing on BBC One documentary with Dara O’Brian, which made me concerned that Hawking had been doing some premature end of life planning. But let’s hope it’s just me overreacting. Below is a video snippet of some of his comments on assisted suicide.

The 73 year-old Physicist said that keeping someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity during the interview. The Cambridge educated physicist and cosmologist stated he has no plans of dying before unraveling more of the universe. Thank God for that!

Hawking Used to Be Against Suicide as a Solution

Hawking who has a who has a form of motor neuron disease, said he changed his mind about assisted suicide in 2013, saying that people with terminal illness that are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives. Prior to this, the professor had said assisted suicide is a “great mistake” and “while there’s life there is hope.”

It appears that as he gets closer to his deaths bed, Hawking isn’t leaving any options on the table for his departure. I for one am glad he decided to stay alive and not end his life, despite his physical setbacks. But I too can understand why Mr. Hawking is probably ready to check out, seeing as how he is so reliant upon everyone else, and he basically must have a lonesome existence.

It is easy for me to envision his depression he must surely suffer. After all, he is human just like you and I. And with no cure in sight, and the sands of time sifting away, finally he has soul searched and revised his beliefs. During the interview that will be aired on BBC this June 15th, Hawking, who is permanently in a wheelchair, talked about being lonely, saying at times he is very lonely because people are afraid to talk to him, or wait for him to write a response. The physicist said he is shy with people he doesn’t know and sometimes tired.

Assisted Suicide Is Illegal In the UK

The right to die by assisted suicide in England is illegal, and in some circumstances it can be punishable by up to 14 years in prison. This past week Lord Falconer sponsored a private members bill focused on the terminally ill right to die and the week prior the Scottish assembly voted on an assisted suicide bill that was defeated with a vote of 86 to 36.

Whether or not the law is changed based upon humanitarian reasons, it is clear to us that Hawking needs love, attention and affection, and perhaps some distractions to get his mind on how great life is, and give up these thoughts of assisted suicide as being a viable option. We hope and pray that Hawking will stay alive until unravels all the secrets and until then, God bless you Sir Hawking.