Monday, June 30, 2008

Dr. Balfour Mount

On June 25, I had the opportunity to listen to and meet a great man.

Dr. Balfour Mount spoke in Woodstock, Ontario, to a group of more than 100 people on palliative care and the care of others.

His insight is phenomenal and he is one who has also battled cancer and survived.

His analysis of our death culture was very interesting.

He spoke about the changes in the way we experience life and death over the past 100 years. He told us how the previous generation lived as families and died within a family. Their experience with death was different from ours.

He explained how the two wars changed our cultural views of death and the holocaust affected our culture.

He wanted us to know that we have experienced several holocausts in the last 100 years. The German people are not different from us; we are all capable of horrific acts.

He spoke to us about the experience of death in the modern day. He wanted us to recognize the need to care for each other.

He spoke about the modern cultural phenomenon of "death anxiety." This is particular to the modern culture because we don't die in the community or among our family, but rather alone and institutionalized.

He asked us why we are considering euthanasia now in history and he attributed this phenomenon to the cultural death anxiety.

Balfour Mount is a sign of hope for our times. We need to listen to and learn from his wisdom and experience.

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