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An Interview with Pascal Landa on Right to Die France, Collective Religion and Individual Choice, and Philosophy, Wisdom, and Poetry (Part Three)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/08/08


Pascal Landa is the Founder and President AAVIVRE (Association qui Accompagne la Volonté des Individus a Vivre selon leur Ethique – Association that Accompanies the Will of those wishing to Live according to their personal Ethics). He discusses: central opposition to the work of the right to die in France; religion and choice; and Philosophy, Wisdom, and Poetry.

Keywords: AAVIVRE, dying with dignity, early life, euthanasia, France, religion, right to die, Pascal Landa.

An Interview with Pascal Landa on Right to Die France, Collective Religion and Individual Choice, and Philosophy, Wisdom, and Poetry: Founder and President AAVIVRE (Association qui Accompagne la Volonté des Individus a Vivre selon leur Ethique – Association that Accompanies the Will of those wishing to Live according to their personal Ethics) (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Who has been central opposition to the work of right to die in France?

Pascal Landa: I think the central opposition has been multiple but similar to anywhere else that I can see. There are, obviously, the religious, who still have this belief that redemption comes from suffering, still have this belief that God has made you, and therefore you should not touch what God has made. You have no right to disturb. Et cetera. That is the religious communities.

You have also, I think, a big lobby from the financial groups. As I mentioned, the end of life is big business. If we start touching that and saying it is the individual concerned that decides, which we are doing more and more, financial groups could lose 30% to 60% of their revenues. We are recognizing that the individual has a right to say what he thinks is right about his health, but not yet to decide. That is starting to pose problems for those who are using us as test cases for their drugs or for their equipment. The equipment makers, for example, the sophisticated scanners, or the expensive drugs; some drugs cost more than $100,000 a month for the person to take for cancer. Those people are saying, “If we let people decide when they want to die, we won’t get the last 6 months where we can test equipment and amortize it”.

Basically, today, the medical profession just has to say “We are trying to keep Mr. Landa alive a little longer.” Who can object to that? And yet, in reality, more than 50% of even the doctors say that of operations and medical acts realized in the last 6 months, 50% of those acts are totally useless.

If 50% are totally useless and this represents billions of dollars, well, A, as good managers and caretakers we should be eliminating those useless acts. B, those medical industries impacted need to invest differently to maintain revenue. C, we should be re-allocating that money to preventative care, to the kind of care like dental care, eyeglasses, … the kind of care that is going to make that the individual lives better. The lobbies I believe are still today over influencing our legislators.

Religion, finance and thirdly the fact that we are directed by people who are old. People who are old are of a generation that has basically played the game of, “I am not going to die. Never. I am going to stay forever young,” like Bob Dylan sang; the myth of that kind of culture.

This is less the case with the younger generation. A little bit less. When elected, people get into positions of power, voting law for the right to die with dignity means that they must confront themselves to their own death, and they can’t escape it. That is a difficult thing if they’re not properly prepared to face their own destiny.

I think those are the three major reasons. You could also say that now, there are multiple cultural phenomena that join religious concepts. I know in France, for example, the Muslims and the Catholics are against it, the religious authorities, not the individuals, but the religious authorities are basically against it.

The religious authorities used to shut their eyes on the fact that priests were violating young kids. Things change. We are starting to see that issue come out of the woods. Well, we’ll see death come out of the woods at some point, as well.

2. Jacobsen: In the United States, there’s a group called “Catholics for Choice”. The group focuses on pro-choice policies and implementation and initiatives, and programs, and so on. One thing that came through in an interview with the president of the organization was the split between the Roman Catholic Christian hierarchs, even with the pope putting out these turgid encyclicals, and then the laity, where if an advanced industrial economy and an accessible, the women will get contraceptives and reproductive health in spite of those dry encyclicals.

Landa: Absolutely. In France over 60% of “Catholics”, people who claim to be Catholics, are for legislation that allows medically assisted dying at the request of the individual.

There’s something else that deserves to be mentioned. If you lived as close as 50 years ago, we considered the elders to be people with wisdom and with things to teach us and things to tell us about.

But the world since 1950 has been speeding up at the rate of what we call, “Moore’s Law”. Initially, it was computer science that moved at that speed for the first 20 or 30 years but since the 21st-century computerization has entered the life of every profession, of the activity of humankind, we are moving at an incredible pace.

That means that the old people are less competent than the new ones at an ever-increasing pace. Especially since the old people are getting older and even older since we started prolonging their lifespan. That means that when you need to deal with society, need to deal with major issues like climatic change or human welfare, the knowledge of the elders is no longer relevant because the world has changed too much. It is the knowledge of those that are 30, or, 40, or 50 that is pertinent, or even 20 to 30.

I think that this is a major change in our society and a big change in everyday life. We are still living under the old habits of thinking that the old are wise. We are being led by people who are 60 or often much older, which is ludicrous. We can see that when you get a person like Barack Obama or Macron in France. Their vision and comprehension of things compared to guys like Trump or Bush illustrates the generation gap. It’s not only age, more a question of mentality.

Most of our elected representatives, at least in Europe- I think it is getting less and less so in America- have traditionally been old people. We speak of the “old Europe”. Society needs to go at the same rhythm as the rhythm in which jobs change and the rhythm in which discoveries are made, and the rhythm in which processes and methodology and everything that makes modern life. Difficult to face this everchanging world for most people. Hard to manage a society which is condemned to change or else to be obsolete.

Ecological concerns are part of that process. We are still living in a world that considers that nature is here to serve us. If we do not start thinking that we are a partner of nature, and no longer the oppressor of nature, then we are not going to survive, ourselves. Then we have got a real problem.

This thing about the old people directing the world or at least being in positions of importance is a real the handicap for moving forward, and for the right to die with dignity, of course.

3. Jacobsen: I like an easy argument for what you have presented. It goes like this. It is basically an argument for age independence of wisdom or correct views of the world. If an individual is 15 and they believe in Young Earth creationism, that person ages 60 years. Now, they’re 75-years-old. They’re still a Young Earth creationist. Does this ageing make Young Earth creationism any more correct?

Landa: Of course not.

Jacobsen: In that way, I think it is with wisdom as well.

Landa: For me, what you are touching on is the fact that one of the things that we have lost in the last 40 years, is we have lost the respect for philosophy. Poetry, which has been the mouthpiece of emotions, philosophy, which has been the mouthpiece of values. Those are things that through zero and one of the computer ages, we have put aside, and considered were unimportant.

I am absolutely convinced that we will soon be coming back to that because we must face a certain number of issues which can only be solved by respecting emotions, philosophy, intellectual honesty.

Those issues are all linked to Quality of life. A good illustration of this is the “augmented man” debate. Today, we can put an electronic piece in a person’s brain and enable him to drive mechanical arms. Today We are able to replace the leg of a guy, that got amputated and put in a leg that makes him run faster than a human being. Today We are able to make a human being see in the dark where he couldn’t see before, through the red-light spectrum.

The augmented man is clearly “more powerful” than the natural man. We can see that in those people who have used cocaine. Cocaine allows you to be more efficient, more effective- amphetamines as well, but only for a certain period. It destroys you, but “economic society” does not give a damn about destruction. Remember, the only law of nature is self-reproduction.

We are facing with the augmented man a new big dilemma. Is being human a specific value or are we just on the verge of a new evolutionary landmark, the meeting between the organic world and the mineral world of computer chips. Remember, silicon is a mineral, right? What we are discovering is that the organic world augmented by the silicon world, organic and mineral, is more powerful and more capable of dealing with things that either the organic or the mineral world, by itself.

What We are maybe experiencing is a whole new evolutionary process, where man will no longer be what we know as man, homo sapiens, but he will be “homo mineralis”, and we will replace defective parts either by organic or mineral elements either to correct of to improve the individual. As a joke, I suggest to manual workers (cooks, plumbers, woodworkers, gardeners…) that they could use 6 arms like Shiva!

Look at how many people are being, today, surgically modified to look better. Millions, and young people. How many people tomorrow will say, “Put a chip in my arm. That way I can go and pay without having to bring out my chip card. I can go to the night club and be recognized like in Mexico” How many people will say, “Put a chip in my brain? I am going to be much more intelligent when plugged into the internet.”

When you look at big data, imagine having the knowledge of the world as part of yourself. Observe how we already react today. Today, if I ask you a question and you do not know the answer, what do you do? You go on the Internet and you find the answer. Big data could be implemented in your head so that whenever you think of something, you go to big data to get it. That is a real possibility.

The question is, “What is it to be human?” Where are the emotions in this? Where is the philosophy? At what point do you say, “Whoa. I am being manipulated.” At what moment in time do you enter the perfect world of Hitler with his blonde, blue-eyed perfect race? In the world of Google, Apple, Microsoft etc., where if you do not accept “cookies” (electronic spies) then you are simply excluded from the joys of the NET. Look at the Japanese creation of an electronic pet or the proposed inflatable sexual objects with sensual electronics. Those are the issues that face you in which we as old people can contribute by giving perspective … a little bit. But the real issue is for you the individual to act upon daily.

The biggest revolution in the next 40 years is going to be the medical revolution. In 40 years, we’ll look at medicine as practiced today and consider it the same way as medicine was practiced in the 1700s.

Your lifespan as a 20-year-old born in the year 2000 is most likely going to be 150 years. It is no longer 100 years. My life expectancy is probably 100 years. My father’s life expectancy was probably 50, 60 years. We are in an incredibly revolutionary world.

Any other questions? I seem to be making you perplexed. [Laughing]

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder and President AAVIVRE (Association qui Accompagne la Volonté des Individus a Vivre selon leur Ethique – Association that Accompanies the Will of those wishing to Live according to their personal Ethics).

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 8, 2019:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019:


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