Maine became just the ninth state to allow people with terminal illnesses to end their life, but the law faced loud and uncharacteristically nonpartisan opposition. Gov. Janet Mills said signing it was the hardest decision she’d made in her first five months as governor.
It is my hope that this law, while respecting the right of personal liberty, will be used sparingly and that we will respect the life of every citizen with the utmost concern for their spiritual and physical well-being,” she said at the time.
He was able to have the death he wanted,” Lovelace said. “For me, and the work we’ve been doing, there is no greater reward than that.”
When I started out, each and every twist and turn I encountered, whether in the markets or in my life in general, looked really big and dramatic up close, like unique life-or-death experiences that were coming at me fast.
With time and experience, I came to see each encounter as “another one of those” that I could approach more calmly and analytically, like a biologist might approach an encounter with a threatening creature in the jungle: first identifying its species and then, drawing on his prior knowledge about its expected behaviors, reacting appropriately.
This leads Morton to one of his most sweeping claims: that the Anthropocene is forcing a revolution in human thought. Advances in science are now underscoring how “enmeshed” we are with other beings – from the microbes that account for roughly half the cells in our bodies, to our reliance for survival on the Earth’s electromagnetic heat shield. At the same time, hyperobjects, in their unwieldy enormity, alert us to the absolute boundaries of science, and therefore the limits of human mastery. Science can only take us so far. This means changing our relationship with the other entities in the universe – whether animal, vegetable or mineral – from one of exploitation through science to one of solidarity in ignorance. If we fail to do this, we will continue to wreak havoc on the planet, threatening the ways of life we hold dear, and even our very existence. In contrast to utopian fantasies that we will be saved by the rise of artificial intelligence or some other new technology, the Anthropocene teaches us that we can’t transcend our limitations or our reliance on other beings. We can only live with them.
The most heated arguments often occur between people on opposite ends of the spectrum, but the most frequent learning occurs from people who are nearby. The closer you are to someone, the more likely it becomes that the one or two beliefs you don’t share will bleed over into your own mind and shape your thinking. The further away an idea is from your current position, the more likely you are to reject it outright.
The brilliant Japanese writer Haruki Murakami once wrote, “Always remember that to argue, and win, is to break down the reality of the person you are arguing against. It is painful to lose your reality, so be kind, even if you are right.”
Munjoy Hill was an undeveloped area until the Great Fire of 1866, when a tent city emerged to house burned-out refugees. Gradually, houses replaced the tents, many of them modest ones built for workers employed in the rail yards and sea port at the foot of Fore Street. The neighborhood was the home of Portland’s black community and the first stop for waves of immigrants, Irish, Italian and Jewish, who were looking for a better life.
But when people say they want to preserve the “historic character” of Munjoy Hill, they don’t mean that they want to make a place for refugees, workers and immigrants of all colors and religions. They mean they want you to get a permit before you pop some dormers in your roofline.
Hope lives in the fibrous burrows of your heart, it lines the layers of your skin and folds into the corners of your eyes. It does not fly in on the feathered wings of a bird, nor does it breeze away with the November wind. Hope is blindness in the face of what you think you know, it is doing what you do not think you can do. It webs itself between the consoling words you whisper into the neck of a grieving child.