Human Rights Series

Over the course of the next 10 months, join us as we explore 10 of the basic human rights and their relation to diversity, equality, inclusion, and justice along with what this means within our profession as students and professionals. From the right to life, education, privacy, and many more, we will be discussing monthly aspects related to these rights in our own lives and others.


Human Right 1: The Human Right to Life 

There are many interpretations of every quote ever spoken. Each of us has our own internal dialogue with some studies stating that the average human can think up to 800 words per minute. Every day, specialists in law, philosophy, art, science, etc. continue to debate words spoken thousands of years ago as well as words spoken 5 minutes ago. So, with saying this I would like to suggest an open mind on the subject of life as a human right.

The right to life is one of the most fundamental of human rights as without the right to life, no other right would be necessary. Of course we humans have found exceptions in our statements through time of contemplation. Some exceptions in various countries are for capital offense, reasonable force, and defense from unlawful violence and others that have been unseemingly developed over the years by lawyers, politicians, protesters and others. Today I have no intention of going into detail on what is right and wrong; mainly because there is no definitive answer for any question when tested under various religions, philosophies, and circumstances. I would like to discuss the importance of life.

Let’s assess the three main offenses that humans, on a daily basis, commit against the human right to life. 

1.) We don’t appreciate what we have and what we could have with a little work. “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” Nietchze had a way with words, and my interpretation is that without a little work or “chaos” we are not able to reap the benefits. Knowledge is powerful and requires time and effort to acquire and thus, another key component to life. 

2.) We forget to seek out collateral beauty. Yes, life sucks sometimes but as Joseph Campbell once said “Suddenly you're ripped into being alive. And life is pain, and life is suffering, and life is horror but my God you're alive and it's spectacular.”  Embrace the ache but do not continue to lick the paper cuts of the soul.

3.) Allowing expectations of ourselves or other’s expectations they have for us dictate our life. Fulfilling someone else’s dream other than our own is exhausting. As Alan Watts so eloquently stated in one of his lectures that we allow ourselves to be coaxed into a life of “come on, kitty kitty kitty” into each “milestone” we as humans celebrate. Our minds metaphorically stumble into a journey with a set destination (that big job, that new car, retirement, etc.) and upon arrival we feel no different than before. Watts states life should be metaphorically compared to that of a dance where we enjoy the dance and the music without continuously anticipating the finale. 

In the end there is no secret to life, no secret to happiness, no quick fix, no set list of what humans deserve because there is no definitive answer to anything. There is only the majority’s reality and we get to choose what we appreciate, what we seek out when able, and finally, when to quit. Me personally.. I choose a life of seeking and striving towards maximum potential for other souls and for myself. The right to life.

Written by:
Morgan Booth, OTR/L
TNOTA JEDI committee member