William P Thomson

One Who Would a Writer Be.


Hello Good People

And now we come to the end, as far as ‘PROMETHEUS ASCENDING’ is concerned. So, we’re now back into the context of the story.

How? was the question. I’ve decided to go to the last major piece of the heart of the subject matter. This by way of going to ‘Carvel’s Address to the IAMS, and headed ‘The Theory of “Second Evolution”. In fact, Carvel was indisposed and the Address was delivered by a man, the Moderate extremis as far as Medicine was concerned, who had been against Carvel’s stance and views, as a Progressive extremis in same, since their Cambridge days, years before. The man being Sir George Purcell. Now, as he honoured a pledge he had made to Carvel barely a year before, and stood to make the Address, they had become friends who agreed to disagree most strongly in matters regarding the direction “progressive” Medicine was taking, with Carvel at the helm. As Purcell stood at the lectern, neither he nor anyone in the room, nor the world beyond, knew what Carvel had achieved within the walls of the CRE.

But …. what part of the Address to note here? It could be on but one topic: EUTHANASIA. When I was writing the ‘Friends of Medicine’ speech, that singular word/subject was looming at the back of my mind. So, at the book’s end, I had little choice but to bring it front and centre ….. within the context of the full Address. In this, I have selected a few paragraphs. They will have to suffice, until those that will, decide to read the book.

The Address was delivered by Sir George Purcell on 5 November, 1985; barely three months after the ‘Carvel experiment’.

Herewith, a few selections from that Address, headed ‘The Theory of Second Evolution’ by Carvel himself.

‘Perhaps my actions will throw into stark relief the meaning of progress, and the consequences of same. Good, if it will take matters from the realms of theory and polite debate and forces a reality check. Make it, society, ME, face what is now upon us – and deal with it.’

‘To those of you who may not have grasped what I’m getting at, let me put it in a single word: evolution. Evolution, ladies and gentlemen. Continued evolution related to the most precious thing on this Earth. Life. Ours.

To me personally, all that has passed comes down to two very basic areas. Continued evolution, and to that very singular life gifted to us all. Let us take evolution first.

I am firmly of the belief that we are in the middle of making the Second Evolution of Man. First, there was the evolution from Ape to Man- by Nature. Now we have the Second Evolution, of Man to Superman – by Man.’

‘ …… It has been made clear to all of us at this time, that it was, it is, and shall always be, to each alone, his or her life. …….By this I mean, when and wherever possible, each individual of right age and sound mind, should be allowed to decide just how far they would have us go to save, prolong, even bring to a close, their life. Yes, euthanasia has to be in this equation. For now, I said ‘prolong’ as opposed to ‘save’. Sometimes the difference between the two acts are not made clear in either debates or speeches, such as this one here tonight.’

‘…….. Quite often, euthanasia is not only the most merciful course to take, but in all conscience, the correct course of action to take. Only religion and the teachings of thousands of years still prevent the reason for this being shown to be so.’

‘….. Let me repeat what I have said once more. I speak only of the voluntary act of euthanasia as, for me at least, there can be no other.’

‘…… I end with three questions to all men and women of Medicine everywhere: What price Medical progress continued? What price Medical progress abandoned? Who, amongst all here tonight, would be signatory to the latter?’

‘Thank you for the courtesy of your time and attention.’

* * * *

That was essentially the end of the book, save for just a few lines on the following page, that I’d suggest supported the old truism: It’s never over ‘til it’s over’!

* * * *

Tomorrow, lighter fare, as I feature ‘GEORGE’.



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