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Diminishing Returns

It has been for some time that a subject has been brought to our attention over and over again.  Indeed it has even affected us (my family).  It is a topic that is not going to go away and will continue to be a question for everyone to contemplate on.  Everyone has to face it someday.  It is the question of aging and dying!  It seems many people, including the members in the Mission, have been plagued with it, and many of them (our members) are having a hard time dealing with it and handling it.

In our case it is the mother of my wife (my mother-in-law) who is 86 years old and has Alzheimer’s.  Eventually we found that: The best situation for her was to bring her close to ourselves, let her have her own room and facilities as much as we could afford, and have a digital camera in her room so that we could monitor her.  She is safe, comfortable and warm, fed, and has no worries.  With the help of the few people that we have here, she still receives enough attention and care for a comfortable life.  Anyone who has seen her situation has commented that she is better off than many other older people, especially those who have Alzheimer's.

We have quite a few members in the Mission who also want to do the right thing and take care of their elders.  However, they are having a hard time.  Most of them do not believe in putting their elders in nursing homes, and we share and support them in this belief.  The idea of putting a person with strangers to die is very cruel and inhumane (unless it is absolutely necessary).  Now what is the best answer in these situations?

Of course the obvious answer, as we all know, is the Communities Of Light (COLs), and people who are dedicated to living God’s Ways.  However, we are way off from that situation at this point and we need some relief NOW!  The answer is a well-known fact in business called: The Law of Diminishing Returns.  This law says that: If a business starts losing money (returns) or the returns start to diminish, that product and/or service has to be reconsidered as no longer worth putting too much effort into.

This is also true about human life.  We are born as a child.  We are taken care of until we become a productive member of the society.  We serve the society and the community until we become old.  Then we reach a point where we no longer are productive and become a person who not only is not going to become a productive member again (in this lifetime) but will continue to have diminishing returns.

It is in this stage that the wise elderly person will realize this and work towards helping the next generation to prosper and have a better future.  S/He will gradually transfer his/her wealth to the next generation, and the next generation will pledge to take care of him/her.  This transfer can be in writing for the future, or can happen immediately.  It can be for those the person trusts and those who will take care of him.  However, it is up to the person how he does this, or if he ever follows this advice.

The idea is to help the future generation to have something to build on and also for the elderly to be taken care of by those whom they trust and love.  This does not mean that if an elderly person does not have money, he or she should be ignored.  However, those who have worked hard and created wealth (can be intangible, such as a life of selfless service) that can help the next generation should have more.  In any case, they should be taken care of.

However, elderly people (or anyone) who spend their resources just on themselves (selfishly) will destroy the community and the society in the long run.  A selfish life is not sustainable for long!  So the ideal is for people to save and also leave something for the future generation so they will have a better life.

When the diminishing returns reach a critical point, it is time for the elderly (and/or those who Love them) to recognize it and prepare for the final stages of life.  At this point the best way is to bring the elderly person to a loving environment where s/he can be as comfortable and cared for as much as possible.  It does not necessarily have to be luxurious, but clean, warm, comfortable, and caring.  Each individual situation will be different, but the basic idea is the same: To create an environment, according to each elderly person’s situation, that gives them a safe and loving place to spend their last days in peace and comfort.

It is better to die a natural death than to prolong the declining life (last stages of life) by using excessive medical attention, medicine, surgery, and all kinds of artificial and unnatural ways to continue a life that has reached that point.  Indeed, most of the time you prolong the suffering of the old person by keeping them alive artificially, instead of helping that person to have a dignified and high quality life.

Some elderly people might desire to prolong their life even though the quality of their life is poor.  Such people do not believe that they will return into a new life (reincarnate) and are hanging on to the illusion of this life.  They are fearful and have not experienced God.  If people start meditating as children and have an experience with God, they will not be afraid of death.

Those who have experienced God (Godly people) will not ask to be resuscitated at the end of their life.  They will not demand to prolong their life, which will put a great Burden on the community and society.  They will be like old Native Americans who, when their time of death was approaching, would say: It is a good day to die.  They then quietly rested and left their bodies.  Another example is the yogis who left their bodies and reached mukti (salvation) in their meditation, etc.  Indeed, that is how many will die in the future, in the COLs.

The prolonging of life and use of organ transplants, etc. should be reserved only for those who will bring greater returns if they are kept alive longer.  The organ transplanting and prolonging of life by medicine and other means should also be improved so that patients will not suffer after the surgery (such as rejecting the implanted organ), etc.

Prolonging a life in a way that means prolonging the suffering of a person is based on emotions, not God’s Way!


Note: This article was sent to a few people (around 12) in the Mission before it was published here in this Newsbrief.  There were a few reactions that surprised us which I will try to answer below:

1. "So the Mission encourages (or believes in) euthanasia (assisted suicide)?"  No, we do not.  Euthanasia is suicide, and we teach that you should not suicide.

2. "So it is ok to put our elderly into hospice?"  The best, at this time (when there are no COLs), is to comfort them at the end of their lives, fill their surroundings with those they love, read them THOTH and other Scriptures, and help them in their last moments on earth to go toward God.  There are rumors that hospices are being used by those who believe in assisted suicide (read the Snippet on this), and many old people who have been admitted to these facilities have died much sooner than expected!  With this evidence, if people in a hospice are assisting their patients to die, and you admit someone to that facility, that can be considered as assisting those who believe differently than God's Way!

3. "So when people are old, we should accelerate their death?"  The "diminishing returns" here is referring to when a person realizes that their time is up (the very end of their life).  It does not mean to push older people toward death prematurely.  It is best for the elderly to realize this and start the process themselves.  Also, the end of life is when it is clear to everyone that the old person is on their deathbed.  It is then that they are assisted to be Loved by the people who Love them and can direct them toward God and Godly thoughts, etc.

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