I’ve been thinking about these insights in relation to a situation that is playing out around me at the moment. An aged mother is no longer able to cope with living alone; she is confused and needs constant care. Her son has moved her into his house, but the daughter-in-law is angry about it. All these people and the surrounding extended family are confirmed, even proselytising, atheists. Phrases like ‘you wouldn’t prolong the life of a dog, you’d do the kind thing and put it down,’ soften harsher ones like ‘she never looked after her own mother.’ There is a strong agreement among them that euthanasia should be made legal. I used to agree, I used to think, I should have the right to choose when to finish my life. But watching this drama unfold makes me think differently. If euthanasia was made legal, the pressure on this old woman would be intense, packaged as an act of ‘charity’ but hiding the resentment beneath. I don’t know what to say to mitigate some of the feelings, so I’ve said very little. Atheists don’t want my tuppence worth of spiritual insight, they would dismiss it, have dismissed it. I think about the Buddha’s ‘degeneration of views’ and see that this is true here. But these are all good people, strong minded, compassionate, big hearted people. I am disturbed by their views, and, because I like the old woman, fearful for her final days spent with a daughter-in-law who despises her for historical reasons, and says everyday: I hope she dies quickly. I try to remain present, and resist judgement. But I also remember the line: ‘evil is allowed to happen because good people do nothing.’ How passive should one be?