Letters to the editor on rational beings, Plan B, mental health

05/20/2013 5:40 PM

05/20/2013 5:40 PM

When we become rational beings

The author of “On being human” (April 13 Letters to the Editor) correctly noted that human cells and human limbs, while being human, are not human beings because they lack the essence of what it takes to be a human being. But he did not discuss the nature of that “essence.”

Historically, it was commonly held that that essence was the human soul, but this nonempirical, theological concept was found to be useless when applied to the actual human condition.

For example, modern life support made it possible to keep human bodies alive indefinitely, even when there was no point in doing so. Kansas was the first state to introduce the concept of “brain death” into the law. Brain-dead human beings are biologically alive, but they lack the essence of being humanly alive. That essence, as Aristotle noted, is that humans are rational beings. When, through the destruction of the brain, rationality is gone, the remaining biologically alive body is humanly dead.

The acceptance of brain death has more implications for our concept of humanity than can be discussed here. However, one of them is the question: At what stage do we become rational beings? The answer to this question is obviously relevant to, but not decisive for, the issue of abortion. Whatever the answer may be, and whatever its relevance, such questions need to be faced.

GERALD H. PASKE

Wichita

Raise awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there are national initiatives for raising awareness of children and mental health.

The Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas would like to invite the public to help us raise awareness in our community while having a great time. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at O.J. Watson Park, 3022 S. McLean, shelter No. 5. In addition to the fun things to do at Watson Park – such as train rides, mini golf and playground equipment – we will have a moonwalk, face painting, a raffle with prizes, and lunch sponsored by NuWay. These activities will be free to the public, including lunch.

Mental illness affects a large number in our community, including 1 in 5 youths. Come together with us to have fun and support fighting stigma that prevents youths and families from getting mental health support.

AUTUMN SCHOWALTER

Senior director of children services

Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas

Wichita

Women being used

Ladies, you are being used. Again. Pornography, birth control, abortion. Now Plan B for children. Wake up. You’re being abused. Why are you tolerating it?

SEAN O’HALLORAN

Wichita

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