Famous physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has told BBC in an interview that if he had one day become a burden to everyone around him and no longer had anything useful to contribute to the world of science, he would consider assisted suicide.
Hawking, a long time supporter of the legalization of assisted suicide, was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease at the age of 21 and has been stuck in a wheelchair for most of his life.
Hawking, now 73 years of age, says that despite considering assisted suicide, he still feels he needs to discover more secrets about the universe before his day comes.
"To keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity," said Hawking in an interview. "I would consider assisted suicide only if I were in great pain or felt I had nothing more to contribute but was just a burden to those around me."
Hawking doesn't see that day coming around any time soon. In fact, Hawking is confident that there is still plenty more to discover before his time comes, "I am damned if I'm going to die before I have unraveled more of the universe."
Hawking refers to depression as a large part of his reasoning; he notes that his condition leaves him with difficulties communicating and that people are often afraid to confront him and speak to him, which further hinders his collaboration among peers in the scientific community.
"At times I get very lonely because people are afraid to talk to me or don't wait for me to write a response," Hawking said. "I'm shy and tired at times. I find it difficult to talk to people I don't know."
At and earlier point in time, when Hawking underwent a tracheostomy procedure, emotions got the best of him and Hawking attempted to end his life by self-asphyxiation, but failed.
"I briefly tried to commit suicide by not breathing," Hawking continued, "However, the reflex to breathe was too strong."
The entire interview will be available via BBC on June 16th.
Source: The Guardian