Death: Natural or Unnatural?

Ok, so me and my sister got into a debate over whether or not dying from things such as cancer, smoking, heart attack, etc was natural or not. She’s a nurse, so with all her years of school she believes that dying from such things aren’t natural. I however, disagree.

An example brought up was drugs. Now, she says that dying from overdosing on drugs isn’t natural, because your body wouldn’t normally die if there were no drugs present, but because of the drugs being present, they cause your body to die. A direct effect from an unnatural cause, making it an unnatural death. Ultimately, it’s a death from an unnatural occurrence.

Now, I am a Taoist. So my philosophy is that there is no such thing as an unnatural death. No matter how unnatural the cause may be, such as drugs, dying is the bodies natural response to being introduced to something it cannot handle. Your body dying from taking too many drugs is a natural response. I also brought up cancer. I brought up the point that if someone were to stand outside in the sun everyday and catch skin cancer and die from it, catching the skin cancer would have been a very natural process, as would dying from it. The cancer would be the skins natural response to being presented to too much sun exposure, and the body would naturally die from the effects of the cancer. She disagrees. She states that cancer is not a "normal" thing, so when somebody catches cancer it is not natural, and neither is dying from it.

I feel like she is misunderstanding the concepts of normal and natural. While, yes, it is not normal to have a heart attack, it is however, having a heart attack is a very natural process in the body. So that is where our two points of views collide. She is a very stubborn person and she will never consider another persons point of view. Pretty much, she has all the knowledge in the world, so she cannot understand anything other than what she already knows. Her cup is too full, so it cannot be filled anymore. I think she views death as something that is not natural and isn’t supposed to happen. After all, that is a nurse and doctors life, preventing people from sickness and dying. However in Taoism, you are taught that dying is as natural as being born. And I believe that no matter how natural or unnatural the cause, dying is ultimately a very natural process.

So who would you agree with?
I agree 100% that dying from drug over dose is not normal. I don’t agree, however, that it is not natural. Dying from an overdose is your bodies natural response to the drugs presented to it. Taking drugs is not natural, but if you take drugs, your body with naturally die. Take being stabbed for example, while being stabbed and dying might not be normal, dying as a direct result from blood loss is a very natural response. Your body cannot tell the difference between being stabbed, shot, cancer, heart attack, etc. It doesn’t decide to die or not depending on the circumstances, all it can do is react naturally to whatever circumstances it is confronted with, and if death results, then it is very natural.
Animals in the wild fight. They fight for food, territory, mates, etc. Are you telling me that when they die from not having food, or being killed by a predatory animal, it is not natural? Perhaps when they run across a swamp and a crocodile jumps up and eats them, that isn’t natural? Same thing with falling off a building, or getting in a car accident. Natural means "in accordance with nature." Nature says when you lose too much blood, or experience extreme trauma, you die. Regardless of how these occur, when they happen, you die. That is what nature says, thus it is natural.


  • Tilly J

    Sorry but I’m with your sister, no way is a drug overdose natural.
    Firstly you would have to put yourself in the position to pump the drugs into your body which is not a natural thing to do, childbirth is natural, it was supposed to happen we are born to reproduce, not to go and overdose on drugs.
    Another thing is accidents, it is not natural to go and get crushed underneath a bus but it is natural to get old and frail and eventually die as the body is inclined to do, the body is not inclined to go and jump of a twelve story building, this is just my personal opinion but i believe their is a dividing line between natural and unatural causes of death, the is why the police use the phrases "natural" and "unnatural". Dying at home of ill health/old age is natural, getting murdered isn’t, there are unnatural ways of dying.

  • Captain Aidan

    You say she’s stubborn, but you also don’t seem to be accepting that her position may be valid, so I suggest not discussing the topic with her any further.

    The phrase ‘natural death’ is generally applied to instances in which someone has died in their sleep for no discernible cause, so the phrase has pretty much taken on that meaning.

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