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Date(s) - October 17, 2016 - October 21, 2016
All Day

Crafting a Coherent Moral Stance on the Sanctity of All Human Life, Especially in Light of Contemporary Society’s Legitimization & Practice of All Sorts of ‘Deathmaking’ of Unwanted & Devalued People

This workshop is being sponsored by the Syracuse University Training Institute. The speakers are a group of people who have been studying the topic & presentation materials over a period of years, under the instruction & direction, & with the collaboration, of the late professor Wolf Wolfensberger, past director of the above Training Institute.  

This workshop will take place in Syracuse, New York. Exact location is to be confirmed.

For more information, please contact Susan Thomas at:


Who the workshop is for:

This event is intended for two kinds of people: (a) those who perceive that death ‘is in the air,’ so to speak, in the sense that there is a gathering momentum that works towards the ‘deathmaking’ of several classes of people, including those with impairments, the debilitated sick & lowly people without defenders; & (b) those who are uncomfortable with a pick-&-choose approach that endorses some deathmakings & objects to others, & who would like to work toward a more coherent position on the sanctity of human life. It is especially relevant for any such persons who are on the side of societally devalued people, e.g., as family members, advocates or service workers.

Content of the workshop: 

The content of this workshop attempts to accomplish four aims:

  1. To explain the growing support in contemporary society for various forms of ‘deathmaking’ of people who are impaired, debilitated, poor, elderly, unwanted, etc., & that such deathmaking has already begun on such a large scale that the term genocide is warranted to describe it. The word ‘deathmaking’ refers both to any practices which kill people outright, as well as to those that greatly hasten death, that are inimical to health & life, or that lead other people to act against a person or group so as to increase their risk of death or even to inflict death on that person or group.
  2. To orient participants to the deceptive disguises & interpretations (‘detoxifications’) that are given to deathmaking, so as to make it less obvious & less repugnant.
  3. To spell out the values & dynamics deeply embedded in society that are leading to these developments.
  4. To help participants to see the validity of a coherent moral stance in defense of all human life & what such a stance would entail, & to work towards such a stance for themselves.

This event stresses that it is imperative for people who understand the dynamics of contemporary deathmaking to take strong moral stands to protect & defend the lives of endangered people, most of whom are members of societally devalued classes. This event also emphasizes that each individual must make a personal moral decision, & craft a personal moral stance on the issues, regardless whether anyone else does so & regardless whether any group, organization, or society will adopt it. More specifically, the following topics will be covered:

  1. The universal dynamics in any episode of deathmaking, including that some deathmaking can be very indirect.
  2. The universal dynamics in human beings & in societies which predispose first towards social devaluation, &      subsequently towards deathmaking of a devalued party.
  3. How the killing of impaired people in Germany during the Nazi era came about, as one example of how a large-scale killing of devalued people can be planned & carried out, & can be ‘detoxified.’ This historic episode has much to teach us about the current situation in our own society.
  4. Value trends & developments in contemporary society which press for both direct & indirect deathmaking of devalued people. This analysis tends to be very wrenching for participants because practically everyone in modern society is implicated in at least some of these values & lifestyles to at least some degree, & therefore in the deathmaking that these entail.
  5. Evidence that many sectors of society support & endorse various forms of both direct & indirect deathmaking.
  6. The major forms of contemporary deathmaking that are directed against devalued groups, including (but not limited to): systematic marginalization of devalued parties; widespread attachment to devalued people of images of subhumanity, garbage, menace, sickness & death, which elicits rejection & even violence from others towards them; the abuse & life-endangering conditions to which devalued people are subjected (including massive mind-drugging), even within settings that are supposed to serve them, & even within their families; abortion; infanticide; the increasingly common denial of elementary (not even extraordinary) life supports to the sick, such as nourishment & liquids; the promotion of suicide; the destruction of life-upholding forms of community.
  7. The kinds of settings in which devalued people are most at risk
  8. The number of devalued people who are being made dead
  9. The many ways in which deathmaking is concealed, covered up, denied, disguised & otherwise ‘detoxified,’ so that people are less able to recognize deathmaking for what it is or to combat it, & are even more likely to join & support it
  10. Likely consequences to individuals & societies that engage in deathmaking.
  11. What gives validity & ‘coherency’ to a position, & the presentation of one coherent position that rejects all intentional deathmaking of humans. Especially, the workshop proposes that life & life-giving are connected in a form of unity, & that death & all forms of deathmaking are similarly connected, & that therefore what is called for are strong & coherent positions against all intentional deathmaking in order to seriously combat it.
  12. Strategies that any person (especially family members & concerned human service workers) can adopt in order to combat deathmaking.
  13. Issues in serving people said to be ‘dying,’ including (a) an analysis of under what conditions life supports may or may not be refused, withheld, or withdrawn, & (b) the concept of ‘hospice’ services for those said to be near death.


The workshop content is usually very challenging for most participants, even those who come already  alarmed by & opposed to at least some deathmakings.

Format of the workshop: The event is conducted as a series of lecture presentations of various lengths, with extensive use of overhead transparencies & slides to illustrate the presentations. Each presentation consists of a carefully designed body of ideas, historical material &/or analysis. Discussion takes place

after the presentation of a specific topic. Each presentation builds on earlier ones, making the entire event extremely sequential & tightly woven, so that a person cannot miss any presentation without suffering a great loss in continuity & understanding.

The material builds towards the presentation of a coherent stance on the sanctity of all human life, & in opposition to all intentional deathmaking of humans, in the last part of the event. It is only then that action implications–that is, what a person might or should do–are presented. Some participants in the past have not understood this, & therefore have demanded answers as to ‘what to do’ early, &/or made travel arrangements so as to arrive late & miss crucial introductory material or so as to leave before the end of the event. Participants should plan to attend the event in its entirety.