I would like to get all of your opinions on something, a society about which I am considering writing.
Imagine a society where everyone agrees to a voluntary population control, through voluntary sacrifice. The population is tallied, with births, immigration, emigration, and natural deaths considered. If the total number is greater than their population cap, then people will be asked to volunteer to sacrifice themselves. The Sacrifice is treated like a big art festival, where the lives of the sacrifices are celebrated. They are given their last meal, allowed to work on their ‘last work,’ and, of course, say their last words. They even have a choice of death.
If there is another community with room for more citizens, the sacrifices are welcome to just relocate.
The underlying philosophy is that everybody has a right to decide what they want to do with their life (as long as it is within the law). What they do for a living, how they live, who they love, none of it is a serious social issue because death is no longer viewed as a cowardly way out, but a freedom. The elderly, the terminal, or an artist convinced that they have completed the greatest work of their life, its their choice and the community will celebrate their decision no matter what. For the Sacrifice doesn’t only occur when the pop cap is reached, it happens yearly and anyone can sign up for it.
Two things that are frowned on are sudden death, where no last meals can be given or last words spoken, and suicide, where someone’s illness and pain went unnoticed and they felt life was not worth living. During these situations the community mourns rather than celebrates. The free healthcare helps reduce both of these tragedy. However, to make sure no suicidal persons try to use the Sacrifice to cure their depression, everyone is assigned a Sacrifice Planner (like a wedding planner).
The Sacrifice Planner plans the meals, the activities and festivities, records any posthumous instructions, and organizes the sacrifice itself. They also make sure they sacrifice is mentally stable. For some to be suicidal corresponds to their life not being worth living, which is a mark against the community. So the planner tries to see what is wrong, and endeavors to help make their life better and find a replacement for them at the Sacrifice.
I’m planning to write about a ‘mandatory’ Sacrifice where most of the volunteers are elderly, widowed, or eccentric artists. But one of them is a depressed and suicidal person who just wants it all to end. The planner finds this out pretty quickly and tries to change his mind on the sacrifice. Any thoughts?