I was going to write a completely different post, but I couldn’t shake this from my mind. The train of thought festered and simmered until I had to exorcise it completely, and writing is the only way to get it out of my system completely. Blogging is therapeutic, especially for people like me who are always on the verge of psychotic breaks every now and then. I digress. Back to the post.
Picture this scenario. Imagine a runaway trolley speeding down the tracks at a very high speed indeed. If it continues on its course, it will kill five people. If you throw a switch, It will only kill one person. What would you do? I got this straight from a novel, “The Bancroft Strategy” by Robert Ludlum, just a few minutes ago, and I’ve since stopped reading it (to write this post of course. I’m going back in immediately afterwards!)
What would I have done? Tough question there. According to the novel, if you decide to throw the switch, you get save five lives but you get to kill an innocent person at the same time as well. To add insult to injury, you’ve done this deliberately and with foresight. You have, in Ludlum’s words, committed homicide. Had you done nothing, you would have had clean hands, with no direct complicity or involvement in the deaths that would have occurred.
I’m still thinking btw, and the jury is still out! However, I’ve come to the following preliminary conclusions:
1) If this were purely an academic hypothesis with no other variables being included, then most of us would go with saving the five. This, incidentally, is what the priests of Jerusalem used as a basis of their decision to assassinate Jesus Christ (one man in exchange for the nation). The whole argument is logically sound (somewhat), but I find it discomfiting, seeing that there is sth inherently wrong in choosing to kill even one person. It’s not our call. Who is to say that one person is more important than the other? All of us were created equal, and despite the fact that the world is one large animal farm, we really have no right to hand over the death sentence to any human being on the planet.
2) If this were a real life situation, then several variables would have to be introduced. The first has to be that the likelihood of this happening to any one person is very slim indeed, and if it did happen, the person involved would most likely be numbed with shock and would not do anything, extricating themselves from this dilemma by no fault of their own (you cannot control involuntary actions by the body)
|Can you believe this guy? what’s he talking about?|
Secondly, there is a God in this world, and I find it hard to believe that everything in the universe came to be by chance. I have not studied extensively on this, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God. That being said, with the premise that there is an ALL POWERFUL God in the universe who is OMNISCIENT, I find it hard to believe that He would just sit back and allow me to be placed in a situation that would necessitate a transgression of one of His commandments. He always has a solution. Case in point, Daniel in the den of lions, his three friends in the furnace, I could go on and on. . .
Something would happen that would either take the decision out of my hands or alter the dynamics of the entire scenario, say maybe the single person or even the five moving away just in time. This in turn has created a whole new problem for me, and a bigger one at that!
|This is more like it…|
In any case, this post gives you more than enough proof to prove without a shadow of a doubt that something is terribly wrong with my head…if you have survived reading this up to this point so far,THANK YOU for your patience!
A pretty little bird told me that this scenario has ethics written all over it. I find it fascinating. When I finally go to campus, I’ll have to sign up for the course. In case you’re wondering, I’M NOT CRAZY!! MY MOTHER HAD ME TESTED WHEN I WAS YOUNG!!
Note: All photos courtesy of http://www.123rf.com