Thursday, September 3, 2009

on death and dying.

This afternoon, my little precious friend, Staley (SHOUT OUT), sent me her current class assignment for the class Death and Dying. First off, I'm pretty sure this class would hurl me into a deep depression and second, I don't think you can actually learn about death or dying until you're personally affected by it. You can say all day what you think you would do in a certain situation, but really-- when that situation rolls around and all hell breaks loose who knows what you'd do.

Here's the assignment, it's titled "The Trolley Problem," and I'd agree that this trolley is causing one hell of a problem.

  1. A trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You can divert it onto a separate track. On this track is a man. Flipping the switch will kill the man and save the five. Would you flip the switch?
    You know what? I'm not flipping the switch. There's a million reasons as to why I'm not flipping the switch, but mainly, I'm not switching it because I'm thinking, "what the hell are those people doing laying down on the tracks and why am I in charge of this?" I'm not going to flip it because I'm not responsible for those people being on the tracks, I'm just responsible for the switch and I'm not touching the switch.

  2. A trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is large man next to you - your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Would you proceed?
    Um, are you kidding? There's no way, adrenaline pumping or not, that I can lift a heavy man over the railing of a bridge. I'm absolutely not pushing this man over. What makes this man's life any less significant than the five people? I mean, in this situation, this man's only sin is his portly stature and these people? Well, they are laying on train tracks, or in this case trolley tracks.

  3. SAME AS #1 EXCEPT the person on the track is your (brother/ sister/ son/ daughter/ mother/ father)? Would you flip the switch?
    No way is anyone in my family dumb enough to volunteer for this and there's no way anyone in my family would ever considering testing someone else in my family on this one. I mean, my brother once chased me around my yard with a baseball bat screaming, "I'm going to kill you!" Those people are dying. Plain and simple. COWLING RULES!

  4. SAME AS #2 EXCEPT the five men on the tracks are homeless and addicted to drugs, the large man has committed no crime and has two children. What would you do?
    I'm still not pushing the man off the damn bridge and who put these homeless men on the train tracks? I wouldn't care if they weren't homeless. The fat man is living. If you're laying on train tracks when a train (err, trolley) comes by, I say: wrong place, wrong time.

  5. You are hiding in a time of war. There are 14 persons with you. One is your 6-month old child. She begins to cry. Her crying will reveal your location and the soldiers outside will come in and kill all 15 of you. Would you stifle your child’s cries to the point of fatal suffocation? not. Who would do this? I mean, I'm sure my parents wanted to when I was like, seven, but really? And why are we hiding? Are we the Franks? How did 15 people get in one really awesome hiding spot? I bet someone else would kill my baby before I would, but it'd really piss me off.

So, I'm pretty much saying I hope I never see a fat man on a bridge, because I know if I do I'm going to have to choose between a man who loves his amino acids and five men who just love to trip on acid.


Corby and Lauren said...

Aw, the memories I have from On Death and Dying... we had a scavenger hunt at the cemetary. You know, we had to find the oldest and youngest tombstones, war vets, etc. It really was a neat time on a cold Saturday morning.

Dianne said...

so help me that is the funniest post yet!! you literally made me laugh out loud (I refuse to abbreviate!)
Aunt Dianne Bucy

Mary Virginia said...

Heavens to Betsy! Please tell me those assignments just get a completion grade and that you aren't supposed to pick a certain crazy ass "correct" scenario!!! The only way this class could be more depressing to me is if Phyll Mill taught it.

Anonymous said...

Is this "death and dying" or ethics?


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