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Kill 20 to save yourself? and What you should be doing right now.

  1. Feb 24, 2005 #1
    Let's say no one would ever but you were put into a situation where 20 people would instantly painlessly die, or you would. I think there would be a good amount of people who would save themselves. This is what I feel many many people would do:
    I think lot's of people think they would sacrifice themselves. But when they got into this situation, they would try to find a way to justify saving themselves with an argument like: "I'm better for the world than these 20" or "I'll make sure to save more than 20 people after this" or something like that. Then they would go out and try to save people, etc.

    When you think about it though, why are you going and saving people? It's because you think it's a better thing to do than not save people and you feel you owe society or something. The big question is:
    Why would you wait until you killed 20 people to start doing what you thought was the best thing to do? Why not go out and start saving people now if you think it's right? So go save some people!

    Even if you would sacrife yourself for those 20, it's because you think you aren't as important as those 20 people. But if you believe this then why aren't you selling your computer or something to save 20 starving people and you don't even need to die!

    BTW: I wish I could say i was out trying my best to save people, or help them in some way, but I can't... Or is reading on forums going to give me a better understanding of how to help people better. I think it does to a point, but I'm definitely not doing enough.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2005 #2
    That's very interesting, and I think it is just in human nature to be selfish. Sure, there are some who are entirely not selfish. Nonetheless, it is interesting to study how society works and what drives us to think a certain way at a certain situation. However, I am not a sociologist, so I don't know these details. Human behavior is one of those mysterious things I suppose...
  4. Feb 26, 2005 #3


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    Each person would have different reasons for choosing one or the other. Predicting a certain person's decision to do one or the other, will be dependent on previous accounts of his actions, his current reasoning and beliefs, etc, and then ultimately based on that person's choice - save 20 or save himself.

    It would stupid, worthless, and ultimately unrealistic to completely describe human reasoning for such a decision as one method only.

    Who says what you're doing is not enough? What exactly is enough? Who is right to say what is enough? Maybe you do too much?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2005
  5. Feb 26, 2005 #4
    The Fundamental question you should ask yourself is this:


    If your answer is yes, then the next questions you should honestly ask yourself are these:

    a) DESIGN: What could I have done differently from outset and how would things have turned out?

    b) CONTINUITY: Since things are currently being numerically preserved by repetitious recycling of their imperfect parts via the usual life-and-death cycle or what Aristotle once called 'Generation and Destruction', what could I have done differently in order to preserve them and esure their continuity?

    c) PERFECTION: As things are currently structurally and functionally imperfect, what could I have done differently to allow things to structurally and functionally progress, let alone subsequently perfecting them in the strictest sense of the word?

    If you can find clear and logically precise answers to these questions, I predict that it is these same answers that would fully answer your main question.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2005
  6. Feb 26, 2005 #5
    Philocrat, do you ever get tired of posting that way?
  7. Feb 26, 2005 #6


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    Bart is right.

    Yes, all of us would have designed the universe slightly different, because we do not all have the same way of thinking.

    I seriously don't see any impact in you are trying to say in this post. Your questions have NO RELEVANCE to THIS THREAD. The only smart reply to this can be, "Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis?"
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2005
  8. Feb 26, 2005 #7
    I am not trying to say everyone would go through the same thought process. I think most people wouldn't. But I do think people can relate to this and might get something out of it.
    I was the one who said what I'm doing isn't enough and I believe that I am not doing enough. I don't really think it's possible to do too much if you're doing the right thing, basically by definition.
  9. Feb 27, 2005 #8


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    Alright, I see from the 1st response that you are only trying to encourage discussion on what to do.

    But for the 2nd response...
    I neither criticize nor commend you. However, listen to your own words!

    YOU SAID it wasn't enough, YOU THINK that it wasn't possible to do too much if you're doing the right thing. YOU THOUGHT those things defined the right thing.

    So who's definition of the "right thing" are you REALLY looking at? Someone else's? or YOUrs? Does anyone or anything really have the authority to say who and what is right? If you can take the time and truthfully answer the question above, you will be way ahead of the game. Take heed, and you will see that you seem to have already chosen values for yourself, but are unsure of them because you feel that some intangible thing (ie. morality) is more correct than you are.

    End Reply for TheDonk.

    Not necessary to read, this is just a special addition for those who want the continuation - I think Bartholomew would like this:

    Notice the questions inevitably keep circling back to YOU. YOU are responsible for the decisions you make. YOU make the values you wish to follow and make. YOU define what and how your life is worth. NO PERSON OR THING can tell you what or why or how to live, unless you let them do so. This morality or right thing you speak of, does not exist - only personal responsibility for your own lives. Each man is responsible for his actions, and also reponsible for choosing the values he has for those actions - what happens to him may not be under his complete control, but what happens to him is his responsibility - the consequences of his life will affect himself. As you can see, this responsibility is a heavy burden that most people cannot handle. They must shift the burden over to invented systems that we have long since named religion...morality...duty...
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2005
  10. Feb 28, 2005 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    I have a slightly different view: Morality can be discovered internally or imposed (taught) externally. So while I agree that there is burden-shifting going on (and that, to me, is a bad thing), I don't think its right to call morality itself an "invented system" to shift the burden of personal responsibility to. Rather, the burden of morality has shifted from personal resonsibility to religious (or legal) code, essentially just for the fact that it relieves the individual of the responsibility of thinking for him/herself.
  11. Feb 28, 2005 #10


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    Gold Member

    Deeds speak louder than words

    I think you are right. Ruminating over how to help people doesn't help anyone, even with the best of intentions.

    You can help without sacrificing yourself. You can do it right now, with no training, and no cost except some of your free time.

    Offer your services at a local food bank. Or anythnig else in your neighbourhood. Get your feet wet, your hands dirty.

    THEN, if you still feel you're not doing enough, or start liking it a lot, you can move on to larger, more comprehensive ways of helping. But in the meantime, you're actually helping people.

    Remember the slogan: think globally, act locally.
  12. Feb 28, 2005 #11
    First of all, I agree with almost everything you've said. But you say I'm looking at someone else's view of what's right but I have always been saying it's what I believe is right. Again, I don't believe that I am doing enough, according to what I believe.

    I want to add one thing about morality being subjective. Even tho everyone makes up their own mind about what to believe, and what they think is the most right, most people also believe that it would be best if everyone had those same beliefs. I'm sure I would, if I could make up my mind on everything involved. Do any of you have any solid beliefs that you think some people shouldn't believe?
  13. Feb 28, 2005 #12


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    Herd-like mentalities and moralities/beliefs definitely want the same beliefs as everyone else, because this would promote their system, and increase their power/influence.
    But sharing beliefs with all is not necessarily what people of certain beliefs would want. Egoists for one case, shows that if less people follow their beliefs, the better it would be for them. Egoists would like an altruistic society to live in, because the people want to help everyone else, and they can, therefore, exploit them mercilessly.

    But I would agree to the point, that people would like to see more of their peers around them to have the same beliefs. It is basically a guarantee of one's power and sometimes even legacy - it shows that they have at least one other person that they have influenced.

    However, music, plays or movies are prime examples of why we do not want everyone to have exactly the same beliefs. It is enjoyable to find different views on life and to get to learn about and understand them.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2005
  14. Apr 13, 2005 #13
    there are people who i would save, and in the end case i wish i would let them live, yet it seems the one who put you in that situation is really commiting the murder.

    It is one of those things that you have to be in it to know what you do

    ok, i thought about it.

    I am a christian and so i will go to heaven when i die. So why should i worry about me dieing.
  15. Apr 15, 2005 #14


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    I don't believe in heaven or Christianity, yet I don't worry about me dying (even though I would prefer to live).
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2005
  16. Apr 17, 2005 #15
    Nah. I'd bite it and die for the 20. Doesn't matter if they were the 20 worst people on the planet either.

    We're afraid of death because it is the antithesis of knowledge. We don't know death because it is by definition something we can't know (those who return from death never really died).

    It's really about time everyone stops being afraid of what they don't know.
  17. Apr 17, 2005 #16


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    I agree.
    Most even fear an unknown future - they cannot handle creating their own aims and evaluating their own degree of success.
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