Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Survival test

  1. Jul 10, 2003 #1
    this is a simple question with some profound philosohpical ideas:

    how many people would you let die before you, youself died?

    - are you heroic and say no one should die to keep you alive?
    - are you rational and say maybe one or two?
    - or are you a surivor and would let hundreds die before you?

    ~~ just wondering...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2003 #2
    well the 2nd one dosent make sense because if ur goinna die anyway...
    pRABLY the first one but not for being heroic but because some times i just want to stop waiting
  4. Jul 10, 2003 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Depends on the situation really

    I mean, are you talking about a situation where there is no hopes of survival?

    What would be the point in anyone trying to live if there was no hope?

    And if there is hope that one can live, why not 3 or 4?

    But if it was a situation like say, in the movie Armeggedon (spelling?) then I'd definetly sacrifice myself for the survival of everyone.

    Who wouldn't is the question?
  5. Jul 10, 2003 #4
    Re: Depends on the situation really

    this is a hypothetical situation, obviously. you will not die unless you choose for all other people to live, and you to die in their place.

    i don't think anyone would doom the entire human race for their survival. that is one extreme. what i'm asking is on a smaller scale. how many strangers on the street? none? one? a hundred?
  6. Jul 11, 2003 #5

    Another God

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I don't see the point of dying for any number of people. Who are they? Thousands of people die everyday...do you see me running off trying to save them all?

    Do you?

    As long as no one I care about is dying...why should I care?

    (here's me, someone who cried on the september 11, 2001 incident, talking as if nothing affects me )

    I have my principles sorted....so what if my actions don't always follow them?
  7. Jul 11, 2003 #6
    That's hard question, and even though we can answer, I don't think you really know what you'll do until faced with that choice.

    But for the record...If my death would save, say 100 or 200 lives, then I might do it. If I could live but only 3-4 people would die, then no, I wouldn't,unless they were people I cared about.

    Would I let everyone else die to save myself? that depends on a ton of factors. How many we talking? are the all adults, or kids? What I wanna know is that if I die, are these people worth saving? Maybe I'm dying to save the life of a mass murderer, or maybe I'll live and the cure for cancer will die with someone. Who can say?

    But like I said, no one knows what they'll do until actually faced with the decision. Typically heros aren't willing participants. They act most times on gut instinct without thinking. I'm sure the last thing running through thier minds is "hey I'm gonna be a hero".
  8. Jul 11, 2003 #7
    I'd make the most out of the situation. First I would turn to my fellow people and foam in the mouth and clap my hands together. Then whatever I do next depends on a comparision of what happens after a decision and how much I hate the people around me. If people are going to be idiotic like the thing making me make a decision, then chances are I'll say screw them all, and I assume when they all die I get to live, right? For the purpose of saving cows, of course I'll let all of us go kaput, but if we're trying to kill cows, I'd have to die because two people eat more cows than one me. When I get asked the question, I get high from the feeling of empowerment. Also you have to ask if you can watch the others die, it'll be fun. The real question is, do you really want to ask about the pros and cons of killing people?
  9. Jul 11, 2003 #8
    If I had the choice between myself and another person (one of us being certain to live, but the other one being certain to die), I'd probably save myself (it depends on the person - for example, I'd let numerous people, including myself, die before I let my little sister (I say "little", but she's only about a year younger than me) go into a fatal situation).
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2003
  10. Jul 11, 2003 #9
    Blah, blah, blah. Why should we judge who lives and who dies? Obviously because the universe popped up for us to.
  11. Jul 11, 2003 #10
    Who among us feels qualified to say who lives and who dies?

    "some who die deserve to live, and someone who live deserve death- will you give it to them?"

  12. Jul 11, 2003 #11
    In preserving myself, I gain greater respect for life and survive to help others live. How many people can I save in a moment of mortality, as opposed to a lifetime of service to humanity?
  13. Jul 11, 2003 #12
    To be brutally honest... To me it depends on who is dying. I have about 5 people in my life who i would die for. If these people were not in harms way i would let the rest of humanity die.
  14. Jul 12, 2003 #13
    And what if the rest of humanity except for those 5 people would die? Ya you love them, but after 20 years or so of JUST THEM, you'll wish you'd killed them too:wink:

    There are people in this world I'd die for without a 2nd thought, few though they may be. However it's amazing what isolation does to you;)
  15. Jul 12, 2003 #14
  16. Jul 12, 2003 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ouch! I would have to say 33...no...34. Yes make that 34.

    To be fair, I think one would typically have to be driven to this point. Obviously a parent may risk or even sacrifice life and limb for a child. But to spontaneously do this for the guys down at the donut shop is something else entirely. I think that if faced with catastrophic circumstances, I and most anyone else could act with great courage and personal sacrifice. But I don't believe that most people, including me, are likely to jump in front of the train unless mentally driven to this level of sacrifice by the kind of intense experiences that can prepare a person do die for a cause.
  17. Jul 12, 2003 #16
    And what if in living, there was no humanity left to save?
  18. Jul 12, 2003 #17
    I was a baby once, and I hit my head too many times and I still do. Where in my life do I develop compassion? I don't, hahahahahaha. What I do develop is the understanding that when I kill people, they get angry at me. My instinctive mind thinks of things in their good and bad pertinent effects. Quite frankly I get a kick out of stepping on ants until they crawl on my legs and chew on me. Of course gratification for my good deeds is necessary for me to do things, negative or neutral things aren't good enough. Why does this bother you? Because we already have an agreed upon gift giving for those who do good and you are in doubt as to whether I know I'll get an awesome burial. In the case of sacrificing a bunch of people for a few who you like to snuggle with, just because you can toss their lives away does not mean you are supposed to. My argument for killing everyone so that the least amount of dead cows can be achieved is that people eat cows, and with less people, less cows are eaten. Is there really a point in saying you'll let everyone die to save your pet cat because, I like my cat oh so much, it is so cute? If this is the case then you were really wise to sacrifice everyone so they could not beat the sense into you. It is unhealthy to be so selfish! Only sacrifice what is necessary for self-preservation, maybe leave some blind people near you so you can be king. As time goes on the selfless will go kaput and then there will be only misers or drug dealers. Anyways, it's not a question for you to answer with how one person is different from another, the only satisfactory answer is when you confess and say, I'll do anything to get out of this alive as discreetly as possible, and being tortured to death by the angry friends and relatives of those I let die to survive is worse than being martyred, in theory and in practice =). This is a trick question, and historically those who answer it correctly get executed for blasphemy. Kersplat.
  19. Jul 12, 2003 #18
    Per your avatar, I appreciate that perspective.
  20. Jul 12, 2003 #19
    And let us hope that that scenario always remains hypothetical.
  21. Jul 12, 2003 #20
    Not sure what you're smoking son, but pass it on down this way!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook