So ever since I finished Margaret Atwood’s fantastic and frightening book, “Oryx and Crake” I’ve had this thought churning around in my mind. Now i finally have the second to write it down here! (school’s been surprisingly overwhelming so early… I’m scared) I don’t want to give too much away from the novel however, but the main thought, or rather question I had was, with the mentality of “for the greater good,” and “Majority rules,” are we at a danger at loosing our humanity towards the unknown individual?
An example, in the movie “unthinkable,” which mainly deals with torture as an interrogation method, the only way to force the killer to talk was to do the unthinkable. Hence the movie title. The unthinkable was to torture an innocent that the terrorist was close too, someone he loved. If not, then the last undiscovered bomb would go off and kill thousands of other innocents.
What would you do if you were placed in a situation like this? Having to choose to sacrifice decency and humanity, torture a completely innocent young person to save millions of lives. I don’t think I’d have the ability to do so. Would that mean that I would be responsible for the death of thousands of innocents? Is it worth it to give up my decency, and humanity to save the lives of a thousand? How much worth do we put on our own humanity? It would be really easy to turn into someone we ourselves would consider a monster.
In the book, over population was seen as a large issue to one of the characters. The secret sterilization of the masses was thought to be a good answer to this. Deceiving others as a means to achieve a greater good. Less people means more resources and the ability to feed a larger population. However, is it fair for an individual to have the power to make such a decision?
It was watching this movie, and reading this book that really got me questioning the idea of the greater good. I suppose it depends whose happiness you are sacrificing to achieve this greater good, it is, as they say, easier to do harm to someone you don’t know, and can’t see. We are affected by proximity.
Why is it so easy sometimes, to step on another to raise ourselves a little higher in this world? It’s frightening for me, because i’m afraid of hurting someone in this way. And I’m terrified of being put into a position similar to the ones I described above. Choosing to do harm, for the benefit of the greater good. This is a cliche but, the road to hell can really be paved with good intentions…god I really hate using cliches. I just realized this when I wrote that. But it fits so well! Please forgive me dear audience.
Well, hopefully none of us will ever have to bluntly deal with this. Until next time,