A Thought Experiment

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Coloradomtnman, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Coloradomtnman
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    Some of you may have read "Those Who Walk Away From Omelas" by Ursula K. LeGuin, and understand the point she was making.

    I want to use her story here to see how those of us on USMB respond to it, and perhaps get an idea why.

    If you wish to read the whole short story, visit this site: http://harelbarzilai.org/words/omelas.txt

    Here it is in paraphrased summary:

    The citizens of the town of Omelas are happy. The fields are fruitful, they're economy productive, and each citizen lives with plenty. They work hard and everyone is responsible only for themselves which works well as everyone has what they need. Life is beautiful for each and every person, but...

    The only reason why everything is going so well is because in the cellar of one of the large houses in the town of Omelas is a small storage closet and in this closet is a child. (I know there isn't any logic to that but this is just a thought experiement). The child is kept in the dark, uncomfortable closet, fed enough to survive, is somewhat mistreated, but for the most part ignored and neglected. Everyone in town is aware of the child and its suffering.

    So as long as this child is kept in that room the citizens of Omelas live plentiful, productive, happy lives. But, each day one or a few of the citizens of Omelas leave never to return. Now why would that be? Why would they wish to leave what practically equates to a paradise or utopia?

    If the vast majority of people in the town live long, peaceful lives without strife or lack of necessity just because one child suffers, isn't it worth it? If all the other children grow up healthy, strong, moral, educated, and happy, doesn't that outweigh the suffering of only one child?

    If so, why do you think so?

    If not, why do you believe that?

    There are two conclusions that can be reached by how one responds to this story. The obvious one has to do with what one perceives as morally right or good, and the other I will reveal later.

    Please respond with your opinions.
     
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  2. Rubber Hoser
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    I think it's a dumb story.
     
  3. Coloradomtnman
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    Great answer and I have to say that I would like to welcome one such as you who brings so much to the topic of discussion with thought provoking responses and clever insights into the human condition. Thanks.
     
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  4. Fatality
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    Fatality SunCrackedSoul

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    the child in the closet represents 50 million abortions so liberals can feel good about themselves
     
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  5. Rubber Hoser
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    Did the child in the closet have a gameboy?
     
  6. xsited1
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    So Social Services is taking care of the child. Sounds about right.
     
  7. Coloradomtnman
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    How do legalized abortions cause liberals to feel good about themselves?

    Good job on maintaining the moral highground.
     
  8. Coloradomtnman
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    Yeah, if only the Republicans hadn't cut the Social Services budget the year before Social Services could've had more resources to better take care of the child.

    Now, if all of you could stop attempting to derail the thread and go spout your conservative propaganda elsewhere, perhaps I can get a decent response.
     
  9. Valerie
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    Valerie Gold Member

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    I remember this from college. One of my professors would pose these types of dilemmas on a regular basis and we'd have to write an essay of our gut response.

    My response is that you can't in good conscience know the truth about that child suffering and still be "happy" and "moral" without fooling yourself. In my opinion it is a false utopia, an illusion, and a mental torture in and of itself to know that child was suffering.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  10. xsited1
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    Conservative propaganda? :lol: :lol: :lol:

    You obviously have no experience with social services. It's not a republican or democrat issue. It just is... bad.

    What your thought experiment described sounds exactly like social services to me.
     

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