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February 25, 2002: If: How far to go?

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If Project - February: If asked to do something that you would otherwise find morally repugnant, what would it take to convince you to do it? What's your price?

There are a lot of things I currently won't do. Right now, it's fairly safe to assume that I will never go hang gliding, parasailing, or leap from anything high attached only by a bungee cord. Chances are pretty good that I'm never going to pose nude for a public forum, dance naked in the streets during rush hour, or sell my body to the highest bidder. One can also be reasonably assured that I will never eat anything that is still alive when it enters my mouth, anything made primarily from a bodily fluid that is not milk,or anything that has obviously gone rancid/moldy/bad. The last bit is simply common sense; the rest because while I may be brave enough to try some things, there are limits to how adventurous (or stupid!) I'm willing to be.

This is the current assumption. But what if there were conditions attached? If someone was willing to give me enough money so that I could retire from working and spend the rest of my days wallowing in glorious and wealthy sloth, well, let's talk. For that I'd be willing to go a bit further outside my comfort zone, but even that much money couldn't persuade me to do certain things - hurting someone physically, or doing something that would embarrass or injure (physically or mentally) those I care about. No amount of money is worth that.

Money, however, isn't the only bargaining chip, and here's where my firm resolve begins to waver. If someone were to hold the life of someone I cared deeply about, and base it on whether I would do something that might otherwise be morally or physically repulsive, I'm not honestly sure how I'd respond. Would I let them do something to me physically to save someone I loved? Without a doubt. Would I agree to harm someone else in order to protect someone? I don't know. Oh, granted, if I were to walk in on someone committing some horrible atrocity to someone, I'd find a way to stop them, and if their victim happened to be a family member, I'd probably be just the slightest bit more physical about not only stopping them, but making sure they weren't going to be able to do that sort of thing to anyone else for a very long time. But that's in the heat of the moment. It's not the same as being given time to think - being given not only a choice, but the ability to fully accept the consequences of whichever choice I would have to make.

How far would I go for money? That's an easy question to answer. How far would I go for a life?

I don't ever want to know.

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