Second Dialogue of Zhi-Guan

Mo-Zi: Zhi-Guan I wish to know what the value of human life is and was hoping you might know the answer.

Zhi-Guan: First Mo-Zi tell me what do you think it is?

Tian-Zhu: There can be no value on human life for it is a divine gift granted by God

Zhi-Guan: So Tian-Zhu you accept the sanctity of life as meaningless life is beyond all value

Tian-Zhu: Indeed

Zhi-Guan: But are there times when the sanctity of life becomes a gold standard which is impratical?

Tian-Zhu: Never!

Mo-Zi: Actually Tian-Zhu I think there may be, take the case of twins who both need a transplant but only one organ is available in this case one life must be valued above the other

Zhi-Guan: So during such occasions a cost-beneift analysis needs to be employed

Mo-Zi: It would seem so my learned friend

Zhi-Guan: And at present we find ourselves in an economic struggle correct?

Tian-Zhu: That is correct

Zhi-Guan: One in which there are fewer people than jobs

Tian-Zhu: Yes, although I’m sorry but I fail to see where you are leading me

Zhi-Guan: In cases of excessive supply the value of commodities drop, yes?

Tian-Zhu: As a scholar of the economic sciences I would have to agree with you there

Mo-Zi: So Zhi-Guan what you mean to say is the value of human life is not as high as it once was

Zhi-Guan: Precisely Mo-Zi, hence the sanctity of life isn’t a praticial gold stadard for basing the value of human life on as it once used to be

Tian-Zhu: So what you propose is that we treat human life as a commodity capable of being treated in accordance with the laws of a free market

Mo-Zi: But that is how capitalist institutions of power operate and view human life

Zhi-Guan: Regretable so my friends and we live within a capitalist society do we not

Tian-Zhu: Sadly yes

Mo-ZI: Alas we do

Zhi-Guan: So how can you argue against the notion that humans are only valuable so long as the is a demand for them and a supply which does not generate surplus goods

Mo-Zi: It appears we cannot although it leaves us in a pretty grim position

Tian-Zhu: It is beyond grim Mo-Zi it is pure evil

Zhi-Guan: Alas my friends that is the way things are in there current state, sadly I must now depart for I have agreed to talk with Lao-Zhu I do hope our little discussion has enlightened you a little and not left you too disheartened

Mo-Zi: Till the next time then Zhi-Guan

Tian-Zhu: Until then and God be with you

Zhi-Guan: And he with you my friends

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Posted on May 3, 2011, in ethical/political, philosophical, zhi-guan and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. All life is precious. No human has the right to choose a life over another. I can understand how certain circumstances (like with the twins) may force us to choose whose life to save, but what about whose life to take? Is there a difference between taking a lfe and saving a life? (Starting new discussion here LOL).

    • If you forced to choose between two people as to whose life you will save does that same decision then not tie you to deciding whose life you will take. In which there can be no difference between saving and taking a life in these cases as they are zero-sum circumstances as the saving (+1) and the taking (-1) result in an outcome in which the negaitve is negated as with the positive. Ideally from a utilitarian perspective we would like to maximise the positive but failing that a zero-sum circumstance is the next best outcome.

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