Monday, April 26, 2010

The value of a human life

What am I busy with lately? Well I chanced upon a wonderful site. It is the most popular course in Harvard. A lesson on political philosophy, Justice with Michael Sandel. And it is available online. It was a wonderful opportunity to think about this topic from the very best. In the very first lesson on the morality of murder, I recalled an important scene in the Korean drama 善德女王 in the 22nd episode. Bidam needed some medicine to save about 200 dying sick people. And one way is to sacrifice Deokman to some evil people (Seolwon) who wanted to catch her. Munno is Bidam's teacher. This is the scene.


Deokman: When you get the medicine, you must save 200 lives.
Seolwon brought the medicine, and Bidam handed over Deokman to him.
Bidam took the medicine away but he was troubled.
Munno knew about the exchange and he was furious.
Bidam: If I can exchange 200 lives for 1 life, of course I would do it, isn't it?
Munno: Can human lives be a numerical game?
Bidam left to save Deokman.

This scene was very memorable to me because it did asked an important question, as Prof Michael Sandel asked: What is the right thing to do? Can we exchange 1 life for the lives of 200? In the end, I agree with the answer from the character Munno. No, we do not have that right. Simply because human lives is not a numerical game. There isn't a way to calculate the equation.

No comments: