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Would you die for others?
Posted: 16 March 2011 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I can and have acted “instinctually” many times in situations where action had priority over consideration. As a 6year old I saved my 2year old sister who had fallen into the garden pond. I could not swim either, though I knew the pond was not very deep.

Often, a person gives his life for a “cause” other than humanity. This cause may be different (contain false information) from what morally convinced the person to offer his life for humanity to begin with.

But,  “Martyrdom for Humanity?  Who to trust?
Someone comes to me and tells me that it is my life or the lives of all other humans on earth. Such a scenario seems a stretch to me. My answer would be no.

But spontaneous action in a critical situation, where all considerations are secondary to a confidence in oneself to be able to do it. Perhaps it is a genetic animal response which instinctually turns aggressive toward a common enemy or dangerous situation.
Ants and Bees are prime examples of genetic programming for martyrdom in hive defense.

Then also, why do mountain climbers risk life and limb to climb Mt Everest? The answer,  “Cause it is there and I can conquer it”

[ Edited: 17 March 2011 01:04 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 17 March 2011 12:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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harry canyon - 16 March 2011 10:42 PM
Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 16 March 2011 09:21 PM

I imagine that those who do sacrifice themselves for the many, very rarely think deeply about their actions. I’m of the mind that they just react.

For whatever it may be worth, one sees that a lot among those people who “won” awards for valour in combat and were lucky enough to survive to recieve their medals. They didn’t see anything special about what they did, and we’re just interested in doing their jobs and getting their troops out of a very bad situation alive.

I think that is valuable information. Thank you for sharing that.

Take care,

Derek

Radio Lab did an episode on that very thing, and it is driving me crazy that I cannot find it to use as a link..

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Posted: 17 March 2011 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Write4U - 16 March 2011 10:59 PM

Then also, why do mountain climbers risk life and limb to climb Mt Everest? The answer,  “Cause it is there and I can conquer it”

Yes, there are different kinds of situations to risk one’s life. I don’t find those of a mountain climber or a soldier admirable at all (let’s not forget that soldiers also kill people). The bees, ants and others who are closely genetically related (e.g., siblings, parents, etc.) who give up their lives for others don’t appear that heroic to me either. Maybe it’s the mystery of why people would die for others that makes it so, well, mysterious.

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Posted: 17 March 2011 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I’m thinking of Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman as an interesting portrayal of people dying for causes.

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Posted: 17 March 2011 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Humans have been dying for other humans since time Immemorial, what amazes me is that have been dying for their “beliefs” just as long.

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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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