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Sunday, July 18, 2010

wake the sleepers?

Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to waken a few of the lighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, do you think you are doing them a good turn?

Lu Xun
via Alexis Ohanian

5 comments:

Michael Drake said...

What does the iron house represent, and how did I end up on the outside?

Mike said...

In situations where you must choose between alleviating suffering and telling the truth, which do you choose?

Don't say "ice cream". "Ice cream" isn't the answer. Well, it's the answer for some questions but not this one.

Michael Drake said...

Alleviation, of course. Thing is, it might be that contrary to Lu's analogy, we are all inside the house, our confinement is not ineluctable, and our escape depends on these people's waking the fuck up to lend a hand.

Mike said...

I agree with you but I sure like the sorts of questions it provokes.

Mike said...

And where I go with it is highly situation dependent.

The truth can help alleviate suffering but I don't think it has absolute value. I'm not sure exactly where to place it. The question is wide open for me at this point.

I don't equate knowing the truth with escape. Not sure what escape is.

But yes, our fates are entwined.