Friday, September 21, 2012

a mental image.

So a coworker sent me this NPR article yesterday..
The article talks about the power of mental images and how a situation's morality may be decided by the what you see in your minds eye, how graphic that scene is, and the resulting emotional response. 
For example: 

Scenario Uno: "A trolley is headed toward five people, and the only way you can save them is to hit a switch that will turn the trolley away from the five and onto a side track, but if you turn it onto the side track, it will run over one person."

I thought..."5 people vs. 1 person dying... I pick one."

[Side note: I also thought, "Would I have time to ask them who is a Believer and who is not? ha. but seriously]

Scenario Two: "This time, you're on a footbridge, in between the oncoming trolley and the five people. And next to you is a big person wearing a big backpack. And the only way you can save those five people is to push this big guy off of the footbridge so that he lands on the tracks. And he'll get squashed by the train; you sort of use him as a trolley stopper. But you can save the five people."
"Would you push the big guy to his death? More important, do you feel this moral dilemma is identical to the earlier one?"
I thought "Does the big guy have children? How big is this backpack? Would I be charged with murder? Or would I be celebrated as a hero? Would the other 5 people see me or would it be sneaky? Ahhhh! I can't decide these things. God gives life and takes away.."

I thought this article was extremely interesting as I realized that I am completely a slave to my "mind's eye". I am visual thinker, so if I don't have a mental picture of something, I get confused, forget it, and definitely don't have any emotional investment in the idea or event. 
I blame this on heredity.. and my mother. :)

----
Then today I read an article about a little kid, not even a year old. The baby was left in a running bathtub, neglected by it's mother. The baby nearly drowned and is now on a ventilator and will most likely not be able to see, talk or walk it's entire life. 

I almost threw up.

A baby who was healthy, learning, developing and within a few minutes, permanently disabled. This child's ability to enjoy, thrive, and function in the world in which it lives just decreased drastically. I immediately got angry, thinking "who on earth would do this to their kid!?!"


Then my mind shifted to the unborn. Babies who will never see, walk, or talk.

I have to admit, I've never been extremely passionate about ending abortion, even though I know I should be. I am a huge advocate for adoption but have never really been rattled by the secret alternative. Because I know the character of the Creator, I know killing somebody -a soul- that He wonderfully created is wrong. Yet, I have never been emotionally disturbed by this silent genocide of unborn babies. 

So, a neglectful mother physically and mentally impairing her child forever 
vs.
a mother electing to have a doctor end her child's life before it begins.

Somehow one seemed less tragic. One seems less neglectful. One seems excusable, maybe even justifiable.

As the synapses in my mind connected, my heart screamed "NO!"They are equally negligent. Equally tragic. There shouldn't be an excuse for ending or distorting a life- full of potential, full of beauty, full of the image of God.


My mind's eye can be so so so blind..





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