Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

What Would You Do?


This could be a fun interactive post. This question was posed on Instagram user @littlebirddoula/@sexpositivefemale’s (Kat) Instagram story. According to Kat, it was a question posed in her ethics class, so she decided to ask her followers what they would do in the following situation.

Four people are on an island. Three are dying, and one is healthy. The healthy person has the organs needed to save the other three. Do you kill the healthy one to save the dying three, or do you let the healthy one live and let the other three die? *Important note: The healthy person does not wish to sacrifice his life to save the other three.

My answer is to let the dying three die. I don’t think it is the responsibility of the healthy person to have to sacrifice his life in order to help the other three people. I’m not religious, but I am spiritual. I believe in a Greater Being who created everything in the universe. In fact, I believe he created evolution and everything science has discovered. I don’t think it’s a Creator versus evolution and the Big Bang Theory. I think the Creator created evolution and the Big Bang Theory. All that to say, I believe that the Creator is greater than us and thus knows things and understands things that we don’t, i.e. everything happens for a reason whether we know that reason or not. I think our Creator caused those people to die, and I don’t think it’s a human’s place to play Creator and decide who dies and lives. Our Creator obviously meant to kill those three and save that one. I don’t think he would want the one to die to save the three.

It is arguable (According to text Kat shared on another Instagram story—I obviously enjoy Kat’s Instagram accounts.) that the benefits of sacrificing one to save three is greater than the risk (three versus one). The post on Kat’s Instagram story said and I quote:

“My next point is this: if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it. By ‘without sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance’ I mean without causing anything else comparably bad to happen, or doing something that is wrong in itself, or failing to promote some moral good, comparable in significance to the bad thing that we can prevent. This principle seems almost as uncontroversial as the last one. It requires us only to prevent what is bad, and not to promore what is good, and it requires this of us only when we can do it without sacrificing anything that is, from the moral point of view, comparably important. I could even, as far as the application of my argument to the Bengal emergency is concerned, qualify the point so as to make it: if it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything morally significant, we ought, morally, to do it. An application of this principle would be as follows: if I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a very bad thing.”
-from Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer

A Google search led me to finding out where Kat got the text.(;

A second scenario Kat asked us followers more recently as follows:

You’re a doctor, and you’re secluded on an island with five patients. One patient is healthy. The second needs a liver transplant. The third patient needs a heart transplant, and the fourth and fifth patients each need a kidney. The doctor realizes that if she kills the one patient and uses his organs, the other four lives can be saved. If not, four patients die. Again, the healthy patient has no desire to save the others by sacrificing his life. What do you do?

I don’t see much difference between the two situations except “you” is now a doctor, and there is an extra patient. My answer remains the same: Let the four patients die because it is not the first patient’s responsibility to sacrifice his life to save the others. I believe things happen for a reason whether we like it or not and whether we understand it or not. We do not have to like it or understand, just accept it.

Kat said the following regarding the first scenario:

“Most everyone agreed with keeping Mr. Selfish pants alive (let’s be real – he is everyone. No one wants to die. Consent and ethical decision making is the key to choosing the right and ‘good’ option.”

So now, what would you do in the two situations?


  1. You are coming into your own with your writing Mickey. I love this post. I don't think there's s right answer. I think there's the real answer (let one live) and the mother Teresa answer (sacrifice) . The selfless answer has merit but only if the healthy person wants to do it. Making you the arbiter of that decision well that takes away free will and makes it a bad thing. At that point you might as well murder the person and take their organs.

    1. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even think of the healthy person's wishes before I made my decision.🙈 I was so set on the real decision that consent didn't seem to matter. And thanks again for the props!! I really appreciate it.(:


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