A FELLOW WRITER WHOSE ARTICLES I LOVE TO SHARE
“Philip Anderson is an advocate for barrier-free accessibility, equality, and inclusiveness for persons with disabilities, or as I like to say, “disabled yet able.” Philip is involved in several initiatives in the NHS (National Health Service in the UK), and with various disability and accessibility advisory groups.”
He has become a regular contributor to Independent Living: https://www.independentliving.co.uk/
You can read more of his fantastic pieces there, and Philip is very active on Twitter @phandi(link to Twitter will open in a new browser window)
I’ve shared a number of Philip’s Articles. I admire his talent and how he can express exactly how he feels so beautifully. Also, if you follow him on Twitter, you will see how kind , inspiring and motivating he is towards all people. Whether you are a fellow writer, someone managing a health issue, or just a kind person, Philip is bound to make you smile!
Some of his prior pieces I’ve shared include:
- Link to My Post: https://braincancerbabe.com/2020/10/20/another-great-article-by-fellow-blogger-philip-anderson-keeping-in-touch/
- Direct Link to Philip’s Article: https://www.independentliving.co.uk/philip-anderson/keeping-in-touch/
- I Know That I Wrote a Post Adding to Philip’s Article Below, But I Have No Idea What Happened To It!
- Direct Link to Philip’s Article: Https://www.independentliving.co.uk/philip-anderson/bumblebee-in-lockdown/ (Love This Piece!)***
The pandemic exposes us to life and death decisions over which we have no say. Philip Anderson reflects on how such decisions affect us all.https://www.independentliving.co.uk/philip-anderson/value-of-life-are-we-all-worth-the-same/
Philip’s Article: “Value of Life – Are we all worth the same?“
Direct Link to Philip’s Article: https://www.independentliving.co.uk/philip-anderson/value-of-life-are-we-all-worth-the-same/
GOING BACK IN TIME TO MY PHILOSOPHY LECTURES
If you took any philosophy and/or ethics courses in school, I imagine you discussed the question, however worded:
“Is it moral to kill one person to save the lives of hundreds?”
Philip addresses this question, just phrased in a slightly different way. Nevertheless, the question or dilemma basically remains the same.
In 1967, philosopher Philippa Foot established what became known as The Trolley (or tram) Dilemma. You happen to be by a lever that could steer a runaway trolley away from killing five people, to killing one person. Maybe you would choose the one to die.
But, what if that person was pregnant, or elderly, or obese, or in a wheelchair? Or the five were older manual labourers? No matter what choices you are posed, they all present ethical issues.
The one thing these decisions have in common, is prioritising and saving lives, but not every life.https://www.independentliving.co.uk/philip-anderson/value-of-life-are-we-all-worth-the-same/
THE TROLLEY DILEMMA
Merely to expand on Philip’s discussion of The Trolley (or tram) Dilemma, it presents three scenarios and asks whether one is better than the next.
- The “switch” scenario, the empty boxcar is heading towards five workers on the main track and will kill them all unless you pull a switch diverting it onto a side track where one person will be killed, or
- The “loop” scenario, you can divert the trolley onto a side track that bends back onto the main track. It means killing one person in the knowledge that the collision will bring the trolley to a halt, preventing further casualties on the main line, or
- The “footbridge” scenario you can stop the train killing the five workers only by pushing a man off a bridge above the track into the train’s path,bringing it to a halt.
“The Good Place” A television show I enjoyed for several seasons, which I keep meaning to catch-up on. “. Admittedly, I have not seen the Episode that tackles the Trolley question, but I’m sure it’s very well-done.
The Irish Times IN EARLY 2020 (PRE- covid) ALSO DISCUSSED THIS MORAL DILEMMA:,
BUT NOT RE: THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
RECENT STUDIES (AGAIN, PRE-COVID):
Philip’s Article discusses the moral dilemma, but adds another factor: What if someone had a disability?
These studies don’t factor-in if anyone suffered from an illness, or had any disabilities. It would be quite interesting to see if opinions changed….
Interestingly, the Article discusses the difference in millennials’ answer to this deep philosophical question, as well as the difference in how various cultures answered this moral dilemma based upon a 2017 “trolleyology study“:
MILLENNIALS & AGE DIFFERENCES:
… yes, it has now become an entire sub-discipline – examined surveys over several decades and it discovered the endorsement rate for “footbridge” has been slowly creeping up. This “begins with individuals born approximately in the 1960s, and accelerates among birth cohorts after 1990”, the US and Brazilian research team writes. “Recent cohorts (often referred to as millennials) are significantly more likely to support utilitarian sacrifice than their predecessors (especially baby boomers, born before 1970) – a divide which may contribute to patent disagreement between younger and older adults in real-word debates about ethics and policy.”IRISH TIMES, FEBRUARY 20, 2020
A major study published earlier this month[February 2020] analysing the responses of 70,000 participants in 42 countries to the trolley problem, shows just how far things have shifted. Across all countries, the average endorsement rate for the footbridge sacrifice was 51 per cent. It was higher in most western countries (61 per cent in the US; 56 per cent in Ireland). In contrast, most Asian countries were below average, with just 32 per cent of Chinese people finding the footbridge sacrifice morally acceptable.IRISH TIMES, FEBRUARY 20, 2020
relational mobility (RM)
The report tries to explain what accounts for this cross-cultural difference? Is it average income? Levels of individualism? Religiosity? The authors suggest a different variable at play: relational mobility (RM), or the ease with which people in a given society can develop new relationships.
Pushing someone off a bridge is the sort of thing that would give you a bad reputation in your community. But in a society where you can develop new friends the risk of being ostracised is reduced. Or as the report puts it, “People in low relational mobility societies may be less likely to express and even hold attitudes that send a negative social signal.”
One of the authors Edmond Awad told Unthinkable they focused on this variable for two reasons. “First, the relationship between ethical decision-making and RM was our strongest a priori theoretical prediction”, based on previous studies. “Second, RM does indeed have the strongest and most consistent predictive power.”IRISH TIMES, FEBRUARY 20, 2020
IN THE SIMPLEST TERMS:
The study is fascinating, but there’s a lot of research jargon in there. In the simplest terms, and how I interpret the studies:
Our “moral compass” varies based on our age and culture, but mostly on how tight-knit our community is and whether we would be shunned/excluded from that community if we were seen as “immoral”; or whether we could simply continue our lives as normal no matter what choice we made.
I can certainly understand that logic and how culture plays a huge role in this. Just as an example, take the close-knit Jewish Hasidic community, or traditional Asian communities where caring for your elders is a duty.
While Ireland, my original homeland, has certainly progressed in the last few decades, the Catholic Church previously had immense power over every aspect of life:
IRELAND AND RM – JUST AS AN EXAMPLE
- Contraception was only legalized in 1985
- Divorce was only legalized in 1996 – i.e. women whose husbands beat them and abandoned them, had no recourse through the Courts to seek child support, alimony, etc. (and my family experienced the cruelty of this system)
- An unwed woman (mind you, not man) who had a child out of wedlock was typically forced into homes run by the Church (the notorious Magdalene asylums/institutions). I won’t get into the details, but they’re horrifying.
- Abuse committed by priests and nuns was hidden for decades because you could never speak ill upon the Church, or certainly the local priest
- Before cell phones,Internet and the newer motorways, Ireland was very insulated. Everyone “in town” knew everything about everyone. Thus, many woman suddenly went-off to England for “work”. In reality many were secretly pregnant.
- So, the “moral” compass of the Republic was dictated by the Catholic Church
- As for the mentally and physically disabled, little is publicized. However, in 1982, journalist Hilary Orpen presented a scathing critique of ‘handicap wards within Irish psychiatric institutions., stating “To enter here is like a descent into hell” Further, she stated it “was reminiscent of a prison . Yet, the “people incarcerated here have committed no crime. They resided in these conditions due to a ‘less than average intelligence.”
- To this day, mental health care still carries a certain stigma. “Ah, sure she must be mental.” Yet, this is a country in which the names of people who have died within a County is announced over public radio.
SO, ARE ALL LIVES WORTH THE SAME?
When I ponder my current medical condition, my answer is sadly, “No. Not all lives are worth the same.” That REALLY became clear when the pandemic hit NYC. As I explain in my Prior Posts, had I contracted COVID because I am considered “terminally ill” plus I have no children, I certainly would not be the 1st to receive a ventilator. In fact, I’d be last on the list.
By law, hospitals are permitted to decide essentially, whose “life is worth saving” when equipment is limited.
THE SCARIEST PART IS THAT I WAS INPATIENT AT A PHYSICAL REHAB HOSPITAL JUST BEFORE THE VIRUS HIT THE UNIT I WAS IN. WHEN I RETURNED TO THE UNIT EARLIER THIS SUMMER, I HEARD THE HORROR STORIES. THE STAFF EXPLAINED HOW THE VIRUS JUST HIT EVERYONE ALL AT ONCE! AND WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE COMMON COLD, HERE!
MY PRIOR POSTS ABOUT HOW MY LIFE IS NOT VALUED EQUALLY DUE TO MY ILLNESS AND DISABILITIES. YET, I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS
OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS’ LIVES SHOULD HAVE BEEN VALUED & PROTECTED
THE COVID “PECKING ORDER”: WHY I STAYED IN MY APARTMENT FOR MONTHS ONLY INTERACTING WITH MY HUSBAND & PARENTS
AS A BRAIN CANCER PATIENT, MY LIFE IS NOT VALUABLE ENOUGH FOR BIG PHARMA TO INVEST IN RESEARCH & FUND NEW TREATMENTS
THIS IS WHY NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO BRAIN CANCER ARE SO CRITICAL
CERN FOUNDATION & NBTS: https://braincancerbabe.com/2021/05/10/ependymoma-awareness-day/
THE “COST” OF HAVING BRAIN CANCER:(FYI – It isn’t just monetary) https://braincancerbabe.com/2020/07/25/on-the-heels-of-gbm-awareness-day-highlighting-a-fellow-patient-advocate-adam-hayden-a-discussion-on-the-cost-of-being-sick-and-dropping-a-fellow-bloggers-post-on-heal/