So, What is the Value of Life?

So, what is the value of life?

How do we determine whose life is more valuable than others? How do we weigh the value of quantity of life vs. quality of life? One legislative or executive decision can give hope to one group of people and seemingly threaten another.

The decisions that our government officials must make during this crisis are extremely complicated and inner woven more than we can know. Before we pitch our flag in the ground and take a stand. I think we all could grow by taking some time to examine the crisis from all angles, or as many as we can. This means we may need to suspend judgement and dig for more information. This is hard for a culture that feeds on instant opinions.

Divided Perspectives

It is not all black and white as it may appear to some (actually most). On the one hand, there are the lives of the most susceptible to the COVID-19 virus and those who WILL lose their lives. There are all the family members that will experience the devastating loss of a loved one due to the virus. They likely would do whatever it takes to protect their family including locking down the world to save the life of their loved one. Subjective? Maybe, but real. There are the lives of people on the front line working hard to save lives, puting their lives and their families lives at risk. All these lives are important and have their own story to tell.

On the other hand, there are those that will and have committed suicide due to the loss of their companies or their jobs. Many forecasts that I have seen suggest that suicides that come directly from decisions made to lock down, could surpass the number of deaths caused by the virus. I am not sure how true or accurate that is. We likely cannot know until the smoke clears. But we need to bring it to the forefront and talk about it. Only one side currently is.

There are the 20% of our countries workers that have lost their jobs and may not commit suicide but will be faced with tremendous economical and family hardships. Bankruptcy, divorce, poverty, and mental instability will certainly rise in the fallout. What is quality of life worth?

Unintended Consequences

Some decisions made by our government may have other unintended consequences. If we are not aware, we may miss them and fail to consider them in our mental decision-making equation.

Good things could come from what we perceive as a bad decision, or bad things can come from what we perceive as a good decision. For instance, the decision to lock down the country may indeed save many people from a horrible COVID-19 death but cost us the lives of many from suicide. That seems to be overlooked by many. That same decision to lock down the country may force non-essential business to close leading to abortion clinics being unable to perform abortions. This leads to an actual GROWTH of our population. Some would say that more lives are saved due to the lock down. This too seems to be overlooked.

How do you measure the value of suicidal person verses an unborn person verses a COVID-19 susceptible person? How do you so easily cast off one group vs another in the name of rights or compassion?  How do we determine who gets to make the choice? It is not as black or white as you think.

Us vs. Them Mentality

Over the past month I have seen so many examples of people on both sides who are latching onto a group of people and discarding other groups. It is as if we feel we need to pick a side. Do most people in America suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder? I do not believe that, however I do believe that very few of us seek to see the big picture from an objective position and fall back to a position of comfort and tradition. I am not suggesting that I see the big picture always, but I recognize the value of it and try.  We as people are not naturally good at thinking outside the box if we are not intentionally working at it. We like to huddle together with our peers and jointly point our fingers at the other side.

I mention all of this not to try to swing you to one side or another, but to encourage you all to increase your awareness of the situation to become a more knowledgeable and responsible opinion holder. We need to be carful where we get our information from.Sometimes we need to get it straight from the horses mouth and not from someone telling you what the horse said.  Other times we just need to give an opposing view a chance and seek to understand it better.

I believe when we increase our circle of awareness and empathy, the truth starts to become clearer. Ignorance is the source of fear and panic. Selected ignorance is the source of  disorder. Fear and panic subdues rational thinking and causes us to cling to comfortable, yet uneducated beliefs. Selected ignorance makes us to blame for divisiveness and discord.

Do not put your subjective opinions above your relationships. We cannot afford to allow slanted subjective views to cause divisiveness when only unity will do. So, before you take up your protest sign or pit yourself against an opposing view on FB, try to walk in their shoes for a minute and ask yourself what you may be missing. Now go be nice!

Upside Down World

We are all born upside down. We usually don’t realize it for many years, and many go their whole lives and never get it figured out. We don’t feel upside down, so we figured the rest of the world must be. Let me explain.
 
When we are young, we begin to make observations about our world that seem to make sense. If we want something, like a toy or candy, we can take it from someone else and then we will have. We learn that if we want attention, we can try to gain sympathy or manipulate others into giving us what we want. When we are little, this seems to work well.
 
This type of behavior comes naturally, and we don’t need to learn It. It’s more of an acknowledgment rather than a learned perspective. It lines up with what we already want to believe. It’s our nature.
 
We live in an upside-down world. It is the biggest enigma in history. Those who figure it out, can make the flip and move on. Those that don’t, get caught up in a trap that keeps them assuming up is down, and down is up. It’s easy to get caught in this trap, even after we have figured it out.
 
Have you heard of the Golden Rule? We are born into a different set of rules. This is where it gets interesting. The Golden Rule says, “Treat others as you would have them treat you”. That rule goes against our nature. This is not at all what comes naturally, nor does it even seem right to our upside down nature. Its easier to say “Do to others, before they get a chance to do to you”.
 
I have heard people say “You have to have your own back, because no one else will,” or “You can’t trust anyone but yourself.”
 
I see a common pattern in people who are unhappy, failing to find their purpose . It seems to be that by default, we are the main character in our own story. We live in such a way that we try to funnel joy, pleasure, attention, acceptance and resources to ourselves. We want admiration. We want to have resources and power that allows us to shine among others. More than anything, we want others to think well of us, to be accepted, even admired.
 
The Golden Rule seems like foolishness, or at best a tool to help us shine. The greater we exalt ourselves the more we will shine…
 
The Paradox of Generosity says “The more we give, the more we will have, and the more we take, the less we will have.” It seems more logical to say that “The more we give, the less we have, and the more we take, the more we will have.” That lines up with our upside down logic and reasoning. And this is the crux of the problem.
 
What if?
 
What if the secret to life is to flip our paradigm upside down? What if it’s not about me? Instead of the main character in our own story, what if we could see ourselves as a supporting character? Someone in a supporting role existing to add to other people’s stories. To funnel joy, pleasure, attention, and acceptance toward others.
Not seeing the world not from their own self-serving perspective.
 
All our stories are overlapping. What we do affects others and what they do affects us. It’s time to stop treating others as if they are a part of your story. It’s time to consider removing yourself as the main character at the top of the pyramid. We were born upside down, but we don’t have to stay that way.
 
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25
 
I can’t think of a better main character.