Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

An Ethical Dilemma

leave a comment »

A friend of mine has a Star Trek-style transporter and I go through it, but what he doesn’t tell me is that it’s not transferring my body, it’s creating an exact copy at the teleportation destination.

So, for one of me, the experience is that I step into the machine, hear a buzz, and then find myself half-way across the country at a Star Trek convention I wanted to attend. For the other me, I step into the machine, hear a buzz, and then nothing happens. I’m like, “Is it broken?” but it’s not broken. It’s behaving exactly as it was designed.

My friend reveals this and then explains that — sadly and somewhat inexplicably — due to a quirk in the machine’s futuristic technology, if one of us is not dead in a month, we both die from Duplicity, which is the name my friend has decided to give the horribly painful death a victim of Duplicity experiences.

My friend then gives me a Star Trek-style phaser and tells me that since I’m not going to be able to see that Star Trek convention (and also because, having talked to me and not the other me, he likes me more), he’s going to give me a head start and a marked advantage: I’m the only one who’s being told about the stakes. The other me is completely in the dark. So, if I so choose, I can run up and shoot my other self in the back.

Now, keep in mind: up until the moment of teleportation, we are both completely identical; the only differences now are our experiences post teleportation. We both remember the same childhood, we have the same memory of busting our lip open in pitching machine baseball when the ball bounced out of our gloves, we both lusted after Chelsea Scroggins in junior high but never worked up the courage to ask her out, we both were editors of our high school paper and stoners in college. In short, we are each other, but for the last few moments of our lives.

Now, for the moral quandary:

Is it all right to sleep with myself before I kill me? (You know, just to see what it’s like. No homo.)

Written by Greg Karber

July 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm