“You’re in a ship sailing in the middle of the ocean,” our professor of Philosophy suggested a variation of the well-known moral dilemma, “Children are happily playing around with the dog. Parents are fervently conversing with each other. And a grumpy old lady is reading a book, silently complaining about the noise. Everyone hates how she’s ruining all the fun with her presence. All of a sudden, people realize the ship is heading toward an iceberg and cannot be stopped or change its course unless someone is thrown into the sea. Supposing that there are no pieces of furniture or other things to sacrifice, who would you pick in order to save the rest?”
“The grumpy old lady!” was the only answer that reverberated across the auditorium, loud and clear.
So apparently everyone is sure that a silent elderly person who doesn’t invade others’ freedom is more worthless than a noisy crowd who forces its decisions on others in such a limited space. Negativity was denounced yet again, no questions asked.
Forgetting about the course itself for a moment, I crouched back in my seat, eyes wide open in disbelief. But then again, did I really have to wonder?
The man with the long straight hair closed his laptop at once, his grey eyes already shining at the thought of such cruelty.
“She’s the grumpy old lady...” he murmured to himself and instantly made up his mind.
Not spending another minute pondering, he dialled the number he had been given a few days ago.
He spoke as soon as the person on the other line picked up the phone: “I accept your offer. But only as long as we play by my rules.”
It is recommended as you read this book to listen to a playlist with dark and emotional instrumental music so that you are able to escape reality for a while. Music, like many arts, is able to suggest an alternative universe. So immerse yourself in the following lines and let your imagination give birth to the tale I am going to narrate.
We tend to think of our world as unique. You only live once so do your best to enjoy it. Then again which is the point of living? Are we here only to enjoy ourselves? Will this thought be satisfying enough in our last moments? Some of us may try to offer something back to humanity – perhaps to give our life a meaning, trying to satisfy some other need of ours.
Ignorance and selfishness. These concepts describe us most of the time. We have learnt to call the first one ‘innocence’ and the second ‘strength’. In fact, there are many words we use to justify ourselves. Someone who smiles a lot is usually considered as positive, strong, popular, lovable. However, they might also be regarded as clueless for having no idea what life is about and apathetic when it comes to the physical and psychological pain the others and they themselves experience. They might be attracting the attention of the worthless and they may lie to everyone, including themselves, about how happy they are.
Life is precious, certainly. There are many things to be grateful about. We learn new things and experience a variety of emotions that make us feel alive. But by satisfying that need of ours, we might end up hurting others in ways we cannot even imagine. Life is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Yet most of us keep on living, each for their own reasons. Whether these reasons make us worth existing or not can be devastating sometimes and not everyone has the strength to admit that some people (or even they themselves) are better off dead.
At the thin line between rationality and cruelty, this is where this story begins.