In the video above (click here if not shown), I share recent thoughts that came to be as a result of being presented with the question: “Would you kill a stranger for a billion dollars”? The reflection caused me to realize just how much influence money has on how I process different concepts through my value system.
Note: I am making an internal assumption that the money referred to in the question would be used to help others. That’s why I start to refer to it as a “greater good” issue from the get-go.
- [o:oo] – The audacious question and what it does and doesn’t mean to me.
- [0:45] – My first conditioned response to the question: “No way… no one human life is more valuable than another”
- [1:15] – Why my first response isn’t consistent with my other values. For example, there are many different times we all begin to place value on life, myself include.
- [2:40] – The tricky part is when we try to attach a tangible value (why associating a dollar amount feels negative).
- [3:05] – Flipping the question around: Would I sacrifice my own life to save the life of 100,000 strangers?
- [3:45] – Adding money as a medium: Would I sacrifice my own life if it resulted in a billion dollars given to charity?
- [4:40] – Even though the billion dollars can help save tens of thousands of people, why these two questions trigger drastically different responses from me.
- [5:25] – Coming back to our original question: Why the dollar amount makes a difference in how I feel about it.
- [6:50] – Does removing money change your response: Would you kill a stranger if it meant saving the lives of 100,000?
- [7:15] – What I really took away from the question.
My questions for you…
I’m not looking for a yes or no answer to the headline. That’s not the point.
Rather, I’m interested if adding or removing money as a medium changes how you look at these questions (as it did for me).
More importantly, why does the addition of money make these sort of questions feel so negative? Why does the “greater good” question become so much deeper (or even more debatable) when we remove money from the equation?