Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

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Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by mechashivaz » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:42 pm

I think most all know the basics of this thought experiment but for those who don't here is there quick of it:

Five people tied to one track, one on the other. The trolley is set on a track to hit five people but you have the option to pull a lever which diverts trolley onto track with only one person.

What if you muddy the equation on a sentimental or "useful person" level? Ex: On one person track place any: mom,dad, spouse, child, etc or some one who would save countless lives were they to live. What about one's teacher or guru? The equation can be fiddled with even to the other end: the five on the track to be hit are all highly esteemed and or good people who will continue to do good and the one on the other track is a hobo (no offense, it was my child hood dream).

I find nothing is a good choice and it's a miserable thought experiment :lol: I take a utilitarian approach until it gets sentimental or more variables are know. So what's the take from fellow Mahayana practitioners?

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Re: Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by Grigoris » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:53 pm

Why think in boxes? Blow up the tracks!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:15 pm

The Trolley Problem regularly comes up on the Philosophy Forum where it inevitably produces pages of wheel-spinning. My view is, you will never know what you will do until you're confronted with the problem, and it's a problem you're never really likely to be confronted with. It's a thought-experiment, which might be useful in a classroom setting to draw out and discuss various perspectives on altruism and ethics but I think from the Buddhist perspective pursuing it is prapanca. (Sorry if I'm being a wet blanket.)
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by Virgo » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:28 am

mechashivaz wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:42 pm
So what's the take from fellow Mahayana practitioners?
You have to examine the mind that is looking for an answer.


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