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2. Ethics and Morality

1. You Are What You Wish

Ethics and Morality

on 2017-06-11 08:17:38

1630 hits, 50 views, 1 upvotes.

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Jon met Karyn the next day and told her he had a solution to undoing her wish. Kind of.

"I just wanted to tell you about it before I did it," he said.

"Ok. What's your plan."

"There's a type of bird, called a 'booby'. And of course a hare is a sort of rabbit. So yesterday, when you wished you had big boobs and long blond hair, I'm going to specify that you asked for two pet birds and a rabbit."

At this Karyn burst out into laughter. "Oh... ha ha ha... oh my god! That's so... that's ha ha. That's so stupid it's... as they say, that's just stupid enough to work."

"Hopefully 'boob' is an acceptable colloquialism to refer to the bird. Let's find out. I wish," Jon started, "to specify Karyn's wish yesterday, that she wanted big BOOBIES, as in the blue-footed booby, the type of bird, as pets, and long light-yellow colored hare, H-A-R-E," he spelled out, "in other words a sort of rabbit, that is long like a weiner dog, NOT that her body was to be wished to be modified in any way."

Suddenly two HUGE birds with bright blue feet landed and perched, one on each of Karyn's shoulders. Something fluffy brushed by her feet. She reached down and picked up an incredibly long hare.

"Oh my god, what am I going to do with them?" she said.

"I don't know. Winner winner chicken dinner?" Jon answered. He holstered the rock into a tiny box and stuffed it in the pocket on the chest of his shirt so it wasn't in physical contact with his skin.

Karyn didn't understand the meaning of that for a few seconds. Then horror flashed in her eyes. "NO! I can't do THAT!"

"Why not? They didn't even exist until just now."

"You can't just make something and destroy it, that's murder. Or, cruelty to animals."

"Is it? If I created a new life form and snuffed it out of existence one millisecond later, would that be bad?"

"Why a millisecond?"

"I don't know, some small arbitrary amount of time. If I created a million life forms and deleted them all after one millisecond, would that be unethical?"

"I... I don't know," she admitted. "Why? It doesn't matter though. They already have existed for more than a millisecond."

"Ok, where would you draw the line? 1 second? A minute?"

"I didn't say I would even draw it at a nanosecond. I just don't want to kill anything."

"But doesn't that just undo their creation? I'm not saying I'm disagreeing with you, just playing devil's advocate. Tell me why that is immoral. Argue the case."

"Would you like being killed?"

"Don't shift the topic to me. This isn't about me. The question is, if life can easily be created by this stone in unlimited quantity, what is the net difference between them never having existed in the first place if that life is then killed. Am I a murderer, or exhibiting cruelty to animals, for not using the stone right now to create vast quantities of life forms at every opportunity, because I'm preventing their potential existences from being realized? How is not creating them any different from killing them?"

"That's... damnit Jon, what do you want me to say, that life is meaningless and worthless and nothing matters?"

"Well maybe it is. I'm not even sure this stone can't bring the dead back to life. In that case, if something was killed, its death could always be undone too, so there isn't even any consequence for death. Want to see if we can meet my grandfather?"

"That... that's so unbelievably scary. What's really scary is that you might be right, and if it really can undo death. Can that thing be even that powerful?"

"I don't know," Jon said. "I haven't tried it. But last night I did use it to recover a scroll from the lost library of Alexandria. So I'm thinking the answer is yes. At the very least it can recover information from the past. Why not then the information, all the memories and thoughts, from the minds of people who died and decayed, thus recovering the person. If so, is murder even immoral? The only way anything could be dead for good is if I wished it was dead."

Karyn was mesmerized by the unbelievable potential power of this thing. "That would mean that a careless wish could be drastically worse than killing someone by shooting him in the head. If I wished someone was different, that would do permanent damage, but not even killing him is permanent damage."

"That seems like it could be the case. I know just how to test it. I know just the one to test it on, so that it wouldn't be objectionable if we had to kill the experiment." Jon got out the little box and held the stone. "I wish that right here, right now, into the body of a 6 year old girl, would be reconstructed and resurrected, Adolf Hitler."

"What the FUCK!?" Karyn cried. "Oh my god!" she jumped back from the little girl, as if stereotypically jumping on a table at the sight of a mouse.

The little girl was terrified herself. She shouted "Was ist los!? Wer bist du!?" She then looked at her hands, and down at her body. "Oh mein Gott!" she squeaked.

Jon blushed and averted his eyes and said "I wish Hitler was wearing clothes. And could speak English. I'd say the experiment was a success."

"Who are you? I'm speaking English! Why am I speaking English! What happened to me! Who are you!" the anxious girl said. She looked distant for a moment. "Am I dead?"

Jon shook his head. He was feeling sympathy for Hitler. This was WHY he chose Hitler, so that he could be harsh, and he was feeling bad about even that now.

"This is not the afterlife, you have been brought back to life, you died in 1945, the year is 2000, and you have been resurrected into the body of a 6 year old girl."

Adolf was speechless at this. For a moment. Then she said "How?"

"Magic," Jon answered.

"Magic," she repeated softly. "Why?" she asked resoundingly.

"An experiment."

"What sort of experiment."

"An experiment in ethics, involving life and death. I have the means to create life in any quantity, and to destroy it, to even bring the dead back to life. The question is, is it immoral to do that?"

"Why me?"

"Because you are pretty much considered to be one of history's greatest monsters. In our culture as it is today, your name is practically synonymous with evil itself. 55 years after your death, no one names their children Adolf any more, unless for maybe a few who are making a statement that they are taking a VERY unpopular ideological position and are willing to be pariahs and make their children pariahs for it. And nobody cares about your well-being. And if it comes to it, no one would have any objections to us mistreating our experiment subject."

"Lovely," said Hitler. "Are you god?"

Jon made a quick "ha" sound at this. "No, I'm not god. But let's just say that I have the ability to do literally anything. So for all intents and purposes, I guess there's not much difference."

"Can I say something?" asked Karyn.

Hitler and Jon both looked at her direction.

"This is absolutely fucking nuts."

"I like her," said Adolf.

"Don't like me. Please don't like me," Karyn pled.

"Oh come on, I'm not so bad," Hitler said. "Why do you have two boobies?"

Karyn's eyes went wide. "WHAT? Oh. The birds," she said, looking to the left and right, them still perching on her shoulders.

"We were just discussing that we might eat them," Jon said.

"I want no part of that," said Adolf. "I'm a vegetarian." She stroked the odd looking bunny rabbit. The bunny rubbed its head against her hand. "So, what are you going to do next. Give me some sort of test?"

"Actually, I was just testing to see if I COULD resurrect someone, and if there would be unforeseen side-effects. Apparently the answers are yes, and no. The plan was that I would just send you right back to oblivion. It has been interesting meeting you and talking with you, but it would be needlessly cruel to prolong this. Goodbye Ms. Hitler. I wish Hitler was dead again, not leaving behind a body, would just painlessly cease to exist."

Adolf closed her eyes, preparing to be snuffed out of existence by a power so vast and incomprehensible that it occurred to her that it was actually an honor to be snuffed out that way, as she continued to pet the bunny rabbit. Back to oblivion, she thought. This time it's the actual end. There was no afterlife he had experienced these 55 years. He hadn't been in heaven or hell.

Seconds passed. She felt the rabbit's nose twitch against her fingers. She cracked open an eyelid, just slightly. Then slowly opened both eyes, and looked down at herself again. Then back at Jon. "I'm still here."

"Oh, right," Jon said. "I can't undo earlier wishes. So I can't kill you with magic, since it was what brought you to life."

"Huh," Hitler said. "So I'm immortal?"

"No. It just means that if we want to kill you, we have to do it the old fashioned way."

"The question is, can you do that?" Asked Adolf.

Jon thought for a moment.

"Get out of here. Just... just get out of here. Don't make contact with us again. Live a good life, and don't hurt anyone.... Adele. Or whatever name you want to pick for yourself. Maybe go become an artist like you almost did the first time. Maybe go out of your way to make friends with a Jewish person. But whatever you do, just don't make me regret this."

Still holding the big bunny rabbit, she walked off, out of sight.

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