Essay on To Save Or Not To Save, That’s a Question

Submitted By stellayiyichen
Words: 1420
Pages: 6

To Save Or Not To Save, That’s a Question
When Bowen H. McCoy, the managing director of Morgan Stanley Co. Inc., and the president of Morgan Stanley Realty, Inc. climbed the Himalayas in Nepal, he ran into an ethical dilemma. There were groups of men from many different cultural backgrounds around McCoy during the climb. While they rested at 15,500 feet on Himalayas, they found a nearly naked, with no shoes, and almost dying Indian holy man, a sadhu. The ethical dilemma they were forced into was if they should come back to the mountain to save the man and probably never reach their “climbing dream”, or ignore the sadhu in order to complete their personal desires. The result is that everyone in the group helped the sadhu a little bit, but finally they left the sadhu in the sun at about 15,000 feet and had pointed out to him there was a hut another 500 feet below. They knew the sadhu was well enough to throw rocks at the dogs, but they did not know if the sadhu lived or died in the end.
There are two reasons can show clearly that McCoy did not immediately recognize that he was confronted with an ethical dilemma. First of all, McCoy said in his paper: “I felt and continue to feel guilt about the sadhu. I had literally walked through a classic moral dilemma without fully thinking through the consequences. My excuses for my actions include a high adrenaline flow a superordinate goal, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity-factors in the usual corporate situation, especially when one is under stress (McCoy).” Secondly, when McCoy’s friend Stephen asked him “How do you feel about contributing to the death of a fellow man?” He even did not “fully comprehend what Stephen meant. (McCoy)“ Also, normally people always react a unexpected incident depending on their values without deeply thinking. Therefore, I believe McCoy did not immediately realize that he ran into an ethical dilemma.
McCoy made his decision, which was to leave the sadhu behind but with warmth and food. We can assess his decision through two ethical guidelines. The first one is the Golden Rule, which has a whole idea—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Of course, the sadhu does not wish to be left alone. Nobody in that situation wants to be left by others. Therefore, if McCoy exchanged positions with the sadhu, he would not want to be left as well. Driven by the desire of reaching his personal goal, McCoy did not consider the sadhu’s life, as he wants others to be considerate of his life if he is in the sadhu’s situation. He only thought about himself and he believed his will was only matter. In terms of the implied obligation by the social contract and comforting themselves, each of the individual groups of men did a singular act to help the sadhu, but none of them went the whole way to save this sadhu’s life. Therefore, McCoy’s decision is unethical if we test it through the Golden Rule.
The second theory is the Public Disclosure Test. That is one of the ethical guidelines, which helps one make a decision through thinking about what will happen if one’s actions are made public. People care about what others think about us, so this ethical guideline is a very useful method to help people make decisions. In McCoy’s case, we can assume there are three different public reactions. One of the reactions is stand in virtue side. Part of group of people think “helping others (saving other people’s lives)” is a character trait that is habitual and good for people to have because they lead to successful human living. They think leaving the sadhu and only pursuing personal goal is an absolutely wrong thing to do, so they will blame McCoy’s action. Other part of group of people is neutralism. They think saving other people’s lives is great and right thing to do, but they probably believe that what McCoy did cannot be blamed, because McCoy did not have responsibility to save the sadhu’s life and he can do what he wants to do. However, there might have some…