Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Dear Ethicist: Should I Be Proactive In Avoiding Being Accused of Schadenfreude?

Dear Ethicist: Am I required to save someone I don’t like? Let’s say I see a drowning person, flailing wildly. I may have my Red Cross JLS, SLS or even Instructor's patch, but I'm still putting myself in harm's way since drowning people tend to panic. If you remember the method is not to go right at them but to dive under water and turn them around by cupping your hand in back of their ankles.Then you surface, placing your hand under their chin. But that doesn’t solve the problem. Unless I’m employed as a lifeguard I am not legally required to do anything. In addition, the drowning person is usually someone who takes chances. Why did they swim so far out or fail to heed the rip tide? Why should you pay? But leaving that aside, we all have our likes and dislikes.There are people we would risk our lives for, those we wouldn’t and yet another class who we wish dead. So it turns out I’m asking another question. If I don’t overcompensate for my feelings and risk my life to rescue someone I hate, am I in danger of being accused of schadenfreude or the enjoyment of other people’s suffering? Should I feel personally responsible if I see someone I don't like crying "help" and do nothing about it, even as they drown?

read "What is Philanthropy?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "It's Your Thing"by The Isley Brothers

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