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January 22, 2011

Of all the branches of philosophy out there, ethics is the most awesome one to study because it’s constantly making people contemplate crazy weird hypothetical choices that they would never actually have to make in real life. Incredibly intense, life-or-death, Sophie’s Choice types of things, like, If a man put a gun to your head and ordered you to kill one person or else be murdered yourself, blah blah. Discussing these questions was supposed to be a way of learning the mechanics of human morality, but human morality isn’t like that; it’s more like Should you call in sick to work today even though there’s nothing (physically) wrong with you? Or The cashier at 7-Eleven gave you an extra thirty cents in change; do you inform him of his error? Nobody’s got a gun to anyone’s head. Nobody’s offering anyone millions of dollars to never speak to their best friend again.

If I had a gun, though, I would waste no time in becoming the founder of the Ridiculous Moral Conundrum Patrol. All that stuff from my philosophy classes would suddenly start happening for realsies. We’d roam hither and thither, cornering innocent townspeople on buses, at Zellers, in front of the 24-hour sex shop on Davie Street, putting our guns to their heads, and being all like,

You need to choose between never getting to go to the bathroom in private again or never having children. DECIDE!

or

I can make sure you and your children and your children’s children, etc., have an unlimited lifetime supply of free food and ablutions from [local grocery store] but in order to claim it you have to agree to spend one week of every month totally naked. What’s it gonna be? DECIDE RIGHT NOW!!

or

For some reason I will give you $20,000 if you take this gun and shoot a cat in the next twenty minutes.

or

For some even weirder reason, I will give you $500,000 if you agree to eat Corn Nuts and only Corn Nuts for the rest of your life.

And there are so many others! Who wouldn’t want to be part of a posse that forced people into ethical self-awareness through ridiculous moral conundrums. (Conundra?) The job will offer manifold opportunities for advancement: after the thrill of gun ownership wears off, why not apply for a promotion to the Fund Development Division? Those random multi-million-dollar payouts for giving up sex or vision or solid food forever have to come from somewhere! The Ridiculous Moral Conundrum Patrol depends on the support of generous donors. And for those who are more imaginatory than salesmanly, the Creative Question Division is looking for you! The absurd offers and threats don’t write themselves! Would you agree never to shave any part of your body ever again for $1000? How about $5000?

This is a chance to make self-awareness come alive through insane choices–just like Anton Chigurh, but with a slightly better sense of humour. Please submit a cover letter and resume, the names of three references, and, if applicable, a portfolio of your best moral conundrums/-a. We look forward to offering you long-term employment if and only if you agree to give up all your pets and stop/start going to church every week.

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