Grading a Human Life?

06Nov07

It was at the end of the semester when I was behind on my grading and my mother jokingly told me, as I complained to her the amount of papers I had to read to grade, to throw them down the stairs and grade them depending how they fell: A’s to those that made it to the final step, F’s for those that were still on the top step. This surprised me– I secretly wondered if there was a possibility of getting away with it, so to prolong this secret fantasy I approached my husband. He suggested using a dart board; I stupidly thought he meant to affix the papers to the board and never mind the punctures …

Grading a Human Life?

We grade papers.
We grade coins.
We grade diamonds.
We grade all gemstones.
We grade eggs: chicken and human. If you don’t believe me, go look up human egg donors.
We grade qualities of meats. Think USDA prime.
We grade things to show a level of competency or their rank. What grade are you currently in? What grade did you achieve?

We are a culture that thrives on grades and grading.

Can we grade human life? Is there something fundamentally wrong, especially in a democratic society, to grade human life? Does it matter if we do this before life is initiated or after birth?

This week we’ve read Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas</em>, Harriet McBryde Johnston’s Unspeakable Conversation, and Michael J. Sandel’s The Case Against Perfection. There are some linked themes here, but I think the one we must first look at is: do we believe that there is a criteria, a check list to grade human life. Is there a check list if you will to decide which person deserves life more than another? Are there criteria that would distinguish one’s life as better? Is someone more human than another?

We then must also consider the element of suffering. Is there a criteria for that? Consider Peter Singer’s position regarding selective infanticide.

Do we, as they did in Omelas (FYI: The author came up with this name by reading a sign for “Salem, Oregon” backwards)? Do we stay in the land of joy purchased through the life of an innocent, or do we walk away?

Can we grade this?

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44 Responses to “Grading a Human Life?”

  1. 1 miamiace

    A Human life can always be judged by others but for the person living it, the actions you make define who you are. Human Life can be graded to a certain degree depending on how old the person is, what they do for others, what their job is, how they treat others around them, ect. ect. but the list can go on and on. There are always things that are good and evil, but it’s what you believe in that matters most. As long as you can grade yourself and you are happy with the way you live your life that’s all that should matter. You ever hear the saying “A human life is a terrible thing to waste” well it is truly something to be valued and not taken lightly. I believe a person’s life should be measured then they are in there prime and on top of the world. To some degree I would have to say there could be a check list for human life in our society. For example in our society we have a set way of life lined up for us from the time we turn 5 years old and sometimes earlier. We start off by going to pre-school, followed by elementary school, then middle school, next is high school, finally to college if you want to make a living, and lastly getting the job you need to survive in the outside world. We can be graded by the type of education we received or not and just the way we go about using that knowledge later on down the road in one’s life. To hit the point of judging whether or not one life is better than another is a hard question to answer, but god works in mysterious ways taking life away from the good and the bad people who live on this earth. My belief is that one life can be more important than another; it just depends on if that is a person you know well or if he or she has done wrong in their life. That gets back to our class discussion on whom you would save if they were both drowning? Would you save an animal or a human? In the time of this I think your instincts would take over and you would go for the one that’s more important to you. Everyone has their own thoughts and feeling on this topic so it’s very difficult to just say it this way and no other! You can’t say it’s my way or the highway here because there is always off ramps and back roads in life. No one is more human then another it just depends on that person’s outlook on each human life in front of them. In my opinion suffering does have a time line to it all and in due time can take life away or sometimes grant it. Innocence is in the eyes of the beholder! Everyone can play innocent one day and be guilty the next. Life is a long process of ups and downs and it’s up to you in the land of the free what is wrong and what is right. We walk away from many of our problems but chase others and in the end we tend to balance each of them out. Grading a Human Life is what you make of it so let time tell all the answers to the questions before you!

  2. 2 jenncook

    I agree with Miamiace when he said that the quality of a person’s life depends a great deal on what you’ve done in your life, how you’ve treated others, etc. But really, what makes one person more worth-while than another? What makes death more tragic? And, more towards what we’ve been discussing in class, how do we decide who gets to live?
    In my nearly 19 years of life, I’ve witnessed deaths of more than a few people. Most of them have been elderly relatives and family friends who lived a long and happy life. Of course their deaths are tragic. What makes it so much more tragic if it’s a young person who dies? When attending a viewing for an elderly relative, people would be sobbing and clearly sad over that person’s death and I’d wait in the line to see the family on average 30 minutes, no longer than an hour. Over this past summer, however, I went to a viewing for an 18 year old boy who I graduated high school with. People who weren’t even inside the funeral home had tears streaming down their face and if you got there more than a half hour after the viewing hours started, the average wait in line was three hours. I think everyone can agree that the deaths aren’t really able to be compared. The sudden death of a young person sparks much more emotion in people than an elderly person. Who’s life is more valuable? Some could say it was the elderly person’s because they’re older, more knowledgeable, and have touched more lives than an 18 year old. Other might argue that it was the younger of the two because he had his whole life ahead of him and didn’t get a chance to really live.
    In class we’ve been discussing a lot about Peter Singer’s idea about selective infanticide. It’s a very tough argument. Some would agree and say parents should be given that choice. Certain diseases are very tough to deal with and could very well mean a difficult life for the child and parents. However, with the science we have today, who’s to say that some breakthrough that could help that disease or deformity wouldn’t come along in that person’s lifetime. Also, there have been many cases where people weren’t expected to live past a certain age and have lived much past that time. Sure it may be a very difficult life, but some people bring so much joy to a person’s life. My sister got her undergrad degree in health and physical education and did her student teaching with autistic children. She has been touched by every single one of them. She’s now getting her graduate degree in therapeutic recreation so she can work with these people all the time. Some of these kids are very problematic, but it doesn’t mean their life is worthless. They touch people’s lives every day and I can’t imagine a parent being able to kill their child because of the possibility of a painful life. I think everyone should be given a fair chance at life.
    (Sorry for the long entry and depressing example at the beginning of this—I thought it was a pretty good example of what we’re discussing.)

  3. 3 jhuereca

    I think there is no possible way to grade human life. Every single person is different. Some people lead normal lives, while others have some problems with them and are considered “special”, but I believe that no matter who you are or whether there is something wrong with you or not, everyone is equal. I don’t consider myself a better person than someone who was born with a problem, they have things to work through in their lives that make it hard sometimes, but I also have issues myself. It is hard for me to look at someone different than me and say that my life is graded better than theirs becuase we all are different. We are all born with things we have to work through in our lives, some just have a harder time than others.

    I agree with miamiace on how he said that our lives can be “judged” by how our experiences, but I think that the one and only person that can grade someones life is the person themself. I am the only person to decide whether or not I am worth living or not. I am the only perso to decide who I want to talk to and who I want to reach out to. I don’t want someone to come up to me and say my life is bad because i haven’t helped anyone or that I haven’t touched someones life. This can also be tied into the abortion issue. I strongly believe that abortion is something that is wrong. If a mother finds out she is pregnant with a baby that may have problems and she wants to abort it, I believe she trying to choose whether this baby’s life is good enough to live. Like I said before, only WE can decide whether our lives are worth living or not.

  4. 4 denigris

    The other day in class we talked about whether or not you would keep a baby if it had problem that could affect them for the rest of their life. I feel that this is a tough decision for a parent and it probably is one of the hardest things as a parent you would have to deal with. All parents want is to have a healthy child and see them grow up. Sometimes life does not always go as planned but i feel that if that baby does have a problem it should be given a chance to live its life. I agree with jhuereca only we can judge if our lives our worth living or not. Only we can decide what we want to do with ourselves,who we want to be as a person, what we want to do in life. The movie we watched about the man who drew cities perfectly with only a short amount of time to view them was amazing. If his parents did not give him a chance to live he would never be able to do that. Maybe we are born like that for a reason, who is to say what is normal? You can not grade a life because life is precious. Your life is what you make of it you are free to make you own decisions and no one has the right to tell you if your life is worth it or not. As long as you are happy with yourself and your decisions that is the only thing that should matter. I know everyone has different opinions on this subject, i just believe everyone should be given a chance to live their lives, but I do respect the choice of mothers around the world no matter what their decision may be.

  5. 5 w8ting4science

    According to dictionary.com, the definition of the verb “grade”, is: a degree or step in a scale, as of rank, advancement, quality, value, or intensity

    So I was getting a little worked up about this this and trying to find a way to put all this into words, because when we started talking about this subject it really got me to thinking about what I feel is moral and ethical about human life. I think that just based on the definition of the verb “to grade” we probably could technically grade or rate human beings. But that hypothetical situation would only be able to work if we were all completely alike and had the same scale to be graded on. When we write essays in class, everybody’s essay is first of all on the same topic, and is also graded with the same rubric narrowed down to the few things professor lake looks for in our papers that she thinks would make them best convey the answer to the question she asked us to answer. But how would you grade a human? What scale could you possible use or come up with that could work for everyone?

    What makes life on earth so amazing is that we are surrounded by millions of people, and not one of them is like us in the least. Sure one could argue that you would narrow down the grading system to things like “all egg donors” or “all celebrities” or “all women”. But even within those categories it’s hard to find just a few things you could base a rubric off of. As human beings, we possess a number of amazing traits that can be anything from the color of our hair, to how tall we are, to how nice we are, to how dumb we are. And each one of those things adds to all the things we could be graded upon. If we were to simply grade humans just as we are, people would be receiving what we students often call “unfair or undeserved grades”.

    You might find that some of the nicest people in this world are receiving some of the worst grades because they might not be pretty enough, or smart enough. And some of the most beautiful and smart people in this world might flunk just as easily for their lack of compassion for others. We also could not just simply change the rubric around to fit them so they’d be “graded fairly” because what about all the other millions of people on earth? Unless everyone is being evaluated with the same rubric, no one can be graded fairly.

    When parents are faced with the decision of whether or not to allow a child to be born with disabilities or possible disabilities, I can understand why the decision might be tough, but I also feel strongly about the underestimated potential of that unborn child. Sure I’m not a parent in this situation, so it’s always going to be easier for me to stand up for what I think, and not necessarily understand to the full extent everything these parents go through. But how can we say that that unborn child isn’t going to cure cancer? Or isn’t going to be someone’s friend? or isn’t going to be that missing link in someone’s life? It depends on how you define all of these aspects and on what type of “rubric” we place them on, but I think that even the most handicapped person is capable of something admirable however big or small that might be, and I think that everyone deserves a chance to be the best person they are capable of.

    Like what miamice said, the end of one’s life is the only time that person’s life may be evaluated, and that person alone is the only one who can give themselves a “grade”. If they feel like they have accomplished the things they wanted to in life and feel that they have been the best person they can be no matter how tall, or short, or pretty, or smart, or ugly, or disabled they might be, they deserve an “A”. And each of us has a different rubric for ourselves and therefore cannot be compared with our peers when faced with that task. As for the rest of us not quite at the grading phase, we’re still writing our drafts.

  6. Here is the link to the clip of “Sophie’s Choice” we watched in class.

    PS– THIS IS AN AMAZING MOVIE!!!

  7. 7 delgrosso

    I have a different belief than miamiace when said that “My belief is that one life can be more important than another; it just depends on if that is a person you know well or if he or she has done wrong in their life.” Although living in a society that does in fact grade lives, I believe that one life has the same importance as another life under one circumstance; that is if one life takes another life intentionally without the thought of the others well-being. If one takes the life of another, intentionally, he is graded below the life he has taken because now he has not just taken a life but he has taken away the God given equal rights of the victim as well as the victim’s family, friends, and acquaintances. I also believe that we are all born equally in the way that we all have equal rights. I do also believe that we are all not physically born equally but that does not give us the right to grade the life of someone not born physically or mentally equal than us.

    Harriet McBryde Johnson’s question in Unspeakable Conversation strikes a good argument. “What has him (Peter Singer) so convinced it would be best to allow parents to kill babies with severe disabilities, and not other kinds of babies, if no infant is a “person” with a right to life?” (92). Believing that each baby is born with equal rights gives us no right to terminate a life. It does not depend upon the severity of a disability it only depends upon the fact that a human is a human. The question now rises, what makes us human? I believe that the main characteristic that makes us human is our ability to have our own thoughts. As long as we have our own thoughts that can be recorded we are human. If we have a child who has fell into a coma and doctors believe there is no brain activity, we must make the decision as to whether or not we keep our child in the hospital running on machines, or let our child go. If there is no brain activity I believe it is best to let the child go. This child is no longer human and he will never be able to have his own thoughts or function at all in life. I still have not put a grade on life.

    Another controversial issue on grading life is young verse old. Our world tends to grade the life of younger children much greater than an elderly person. We tend to believe that because the elderly person has actually had the time to live it is not as tragic losing that life than it is losing the life of a child. It may be true when we say it is tragic that a child did not get to live the longevity that the elder did but believing in an afterlife helps me come to the understanding that when we die, we die, and we cannot grade our lives because they are eternal. This, of course, is only based upon my beliefs because I am sure not all can agree with me.

    Although the world we live in does in fact put a grade on human life, I believe we cannot put a grade on life unless one intentionally terminates another’s life without the thought of the victim’s wellbeing. Whether we are human does not depend upon the severity of our disabilities it only depends upon our ability to have recorded thoughts; recorded brain activity. Grading life depends upon one’s beliefs and mine help me understand that we are all equal and we will all live the afterlife so there is no need to put a grade on our human lives.

  8. 8 srosato

    When I think about what it means to “grade” a human life, the two words that come to mind are quality and reputation. Now this notion may seem odd, but people tend to look for 1st rate qualities in others, just as they would in finding the best car, restaurants, clothes, etc…People, in today’s society especially, grade others based on their status, instead of their personality and overall character. When we see people who aren’t as well off as others or have certain problems, we tend to look down on them and feel as if they created their own problems and, therefore, they deserve what ever life throws at them. But on the opposite side of the spectrum, when we see people who flaunt their money and think that they are living the life, we tend to envy them and, therefore, we feel as if they are bad people because they are not helping those that are less unfortunate.

    So as you can see, our society is naturally prone to “grading” people and if we can easily judge people based on their overall status rather than who they are, how can we just sit here and think that it is okay to kill babies that are considered to be abnormal, when everyone in our society is different. Just because a child may have a disability or deformity, does not make it right to devalue their lives. In the reading, “Unspeakable Conversation,” the author’s overall argument is that “the presence or absence of a disability doesn’t predict the quality of life” (Johnson 90). Basically, the point that Johnson is trying to get across is that all babies, regardless as to whether or not they are disabled, have a purpose here on earth, and society will not know what these people can contribute, until they give them a chance to live and explore their abilities.

    I believe that God puts people on earth for a reason and when you think about killing people with disabilities, you wonder if that person was suppose to impact your life or effect you in some way. I agree with w8ting4science when she states, “…how can we say that, that unborn child isn’t going to cure cancer? Or isn’t going to be someone’s friend? Or isn’t going to be that missing link in someone’s life?” These are questions that make you think about the consequences of infanticide and the effects that it will have on our lives and our society as a whole.

    So now I leave you with this question: “Could you continue living, knowing that you had replaced the life of a baby, who was supposedly not worthy enough to live because it did not fit the standards set by our society?”

    I know that I ran this question through my head a countless number of times and I concluded that it would be immoral of me to live life, knowing that instead of having a brother or sister that could have changed my life, I was their replacement.

  9. 9 fetzer

    In class this week, I feel that we have discussed one of the most controversial topics that we have / will discuss. It is the issue of human life, and how we should consider how a person is human or not. We have read stories about people with each with different opinions. One from the point of view of being a handicapped person, and one from a man who feels people with disabilities should not even be born.
    The question is, how much value should we put on it. Value is something that we tend to place on things in general, and how we should value a human being varies in peoples opinions. Just like jenncook has said, we have been discussing in class a lot about Peter Singer’s idea about infanticide. When people are faced with the decision of whether or not to have their unborn baby to be born with a disease or to have them not be born, it is a very tough one for them to make.
    Certain diseases are too tough for the parents to deal with. If I were a parent, it would be very hard for me to make that decision, I would have to think about all the factors. For example, say you are going to have a child who is going to have such a bad disease that they will be in a hospital bed all of their life, with tubes and everything…Not that it is a “burden” on the family, but in a way it is. So much time has to be taken up to “take care” the child. What if you have other children? It is fair to them if you are at the hospital all day sitting there with your sick child even though they cannot see, hear, talk to you, or even know who you are? Also, it is worth them living in a life of pain with tubes in their throat, and going through many surgical procedures? There comes a time when you have to know that it is nice to try and save their life, but it might be killing them more to keep them alive. Although they are just TV shows, there are plenty of times in shows like “ER” or “House” where you see the patient motion to just let them die, that they feel that it is not worth living anymore. In way, they are saying that their life has “no value” anymore. I may have a point of view different then anyone else on this topic, but I feel that by having a person who physically can’t function is more painful to people then having them live.

  10. 10 bboscamp

    I think that it is fundamentally wrong to grade a human life. How can you even begin to? srosato said in her blog that people think that they need the first class things to have a high status in society. “People, in today’s society especially, grade others based on their status, instead of their personality and overall character” is something that srosato said in her blog. I completely agree with this statement. I went to public school in first and second grade and even at a young age I realized who had money and who did not. It seemd as if we were being judged even as children.

    In second grade I met a person that changed my whole entire life. I was adopted from Korea as a baby and I was the only Asian in my class. There was a girl, Jamie, that I will never forget. She tortured me in school because I “looked different” than the rest of the children. But, a girl whose name was also Brittany also looked different. She didn’t look different because she was Asian, but because she was in a wheelchair. She was born with a heart defect and obviously severe physical disabilities. Her birth mother just left her at a hospital. She was adopted by one of the nicest families I have ever met. She was the strongest person I have ever known. She stood up for me all of the time when Jamie picked on me and I was just awestruck that she could do something like that. She became my best friend and I am still very close friends with her and she has helped me in more ways than one. w8ting4science brought up the question in her blog, “..(how do you know that that person) isn’t going to be someone’s friend? or isn’t going to be that missing link in someone’s life? I think that even the most handicapped person is capable of something admirable however big or small that might be…” Brittany was my “missing link.” She has helped me throughout my whole life and I truly, completely believe that I would not be the person I am if she wasn’t there with me.

    In Johnsons “Unspeakable Conversations,” she defined Singers disability prejudice as an ultimate evil. “As a disability pariah, I must struggle for a place, for kinship, for community, for connection.” I feel like this is horrible. What is the difference between a disabled person and a so-called ‘normal person?’ Why should anyone need to struggle for a feeling of community or kinship? Disabled people are exactly the same as anyone else, except they might have a problem. It is absurd that prejudices like this still exist.

  11. 11 jillian12

    I forget who mentioned it, but someone above said something along the lines of how can we grade people because we won’t be able to grade them fairly. Everyone is different, so we would need a million different rubrics to give someone a fair grade. No one person is the same, so how can you say that someone’s life is worth more than someone else’s. We will all accomplish different things throughout our lives, and different things will make us happy. I feel that only you can grade your life because only you can decide what you want to do with your life. I don’t feel anyone has the right to say their life is more valuable than mine. If I am happy with what I have done throughout my life then that should be enough. I realize that throughout my life I will be judged, along with most people, but to me God is the only one who can pass judgment on us.

    When faced with the issue of abortion due to the possibility of your child having a disability, I feel that once again who are you to decide whether or not this child’s life is worthwhile. I may have a bias opinion because I have a brother with a disability, but I would not change him for the world. He was put on this world to do something, just like the rest of us were. It may be something as simple as teaching my family patience, but that is what he taught us. I have learned other great lessons through my brother such as the old saying you can’t judge a book by its cover. Steven has taught me that not everything comes easily, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying. We were told that he would never be able to read, but now he can read simply words, such as exit, food, and his favorite pizza. Because of people like my brother I have found my career choice, which is to become a special education teacher.

    Everyone is special in their own way, and no one should be able to take that away from them.

  12. 12 samanthagallo

    We can not decide that one person is better then everyone else. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but as a society we can not decide that someone with disabilities is less of a human. Everyone has something wrong with them, there are just some people were it is more noticeable then others. And they shouldn’t be punished for this. They are just as important as everyone else. This is where I agree with srosato, to the fact that we are all here for a reason. Everyone has an impact on someone, and if we kill people because they are different, then we may miss out on an experience. And in our society some people just walk by as if everything is great and happy and they are better because their life “is so great”. But they need to open their eyes and realize that life is always perfect. And even though someone doesn’t look like you doesn’t mean they are less important. We are all created equal and no one is less important then anyone else.

  13. 13 pdarms

    I think it is morally and ethically wrong to grade human life, but I also think it happens, however unfortunate it may be. All humans should be treated equally, but the sad truth is that this doesn’t always happen. People shouldn’t be allowed to “grade” others based upon their appearance, religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Personally, I don’t see how you can “grade” human life. However, I do feel that people can judge others based on their actions; for example, a murderer is likely to be valued less than a respectable, law-abiding citizen. But this is only because the first subject committed murder. The film Gattaca brings up interesting questions regarding the “grading” of human life. In the movie, people were discriminated against based upon their genetics. Ethically, this is wrong. And, despite the fact that Gattaca was science-fiction, I can actually see “genoism,” as the film put it, becoming a real thing. Things like discrimination and racism have been going on since time began, and it’s unfortunate to say that they will always be going on. Sad, but true. Nevertheless, I feel that you cannot realistically grade human life, but I feel that it does happen all the time.

  14. 14 robyn123

    I agree with miamiace that a human Life can be graded to a certain degree by others depending on how old the person is, what they do for others, what their job is, how they treat others around them, their education background, ect. We judge people the first time we meet them based on their clothes and attitude. However, not all first impressions tell you who the person really is. Sometimes when I first meet someone I act really shy, not participating in conversations and stand off to the side. After I have known the person for a day or so I may act more outgoing and I just won’t stop talking.

    I also agree with samanthagallo that we cannot decide that one person is better than everyone else and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In “Unspeakable Conversation,” Harriet McBryde Johnston states, “the presence or absence of a disability doesn’t predict the quality of life.” I feel this is true because as a camp counselor I worked with a first grader that had autism, one could not even tell. He was full of energy and was able to participate in all of the activities. Now every time he sees me he yells out my name and gives me a hug. If he was not able to live no one would have been able to see how happy he is.

  15. 15 matticks

    I agree with robyn123 above, I do not think that we should be able to grade other humans on earth. I think a reoccurring theme in our reading, and in life is that every individual has something special to offer. We may judge or grade each other by our accomplishments, our appearance, or our personality; but what does it really matter in the end? I think in the end you can not judge anyone except for yourself. We have to live with ourselves.

    Therefore, I think that grading people is wrong especially before birth because then you never know what that child may of had to offer to the world. For example Harriet McBride Johnson if her parents had chosen to end her life before birth, the world would not be the same, we may not even be writing this blog. She is obviously a respectful person who deserves her life and we can not deny that to her.

    I really do not know if suffering makes you more qualified to deserve to live, but I do not think that anyone should have to fight for their right to live. In respects to the short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas I do not agree to what they subjected that poor child too. Although I do find the symbolism in the story to be very realistic. I think Ursula Le Guin was trying to tell us to look deeper into things and realize what you have to be thankful for. We should not take anything for granted.

    Even so, as Professor Lake stated in class isn’t that situation the same as America vs. Africa and other third world countries. We see their suffering, but still most of us don’t change. I guess that means we wouldn’t of walked away from Omelas..

  16. 16 ericakulp

    No matter the circumstance, grading a human life whether it be an infant or a grown person is morally and ethically wrong. I feel that humans should not have the capability to play the role of god. I agree with “Matticks” above me when they say that grading a baby’s life especially before birth is wrong because we never know what the child may have had to offer the world.

    This topic hits close to home because when my mother was pregnant to my sister the test for Spina Bifida came out positive that thre was a chance that my sis could have it. The tests were not always positive but the thought of having a child with this spinal problem greatly frightened my parents. In simple terms, the docotor told my parents to think about aborting their child or not. My parents decided that no matter if my sister was diagnosed with this birth defect or not, they were going to raise her with this disability. Luckily they ran another test and it came out negative and my sister is completely healthy and has no spinal problems. I know technology is more advanced now than it was 20 years ago when my sister was born, but there is always a chance that a child may not actually have a mental or physical disability. And even if it does who are we to take away the life an innocent child.

    I disagree with Peter Singers view of Selective Infancitide. No parent has the right to discide whether an innocent child should live or not. Yes, having a child with a disability may be very challenging and in fact can cause more stress on someones life, but having to deal with something like that can shape the people we are. I personally would never be able to kill my baby if they had a disability or disease of some sort. However, if a child had a severe disease where they would be suffering for their entire life, laying in bed unable to move with full body sores, i would then consider aborting it. Although this diesease would effect me because i would need to bathe and take care of my child for my entire life, i wouldnt mind. However if the child is suffering and cannot even experience life i would not want to see it in pain.

    i really enjoyed discussing this topic because it was interesting listening to other people’s opinions. AND watching that clip from Sophie choice has really got me thinking about what i would do if i was faced with a decision like that. Sophie’s choice is DEFINITELY a movie i would want to see and im contemplating making it a movie night with my friends mellssa. =]

  17. 17 dancingrl425

    I disagree with jencook b/c I think when old people die most of their friends and relatives from their lifetime have already passed away so they don’t have many people to come to the funeral, but young people have sports teams, classmates, lots of family, etc. that all would come to the funeral. I don’t think it’s necessarily because they are young, but because there was much that they haven’t experienced in life yet that they won’t get to.

    My friend’s mom found out that my friend had a big chance of having Down syndrome when she was born. She was given the chance to abort the baby. My friend’s mom chose to keep the baby anyway. When my friend came out perfectly healthy the doctor realized they had mixed up the forms and that my friend’s mom had been told someone else’s information. I guess this is part of the reason I believe that lives should not be 1.graded on ability and 2.allowed to be ended just because they might have a handicap. If her mom had aborted her she would not be here today. I think that even if she had been handicapped she’d still be the same person with less abilities and she’s a pretty amazing friend so either way she’d be the same person who comforts me when I’m sad or helps celebrate when something good happens. w8ting4science asked “But how can we say that that unborn child isn’t going to cure cancer? Or isn’t going to be someone’s friend? or isn’t going to be that missing link in someone’s life?” This supports my point that regardless if my friend was handicapped or not she still could have made a difference in my life as well as others. That is something that cannot be distinguished before hand, but for the most part everyone in society affects at least one person in their lifetime. Similarly, if she had been born with a handicap and her mom decided to kill her I think that is even worse because by then she is able to think and which is the main thing that makes a human a human. This reminds me of the woman in the writing Unspeakable Conversations where she fought with Singer that her mother was right in not killing her once she was born with a disability. I believe there is no criteria for suffering because killing based on suffering should not be a consideration in the first place.

    The Case Against Perfection author, Sandel, says “To believe that our talents and powers are wholly our own doing is to misunderstand our place in creation, to confuse our role with God’s”. I believe this is true. I believe humans are not the ones who should have the choice to end lives. Whether society has a checklist or not, we should not be able to choose who lives or dies. As far as suffering goes, Johnson who wrote Unspeakable Conversations is a perfect example of this. She was born disabled and her mother chose to keep her. Her mother probably realized that it wasn’t her decision. I think that it basically comes down to having some type of religion or faith in a higher power.

  18. 18 carpedi3m

    Human life with always be graded. Graded on how we look, how we dress, how we act, the institution(s) we attend. In America’s history grading people was always a popular theme: we graded African Americans, Immigrants, and Native Americans. Just because grading people has happened before, doesn’t mean that we just follow in these footsteps. Like in “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”, the community graded the child’s life and decided it didn’t pass the test. Once the community decided the child wasn’t fit they locked him in a closet, so they can recieve pleasure from it, fulfulling their lives.

    Graders are usually masters, or skilled people.
    Teachers have to master years of school and tests, in order to be the ones to grade.
    Diamond salesman have to study gems and precious jewels for a long time in order to be the one to grade it.

    Who are we to grade other people? Who is to say that we are the masters? The only ones who should be grading, are the professionals and masters. There is nothing that could possibly make one life more valuable than another. In “The Case Against Perfection” What qualifies anyone to dictate whether a child should live for not. I agree with dancingrl425 when she told the story of her sister. One life can create a resounding effect on anothers. Little actions and big actions can both create changes in people. One smile can deffinatly brighten one person’s day. If that life were to be terminated how would it effect the world?

  19. 19 afhock21

    Not only is everyone different, but everyone has a different idea of what is “perfect” or “grade A.” I don’t believe a human life can be graded, and if it is, who is to set the scale on whats good and whats not? In the story Those Who Walk Away from the Omelas, the town believed that by keeping this one child locked up and tortured, it would complete their perfect society. In reality, it did the opposite. The little boy was not accepted, and there may have been those who got by on the fact that they were not him.. but, there were also those who woke up every day with the guilt inside of them because they knew what they were doing was wrong. I agree with the above entry and dancingrl425 that one life can create a resounding effect on anothers. Here in this story, in my mind it is a negative affect what this poor life is doing to the community. Yet, an action of any human, whether “grade A” or “grade B”, can effect anyone. So who’s to say that looks and smarts make a human a better grade, when in reality those features could mean nothing at all.

  20. 20 babyblue2842

    I believe that it is wrong for people to grade other people. How can someone think they are better than someone else if they have completely different talents? For example, one person is really good at English and can talk with fancy words, and another is really good with math and equations but doesn’t understand English at all. How can the person with the great English skills look down on the person with great math skills just because they wouldn’t know what “cajole” means. How could they think they are smarter than the math person if they were to be shown a math problem and not even know where to start? Believe it or not this happens with some people, it’s happened to me many times. This is why I believe it is wrong to grade people because we are all different. But then I thought about this English person; If they were to be asked whether or not it would be ok to grade people, what would they say? If they do it all the time in their own life, would they say it’s ok? I disagree with miamiace on this topic very much. It was said that a person could be judged and graded on the way they live their life. They believe it is ok to grade someone that has done wrong to others. But how would that make you any different? Would it be ok for me to look down on or judge this English person just because they have judged me? I believe I would have to be the bigger person in that situation and realize just because they look down on me doesn’t mean I should do the same because that would make me the same as them. Also, not everyone that has done wrong, still believes what they did was right. People do regret the things they do and wish they could change.

    I agree with robyn123 when she say’s “we cannot decide that one person is better than everyone else and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” This somewhat goes against what I was saying above because I didn’t include opinion in my example. But then I ask myself where is the line between opinion and snobbery? Of course opinion about fashion or movie selection is completely different than opinion on the value of human life. Over all everything this blog has been talking about is all opinion. There is no real fact or evidence that has said its ok to grade another human.

    We talked in class about people with mental problems, and if they should be treated the same as a so-called “normal” person. My views on this topic are some what jumbled because I agree with both sides. I think it is wrong to abort a person just because there is a possibility of them being disabled. On the other hand, if I were to be faced with a child with problems that I would have to be there for every minute of every day for the rest of my life, I don’t know how I would react to that. But I do believe if I were faced I might change my mind because after all it would be MY child. Someone brought up the fact that if you were to have a disabled child and not want to keep it, people looking to adopt might feel the same way. This is why I hope I am never faced with this decision because I have no idea what I would do.

  21. 21 joneslaur

    I enjoyed reading the various expressions of others. I think many of us can relate to what robyn123 said about being shy and first impressions. I also agreed on the statement that we should not be able to grade other humans on earth. Not only do I think we should not but I don’t believe we have that right. That’s why the first part of what Matticks said disturbed me a bit. They said, “I really do not know if suffering makes you more qualified to deserve to live…” The words “qualified, deserve” who are we to decide (as a society) what makes one “adequate” enough to fit into our society…why are we “adequate” enough to fit into our society.
    Since such a young age we have always competed. As a young child it was with our siblings and cousins. As we got older, it was with our circle of friends…until the competition steered into school. For many the fourth grade is the time when we first receive “real” grades. Fourth grade is also the beginning of a child’s search for “self.” As a result, grades become the upmost of importance. In addition, grades are drilled into us and consciously or subconsciously we place grades on the world around us. With grades: we decide which student is smarter than the next, what college one deserves to attend, what grade of hair is better, what grade of eggs are better, and so on. We take the system of grading extremely too far when we begin to put any type of grade on one’s life.

  22. 22 itsmiseo

    When it comes down to it, it is possible to grade one’s life, however, like one person said earlier, you would need multiple rubrics. One person could have a total possible points of say 100 while another could have a possibility of 250. Then, by judging how many points out of the total possible they have, you can get the percentage.

    Is it morally or ethically correct to do so? How do we determine how many each person can possibly achieve? If an unborn baby is expected to have little to no possible points, would it be right to abort the child and protect it from suffering?

    In the case of Harriet Johnson, I believe that she had more pionts available to her then most people in her position. But then again, I also believe one can icrease their total possible points depending on their will to succeed. In the end, im not saying selective infanticide is right, but isn’t it possible to get an idea of how to grade life?

  23. 23 ndileone

    This is a subject that I find hard to put exactly into words. I feel like my views often change when I think about this topic. I think when it comes down to it, there should not be a such thing as putting grades on a human life. We go through our educational careers relying on grades because we feel they shape us as human beings, which I think is pretty much a load of bull. People are judged by their grades and the type of students they are. Straight A students are labeled as not just all around the greatest students, but automatically as human beings with the all around “perfect package.” Where when a student receives anything lower then a B, they are often considered slackers in not only school, but in life too. I find very much people are defined by the grade rather than the true effort, and grades can be false on a true personality. Many straight A students have the quality of being book smart, but do they really and truly posses common sense. There are many qualities that make up an individual, not just the grades they receive.

    Recently I have experienced a death of a very close friend to my family. Although there was no blood relation to this person, I had never been so devastated before in my life. Fortunately, before this death I had never had somebody close to me pass away. When I found out that this 49 year old, NYPD detective, father of a adopted child from china, and loving husband, passed away all i could think about was how he never deserved this, and his family did not deserve it neither. This relates to the argument presented above because, this man that I knew very well and loved so much, if graded in life would have received the best grade possible. He deserved all the best in life, and he didn’t even survive long enough to see his daughter grow up. He was all around the best man I have ever met, with qualities of sincerity, loyalty, happiness, knowledge, bravery, and love. If there was such a good thing of grading a human life, he would receive an A, and you would think that the recipient of such a good grade, would in return get the greatest things out of life, but it unfortunately doesn’t work out this way.

    In my mind i feel the theory of grading a human life to never be successful. I believe no matter how you look at it, as much as you believe it to succeed it can never be accurate. If this theory would be possible, it would keep my close friend here on earth, rather than having him watching down on his family and friends from heaven.

  24. 24 dpinkston

    The concept of grading human life is completely inane. The first thought that comes to mind echoes everyone else’s sentiments that everyone is so different that grading life is impossilbe. Everyone has a different set of standards by which they judge life, mostly being used in retrospect. Everyone deserves a chance at a life, no matter what. Not everyone values the same things, so not everyone’s interpretation of a “good life” is the same either. Harriet Johnston is an example of someone who has made a good life for themself, and overcame tremendous odds doing so. No one expected her to be the tremendous person she became because of her “disabilities”, but she overcame the obstacles to make something of herself and do what she wanted. This is the arguement against selective infanticide and even abortion. Why should any person be able to judge the value of a life, especially that of an unborn child? Is it wrong to prevent the life of a child who has the potential to live a life where they experience joy and happiness? I cannot sit here and answer these questions, and most people cannot. I have my own personal views on the issues, and they’re very dependant on the situation, so I don’t feel they can apply to all things the same way. I really agree with laura about competition’s role in our society. We may be competitive by nature, or maybe we just are forced into it by our society. From the time we start school, we compete to be the best or the most worthy, and it’s seen as the most important thing. People turn life into a competition, worrying about who has the most money or property, when really the important thing in life is happiness. We all need to find our “grace of great things” and everyone has a right to their own journey.

  25. 25 fensterb

    I do not think you can grade a human life. What gives someone the power to decide which human is more important? However, sometimes I contradict myself and say there is a point when human life can be graded. For example, if there is a house fire and an elderly grandmother and young child are not able to escape the firefighters have a better chance of pulling out the younger child because it will be easier for him or her to survive the illnesses. But then again, who knows maybe the elderly grandma would survive better. I think this topic is so confusing and there are so many different ways to think about it because I have mixed emotions. I do think grading a life is wrong because who can decide if someone lived a good life unless they are that person. On the other hand it comes down to logistics and what makes the most sense. I do not think it matters if we grade life before it is initiated or after birth, it is still a life.
    I agree with jenncook in that people do see younger people dying as more sad than an elderly person. I think this is because the young adolescent still was still growing up and had so much more to achieve in life while the older person was done working and was near death anyway. In high school, we had this thing we called the “senior curse”, because every year a senior would die. We mourned the loss of these students for a long time and still continue to today. However when a friends grandparent dies it is not seen as as important.
    If human life was graded why do good things happen to murders and kidnappers? Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t think there is any way to grade a human life, I think we just have to prove ourselves because afterall, this is a very competitive society.

  26. 26 vecere

    I agree with dpinkston in the sense that once something is considered to be human, it is no less human than any other human being. One thing that I am not sure of is what the requirement for being a human being is. There are several aspects of life that differentiate us from things like other living creatures. However I have never been made aware of when exactly I became a human, or what the current traits that I have now are, that allow me to be classified as a human. The one major feature that I believe makes us stand out from other living things is our mind. I believe what defines me is my mind, and that without my mind or consciousness, I am no more a human being than my cat.

    People are frequently taken off of life support once they lose activity in their brains. Are we treating them as sub-human? And if so could there be other human qualities that we could lose to make us less than human? This brings me back to my opinion of equality throughout all of humanity. I believe this equality is only deserved if the living creature in question, is in fact human. This being said I do not believe in a checklist that should grade the quality of human life, but instead one to determine what constitutes being human.

  27. 27 longca

    I agree with many of the other people posting in this blog. We can tell ourselves as many times as we want that we cannot grade a human life. Yet we each judge and grade others, who we might not even know, every day. I can say for myself that I have and I do look at someone that I might not know and i will judge them to the point where I can convince myself that thats who that person really is.

    We are all graded on the things we do, the choices we have made, and the paths we have crossed. So why say that we cannot grade a human life? We are ranked in almost everything we do in life. Whether it be our GPA in our graduating class, the rank we are in our departments at work, and the classes which we take. This even goes as far as our work force, our government, and our economy.

    We make decisions each day of our lives whether it be for ourselves or for someone else. In our society now, we have so many problems that we face due to others decisions. It was the decision and the choices of our fellow American’s who have voted George W. Bush as our president, to lead our country into something we would presume to be great. Instead he brought us right into something that many of us are totally against, yet it was us who chose him as our president because we graded him as a human.

    I do believe that humans are all equal when we first start out, but as we grow and mature and gain the knowledge needed to survive, some go further than others. Therefore I believe that we do grade human life and quality.

  28. 28 scastles

    In response to “longca”, It’s undeniable that we do grade human life and quality, but maybe (to an extent) it is necessary in our society. I personally don’t believe that our country would be as successful as it is, if it weren’t for these pressures for success. In order for our democracy to work, we must “grade” the people who are running for president… it’s our choice.

    Also, when we discussed grading human eggs in class… complete disgust. I feel as though it is entirely morally wrong to grade a life as better than another solely based on SAT scores, eye color, genetic background, etc. It disgusts me that people are actually paid for doing this…

    Lastly, I wanted to mention grading human life in relation to ethical decision making in the clip we saw from “Sophie’s Choice”. I am going to sound absolutely horrible right now… but if I were forced to make this decision (and I know I would be totally distraught over it), I would make the same one. Hopefully I never encounter a situation as drastic as in Sophie’s, but there are times in life when it is necessary to grade other humans.

  29. 29 pennello

    After reading some of the posts that other people have put up, I must say that most of them tend to say the same thing, people are graded everyday but it is not neccessarily correct.I believe that although some things are okay to be graded on there are other parts that should never be okay to grade. For example, the piece that we read in class, Unspeakable Conversation, this talks about selective genocide/infanticide of handicapped people and babies. Which I must point out that I am totally against. I am a firm believer in the equality of everyone from the handicapped people all the way to the rich and sophisticated people. Everyone from start to finish should be graded and valued in the same way. Some people feel that handicapped people are less human but does anyone have a firm definition of what actually makes a human, human? From what I have seen the answer is no. What really makes us who we are and what defines us as humans? Is it the capability to think? No. All animals think. How about our consciousness? I think not because people are still people even without the ability to know wat is going on. What else is there? There is actually a multitude of ways in which we can try to define being a human but all of which that I have heard of so far always have loop holes. I honestly think that I could never make that choice for anyone at all. Everyone has a right and ability to live and should be given that chance. I agree with what scastles says in the end of her post that it is necessary sometimes to make these painful decisions but they should not be made lightly and should not be made because of a disability. People will always be human from the ime they are concieved to the time that they die and nothing can honestly change that in my eyes.

  30. 30 jesssprung

    When contemplating the idea of grading human life, the first idea that comes to mind is how unfair it is to judge a person depending on first glance. Areas in which we are raised, our appearance, and our mental conditions are easily judges by those who do not know us. In the piece talking about aborting children beucase it appears as though they are going to have a mental or physical handicap is absurd and upsetting. One of my good friend’s mother was told that she was going to give birth to a baby with down syndrome but my friend has just as many chromosomes as we do and is not, infact, handicap in anyway. Adolf Hitler’s mother’s dotcor suggested that she have an abortion but she did not–was it becuase the doctor knew that Hitler was going to be a pyscho a-you know what? Absolutly not. Not having Adolf clearly would have been saving quite a number of people–including my own family members. My friend, however, has the possibility of doing great things. My friend was not born any different than us–and even if she was, then so what? People with mental disabilites can be some of the sweetest, loving people we will ever meet. They have genuine hearts and would probably never think twice about judging some one they do not know based on their appearance. For instance, a millionare doctor that runs a free clinic and saves lives of people that could not pay for treatments on their own could walk down the street in absolute rags and would instantly be judged as a low life who dropped out of high school and is not going anywhere but drinking himself into a hole. Not long ago a very poor man saved another man’s life in the subway. The one man had a seisure and fell on the subway tracks. To save his life, the poor man jumped on top of him and covered him as the subway went over their bodies. A man that would probably be judged for his appearance went out of his way and risked his life for a man who had no prior knoweledge of who he was. So, even though he isn not a millionare docotor and not dressed to the nines he still did something out of the ordinary. As for judging people by where they come from..it is easily stated that it is unfair. Just becuase someone grew up in a town of violence, low incomes, or even just a town with a bad reputation does not mean it was that person’s choice to come from there. Often people work their ways up to leave enviornments like those because they do not want to be in such an area with such negative activity. Those, however, who are causing the crime to make the area the way it is conceived is who I would probably question giving a lower grade in life.

  31. 31 walush

    Dancingrl425 stated in her comment, “I think when old people die most of their friends and relatives from their lifetime have already passed away so they don’t have many people to come to the funeral, but young people have sports teams, classmates, lots of family, etc. that all would come to the funeral.” I would have to completely diagree with what they stated. When you say something like this, it makes me think that you believe that not many people will show up to show their respects. I believe that is completely opposite. Older people have touched more lives throughout their years of health and the peoples whos lives they changed would be there to express their sorrows.
    The whole fact of someone grading a human life really bothers me. I don’t think we should be able to grade anyone’s life. I believe that is a job for God in Heaven. Srosato stated in her comment, “People, in today’s society especially, grade others based on their status, instead of their personality and overall character. When we see people who aren’t as well off as others or have certain problems, we tend to look down on them and feel as if they created their own problems and, therefore, they deserve what ever life throws at them.” I definitely agree with her. In today’s society, I have personally witnessed how people judge others at a first glance. I believe this is unfair. If someone is going to attempt to “grade” anothers life, they would have to know something about this person instead of just what they look or act like. Think if someone graded your life. How would you respond to it?

  32. 32 chelxc

    I agree with fensterb’s arguement about how she believes grading human life is wrong no matter if it is the life before or after birth. With the scenario of the fire with a grandma and young child stuck inside, she states that the young child would likely be sought to be saved first. But why? Maybe because the young child has a whole life ahead of it and the grandma got to live most of her life already. This situation is very similar to the clip of Sophie’s Choice, where Sophie had to choose between her children, an older son and younger daughter. She chose her son most likely on the ground that he was older and could have cared for himself better. She figured he would have the better chance at survival. Unfortunately, it will never be known whether that was the right decision to make or not.

    I also agree with Jhuereca’s point about how everyone is different. I believe every individual is created for a purpose. If pregnant with a child that may be handicapped, one should not think of all the negatives about having a disabled child, but of all the positives. At birth, you never know what obstacles a disabled child can overcome, such as the boy who drew the cities almost perfectly only after having a 45 minute flight over the city. Another example is Harriet McBryde Johnson, who with love and care of her parents, grew up to become an attorney and disability rights activist. In her story she wrote, “We take constraints that no one would choose and build rich and satisfying lives within them. We enjoy pleasures other people enjoy, and pleasures peculiarly our own. We have something the world needs,” speaking of disabled people. This shows that they have the same feelings and perception of the world like everyone else. So why should they be judged any differently? A life is a life, there is no telling what obstacles any individual can overcome.

  33. 33 vpec13

    I feel human lives can be judged, but not graded. Who is to say that they can tell you what you are worth, or what grade you are. No one, everyone is their own person, and everyone has their flaws. So who is this perfect person that can grade people saying oh, you are an A, B, C etc. I can aslo agree with Jhuereca, as I am saying, people are different, and just because people are different in different ways they deserve a higher grade then someone else? I can also agree with Walsuh about the comment stated about old people dieing to young people dieing. Old people are supposed to be the most respected, they are the most knowledgeable and most experiences. Just becuase they die at an old age they aren’t going to not go to the funeral, people they have met throghout their lives are going to show up to pay their respects. So overall, god makes everyone to be the way they are, everyone is an “A” in gods eyes, and everyone is an “A” in their own ways, wether it be sports, academics or anything. No one should be able to tell you what you are worth.

  34. 34 samanthasutton

    I actually hate the fact that things in life must be graded, and I think that it’s actually horrible to put a grade on human life. We are all living together, we are all humans, we all make choices, and we are all the same. We all make different choices, some people choose to go to school and ‘better’ themselves, but how is their life ‘better’ than someone who didn’t go to school and is sublimely happy? There are people who murder other people, but how are they any less of a person than the mother who aborts her unborn child because they have a disability? We all judge people, whether we like it or not, but I feel we do that because it’s what we know. We were born into a world where grades matter, and I think this is horrible. We should have more freedom and be able to choose how we would like to live and things like whether or not we want to be educated. I often think about this: we choose to go to college and we also pay to go here, why do we need grades? We should just go to class and if we learn something good, if we don’t then that was a waste of money. In a way, judging our work and progress is like judging our lives because we are not free to really express ourselves. We have to stick to a core curriculum and a grading system, and if we stray we will be punished and receive a bad grade. I don’t think you can grade human life because we are so complex and so unique as an individual, but yet we are all the same. We have no rubric to go by either because what makes someone an “A” human. Who has an “A” life? The person who succeeds and is rich, someone who lives in a nice house with their nuclear family? Or the person who lives in a small house, who enjoys what they do, and happily lives as a single parent with their one child? It’s impossible to grade a life, and I don’t think we should try.

  35. 35 krissssy

    To rate a human life before they are born is morally wrong. My sister was the child of two young adults that weren’t ready to take on the responsibilities of a parent. Instead of deciding for themselves that her life wasn’t worth living, they put her up for adoption to let her lead the life she deserves. She is now in graduate school and on her way to becoming a successful physical therapist. She is an amazingly bright person and will change many lives thanks to her birth parents who didn’t take the easy way out and have an abortion. It is so difficult to adopt children because most people who are not fit to be parents, opt to abort rather then let their child have the gift of life.
    However, if a child is born with a painful disease or they are not mentally capable to think for themselves then they should not have it live life suffering. This way of thinking goes against Peter Singer because he is an advocated for killing children who are disabled and do not have the quality of life that a “normal” child posses. I believe that it is only necessary when that child is suffering. Singer needs to understand that disabled people can still make great contributions to this world such as
    Harriet McBryde Johnston’s has as she explained in Unspeakable Conversation.
    I agree with the above posters that a human life cannot be graded unless they are suffering.

  36. 36 ericaaaa

    It seems that the phrasing of “grading human life” is saying that we are deciding if someone’s life is worth living or not. I believe that the real issue is grading the amount of suffering a person will endure in their life. The problem lies that we cannot define suffering. Many people if you told them the physical condition that Johnson was in page that she is “Karen Carpenter thin, flesh mostly vanished, a jumble of bones in a floppy bag of skin” [88]. We would believe that she was suffering beyond comprehension but in reality she enjoys her life. I know “healthy” people who would never say that. Singer could not predict that Johnson turn out this way. He would have been killing someone who is happy with their life. If someone with a disability is saying that their life is worth living and that the suffering we believe them to be enduring is not making them lose hope obviously we should listen to them. If every disabled person was saying that they suffered so much that they wished they were never born than I would say Singer has an argument but they are clearly not saying that. I agree with denigris when he says that “Maybe we are born like that a reason, who is to say what is normal? You can not grade a life because life is precious. Your life is what you make of it you are free to make you own decisions and no one has the right to tell you if your life is worth it or not.” On the other hand there is the kind of suffering that doesn’t have a voice and their are people who can never make a decision. A person who is in a vegetable like state and cannot do anything for themselves might be another story. If a parent knew that their child will be in this state than who’s to say if it is morally wrong to want to help the parent move on. They may be at peace believing that their child is “in a better place”. I don’t believe there is an answer but I do believe it is something to consider.

  37. 37 possessky

    It’s next to impossible to grade a human life. While others may view a person’s life as being a poor one, the person living it may have loved their life. For example, just because someone doesn’t live in a nice house and have a stable job, does not mean they have a bad life. That person could love their life, not because of the struggles, but because of the things that made their life worthwhile such as friends and family, goals, and acheivements. This also reminds me of a poem I once read. It’s called The Dash by Linda Ellis.

    “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend
    He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end.

    He noted that first came the date of her birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
    But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

    For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth…
    And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

    For it matters not, how much we own; the cars …. the house… the cash.
    What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

    So think about this long and hard … are there things you’d like to change?
    For you never know how much time is left. (You could be at “dash mid-range”)

    If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real,
    And always try to understand the way other people feel.

    And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more,
    And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

    If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
    Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

    So, when your eulogy’s being read with your life’s actions to rehash…
    Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spend your dash??”

    If someone truely understands you, and I mean knows your from the inside out, then maybe they could judge your life. They could judge your accomplishments and how happy you were. Since people like that are hard to find, a person should only judge themself. Only they know how their life was and what made it worthwhile or miserable.
    Something that can compicate things is if someone is in a vegitative state. You can not ask them what they want. And who’s place is it to decide whether or not they live. Do you let them go to end any kind of suffering or let them go to be in peace? Or do you hold onto them, in hopes of getting them back or because you are not ready to let them go yet? It’s hard to say, and perhaps we will never know the correct decision. I also agree with ericaaaa when she says that we cannot define suffering. Something we may view as painful or something they could not live with. Allin all it’s impossible to judge a human life no matter how much we try. We can never know unless we ask the person who’s life we are trying to judge.

  38. 38 vpomparelli

    Can we grade a human life? I suppose anyone could but it’s all based soley on opinion. I do not believe we should be allowed to grade the quality of someone else’s life. If a person is on life support and has no possibility of being able to support themselves and is unresponsive that may be the only time that I would say that it is okay to grade a life.
    In the Unspeakable Conversation and The Case Against Perfection, they talk about mental retardation and handicaps, and aborting a baby because of these problems. I personally have a cousin that has Downs Syndrome and she is one of the happiest people I know. She feels all the emotions like we do she just can’t communicate as well through talking. I feel that there are lots of people with similar diseases who are still very happy even if they won’t ever move out of the house, go to work, or even get married. They all still can feel love, they all still cry, and they all still laugh.
    I don’t think that one life is better than another I just feel that it is personal opinion of whether or not you feel someone is happy. No one can judge what life is better because it is all opinionated. When mother’s abort their babies before birth because of a possibility of a defect I think that is also someone’s choice. Everyone has the right to that choice and if you feel you can’t take care of someone with a handicap than maybe that is the best choice. It is unfortunate but people with handicaps need a lot of care and sometimes for their whole lives. Jhuereca said that when a mother aborts her baby because of a handicap she is trying to grade whether the baby’s life is worth living and I don’t necessarily agree because of what I said above. Some people don’t have that luxury or spending so much money on a child. People abort baby’s all the time.
    There are also people who are mentally insane and some people may say that their life isn’t the best grade but it’s their choice whether to live or not. Some mentally insane people are really happy. I think the only way to grade a life is whether or not the person is happy or not. I think it is up to the person whether or not they should be alive or not.
    There are starving people in third world countries who are happier than us because they live in a world with getting food is a blessing. However, some of these people live in the streets and we all think it to be terrible way of life. However, they do not know more than they have.
    I agree with Miamiace because he wrote that a human life should never be wasted. It’s about making the most of your life with whatever you have. You don’t have to be sad, you can create a better tomorrow. However, I do understand this is easier said than done.
    I don’t think you can grade a life per say but I do think there are standards of living everyone wants to live for. I think it is a woman’s choice to abort her baby but I also can see both sides to aborting a child because of a disability that may come when the child is born. I can only imagine that it is really sad to have to abort a baby. However, people like my aunt and uncle did a fine job raising my cousin who is one of the happiest people I know.

  39. 39 jral27

    You cannot grade human life! There is only one who can judge whether someone deserves to live or die and He is not human. Humans have a responsibility to live their lives to the fullest whether they do or do not have any challenges.

    An example is when parents are about to have a baby and they realize that if the child is born he/she will have some mental condition. They are then faced with a choice, do they abort or do they carry through with the pregnancy. I believe that every human life has the same value, who is to say they wont inspire anyone or influece society in a positive manner. There are examples everywhere on the positive influences they impose on others. In the youtube video clip we watched in class about the man who drew Rome with just one flight above the city and he drew every detail. Absolutely amazing! How do you know they didnt inspire someone, and to think he might have been aborted if the parents didnt want a child with a disability.

    In one of the earlier posts from denigris, she agrees with a post that states that we can judge if our lives are worth living or not. I totally disagree with this statement. Not only is it a pathetic attitude to give up on your own life, but also, who are you to decide whether you want to live or not? You dont have that choice! Live your life to the fullest and worry about the only being that can judge your life!!!

  40. unfortunately people do grade human lives. its something you have to look at in our own schools. which extra curricular activity is the most important to the head honchos of the school? usually the sports, so whose budget gets cut when it comes down to the wire? the arts. Its the thought that the people playing the sports are more important for school status than the kids in the orchestra or art. what we have to do in defense of this is not let people grade us. we have to keep doing what were doing and believe in what we beleive, if someones going to judge us let them. our opinions about ourselves are the nly thing that really matters, not someone elses.

    yet theres the problem with infants. peope judging newborns or sometimes fetus. say your pregnant ad you find out your child is going to be mentally challenged. what do you do? do you get an abortion or do you let it live? is this child of less value than say trying again for a healthy child? when it comes down to it its a human life and we should not be grading it. if you dont want the child then dont kill it. have the child, theres homes that will take the child and will care for it and give it the love that it deserves.

    grading is unfortunatley all around us, yet we should not let that change our views about ourselves or others around us.

  41. 41 miamiace

    To react to those blogs against my opinion on grading human life; every ones life has there own time line and its what you make of it. For example you can say the presidents life is more important than any ordinary persons life. For instance on a bad day for a co-worker at a business is that he gets head over heels with paper work and its going to take his holiday break to finish it, when a bad day for the president would be that everyone in a certain area of the country dies. Id say that its his choice and decisions that he makes that would help the survivors and others around the globe. Besides that example look at your family as a grade for ones life. Is your mom’s life more important than your neighbors mothers life. Its all a personal opinion that only you can grade! The world is graded all around us no matter where you look or who you look at they are grading you by your appearance, the way you present yourself, and the way your are walking. There are so many ways people judge one another in this day and age that everything you do is looked at through someone elses eyes.

  42. 42 robyn123

    Now that I have had more time to think about the question being posed I agree with jral27 that every human life has the same value, who is to say they won’t inspire anyone or influence society in a positive manner. Many people born with disabilities learn to enjoy life but in a different way. A person confined to a wheelchair can still play basketball, just in a special way. Children adapt to the world around them and are creative.

    In class we viewed a youtube clip on an autistic man that had an eye for detail. Everyone is an individual and deserves the right to grow and show their talents to the world. Albert Einstein did not start to talk until much later in life than was usual. A lot of people considered him to be retarded. When he did begin to speak he spoke in complete sentences like it was nothing new to him.

  43. 43 jellybeanqueen620

    Many people before me have said that a person’s life can only be graded by the person living it. I think this is correct. I believe it is important, throughout life, to think about what we personally believe can get us that “A” grade. What will make us happiest, what we feel we need to accomplish, and what type of person we each want to become are all factors that go into making this perfect grade. There are no set criteria by which all people can judge their success in life. We are all on different paths and the beautiful thing about life is that it really does belong only to the person living it and it really can be anything that person makes it. A lot of people say one has had a successful life if, when that life ends, the person is happy. I disagree. I believe that a successful life comes from being happy at any given point. I believe that good quality of life comes from developing oneself as an individual. Every time we grow in some way, our quality of life improves. Every time we change, for better or for worse, it is a step closer to that “A” grade. All of the time we spend reflecting on ourselves, learning about ourselves and improving ourselves or even making mistakes, helps us understand better who we are. In order to have good quality of life, we need to be able to find happiness through all of this. There is a quote by the Dalai Lama where he says “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” This is a quote I love for several reasons. It shows that mistakes, losses, and failure, are a part of life, but that some good comes from all of them. Rather than stressing over the problem and dwelling on what went wrong, if we focus on what we learned and find happiness in the fact that we have somehow, in some way grown, life will be good.

    As for deciding if one life is more valuable than another, we do not have that right. It is a common idea that all of us are on different paths in life and that we each have a unique destination. However, it is less often recognized that we also have unique origins. We do not all start from the same place on these paths. From the time we are born, we have our own unique obstacles to face. Some of us will be born disabled. These people may have to overcome unique physical difficulties or developmental stalls that the rest of us do not have to face. On the other hand, those who are born without disabilities will start out life in a world that considers them “normal.” What does normal even mean? I see difficulty in the futures of these children already. The point here is that we cannot judge the lives of others because we cannot ever know what they have been through. Each life is a completely unique experience that only one person can have, and to that individual, this experience is more valuable than anything in the world.

  44. 44 miamiace

    I would have to disagree with robyn123 when she says that everyones life has the same value because i believe that its a personal feeling to every individual. For instance in our government and in out sports entertainment world we see that every sports star and many politians have their own body guard and those who protect them. This is an example of people protected other individuals who are at a higher rank then they are. So there has to be a lot of people in the world that think that other lives hold more significance then their own. It’s a pushing issue that only can be judged by ones beliefs and feelings. This is an ongoing issue that will change every second of the day as the world moves on. Live and learn so you can be the one to decide how important your life my be one day, or who knows that day could be today!


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