No personal blog crapola.
Just one guy's quest to unlock the mysterious art of storytelling on screen.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Fat Man And The Trolley Car

Playing What if? is what writers do. Well, fiction writers. For factual writers the game is more along the lines of Why that?

Daniel Sokol at BBC News explores the philosophical angle of the What if? exercise.

A runaway trolley car is hurtling down a track where it will kill five people. You are standing on a bridge above the track and, aware of the imminent disaster, you decide to jump on the track to block the trolley car. Although you will die, the five people will be saved.

Just before your leap, you realise that you are too light to stop the trolley. Next to you, a fat man is standing on the very edge of the bridge. He would certainly block the trolley, although he would undoubtedly die from the impact. A small nudge and he would fall right onto the track below. No one would ever know. Should you push him?