The Parable of the Sadhu
Throughout life, there are many situations that make us think whether our decisions are ethical or unethical. When we think about ethic, we believe it is based on feeling, religion, laws, or societal norms. However, these four points do not decide whether a behavior is ethical or unethical. When people make ethical decision, they must identify how the decision impacts others. In Bowen H. McCoy’s essay, “The Parable of the Sadhu”, McCoy describes an ethical dilemma he experienced in making a decision in the Himalayas of whether to help support the sadhu or continue on trekking the Himalayas. He decides to leave the sadhu behind and gives justification for his behavior, which ultimately leads to an argument with his friend Stephen. Later on in the essay however, McCoy expresses his guilt about the sadhu and is confronted with an ethical dilemma. As a reader, I perceive McCoy’s behavior as unethical. He recognizes later on that he was confronted with an ethical dilemma, and the ethical guidelines, Golden Rule and Public Disclosure Test supports that McCoy’s decision is unethical. Also, the cost and benefits of McCoy’s decision, left the sadhu and arrived at the summit, is not properly weighed.
When Stephen who stayed with the sadhu, arrives at the summit, he asks McCoy, “How do you feel about contributing to the death of a fellow man?” Stephen explains that the sadhu was left behind after having been cared for to the best of their ability. Rather than sympathy or acknowledgement of good deed, McCoy is too busy defending and justifying the group’s actions by remarking that they did what they could for the sadhu and that they “are at the apex of one of the most powerful experiences of [their] lives…” (McCoy, 106). McCoy expresses that his priority is to arrive at the summit of the Himalayas. At that moment in time, McCoy valued completing the trek over caring for the sadhu’s life. McCoy’s priority was clearly different from that of...
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