I was looking forward to today, as it was to be my first day back at college. Unfortunately I am sick with the flue. Last night I had mucus continually streaming from my nose, and the pressure in my sinuses was immense. This morning I am feeling a little better, but have still decided not to go in.
The subject I am studying this semester is ‘Ethic’s.’ And the decision as to whether go into college or not is an ethical decision. On a teleological individualistic level, I need to go in. The first day is an important one. It’s the day where I will hear the ground rules for the subject laid out. The course requirements are explained. Part of the course requirements are some group presentations that are worked out in the form of a debate, and I will be placed into a 3 person team for the debates that take place. And within this utilitarianism framework, I must also consider that there are consequences for my decision. I am allowed to miss three days of lectures, and taking 1/3 of those days in week one, isn’t the best strategy. But I also feel like crap. I have a busy schedule this week in moving house. My stamina is not that great. I need to care for the little energy I do have.
But there is also a Deontological issue that I must consider. My attending the lectures is a good thing. My going to college is a good thing. Yet, I am called to be a good steward towards others. Its also a good for me not to go to college, for I am called to care for those around me. I need to watch out for my fellow students and lecturers. While I have a deep Christian ‘ethos’ of sharing, I don’t think my sharing of the this sickness would be greatly appreciated. And therefore this question as to going in to college must be also framed within a communal aspect. Which is the greater duty that I am bound to: To attend the lecture and fulfil the course requirements which I have paid for and believe God has called me to study. Or is the greater duty to care to love others as I love myself.
I will now confess that my decision to not go into college has more of a personal hedonistic basis to it. It’s one that wishes to maximise my own pleasure and minimise the pain and discomfort of being sick. My ego doesn’t want me to be seen in class with watery eyes and mucus coming out of my nose. I don’t want to make the effort to go in. I feel like the walking dead. It’s much easier for me to sit or lay on the couch and
enjoy being sick. The communal questions as to attend or not are only asked on a secondary basis. In many ways those secondary questions are framed to support my initial decision to not go in.
Who would have thought that a simple cold could create such an ethical dilemma?