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Difficult Decisions

9 Oct 2015   Shanti Gowans

A group of children are playing on some railway tracks, of which one is still in use, while the other is disused.

Only one child is playing on the disused track, while the others are playing on the operational track. 

The train arrives, and you are just beside the track interchange. You could make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the children. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed; or would you rather let the train go its way?

Take a pause and think about what kind of decision you would make.

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child, because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child seems the rational, moral and emotional decision to make. However, the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place,  and nevertheless, had to be sacrificed because of his/her ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was.

This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics, in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are.

The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case s/he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for her or him except for their close ones.

The person who forwarded the story said she would not try to change the course of the train because she believed that the children playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train’s sirens. If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because s/he would never have thought that the train could come over to that track!

What is the right decision? While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realise that some hasty decisions may not always be the right one. This is certainly food for thought.

Let us take a step back, pause and think well, before making decisions.


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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography


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