The trolley problem

Source: Wikipedia

You have a trolley barreling at full speed towards five people. Next to you is a lever, where if you pull-it it would shift the trolley to another track where one bystander is standing. The question is, What is the right thing to do?

It has been used as an example for all sorts of ethical dilemmas, but what I find fascinating is when we are present with a choice, we often get locked into those choices. (That is what standardized test reinforce.) A or B, which would you choose?

What we don’t see is another option: derail the train.

We are not usually in a position with no choices. It’s just the choices in front of us are not very good ones. But if we take a step back and recognize the degrees of freedom, we can find another solution that isn’t present in the moment.

Can you hold the tension while you wait for a solution to appear? Most of us don’t have the faith. We act quickly not because we want to be done, it’s because we lack the patience to wait and see.