Taylor Cook's Blog

Online Ethics Blog

Final – Part One

“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia”  I loved this book and partly because I loved the way the author writes.  I appreciate the no nonsense approach and fast pace, I like that he didn’t embellish on events that didn’t need it and did when it was necessary.  He writes in such a way that connected me to the character like I was witnessing all these things before my very eyes and ears.  From the moment the novel started under the cot and through every journey through the city, I felt connected to the family, the school, the pain, the sorrow, the happiness…  

I found it interesting that Hamid modeled this book after a self help book that is so typical of youngsters looking to make a name for themselves to read.  Each chapter starts with a little satire about self-help books that is funny to you but you don’t completely understand why.  I also, for what ever reason, took slight offense or perhaps it felt as though the author was negatively referring the reader as “you” but because of the pace of this book I had little time to wonder and was enveloped enough in the love story to care.  The book takes you from the life of “you” to your death and all in between is the depiction of life in rural rising Asia to the booming metropolis that is riddled with corruption, poverty, wealth, chaos, and simultaneous order.  Being an ethics class, I tended to evaluate each decision and turn the book made noticing ethical decisions being made and ignored throughout.  Finally, I reflected on the book by looking at my own life and recalling stories of those older than I.  The book speeds through a mans life where his one true desire is to fit in and to be with the love of his life, but while chasing a monetary goal, his love his lost to the fault of her and him, it seems that when “your” life is lived with out reservation, the love character is returned.  And in life it’s true that I’m always cautioned to slow down and appreciate the best things in life like love and happiness because when you look back on your life you could say, “I wish I took more time to love, laugh, and live a little.”  

The story didn’t end at the final word of this book, I still continue to reflect on the reading and I’m reminded of a line in the text that states a book is a book because of imagination and that because of it, the book is a million books over (at least that’s my interpretation.)  There are many facets to this writing and I continue to enjoy realizing the new one’s when thinking about it.  Excellent read.

A Little Bit of Me

Alright, so in this class I have been as honest as I could and even though this is embarrassing, I will still say that one of my favorite things to do for fun is to play video games.  I’m not saying I play like a crazy gamer with glasses and all that, but I like to tune out and play a game.  I of course love indulging in a glass or bottle of wine with good friends but on my own, after a long day in the medical world, after going to class every night, it’s good to shut off the thinking and emotional side of my brain for a while.

My hobbies:

Cleaning:  Who doesn’t love cleaning 🙂  ?   Actually, I really enjoy cleaning my house, there aren’t many things in this life that I can think of where your hard work is immediately evident and makes you feel good.  I love the feeling after I’ve cleaned my house, I’m very proud of it, and it makes me happy.

Driving:  I LOVE DRIVING.  I bought myself a BMW a couple years ago and sometimes, I just hop in the car and go for a ride, I’ll bring the dog, I’ll bring my partner, and we just cruise.

Music:  I love to hear it, watch it, dance to it, sing to it, and above all, I love to play it.  I play the piano and there is nothing else that I do that connects me to this world and what ever runs it, than punching a bunch of weird keys to make a song.   I mean really think about this, the music you hear on the radio came from someone’s soul.  There is nothing mathematic about a song’s story, there’s no patterns to be found about how a song will go, it’s a piece of a person’s soul for all to hear.  After hours of logic, social norms, and confinement, being able to let my heart and soul speak for itself is not only a new melody to anyone who hears it, but it’s usually a new melody to me.  Sometimes the sounds that come out speak to even me.  Happiness, joy, sorrow, and anger can all come from it and it’s truly a gift from God that I will never take for granted.

My major in school is Chemistry but I’m working towards a PharmD and there isn’t a whole lot of logic that goes with why I chose this profession.  I say there isn’t logic because if I was logical, I would choose engineering or computer science because Pharmacists are a dying breed and the market is flooded with them.  But, pharmacy and medicine is my passion, and anyone with a passion can tell you, there isn’t much rhyme or reason.  Think about someone you love; mom, dad, siblings, partner, child…Why do you love them?   Besides the obvious that they know you and love you and make you laugh blah blah blah.  Why?  Isn’t there some unspoken reason as to why you love another person?  I love my partner, he’s funny, we talk, we have a life together, and he’s the same sex. Separately, none of these are logical reasons to LOVE someone, but there is something much deeper that connects us, something I can’t explain in words, something similar to the way I love my family.  My passion for pharmacy is like that because when I’m at work and when I’m doing anything to work towards my PharmD or anything in the realm of pharmacy, I am the most motivated and theres nothing more I’d rather do.  I love my work, it makes me feel fulfilled and like I have a place in this world.

There are choices and sacrifices that I have made to follow my professional goals and to have fun.  There are some days where work takes a lot out of me and then piling class and homework on top of it takes up most of my day.  My partner has been so supportive during this time in my life and has also suffered some of the consequences.  Because I have little free time as it is, I try to use it on myself which is a bit selfish because it’s usually filled with mindless TV or video game and it has taken away from time with my family.  I have caused financial sacrifices and time sacrifices to become a pharmacist but only after my partner finished his science degree.

I think the major similarities between the 3 different theories we have been covering are about is that they all aim towards the best possible outcome.  It’s differences become evident in the way the outcome is obtained.  Some are focused on our action as the good outcome and the other focused on what ever action is necessary as a means to an end.

 

I didn’t have one specific picture so I picked ones that meant something to me.

 

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Chemical Castration…Hmmmmm….Hawwwwww

Wow, what a topic.  I have several conflicting thoughts about chemical castration and punishment for sex offenders and I think it’s mainly because I don’t have children of my own.  I don’t think I can adequately understand the feeling a parent has for their child and that blurs my vision into what I think is right and wrong in regards to punishment of sex offenders.  There is a part of me that thinks, once a human being attacks one of our children, (and I say our children because I think we all have a responsibility to each other and an unprovoked attack on another person should be taken personal by all) we should have absolutely no mercy at all on the attacker.  There is a part of me that thinks chemical castration isn’t enough because I don’t simply want to decrease you sex drive and make you fat, I want you to suffer for the rest of your life for harming an innocent child who will face the horrors of a sick reality for the rest of theirs. 

 

Then, there is the side of me that is protector of individual rights, of our laws, and of our Bible’s teaching forgiveness.  So in regards to the previous sentence, I wrote this whole paragraph on rights and laws and to be honest, I didn’t believe a word I was righting.  You break the law, and especially “mark” a family’s life forever; you forfeit your rights and protections under bogus laws.  However, I do completely believe in forgiveness and that it can be one of the most difficult but healing things you can do. 

 

With all that being said, chemical castration and anything that deters sex offense, ON ANYBODY, should be on the table and used regardless of consequences to the offender.  This should absolutely be used because if there is even a slight decrease in sex offense, then it should be used.  I caution though, that we are evolving our medicinal science every single day and there is a day coming that this medication will not be effective because of an antidote.  I question also, in favor of the no, what are the treatment criteria that have to be met prior to decision of chemical castration?  I know about the side effects of hormone altering drugs, and being fat is not the only side effect.  Patient’s with heart conditions, or blood conditions like anemia, cannot receive this drug and I doubt that a doctor would knowingly inject a patient who will most likely have negative impact on their quality of life.  So doesn’t that pose another question; who doesn’t have history of heart disease, diabetes, and mental illness…? 

 

Do sex offenders have a right to privacy? In a word, sure.  Under our judicial system, privacy is all relative to how you’re judged.  Do I believe you have a right to privacy after committing a sex offense on a child? No.

 

Voluntary castration bothers me, and I think it’s because it’s “easy.”  Chemical castration is reversible, it’s a simple injection, and it’s an easy bargaining chip for offenders.  I think if sex offender’s defense pleaded and asked for chemical castration, I would deny just for the sake of denying it because you don’t get to take the easy way out.  Or, I would say absolutely you could pay to chemically castrate yourself and serve your full sentence in prison.     A utilitarian might take the same stance with the reasoning that the outcome is for the good and therefore makes chemical castration as a punishment, morally sound. 

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I specifically took a stance around sexual assault and specifically on children.  I know that sex offenders can technically be the person peeing in a bush, but I wouldn’t waste my time on a such a silly offense.  Image

 

I really had no idea what to post for such a topic…This is a common drug that most pharmacies will carry and is the most common one used in the United States for chemical castration.  

Dear Sir

Dear Sir,

I may not be of advanced age but as human being I think I am qualified to speak on such a thing as life and death.  There is a saying that can only mildly summarize what I would like to convey and that is “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.”  You see, each day we wake up, is a gift whether you believe it or not.  We aren’t put on this earth to just walk around and go about our day, we have some purpose and to throw away our life is to deny that gift and to not fulfill your purpose.  Each day you wake up and think today could be your last, don’t you still wake up and see the sun rise?  Don’t you still get to see the every day miracles of this earth that make bee flap it’s wings or the sound of life all around you?  You may think this world is no longer the place for you, but what about after?  What happens after you take your pills and drift off to….what?

My purpose isn’t to say you don’t have the choice to take your life or have a right to die and my purpose isn’t to say that someone can’t help you or it should be illegal.  I think you have every right to do what ever you would like and if our society says that it’s okay to kill yourself or to ask someone to help you, then that’s your choice to make.  I also think that if I were a physician, I couldn’t live with someone throwing away a gift I so dearly cherish every single day.  But, to paraphrase an old philosopher, what are your reasons for this choice and are they of sound moral judgement?  Are you making this choice out of selfishness because you’re tired? Is this choice really to spare your family from burden and so they may have a little money, or is that just the cover for your lack of ambition.

I don’t mean to sound offensive or arrogant but if it were my family member, I’d want to not regret taking the more difficult road.  I’d want to spend as much time together and enjoy your last few moments of life.  Don’t be a burden on your family, move to them and bless them with your love and let them bless you in return.  Be an example to your family and show what it means to have courage and show them to not be afraid when the end draws near.  Be the man your family needs and be the man you were always meant to be.

God Bless you.

Your father. Your mother. Your sibling. Your child. Your friend.

Kant

Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will. Intelligence, wit, judgement, and the other talents of the mind, however they may be named, or courage, resolution, perseverance, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good and desirable in many respects; but these gifts of nature may also become extremely bad and mischievous if the will which is to make use of them, and which, therefore, constitutes what is called character, is not good. It is the same with the gifts of fortune. Power, riches, honour, even health, and the general well-being and contentment with one’s condition which is called happiness, inspire pride, and often presumption, if there is not a good will to correct the influence of these on the mind, and with this also to rectify the whole principle of acting and adapt it to its end. The sight of a being who is not adorned with a single feature of a pure and good will, enjoying unbroken prosperity, can never give pleasure to an impartial rational spectator. Thus a good will appears to constitute the indispensable condition even of being worthy of happiness.

So, who else had a hard time understanding what Kant was saying? Somewhere between doing physics homework and reading the first paragraph, I thought I had suffered brain damage.  In all honesty, I had to get a little help and research further what Kant was saying and most of what he wrote I will agree with, and some of it, not so much; this isn’t a perfect world.  With that being said, the very first paragraph was what I understood and is what I believe into our present day society.  Kant is saying that nothing can be deemed good except for a good will.  Knowledge, perseverance, fortune, and power can all be thought of as good but it can also be used for bad.  It’s interesting because Kant discusses laws in our society being created of good will, and if that is the case, then all people will live for the betterment of each other and live in perfect harmony; a brilliant and well thought out theory but this is Earth and the exercise of good will is not 100%.

I find it easy to discern between a categorical and hypothetical imperative by looking at an example of each.  I find a categorical imperative to be similar to one of the ten commandments like saying thou shall not steal and thinking to myself that before I make the decision to steal, I need to think “Would I like if everyone else started stealing?”  A hypothetical imperative will sound more like a hypothesis with an “if and then” statement.  If I want to steal, then I must break a law.

Kant refers to dignity as respecting man as a man who can make autonomous choices and has intrinsic value.  Meaning his choice can be made of his own will and his worth is defined by more than mere material but mostly immaterial like integrity and morals.

I don’t believe that Kant overemphasizes rationale over emotion because I think he speaks directly to a common law and in that sense, if every feeling was evaluated and all laws were made from feelings, we would live in a destructive society.

 

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

 

Rationale and laws made of good moral judgement were comprised in to the longest and strongest standing constitution…I fear our laws are moving from rationale to feeling which will bring destruction.  Maybe not now, not in 10, 20, or 100 years…but it will happen.

Who Am I?

Who am I?  As everyone has no doubt already realized, it can’t be told; my life is a living breathing thing and changes every day.  I’ve realized a few things over the years about myself and some of it is good and some of it is bad; for example, at my job we just hired a new person and over the past couple years our work has become top notch.  I’m not just saying it to say it (I am my own and my coworkers worst critic) but honestly, I feel we are finally the best and are all tough on each other to uphold high standards.  Our new coworker is not up to our standard by any stretch of the imagination.  What I’ve realized is that I have a lot of patience when I shouldn’t and no patience when I should and I feel like a jerk because of it.  I can be way too hard on people and I have absolutely no right to be.  

I would say some of my better qualities are that I cherish my family very much, I LOVE my work and am so happy to say I’ve found my passion and calling in life.  I want to say something about faith but describing myself as Christian is fair to me because I believe in God and that is one of my better qualities and mostly that I know when I’m wrong because of it, which is why labeling myself a Christian is to limit how other people view me.  Quickly and for example, I’m gay.  My better quality, I’m a man and I have no place judging others based on the Bible’s teachings, I follow my heart and there’s something to be said about that. 

My goal in life is this, to make a difference.  And I know that’s cliche to say and “everybody says they want to make a difference” but I truly do and it doesn’t have to be in this grand scheme.  I want to make a difference in anything or anyone, I rescued a kitten the other day, I think I made a difference there.  I try and make a difference in my own life and for future family members by living by my own life mission statement and life goal, “When I’m old and ready to go, I want a story to tell, not a life of regrets.”  I’m happiest when I just say yes like when you wake up and someone says hey lets go to “x” and you really aren’t feeling it.  Just go.  That make’s me happiest.  The moments and choices in your life are what define who you are.  Being broke as hell, driving a jalopy, having nothing, being rich, driving a jet, having everything, dream job, dream pay but hate your job; these are the things that define us, so choose wisely and make your life count for everything you can. 

 

 

“When I’m old and ready to go, I want a story to tell, not a life of regrets.”

NipTuck

When asked what I think of the moral implications surrounding cosmetic surgery, I can’t help but approach the question from a religious standpoint.  I paraphrase the Bible when I say “Our bodies our temples and should be kept pure,” and because of that passage, I deduce that the moral implications are going against God’s word.  Secularly, and where I truly stand, I don’t see a moral issue with face lift surgery unless it derives from an unhealthy motivation.  I think that if the decision to pursue cosmetic surgery isn’t made with profound thought and a drive towards being true to ones self and being happy, it is a morally corrupt choice.

I think that as human beings, our nature is always to better ourselves and our world but I question if cosmetic surgery really helps us advance that initiative.  I don’t think our physical appearance is what dictates our drive in life and our happiness but, it is absolutely a contributing factor.  There is a natural vanity to human beings, we wake up and dress up, we always want to impress.  But then again, isn’t there a vanity to all creatures?  Does a male not prove himself the best suitor in our world and does a female not make herself as attractive as possible?  What is to say that cosmetic surgery isn’t a part of a humans way to express attractiveness?

In regards to someone spending exorbitant amounts of money when others are suffering; I’m a firm believer that a person may do what they would like with their own money.  I have made some bad decisions in my life and I have made some good decisions that have allowed me certain luxuries but I do not feel morally wrong when I enjoy such luxuries because I feel a moral obligation to the less fortunate and donate time and resources when and where I can.  I have to believe in some good in the world that there are others out there who do the same, if you fulfill your moral obligation to man kind, then why should there be moral corruption when enjoying the finer things in life?

I believe that there is a part of Extreme Makeover that wants to do some good in the world for some person.  But, this is Hollywood.  This is money.  This is ratings.  The participants on that show are 100% percent exploited on their own accord and unfortunately, I think generally as human beings, we all tend to focus more on the good things than the bad and overlook the exploitation.

I think Aristotle would understand a makeover if, and only if, the person had made a well thought out decision and it could change their happiness in life.  I don’t think he would understand the decision if someone just wanted to look prettier, but if an ugly person, for lack of a better term, were to be so down on themselves after years of ridicule and pain that the only thing that could boost their confidence and quality of life was a makeover, absolutely it would understood and accepted.

 

When did average become our goal?

When did average become our goal?

 

Is that not a truth we can all agree on?  Plastic surgery or not.

Is that not a truth we can all agree on? Plastic surgery or not.

Happiness


Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim. But a certain difference is found among ends; some are activities, others are products apart from the activities that produce them. Where there are ends apart from the actions, it is the nature of the products to be better than the activities. Now, as there are many actions, arts, and sciences, their ends also are many; the end of the medical art is health, that of shipbuilding a vessel, that of strategy victory, that of economics wealth. But where such arts fall under a single capacity- as bridle-making and the other arts concerned with the equipment of horses fall under the art of riding, and this and every military action under strategy, in the same way other arts fall under yet others- in all of these the ends of the master arts are to be preferred to all the subordinate ends; for it is for the sake of the former that the latter are pursued. It makes no difference whether the activities themselves are the ends of the actions, or something else apart from the activities, as in the case of the sciences just mentioned. “

 

What Aristotle is saying here is this; everything that we do in our world, in theory, is thought to be in the name of good.  He specifically mentions sciences and trades such as medicine, economics, and trade as to say from these endeavors, or arts, we have a “good” product of health, wealth, and some material good.  He also says that good not only comes our of our actions and pursuits but from the products of our actions.  

 

I hope that this does not come off in the wrong way, but I chose this first paragraph for a reason; and it’s not to say that I feel smarter or above this material but perhaps its my own lack of understanding.  After reading through book I and II, I found myself struggling to see some deep meaning behind all of the vernacular and thoughts but, what I arrived at was just thinking this was a brilliant man who pondered about the good in life and wrote a diary.  I think all of us during our walk through life think our about our lives and our world; how does it go round, why are we here, what is our purpose. etc.  I agree with everything Aristotle wrote and I applaud the effort to try and piece together a maze of emotions and thought that define our soul and sense of being.  I found the entire reading to be well said and also difficult to navigate his specific train of thought saying that of course ‘what we do’ does not singularly define the goodness and happiness inside of us but a multitude of facets to our lives that, in my opinion, will never be correctly said in any number of words.  Every human being on Earth, at one point, was, is, or will define good and find where they lie on that spectrum; I think everyone in this class knows what Aristotle is saying but it’s up to the individual to translate his thoughts to our own.  

 

I will agree with Aristotle’s notion that our ultimate goal is to strive for happiness and specifically in accordance with our own virtues.  I will however, say that a limited number of people actually strive for happiness but instead strive for a dream of another’s happiness such as wealth and acceptance.  For a long time, I thought I would be as happy as I could if only I had money when in reality, every endeavor to make money resulted in me feeling miserable.  Then again, isn’t wealth all relative?  When I discovered my passion in life for medicine and followed that, I knew deep down that I was happy, and wouldn’t you know it, wealth followed.   

 

Notions of happiness will not just vary between race, gender, and culture, but between every living being on Earth.  My notion of happiness is not the same as my partners, or my brother’s, or the man down the road.  I do believe that race, gender, and culture has a way of similarly categorizing our notions such as pleasing God in the realm of religion.  

 

My concept of happiness is to always stay true to myself and what I accept in every area of my life.  My idea of happiness is spot on with exercising my souls power because almost everything I do to be happy requires my everything.

 

I think Aristotle’s idea of happiness is definitely useful to help understand a person motivations because it can help one identify what makes them happy and therefore understand their reasoning.  

 

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Welcome to my blog!

My name is Taylor and my major is chemistry (pre pharmacy) which requires an ethics course.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I would need ethics for but now, after working in pharmacy and science, ethics is what will distinguish the right and wrong decision for your research, experiments, patient treatments, etc…

I look forward to the semester with everyone and I hope we only have the most constructive discussions this year.