This past week-end our son told us we might like the movie, "The Source Code". So, we went to see it Friday. It was a move about how the State used the new "brain science" and "quantum theory" to protect national security. The ethical question was one of where or when life is valued and for what purpose and who owns their brain or minds?! The story left one with unanswered questions about where to define the limits of science, and the State.
The science experiment was done with a knowledge of "parallel universes" in quanturm theory where 8 minutes of overlap make for new information about the past. A local terrorist attack on a Chicago metro had left the military community on "alert" to another terrorist threat in the center of the city, where many lives would be lost, unless they found the culprit of the 'metor explosion".
The soldier who'd lost half his body, but not all his brain was left in an incubator for the purpose of taking advantage of the 8 minutes to investigate who was responsible for the bombing of the metro. The experiment kept putting the soldier back into the same "past reality" so he could investigate more fully or differently to find the terrorist, in hopes that the terrorist would be kept from another attack with larger reprecussions.
The soldier did his duty, but under the controls of the State, until the person in charge of direct command started seeing the soldier as "a person", who had had traumatic experiences and thought it better to let him die in peace, as promised, rather than continue to use his brain for further experiments. Even though "the greater good" would grant using the brain of a disabled person in such a way, the ethical questions were obvious.
It reminded me of the Karen Quinlen (sp?) case where a brain dead girl continued to be hooked up to a respirator. The question in this case, is "life" defined by "the brain" alone? What makes for human life? Surely, we in the West believe that all aspects of the person, the brain, the body, the mind, the personality, the family, the community, the nation, the WHOLE is responsible for fully functioning Personhood.