CSFF Blog Tour – Beckon by Tom Pawlik, Day 1

I like books that make me think, and this month’s CSFF Blog Tour feature, Tom Pawlik’s recent release, Beckon, did just that. Yes, it was also a good story–especially entertaining for those who like a creepy thrills adventure. I wouldn’t say this book falls into the category of horror, but it has moments that are horrific.

Being as that’s not the type of book I enjoy, I tolerated those parts because there was enough going on that kept me engaged. But more about all that when I do my review later this week. For today I want to discuss an issue. I’m not saying it’s the issue Mr. Pawlik had in mind when he wrote the book, but it’s the issue that jumped out at me.

Unintentionally, to discuss this subject, I may give away plot elements, so consider this a Potential Spoilers Alert.

* * *

When I was growing up, my friends, parents, siblings, and, I’m sure, I as well, parroted an adage that held a lot of truth: two wrongs don’t make a right.

Intentionally or not, Beckon explores this pithy statement. If you can save someone’s life, is it still wrong to do wrong? Might it not be the case that my wrong can cancel out a greater wrong?

In tangent with this topic is the question, is one life more valuable than any other? Is someone who is without family and friends, who is adrift in the world, of less intrinsic value than a leader of a community, than an educated, productive, loved member of a family?

It’s so easy to say, of course, all life is equally valuable. But what if a homeless person had to die to save your wife? Your child? Is it so different from organ transplants if someone else’s “life energy” could provide healing and health to a dying loved one?

One step further, in my mind. Is it really true that all life is equally valuable if we use abortive tissue to develop cures for killer diseases?

Someone may argue that those babies were going to die anyway, so why shouldn’t their tissue be used for good, to save those who would die horrible deaths unless a cure is soon discovered for the disease from which they suffer. In fact, the use of those aborted babies’ tissue gives meaning to their deaths.

But using that same logic, why, then, don’t we “give meaning” to the homeless drifter and carve up his body, doling out his organs to keep “productive members of society” alive?

Society still gets irate at such a thought. Here in SoCal not long ago, a mentally ill homeless man was killed during a confrontation with law enforcement officers. What an uproar! And rightly so, if all life is equally valuable.

That man’s good should not be sacrificed for the sake of someone who happens to live in a house, drive a car, hold a job, and vote. A person is not better because he is better off. Rather, in God’s eyes, life is valuable. He created it. He formed each person in the womb.

It’s not OK for anyone to decide that the life in the womb is less valuable than the life outside the womb–that being too vulnerable to stand up for yourself, to live on your own, makes you less important.

Again, Western society seems to understand that. We go to great links to provide wheelchair access to public places and to give preferential parking to handicapped individuals. We celebrate remarkable feats such as a double limb amputee finishing a marathon or climbing a mountain or disabled individuals participating in the Paralympics. Their lives are valuable, our laws and outpouring of support seem to shout.

Why, then, do we tolerate taking a life to make someone else less burdened or embarrassed? Why do we fertilize eggs and then use the product–the person who results from that union–as nothing more than tissue to do with as we please?

Why aren’t those lives valuable, if, in fact, all life is of equal value?

And yes, Beckon made me think of this subject. What did others reading the story think about? You’ll need to take a look at the articles from the other tour participants (a check mark links to a tour article):

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm  Comments (5)  
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