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Moral ambiguity

April 5th, 2009

I am walking the fine ethical line.

Take this scenario:

You enter a hotel and use the bathroom not as a patron, but as a guest, because fate dictates that you cannot hold your bowels, and you must use the closest facilities, which happen to be inside this hotel.  It is indubitably clear that nothing is awry here.

Now, let’s suppose that coffee is sitting on a table, which happens to be next to the restroom, but also adjacent to the open dining room that is widely accessible to you.  Free coffee, you say.  Why not?  The person who entered into the hotel before you picked up a cup.

Suppose now, that the dining room has food – fruits, pastries, soda, and other delectable refreshments, and suppose that you are now extremely hungry after completely emptying your innards.  Simple, you say.  There are plenty of places where you can buy food.  But what if you have no money to go elsewhere to fulfill your fleshly desires?  Would you be at the mercy of your appetite?

Extending this scenario once more, suppose that you booked a room at this hotel with your companion and that breakfast is not included with the stay.  Your friend decides to wake up early and shell out $10 for breakfast while you, in your pitiful state, decide to sleep in.  If, on the way out from the dining room, he grabs an apple for you to eat, is it wrong for you to accept it?

This simple illustration has massive repercussions.  What is theft?  What if survival dictated that you steal?  Is there a right answer for the above dilemma, or dilemmas that are mildly more complex than a straight line from point A to point B?  Though the fine line of truth is razor thin, may it not be only the prude that reserves himself to answer such ethical questions.  It is the folly of man to not raise himself above instincts and it is but a positive hindrance to the elevation of oneself.  To propose a decency any less makes us no better than the savages of humanity that we shun.

I find myself in increasingly difficult situations where I must make a sensible effort to determine if my actions are in the right and if my conscience accepts them.  At the present moment, I am in a hotel piggybacking free wi-fi it offers to guests.  Is this wrong?  Let wisdom and scruples be the judge.


  1. Jonathan
    April 5th, 2009 at 14:16 | #1

    Andrew! Kansas now! Awesome! Having blowouts in Kansas bathrooms lolol.
    “You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15. Mmmm I “stole” a metal fork from a late night Chinese restaurant the other day since I badly needed it. Jesus already paid the ultimate so our sins are covered (albeit we don’t keep doing the stealing sin over & over & over & over). Jesus would choose our lives to someday serve him over death and not have a problem with us stealing as long as we had a godly repent and other Christians helped us out.
    After reading Leviticus, the Israelite who were poor and who probably had to resort to stealing were supposed to be taken care of by the well-to-do Israelites from feeding, no interest on loans, and giving their land back, etc…Yeh, that doesn’t happen today in our society, but we Christians are doing our best.

  2. Joe Lin
    April 6th, 2009 at 03:00 | #2

    Hey Andrew
    You’ve been an inspiration to the rest of us to test and push our boundaries of knowledge and existence. The concept of exploring the great unknown ever since I turned the TV to an episode of Star Trek many years ago. =) I’m really looking forward to getting out there myself. I hope you have a safe and enlightened time. Remember to look up at the stars!

  3. Helen
    April 9th, 2009 at 04:47 | #3

    hey andrew,

    you’ve traveled a lot already! and your pictures brings back rural america and how times have not changed in some of these areas…loved this entry btw…definitely questioning our integrity…hmmm…

  4. Elaine
    April 20th, 2009 at 11:38 | #4

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I have to say I appreciate each of your posts and they are all intiguing.
    I think using the hotel bathroom is okay b/c it’s neccessary to go to the bathroom…if you gotta go you gotta go. As for the food, I wouldn’t take the coffee or food b/c that would be considered stealing. If your friend already paid for the breakfast and he offers an apple, I would say it’s okay to accept it b/c it’s a gift from him to you.

  5. April 30th, 2009 at 01:18 | #5

    Andrew, buddy, I’m reminded of a dear friend who once travelled halfway round the world to learn at the feet of a great spiritual master, who, upon my friend’s arrival from his arduous journey, came up to him and smacked him on the forehead with a feather and said these three words: lighten up, asshole.

  6. Jenn
    October 12th, 2012 at 04:01 | #6

    Hahahaa…what your friend Dave said is pretty funny. I remember you saying to me to lighten up. 😉 I think wherever we travel we carry our id ego with us everywhere, so no matter where we sojourn, we may change from experiences, we may become a more enlightened version of ourselves, but at the same time, we also in a way remain the same, bc we are who we are. It does sounds like from this trip that you did become a transformed person and was able to share your enlightenment with us, but I also love how you remained who you are, who you were as a child, who you were before you decided to take this trip, and who you are today, as of 2012. You will always stand up for what you believe, you will fight for freedom and the things that carve out your character so that our future generations can be impacted, and you will push forth the boundaries of our minds, morality, and ideologies that sustain and create us.

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