How Should Our Society Assign value to a Human Life?
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Today’s modern society designates someones life value by their achievements, past, or the salary they receive. Amanda Ripley, in “What is a Life Worth”, states that nowadays we base life on money. “There’s even a price for your knee, roughly $200,000.” (37). Putting a price on a life is morally wrong. In today’s society, people automatically expect money when their loved ones die, when the reality is no money can loved ones viod of a loved one. The character Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” demonstrates the harsh fact that most people value life when something unfortunate is happing. Misfortunes, such as death, open our eyes and make us value and cherish what we have. Lance Armstong states, “ I returned a different person, literally.” (36). Lance had a near death experince. After surviving cancer he learned to live life to the fullest and value every moment of life. The government’s idea about giving a human life a price is wrong. After the attacks on the Twin Towers, families all over the country were devasted and heart broken to hear that their loved ones had pasted away. The United States Government tried to compensate the families with money.
Instead of being thankful, people got offended. Feiberg, a government employee hired to compensate the victim’s families, stated “just some rough approximation of what I thought was fair.” (41). Feinberg became accustomed to all the accusations and critique. He came to acknowledge that they will never be satisfied with the amount of money they receive. There can be two factors for this, people are either greedy and keep wanting more, or they feel that no money can satisfy their loss. Looking back into our history, life was not valued as much as it is today. People converted others into slaves, or even killed them because of their ethnicity or race. We have learned from their mistakes. Today’s society designates a human life a money value. In a modern document “Human Life Calulator”, there is a formula for calculating a value for a human life, it states “ Please note, this calculator will provide only a rough sense of your human life value…” (44) This Calculator is used by life insurance companies to determine how much money will be compensated to the loved ones of the victims. Everyone should have the right to get compensation to help their families in case of an acciden.
However, giving more to some families and less to others depending on what their loved one was “Worth” is wrong. All families should be compensated the same amount, no matter the race, salary, or years the person has. After all, we are all created equal. Lance Armstrong is a great inspiration on how we should value life; not by fame nor fortune, but by the obstacles you overcome. “The truth is that cancer was the best thing that evert happened to me. I don’t know why I got the illnes, but it did wonders for me and I wouldn’t want to walk away from it. Why would I want to change, even for a day? The most important and shaping event in my life?” (Lance Armstong, 36). Surving cancer made Armstrong appreciate the little things that he didn’t before.
Life became more valueable to him. Our society should not base a life’s value on money. Money is not a factor in determining the value of a human life. You give value to your life by your own goals and accomplishments. As a society, we should learn to value someone by who they are, and not what they work in or how much money they make. Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, was not happy besides all his fortune (Hamlet, Page 23). He couldn’t find a value to his life. Hamlet’s mother however, saw Hamlet’s life more valueable than Hamlet himself. A loved one can be so much more value to us than any other person on earth. That is the reason why Feinberg was bombarded with critque, he could never match the amount of money the victim’s families thought they were worth (Amanda Ripley, What is a Life Worth?, page 39). As a society, we must come to realize that. The concept of valueing life by actual dollars and cents is wrong. Money can never fill in the viod of a loved one.