The Power of Independence The right to choose, what one desires to do with their own life is what the American society is based upon. However, in certain cases in biomedical ethics, such as abortion, the question of whom has the right to choose the fate of another is still questionable. I learned about the power that one has over others, in doing a term paper about abortion for a Biology AP class, in high school. The power that I learned I possessed but never knew about its detrimental effects on others was similar to the power that Tobias Wolff revealed in his shot essay, On Being A Real Westerner. The term paper on abortion was a random subject chosen out of an old-fashioned hat. At first I was thrilled to have the topic because it was a trivial subject in which there has been a long history of debate and controversy.
The teacher, Mrs. Kuhn, then told us in a mysterious and deceitful tone to write down our views of the subject, wether we were against it or for it. During that time I was not familiar with the cases dealing with abortions, except that it was beneficial for pregnant teenagers to have them so that they didn? t jeopardize their future. Obviously, I was thinking in context with my social group, and it would be easy to say why one should have an abortion as opposed to not having one. After the opinions, which were written down on paper, were collected she revealed that she wanted us to go against our own views, to take on the opposite views. I was in a state of shock for a while, because it was as if she was asking me to change my religion, my beliefs, from one thing to another.
I can? t understand why I felt that way because it was just a method to see how the opposition felt. However, I felt weaker as if she had stripped me of my right to be independent, and that she was trying to force beliefs upon me which was blasphemous. Eventually, I gave in because the term paper was an important part of the grade. The research into my newly nomi anl belief was difficult at first, but once I found certain information on the net and in books the search seemed less sadistic.
The websites I visited contained mostly support for pro-life beliefs based upon Christian ideals and being a Buddhist that was hard to contrive. In learning to be a true pro-life activist I had to identify with some Christian beliefs, and I felt credulous, because not only was I forced into an opposing belief but now I had to take into belief aspects of another religion. Although, I later learned that many of these beliefs were similar to my own. In order to develop the anti-abortion attitude, I had to basically put my head into the victim at hand, the fetus.
The fetus, which is killed during the first month of pregnancy. As I got deeper into my surreal imagination, I pondered what the soon to be human would say, if it had a say in the matter. In realizing that I was a fetus, I imagined myself in a warm body with an abundance of nutrients, and then how complete darkness would ensue. I was terrified at first, and I awoke from my reverie gorged in sweat. The emotions that raced through my brain at that moment of realization of death were amazing.
I felt like that character, Winston Smith, In Or wells? 1984, whom had no choice but to follow whatever the government established as being true. The fact that I couldn? t do anything but wait for the eventual descent into a bottomless pit of darkness was terrifying. I could hear my heart beat faster and faster, and the fear of dying emanating through every one of the millions of neurons in my brain. About an hour after that ordeal, I began to understand the reason behind the pro-life movement, and in analyzing the pro-choice ideals, I felt like a fool in that I had only based my opinions upon one view rather than understanding all views on the subject. In large, the main similarities between my personal experience and the essay, On Being A Real Westerner, are the feeling of power that we got from the different experiences. In the essay, Tobias Wolff, reveals how he felt great power by holding the gun, which to him was symbolic of being a man, a hero, a god.
Holding that gun gave him a feeling of being someone important and majestic. My personal experience was the exact opposite to that of Tobias Wolff. Where he felt a great sense of power in holding that rifle, I felt in my experience as if I was the object he was holding the rifle to. A sense of doom, and inescapable suffering existed while staring at the end of the barrel of the gun, the oncoming death. Where he felt power and unauthorized control, I felt fear and simply weak. The? ecstacy of his power? came from his ability to hold that gun and command the ability to harm others or take another? s life, and he was in a way a pro-choice supporter.
He had the choice to hold that gun and to feel the power it gave him as it vibrated through every nerve in his body. I had no such choice, and in both scenarios, the first with the teacher, and then imprinting myself upon that fetus? s mind, all I felt was vulnerability. I knew what it felt like to hold that gun, to be able to end another? s life by a simple choice, because it didn? t take much thinking for me to decide that I was for abortion. But to be on the other side of the gun was an eye-opener.
In life there are many instances when you are unaware of the power you posses, until u see how those that don? t posses that power feels. In Tobias Wolff? s case he felt power from holding that gun because it gave him a sense of pride, and in his imagination made him equal to his greatest idols. However, in my experience I saw how that person (or the squirrel in the short essay) felt being on the other side of the gun, where all hope was lost and only fear thrived. The experience was an awakening, like that of Paul in All Quiet on the Western Front, in which he realizes that his enemy is just like him, a human being.