Sunday, March 15, 2009

Will Note

Tragic story in the news today about a local woman killed while riding her bike. Internet reports say she was hit by a Toyota Prius, coming up on her silently, which makes it not only sad but ironic, such a vehicle no doubt driven by somebody with an affinity for alternative transportation, an ally, if you will.

I suppose the analog for me, at least occasionally, would be to get run over by somebody driving stoned, although I tend to think that people behind the wheel under the influence of cannabis are more likely to damage that bag of chips in the passenger seat than folks out on the road.

But all this does have me thinking the dangers of two-wheeled transport, especially when one is slightly to slightly-more affected by the consumption of intoxicants of one sort or another and the thing this has made me conclude more than anything else is that if I ever am killed while riding a bike, especially if it can be attributed to my staying a little too long at the bar or the bong, the very last thing I would ever want to transpire from that would be some sort of increased restrictions on the sort of behavior that led to my demise.

In other words, don’t let my stupidity ever be a reason to limit other people’s right to be idiots.

In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle ponders whether a person’s happiness can be affected after they’re dead. The classic case would be something like a scientist who dies thinking his life’s work revealed essential truths of the universe but whose work is eventually proven to be completely bogus. Or, conversely, someone like Van Gogh, who goes to his death as a failure, only to resurrected by history.

I could die happy on my bike even if it were in an accident; I’d be saddened posthumously, though, if it meant that people were prevented from making their own mistakes.


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