The Parable of the Sadhu Bowen H. McCoy Article Review In the Parable of the Sadhu, a group of climbers from different cultures came across a Sadhu, an Indian holy man, who was frozen and barely alive. The members of the party responded accordingly and each played a role in helping the Sadhu out. Both external and internal forces, however, collectively kept the hikers from devoting their full attention to him. The problem seemed, as McCoy later pointed, that once the Sadhu became too much of an inconvenience, he was handed off to someone else.
Consequently, no one knew whether he had lived or died. In essence, no one in the group took ultimate responsibility for the well-being of the man. The decision to leave the Sadhu later left McCoy feeling guilty about his actions. The perspective that McCoy took in his actions on that mountain were Utilitarian at best. At the time the event on that mountain took place, he was interested in doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people involved. He had verified the Sadhu’s pulse and even cradled him.
He wanted to help the Sadhu further, but he was concerned about the group’s ability to withstand the heights to come. Also, the climb they were on, for many, represented the chance of a lifetime. He thus left the Sadhu with his partner, Stephen, and the rest of the group. Stephen exerted more energy in ensuring that the Sadhu was, at least, handed down to one of his porters and escorted down the mountain. When he met up with McCoy later on the summit, Stephen rebuked him for potentially contributing to the death of the Sadhu.
In the coming days after the hike, Stephen pointed out how the case of the Sadhu represented a “good example of the breakdown between the individual ethic and the corporate ethic… When (the Sadhu) got to be a problem, everyone just passed the buck to someone else and took off. ” (1) While Stephen did not actually know the fate of the Sadhu, his response to the moral dilemma surrounding the ultimate lack of action of the group seemed to display the characteristics of Kantian deontology to, “Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature. (2) Regardless of the risk of failure in reaching the summit, the party had a moral duty in acting to help out the Sadhu. In this light, Stephen’s perspective carries a very persuasive point. Jesus Christ once raised similar points to ‘a certain lawyer’ in relating to him the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (3) What truly would keep us from helping a man who seems to be genuinely in need? President Truman coined the phrase, “The buck stops here,” but in the case of morality, each of us may have a different idea of where that ‘buck’ really is.
How we interpret that idea potentially defines us for who we really are. The basic question in this article was, ‘when do we take a stand? ’ McCoy later asks, “When do we allow a ‘Sadhu’ to intrude in our daily lives? ” (1) While we have a duty, as Kant argues, to act morally, regardless of the outcome, we truly can’t help everyone. The thesis of the article was, “Not every ethical dilemma has a right solution. Reasonable people often disagree; otherwise there would be no dilemma.
In a business context, however, it is essential that managers agree on a process of dealing with dilemmas. ” (1) How much do we really need to give in helping out? As an organization, how do we prepare ourselves to respond appropriately in the event of a crisis? We cannot take a Kantian approach to every ethical dilemma; however, if we continually overlook our set of values and find ways of justifying immoral acts, where do we end up and who do we really become? McCoy’s perspective, in relating the Parable of the Sadhu must be considered.
People of other cultures may argue his perspective citing that the actions these Westerners took to save the Sadhu could have been seen as them imposing their values on the Sadhu. Furthermore, he may not even have wanted to be saved. The perspectives offered in the parable, however, are very powerful and the questions asked are empirical in their consideration. In understanding this parable, we should not pass moral responsibility down to someone else and hope it is dealt with. We need to place more emphasis on the morals and values that prompt us to act and just do it.