He wrote it after his daughter, Claudia, was born. She is now 19, a student at Sarah Lawrence. Until she noticed the poem while riding the subway and told him about it, he didn’t know he had been chosen.
Don’t take everything about it literally, Mr. Lux said. “Only some of that stuff came true — about cretins and dolts and sweet talkers on their way to jail,” he said.
Just give her time, we said unhelpfully.
“Yeah,” Mr. Lux said with a laugh, “give her time.”
This short film is the best explanation of the nonbeliever’s viewpoint I’ve seen. It’s under just under four minutes and uses no words. When people ask me how I can be at peace without belief in god or an afterlife, now I can just show them Fallen and save myself a lot of time and effort.
Imagine five people are tied to a train track, and a train is hurtling towards them. Next to you, is a lever which if pulled, will divert the train to another track. That track has only one person tied to it. You’ll save the five, but kill the one. Do you pull it?
Now, imagine a different scenario – you’re on a trestle above the track, with the five people facing the same certain death. Next to you, is an obese person, who if you push over the side, will land on the track, and stop the onrushing train – killing him, but saving the five. Do you give him the shove?
What if you didn’t have to physically push him, but could push a button to drop him over the side? How about if you could push the button from another room? How about if you could tell someone else to do it?
Does it matter to you if the people on the track were kids, or old people? How about the fat guy?
These questions are all part of something philosophers call the “trolley problem”. It was designed to help understand the nature, and source of, human morality. Do people of different genders, or cultures answer the same way? How about people of different ages?
Listen to a great discussion of this here (streaming), or download an MP3 podcast.