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Taurek & the Drowned Man

by Daniel Galef

“I cannot see how or why the mere addition of numbers should change anything.”
– John Taurek, ‘Should the Numbers Count?’

So weigh your living soul against a feather.
Weigh it against thy neighbor’s soul, or two.
Or weigh your pain against what others weather –
“Such pains avoid, whichever be thy view.”
What calculus of sorrows is your tool
To tabulate the sum of someone’s ills?
Let life be the end of life. This moral rule
Is not so cold as dark, satanic Mill’s,
Whose conscience is a ticker keeping score.
My heart is not an abacus! I say,
Give fair respect to all, and ask no more.
Don’t judge life’s worth by what’s already gone,
Or cast a coin into the fire to play
The weighted lottery of Babylon.

© Daniel Galef 2020

Daniel Galef graduated from McGill University with a degree in philosophy and classics. He collects counterfeit coins and lives on the edge of a mountain with his cat, Carson, who is also a philosopher.

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