Moral Monday: The Hellgramite Method


Bonjour, mes amis!

Well, it’s been precipitating quite a bit here recently in the Golden Triangle region, so I’ve been catching up on the 1980’s reincarnation of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone (TTZ).  Much like Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek, TTZ are often a mix of science fiction and morality tales.  We emphasize critical thinking and ethical decision-making a lot here at Philosophy Matters, and TTZ does not disappoint as a topical tool.  I think I’m going to be using more of TTZ episodes in postings because I have found them effective discussion pieces in my classes.  So, get ready to enter The Twilight Zone (with JustHeath).

Today’s episode will be “The Hellgramite [sic] Method” (1988).  I encourage all readers to watch the 22-minute episode as that is the intended basis of this discourse:

…[pause for the cause while you’re watching the video]…

Alright, I assume you’re back now after seeing it.  To summarize, a person battling alcoholism and its effects on his family stumbles upon a cure that is too good to be true…except in TTZ.  The protagonist, Miley Judson, undergoes excruciating pain—not unlike real detoxification—in the early stages of the tapeworm-neutralizing process.  He apparently survived the suffering and even recommends the dubious Dr. Murrick to another person in need of some extra help to kick the habit.

It would be very easy to go meta on this story with all the allusions to the hellgrammite being a symbol for alcoholism (or perhaps any disease really).  However, let’s just focus on Dr. Murrick’s dispensing of a cure.  Did he break the Hippocratic Oath?  Is deception ever okay in medicine?  In short, do the ends (i.e., a sure-fire cure) justify the means (i.e., deception, agonizing pain, and an uninvited symbiote)?  Take our poll, and leave some comments:

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