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ibstubro's avatar

Without knowing when you, yourself are going to leave this Earth, if you were able to donate a portion of your life [hour, day, year, etc.] to a loved one as you can now donate a kidney, would you?

Asked by ibstubro (18770points) January 19th, 2016

It would be a gamble.
If it was your destiny to die in a car accident in 14 hours and you donated a day to your mother, you would expire immediately, and your mother would live your last 14 hours.

How much would an hour of your life be worth? Say Bill Gates was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer and started buying life in one hour increments. Would you sell? At what cost?

Or would you donate to keep someone like Stephen Hawking or some other brilliant contributor alive another hour? Scientist, artist humanitarian.

Instead of suicide, you could gift your life to someone that desperately wanted or needed it.

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31 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

I would, if I knew I would die shortly. After all I would die and there was nothing I could do. I’d say the maximum amount I would be willing to donate is a year – yeah, if I knew I would die in a year.

ibstubro's avatar

But your own life could be extended indefinitely if you received donations from other people, “knowing you are going to die” is off the table, @Mimishu1995.

Donations can be received as well as given.

johnpowell's avatar

I am pretty numb. I feel like I am just going through the motions and living the same day over and over again. To be honest I don’t think I would miss much if I didn’t wake up in the morning.

I’m still really bitter about my sister having my ex-gf babysit my nephew for years after we broke up. So I guess I would add 30 years to my sisters life so she would be around to see her three children die. I am a horrible person.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Well in that case, I think I’d go for it. Other people could give their life to me, so why shouldn’t I?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I would gladly donate even now. I am in no mood to get old.

janbb's avatar

To my sons or grandsons, not an iota of a question. And certainly for most of my friends, I’d be willing to donate some portion of my life – not sure if it would be years though.

In actuality, many, many people donate their lives metaphorically speaking to loved ones who are ill or dying.

Seek's avatar

There would have to be a really good reason. If my son were in need, absolutely. He could have all of it if it helped.

Anyone else? Nah. This is the only life I get. It’s mine.

Coloma's avatar

I’d sell a couple hours to Bill gates for a few million, sure. lol
Otherwise, nope, my daughter is young and healthy, and nobody else needs my life hours. I’ll keep them thanks.

Soubresaut's avatar

I would donate any organ I could, always, of course. With time, I am more hesitant.

The power of organ donation seems to be how the donor is able to give someone decades of life with a fairly minimal sacrifice (some risks in surgery, and then some part of the body that will grow back or was redundancy anyway.) The donated organ becomes so much more, and that more-ness seems to me remarkable.

With time, it all depends. Donating time, I couldn’t simply give someone decades of life without making myself a martyr, without forcing them to live the hours of my martyrdom. That doesn’t seem nearly as uplifting, nor does it seem a very meaningful martyrdom.

Where organ donation is about gaining time—donating time cannot be. No time is gained, only exchanged, so the more-ness, the gain, must be elsewhere: qualitative. If all the time meant was that my loved one got more time and I got less, I wouldn’t give them anything—if the time wouldn’t be more meaningful to them than to me—if the time wouldn’t alleviate pain or solve some other qualitative issue—I don’t think they’d want it.

If my loved ones were dying from something painful, would my time “cure” them, or would it only prolong their suffering? If it could cure them, and they were in horrible pain, I would give them time (I’m not sure how much) so they could have their last moments in peace, able to offer final wisdom and farewells—that seems meaningful. But if it cured them, why would they still have to die? . . . Would they experience my final moments (my death) whatever it was, or would they simply drift away? If I could give them a guaranteed peaceful end, that seems worth it.

If I gave my loved one several years of my life and then they were hit by a car with enough force to kill them, what would happen to the years? Would the years I gave them simply expire? Would the person live out the years and then die? (But they were so injured—if this time doesn’t cure them, would those years be in a coma?)

Bill Gates isn’t my loved one—still, I would be sad to hear he was dying. And the potential millions that individuals could make by selling hours of their lives could mean everything to them. But I think I would be disappointed in Bill Gates if he made such an offer, and I think it would set an unpleasant precedent. Our economy is already based on one form of selling time—employees offer their time in work, employers buy worker time—would we really want to offer this second form? It reminds me too much of the JT movie In Time. I doubt hours would ever actually become currency, and the scarcity of these interactions (millions for hours) could be beneficial at the individual level, but imagining it as a part of society makes me uneasy.

Long story short: I wouldn’t sell my time on principle. I would only give my time to loved ones if I could be sure it would make their final moments better—I can’t stop their death; I’d want my donation to be more than postponement, time displacement. Maybe that makes me selfish?

msh's avatar

@ibstubro Are we allowed to bring people back to life by giving ours? Might they get our health also?

tinyfaery's avatar

Sure. They can take it all.

msh's avatar

Ok. I’m going to say- yes you can on both. Yep. My older sister to see her grandchild. For her to take on some challenges she would excell at completing. She was a much better person than I. To her, in an instant.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

What are they going to do with the time? If they were going to do something that would improve other people’s lives, absolutely I would donate time. If they were trying to complete something that was vitally important to them and they needed time, yes. For instance, they had a few days worth of editing their life story for publication. Or they needed to finish knitting a blanket for their first grandchild. It could be something personal, but something important to them, or to others.

Just because they want more time… no. I’m pretty sure when the time comes, I will want more time with my family. More importantly, I’m sure my family will want more time with me. When I hear ‘One more night…’ by Phil Collins, I always think of my dad and how I would love one more night to spend talking to him. We will always want more. So, my decision to give more time to someone else will need to be grounded in an awareness that they have something specific and important to do with that time.

ibstubro's avatar

It’s not a given that your sister would live 30 years, @johnpowell. Only that you wouldn’t. You might only have a couple months left to give her, anyway. Your spite might cause your immediate death and give her a few more months of life. She’d probably love you for that.

I see your point, @Mimishu1995, but wouldn’t you like a month or two to set things straight, say goodbye?

I’m thinking a lot of mine could be up for grabs, too, @ZEPHYRA. I’d look for someone young, with a lot of promise.

I would exclude your sons and grandsons from question, @janbb as we all know you’d give them whatever you could.
As to friends and geniuses, I was thinking where someone well loved/respected might get an hour or two from many people and live months or years without a great deal of loss to family, friends, and admirers.

Maybe give your husband a bit, too, @Seek? As the father of your son?

An hour for a million, @Coloma? in a heartbeat.

You could still donate your organs…as a matter of fact, when you donated time, you might expire right then for a fresh harvest.
You give the time, and your recipient uses it as they see fit. Continue the life they were leading, @DancingMind.

“Pet Cemetery” by Stephen King, @msh. You may not re-animate a corpse.
But GA for altruistic thoughts.

Seriously, @tinyfaery?
Why do you say that?

I think that’s generally the idea, @Earthbound_Misfit. Give someone time to finish something, be it find a cure, recording an album, caring for a challenged loved one.
An awesome application would be if you were racing to the beside of someone about to die, that you needed to say goodbye too.

msh's avatar

@ibstubro – Hold on! She was cremated, and I’ve got a bottle of glue. Where there’s a will ( she had one) there’s a way. Watch me.
Pet Cemetery? Seriously?

Seek's avatar

@ibstubro – nope, he’s on his own. Any shortening of his life is most likely self-inflicted. His family members all live to be in their late 80s or better. There’s no one in my family that has seen seventy.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not attached to this life. I’m not doing anything important. Better someone else have my life and I shuffle off this mortal coil.

janbb's avatar

@ibstubro Kind of silly to ask “would you donate a portion of your life to a loved one” and then object to my saying I would to my sons and grandsons, dontcha think?

@Earthbound_Misfit I assumed the question implied if they needed it for some reason, not just because….

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

The question didn’t specify the donation should be in response to a specific need. Since some people have said they don’t feel they’re living a productive life or they don’t want to get old, it can’t be assumed people would always need a significant reason to donate time to someone else. In my case, I’d want to know what the other person was going to do with that time. Just because I love the potential receiver wouldn’t necessarily mean I felt their need was greater than mine or my families. My time is valuable.

janbb's avatar

^ True. I would not just give up my time to extend someone else’s life without a good reason.

Soubresaut's avatar

@ibstubro okay, so to clarify—when I give them my time, all I’m giving them is a longer natural life? If they are dying from some disease, they will still die; if they get hit by a car, they will still die; if they were going to get cancer at some age, they still will get cancer at that age, and if they were going to lose the battle with it some years later, they would?—I may not have explained it well, but in my response I was focused more on their physical condition than I was their life pursuits. I’m assuming there has to be some form of determinism, since my lifespan has to be known in order to take off 10 years, or 5 minutes, etc…. so if I give an hour of my life to someone who is terminally ill, do they live an hour longer than they would have? And do the live that hour in whatever pain they had been experiencing, or do they live it outside their disease, and so pain free? ... this particular thought is reminding me tangentially of Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

Or, maybe here’s my question more precisely: if Bill Gates buys 10 more years, but has incurable brain cancer and would die in 3 months without any purchasing of time, what happens? Does he survive those 10 years, and in what state?

(I guess this question is showing me that when it comes to this sort of sacrificing-generosity, I focus on the logistics?)

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry, @janbb. You misunderstood my post, not my question.
I meant that knowing you as we do, it goes without saying that you would donate to your sons and grandsons as needed. Not that you shouldn’t say it.
And yes, the question implied need, @janbb & @Earthbound_Misfit. Even if you didn’t value your own life highly, hopefully you would give it to someone that needed it.

Nevermind, @DancingMind.
Would you be altruistic enough to ”gift your life to someone that desperately wanted or needed it.
If it’s more complicated than that, don’t feel compelled to answer.
Life’s too short! :-)

janbb's avatar

@ibstubro Got you now. Thanks.

Soubresaut's avatar

@ibstubro aha, sorry, I think I’ve been taking too many philosophy classes, or something: all I can think about are the complications! ... so read my posts as two too-verbose “maybes” ;)

kimchi's avatar

I would give 35 years to my grandma, 35 years to my grandpa, 5 years to my sibling, 5 years to my mom, 6 years to my dad.

ibstubro's avatar

But, your life will likely end, @kimchi, and the years awarded will only equal the years remaining in your own life.

kimchi's avatar

Yes, I know. I would rather give my life to people who enjoy it.

longgone's avatar

I might give days or a few weeks. In general, I’m arrogant enough to assume that the hurt I would cause my loved ones by dying unnecessarily early would be intense, so I hesitate to be a hero here. I would rather be dead than watch others die for me.

Reminds me of this quote from House: “If you don’t think your life is worth more than someone else’s, sign a donor card and kill yourself.”

ibstubro's avatar

Not to backtrack the details, @longgone, but I was thinking more along the lines of prolonging someone’s life long enough for a loved one to reach their bedside. Perhaps a community collective prolonging someone’s life who was suffering from a fatal disease awaiting approval for a promising treatment. Or perhaps a communal prolonging of a creative or scientific genius so they could finish a final project.

longgone's avatar

I think there would be a high risk of certain people being mostly donors, and other people being recipients. We might end up with a world of creative masterminds and (religious) leaders, but missing all the shy and thoughtful people who, while making less of an impact, are important to those around them and may well make the world a better place by just thinking.

We may end up with a world of extroverts.

ibstubro's avatar

I hadn’t considered the fact that televangelists and QVC hosts could, shamelessly, live forever, @longgone.

Admittedly I fail to account for the worst of human nature.
I was having a flight of fancy, given the recent losses we’ve suffered here on Fluther, and the larger-than-life entertainers that have passed.

I often hear heart-wrenching stories of people suddenly removed from life during a key moment, and I think, ”Here. Take mine. Have a day/week/month/year to prepare everyone for your absence.

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