Stanford Essay – The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100 to 250 words)

I’m motivated by challenges and often see unanswered questions as challenges. One of the questions that I explored in my Theory of Knowledge class last year was whether or not it is possible to find a universal scale for ethics. The conclusion that there are legions of unsolvable ethical problems did not deter me but instead piqued my interest.

I feel that there is value in exploring ethical beliefs because they make up the core of a person; every decision is charged with ethical implications and in that sense, ethics govern all journeys, past, present, and future. I’m excited by conversations about ethics because each one uncovers new, uncharted territory, a fresh perspective on the issue.

One of my favorite ethical debates is that between fate and free will; is it ethical to deny the right to free will in the interest of future benefit? When initially posed to me, I was asked whether it would be moral to keep individuals who carry genetic disorders from reproducing. This would theoretically have utilitarian benefit, improving the gene pool of future generations. But in denying the right to free will, do we lose the diversity, variation, and imperfections that constitute the human experience? And how much do we value our perception of the human experience, is life more or less valuable when imperfections have been stripped away and all variables are controlled? These questions are the beauty in concepts that are so complex and nuanced that they are unanswerable. 

Published in Successful College Essays, Successful Stanford Essays
Stanford University

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