Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ethics Of Time Travel Sex (Quantum Leap and Being Erica)

Remember when Sam Beckett would jump back into someone else's body and would end up having sleeping with a lady? I always felt a little weird about that. First because it seems wrong that he would be making that decision for the person whose body he is in. And second, it seemed kind of like he was taking advantage of the woman he was with - since she was making her decision based on the person she thought she was being with.

It seems kind of unethical. But at the same time, if Sam is going to be bouncing around in time for the rest of his life, does that mean he has to be celibate for the rest of his life? He's doing a lot of hard work to fix the wrongs of history, shouldn't he be able to get a little something for himself?

Also I've been watching a show on Hulu called Being Erica (which is okay, but so far nothing great), where a girl keeps jumping back through time into her own body to fix some personal mistakes she's made in her life. In one episode, she goes back to when she was in high school and she ends up sleeping with a teenage boy.

So that got me wondering if that's wrong or not. She is mentally and emotionally an adult even though she is physically inside her teenage body. But the boy is mentally, emotionally and physically a minor. So let's forget for the moment about the morals of pre-marital-sex and the ideas about whether teenagers should participate in consensual sex with each other (since we may have different views on that) - I think I can assume that we would agree that an adult sleeping with a teenager is immoral. So based on that assumption, did she do something wrong? Or does the fact that their bodies are the same age make it not wrong?

I don't know. It's something to wonder about. What kind of rules should a time traveler follow in these types of situations? What do you think?

1 comment:

Robert Vollman said...

Good question. Reverse the genders in that example and it becomes obvious that it's wrong.

You know, unless one of them is a vampire.

I agree that time travel will require a certain code of ethics, but I think initially the technology will develop very gradually, and be used only by very select and carefully monitored individuals, kind of like space travel.

Erica, the brainless self-important tart is probably a very poor example of someone in whom time travel would be entrusted.