Would you press a button for $1 MILLION if it meant a stranger would die?
This is the premise of the soon-to-be-released movie, The Box, inspired by Richard Matheson’s 1970 short story, "Button, Button." Matheson’s tale subsequently became the subject of a 1986 episode of the Twilight Zone.
I have not read the short story nor seen the Twilight Zone rendition. And I’ve certainly not put eyes on any advance viewing of the movie. I want to specifically dwell upon this question for a moment, before being influenced or tarnished by any theatrical representations of it, the promotions and reviews thereof, or knowledge of the story’s conclusion.
The scene is set as follows (by Warner Bros.):
Norma and Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world…someone they don’t know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the crosshairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.
What would you do?
Consider the same question at higher amounts also – $2 Million, $5 million, $10 million.
Does that scenario change your answer?
To be continued…