On a typical Sunday, 10,000 people visit the Louvre in Paris. If a wicked sorcerer threatened to vaporize all the museum’s visitors or all of its art, sparing one or the base on your please, which would you save? Assume the sorcerer will obliterate both the people and the art if you don’t choose.
This sounds like a typical day for me! So what would I do. Save the people of course. But I’d stall as long as i could and make sure that the rest of my people were taking the sorcerer down. The great thing about being me is that I have resources and the ability to do something about it. Hero of the story and all that.
There is a secondary question to this:
What, if any, fruits of our culture are worth more than even a million lives? For example, what if all the music or fiction of the past century was at risk.
For me the people always trump the culture. Culture can be rebuilt. It’s always being built and changed. Sure we’d lose history, but if we lost those lives their contributions to society would be lost. There would be gaping holes in the lives of whoever they knew.
And for me nothing is worth that. I would never wish that sort of sorrow on anyone.