A real man - real in all the ways that we recognise as real - finds himself suddenly abstracted from the world and deposited in a physical situation which could not possibly exist~: sounds have aroma, smells have colour and depth, sights have texture, touches have pitch and timbre. There he is informed by a disembodied voice that he has been brought to that place as a champion for his world. He must fight to the death in single combat against a champion from another world. If he is defeated, he will die, and his world – the real world – will be destroyed because it lacks the inner strength to survive.
The man refuses to believe that what he is told is true. He asserts that he is either dreaming or hallucinating, and declines to be put in the false position of fighting to the death where no ‘real’ danger exists. He is implacable in his determination to disbelieve his apparent situation, and does not defend himself when he is attacked by the champion of the other world.
Question: Is the man’s behaviour courageous or cowardly? This is the fundamental question of ethics.
He could not bear the alternative. If he were dreaming, he might still be able to save his sanity, survive, endure. But if the Land were real, actual – ah, then the long anguish of his leprosy was a dream, and he was mad already, beyond hope