Sophie's choice

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by EmmZ, May 3, 2008.

  1. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    Sophie's choice is a film about a Polish immigrant who upon arriving at Auschwitz with her children, a Nazi officer forces her to choose life for one child, and death for the other.

    She pleads for him to not make her choose. Sophie's words fall on deaf ears. When a young Nazi is told to take both children away, she releases her daughter, shouting "Take my little girl!". Sophie can only watch as the screaming little girl is carried away to die.

    If you were faced with the same choice who would you choose? But more importantly, what would be your basis for making that decision?
     
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I would kill the Nazi officer. Clearly, we are all going to die anyway.

    At least I would be reducing the bastards by an n of one
     
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  5. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    EmmZ its no choice at all and no one can know what they will do in that situation. Ethically i surpose the best choice would be which ever child had a better chance of surviving anyway but no one is going to do that sort of assesment when put in this situation.
     
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  7. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    In The Poisonwood Bible, the mom tells her daughter that you save your children from the bottom up. I don't think so. I think we save them from the bottom down. At least I would. I would have saved my oldest as well. Do we save the babies first and expect the older ones to fend for themselves or do we save the ones we have spent the most time with?
     
  8. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    You would obviously have to make a decision with emotion removed, somehow. I just wondered what would people use as their basis for making such an impossible choice. I think parents do have a closer relationship with one particular child. Yes they love them equally but there is a difference from child to child. You might have better communication with one, or feel a closer bond for the youngest. Might they be reasons for making a choice. People really did have to make these kinds of decisions. It's unbelievable what we can do to others.
     
  9. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    Orleander 2 things, in a house fire you would save the babie first because a child can protect itself to an exstent (so you grab the babie while screaming at the kid) which would be my guess as to where the bible is coming from

    However your argument goes with the survivle argument, ie a 15 year old child has a better chance to live to adult hood than a 6 month old babie so knowing whichever one you dont chose dies you would chose the child because instintivly you know it has more of you to carry on and a better chance of surviving to pass it on.

    That being said this is still no choice at all rather a more cruel form of torcher
     
  10. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    but if you had to make that choice, how would you? I would save my oldest
     
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    I cant answer that, i dont think anyone could unless put in that situation and a fair percentage of us would probably just frezze and be unable to make any choice. I havent read the book but i have herd about it and if i rember right the mother tries to turn the boy into the girl she sacrificed and it destroyes them both in the end. No matter which choice you make you would hate yourself for it for the rest of your life and probably end up hating the child you chose.
     
  12. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    It's a toughy isn't it? I watched a film recently called "Das Falcher" where Jewish people with counterfeiting skills were made to make fake money for the Nazis. They were treated like dogs but they had warm beds and food everyday. They had it really easy compared to the Jewish people on the other side of the wall, who they could hear being shot and beaten and god knows what kinds of humiliation being done to them. they had to live with the guilt of being treated so "well". Some of them couldn't handle it and shot themselves when they were liberated.
     
  13. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    EmmZ its called survivers guilt and it increases the risk of suicide and PTSD because you blame yourself for the way other people get treated.

    Take this example, bank robber has two hostages and is going to shoot one to show the police he means buiness. You plead for your life and use every means of persuasion at your disposal (including your body) and convince him NOT TO KILL YOU (this is important). He decides to shoot the other girl who you find out latter was pregnant. Are you to blame for her death? NO your not, you acted exactly the way nature intended and in no way are you to blame, yet you will FEEL like your to blame (probably more so than the bank robber)
     
  14. ravosk Registered Member

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    But would this not ultimately alter depending on the type of person you are. Sure everyone would think to plead for their life, as how many people are stand up enough to give themselves up for someone else?
     
  15. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    this is what i don't understand in Auschwitz there was a handful of gaurds compared to the number of prisoners, why didn't they rise up and fight the gaurds with whatever they could find, even a dustbin lid can be dangerous in the wrong hands, they were not all malnourished and mistreated when they first got there, in fact many of them were healthy and could've fought back
     
  16. EmmZ It's an animal thing Registered Senior Member

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    Lots of factors. I'd hate to do this subject a disservice but basically the Jewish, gays, various intellectuals who would be a threat to the Nazi war machine, people of different races etc., who were taken weren't trained like the SS. They had packs of dogs, men in towers, they subjected them to unimaginable things. Ah this is a huge subject. It wasn't as simple as a revolutionary uprising. It's the organisation of the system that keeps them subjugated.
     
  17. spidergoat Speak of the Devil Valued Senior Member

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    I just read the book on that, Krueger's Men. A fascinating episode, with connections to modern politics even today.

    Bascially, there is no logical or moral choice one can make in this situation, the intention on the part of the Nazis was emotional torture. Perhaps the best thing would be to kill both of your children, run to the fence and die of electrocution.
     
  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    spider thats not actually true. Your right that the purpose is constant emotional torcher and that there maybe no MORAL choice you could make and certianly none you would feel comfertable having made in the future. But logically there is a way to make A choice, and thats to chose the child which has the best chance of living. This may even be concidered the ethical choice as it follows the principles of triage where you save those who you have the best chance of making a difference for when resorces arnt avilalable. I dont belive anyone should jude sophie no matter what she did because in the end it wasnt her choice it was the nazi's actions that forced this on her not her own actions
     
  19. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    This ethical dilemma is a classic that many authors have used in their works, literature and film.

    There is only one "right" as opposed to "not so right" solution to this dilemma.
    It is about responsibility in the end and it is not up to Sophie to participate in the German responsibility for their crimes.

    If she agrees to provide an answer to the soldier and chooses she has morally become an accomplice to the death of at least one child.

    If you add other elements that states:
    "If you fail to choose both children will be executed"
    and
    "If I, the soldier fail to carry out my orders I will be executed as well."
    There are many ways of compounding this Choice many agonising vexations to be had, yet there is only one
    solution and that is to "not choose" and make sure the responsibility for the crime about to be committed rest with the guilty people.
    Sophie and children are innocent of any crime and would die innocent of any crime.

    The ethical dilemma can be summerised with the old saying:
    Never make a pact with the Devil as he will never keep his word.

    The ZGermans had already shown how much they value Jewish life by asking such an obscene question in the first place.
    You would have to consider you are already dead anyway so why be an accompllice to your own death.

    Of course in real life it isn't that easy to be so pragmatic. We cling to hope so strongly...​
     
  20. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    I always wondered why some of them just didn't find a childless German couple and say 'here, take my blonde children and raise them as your own'
     
  21. IntellectualEmpath Registered Member

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    My eldest son has severe mental illness. We have tried everything to help him. My youngest son is terrified of him. I now live with my younger son in an apartment (6 month lease) a couple of miles from our single family home where my eldest son lives with my husband/his adoptive father who has helped me to raise him since he was one-year-old. It is looking like I am quickly approaching a Sophie's Choice. Keep my violent and dysfunctional eldest in the family home and continue to destroy our lives and risk his little brother's life (the eldest is so jealous and has homicidal tendencies towards both myself and his brother) or send my eldest to an institution, thereby destroying any chance of him feeling loved but save my youngest's emotional mind and quite possibly physical life.
     
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    This is not a Sophie's Choice.
    You will be doing right by both children to get professional help for your eldest.
    It would be great if he could cope with living in the family home, but it is evident in his behavior due to his illness that this is destructive not only to others but to himself. Your family alone does not have the resources to provide him with what he needs.
    You are not abandoning him; you are getting him the care he needs. You are doing what is best for him.

    (BTW, I have a similar situation. Two boys, stepfather, older boy is on the autism spectrum, destructive to himself, us, and his younger brother.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  23. IntellectualEmpath Registered Member

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    Thank you for your response! It certainly feels like a Sophie's Choice to me as the mother of both boys. My eldest did not ask for this and I KNOW he will always blame ME for "sending him away." Have you considered enrolling your oldest in residential?
     

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