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Sophies choice, an ethical dilemma

  1. Jul 19, 2004 #1
    Sophie’s Choice

    A while ago a movie was produced called Sophie’s Choice.
    It was a long time ago so excuse me if my rendition is incorrrect. I am using it as a medium to pose a vexatious ethical dilemma. It is the ethics not the film I wish to be discussed.

    It was set during the second world war and Sophie was a Jewish mother of two young children being sent with her children to a concentration camp.

    She as with most Jewish captives had very little knowledge of what the German soldiers had in mind.

    (The Choice)
    The train she was travelling in arrived at their destination. She and her children disembarked and were confronted by a German officer.

    The German Officer said to Sophie:

    Only one of your children can Live. The other child will be executed.
    He asked her to decide:
    Which child should live and which child should die?
    If you fail to choose she is told, both children will be executed.

    She made a decision and had to live with the consequences for the rest of her life.

    What choice would you make if you had to choose between both of your children?

    Would you make a choice or would let the tormentor be responsible.

    This question of choice I feel is a very important example of responsibility.

    And often the issue of “Sophie’s Choice” comes to mind.

    How would you approach this difficulty?

    In light of such a tragic and sadistic situation how would you respond? And just to make the dilemma complete you have guns trained on you the whole time, you have no ability to do anything but make a choice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2004 #2
    It's plain hard, such things i suppose, you just do, and have to live with them.

    Such dilemma in such context does not give you much choice. You can't even decide for the "lesser evil", because such a tragic and sadistic situation, as you put it, is just that; a tragic and sadistic situation, and one's choices are very limited if any.

    Perhaps i would decide for the one i love a bit more. A mother or father with 2 or more children of course like one of them a little bit more, although we are talking about maternal love here, which is unimaginable and extreme by itself, and thus it's loss is too great that small differences would make any notable matter.

    It would probably be much easier for a man to decide such thing. although not "easy", of course.

    Sincerely, if i was a mother, and was able of maternal love, and be put before such a dilemma, i'd probably just close my eyes and instinctively say a name of the child i want to live. i don't think i'd even think much which one i like more, because the longer i'd ponder the dilemma the agony would grow and thus less strenght to make a decision would be left in me.

    but i don't think i'd be able to say the name of the one i chose to die.
  4. Jul 24, 2004 #3
    Now let me show you a TRUE dilemma; you were captured by enemy soldiers, and you're about to be executed. You can't escape.

    What will you choose?:-)
  5. Jul 24, 2004 #4
    Flip a coin.
  6. Jul 24, 2004 #5
    I'd attemt to do something about it dispite the guns pointing at me. Rather I try and fight back and we all die then choose which child to die.
  7. Aug 8, 2004 #6
    I don't know about Sophie, but I've seen favoritism among parents... they claim that their love is unconditional but because of whatever reasons, they really dote on one child more than the others. If it came to that, they would likely pick that "preferred child". It sounds harsh and cruel but would it be less devastating to lose one than to lose them all? I think so... unless all of your children had grown up to abuse you, or something grim like that. :(

    This also raises the possibility of another scenario... the child you chose to die in fact goes on to be brainwashed by the Nazis to hate you and hunt you down in later years. Sounds like something out of the X-Men of Marvel Comics fame, but it's not too far off from what might happen to a child who was not chosen.
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