The Moral Logic Of Survivor Guilt

1014 Words3 Pages

“It just barely missed me, but in my place it swallowed everything that mattered most to me and swept it off to another world. I took years to find it again and to recover from the experience-precious years that can never be replaced” (133). Individuals who find themselves in life or death situations experience a spectrum of factors that play into the aftermath, including, mental, moral, and costly forms of accountability. The decisions individuals are forced to make in order to survive is what causes this accountability. Therefore, individuals should not be held responsible for their decisions when in survival situations. The actions survivors make during a life or death situation do not determine who they are. In The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, …show more content…

In “The Moral Logic of Survivor Guilt” by Nancy Sherman, this argument describes an illogical form of guilt that survivors receive when a victim in the same situation as them dies or is injured. According to Sherman, this guilt carries other emotions along with it, including self indictment, empathetic distress, responsibility, and sheer pain. A number of soldiers go through this guilt after coming home from war. “Indeed, the soldiers I talked to, involved in friendly fire accidents that took their comrades’ lives, did not feel regret for what happened, but raw, deep, unabashed guilt,” says Sherman. This guilt sticks with survivors years after the event. It is enough accountability as it is, and any other form is simply even more mentally painful to the survivor. Another instance where this accountability appears is in “The Seventh” by Haruki Murakami. This story portrays the seventh man's life after witnessing the death of his very close friend. His friend’s death sticks with him throughout most of his life, and he constantly feels guilt as if he could have done something to prevent it. “That is probably why I never married. I didn't want to wake someone next to me with my screams in the middle of the night.” The seventh man, who is in utter pain, has missed out on most of his life. This guilt and self tormenting that the man experiences kept him from living …show more content…

People can plan and predict their future as much as they desire but outside forces are sometimes unavoidable. However, some people may disagree with this thesis. For example, in “The Cost of Survival” by Theo Tucker, the author believes some people willingly put themselves in life-and-death situations and know before hand the danger that they are about to face. “The idea of holding people responsible is not to stop rescuing them. It's to discourage them from behaving in foolish and dangerous ways. That can only be a good thing!” says Tucker. This idea is absurd; it fails to make any sense whatsoever. Tucker also contradicts himself with providing this evidence from 2014: “In one, a family of four called for help when their child became ill. They were on a sailboat 900 miles off the coast of Mexico. There rescue involved the U.S Navy, the Coast Guard, and the California Air National Guard.” This example is in no way a foolish, dangerous, or uncommon circumstance. The family did not anticipate that their child would fall ill and definitely had no way of preventing it. Not speaking for Tucker, but sicknesses are inevitable. This family should not be held responsible for the rescue. As well as In The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Pi happens to also find himself in an unexpected situation. Pi and his family decide

More about The Moral Logic Of Survivor Guilt

Open Document