Eureka Seven AO – Sacrifices

No one likes sacrificing things, but let’s face it; everyone makes sacrifices all the time.

Even perhaps the most fundamental concept in economics is based on sacrifice: “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. But of course, as interesting as economics is, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I direct your attention to the very difficult question posed by this week’s AO: would you sacrifice your spouse for your child, or vice versa? Ok, I’ll admit that’s a pretty ridiculous question, but at least it fit in arguably better than the random and jarringly out of place bishie-ntr-ness that was last episode (as an aside, the development with Fleur still felt a little forced though).

So did President Blanc make the right choice? More importantly, what would you have done? It’s difficult to judge such a decision since there isn’t much in the way of a “standard” with which to critique it. Even so, I will endeavor to deconstruct the situation by focusing on two main factors that would seem to be the most obvious and relevant; logic and emotion. Let’s start by analyzing things “logically”. Between your spouse and your child, which one has more to live for? Well hold on, just what does this have to do with anything? I’ll elaborate in a bit, but first, I would argue that the child wins this one.

Assuming a couple typically has their first child in their late twenties to early thirties, your spouse would theoretically have already lived almost three-sevenths of his/her life. Your child, on the other hand (based on Fleur’s age), would have barely lived perhaps three-fourtheenths of his/her life. That’s only a meager difference of about 20% of the average life-expectancy (about 70 years), but an improvement is still an improvement. That is to say, your child would theoretically go on to live longer than your spouse, so you’ve gained more “life” in choosing your child (cue one-up sfx). Of course, things don’t quite work that way, but I’m sure you don’t really have the time to make a more complex model when put in such a situation.

One obvious argument against choosing the child in this case, though, is: “can’t you just have more children if you save your spouse?” There are two main problems with this assertion. First, if you even have a semblance of a conscience, you probably wouldn’t be able to look your children in the eye knowing you’ve already sacrificed one of them. Second, the whole argument is invalid in the first place since your child can go on to have his/her own children. As a matter of fact, this may even be better for the human race in evolutionary terms since your child having children with someone else would create more genetic diversity than you just having more children with your spouse.

With that aside let’s analyze the situation “emotionally”. This should be fairly obvious, but no self-respecting parent would choose to sacrifice their child to save themself. That said, if you had chosen to save your spouse, I’m willing to bet he/she would go on to hate your guts for making such a decision. This isn’t really about doing the “right” thing; that’s way too vague. Instead, it’s about love. While I’m sure there’s a certain amount of love required between a couple for them to have a child (at least, I would hope that to be the case), there’s really nothing greater than the love a parent has for his/her child(ren).

Ah, but won’t the child also end up hating you for saving him/her instead? After all, the depiction of Fleur in this week’s episode is a very good example of this. Well, that may be true, but children will be children. As much as I enjoy shipping Fleur and Ao, I still find Fleur to be quite plainly annoying at times. Her whole tantrum against her father is both silly and extremely selfish. It’s not as if he chose her over her mother on a whim (I sure hope not), and she doesn’t even consider that he may be the one hurt the most by having to make such a terrifying decision. Heck, she should even be a little grateful that he was able to let his wife go so easily for his daughter.

So where do we stand? I’d say it looks like the child wins over the spouse. When put in such a situation, you really don’t have much time (or mental capacity, for that matter) to think things through in greater detail. I think most would just make the choice based on emotion, but perhaps the calmest of persons may be able to throw some logic in. There’s really no room to consider much more than these two very basic factors. Does this then make President Blanc “correct” in choosing Fleur? Perhaps. But as evident from this episode, he is actually a very intelligent person, so I’m confident he knew what he was doing when he made the decision.

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5 Responses to Eureka Seven AO – Sacrifices

  1. hiroy_raind says:

    “Logically”, I agree that the child win. But both choice will end up wrecking the emotion and relationship of the surviving parties. Not that it won’t be recoverable, since I believe this issue will be resolved later.

    • Smiley says:

      That’s true, but I feel like the love a parent has for his/her child is greater than the love a child has for his/her parents; it’s just the way things are as a result of evolution. And as a result, the stronger the love, the greater the emotional rebound.

      Additionally, as we saw with Fleur this episode, her hatred towards her father wavers as a result of his actions. In general, I would say that the feelings children have are less intense and more easily swayed, so it would be easier to recover from a bad relationship with a child.

      But of course, that’s not to say that the emotions of children should be downplayed. After all, they are at an age where such experiences have the potential to ingrain trauma that would result in future developmental problems.

  2. s2012k1993 says:

    I see two dilemmas with your arguments. Fleur was young, definitely under eight, when her father chose her life over his wife’s life. Let’s say Fleur was eight months old, according to your argument, her father should still choose his child. Now, let’s say Fleur’s mother was eight months pregnant, and the only way to save the would-be child’s life, would be through severe risk to the mother, would the father still choose the would-be Fleur over his wife. I don’t want to claim choosing the child is wrong, but don’t you need to be anti-abortionist to accept that the child’s life takes precedence over the mother’s life? Even emotionally, it becomes difficult to choose. It really isn’t as simple as it seems.

    To illustrate, let’s take the other extreme example. Say Fleur’s parents are in their 40s before she was born and already had seven growing kids to take care of. Fleur, the eight child, is born. After the incident explained in the anime, Fleur’s survival depends on with respect with her mother’s life and vice-versa. Now, would it be acceptable, emotionally and logically, to orphan eight kids and her husband for the sake of Fleur’s life, who might be shunned by her siblings and have to grow up with a guilty conscious? It probably is, but it would require much more rigorous reasoning, something beyond the length of this post.

    Luckily, Fleur’s case, emotionally, is straight forward; however, her case, logically, is ambiguous. Viewing as such, Fleur’s father probably did do the right thing, but we really do need more information to decide whether it was logically sound.

    • Smiley says:

      You bring up great points, and I did only focus on the specific situation present in the anime instead of analyzing things more generally. There can be so many different cases though, so I guess I only focused on one to make things less lengthy. That said, in the two cases you mention, the thinking behind the logic part would obviously change.

      I’m not sure you can even safely save an unborn child in such a scenario. There are stories of babies being safely born even after the mother has died, but in those stories, neither party has suffered severe physical trauma. I’m fairly certain that if both parties were in fact severely injured, the child would die soon after the mother dies. Thus the only logical choice would be to “cut your losses” and just save the mother. There’s really no need to bring such political topics as abortion into the fray; just do whatever has the potential to save the most life. And then, of course, there is the question of whether an organ transplant between an adult and an unborn child would even be feasible. As you can see, the debate can be dragged out for as long as you want it to be, so we just draw a line at some point once we grow tired of it.

      With the case where there is already an established family, I would still say that saving the child is the better choice. I think that the other children would most likely hate the parent who made the choice as well, but it’s not too unlikely that they might get it in their heads to blame the child involved in the accident. If that were the case, it would then be the job of the surviving parent to set such a terrible misconception straight. We could, of course, consider the reverse case in which the parent who was saved would have to live with the “guilt” of “killing” one of his/her children to save him/herself. Is this kind of trauma worse than what the child would potentially face? But again, this would only drag things out much much longer, and most of us probably aren’t that invested in discussing such topics in the first place.

      I would like to set one thing straight, though. No one ever said that such a decision would be simple at all, and I made no attempt to make such a claim; that would just be outright silly. I had originally only set out to address the factors at play in making such a decision when faced with such a scenario as shown in the anime. Of course, it seems the topic has since devolved into a “this is the right choice” thing, but this was probably as inevitable as drama appearing in the ABT. Regardless, you’re definitely right in that other more complicated cases should also be taken into account. Just be wary of when people start to tune out if you make things too overly verbose.

      • s2012k1993 says:

        Because there exist cases where the priority of the parent’s life takes precedence over the child’s life (e.g. “cut your losses”), Christophe Blanc’s decision becomes more interesting. He is smart and manipulating, thus we don’t really know whether his sacrifice was during a moment of emotion and/or cold-hard calculation. After all, Fleur had much potential, or maybe all this speculation is complete nonsense. Either way, I sympathize with Fleur because her father left her on a limb, never explaining to her of his reasons.

        Finally, thanks for the advice. I try to aim for clarity and conciseness, but tend to fail in the latter department. I’ll keep it in mind.

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