Abandon Ship is a 1957 film based on true events, and is a perfect example of a moral dilemma for this group. In short, a passenger ship sinks in the middle of the Atlantic. Only one lifeboat remains, but it is overloaded with survivors. As a storm approaches on the horizon, the last officer in charge knows that they will all drown unless they lighten their load. But who will willingly sacrifice themselves, and who will be forced overboard?
I don’t really have much to say on this. I sure wouldn’t want to be put in this situation though. Do you think it was right to force some people overboard in order to save the rest?
Here is a plot description from Wikipedia:
The luxury liner SS Crescent Star sinks in seven minutes after striking a mine in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, taking with her nearly all of the 1156 people on board. Twenty-seven of the survivors converge on a single lifeboat designed to accommodate only nine. The dying captain passes command to executive officer Alec Holmes (Tyrone Power). Holmes then learns from "Sparks" Clary (John Stratton), the ship's radio operator, that both transmitters were destroyed before a call for help could be sent. Holmes decides to try to reach the nearest land, Africa, 1500 miles away.
With a major storm approaching, Frank Kelly (Lloyd Nolan) warns Holmes that the overloaded boat will be swamped unless some of the passengers are jettisoned. The mortally injured Kelly then sacrifices himself by jumping overboard. Holmes decides to get rid of the old and injured, over the shocked protests of his girlfriend, ship's nurse Julie White (Mai Zetterling). When he orders Will McKinley (Stephen Boyd) to dispose of an unconscious woman, McKinley obeys, then jumps in after her. One by one, Holmes sends others to certain death, until there are 15 left aboard. Edith Middleton (Moira Lister) observes that an atomic scientist, a brilliant playwright, and a famous former opera singer have been sacrificed to save two "apemen", a racketeer, and a devout coward. Passenger Michael Faroni (Eddie Byrne) demands Holmes go back for the others. When Holmes refuses, Faroni seriously wounds him in the shoulder with a switchblade and is in turn shot dead.
The lightened lifeboat weathers the storm and the rest of the survivors thank Holmes for saving them. Realizing he is now a liability due to his wound, Holmes throws himself overboard, but Julie brings him back aboard. Then, they spot a ship. As it comes to pick them up, the others, with the exceptions of Julie White and Edith Middleton, quickly distance themselves from Holmes' actions.
Dammit Dallas; why are you trying to make my head hurt this early into the New Year ?!
I couldn't answer this some 45 years ago, when I was given a very similar HS English writing assignment. But I will give it some more thought.
Happy New Year!
but in the end it's all about emotions and it's understandable the survivors distance themselves from him. He reminds them of the unfairness of their survival and the other people's untimely deaths.
Yes, from an emotional point of view, you can understand why they did it. But from an ethical point of view, it seems rather cowardly to reap the benefits of his actions, and then shun him as a bad person when your back on dry land.
Yea, I get that. I would not be too harsh on them either, in reality. It is such a difficult position to be in. However, I would like to think that if I were a survivor in a situation like that, that I would have the cojones to stand by my convictions.
Perhaps survivor's guilt drives that kind of reaction. But survivor's guilt has always struck me as the kind of response you get from theistic, karmic, or purpose-seeking reasoning. Instead of just seeing the survival (like in a plane crash) as some sort of random occurance (which it is), they seek out meaning or purpose in their survival, which leads to confusion, guilt, or arrogance (God saved ME for a purpose). Does that make sense?
Wow. One of those situations with no clear 'winner.'
I guess my actions would be different based on what role I was in at the time.
Is there clear authority?
Is there a void where it's obvious someone needs to step up, or we are all going to die?
How did they come about the information that the boat won't hold the full roster?
Too many variables to make a standing decision, but I can say one thing:
The guy that isn't fighting for his place on the boat.. the guy that isn't fighting for survival...is probably the only unbiased party.
However the guy that knows his end is near might not be in the best frame of mind to make rational decisions.
"Talking it out" might not lead to the best outcome. That will only grow fear, breed resentment and make paranoia flourish. That's when fights break out, and when the survival rates drop....for everyone.
Quietly killing people is probably the best way to go about things.
I mean, if it's possible on a small boat.
I'm feeling the same with this scenario as I did with 'The Mist."
They had that bitch tied up. They knew she was going to make trouble. They knew she was going to cause a HUGE division that would cost lives.
They should have at least gagged her or at most toss her in a storeroom somewhere for "safety."
By tossing her in a storeroom, I mean killing her in a way that looked accidental. Problem solved.
Now, I haven't seen the movie, but I do know that it is within human nature to make judgement calls of who is going to be helpful, and who is going to be the opposite. We have these instincts from back in the day when these decisions literally meant "who gets to eat, and who starves to death?" No one wants to have to make those choices, but we are equipped to deal with it. That is why we HAVE higher reasoning... to work out what is best for the species as a whole.
Removing those that aren't going to make it, or those that you know will only endanger lives elsewhere is probably the most moral thing I could come up with.
Doing it in a way that disrupts the population the least is probably the safest manner to do it in.
So yeah. I guess my answer is to quietly (and humanely) kill those with the least chance of living.
Then move on to those that are a danger to the others. The coward. The idiot. The crazy person. Whatever the danger is, you quietly and calmly remove it...
Then probably yourself, afterwards.
Sorry, but if you are going for the good of the group, that means one less body, one less mouth to feed, one less...whatever.
Since you can't make a decision concerning yourself..you'd be too biased....The moral thing to do is carry out your plan to stabilize the population and ensure it's safety the best you can...then offer yourself up for vote by those remaining.
If you are more of a benefit than not, they'll want you to stay.
Well, don't play if you can't pay.
If you are ok making decisions on other people's lives, you better buck up when it's your turn.
Hmm.. I see now that no one else directly addressed the issue.
...and I guess that means I'm the only one up here that immediately decided to go all ninja assassin.
*whistles innocently and tries not to look like a sociopath.*
Now what's the REAL moral of this story?
Never go boating with Misty.
No I wouldn't be.
You'd let me kill off all the weak and troublesome of the lot first and THEN kill me so you are only guilty of one crime.
..I've ensured my survival until the last level of this little game, my dear!
Hopefully long enough for help to arrive!