The One Who Walk Away From Omelas

905 words | 4 page(s)

Determination of the Facts
Omelas is a very prosperous society. It is a self-governing society that has no kings or other types of governments similar to those of the current world. It also has no law enforcers as there is no crime. Additionally, the society does not have the sophisticates of the present world such as the stock exchange, the bomb, advertisements, monarchy, and slavery. There is the abundance of joy, health, beauty, friendship, harvest, and wisdom in the society. For example, the fact that the whole society is taking part in a festivity during the story’s setting is an indication of the closeness of the friendship relationships that exist in the society. However, all this happiness, joy, and success are dependent on the depravity of a child who is locked in a cellar the basement of one of the city’s beautiful public buildings. The child lives in deplorable conditions such as improper feeding, lighting, and hygiene. It is also physically abused through kicks as people try to make it stand up.

Not every member of the society is content with the state of the child. As we are told in the story, some people just leave the society after visiting the child and getting to see its living conditions. I am also not content with the child’s situation. The following part describes the options available to other persons not happy with the situation of the child and me.

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Identification of Choices and the Consideration of Their Consequences
There are three basic options that are available to anyone who knows about the presence of the child in the basement, which, according to the story, are all the people of Omelas. The three options are do nothing about the situation, try to help and save the child from its suffering, or simply walk away from the society. The following paragraphs describe the consequences that each of the options would have to me and other members of the Omelas society.

Doing nothing about the situation means that I would continue enjoying the prosperity of the society at the expense of the happiness of the child held in the cellar. It would mean that I approve the society’s prosperity at the expense of the child’s joy. It would force me to suppress my conscience and compassionate side. It would mean that I am also a part of the people advocating for the child’s continued suffering to maintain the prosperity of the city. However, it would also mean the continued prosperity and happiness of the greatest number of people in the society.

Trying to help the child would bring out my compassionate side. I would try to end the child’s suffering and bring joy and happiness to its life. However, this would bring the happiness and prosperity of the whole Omelas society to an end. As a rule, the prosperity of the society would end the very moment that the child is shown compassion, fed, bathed, or brought to sunlight. Additionally, according to the story, releasing the child would not necessarily bring happiness to its life as it is too degraded and has been afraid for too long to know and enjoy happiness. Therefore, trying to help the child would do more harm than good.

Walking away would have no effect on the child or the society. The child would go on suffering while the city would continue prospering. However, it would help me deal with my conscience. It would be the only way I would be able to express my discontent with the fact that the city’s prosperity depends on the depravity of the child. Just the mere fact that I would no longer enjoy the city’s prosperity would help clear my conscience. Additionally, the fact that I would not cause any suffering to the society would be satisfying enough.

Making an Ethical Choice and Taking the Appropriate Action
From the above discussion of the consequences of each available option, it is clear that walking away from the society would be the most ethical option. It would help clear my conscience by not enjoying the city’s prosperity at the expense of the child’s happiness or end the child’s happiness at the expense of the city’s prosperity. Just like the many others who simply left the city after visiting the child, I would also walk away. I would go to the north.

Application of the Parable to Real-Life Events and Situations of Today’s World
The parable of Omelas applies to various real-life events in which people are faced with the three options and have to take the best option based on their personal attributes. For instance, let’s consider a situation in which knows that their best friend has stolen some money that they required to clear some medical fees. The options available in such a case are doing nothing, reporting the friend to law enforcement authorities, or asking the friend to return the stolen money to its owner. Doing nothing would mean that the person approves the theft. Reporting the matter to the authorities would mean sending the best friend to prison, and asking them to give back the money to its owner would mean that the friend would go without the healthcare services. The person would have to use his or her personal attributes to make the best decision in such a situation.

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