Omelas

by Brisaliz, Period 4

brisaliz

A while ago, I a close friend of mine decided to leave me. I cared and cherished them, but soon decided that perhaps it would be best if I kept my distance. This person has a wonderful heart. They are kind, and have a beautifully complex thought-process. The person’s life, however, did not reflect their great potential.

I spoke to my mom about this (along with my thoughts on our parting) and she agreed it was best not to have them around. She sympathized with me on their troubles and understood my frustration with the unfairness this person has gone through.

But then she told me something that stuck: “Some people just aren’t meant to find happiness.”

As soon as she said it I couldn’t help but think about how similar this situation was to a short story I once read called “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” (see Brooks’ Op-Ed). Omelas is a utopian society where everything is perfect. But the only reason this occurs is because one child is locked away from the happiness of the city.

This one child must suffer in order for everyone else to benefit.

Everyone in the city finds out about this child (and even go to visit the place this child is kept) at a certain age. These people feel guilty, and wish they could help the child. But most come to terms with their guilt, justifying it by saying that the child would not be much happier in the city and that their suffering is necessary for ordinary life to continue.

Those who cannot deal with their guilt walk away as individuals. They walk out of the city of Omelas and into the unknown. The person whom I’ve seen suffer is similar to the suffering child of Omelas. In fact, many people we see in this world are similar to the child of Omelas. They tolerate their pain and keep their troubles to themselves so that others won’t be bothered.

Some people overcome their guilt towards this unfortunate group. Some try to help those suffering and end up dealing with their own problems and complications; diseases and disasters. And those whom cannot help but feel guilty, but do not want to deal with the issue, usually ignore it all together.

The truth is, we are all living perfect realities. We are all living our own “Omelas.” And although we may not know it, someone out there is suffering for our benefit.

So, does this make you a fortunate citizen of Omelas? Or maybe you’re the child suffering for the greater good? Or perhaps you’re one of the ones that walk away. The ones that try to find another way to live, though there’s no promise it exists.

Need
Picture credit: Bighit Entertainment, BTS “Spring Day” music video

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