Neither Good Nor Bad

I love dilemmas.

In logic, dilemma means a difficult situation where someone has to choose either of two unfavorable alternatives. Well, the dilemmas I’m referring to are dilemmas in our mind, like choosing one side from two to stand.

One of the dilemmas I encountered recently is the question whether Oscar Schindler was a good or bad man at the end of the film “Schindler’s List”. Long story short, Oscar Schindler was an ethnic German business man who was also member of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party during World War II; he employed about 1200 Jews, many of whom had been in concentration camps. Schindler’s first factory was in Krakow, Poland, but he later moved the whole factory and the Jew workers to his hometown. At the end of World War II, there were only about 4000 Jews in Poland, so 1200 Jews alive in one factory was an amazing number.

So was Schindler a good man at the end of the film?

Schindler’s initial goal in running a factory was to make money; he employed Jews possibly because Jew workforce was cheaper than Polish workforce, so that he could maximize profit. Maybe it was because after he saw the horrors of concentration camps or the sort that he changed his motive—that he began to save as many as he could.

But I argued that Schindler wasn’t a good man at the end of the film (which was immediately after WWII and after he’d saved so many people).

I don’t mean that he was a bad man. We’re humans, and humans are ambivalent creatures. We cannot be good all our lives, or even remain good for a long time.

Language is tricky that way. “Good” and “bad” are words of extremity and absoluteness and are each at the end of a spectrum. You can’t be an absolute good person, just like the society can’t become Utopia. You can only try to become the absolute good person.

Schindler had good intentions—that I agree—but it doesn’t necessarily mean he was a good man.  Yes, he had done a good thing at the end, but he had also done a lot of things that are considered “not good”. Doing a good thing doesn’t make someone a good person.

As I’d said before, Schindler wasn’t a good man or a bad man; this would remain throughout the film (and his life), and so to answer the question: No, I don’t think Schindler was a good man at the end of the film.

My classmates and I had a heated discussion on this good/bad man topic. Most of them had uniform answers. But whatever the case, I think that even though this question may appear easy and straightforward, it is actually something to think about.

via Uniform

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Blindly Struggle

I was suddenly glad, despite the fact that I was dying.

The creature’s body was the first to crumble away into gray dust that settled the tomb’s marble floor. To my great disgust, the pale skin shrank and shriveled up, so that it clung to bones. The face still blindly struggled, desiring me to stop its destruction.

I would not and could not. The holy stake would forbid me anyway.

You will regret this!” the creature shrieked. “You will die a painful death!

I sneered and looked up at the ceiling of the tomb, as if my gaze could penetrate the stone into the starry sky above. “It is worth it.”

With that, I stamped my foot onto the wooden stake so that it pierced the creature completely. The wailing that followed was a horrible sound yet sweet music to my ears.

Then blood oozed out of my wound like a waterfall breaking free of rocks. There was no time left.

Having gathered up and poured the leftover dust into the empty coffin, I hoisted Jean’s body up with my good, right arm, and I left the dreary tomb.

And I collapsed.

Blindly
via Daily Prompt: Blindly

Tenacious Grip

The vampire pulled its lips back; its canine teeth were especially sharp and white against the darkness in the tomb and the scarlet of its lips. It leaped for me; I knew I would be powerless against its inhuman strength, but I didn’t care. What mattered was that this pest of the mortal world had humiliated Jean, when she deserved some peace.

The creature’s fingers touched and gripped me tenaciously. I thrust out.

It screamed out long as my wooden stake drove through its body. But as I watched it screeching at my feet and tearing at itself as if to get rid of the holy stake, I noticed the unbearable pain along my collar bone to my left armpit. It was like fire had lit me up, consuming everything within me—my cells, my blood, my flesh—and not any less agonizing than the pain the creature was experiencing right now.

Do you think you can stop me?” the creature bellowed, not loud but enough to shake the whole tomb with its rumbling voice. “After all these centuries…after I have went through Hell’s fire to—

“Begone!” I yelled, despite the agony in my shoulder.

Its face screwed up, distorted, as I spoke against it. The deathless, devilishly beautiful face looked up at me and begged me to stop; it flashed a smile that could have been radiant and charming, if it were not for those treacherous wolf-like teeth and the hellfire burning in the crimson eyes.

Tenacious

via Daily Prompt: Tenacious

Meaningless Fight

It had a woman’s face, a woman’s features, but it did not have a woman’s soul.

Its long, braided dark hair swooped down behind its back, its white dress seemingly flowing in the silent air.

“‘We don’t want anyone to notice.'” The voice was hoarse, as if the creature had not spoken for a century and had recently got a sore throat. I wanted to laugh at that—a sore throat!—but the creature’s mimicking my dead friend Jean made me realize my situation.

“How foolish it is!” The creature rasped, the sound like metal scraping on wood. “How ignorant mortals are! How meaningless your fight is!”

Instinct kicked in. The hand with the knife reached out. A long gash was ripped in the center of the white burial dress, and beneath that, on the pale skin. I had expected this, but it disgusted me very much to see the white, dead tissue instead of crimson blood and flesh underneath the layer of skin.

via Daily Prompt: Meaningless
Meaningless

Minimal Damage

I stood outside the tomb, my friend Jean beside me.

We were both holding a wooden stake in one hand, a knife in the other. I had thought about bringing a gun, but it would cause much disturbance in the area if I fired a bullet at the creature we were about to destroy.

“Scared?” Jean asked, her voice shaking.

“Yeah,” I croaked. How much I wanted some water now! The time was near!

“Do you still remember what we need to do?”

“Yeah.”

“Drive the stake through the heart.”

“I know.”

“Remember, minimal damage. We don’t want anyone to notice.”

“Of course.”

Jean took a deep breath, stepped forward to the tomb door, and cracked the lock. When the door screeched open, we were welcomed by a foul smell of decaying earth. Slowly we piled in, Jean in front of me. Silver moonlight fell onto the new marble floor, leading us toward our destination.

But as we approached, we could see that the coffin lid had slid over the side and was now resting on the floor. The creature had come out, escaped, or both!

Jean turned to me, cursing under her breath. But as I looked, my eyes widened, for behind her came a white flash.

My friend fell to the ground, and I was staring at the crimson that was the creature’s fiery eyes.

via Daily Prompt: Minimal
Minimal