The Choice in Living

“Childhood is a nonconsensual experience”

Dr. McCoy managed to summarize the feeling of futility felt throughout our childhood years in one simple phrase. Most of us have felt some degree of regret or fruitlessness about our childhood. There are parts we wish to change and some we wish to relive. Yet, despite whatever our backgrounds may be, there is always this sense that we didn’t control as much as we wanted to. Childhood was perhaps our most vulnerable time. We did not have the choice of entering this world. We were not briefed or prepared for whatever was occurring here. Instead, we were thrown into the world and forced to face the present.  

Given the modern tone of social interactions, it is safe to say that the many fear for the next generation. The question of ‘whether it is worth it or even ethical to bring a child into a world like this’ has been thrown around often. The post-modern age is a time of the most advanced and open-minded movements. We live in the most tolerant age as well as the most dogmatic. We have become the biggest threat to our survival. By bringing more children into the world, we only condemn them to struggle with the consequences of our mistakes. Its gotten to the point where “to live at all means to cause suffering”.

Essun herself was faced with the decision of bringing a child into this world, way before the thought of Uche and Nassun. Coru was the first child Essun ever had, a significant tie to her short-lived happiness. However, as Meov was being invaded, she was reminded of the world she lived in. An orogene child in Meov was safe. He’d be leading a tribe, free to live without restrictions or harm from the fulcrum.  Essun had grown within their guidelines and had suffered at their hands. The Guardians’ attack just reminded her that she could not impose that fate on an innocent child. Instead, she chose to kill her son to spare his misery. If he were to live, the Fulcrum could “enslave him, turn his body into a tool and his mind into a weapon” (The Fifth Season, 441). To have lived without freedom is the same as to not have lived at all. The only difference is the degree of pain within the two. “Better than a child never have lived at all than live as a slave” (The Fifth Season, 441). Like most, she feared that bringing a child into a world without choice, with a guarantee for pain, was unnecessary.

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