A difficult choice, or a grim choice, is ultimately just a choice. Just choose not to regret it

A difficult choice, or a grim choice, is ultimately just a choice. Just choose not to regret it

Sunday - 01/14/2024 09:38
Next to the painting is the statue of the artist Joseph Désiré Court on his grave at the Monumental Cemetery in Rouen. What a cruel choice! A person's life is not always smooth, like a ball that sometimes faces situations where one has to make a ruthless choice, a choice with a touch of tragedy!
    There is an oil painting by the French artist Joseph Désiré Court (1797-1865) from 1826 titled “Une scène du Déluge” (A Scene from the Deluge) that, when viewed and understood, leaves many people pondering and moved when facing the choice – which is heavier, love or filial duty?

    The painting depicts a scene of a great flood (The Deluge) where four victims are likely being swept away by the raging waters and hitting a rocky shore...

    On the rock is a young, muscular man, probably because of his strength, manages to reach the shore first and extends his hand down to try to rescue an old man, probably his father, who is sinking in the muddy water.

    Next to them is a woman, likely the man's wife, holding onto a tree branch with one hand and trying to bring a child, probably their child, closer to the father on the rock...

    However, the man on the rock is trying to reach down to rescue his father without saving the child and his wife first!

    This painting, created nearly two centuries ago by Joseph Désiré Court, has sparked ongoing discussions about the harsh circumstances one faces when confronted with such a choice.

    No one knows the fate of those in mortal danger – the old man, the woman, and the child!

    This painting brings to mind a story that has been circulated with a similar theme: a husband, a wife, and the birth mother of the husband are on a boat that capsizes on a fast-flowing river. The husband can swim well, while the birth mother and the wife cannot. He can only save one of his two closest relatives, either his mother or his wife! It is a ruthless choice!

    There have been various opinions about this choice. Some believe that he should save his birth mother because there is only one mother in this world, while a wife can be replaced. Others think he should save his wife because the mother is already old, and sooner or later, she will die, while the wife can live longer if saved!

    Returning to Joseph Désiré Court's painting “Une scène du Déluge,” we try to find the “key” to “decode” his idea, and from there, we have deeper reflections when unfortunately facing such a ruthless choice.

    Regarding the old man, look at his posture; the danger is urgent as he is an elderly person, likely physically weakened, raising both hands in distress, with only his face exposed, looking up to the sky and at his son.
Some believe that the old man is reaching out to his son to pull him up, but others think that the old man let go so that the young man could save his wife and child.

    Regarding the woman, the danger is somewhat less than that of the old man as she has managed to cling to a tree branch, raising herself higher than the muddy water, all the while holding onto the child's hand, bringing the child closer to the father on the rock. However, the father still tries to save the little boy first!
This painting, created nearly two centuries ago, only by Joseph Désiré Court, has provoked commentary on the harsh circumstances when facing such a choice.

    I don't want (I dare not) to comment on what is “right” or “wrong” in the man's choice in this painting because many people lean towards saving the father as right, but some argue that it's wrong because they “reason” that “everyone will die someday, parents will grow old and leave us. So why did the man choose to save his father and leave his wife and child behind? Is it right or wrong?” As for the woman, sacrificing herself to save her child is noble, the love of a mother. Even in a situation between the mother and the child, the woman will undoubtedly save her child, not because they don't love their parents, but because they know their child needs them more. However, the man always thinks that if he can't have this one, he will find another, but it's harder to find someone who can be with them throughout life. They don't understand that finding someone who can be with them for a lifetime is challenging, and giving birth to a child is even harder. Parents only live with us for half of our lives, but a wife and child will be with us for the entire life!

    I hope for myself and all of you that we never have to face this “ruthless choice”...

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