How Much is your Life Worth?

by Steven_Lam on September 4, 2015 - 12:26pm

So I was scrolling through a few blogs on this site and skimming through some of them until I hit a blog by someone with the username of 046 GRoOoZA. I saw the word "Holocaust" in his blog and as someone who is very intersted in the Holocaust, I decided to give this blog a read.

In summary, the blog was about a Japanese man named Chiune Sugihara. Mr. Sugihara, working for the Japanese government at the time, had a very good reputation and lived a better-than-average life. Anyways, during the Holocaust, Chiune and his wife ended up saving the lives of about 6000 Jews. In order to do this though, he had to defy the orders of the Japanese government. Obviously, this lead to Chiune being dismissed by the Japanese government, losing his reputation and living an average life. Everything turned out pretty well in the end as Chiune did get recognized for his actions and now there's even a museum dedicated to him.

This story led me to think: how much is my life worth? Personally, I would've done the same thing as Chiune Sugihara, no matter the consequences... even death. Honestly, this is how I think about it if I were in Mr. Sugihara's position: by saving these Jews, I'm "ruining" the lives of 2 people, mine and my wife's. On the other hand, I just changed the lives of 6000 people, for the better. Yes, my life is valuable to me and I love to live, don't get me wrong. But realistically, in my mind, as much as I love life, it's not more valuable than the lives of 6000 people combined. I grew up being open-minded and to be thoughtful. To me, letting those 6000 Jews die is just plain selfish. Disgusting. Putrid. Monstrous. Also, I have a dream to be a role model all over the world. So if sacrificing my life helps me become the role model I want to be and to help the rest of the world become a better place, sign me up.

Then again, that's my opinion. Saying that, what I'd like to know is what would you do? Please be honest. If your opinion is the opposite of mine, it's fine, I won't judge you. Who am I to judge someone else's opinion when I ask for others to respect my opinon? And just because they're answer is different than mine? Amateur hour, really. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and I really do hope to see some comments on what you'd do if you were in Chiune's place. Once again, I won't judge if you have a different perspective then me... just at least give me a detailed explanation as to why you're answer is different than mine (if it is).


I love this story. The moral dilemma that Chiune Sugihara faced was whether to use his authority to bend the rules to save innocent lives thus risking his and his family’s livelihood, or following the written rule of his position as consul leaving the Jewish people to hopelessly fend for themselves. If Sugihara was solely responsible for his own livelihood, his choice to take a risk would be valid. However, he was married and had a moral obligation to his wife, whom he committed to first. It is unfair to put her at risk. Sugihara was aware of the potential repercussions of over stepping his authority, yet he vehemently issued as many visas as he possible within the time that he had. He adopted the utilitarian model by choosing to bring the greatest good, or happiness to the greatest number of people. His decision is also incorporated with intuitive ethics which stemmed from his personal intuitive moral sense to help the people. Because history illustrates him as working as somewhat as a legal spy, Sugihara is use to having a significant amount of power thus expressing a Machiavellian approach. His boldness expresses his belief that his goal to free the Jews would undoubtedly be achieved without retribution. Sugihara should have solved the moral dilemma by taking on a virtue ethics maxim; making sure that his family was safe and free from potential harm before facilitating the Jews’ escape. His actions landed him and his family in a prisoner of war camp for eighteen months and jobless. He should not have had his family suffer.

I love reading about the Holocaust and hearing stories about how someone saved lives during that time. I met a Holocaust survivor a couple of years ago. When she explained what she went through during that time, it brought me to tears.

In answering to your questions, its a tough decision to make.To be honest, I don't know what I would have done if I was in Chlune's position. I understand his point of view in risking 2 lives against 6000 lives but at the same time, why would he have done it if the Jews did nothing for him in return? Its a bit harsh to think but it's still a question to think about.

I have 2 opinions on this:
1. If I do not help those 6000 Jews, I will feel guilty and I would have to live with myself knowing I did nothing to help them but my life would not be risked.
2. If I do help those 6000 Jews, I will feel great and I would be proud in myself but my life is at risk and anything can happen to me.

It's a tough decision to make. I think I would have to be in that situation at that moment to decided what I would do. I cannot say for sure at this moment what my decision would be. I would love to save lives but I would not want to risk my own life.

Stories about the Holocaust are very interesting since they make us realize how important our life is.

The story about Chiune Sugihara is incredible since he needs to decide whether he will save himself and wife or 6000 people. Would I do what he did and save 6000 people and risk my own life? After reading this blog, it has slightly changed my mind about my life versus others. If taking my own life would mean I would be saving 6000 others than why would I be selfish and save myself? Eventually we all die, right?

Therefore, I think I would probably do the same as you, Steven. I would consider taking my own life for 6000 people. However, I agree with Samantha when she says that if I would help than I would risk my own life and loved ones. This topic is very debatable but I believe both answers are correct since it does depend on how someone views their life and if they would take their own life for others.