Reflection Paper on the Movie the Flowers of War in Relation to Metaphysics and Ethics
Is life after death possible? Are the things beyond our perceptions lie in a factual basis? Moral relativists would say “whatever is good to you is only good for you, whatever is good to me, is good to me alone”. So if we believe on things like heaven or hell—two places we’ve never been, never saw, hear, touch, smell or taste. No one would say we are wrong, that such place does not exist, because for those of us who believe it does exist, in the mind which can understand and abstract ideas.
The Chinese film released last year show evidences of people who believe on things even if it cannot be perceived, some lines in the movie reveal the characters’ strong conviction, they are not therefore skeptic, also different ethics on how they handle death, react on different situations, and how their attitude is affected by the war. “Don’t do anything foolish. So many people have died. Even hell is packed. Why should you add to the crowd” -Yu Mo If the speaker believes in hell, she probably believe in its opposite too. In terms of metaphysics it is life after death.
Even if the person is no longer physically and mentally able to give signs of being conscious, as a part of a religion or belief this particular person still lives on in a place called the after-death world or another part of the universe. “Father Ingleman, fly away” –George Chen “I can’t have a priest staring at me while I’m sleeping. ” –John Miller The convent boy (George) was saying his last words for Father Ingleman (the dead priest). He was like talking to someone who is actually standing in front of him. They were treating the dead as if it’s still alive, that the priest is looking over them even if it is just a picture.
For George on the other hand, he owes the priest his being alive, because he was just an orphan and for him flipping the picture would be like disrespecting the memories of Father Ingleman. A conversation between Shu and his father Mr. Meng, shows how deep love a parent can give his child even at war. Mr. Meng sacrificed himself to the Japanese by joining them even if it is unsafe for him to do so. Shu’s father thinks that through his action he could probably save himself and his daughter. He’d done it for his child, and it pains him that his child cannot see his efforts to save her.
Instead of being treated well, his child looked down on his father and regarded him as a traitor, despite the coldness that Shu shows to his father, Mr. Meng still managed to do what a father is expected to do for his child even if it meant putting himself to risk; for risking himself is the least thing that he could do just as to protect and ensure that his child is secured. On burying the convent girls who died when the Japanese attempted to rape them, John Miller hoped that these girls won’t be lonely because he will bury them together.
It shows that, he believes that those girls will live together somewhere, and by being together, they can live it happily. In this case, burial of the death will be the last kind thing that happened to them. Being buried formally, is like a solace, a privilege given, because not everyone gets a chance to be have a place to rest in times of war. “I think I hear what your father is saying right now… I think he’s saying that you’ve done an incredible job taking care of the girls and that you’re good, so good. – John Miller This is when George Chen volunteered himself to fill up the thirteenth girl that needs to attend the “party”. He unselfishly did it to fulfill his promise to Father Ingleman that he will protect the girls no matter what it takes, even if it means dying or suffering in the hands of the Japanese.
Even though the father does not have a physical entity he thinks that the priest is watching over him that’s why he did not broke his promise to the priest even if he is no longer present. Even if Father Ingleman is dead, for George, this promise will make the priest happy. On the first part of the reading by C. J Ducasse he said that when we all accept the fact that we are all going to die in some point of our lives we tend to help our fellows in this journey to make it easier, this act draws us closer and makes us more sympathetic to each other. In the movie, when the convent girls were about to commit suicide, some of the Chinese prostitutes’ unintentionally volunteered themselves to go into the “party”. After the incident they had a debate on whether they would really go or not.
“They want pleasure. That’s what we do. We have experienced all kinds of men As long as we get out alive. We will find a way to survive. –Yu Mo Even at first they were unsure of their decision because they thought that risking their lives was not worth it, eventually these women have accepted their fate. Even if they know something bad might happen to them they did go anyway, they have sacrificed their lives just to save the purity, innocence and most especially the lives of the convent girls. For them it would be like a trade? their lives which they think is already wasted, over the lives of the convent girls which can be made better, and lives in which they could live on to appreciate and experience all the good the world could offer in the future. Prostitutes never care about a falling nation. They sing and dance while others are dying… we should do something heroic and change the old way of thinking. ”-Yu Mo “Please tell him (John) the students can’t end up in the hands of the Japanese. Otherwise my soldiers would have died for nothing” –Major Li With the heroic deed that they’ve done, the Chinese women and the soldiers realized that even if they could die at least they have done something good and their death would not mean “nothing”.
It is an action that will live forever in the convent girl’s hearts and a memory that once in their lives someone surrendered in exchange of their freedom and they would forever be grateful for they were given a chance to live longer. “Until this day, I still don’t know what happened to the women of the Qin Huai River, I never learned all their names and never saw them being taken away by the Japanese. So I always imagine… I imagine myself standing by the large round window watching them walk in once again. –Shu For Shu, the women will never be gone, because she didn’t know what exactly happened to them, a part of her is still hoping that they are still and they will never be gone. These women will remain in her heart, because of the one thing they’ve done not only for her but also to her friends. The women of the Qin Huai River never walked out of her life; they just came in and never left even if they can no longer see them. In the film, we cannot deny the fact that the Japanese soldiers demonstrated brutality. For them, one shot was not enough to kill people.
In those times, their work ethics involves them being violent over enemy and even towards women. They don’t value life anymore, as long as these civilians “cross” their lines, they are shot. To sum it up, the movie teaches the viewers different lessons. Sometimes, we should not be frightened to the idea of death. Because life comes only once, you should live it fully. Life is about living it. It’s what you do while you are still able. It is also what you can do to help others. For some, the physical entity may perish, but the memories will retain in the hearts of the people you helped, and this is what matters.