Tears of Others: The DONG-A ILBO

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There is a South Korean doctor who asks for a strange favor in a Belgium backdrop titled “I Met Ro Gi-wan” written by South Korean writer Cho Hae-jin. His wife died, but no natural causes. Since his wife had too much advanced liver cancer, he put a glass of alcohol with drugs in her room so that she could choose whether or not to drink. She chose to end her life. Following the event, he resigned as a doctor and spent five years wondering if his action was right.

One day he asks a narrator who looks like his wife: “Can you please tell me it was better than you thought – that it was not that painful?” He asks if the narrator could tell him if the process of dying from drugs wasn’t as painful as she thought. How could the narrator replace his deceased wife, however similar they may be, and how could she speak of the experience of death without actually having lived it?

However, the narrator couldn’t turn away from her request as he looked at the tears in his gaunt eyes. In her tears, she saw the “end of a life he had to face and a heartbreaking loss” that he had to endure when he reopened the door to his wife’s room after leaving the window. . “It was comfortable as if I was falling asleep. Everything was natural with no awareness of dying and there was no pain, ”she whispered in his ears, imagining herself as his dying wife. What if that wasn’t true as long as she could comfort him? Then he touched her face whose eyes and lips looked like his wife’s and said, “You’ve been through a lot all your life.” He was finally able to say goodbye to his missing wife.

At first, the narrator criticized him for “trading a life for dignity”, essentially calling his action murder, but now she’s got it right. Separated from the discourse on the ethics of euthanasia, she reserves her judgment in front of her tears. It is the power of the “tears of others” of which the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas spoke. And it is only ethical to surrender to such tears.

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