should Bean have abandoned Petra?

Discuss all things pertaining to the EnderVerse milieu.

Should Bean have abandoned Petra?

Yes, Bean made the right decision.
10
59%
No, Bean should've stayed on Earth.
1
6%
No, Bean should've taken Petra and the normal children with him.
6
35%
 
Total votes: 17

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Postby Psudo » Thu May 13, 2010 1:55 am

He denied her the right of self-determination.
That's a right awash with exceptions. You have a right to self-determination until it conflicts with absolutely any other right. That includes his own self-determined choice to protect her. If she forced him to take her, would you say she denied his right of self-determination?

The concept of "self" blurs in the face of intimacy. All's fair in love and war.

That being said, I don't know if Bean made the right (correct, moral) choice. But her "right to self-determination" is a lousy criticism of his choice.

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Postby Deinonychus » Thu May 13, 2010 1:22 pm

If she forced him to take her, would you say she denied his right of self-determination?
Ah, crap!
That's what i should have noted instead of sounding like a weenie. I wasn't having one of my clearer days. In point of fact Petra did impose many conditions and constraints on Bean and the conditions of their relationship during it's earlier course which he disagreed with vehemently. All could be considered to be depriving him of his right to self-determination. The beauty and drama of the relationship was how they came to together in spite of all that and each gave in to the other's wishes at times.

Human interactions don't exist without said "deprivations of the right to self-determination". In this case it did nothing to take away from the selfless and loving sacrifice he made all around. He absolutely made the most... self-sacrificing decision for all concerned. Petra wasn't constrained to live the limited life Bean would have to endure and neither would the children left in her care. Meanwhile he gave himself and the children with Anton's key their best chance for a better future.

Nevertheless, the issue at hand; whether he made the "right" decision, is still in some measure up for grabs if you think of these fictitious characters as real people. I voted my opinion. Bean's opinion was obviously that his decision was right. And from Petra's point of view it was perhaps not. Neither was thoughtlessly or maliciously imposing anything on the other, so right is pretty much subjective. He made the best decision.

In any case, the entirety of the Petra/Bean relationship was a masterful piece of storytelling and to me, quite possibly the most interesting and poignant of any Card has created. :D

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Addendum: Seeing the actual thread title again in the forum list, i couldn't resist returning to make one last observation. The question around which the poll revolves is a loaded one. Intentionally or not, ptr.arkanian posed a biased question by using the word "abandoned", which itself implies apathy, selfishness or malicious intent. :wink:
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Postby elfprince13 » Thu May 13, 2010 7:58 pm

Such actions are taken all the time, even by those in loving relationships. Or how about in ending them. The way you're looking at it, someone who decides on divorce is denying the right of self determination to the spouse.
Obviously I would make exceptions for abusive relationships where one party wishes to terminate the relationship and the other does not, but if you get divorced without discussing it with your partner, you are probably going about it wrong.
Looking at it that way virtually any decision taken on someone else's behalf for their own good is denying their right to self determination. :roll:
If you're making that decision against their will, than yes, you are. Consider Prohibition. That was ostensibly done "for the own good" of the American people.


[edit]
You guys beat me to the punch while my internet was being stupid.

Psudo: I'm not saying he can't break of the relationship, but it is obvious that his reasoning was not because he felt he was being treated unfairly, but because he didn't want to deal with his own personal guilt over a decision she would have made.
"But the conversation of the mind was truer than any language, and they knew each other better than they ever could have by use of mere sight and touch."

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Postby Deinonychus » Fri May 14, 2010 2:25 am

Obviously I would make exceptions for abusive relationships... ...about it wrong.
The divorce coment I made was admittedly dumb and irrelevant.

You must admit that with everybody exercising a supposed right to self determination, and everybody's intended course opposing or interfering with any number of those of others, that the right is more concept than reality.

Simply depriving someone of that right in a particular instance does not, by any stretch automatically equate to something malicious being perpetrated. Parents are constantly required to disallow choices of children.
Consider Prohibition. That was ostensibly done "for the own good" of the American people.
True, but hardly comparable to the question at hand, (more like my silly divorce comparison.) being on a gargantuan scale and involving an entire group imposing their will politically and legally on another.
Psudo: I'm not saying he can't break of the relationship, but it is obvious that his reasoning was not because he felt he was being treated unfairly, but because he didn't want to deal with his own personal guilt over a decision she would have made.
Eh??
I can't even follow that statement.

The question at issue was whether Bean did the right thing.

Either they were going to proceed as he wished, in which case her right to choose was indeed defeated, or some other course she chose would be followed, in which his choice would likewise be defeated. Neither choice constituted either party "inflicting" anything malevolent on the other. They simply had opposing views of what was "best".

Bean made the decisions he did out of love for all involved, and indeed sacrificed as much himself as he put upon her, knowing that in this instance she would not make the rational choices (from his point of view - and mine) that at least seemed to promise everyone involved the best possible future under the difficult circumstances, especially the children.
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Postby Psudo » Fri May 14, 2010 9:12 am

If you're making that decision against their will, than yes, you are. Consider Prohibition. That was ostensibly done "for the own good" of the American people.
"Yes, you are" what? Being malicious? Prohibition may have been wrong-headed, but it wasn't malicious. Do you think it was?

In any case, an impersonal, one-size-fits-all government edict has little to do with relationship decisions made between brilliant and empathetic intimates. Bean obviously knew more about what Petra wants and needs than any government ever would, and cares more for her welfare and happiness, too. Governments don't feel the pain they cause their subjects as Bean felt his beloved spouse's pain. There's no good basis for a metaphor here. Staging an intervention would be a better metaphor, but it doesn't help your argument; an intervention isn't malicious, either.
Psudo: I'm not saying he can't break of the relationship, but it is obvious that his reasoning was not because he felt he was being treated unfairly, but because he didn't want to deal with his own personal guilt over a decision she would have made.
Whether he feels unfairly treated is exactly as irrelevant as whether she does. Neither is entitled to fairness (as the crappy, unfair moments of their lives demonstrate), nor are their feelings necessarily accurate gauges of whether they receive it. Petra's belief that it is unfair doesn't make it so, nor does unfairness prove Bean's decision immoral even if it did.

The fact that someone's self-determination is thwarted either way proves that it self-determination is a lousy standard, but it remains a lousy standard whether Bean feels slighted or not.

Feelings themselves are a better standard; at least feelings weigh differently on Bean and Petra and both depending on whether Bean leaves or not. They are both, individually and together, less happy if Bean leaves. That is true regardless of whether they have or are entitled to fairness. If you want to condemn his leaving on those grounds, be my guest. It's a remarkably healthy kind of hedonism, to want to protect family unity and remain with your beloved spouse and to love and be loved. I can't confidently oppose it. Maybe Bean should stay.

Bean, by nature, doesn't trust feelings. He looks at concrete, physical differences in the world, and he prefers the physical consequences of leaving to those of staying. He makes a strong case for it. Should it be demanded that he reject his nature so that Petra can indulge hers? Is that fair? Maybe Bean should leave.

I don't have a final answer. If pressed, I'll say "Maybe."

But self-determination proves nothing here. Fairness is a more complex issue, but I doubt it proves anything here either.

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Postby spanish_rockette » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:27 am

i mean if Bean ahd stayed, it would have been wrost. When he died, Pet would be all sad. it at first it was kinda obvious that Bean WAS probaly gonna stay or take Pet with him. but in the end, bean divocreed Pet by her will. lke the way she forced Bean in marriage. and left. if he hadnt, the book would have been ruined.
but i was sad to see the realionship go. i did cry. but he had to what he had to do. :roll:
"leaving both her husbands behind, the one whose life had a monument and a book, and the one whose only monument was in her heart."

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Postby spanish_rockette » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:21 am

[quote="ptr.arkanian"]i agree with crazy tom. i cried for 3 hours at the end of shadow of the giant, no joke. yes it is a bittersweet ending. but i think she should at least get to talk to him by ansible again before she dies or something. his leaving was so sudden; if he really loved her, which i believe he did, he would have taken more time to say goodbye[/quote]

so did i and i agree with you. but bean isnt that sentaimenal. bean has his own way to love. and they [i]should [/i]talk at least once before she dies.
"leaving both her husbands behind, the one whose life had a monument and a book, and the one whose only monument was in her heart."

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Postby 1chapelcredit » Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:05 am

Of course Bean didn't make the right decision.

It always bothers me when authors try to write characters that are much more intelligent than they are themselves; it works well enough if you are only having your character do things that a genius might do ("and then Billy, the boy genius, built a particle collider out of spare parts he found in the garage"), but it always falls apart the moment you have your character talk about their ideas or theories. You can't write the thought processes of anyone more intelligent than yourself. Just look at the book Flowers for Algernon; the main character becomes a genius for an all too brief period of time. But during that time all we ever hear about his intelligence is that he understands theoretical physics and microbiology better than any professor or researcher, and that he wishes he could find smarter people to learn from. But never does he develop (or attempt to develop) a solution to the problem of his own deteriorating intelligence; a problem that he is now the most (and only) qualified person on the planet to address, as those same inadequate teachers have already failed at finding a solution for him. The issue is never addressed, even though it seems the most obvious and natural thing for a person in his situation, with any degree of intelligence, to attempt. If you want another example, pick up any Fantastic Four comic. Reed Richards seems like a super-genius when he is figuring out how to get his ship into the negative zone, but the moment he tries to expound upon a theory or rationalize a decision, the illusion collapses, and you are left either with a litany of out-of-context buzzwords and poorly described mechanics, or complicated arguments based on obviously flawed assumptions.

OSC is better at it than almost anybody.

You're here, so you probably recognize that. Ender's Game was a masterwork, and Ender's Shadow might even have been better at demonstrating his ability to write for someone of incredible intelligence. But in the end, it always seems to fall apart. With Children of the Mind, this came in the form of Jane's various uses for faster than light travel (the deus-ex-machina that plagued that book from beginning to end) and in her various ridiculous choices that ultimately lead to her being 'cut-off' from the ansible networks for a time.

In the shadow series, it came in the form of Bean's climactic decision to take himself and his children, (almost) the entirety of 'his species', onto a ship to travel at relativistic speeds, presumably until a cure could be found for his uncontrolled growth (though we know what Bean thought of the likelihood of that happening). This was one of those endings that left me daydreaming about talking sense into the book's main characters; why would these geniuses make such a bone-headed and obvious error in judgement? Why would OSC, for that matter? Bean may need to take a ship and exit human history to postpone his own painful death, but if he really cares at all about his own children being cured, the best and only thing that he can do is leave them on Earth to begin, when they are old enough (in this around 4 or 5), to study genetics. By the time they are 12 or 13, they will have had a better chance of curing their condition than any other team of researchers could possibly have, due to their incredible intellects. At that point, if it turns out that their growth cannot be cured, they would still be as free as ever to leave the planet. Why would they take away from the planet, and thus from the research, the very genius children most likely to be able to cure an otherwise incurable disease, given the right education? OSC seems to hint towards this ending all throughout the series; in Ender's Shadow, Carlotta speculates whether Bean might be brain damaged from his years in the slums, and wonders how much more brilliant he might have been like given a nurturing environment (like the one his children would have). In Shadow of the Hedgemon (or maybe it was Shadow Puppets) the researchers working on Bean's condition lament that he hadn't been trained in biology rather than military strategy, so that he would be able to lead the research himself. It seems like such an obvious solution, and yet none of the geniuses involved at the end of the story so much as says "wait, let's sit down and think about this for a minute...".

Should Bean have left Petra for his relativistic journey? Maybe. But he definitely shouldn't have taken his kids with him.

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Re: should Bean have abandoned Petra?

Postby TerresaWiggin » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:53 pm

I will probably cry when I finish this reply.
But yes, It was the right thing to do. It was the only real solution to Antons key.
As Bean I would have made the same choice.

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Re: should Bean have abandoned Petra?

Postby TerresaWiggin » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:55 pm

As Petra I would probably never forgive him. :cry:


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