7th Sea is about the story, not about the world or your place in it (like D&D). The story ends when characters die, and that's why it's very hard for characters to die in 7th Sea. However, the story does not end when they are maimed physically or emotionally, when they lose everything they love, or when they, in other words, fail. The wages of failure are no longer death, for 7th Sea takes the long view of story. It's not a meat grinder in which characters are chewed up and spit out. That doesn't mean losing has no sting, it just has a different sort of sting. 7th Sea explicitly exists to make fantasy Musketeer tales, to create the kinds of stories that Dumas would be proud of. Thus, the game is played not to the death but to the pain. When a character finally does die, the moment must have meaning—for this is a narrative game, and nothing occurs in narratives without meaning something because someone has purposefully put it there.
And you can like both styles of play, clearly, since I do, without suffering some kind of mental lapse. I just hate it when my 7th Sea gets into my D&D.