Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Li'lBit » Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:35 pm

I think there's a difference between forcing our opinions on others and making sure that they're as educated as possible about the choices that they're making. Rosalie never tried to make Bella's choice for her - she tried very hard to make Bella understand why she thought she was making a huge mistake. Edward DID try to take the choice away from Bella (and failed) but I'm not sure I completely blame him, because he felt that she truly could not understand the circumstances, but more importantly - that she would hate him forever when she realized what had been done. Of course - Bella was also trying to take Edward's choice away from him. That's so often the way these things work, isn't it? And it's why their ability to finally compromise in the end is so very beautiful.

Carlisle did lead by example, but we don't see those formative early vampire years where he no doubt combined that example with quite a bit of education and explanation. We know that he tried to do quite a bit of convincing with the Volturi before he tired of defending his way of life and set off on his own.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby rapidheartbeat<3twi » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:25 pm

Carlisle is a peacemaker. He is one of those people who are so pure (you know what I mean), you can't even imagine that they have a deeper, darker, selfish reason behind their actions. Of course, justice is justice, and he know that the world isn't all ponies and rainbows. I'm not saying he hasn't ever done bad things, or made exceptions to his beliefs, but he would never dream of forcing his lifestyle on anyone. He always gives people (i.e. the cullens, hales, and others) the option to stay with him and follow his values, or . . . not. Even when he has been the one creating the vampires, he has explained to them his morals and why he leads his life the way he does, and then they can choose to live with him, or go out on their own and follow a different lifestyle. Edward took this liberty at one point in his life. And, when he changed his mind, good ol' Carlisle welcomed him right back with open arms. SO, back to the original question (forcing your opinions, blah blah blah). As far as Carlisle goes- He realizes that even if he disagrees with killing humans, it is in vampire instinct, and though he thinks there are better ways around it, he would never force his opinion on anyone. Although, one could consider this scenario: When Carlisle is helping to stop other covens from killing Bella, is he 'forcing his opinion' on them? Aren't they all 'forcing their opinion' on other vampires? They are not authority; they have no right or obligation to protect her. Other vampires want to 'drink' her, why would they stand in their way? They probably wouldn't if let's say, James, wanted to eat Hobo Joe. It may be their opinion that James should eat an elk instead, but that's just their opinion. So, even though they ask all covens who visit them to refrain from feeding in the immediate area, they really couldn't stop them on any grounds, other than respect. So, even though Bella wants to be protected, and they want to protect Bella, are they forcing their opinion by saving one single human? I'm really not sure where I'm going with this. I just kind of started typing, and this is where I ended up. Does this even make sense to anybody?
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby December » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:03 pm

The question of how someone like Carlisle reconciles his robustly laissez-faire attitude to his fellow vampires' diet with actually fighting James, Victoria et al. to stop them from killing Bella reminds me of The Host.... The Cullens are willing to interfere with other vampires to protect Bella -- indeed to kill them if necessary! -- because they care about her. It's the human instinct for individual love -- not generalized love for others but fiercely personal, particular affections -- triumphing over abstract moral principles. Whether this is discreditable or admirable is a really thorny moral question -- and one that is central to The Host. Wanderer reflects in a pretty clear-eyed way on the contrast between the Souls' perfect and impersonal generosity and the extremes of love and hatred that humans' individual affections lead them into. And interestingly -- if not surprisingly -- finds herself decisively drawn towards humanity. Even having witnessed at point-blank range the cruelty it is capable of.

Gosh, I keep forgetting what a remarkable book that is....
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Esme echo » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:48 pm

rapidheartbeat<3twi wrote:When Carlisle is helping to stop other covens from killing Bella, is he 'forcing his opinion' on them? Aren't they all 'forcing their opinion' on other vampires? They are not authority; they have no right or obligation to protect her. Other vampires want to 'drink' her, why would they stand in their way? They probably wouldn't if let's say, James, wanted to eat Hobo Joe. It may be their opinion that James should eat an elk instead, but that's just their opinion. So, even though they ask all covens who visit them to refrain from feeding in the immediate area, they really couldn't stop them on any grounds, other than respect. So, even though Bella wants to be protected, and they want to protect Bella, are they forcing their opinion by saving one single human?

Let's say I lived on the edge of a great forest. Though my friends regularly hunted deer in the forest, I didn't like to hunt. I was a vegan. I didn't condemn my friends for hunting, I just didn't want to be around it. Suppose a fawn wandered onto my property one day, and over time it became a "pet" of sorts. Would I be forcing my vegan philosophy on my friends by requesting they not kill this fawn in my yard? If some twisted visitor tried to kill the fawn, would I be justified in protecting it by force?

I think rapidheartbeat<3twi is right about respect being the largest part of why the Cullen's visitors did not hunt in the area, but another part is Carlisle's right to control the environment he called "home." In Carlisle's home, he should have the ability to make the rules and expect visitors to follow them. Vampires are territorial to some degree; I think the nomads and other visitors were "morally" obligated to follow Carlisle's rules on his home turf. Of course, there would always be renegades ... such as James and company ... who were more uncivilized and less respectful of fellow vampire's feelings.

Besides all this, Bella was as good as Edward's mate. Every responsible vampire had to respect that relationship--they knew the agony of loss that occurred when one of their kind lost a mate.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Li'lBit » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:52 pm

December - I've been thinking all day about your post. I also find it interesting that he can be so laid-back in his approach. Perhaps rather than lack of caring it's a case of accepting the inevitable without making a huge drama over it. We don't get to see his inner turmoil when others DO choose to live the natural vampire life. He may have a laid-back appearance while truly mourning inside.

For the entire Cullen group I think the difference between Bella and some guy hunting in the wilderness only came once Edward had actually chosen her. Until that point, even knowing the potential relationship due to Alice's vision, at least half of the group was encouraging him to just kill her and get it over with. Carlisle even seems more concerned with what giving in to his baser instinct will do to Edward than Bella - at least that's the impression that I get. When it comes right down to it, even those Cullens we see as most compassionate do not see human beings the same way we do. Their lives are so fleeting and fragile that while they don't want to see them hurt, it's just not the same level of tradgedy that it is to us (where a lifetime means something completely different).

What I'm trying to get at (awkwardly) is that as far as the morality of holding Bella's safety in higher regard than others, I'm not sure they actually do, at least for the first while. I think they hold Edward's happiness in higher regard - and they must protect Bella in order to ensure his happiness. By extension, they must protect Bella's family in order to ensure her happiness, because that also means Edward's happiness. I think they'd love to protect everyone if it was a possibility - but this is how I see them setting their priorities, not one human over another, but their son/brother over everyone else.

Esme Echo - just read your post and I agree that Carlisle demands respect for his home or territory. It's much the same way we all do in our own homes. We have certain things that we simply won't allow in our homes, and we feel comfortable asking people to take those things elsewhere. We may not approve at all of the behavior, but the most we are able to ask is that it not happen in our homes.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby December » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:22 pm

Lilbit wrote:What I'm trying to get at (awkwardly) is that as far as the morality of holding Bella's safety in higher regard than others, I'm not sure they actually do, at least for the first while. I think they hold Edward's happiness in higher regard - and they must protect Bella in order to ensure his happiness.

I think you're right about this. Alice in fact says something like that to Bella, doesn't she, when Bella protests against the Cullens' risking their lives to protect her from James? About not wanting to look Edward in the face for the next 100 years if he loses Bella....

I can't make up my mind about Carlisle. How far he too is chiefly motivated by love for Edward -- and how far Bella's becoming a sort of honorary family member actually gives him an excuse to protect her as he'd like to protect every human threatened by vampires. I guess maybe the Cullens see the murders other vampires commit in the same light as all the other mortal accidents that befall these fragile humans. Yes, they have the superhuman power to prevent them...but of course they can't intervene, actually. It's just the course of nature: what was meant to happen -- as they all point out to Edward, when he breaks this unwritten code of disinterestedness and saves Bella from the van....
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby SparklingDiamond » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:48 pm

What I'm trying to get at (awkwardly) is that as far as the morality of holding Bella's safety in higher regard than others, I'm not sure they actually do, at least for the first while. I think they hold Edward's happiness in higher regard - and they must protect Bella in order to ensure his happiness.


I think you're spot on here, LilBit.

However, I think for Carlisle, I think we have to take his gift into consideration. Being that compassion is his gift, I think we are meant to see that his actions toward others are truly unselfishly motivated. He simply acts out of kindness and compassion for others because that is his true undeniable nature. He can't help it. Yes, he is more bonded to Edward than to Bella, but because of his gift does that make him less compassionate to Bella... I don't think so. For any other vamp, yes, but not Carlisle. It is his gift, I feel, that brought him to his initial moral choice of feeding only on animals. He couldn't bring himself to live any other way because it would clash too much with his true self. Maybe that's why he doesn't have to force his will onto his family, and maybe that is why he is so understanding when they slip up. He can't help but be understanding. It would be like Edward not reading people's thoughts, he can't do it. He'd like to, but a mind reader is his true self, his vampire nature will not allow him to deny that. Carlisle's family are so moved by his unwavering compassion that they do their best to emulate him. Taking his gift into consideration, it makes more sense to see how it is easier for him to stick to the moral path of the family than it is for the others.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby rapidheartbeat<3twi » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:56 pm

Esme echo wrote:
rapidheartbeat<3twi wrote:When Carlisle is helping to stop other covens from killing Bella, is he 'forcing his opinion' on them? Aren't they all 'forcing their opinion' on other vampires? They are not authority; they have no right or obligation to protect her. Other vampires want to 'drink' her, why would they stand in their way? They probably wouldn't if let's say, James, wanted to eat Hobo Joe. It may be their opinion that James should eat an elk instead, but that's just their opinion. So, even though they ask all covens who visit them to refrain from feeding in the immediate area, they really couldn't stop them on any grounds, other than respect. So, even though Bella wants to be protected, and they want to protect Bella, are they forcing their opinion by saving one single human?


I think rapidheartbeat<3twi is right about respect being the largest part of why the Cullen's visitors did not hunt in the area, but another part is Carlisle's right to control the environment he called "home." In Carlisle's home, he should have the ability to make the rules and expect visitors to follow them. Vampires are territorial to some degree; I think the nomads and other visitors were "morally" obligated to follow Carlisle's rules on his home turf. Of course, there would always be renegades ... such as James and company ... who were more uncivilized and less respectful of fellow vampire's feelings.


Hmm, I didn't consider the territorial aspect of vampire nature. Very good point. Thank you!
Last edited by rapidheartbeat<3twi on Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Esme echo » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:20 pm

I think Carlisle's choice to work as a doctor of humans--finding deep satisfaction in this profession and never wanting a holiday--is very indiciative of his nature. He left less of his humanity behind him than others who are transformed into vampires. I wonder if it killed him to acquiesce to Jane's indifference regarding Bree's life? I consider Carlisle retaining so much of his humanity his "gift." He must have been an amazing young man ... I wonder why he never married as a human? Or perhaps he did, and just disappeared for his wife's sake, unwilling to condemn her as he was condemned.

I just remembered that in DHN Carlisle strongly encouraged Edward to do whatever he had to, to ensure that Bella would remain safe.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby December » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:48 pm

SparklingDiamond wrote:He can't help but be understanding. It would be like Edward not reading people's thoughts, he can't do it. He'd like to, but a mind reader is his true self, his vampire nature will not allow him to deny that. Carlisle's family are so moved by his unwavering compassion that they do their best to emulate him. Taking his gift into consideration, it makes more sense to see how it is easier for him to stick to the moral path of the family than it is for the others.

I love the idea that Carlisle can no more fail to feel empathy than Edward can block out other people's thoughts. It doesn't necessarily make the torment of resisting human blood any less, but it makes the temptation almost irrelevant to him.

As it is for Bella. She may feel the ferocious thirst, but she isn't seriously tempted to give into it. It doesn't feel to either of them like a struggle between their better and worse selves, the way it is for the other Cullens, but like an uncomfortable but foregone conclusion. And I think you are spot-on that the sheer power of Carlisle's example inspires the rest of them achieve a self-restraint they mightn't even have known they were capable of.
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