Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby Sorghey » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:47 pm

One thing that has always been interesting to me about Alice’s visions is that they are so changeable (as was eloquently pointed out), which makes me wonder why this particular vision holds more weight to Edward than any of her other visions. I believe it's because deep down, he wants it to be true--maybe not that she will become a vampire, but because he wants to love and be loved. Alice’s first vision of Edward and Bella was of him killing her, and Edward knew the real possibilities of that scenario, yet he chose to go to Alaska instead. Alice's visions, although accurate 99.9% of time, still require some form of choice in following it, if that makes sense. I believe that Alice's disclosure of this particular vision still held a large element of choice for Edward; Alice merely sped up the process. I am still uncertain as to how these choices are intertwined with fate, but I believe Edward would have eventually allowed himself to fully love Bella anyway, even if from afar. It may have even been worse without Alice’s help--all that self-denial and climbing up proverbial cliffs would have driven him insane, only to find out in the end that he would not (or could not?) deny his love for Bella.

Assuming that Edward would have fallen in love with Bella anyway, I do think Alice’s vision held some sway in his choice to pursue Bella, but again, only in speeding up the process. I think once he worked through his feelings and realized that he truly loved Bella, he would have then allowed himself to be near her. Alice’s vision shows that Edward loves Bella (and that she will become a vampire, etc.), but in order for all this to happen, Bella would have to be in love with Edward, too--which she was. Bella’s choice to love Edward is as much of a factor in this equation as Edward’s choice. This knowledge must have had some sway on his heart. I believe Edward chooses to let himself love Bella because somewhere deep inside the vision, he realizes that for Alice’s vision to work out, Bella must love him in return--even if he doubts it all the way to Volterra and back.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby SparklingDiamond » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:08 pm

Sorghey wrote: I believe that Alice's disclosure of this particular vision still held a large element of choice for Edward; Alice merely sped up the process. I am still uncertain as to how these choices are intertwined with fate, but I believe Edward would have eventually allowed himself to fully love Bella anyway, even if from afar. It may have even been worse without Alice’s help--all that self-denial and climbing up proverbial cliffs would have driven him insane, only to find out in the end that he would not (or could not?) deny his love for Bella.


This is exactly what I'm still wrestling with myself. I keep going back and forth as to whether or not Alice's vision hindered or sped up the process. It's obvious, as so many have stated, that the initial attraction occured at first sight in the cafeteria when he was instantly drawn to Bella with curiousity and protectiveness. This was a love that was destined to be, there were only a few stars out of place.

I feel as though Alice's visions caused Edward a greater degree of guilt and self loathing than he may have had otherwise. I believe this because as obvious as it was to all of the readers that Bella and Edward had an instant connection, it was so not obvious to the two of them. Had Alice not revealed the two possible paths that Edward was on, I don't think he would have seen it for himself until much later. I feel that he would have hung on the hope that he could keep her alive as long as possible without the inevitable fate of Alice's vision hanging over his head.

As December wrote:
"You really should stay away from me I warned her." Would she escape the future I was threatening her with? Couldn't I do anything to save her from me?[/i] How can this not affect him?


I feel that the visions only served to torment him more.... to cause him to agonize over every evening visit to her room, every word, every touch, every glance in her direction. Had he not be so keenly aware of the impending fate, I feel that they could have shared a more carefree love.... at least for a while anyway.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby la_tua_cantante » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:39 pm

First, I must say that, as a newcomer, I am in love with this thread. I'm thrilled to have a place to truly discuss all things Twilight, aside from what it appears are becoming my regular meetings with Mandustries. :P

December wrote:Until he sees the vision in Alice's head, Edward has no idea that he loves Bella. Does this foreknowledge colour his feelings for her? Would the future have been different if he'd been ignorant of what was in store for him? Does he fall in love with Bella less freely and spontaneously than she falls in love with him? If this was in some sense a self-fulfilling prophecy, does it change the balance between choice and fate in this story?


The thing I find most interesting about Alice's visions is not that she has them; it's that they are inextricably tied to the subject's decisions. Until the decision was already made, she couldn't have had the vision. I think Alice's vision is, as someone said, more of a confirming thing for Edward, despite his efforts to fight against the two outcomes Alice saw. What I mean by that is that throughout the books, including Midnight Sun, Edward is constantly at battle with himself over what he is taking away from Bella or how he is placing her in harms way, and there are very few instances in which he remembers that she has thoughts on the matter too, and that she disagrees or doesn't care enough to let it stop her. So, I would have to say that the only way that I believe Alice's vision colors his feelings for her is to assure him that it's ok,and that it's possible that they'll have their happy ending.

I agree with those of you who noted Edward falling for Bella nearly immediately. When I read the chapters Stephenie posted, it was the first thing I noticed. Even in the smallest details, he was drinking her in (no pun intended). He remembers that she prefers Bella to Isabella, a small but crucial detail, in my mind anyway. And, as many of you pointed out, when he wants to protect her from Jessica's thoughts and experiences jealousy over Mike, all of which I believe was simply a culmination of what was already in place.

I think that once Edward made the choice, therefore giving Alice the ability to have her vision, that the end result was set into motion. No matter what he did: leaving her to keep her safe, marrying her, or not, his and Bella's futures were going to be intertwined, regardless. Perhaps my thoughts could be summed up by the following: Edward's decision to love Bella, whether he was conscious of it or not, was the catalyst to an unavoidable future. I suppose that's a bit of Ouisa and Nena's views on the subject.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby Cocoa » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:54 pm

I think perhaps the question shouldn't be was she possibly manipulating Edward's future, but instead trying desperatly to perserve her own. SHE had fallen in love with Bella and wanted so badly to have that friendship. I can imagine that seeing that friend ship destroyed a thousand different ways in possible futures can lead you to attempt to tip the scales by any cost nessasary. And by telling Edward that it was set...only helped solidify her future, a future she desperatly wanted.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby Ouisa » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:39 pm

Cocoa wrote:I think perhaps the question shouldn't be was she possibly manipulating Edward's future, but instead trying desperatly to perserve her own. SHE had fallen in love with Bella and wanted so badly to have that friendship. I can imagine that seeing that friend ship destroyed a thousand different ways in possible futures can lead you to attempt to tip the scales by any cost nessasary. And by telling Edward that it was set...only helped solidify her future, a future she desperatly wanted.


I'm going to be pondering this one for awhile but here are some initial thoughts on it.


I think Cocoa has an excellent point here! And although I personally find it hard to buy falling in love with someone after one vision it is consistent with Stephenie's description of Alice in PC#12. Alice sees herself loving Bella and that's the end of the story for her. She just does.

As for Cocoa's observation that Alice works, potentially underhandedly, to ensure the outcome she desires, well that too is consistent with the Alice we see in New Moon and Breaking Dawn. The Alice that would lie to protect Jasper and the Alice that everyone easily believed would desert her family. There has to be some basis to the family's assumptions. At the same time, there is one little difficulty with that idea. I remember on The Host Index we had quite the debate over Alice's "rock, paper, scissors" Breaking Dawn quote of the day. Alice declares that she wins the game which lead the women on that site to wondered how often Alice misrepresents her visions to get what she wants. Our conclusion was it would be hard to do with Edward mind reading her. So if her dual vision in MS wasn't as set wouldn't Edward know? I'm not sure. Perhaps he wasn't paying enough attention?

There is so much to Alice that I don't think the books begin to touch on. She's so much deeper than the happy enthusiastic shopper and party planner!
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby CantBreathe » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:12 pm

Cocoa wrote:I think perhaps the question shouldn't be was she possibly manipulating Edward's future, but instead trying desperatly to perserve her own. SHE had fallen in love with Bella and wanted so badly to have that friendship. I can imagine that seeing that friend ship destroyed a thousand different ways in possible futures can lead you to attempt to tip the scales by any cost nessasary. And by telling Edward that it was set...only helped solidify her future, a future she desperatly wanted.


I don't have as much to say as some of you, but a little bit to add :) I think it was a little bit of both... not only did she want Bella as her friend, she wanted Bella for Edward too. Bella could essentially give them both happiness. Esme was so concerned about Edward being alone for so long, I think a lot of the family could have felt similarly.

Ouisa wrote:So if her dual vision in MS wasn't as set wouldn't Edward know? I'm not sure. Perhaps he wasn't paying enough attention?


I think Edward could easily not have been paying enough attention, perhaps a little distracted with so much on his mind. I also think that Alice may have determinedly convinced herself that this would be the future, because if there was no doubt in her mind, Edward would be more apt to feeling less doubtful as well.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby Destani » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:16 pm

Nena wrote:
December wrote: If this was in some sense a self-fulfilling prophecy, does it change the balance between choice and fate in this story?


No, I think it this way: We all know our fate, and what is that? you may think. We are all going to die. We know this, we don't know when it's going to happen, we don't know how and we don't know why, but we know it will come to pass. Does that knowledge defines our lives? I don't think so. We still have choices to make, we don't dwell on it (ok, I would think most of us don't) and while those choices don't change the outcome of our fate, they do change the why, the when and the how. Ok, maybe this doesn't even compare or have anything to do with. I started this post around 4am while at work and I am falling asleep so I may not be making any sense, lol. I may just be rambling so please ignore ;)


I understand this statement perfectly and I agree. We have a choice in what we wear, what we say, how we act, etc. However we don't have a choice in how/when we die (short of suicide which doesn't even work all the time) or the things/people we love, like, dislike or hate. In my opinion, we never choose to fall in love with someone, it just happens. Our decisions can affect our opportunies for love, though. For instance, if Bella never decided to move to Forks, she might never have met Edward and therefore could not fall in love with him. But if their love was truly destined to be, perhaps she would have met him at some later time and place. That's something we'll never know.

What keeps coming to my mind is the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow.
***spoiler alert for Sliding Doors***
The movie shows two parallel fates depending on whether she catches the subway or not. If she's late, she returns home to find her boyfriend cheating on her. If she's on time, she goes on with her life as usual. The two fates occasionally go in very different directions but at certain points they cross over each other, showing that although she has made different decisions and had different experiences, certain things are likely to occur no matter what. In both fates, she meets the man that she is destined to fall in love with but the when/where/how is altered based on the different choices she makes.
***spoiler complete***

So I believe that Edward would have loved Bella with or without Alice's vision, but her vision certainly affected how they came together.

Regarding Alice's visions, I feel like I have a very good handle on them and how they occur and change because I come from a family that enjoys fortune telling and I read tarot cards myself. On the rare occasions that I have given strangers readings (I usually stick to myself, my family and close friends as strangers do not always take the readings in the spirit they are intended), I repeat over and over again that the reading is based entirely on the path that person is on at the moment. They can always alter that path. Sometimes just knowing the future is enough to change it. Foresight can make you see or feel something that you didn't acknowledge before and thus change your outcome. When I do readings for myself, I do 3-5 readings for the same thing back to back to ensure that I have not changed my future simply by knowing it.

I'm not inclined to believe that Alice blindly follows her visions. As someone previously stated, the text doesn't seem to support that. If Alice was willing to give in and follow whatever future unfolded, I don't believe she would spend so much time scanning Jasper's future to see if he might lose his self-control. She's watching his future so carefully because she wants the opportunity to change it if she sees something bad. I also got the impression that when something involved her own actions, she would scan through all the possibilities before making a decision. For example, prior to a battle she might say what happens if I do action A? Okay, how about action B? Action C? Then she can choose the option that gives her the best possible outcome. I think that is why she is always so cheerful and optimistic. She can sort through her options until she finds a future that makes her happy.

Does Alice manipulate people to get the future she wants? Perhaps when it comes to trivial things. I think that her love for her family would make her desired future similar to that of the rest of the Cullens when it comes to important things, though. I don't believe that she would risk a life or death situation or a family member's heart ache or despair just to get what she wants. (And for the record, I don't think anyone was implying that she would.) This may just be my take on things, but I'm not certain that the Cullens truly believed Alice did desert them in Breaking Dawn. When Bella was going behind Edward's back to get the papers for Jacob and Renesmee, Edward chose to ignore her deception. He trusted that she had a good purpose for lying to him and was smart enough to realize that he shouldn't focus on it in case Aro read his mind. Perhaps the Cullens realized the same thing about Alice and Jasper leaving. I'm not sold on the idea yet, but it occured to me that the Cullens faith in Alice might be so strong that they instinctively assumed that believing she had deserted them may be their best chance at avoiding a fight.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby Wrathhh » Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:45 pm

I, personally, think that Alice does not follow her visions blindly, but, knowing that she will see the outcome of any decision, uses that personally to her advantage, but none of her visions (directed at herself or others) are, I feel, self-fulfilling prophecies. Take Eclipse for example. Edward mentions something about them not being able to see the outcome of the trip to Seattle because of it being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In any case, I don't think that Alice's vision of Edward and Bella had anything to do with his falling in love with her. Love is such a complex thing that by the time it was concrete enough for Alice to see it, it was already inevitable that he would fall completely.
But I do believe that her vision had something to do with his taking action on it. He believes that he is soul less and a killer, and she deserves so much more than him. Alice's vision showed him (at least his subconscious) that she would fall in love with him too. Without that, he would have continued to 'admire from afar'.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby debussygirl » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:40 pm

So I was wondering what everyone thought about this:
If Edward had been able to hear Bella's thoughts, do you think it would have effected the way that their relationship was? And if so, how much and in what way?

Mod's Edit (with apologies):
September has been a busy month for everyone on this thread and I know we've rather let the conversation slide, but a brief reminder: THIS THREAD WORKS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY FROM MOST: PLEASE DON'T START A NEW TOPIC WITHOUT CONSULTING FIRST. If the conversation has lapsed and you have a question you'd like to raise for discussion, just pm one of us (IloveTwilight, LisaCullenAZ, Truelove1, December). In this case, it's an intriguing question, but I'm not sure it belongs on this thread which is about the theme of choice. I'd suggest you try posting it on the Edward and Bella Thread.
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Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby cullengirl » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:23 am

I agree with the previous posters above me that Alice's vision did not have a strong say in Edward and Bella's relationship. As we've read in the partial draft of Midnight Sun, Edward was attracted to Bella right away due to his inability to listen to her thoughts as well as her uniqueness. The scene where Tanya and Edward are talking is very telling. There are several reasons why he should be atrracted to her: she's also a vamp, extremely attractive, intelligent, etc, but there is something about Bella (perhaps her maturity or her maternal instincts) that draws him to her. I find it striking that Edward gets irritated when another male thinks of her such as Mike Newton or Eric Yorkie even before he speaks to her. Right away he has seized some type of bond with her. As we all know, Edward's attraction to Bella is a double edged sword.

I think Alice's vision is important for several reasons:

a) It allows Edward to identify what exactly he is feeling. Remember, Edward has never been in a romantic relationship. It's brand new to him.

b) It's reassurance that something so great as love is really for him. The song on the Midnight Sun playlist, "Please, Please, Please let me get what I want", is truly the track for this question.

c) I also do think that Alice does want to see her brother happy. He's been alone for about a century as it is. And some what selfishly she wants to have a girlfriend too.
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