Imprinting

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Re: Imprinting

Postby December » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:45 pm

Suzan wrote:I view Renesmee as being a completely different species with accelerated maturation.

I have to say, that's pretty much how I've always seen it as well. Though I admit it's hard to picture exactly what it means to be growing up at three times the natural rate -- just as it's hard to imagine exactly in what sense the younger Cullens are "frozen" as teenagers. Obviously in some respects Edward is far older than his 17 years and in others clearly he's not (as you say, it would be seriously creepy to really think of someone older than your grandfather having ANY of Edward's teenage interests, not just his romantic ones!).

I take your observation about emotional maturation too, up to a point -- though with ordinary human children I think one should be wary about flexing our conventional expectations too far: sure, children vary, but there are some natural limits to healthy psychological development; I would be cautious where a child appears to be ready for things WAY beyond their chronological age. They're not always as mature as they seem (or claim) to be! But in Renesme's case, that seems beside the point; she's not just "mature for her age"; she's living to a completely different biological clock. At least, that's how I read Stephenie.

I take it, Leah Forever, that this is why we're not all as disturbed as you are by the idea of Jake going out with Nessie in a relatively few years' time. It all depends on how you see her -- a seven year old trapped in a young woman's body, or a being who has in effect time travelled so that she's arrived at her twenty-somethingth year in the time it takes Jake to get seven years older. (Or however it goes; ashamed to say I'm really not up to speed with the technicalities here!)

This is of course a different question from how we feel about wolves imprinting on ordinary children. Of which more later.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby corona » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:42 pm

Something also to consider is the nature of what imprinting actually is. It would be interesting at some point to take a poll to see which sides of the fence people are on, whether it is primarily the discovery of your soul-mate, a biological/DNA imperative, or some mixture of the two. Personally, I think there is more merit to the soul-mate side, with a little bit of fuzziness thrown in by SM due to certain uncomfortable conclusions that readers may make ala Jacob and Nessie. Also, I think the slave-like mentality of imprinters is not quite right; after all, Sam became angry and frustrated in the presence of Emily. If he truly rolls with whatever it is she wants, he would have been completely okey dokey with whatever they were discussing. The soul-mate theory seems to work better, as the DNA theory can lead to potentially disastrous scenarios where there are major personality conflicts. I think more along the lines of a Bella and Edward relationship, where BOTH partners recognize that there is a bond, and BOTH are committed to the best path for their relationship. This makes sense to me and combines well with the idea that the imprinter will adapt to whatever it is that the imprintee most desires or needs. That interpretation avoids a lot of potential pitfalls from SM’s narrative standpoint. Pure DNA arguments lead to the potential of Seth imprinting on a 14 year old, with no regard for how each values and looks out for each other. Imagine that scenario happening and where the girl is, *ahem*, ready, or where the opposite is true and she absolutely despises him. Or, Leah imprints on a 13-year old boy who is a splendid DNA match but hormonally advanced. A true soul-mate theory would have no issue with this, but the DNA theory opens up the possibility of disaster.

I can add more later, but I think from the purely technical side, Nessie has a geometric progression in emotional, mental, and physical age. Her early years have a steep progression in apparent age advancement, declining until she finally turns around 7 or so. If anyone is going to make the argument that she steps into the “danger zone” at that age, I think they are off by a few years. I do not agree with the argument, but if you want people to shudder, then make them shudder. :shock: The true danger zone for that argument starts potentially around the age of 5, and possibly even as early as 4, well before the apparent physical age finally reaches 18; it all depends upon how steep that geometric progression is. Even Bella, the late-bloomer, started getting ideas at 17.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Imprinting

Postby December » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:48 pm

Gah, this is the point where my head just begins to spin. As I said, I can consider imprinting in the abstract, but the technical side of this -- or of Nessie's developmental curve -- just sort of makes my brain gel. So it's hard for me to make much of a contribution here!
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Leah Forever » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:49 pm

That's what's disturbing me. That she and Jacob will start engaging in sexual acts when she only appears to be of age, but isn't really.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Knives » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:40 am

HofJ and I had a discussion, a few pages back, regarding imprinting and child grooming. You might read it; some of the ground you're treading now has been discussed in-depth, though I'm always game for revisiting the subject.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby December » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:25 am

Thanks for the reference, Knives. The discussion in question starts on this page. To save everyone from repeating themselves, let's all go back, read, and consider it part of the current convo.

Leah Forever wrote:That's what's disturbing me. That she and Jacob will start engaging in sexual acts when she only appears to be of age, but isn't really.

I think what will be puzzling to some people here, LF, is why you say with confidence: "she isn't really". See, in my mind there are at least two possibilities here about Nessie's accelerated aging:

1) Nessie is only gaining in physical and intellectual "maturity", so that in seven years time she will look seventeen (or twentyseven? someone please set me straight!), but psychologically, she will really still be a child. In which case sex would be grotesquely inappropriate -- and bad for her.

2) Nessie somehow (*handwaving of fantasy premises here*) genuinely living through time faster than the rest of us. Or at any rate, she is developing in every way, so that in seven years time she will be indistinguishable from a true seventeen/twenty-seven year old, emotionally, intellectually, psychologically -- and morally. In which case wouldn't it actually be capricious and unfair to insist that she sit around, twiddling her thumbs and waiting till she has reached an inner age of, say forty, before having a fulfilled romantic relationship?

I don't myself see how one can know that the first MUST be true. Yes, there is one way Nessie will differ from an ordinary young adult: the sum of her lived experiences will be far smaller (she can't fit more into twenty-four hours than anyone else!). So if you believe that emotional/psychological maturity can ONLY come through the steady accumulation of experience, then, yes, you won't be able to entertain possibility #2. But myself, I'm not convinced of this. On the one hand, we know that the stages of a child's emotional maturation are partly biologically-determined: traceable to successive developments in the brain. Speed up the development, and the maturation should follow. And on the other hand, children clearly vary enormously in the emotional lessons they derive from their experiences: one child can learn in a day, what another child will still not "get" in a fortnight. So who's to say what Nessie can or can't get out of seven years of life in her extraordinary family....

Now granted, we only have Stephenie's word (or implication) that possibility #1 is wrong and possibility #2 is right. Not having looked closely into this, I'm pretty agnostic between the two (frankly, I can't really get my mind about this whole paradox and try not to think too much about it). But I am a bit puzzled why it seems obvious to some of you that only one of these two possibilities is conceivable.

As for "child grooming"....I'll need to get back on this one -- running out the door!
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Suzan » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:01 pm

Just a little comment beforehand: I too have no idea about the technicalities of Renesmee's growth. I just went with seven, because it seemed to be what others were saying. So I guess, corona, you could be right and she could be a teen earlier than seven years.

December, I think you hit the nail on the head with the two ways to view Nessie's growing rate. That is basically what I was thinking, I just can't explain it as clearly as you do. Personally, I am leaning more towards option number 2, which is probably why I don't have as much of a problem with the physical aspect of the relationship. I believe that Nessie wouldn't necessarily have a lack of life experiences. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any life experience one absolutely must have before entering the "danger zone" (as corona puts it ;) ) that Renesmee can't have. Especially considering her apparent fast learning rate.

I wasn't here yet for the child grooming discussion so I apologize if I repeated anything. I did read the convo you referred to, but I can't guarantee that I won't bring up old topics. Sorry :blush:
If I read correctly, the point was basically that if a shapeshifter imprints on a child, this child is conditioned to be with this person, taking away free will. If the imprintee doesn't want to be with the imprinter than she will be forced to, stalked, raped etc. Did that sum it up?
I agree that that is very wrong, but I don't believe it would happen. I think it depends on wheter you believe that imprinting happens to secure good offspring (the passing of the stongest DNA theory) or if you believe it happens to find a soulmate. I believe in the latter, simply because I might be slightly naive and believe in things like soulmate and destiny etc. Plus I think a lot of arguments can be made against the DNA theory, which I won't get into because I'm sure that has been discussed earlier as well.
Another point is that I don’t get that people just expect that an imprint will result in a romantic relationship. In my impression of SM's discription of imprinting, the imprinter wil become anything the imprintee needs and be happy if the imprintee is happy. This does not necessarily mean a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship in my opinion. If the imprintee doesn't want/need/see the imprinter as a romantic relation, than it won't happen. They would be happy just as close friends or whatever their dynamic would be. If they force the imprintee in a romantic relationship than she will be unhappy, causing extreme pain for the imprinter and than the imprint would have been completely pointless. With this definition of imprinting, the imprintee will initiate a possible romantic development at the moment that she wants/needs it. Which is why I don't see child grooming happening.
I know SM also stated that it is hard to ignore that level of commitment and that there is no reason why imprinter and imprintee shouldn't end up together. But this just means -as I see it- that it is likely that they end up together and not an absolute fact. Sure, there is a reasonable chance that they will have a relationship, but it is not set in stone and nobody is forced into it.
Last edited by Suzan on Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby corona » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:58 pm

Just for fun, here is a little more technical stuff about Renesmee’s growth, with the caveat that my calcs are not certain, but we do know from Nahuel that growth stops after about 7 years, and that Renesmee does begin her growth very rapidly, with a gradual dropoff in the growth rate over time. I see her final years of growth as beginning to sync with the real-time world, and then finally abruptly stopping altogether. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Nahuel actually set the approximate physical age at completion at around 17? No biggie between either 17 or 18. And the whole thing is going to be largely irrelevant after 7 years anyway; this is mainly of interest right now because she is appx 3 1/2 years old as of today.

If you take her apparent age at 5 years old by the end of her first year, and then reduce the growth rate by 30% for each successive year, you come up with this:

1 - 5.0
2 - 8.8
3 - 11.8
4 - 14.1
5 - 15.8
6 - 17.2
7 - 18.2

Which means she hits her apparent teen years very early, and will appear as a 14-year old girl by her next birthday this September. I see her as being homeschooled until about 5 years old, and then going to high school for her junior and senior years, starting in Sep 2012. This is about the upper limit that I place for the Cullens to remain in Forks, as I think both B and E would want Nessie to start getting some real life experiences on her own, and they would probably want to attend high school with her just to keep an eye out.

As far as the grooming argument goes, I don’t believe in it (at least as far as the nefarious elements), but there is a concern on that side that I think is entirely rational, and I think the situation with Claire, who is entirely human, is a better illustration than Nessie the supernatural child. Bella and Edward may have been destined for each other, but at least they were able to discover that destiny on their own. I think it would be very healthy for Claire (and Nessie) to have the same opportunity. Even if Quil is truly her destiny, I think Claire should be given the opportunity to make that choice on her own, and that will require the setting of some boundaries at some point.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Imprinting

Postby December » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:19 pm

Suzan wrote:And in my impression of SM's discription of imprinting, the imprinter wil become anything the imprintee needs and be happy if the imprintee is happy. This does not necessarily mean a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship in my opinion. If the imprintee doesn't want/need/see the imprinter as a romantic relation, than it won't happen. They would be happy just as close friends or whatever their dynamic would be. If they force the imprintee in a romantic relationship than she will be unhappy, causing extreme pain for the imprinter and than the imprint would have been completely pointless. With this definition of imprinting, the imprintee will initiate a possible romantic development at the moment that she wants/needs it. Which is why I don't see child grooming happening.

Now that's an interesting take on this -- especially if we were to take it to the logical extreme. Could this remain true even when the imprintee is fully-grown? Is there a possible version of imprinting where the imprintee doesn't fall in love with the imprinter, where what she really needs is for him to be her Best Friend for Life -- and the result is that this is how the imprinter will feel about the imprintee too? That he (or she) really will be what the imprintee needs, even if this means NOT falling in love with them. I assume that this precludes the imprinter falling in love sexually with anyone else; but that's not unimaginable. Though obviously the putative evolutionary benefits for the tribe go out the window.

I'd like to think this IS a possibility. If the kind of the relationship formed between imprinter and imprintee really did depend totally on the imprintee's natural and freely-willed feelings about the imprinter -- if there was room for her NOT to fall in love with him and vice versa -- we'd worry a lot less about the potential for something subtly coercive creeping into the notion of imprinting on someone.....

Corona wrote:Just for fun, here is a little more technical stuff about Renesmee’s growth

Thanks!


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Re: Imprinting

Postby corona » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:07 pm

December, Suzan,

That theory works most of the time, and is pretty much what Jacob tells Bella when he informs her about Quil and Claire, that Quil will basically be whatever it is that Claire needs him to be. His later discussion with Leah in BD, though, tends to kind of blur what the exact nature is.

The story itself, however, has one inexplicable event which tends to go against that, which is the argument between Sam and Emily that ends up with him getting angry and then phasing in front of her and ravaging her face. The story implies that the argument involved Emily’s turmoil over what she felt was a betrayal of Leah. Not enough is known to make any hard conclusions, but that one event tends to undermine the notion that the imprinter is totally cool with whatever it is that the imprintee wants.

Also, that theory works well as long as you are exclusively dealing with characters that are mature and have a strong moral foundation that guides them to sound judgment, because it also means that all of the keys to the relationship are given to the imprintee. If the imprintee exercises poor judgment and is not necessarily invested in the welfare of the imprinter, then there is the potential for some pretty disastrous scenarios.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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