Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby December » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:25 pm

Interrupting this interesting discussion for a moment to suggest that we all try and remember to quote each other by name -- with so many ideas going at once, and such long posts to scroll through, it helps us keep straight who is saying what to whom! (Anyone who isn't sure how to do it, just pm me!
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby SparklingDiamond » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:56 pm

pubesy wrote:
Removing the Cullens from the picture, “normal” SM vampires are void of humanity. Maybe void is too strong a term, but by drinking human blood, their humanity is suppressed to such a point, that they no longer can relate to humans, (similar-but not the same- as how we cannot relate to cattle). While yes, we do have dreams, ambitions, and desires, these vampires do not understand or acknowledge them. If their humanity is suppressed, how could they understand a woman’s desire to have a child, or a child’s desire to grow up and be a teacher?


I am not so sure that the void of humanity that we see in some of the vampires in SM's world is due solely to the fact that they drink human blood time and time again. I think that it has to do with power. Power over another being, whether it be human or vampire or animal. Vampires have absolute power. Don't get me wrong, drinking blood is a factor, but it's not the cause. It's just one manifestation of the power that vampires hold. I think that the source of their power stems more from the knowledge that they themselves cannot be killed; well, it's virtually impossible for them to be killed by anything but their own. Imagine having this type of knowledge and power for hundreds of years. This is enough to corrupt anyone, veggie or REV alike.

For Rosalie... as soon as she was out of the burning phase, she took off after her attackers. Why? She know had power over them. Rape is completely about power. To be raped by your loved and trusted fiance is a complete and total loss of power. The immediate taste of and knowledge of her new found absolute power was enough to corrupt her immediately. However, it was after she came to her senses that she realized this power wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

For Edward... he wanted the power to make his own choices for once, to try things his way. He was also giving power back the victims by taking the power from the assailents when he slaughtered them. It was his attempt at balancing things out, balancing the power.

For both Edward and Rosalie, when they were changed, they were missing pieces of a whole life. Rosalie knew what she wanted, but Edward didn't. This was a sense of powerlessness. Apparently, the all powerful don't do when they feel as though they are powerless over anything in their lives. Yet, they were. They didn't have control over what they were missing. So, they used their power over others to try to fill up the empty spaces. The same with Carlisle. He was missing a family. So, right or wrong, he used his power to fill up that empty space.

Then comes Bella... When she was turned, she had no empty "powerless" spaces to fill. She was complete, more complete than she had ever imagined she would be. So, it's because of this "wholeness" of being that she possessed at the time of her transformation that I believe she was not corrupted by her new found power as the others had been.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Destani » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:09 am

Shakespeare wrote:
pubesy wrote:So are vampires really more immoral than us? Or do we just have a hard time dealing with being removed from the top of the food chain, moving from hunter to hunted?
I would say that they aren't more immoral than us, which is one of the reasons why I don't easily accept that the Cullens are "good" vampires. Examining this from a purely logical viewpoint, predators have an extremely important role in an ecosystem. Removing them often causes more harm than their kills. In some ways, nature does not merely give them a right to prey on humans, but also a duty to kill us.

But, to examine this from a moral standpoint, we are vastly inferior to vampires. We know we can think consciously, but we also know from Midnight Sun that Edward would rather stare at designs in plaster than listen to our innermost thoughts. We know we have hopes and futures, but we also know that the timeframe of our lives is insignificant compared to the immortality of vampires. Considering this, is it actually wrong for them to think that they are above us? To them, we are petty, slow, weak, and temporary. Why is this different to the relationship between a pig and a farmer? A pig can develop a personality, but it will always seem like another animal to us because our thoughts are much more developed than its thoughts/instincts.


I am in agreement here. I will spare you all a dissertation on my beliefs on animal rights but suffice to say, I believe taking a life is no better or worse if it is animal vs human. Taking a life is engaging in the act of killing regardless of the species.

I do consider the Cullens to be "good" vampires but not because they choose to feed on animals instead of people. I respect that they have their values and do their best to stick to them even though it causes them pain. There are several "good" REV's introduced in BD in my opinion. So, regardless of their source of food, I have a different criteria for deciding who I believe is good and who is bad. In general, those characters that show some belief in right and wrong and strive to do what they believe is right are "good" by my standards.

In nature, it is the job of the predator to thin out the ranks of their prey and keep everything in balance. We don't know how vampires came to exist in the first place so is it not possible that they either evolved or were created with the purpose of preying on humans due to overpopulation? Despite my beliefs on animal rights, I still believe that the food chain has a purpose. I don't get mad a lion for eating a zebra, I don't get upset at a human for eating meat, so I do not question the right of a vampire to feed on humans. They are superior to us in nearly every way and, although they were humans before being changed, they are not human now. If they work at it hard enough they can maintain some of their humanity, but I still got the impression that even those that live the veggie lifestyle still view us as lesser beings. They don't kill humans out of pity and compassion, not because they look at humans as their equals. They look at humans as many in the animal rights movement look at animals, as something to be protected because we are too weak to protect ourselves.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby cullengirl » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:21 am

I've been lurking and trying to form some opinion about this intriguing discussion but I wanted to add my two cents.

Shakespeare wrote:In fact, I think that it is extremely out of character that he does let them commit murders....I found it unnerving that he would just let the other Cullens kill people. After all, as the creator, wouldn't he feel some amount of guilt for the deaths he has indirectly caused?


Excellent observation! This just dawned on me. What is the benefit of saving one life when many other lives are in danger?

December wrote:If vampires are inevitably damned -- or have no afterlife -- it's making a Faustian bargain on their behalf you have no right to be making. (Which makes me curious, Cullengirl, whether you're worried that Edward might be right about vampires’ souls after all). This is why it's essential that Carlisle (of all the Cullens) believes that vampires are not damned per se. But it still leaves him on dodgy moral ground, given what a struggle it is for vampires to abstain from murder, and how greatly he's magnified his family's chances of damnation by changing them. Once you factor heaven and hell into the equation, diverting someone's natural progress through life and death looks less like an innocuous gift after all....


I kept going thru this in my head for the past few weeks and I still come to the same decision: Yes, in my opinion, Edward has no soul. *braces for the flogging to begin* For me, one soul's leaves when he/she dies. In order for the Cullens to become vampires, they must die as a human first. Thus, they are all souless and technically immortal.* Heaven and hell ceases to exist for them. Therefore, what is their purpose for their existence as a vampire? Is it a second chance at "life"?

Shakespeare wrote:We know we can think consciously, but we also know from Midnight Sun that Edward would rather stare at designs in plaster than listen to our innermost thoughts.


I don't think this is from a moral stand point, but rather a show of Edward's arrogance. For him, humans are not interesting since he can read minds and of course, he hasn't heard anything new or different in 108 yrs until he met the first person who he can't read.
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*(true, they can be killed by the Volturi and other vampires if there is some conflict, but how often does that happen?)
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Li'lBit » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:56 am

That's interesting, Cullengirl! I have a hard time imagining souls just ceasing to exist when the being's existance goes on. Actually - I just have a hard time imaginging souls ceasing to exist at all. Even when a soul is "sold" or "traded" in literature it seems to be less a snuffing out than a voluntary imprisonment for eternity the way I read it. It's one more area where our philosophical and religious viewpoints from real life influence our interpretations of the text, I think.

I suppose I can forgive Carlise more easily for his choice to create Edward and the others because I can't concieve of a universe where others are punished in an eternal way for a bargain that someone else has made, aside from natural consequences (eternal consequences are a very different thing to me). For example, if someone shoots me I may die and my family may suffer as a result of that action - but I can't imagine then arriving at the pearly gates and being told "Oh, if only you'd been hit by a truck instead. Gunshot victims are consigned to Hell I'm afraid." If there is a heaven and a hell in this make-believe universe then the only just way to deal with such things is to deal with the person who made the choice, and not the "victim". In this case Carlisle would be risking only his own place in heaven with no thought of risking that of his creations. I guess this is why it never seemed inconsistant with Carlisle's character to me. I can see where coming at this from a completely different philosophical viewpoint would make it seem wildly out-of-character for him.

If our experience with the cullens is any indication, deaths still do happen quite a bit (though on a different scale from humans, admittedly). There were outright slaughters during Jasper's time in the south, and the Volturi seem well practiced in taking care of things. We see Laurent, Victoria and James all die. We know Tanya's mother and brother were killed. Even the Volturi have loved and lost. I think the difference is that they don't die, they are killed. It's a violent death in every single instance, and always at the hand of another.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby pubesy » Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:00 pm

Wow, interesting.
destani wrote: I don't get mad a lion for eating a zebra, I don't get upset at a human for eating meat, so I do not question the right of a vampire to feed on humans. They are superior to us in nearly every way and, although they were humans before being changed, they are not human now. If they work at it hard enough they can maintain some of their humanity, but I still got the impression that even those that live the veggie lifestyle still view us as lesser beings. They don't kill humans out of pity and compassion, not because they look at humans as their equals.


Agreed. And even by the way Edward treats Bella, as a flimsy mortal being who is weak and cannot protect herself. He even goes so far as to buy her a bomb proof car! He does not treat her in this way to insult her; he does it because he cares for her so much and would hate to see something happen to her. He worries even more about the things he cannot protect her from, disease, cancer, age, etc. Without meaning to, in ways Edward treats the girl he loves as a (physically) inferior being.

Also I would like to point out a quote Alice says in midnight sun, when jasper is having thoughts of killing a girl in the cafeteria. “It helps a little if you think of them as people.” she then goes onto personify the girl. This quote shows that vampires do not see their prey as a person, rather, just a sack of walking blood. The Cullen’s try to personify the humans in order to make it more difficult to end their lives. It must be a learned trait, as Jasper has not yet mastered it.

cullengirl wrote: Excellent observation! This just dawned on me. What is the benefit of saving one life when many other lives are in danger?

But this could be stated in the human world too! What is the point in saving the life of a soldier? He will just go out and kill more innocent lives with his gun.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby Destani » Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:35 pm

From my perspective, I think that vampires do have souls. I guess it comes down to what you think the soul is attached to. If it's just attached to the physical body, then perhaps they would lose their souls during the transformation when their body dies. However, I believe that the soul is attached to the mind and not the body. I have let my family clearly know that if I should ever end up in a long-lasting coma, I do not want to remain on machines because I don't believe that my soul will still be attached to my body at that point. If my mind is not functioning, then I think my soul will move on. Sometimes people do wake up out of comas, but I think that is because the soul had nowhere to go while the body was still being kept alive so it eventually found it's way back into the body. With vampires, the opposite is true. Their body dies but their mind continues to function. They continue to have thoughts and feelings. In fact, their capacity for these things is amplified. I just cannot associate that with a soulless creature.

I also disagree with the idea that vampires have a lesser chance of going on to Heaven or whatever afterlife you believe in. They are designed to drink human blood. I can't imagine that they would be punished in the afterlife for doing what they were designed to do. I think their chances of getting into Heaven would be the same as ours.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby ShadowNIN » Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:05 am

Li'lBit wrote:I suppose I can forgive Carlise more easily for his choice to create Edward and the others because I can't concieve of a universe where others are punished in an eternal way for a bargain that someone else has made, aside from natural consequences (eternal consequences are a very different thing to me). For example, if someone shoots me I may die and my family may suffer as a result of that action - but I can't imagine then arriving at the pearly gates and being told "Oh, if only you'd been hit by a truck instead. Gunshot victims are consigned to Hell I'm afraid." If there is a heaven and a hell in this make-believe universe then the only just way to deal with such things is to deal with the person who made the choice, and not the "victim". In this case Carlisle would be risking only his own place in heaven with no thought of risking that of his creations. I guess this is why it never seemed inconsistant with Carlisle's character to me. I can see where coming at this from a completely different philosophical viewpoint would make it seem wildly out-of-character for him.


I agree with you and feel that these vampires do have souls and can go to heaven because they did not chose to become a vampire. Of course, this puts Bella's soul in question since she actually made the choice, even though she was dying at the time she was transformed. However, I also don't feel Carlisle's soul is in danger because he only changed people who were dying. But does that fact make his soul more or less safe? Can one earn back a soul, if it is lost, so-to-speak, by doing good?
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby pubesy » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:19 pm

time for a new subject?

how about the one mentioned earlier.

Is the reason for a newborn's thirst to part from seeing themselves as "like a human" and for the newborn to make the transition for seeing humans as "people" to seeing them as "prey" easier?
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Postby ShadowNIN » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:43 pm

pubesy wrote:time for a new subject?

how about the one mentioned earlier.

Is the reason for a newborn's thirst to part from seeing themselves as "like a human" and for the newborn to make the transition for seeing humans as "people" to seeing them as "prey" easier?


Hmmm, so basically they need the shift in their instincts in order to adjust to the new life? That would make sense. I mean if vampires didn't have their thirst and their amazing sense of smell, would they automatically go after a human? Good question. I don't think so. Wouldn't most people be like Carlisle and try and resist? It almost seem like vampires are given those extras in order to survive; in order to know that blood is what they require.
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