Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

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MRK
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Post by MRK » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:22 pm

No matter what Bellas decided in the end...to eventually tell Nessie or not...it should have been a decision made, and carried out by, Bella and Edward...not Jacob.
As a parent, it's an overwhelming instinct to shield a child from a loss of any part of their innocence...so I understand where Bella's coming from.
But, yes, as an adult...I would want to know eveything lol...
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Post by Movielover22 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:30 pm

I do agree that it should not have been Jacob to tell Nessie what was going on, that should've been up to Edward and Bella, but you must remember that Nessie isn't exactly like other children. I mean, I know she's still a small child, and Bella still views her as her baby, but Nessie has the intelligence level of nearly an adult, and the situation at hand does concern her greatly. While, yes I repeat that it should've been the job of Edward and Bella to talk to Nessie about what was at hand, I do think they should've told her. Maybe it was not necessary to tell her everything that was going on, but she had to at least know a basic rundown. How were they going to explain why there were so many people staying with them all of a sudden, and why they were all so interested in her story. Would she still not have a clue what was going on when they were in the clearing? To what extent would they try to protect her from the truth? Although in some cases I do believe that it is ok/acceptable/the best thing for them to not tell your children everything when they are at certain ages, I think that this scenario was an exception. I think it is better that she was informed of everything going on.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Post by Movielover22 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:55 pm

I do agree that it should not have been Jacob to tell Nessie what was going on, that should've been up to Edward and Bella, but you must remember that Nessie isn't exactly like other children. I mean, I know she's still a small child, and Bella still views her as her baby, but Nessie has the intelligence level of nearly an adult, and the situation at hand does concern her greatly. While, yes I repeat that it should've been the job of Edward and Bella to talk to Nessie about what was at hand, I do think they should've told her. Maybe it was not necessary to tell her everything that was going on, but she had to at least know a basic rundown. How were they going to explain why there were so many people staying with them all of a sudden, and why they were all so interested in her story. Would she still not have a clue what was going on when they were in the clearing? To what extent would they try to protect her from the truth? Although in some cases I do believe that it is ok/acceptable/the best thing for them to not tell your children everything when they are at certain ages, I think that this scenario was an exception. I think it is better that she was informed of everything going on.
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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Post by dragon-girl » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:50 am

Everyone does this kind of thing when they are young. Not just Bella. Despite thinking that we are grown up at age 16 (or whatever) and wanting to be trusted/told things, if you have a friend or a loved one a few years younger, then when they are 16 it's hard to think that they are now as grown up as you were then. (Does that make sense?)

I also agree with what was being said about Nessie not being a normal child. She's grown up very quickly. But, I still think that it should have been Edward & Bella to make the decision to tell her.

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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Post by Movielover22 » Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:05 pm

It makes perfect sense. I see 16-year-olds (going off your example age) now and they seem so young, and yet when I was at that age I thought I was ready to take on the world, move out of my house, live on my own, be an adult, and I see them now and I'm like wow they're just kids. I think about this from time to time and I actually find it very amusing.
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Re: Explorations

Post by andypalmer » Tue May 18, 2010 11:39 am

MOD EDIT: I'm moving this discussion here from the Explorations thread. The question under discussion is roughly (I think?):

Are vampires a lesser form of life than humans -- and if so, is it because there's something intrinsically special per se about being human, or is it because (most) vampires fail to value other sentient life (and are thus morally our inferiors)?




Knives. Being a former agnostic and big fan of Sci-Fi, I completely get the “all sentient life is equal” view. The argument made in Twilight, and also in a not insignificant amount of Sci-Fi work is that sentient life with a moral/ethical foundation is, in many regards, a “higher” form of life than those without and that respect for the sanctity of life of fellow sentient beings is viewed as a prime example of this moral foundation. While Ender defeated the Buggers, his realization of their sentience combined with his inherent morality resulted in his self-imposed “exile” as told in the books that follow Ender’s Game. Star Trek’s Prime Directive has this as a foundational principal as well.

In Twilight, the “typical” vampire is portrayed as certainly sentient, but lacking that moral/ethical foundation as illustrated by their disregard for the sentience of humans. To them, humans are considered as typical humans consider sheep, cows, or pigs.

Stephenie Meyer uses the Cullen’s as the bridge between the two species, in effect, granting them a higher form of sentience through their respect for the sanctity of human life, effectively recognition of human sentience and moral equality. A similar treatment was done in SG-Atlantis (albeit poorly done), when Michael was created as a Wraith-Human hybrid; there are in fact many parallels between the Wraith and Meyer’s vampires – sentient life without the moral foundation to respect other sentient life.

So, part of what Meyer is trying to portray in Twilight, admittedly with strong religious overtones, is that the typical vampire is a lesser form of life than humans because they lack that moral foundation and respect for the sanctity of life of a fellow sentient species. The Cullens are shown as both a contrast and to show the potentially higher form of life that Vampires could, and arguably should, aspire to be. Whether taken as a religious, moralistic, humanistic, or scientific argument, the argument is that the highest form of sentient life is one in which other sentient life is respected.

Jazz Girl. I completely agree with you; Bella’s decision was NOT about life vs. death, but between life in two separate forms. One argument, Edward’s argument, was that the vampire form was inferior, that it lacked the moral and ethical foundation that humans have and spiritually, that it was a spiritual dead-end, with no possibility of a positive after-life, if any after-life at all. Bella believed/believes that vampires have equal potential to humans and are merely another form of life.

I do, however, have to respectfully disagree on your view of Bella’s decision and how SM handled it. My only personal “beef” is that she was allowed to “have her cake and eat it, too”, that she was allowed to have the best of both forms, bear a child and still gain the benefits of “vampirehood”, that in the end, she had to make no sacrifices. i.e., it was too well wrapped up and not tragic enough, especially when you throw the Jacob-Nessie relationship in there – a very happy and emotional ending, makes us all feel good but in “real life” things never work out THAT well :-)

I don’t see Bella’s choice being taken away at all, nor any slight on the Cullens. She made the choice to become a vampire and then that decision was overridden by the decision to risk her … existence, to save the life of her child. Had she not, it would not have been consistent with who Bella was (and certainly not with who SM is), but I don’t see it as cheapening the Cullens at all. Looking back, knowing Renesmee as they do, none of them would question her decision after-the-fact, even if Bella had not survived to make the change. They had feared the fetus would grow into something without morals and ethics, something that was representative of the worst aspects of “vampirehood”. Had they known from the beginning of the outcome in that regard, none of them, not even Edward, would have begrudged Bella the right to risk her life to bring that life into the world. As they view “sentience”, as in sentient life with that moral foundation, they wouldn’t have been able to condone ending an innocent sentient life to save another, not and still be who they are.

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Re: Explorations

Post by Knives » Tue May 18, 2010 9:53 pm

Alright, to step in with my own take on morality;

I, personally, call myself a realist, though the term "nihilist" gets thrown around in my vicinity a lot. Essentially speaking, I don't believe in a moral code. Actions or inactions are not inherently good or evil, because inherent good and evil are concepts which, practically speaking, do not exist. Grind down the universe and sift the atoms through the tiniest seive you have available, and you'll find a lot of hydrogen, but not a helluva lot of truth, justice, mercy, or redemption.

However, ethics are something I believe strongly in - voluntary codes of behavior which, when adhered to, create peace, prevent abuses, et cetera. Thus, while I believe in an inherently amoral existence, a human being may be judged by their ethics, both personal and in relation to the society in which they are raised. Warning: the rest of this post contains references and comparisons which may be offensive, painful, tactlessly put, or just plain tasteless.

Take, for example, a German man, circa 1943. He is dutiful to his country, loving on his family, and good by his own lights and the lights of his friends. He cares about his fellow man and woman. He donates to charities. And, with care and enthusiasm, he exterminates Jews. He arranges for the peaceful music in the background that calms them. He reminds them not to forget their numbers - many people, he tells them, forget their numbers and get the wrong possessions. It reassures them that there will be life, after the showers. He regrets dearly that he allows the gassing of vermin to affect him. Were he truly righteous, he tells himself, he would feel only joy in making a stronger Germany.

Is this man evil?

Is it evil to steal? How about to steal to feed your starving body? Your starving child? Is it evil to kill someone to save yourself? Your friend? A stranger? Ten strangers? A hundred?

The problem with the concepts of "good" and "evil" isn't when the ends stop justifying the means. People are very good at delineating that. The problem is, no one wants to say when the ends start to justify the means. Evil is relative, and good is a label we put on behaviors which we happen to find desirable.

Ethics, on the other hand, can be objective. They pertain to qualities which have been created, conceptually, by humans, and as such may change and evolve with the times. Ethics deal with ideas such as doing as little harm as necessary, privacy, security, various rights and freedoms, et cetera. The U.S. Constitution is, in essence, a code of ethics laid down for our government to follow. The Hippocratic Oath forms the basis of medical ethics - various patient confidentiality laws are also examples. Ethics carry no moral weight. They are entirely fabricated contrivances through which society exercises control over certain practices. But their "artificial" nature also makes them easier to interpret, change, and enforce. The sheer number of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic practices (to say nothing of the various Bhuddist, Hindu, Wiccan, and Neo-Pagan faiths & philosiphies) should point to how easily fallible more metaphoric documents (like scripture) are.

So, call me a nihilist if you wanna, but hey, the meaning of life is what you put in to it.

Hoping for replies!

- Knives

P.S. Don't be afraid to ask rude questions about my worldview. I get a lot of them.
Openhome wrote:Knives, I believe that..
wait for it...
you are right.

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Re: Explorations

Post by Openhome » Tue May 18, 2010 10:31 pm

Just a quick pithy comment before I go off to be a good housewife:
Nihilism doesn't make for good plots. "Waiting for Gedot" might have been an artistic masterpiece, but it sucked big time. :D

If the world means nothing, if existence is futile, what good are you? (Philosophical question based on nihilistic thought - NOT at all a put down)

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Re: Explorations

Post by andypalmer » Tue May 18, 2010 11:28 pm

Knives. If you examine each closely, you'll find that beneath every Ethic is a Moral foundation.

Life without morals is Darwinian, in the absolute, Lord of the Flies, "Survival of the Fittest" sense. The strongest take what they want, because they can, and the strong survive.

Even the Hippocratic Oath, an Ethical Code by your definition, has at its foundation the morality that human life is sacred.

Man has come up with different definitions, different reasons explaining WHY morality exist, and even the morality itself differs slightly between belief systems. It's not something that Science can explain, except in vague terms as an Anthropological phenomenon. Nonetheless, morality does exist, and while its existence, its source, cannot be scientifically explained, does that make it any less real? Gravity still existed before Newton defined it...

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Re: Twilight Universe General Philosophical Musings

Post by December » Wed May 19, 2010 5:10 am

Ok, folks...we can take a stab at holding this discussion, but I'm counting on everyone to be EXTREMELY thoughtful of one another here. Please remember that personal morality is a topic that can quickly spiral into ugliness -- and that would be a shame because you've been doing a wonderful job of respecting one another and having some amazing conversations. Tact and good taste are called for! (*hem*)

And let's please try and steer clear of the inflammatory examples. One person's illuminating hypothetical may be another person's painful personal or family experience. Seriously. By the same token, if someone says something which offends you, remember that it was probably unintentional. We're all clueless sometimes, and we depend on other people not to hold it against us.

Lastly I'll just remind you all (and sorry if I sound like a broken record!) that we're not here to debate but to share our different views. There's a subtle but crucial difference between saying "for me, X is wrong" and saying "X is wrong". But you guys don't need telling that!

(And don't forget to keep the discussion grounded in Twilight. At least with one foot...).
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