Fun Despite the Depth! TUGPM Take Three

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.

Postby cullengirl » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:11 am

Cocoa wrote:
cullengirl wrote:but I always thought her viewpoint was in the lines of "no one's blood is good enough to be inside of me" could be the reason why she never feed off of people.


This is not the case at all. Infact the reason why Rosalie hasn't fed off of humans is because next to Carlisle she has the most respect for humanity. (Said at the Nashvill New Moon Signing).


Cocoa, thanks for the clarification. I should have included "initial thought". My thought on this actually changed when I read her story in Eclipse and I saw how important she valued human life, especially with her longing to be a mother.
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Postby Tennyo » Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:17 am

Cocoa wrote:And I am shocked Tennyo :lol: ...So is it more ok with you to "slip up" on the kid at the play ground that smelled really good? Then to live as nature intended. Having some dinner. But choosing to be picky about dinner, and in doing so give law enforcemnt a little hand.


Yesterday I would have laughed around that, but pretty much yes. Edward made his decision to be a monster, and using his "powers" to decide who lives and who dies really is very wrong to me. If he's going to kill he may as well just kill.

Don't laugh-well, laugh a little-has anyone seen the new Superman: Doomsday movie? When Superman dies, Lex Luthor has a clone made, and the clone starts to decide who's bad and who's good. He kills a criminal who murdered a child after the clearly insane criminal was already in custody. He starts deciding what is bad and what isn't-and he does have means that others' don't, remember. The entire city becomes terrified of him, and the original Superman...well, you can see for yourself.

The Clone was doing all this in the name of good and protecting people. It's just that he began to decide what the rules were. Not good. Would you trust Edward to decide the rules? To me, it's better he just go the whole way and be "bad". At least he isn't deluding himself that way and thinking he's doing something positive. (I am in camp B, actually, but when it comes to "Who decides who lives or dies? I get more stringent)

I actually left the discussion yesterday to watch that and it's creepy how similar the situations became.

(Okay, did I just write an entire post comparing Edward to Superman's Clone? Too early in the morning...)
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Postby ~falling_girl~ » Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:30 am

"justified" killing doesnt exist. every person, i think, deserves to live. i think so because im terrified of death and i wouldnt wish for anyone, (not even my evil french teacher:P) to be killed. not ever. because even those people, the ones that do bad things, even they, they have thoughts, feelings. and killing people is wrong.
but what makes it forgivable in Edwards case is that he really is the...predator? its natural for him. its like, if a really hungry lion sees a person hes going to kill it. maybe (?) he knows its wrong but hey, its his food. so yeah. i can forgive him. and he knows it was wrong. and at least he saved peoples lives by doing it. and thats gotta be worth something. he was picky about it. and he saved innocent peples lives. thats gotta count for something, right?

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Postby December » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:05 am

Hi...Can I return to the question of whether it would have been better if Edward had chosen his victims indiscriminately rather than try to salve his conscience by "playing God" and choosing who was (more) fit to die? I've been puzzling about the issues this raises for a while, and wondered if my conclusions make sense to anyone else.

I think we have trouble with Edward's position because it has a foot in two different and incompatible views of what vampires are: our natural predators or our moral kin. The upshot is that both his views and our judgements of them get confused. If it is ok for vampires to kill humans for food -- the way most of us kill animals for meat -- it is an unnecessary scruple for Edward to worry whether his dinner was a wicked person: like feeling less guilty about meat-eating if you only eat the meanest cows in the barn. Conversely, once you start to feel it is wrong to kill innocent humans, you have conceded the moral value of human life -- and then taking any life at all becomes problematic. Certainly, it becomes reasonable to ask what right Edward has, even knowing other people's thoughts, to decide that such-and-such person deserves death. I think this is why some on this thread feel that Edward's choosing his victims makes it worse -- it acknowledges that drinking human blood is not a natural act but has a moral dimension. If you want a consistent position about what Edward does, you need to choose. Either it is basically ok -- not a moral big deal -- for vampires to kill people (we are their natural food source), or it is not.* To try to believe both at the same time is a natural response, but it is bad reasoning.

*ok, actually I think that in most cases it is unhelpful to say that an action is "right" or "wrong" -- for me moral reasoning is way more nuanced and obscure -- but my point here is that these are two conflicting views of the matter.

And I don't think any of the Cullens (or even Stephenie) has a clear-cut position here. The Cullens don't seem to think ordinary vampires are evil; they may evangelize a little (as vegetarians tend to!), but they don't try to stop them from killing people. Their moral stance is very much that of vegetarians: "killing animals (or in their case, humans) feels wrong to me, and I'm not going to do it; but it is not an monstrous, unarguable wrong like murder, where it would be almost as wrong of me if I didn't stop others from committing it."

But this moderate moral stance gets into trouble because deep down we don't really find the vegetarian analogy satisfactory, and with good reason. Meat-eaters can feel comfortable eating pigs and sheep and chickens not just because they are our natural food source, but because they are radically different from us. But in all the respects that both humans and vampires most value their lives, vampires are us. They love, they reason, they hope, they have consciences and regrets and aspirations -- and so do we. Their superhuman strength and immortality may make us seem frail, lesser creatures to them, but it doesn't make us morally different -- not in the way even vegetarians would agree that pigs and people are different. Witness the fact that a vampire and a human can fall in love...

The right analogy here might not be famers and cattle but the barons and serfs of earlier centuries. Of course, the barons (often) didn't think their serfs' lives counted for anything either, but to our 21st century sensibility it is clear that they were wrong. And the reasons we would give are exactly those which make vampires and humans morally indistinguishable. So maybe we're back to cultural relativism. If you believe (as I do most days) that in judging the practices and attitudes of previous eras you have to say something like "what they did/thought is something we now feel is wrong" rather than baldly "it was wrong", then you should probably say the same about the Red-Eyed Vampires. But in the case of the Cullens and the deaths they have caused, this won't wash. They place the same value we do on human life. They have embraced our culture.

Here, instead, I think you get into the question of degrees of culpability and extenuating circumstance. Murder (or manslaughter) in various situations of duress doesn't become right, but it becomes less wrong. And Stephenie is very emphatic about the extremity of the duress the vampires are all under. "Thirsty vampires are in acute physical pain. It is comparable to the feel of a third degree burn inside your throat. It can make a vampire literally crazy for relief -- beyond thought. If your hand was on fire and there was a bucket of ice water beside you, would you resist that relief?...Even for a vampire who keeps his or her system full of animal blood, the lack of human blood is constant pain. " (PC#12). The Cullens' "mistakes" seem more forgivable in this light. But I think this is why we can excuse them, not the fact that killing humans is natural from the ordinary vampire perspective.

Sorry. This got rather long. But does it make sense?



Edited to brush away typographical creepy-crawlies.
Last edited by December on Tue May 20, 2008 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jenni_elyse » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:29 am

Stupid e-mail notifications! :x I don't know what it is with this thread, but I don't always get the e-mail notifications and then I miss 8 pages of awesome discussion and it's so hard to give up that much time to catch up! :? Evil! :evil: Oh well...

~falling_girl~ wrote:"justified" killing doesnt exist. every person, i think, deserves to live. i think so because im terrified of death and i wouldnt wish for anyone, (not even my evil french teacher:P) to be killed. not ever. because even those people, the ones that do bad things, even they, they have thoughts, feelings. and killing people is wrong.
but what makes it forgivable in Edwards case is that he really is the...predator? its natural for him. its like, if a really hungry lion sees a person hes going to kill it. maybe (?) he knows its wrong but hey, its his food. so yeah. i can forgive him. and he knows it was wrong. and at least he saved peoples lives by doing it. and thats gotta be worth something. he was picky about it. and he saved innocent peples lives. thats gotta count for something, right?

~Vici


Yes, to some extent, everyone does deserve to live. However, some people do give up that right and deserve to die because of the choices and pain they inflict on others (i.e., Hitler, Stalin, Osama Bin Laden, etc.). These people pride themselves on killing people just for the sake of it and wreaking havoc in the world. It is better to kill one man, in my opinion, to stop something like genocide.

You can even go as small as someone like Ted Bundy, a serial killer. I'm sure his victims or their families didn't shed a tear when he was executed...
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Postby llovetwilight » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:49 am

December wrote: I think this is why some on this thread feel that Edward's choosing his victims makes it worse -- it acknowledges that drinking human blood is not a natural act but has a moral dimension. If you want a consistent position about what Edward does, you need to choose. Either it is basically ok -- not a moral big deal -- for vampires to kill people (we are their natural food source), or it is not. To try to believe both at the same time is a natural response, but it is bad reasoning.
And I don't think any of the Cullens (or even Stephenie) has a clear-cut position here. The Cullens don't seem to think ordinary vampires are evil; they may evangelize a little (as vegetarians tend to!), but they don't try to stop them from killing people. Their moral stance is very much that of vegetarians: 'killing animals (or in their case, humans) feels wrong to me, and I'm not going to do it; but it is not an monstrous, unarguable wrong like murder, where it would be almost as wrong of me if I didn't stop others from committing it.'


I see what you are saying. Here is my thought- Vampires, by nature, see humans as food, yummy food. There is nothing wrong with that, because that is what they are- you could argue that their existance is wrong, but that is a completely different debate!

So, with that in mind, that vampires thirsting for humans is not something "wrong" that they are doing, it is simply how they were created, I commend and even admire the Cullens for trying to deny that part of themselves. 99% of the vampires do not give a second thought to their prey other than how good they tasted. All vampires were once human, yet not all of them even consider the veggie life. It might sound crazy, but I think that Laurent is a step up (ever so small a step!) from the regular vamps- at least he gave the veggie life a go.

I tend to disagree with those who think Edward was attempting to "play God" by trying to find a compromise between what he is and what he doesn't want to be. He is a vampire and as such needs to feed on blood. He tried the veggie life that Carlisle introduced him to and it was not enough. And so, in search of quenching his thirst, he decides to give in to his natural desires for human blood. He compromises with himself and his own conscience by drinking the blood of vile humans he catches in the act of committing horrible crimes. How is that seen as worse an act than the vampire down the street who kills at random? Sure, that normal vamp may get a bad guy once in a while, but more likely than not, his prey is an innocent mother, father, brother, etc.

I guess I am just confused on this one because the way I see it, Edward doesn't want to be a vampire. He considers his kind to be monsters, the bad guys. And, not wanting to be a monster, he does all he can to be the least offensive monster he can be. He was, imo, not trying to play god, he was trying to reconcile himself with what he is. He places guilt on himself just for being what he is. If he could save humans while feeding- while doing what is natural for vampires to do, then he felt that he could make up in some small way for his existance.
I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun with you around."- Emmett to Bella, EC

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Postby Tennyo » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:19 am

I have to say I'm very much with December on this.

I don't like Edward's half-way measures, and I don't think he did either. I think that the moment he realized he was rationalizing, he should have stopped and gone home. Maybe that's actually what happened-he managed to deny it for years and when he couldn't any longer, he stopped. Realizing that he was rationalizing was realizing that his half-way measures weren't enough. Or too much as the case may have been.

Sorry, that wasn't much for me to say. December pretty much said it all on my stance.
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Postby cullengirl » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:28 am

December, your post does make sense and I do agree with you in the fact that Edward is caught in between two worlds. In his vampire world, there are apparently no rules to abide by. However in the human world, there are laws. I think he and the rest of the Cullens actually are struggling in finding a balance between the two worlds. I'm pondering if we would think of the ethics dilemma the same way if vampires took in another form instead of the human form like say...an animal. Humans are different from animals because there are capable of thinking. So, then are vampires "humans" or some morbid form of animal species*?

*If we are talking about vampires being true to their nature and killing people for food.

EDIT: I just found the quote that kind of clarifies December's viewpoint. It's from Midnight Sun (1st draft) on pg. 11:

In that precious second, I saw two faces in my head, side by side. One was mine, or rather had been: The red-eyed monster that had killed so many people that I'd stop counting their numbers. Rationalized, justified murders. A killer of killers, a killer of other, less powerful monsters. It was a god complex, I acknowledge that'"deciding who deserved a death sentence. It was a compromise with myself. I had fed on human blood, but only the loosest definition. My victims were, in their various dark pastimes, barely more human than I was.

The other face was Carlisle's.
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Postby llovetwilight » Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:15 pm

cullengirl wrote:*If we are talking about vampires being true to their nature and killing people for food.

EDIT: I just found the quote that kind of clarifies December's viewpoint. It's from Midnight Sun (1st draft) on pg. 11:

In that precious second, I saw two faces in my head, side by side. One was mine, or rather had been: The red-eyed monster that had killed so many people that I'd stop counting their numbers. Rationalized, justified murders. A killer of killers, a killer of other, less powerful monsters. It was a god complex, I acknowledge that'"deciding who deserved a death sentence. It was a compromise with myself. I had fed on human blood, but only the loosest definition. My victims were, in their various dark pastimes, barely more human than I was.


Has anyone seen the Show Dexter, on Showtime? Dexter is a police officer and a serial killer who kills only serial killers... Although he himself is a killer by nature, he thoughougly researches his "victims" and only allows himself to kill those who are so horrible and creepy that they truley make the world a worse place with their presence.

I bring this show up because it reminds me of this discussion except the "edward" in this show is not a vampire- he is human. Does the fact that he is human change/make an impact on the right or wrong of his actions?
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Postby starchild202 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:48 pm

llovetwilight wrote:Has anyone seen the Show Dexter, on Showtime? Dexter is a police officer and a serial killer who kills only serial killers... Although he himself is a killer by nature, he thoughougly researches his "victims" and only allows himself to kill those who are so horrible and creepy that they truley make the world a worse place with their presence.

I bring this show up because it reminds me of this discussion except the "edward" in this show is not a vampire- he is human. Does the fact that he is human change/make an impact on the right or wrong of his actions?


I have seen the show and read one of the books, great read by the way, and I have been thinking a lot about the show in conjunction with this discussion.

I have been racking my brain for an example in the animal world that is similar to the human vampire realtionship and the only thing I can come up with is Orca or killer whale and the dolphin. Most don't know this, but Orcas are not whales, but fall into the dolphin family. The thing is Orcas are bigger, more powerful, etc. than the typical dolphin (think of Flipper). Oracs do not only feed on dolphins, in fact that is rare but has been known to happen. So I guess what I am trying to say is that IMO vampires are super humans. I think they have all of the emotions and desires, but with added strength, perception, etc. and then this whole natural enemy/prey thing going on. Basically IMO to answer if Edward's killings are justified we have to determine his realtionship to the human race. Ugh, I hope some of that made sense. . . Somehow though I think it is a jumbled mess. This discussion is so hard to come up with answers. There are so many factors to consider and a variety of beliefs. Which makes it all the more fun! and a little frustrating
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