Fun Despite the Depth! TUGPM Take Three

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.

Postby CatchingCove » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:54 pm

Does being a monster by the first definition (an imaginary or legendary creature of human and/or animal forms) automatically make you a monster of the fifth definition (one who inspires horror or disgust)?

I'm not particularly sure that's true. Maybe by the fifth definition, the implication is exclusion. A monster as something that is beyond the human defintion of 'normal', which would explain why the listed defs include 'structural defects' and something 'very large'. It's not part of what we conceive as normal and it conjures rejection on a strong level with horror or disgust. The Cullens fit that better...the exclusion from normal part, I mean. They don't fit the fifth definition because their compassion as well as outward human appearance saves them from our 'disgust', even with their instincts to kill humans.

On the subject of Edward and choosing dinner: I'm still on the idea that he wasn't just picking among humans the way we choose among our dietary needs. The problem with being a Cullen is trying to resolve an instinct with the remnants of human ethics. Edward tried to compromise the two, killing only the bad people. It wasn't that darker people tasted better, it was that he was trying to retain his humanity while actively ignoring the thing that makes us humans: our higher aspirations. That's how he presents it to Bella. If a vampire is above a human on the food chain we can't impose our beliefs on them, but if they're trying to hang on to our beliefs...then we as people are on solid ground trying to discuss their actions in terms of our world.

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Postby Sasha » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:06 pm

I think the Cullens *do* cause horror and disgust in people. Maybe not us, since we see them from Bella's lovely rose-colored glasses, but what if you heard of a creature who could run fast, couldn't be killed, was rock-hard, had sharp teeth and venom, and drank human (or animal) blood? I think that does cause "horror and disgust". At least in me.

Oh, and, I'll pass the comments on to my mom. I'd suggest she come on the forums, but she has never read Twilight, probably never will (doesn't like vampires), and isn't too into philosophy. I'd have more luck with my dad in that sense. Except that I think the smooshy romance stuff would turn him off the books.
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Postby llovetwilight » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:58 pm

Sasha wrote:I think the Cullens *do* cause horror and disgust in people. Maybe not us, since we see them from Bella's lovely rose-colored glasses, but what if you heard of a creature who could run fast, couldn't be killed, was rock-hard, had sharp teeth and venom, and drank human (or animal) blood? I think that does cause "horror and disgust". At least in me.


The monster you describe does invoke "horror and disgust", but when you look at two very different types of the same monster side by side-say the Cullens vs the Volturi, the term monster takes on completely different meanings for each. Sure, they share the same physical monster qualities, but how they choose to use them is what truely makes them horrifying and digusting or not.

Heartsong- "We can not force the entirety our human values onto a vampire. They are not human even if their roots are in humanity. A zebra can not force its values on the lion who is about to make it her supper." ---I really like this!
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 December » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:06 am

Heartsong wrote:We can not force the entirety our human values onto a vampire. They are not human even if their roots are in humanity. A zebra can not force its values on the lion who is about to make it her supper.


But then, a lion never loses its heart, hopelessly, irretrievably, to a zebra. Isn't that the point about "the lion falling in love with the lamb"? It only confirms what the Cullens instinctively sense: that humans and vampires have a shared "humanity" (for lack of a better word).

We can be untroubled about killing chickens because they are not like us. We are troubled about killing other people, because they are. We identify with them; we feel it would be monstrous not to value their lives as we value our own. And vampires still are like us, in the ways that matter -- that's what makes it possible for Bella and Edward to fall in love, to be each other's soulmate. It's not just that vampires have their roots in humanity -- they still possess it. Speed, strength, longevity, even their drive to kill us for food doesn't alter that underlying truth. (We don't feel entitled to kill other people because they are crippled, likely to die before us, or stand between us and a better standard of nutrition).

Morally speaking, human life should be no less precious to vampires than vampire life. They are not entitled to eat us just because we are not vampires ourselves. But that said, it would be very unfair to blame vampires for taking human lives, as we would blame a human. Vampires are under enormous duress. They are driven to kill humans. It takes unusual moral vision and an almost inhuman strength of will to resist. For me, being a red-eye vampire is understandable, and even forgivable.

I guess I just have trouble with the idea that "we are their natural prey: enough said." For me, needing/being driven to kill someone or something isn't enough to put that someone in a separate moral category. What matters are qualities like the capacity for love, reflection, hope, conscience, self-sacrifice: what gives Bella and Edward and each of us our soul. These are the things that (to my mind) bind us together in a common humanity, and it seems to me that they bind us to vampires too.
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Postby devadasi7 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:00 am

December wrote:We can be untroubled about killing chickens because they are not like us. We are troubled about killing other people, because they are.


I think that depends on who you are. There are millions of vegetarians in the world who ARE troubled about killing chickens. I still think the free-range chicken analogy is the most logical. If we look at humans, there are sort of 3 types of "diets". There are those who are vegetarians because they feel that it is wrong to kill, period. But others, myself included, make a compromise between vegetarianism and meat-eating. I tried very hard to be a vegetarian because I have issues with the morality of killing another living creature. I also discovered that it is VERY DIFFICULT! I had to take my own food to cookouts. My family acted like I was an alien at Thanksgiving. Lots of issues and problems. Eventually, my husband and I decided we would compromise. We only buy free-range, organic, humanely raised meat and we don't eat pork at all because it is almost impossible to find pork raised with those restrictions.

Would it be better for us to just eat meat without trying to make more humane choices? I don't think it would. It doesn't feel like a cop-out to me, it feels like making more humane choices that realtistically fit into our lifestyle. This is what I see as Edward's choice as well. It's not as good as being a vegetarian, but it's better than not worrying about being humane at all.

I'm still confused about how it can be better to kill the mother with her child than it is to kill the rapist....I don't understand the reasoning behind that at all.
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Postby LisaCullenAZ » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:20 am

We can be untroubled about killing chickens because they are not like us. We are troubled about killing other people, because they are. We identify with them; we feel it would be monstrous not to value their lives as we value our own. And vampires still are like us, in the ways that matter -- that's what makes it possible for Bella and Edward to fall in love, to be each other's soulmate. It's not just that vampires have their roots in humanity -- they still possess it. Speed, strength, longevity, even their drive to kill us for food doesn't alter that underlying truth. (We don't feel entitled to kill other people because they are crippled, likely to die before us, or stand between us and a better standard of nutrition).


I see what you're saying, December. And part of me can comfortably accept that arguement...especially the first part about the difference in killing chickens and humans ;)

The part about Vampires still possessing their humanity is a little sketchy for me, though. I see it more like this: A Vampire can try to regain his humanity. But not retain it. They would first loose all sense of it, but it would not be impossible for them to somehow revive it. And to me, it seems more like this is the exception rather than the rule.

I don't think it's just a physiological change that occurs. I know they maintain their same personality traits, and they don't change their mentalities or emotional tendencies. But they do have a change in perception, as far as their place in the world is concerned.

Vampires DO see us like we see chickens. Their frame of mind is altered along with their bodies when they are turned. It's just not an irreversable change.

But do they know that?

I think a Vampire's sense of humanity is not something they choose to give up, generally. Most Vampires don't even know they have an alternative!!

Once they are changed, vampires simply assume that they are now a different species all together, assigned to this new lifestyle. And they then submit to laws of nature. Remember Laurent's initial astonishment ...and respect ...when he learns of the Cullen's vegetarian life-style? It's not usually something Vampires realize is even possible.

BUT, if they are made aware of their options, some actually choose to fight against this and attempt to reposess what they've lost! Which is amazing!!

And as we see in the books, this usually happens with the ones who already have an amazing sense of right vs wrong in their human life. And they somehow are able to dig deep inside themselves and regain that moral awareness.

Carlisle is different, of course. He was one who held on and preserved his humanity from the beginning. But there is an explanation for that. He knew what he was becoming before the changing began. He had studied vampires and had made it his life's work - like his father before him. He had this advantage multiplied by the fact that he was already an all-around amazing person. He was able to keep his wits about him and fight against his newly changed state even after he was completly turned. He is almost singular in this - which is why he is so outstandingly remarkable.

Another thought:

What you described with the "strength, speed, longevity" etc is actually accurate for a Werewolf, in my mind. Werewolves are still essentially human AND HAVE NOT lost their humanity. They have simply attained the said "speed, strength, longevity" etc. This isn't the way a vampire has changed. A Werewolf can even ultimately elect to give up his werewolf-ness... a Vampire cannot.

I've re-read this so many times to make sure I'm coherent ...to the point that now I don't even know what I'm saying anymore!
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Postby Heart Song » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:50 am

December wrote:
Heart Song wrote:We can not force the entirety our human values onto a vampire. They are not human even if their roots are in humanity. A zebra can not force its values on the lion who is about to make it her supper.


But then, a lion never loses its heart, hopelessly, irretrievably, to a zebra. Isn't that the point about "the lion falling in love with the lamb"? It only confirms what the Cullens instinctively sense: that humans and vampires have a shared "humanity" (for lack of a better word).


Edward is a lone exception in the realm of vampires. Vampires are not known to give themselves heart and soul to a human. It just doesn't happened.

New Moon page 471
"Marcus sees relationships. He's surprised by the intensity of ours."


That's not to say that vamps don't have physical relationships with humans. We know that they can. The Denali sisters were known for their seductive ways before they became vegans but they were more like black widows. The fed off of those they had seduced.

The Volturi keep humans in their employ much like we use livestock. On Wednesday I chaperoned my daughters' classes on a trip to the county fair. At the milking demonstration they explained the life of a dairy cow and how they are able to use it for 8-10 years. It was presented as if this was the cow's job. At the end of the talk one of the children asked what happened to the cow when it couldn't be used for milk any more. The speaker calmly replied, "the cow goes to work for the beef industry." All I could think of was Gianna.

This is just my opinion here but I think the Cullens were initially surprised and concerned at Edward's attraction to Bella. Edward noted that Alice was the most supportive at one point. Everyone else was having their doubts in the beginning because what was happening was so far out of the norm. Alice was accepting only because she could see ahead.

Under normal circumstances, Edward would have kept his distance from Bella because he is a Cullen or given in and had the most scrumptious meal of his life. If he had slipped, I don't think the rest of the Cullens would have condemned him for it. They all know how had it is to stay with the diet.
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Postby llovetwilight » Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:51 pm

devadasi7 wrote:Would it be better for us to just eat meat without trying to make more humane choices? I don't think it would. It doesn't feel like a cop-out to me, it feels like making more humane choices that realtistically fit into our lifestyle. This is what I see as Edward's choice as well. It's not as good as being a vegetarian, but it's better than not worrying about being humane at all.
I'm still confused about how it can be better to kill the mother with her child than it is to kill the rapist....I don't understand the reasoning behind that at all.


I am glad you shared this. As a meat eater (I am just addicted to steak and can't help it :oops: ) I suppose I am (when discussing diet at least :wink: ) like the "volturi" of the human world. Having said that, I still think what Edward did while in his rebellion was way better than just killing anyone (although I understand that is the true nature of most vampires) and that he was doing his best to compromise. I was interested to see your point of view because in a way, you are the "Edward" of the human world. Did anyone follow that?! Hope it made sense!
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 llovetwilight » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:40 pm

LisaCullenAZ wrote:The part about Vampires still possessing their humanity is a little sketchy for me, though. I see it more like this: A Vampire can try to regain his humanity. But not retain it. They would first loose all sense of it, but it would not be impossible for them to somehow revive it. And to me, it seems more like this is the exception rather than the rule.

I don't think it's just a physiological change that occurs. I know they maintain their same personality traits, and they don't change their mentalities or emotional tendencies. But they do have a change in perception, as far as their place in the world is concerned.

Vampires DO see us like we see chickens. Their frame of mind is altered along with their bodies when they are turned.



I couldn't agree with you more! I think that this is part of what I have been trying to convey for the last few posts, but you did it much better than I did!
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 LisaCullenAZ » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:46 pm

Oh good :) I was worried about my wording. I'm pretty drugged up on allergy medicine right now. Stupid anti-histamines!
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