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I posted this as a comment to bitterbyrden in loligo's kickass entry (which reminds us that we cannot trust the characters to know the full picture of what the hell's going on metaphysically in the Jossverse) -- but as I hadn't really seen anyone put forth this thought yet, figured I might as well post it here too.

Regarding the soul being what damns Spike (and Angel) to Hell, per Pava(y?)ne, and the relative fairness thereof. I wonder if it's not that the soul damns them to hell per se (as if being aware of the wrongness of one's past actions, done when one couldn't appreciate their wrongness would make one suddenly deserve to be punished for them upon becoming aware, but not before), but that the soul (in Pavane's view) damns them to have an existence after their vampiric death. And it's just obvious that they're going to Hell (as it's obvious to Gunn, Wes, Angel... in their own subjective views).

So, most vampires would just disappear forever on being dusted. Demon doesn't go to hell, it just unexists. Thus Darla never seeming to have any memories even when she's turned into a vampire again of existing (or being just "nowhere") anywhere after she was first dusted, though she remembers being a vampire, even before she's re-vamped. Her body was recreated, with her brain intact and all of the human and vampire memories engraved on it still there, but no apparent memory of heaven for the human soul, or hell for the vampire demon.

(What this means about where her human soul was after she died the first time, I'm not sure -- perhaps that it was in limbo, prehaps that everybody's afterlife is different and Darla just didn't remember hers? It certainly doesn't discount there being an afterlife for normal human souls, since we have Buffy as potential evidence for that. Though we don't *know* that Buffy was in Heavennnnnnnnnnn, as loligo's entry should remind us. We have only her subjective memories of where she *might* have been.)

But for vampires, having the soul added to their human brain/demon spirit combo means that the brain/demon/soul amalgam becomes susceptible to the laws of the Jossverse afterlife. Which includes going somewhere after your physical body is destroyed. So, not "fair" to the soul, if the soul is a thinking, feeling entity in its own right, but if the vampire's soul is just an extra metaphysical spark that gives them a conscience and the ability to make choices based on morality instead of expediency (especially if it's not the same human soul they had when alive, though Lurky's "We will give you back your soul" makes this seem questionable) then the moment the vamp!soul is united with the brain/demon, it becomes part of the conjoined creature. A soul by itself if it belonged to a dying human, would flitter off to wherever Buffy went. A demon by itself would just go poof. The vampire's soul, unless removed magically, becomes inextricable from and tainted by its bond with the demon.

Which condemns the poor metaphysical cyborg of a vamp to... whatever afterlife they might end up with, since Angel and Spike are the only souled vampires around. Pavane says Hell, but he's a little biased; Angel says Hell, but so is he.

thebratqueen

2003-10-23 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Another thing to consider is religion. Dunno about Reaper-man but Angel's Catholic as they come. Catholics believe that in the end you condemn yourself to Hell because when you look upon the face of God's love you feel all the times that you failed Him and therefore banish yourself into punishment. Which pretty much goes hand in hand with all of Angel's stated beliefs about his own salvation in both this ep and others.

If however the fuck you spell it was also Catholic, I could see him going along a similar belief too, or perhaps believing that the soul made Spike a creature worthy enough for God to care about, even if it was just for God to punish him.

Either that or he knew it would get under Spike's craw so he said it for psychological torment without it reflecting any actual belief system.

But that's some food for thought for what it's worth.

mpoetess

2003-10-23 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Catholics believe that in the end you condemn yourself to Hell because when you look upon the face of God's love you feel all the times that you failed Him and therefore banish yourself into punishment.

That's a new one on this little ex-Catholic girl, but I was raised Sunday Catholic, and never had communion or confirmation classes, so I'm perfectly willing to accept that as doctrine nobody bothered to tell me. ;-)

Either way, I'm sure you're right -- Angel's, Spike's (probably Church of England, as...um. Kita? suggested) and possibly Pavane's religion has to have a place in how they're thinking about the soul and what happens after death. Which points back to the subjective thing -- we don't have to believe that Pavane was telling the objective truth, at all. In fact I'm fairly convinced he wasn't, was at least partially just messing with Spike. Guessing, because like Pavane knows anything about souled vampires from the wealth of information on the two that have existed ever? Even assuming W&H have researched it and he's been reading over people's shoulders, it's pretty clear *nobody* knows much about vampire + soul, because Angel only really came out of "passing" as either a human or an unsouled vamp, when he came to Sunnydale.

So all of my main post was more "If Pavane was serious and 'right' about what was happening, why would it be so?" spec.


lucifrix

2003-10-23 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Catholics believe that in the end you condemn yourself to Hell because when you look upon the face of God's love you feel all the times that you failed Him and therefore banish yourself into punishment.

I've never heard that one either. That takes all the power away from the deity and puts it in the human's hands, which seems backwards. I mean, if this is true, lots of non-Catholics would go straight to heaven because they don't think they sinned.

mpoetess

2003-10-23 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm guessing the logic behind that is when you look upon the face of God, you get *told* all of your sins, like *slam* with no room for arguing. ;-)

violetfrosting

2003-10-23 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Interesting thoughts. Personally I subscribe to Terry Pratchett's idea of what happens to people after death. You go wherever you truly feel you deserve to go. Thus, being aware of the "wrongness" of their lives, I suppose vampires with souls would go to hell.

As for Darla's original human soul, didn't they say when talking about returning the soul to Angelus, that when the demon takes the body the soul escapes and kind of floats about forever? I'm a little hazy without rewatching BtVS S2, but I'm fairly sure it was along those lines. Although the soul of the subject should be, by definition, clean and untouched by the actions of the demon committed, as they were, in its absence.

Unfair indeed. But when you think about it the concepts of soul, heaven and hell are in this definition created by the Christian Church which is, at best, shaky on the fairness. Karmic justice would be better, I think - allowing the evildoer to redeem themselves by deed, rather than pay for their wrongdoing with eternal damnation. The idea of "Shanshu" seems based in that ideal, rather than the Christian idea of reaping what you sow in the afterlife, so it all gets a little muddled theologically at that point.

mpoetess

2003-10-23 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think the Jossverse concept of the afterlife is so muddled that even Joss doesn't know what it is, frankly -- he's played it from so many angles for story purposes that any way you look at it, something doesn't make sense, and/or somebody gets screwed.

The "going where they believe they'll go" idea is totally plausible for Spike and Angel, and somebody put that forth in their review recently -- can't remember who.

As for the human soul / Angelus thing, Angelus says the Orb of Thessula is used to "summon a person's soul from the ether" -- whatever that might mean. He doesn't say it specifically about a vampire's soul though -- hard to see how he could, since he's the only vampire (as far as we know) to ever get his soul back, pre-Spike.

Chicken Soup for the Vampire's Soul

executrix

2003-10-23 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Errr, I kinda thought where the whole Vampire With a Soul foofaraw is heading is that the Shansu prophecy is about Spike, not Angel.

But then there was only supposed to be one Slayer at a time, and now there's bazillions, so I guess the scaryness in the Jossverse multiplies like...well, bunnies.

bitterbyrden

2003-10-23 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

If I was actually getting comment notifications, I would have been able to read your response. Grrr. Grrrrrr, LJ.

Well put, though, in both comment spots. You brought up some interesting things, and your first commenter did as well (ie., being Catholic). It does seem that in the Buffyverse (Jossverse), that the whole argument over brain/soul/heart/body and the Which Came First the Chicken or the Egg? question, is fairly convoluted at this point.

You never really *can* take the characters' words for it, can you, although we've all been conditioned to trust the narrator (or at least the exposition) our entired lives. Buffy thought she was in Heaven, sure, but, maybe it was just easier than Sunnydale. Yet, as our heroine, we accepted it as gospel -- Buffy was in heaven. Why? 'Cause she said so.

Interesting thoughts.

mpoetess

2003-10-23 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks. :)

FWIW, I think we are meant to accept that Buffy was in (possibly one among many) Heaven, since her series ended with that never being contradicted, unless you believe she's really in a mental institution. But also I think Joss delights in presenting conundrums and then often chickens out on resolving them, leaving this big damn muddy field when we try to figure out what the rules of his playground are.

ci5rod

2003-10-23 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

You never really *can* take the characters' words for it, can you, although we've all been conditioned to trust the narrator (or at least the exposition) our entired lives. Buffy thought she was in Heaven, sure, but, maybe it was just easier than Sunnydale. Yet, as our heroine, we accepted it as gospel -- Buffy was in heaven. Why? 'Cause she said so.

Interestingly, I accepted it not because she said so, but because Spike accepted it. As Ben Yallow observed last year, "Except when he's lying, Spike tells the truth." What he meant, apart from causing a convention panel to collapse in giggles, was that Spike generally has the right of Buffyverse metaphysics, unless he's deliberately trying to manipulate the other characters.


kita0610

2003-10-23 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Rest for Buffy was Heaven. Tara said there are thousands of "heavenly dimensions", and we know from Anya and Angel and even "Anne" (Buffy) that there are thousands of "hell dimensions" or demon dimensions as well. So anything in the realm of those is possible.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the notion "vampire soul", just because that what'shisface guy said it. I mean, it's WILLIAM'S soul in there, and LIAM'S, and they existed before they were vamps. I wonder if the "vampire soul" is the *demon*- or the elusive "soul of the demon" that Lorne supposedly reads when they sing (a whole nother ball of wax, cause didn't we hear millions of times that demons don't *have* souls over on BtVS). OR! Maybe only vamps don't have souls. They're pretty much looked down upon by every other breed of demon in Jossverse, being all human like and tainted. Maybe that's just one more thing they suck at.

Eh. Angel is going to Hell because he thinks he has no place else to go. He's gonna drag Spike down with him if he can. I'd love to see the opposite happen, cause Angel and Spike stuck together in Heeeeeavvven with singing and shit? Ok, for them that would be Hell. Never mind. ;}

I have no point. Thanks for letting me ramble.

mpoetess

2003-10-23 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ahahahahaha --- Angel goes to Heaven. Spike goes to Hell. It's the same place: the two of them locked in a room while Angel sings Copacabana.

eliade

2003-10-23 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ahahahahaha --- Angel goes to Heaven. Spike goes to Hell. It's the same place: the two of them locked in a room while Angel sings Copacabana.

Ha! You crack my shit up. *grin*

swmbo

2003-10-23 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

That's a really interesting take on it. I've always kind of gone by the multiple hells in Jossverse and wasn't convinced at all that the one Angel was sent to was the same one that Spike is balanced between. We know there are multiple hell dimensions, we've had characters go to them, mostly off-screen.

When I heard the line about his soul is what condemns him, I actually took it from a different angle. Well, two actually. One, that it was metaphorical - that the soul is what condemns him to the hell of feeling guilt, and to the hell of his current existence which is one of instability - flickering between worlds. And that same flickering is what is causing him to experience the torture and torment that is being inflicted upon him at that time. Without the soul, he would have just gone to a traditional vampire hell, whatever that is. The second thing is, that there multiple versions of Hell. And that maybe the version pre-souled Spike would have gone to is different, but no less unpleasant, than the one post-souled Spike.

The nature of where a soul goes is the most complex. At what point do they have responsibility for their bodies actions when they are not present? I know we'll never get it answered. I'm a firm believer that Buffy wasn't really in heaven, or at least a heaven that I would call that, when she died. It was built on an illusion of lies. But, that's just me. Everybody has their own conception.

The Darla in my head does remember her hell after she was dusted. That's one reason she comes back so feral. But, I think the memories are so horrifying that they have to be repressed if she's going to survive at all.

Thanks so much for pointing some of these posts out!

mpoetess

2003-10-23 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm almost positive the one Angel was sent to wasn't the same -- or if it was, it was just coincidence, because, though Angel likes to not acknowledge it, he wasn't sent to Hell for his misdeeds -- he was sent, whole and physically, into a hell dimension in order to stop an apocalypse. Maybe that was karmic punishment, but it wasn't any metaphysical sucking of his spirit-self into an afterlife. He's got jack-shit to judge what a real afterlife would be like, by.

(Deleted comment)

mpoetess

2003-10-23 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

And now you want to bring me chocolate and slaveboys.

Do I know you or what?