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Hello Mr Fries (Angel Odyssey 5.1)(sp 5.1) -- Tchaikovsky, 09:53:22 10/06/03 Mon

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

-William Blake

'Love is sacrifice'

'To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound key'

-Edlund and Whedon-work

Hello everyone.

Oooh, guess what? I've seen Angel 5.1! To explain, I live in England, and the earliest I've ever seen an episode of Buffy or Angel after it was broadcast in America is about six months. Until now. A certain board member named aliera has sent me across the Atlantic a copy of the fifth Season premiere of Angel, and so I've already watched it, less than a week after it aired on the WB. And complete with the WB's extraordinarily lengthy advert breaks. The thing with those breaks is, they let me write on my envelope. And notes lead to paragraphs, and paragraphs lead to dissertations...

So I'm feeling a little out of the loop of normal time at the moment. Maybe it's this feeling of timelessness that led me to the conclusion that 43 minutes of television held in microcosm eternity. Or maybe it was those funny mushrooms. Quick, maintain dignity, a title...

5.1- 'Conviction'

I've managed to remain largely unspoiled for this Season of Angel, but one evening that I was less successful than most was at the Board Meeting in London in July. Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic (and lengthy) evening. But at one point, a certain yabyumpan, (who will remain nameless) offered the sides for 5.1. Between her and Rahael what could I do? In any case, discussing a certain element in one of the scenes, Rah contended 'It's very Miltonian. Very Blake-ian'. And the more I saw of the episode, the more those couple of sentences reverberated inside my head. There's a religious subtext very close to the text in this episode, and of course, justice, vengeance, Chosen people, the enemy, and all the usual Old Testament paraphernalia.

I was reading a preface to Milton's collected works the other day, and much was made at his time in history of the three events in Christianity which were considered to shape the whole elastic band of human existence. These were, I I recall correctly; The Fall, Jesus' birth, and Judgement Day. In this episode, there are definite aspects of each of the three, and the interplay of other religious themes, some of which have been expertly discussed by scroll, fresne and Valheru, amongst others, led me to attempt this review tracing through Christian history. Here's an attempt:

In the beginning...

If last Season was 'Before the Bang, Before the Word', then this Season of Angel also appears to be heading the wrong way up the temporal highway. At least for a minute or two. Asd in 'City of...' we start with a helpless girl in an alleyway, saved by Angel in cool Dark Avenger style-y. The words 'I help the helpless' are plastered all over the scene. Until it's rudely interrupted by the present. Angel's view of himself is suddenly overturned, and we are left with the comparison of him and the helpless blonde girl herself. Angel ends up gibbering at the bureaucracy of the salvage operation, as helpless as the girl in front of the vampire. People are crazy, times are strange, and temptation's on the way.

Falling Angel

It's very interesting how the apple which Eve gives to Angel is used. There's been a little talk about 'Lilah's' proximity to 'Lilith' as a name, and how Eve was a later wife. This certainly doesn't say much for the portrayal of early woman, if Lilah and Eve represent between them two of the first women to walk the planet. They are both seductresses, wily and disingenuous. The Lilith-Lilah connection I'm not sure about, but the Eve-Eve is irrefutable. Although there's also Eve-l, which shouldn't be discounted. U'd like to put in a word of praise for Eve, who's got rather short shrift. There's a touch more innocence about her than Lilah. Whereas Lilah was dangerous and powerful, there's just an element of simple charm about Eve which was one thing Lilah didn't possess. I think this could be a valuable weapon, that of primitive temptation. Of course, her first mission is to challenge Angel as to whether he's afraid, and he responds by very deliberately, knowingly, taking a bite out of the Apple. Of course, the apple grants the Knowledge of Right and Wrong, and the ability to choose. Angel's decision is not dissimilar to his killing of Jasmine in 'Peace Out'- it establishes the possibility of free will, and demands the strength of character from his team that they can both acknowledge evil and fight it. It's simple to dismiss Angel's takeover of Wolfram and Hart as the wrong one, but Angel's apple makes the point that he goes in with his eyes open, aware of the imperfections in the world, outside the Eden of the Hyperion, in the big, bright jaguar-filled world of Wolfram and Hart.

The Chosen People

There's a lot of fascinating suggestions about Abraham's tribe in this episode, mainly covered by scroll and fresne. I think it's fair to say that the Abraham thing could have been levied at Angel since 'Amends', but a couple of aspects of this episode cement it. Remember that Angel survived in 'Amends' because of the Hope that the Powers that Be sent him. Then Doyle and Cordelia were chosen to bear visions from them. Angel was truly the God's chosen, so much so that, were Angehal not compromising the pun about heavenly messengers, his name might have changed. And now we see our chosen people, sans Cordelia, in a strange land. And how shall they sing the Lord's song?

A couple of little visual tricks do beautifully for this symbolism. At the beginning of the second act we see Angel, Wesley and Fred in the office, but shot through a trinagular pane of glass. The distance is exaggerated by the geometric non-tesselation with the television screen, and we are made to feel very much the outsider. They were chosen, but what are they doing here, controlling this office?

Also, we have the long, beautiful shot which has been commented on extensively. This connects all the members of the Gang. First we see Fred chatting to Wesley, who's then joined by Gunn, (cricket reference number two in both series, hooray and cf 'Graduation Day, One'), and then we see Lorne and finally Angel. They connect through the shot. And of course we see the bussle of the place. There seems to be little friction between the group. In particular, Wesley and Gunn are getting on like blood brothers. We wonder whether the whole section about Angel's child ever happened, and how Wesley, in his own mind, has ended up where he is today.

If Connor is forgotten by the rest of the one-time Angel Investigations though, he's certainly not by Whedon or Angel, and this fact is demonstrated neatly towards the middle of the episode.

The Immaculate Conception

Well, a vampire gave birth, a Miracle happened, (Angel's second), and Connor existed. He prematurely aged in a hell-dimension came back to earth alienated from his other-than-human Father, slept with his erstwhile near-lover, worshipped a demiurge and was killed to save his life. You're run-on sentences are getting much less pointless In this episode, we have all sorts of questions about Fathers putting sons in danger. And we're made ot ask: for whom did Angel adjust Connor's life.

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son

Connor's sacrifice left Angel spritely enough to crack jokes in Sunnydale, and he seems relatively upbeat if a little uncomfortable at Wolfram and Hart until he hears about Corbin Fries' son, having a virus plated on him. Fries would be so irritated by the world if he lost the trial that he'd use his son to destroy something he can't bear, the hope of Childhood. And what does Angel think? 'Was I saving Connor's life, or was I sacrificing him to make me view of a world come true'.

Connor is certainly hinted as being both Isaac and Jesus in this episode. We get the wonderful, near-throw away line 'For goats, press one, or say goats'. But after we've stopped giggling, we get the darker, 'To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound key'. This, Angel broods, is what he has done. Offered Isaac up as a ritual sacrifice to the Powers that Be. And unlike the Jealous God of the Old Testament, they have accepted.

The Second Coming

Meanwhile, towards the end of the episode, we get the return of a character whose last pose was Messianic, being burnt up in soulful sunlight, dying so that the world might live. Spike's return is of course a second coming, and he will be seen be some as Saviour of the Show, (and perhaps, by others, not so ;-)) Spike is some kind of a brother to Connor, and so we think about Connor as Jesus to Angel's Father God. 'Father, take this cup away from me'. You can't be saved by a lie The reluctant bastard Ishmael returns to be what Connor can't be. And Angel broods once more.

Judgement Day

Which leaves the end of time. It might have been for some parts of Los Angeles if Fries hadn't got off with murder. And yet he is saved, oddly, by a new spiffy-looking Gunn. But just exactly who is riding into judgement in the scene? With the Judge herself implacated as incompetent by some fancy legal trickery, we are left with a question of just who holds our souls in the balance, and decides whether we are good or bad. It's all to do with Conviction. Hauser is pure because he believes in something. And yet, as we've seen from the Merciful God of the Old Testament, there's one thing stronger than blood and thunder. The one thing that's stronger than conviction, and that's mercy. The irony as Angel shows his first signs of noir-ness in his new job is palpable and interesting. Just exactly who is the boss here? What is our mission, and who is our God? Where is the enemy?


And here's the other stuff which didn't fit into the whole span of Time.

-Angel's answer to the question 'Who are you?', 'Doesn't matter', is an interesting, propbably unintended echo of the magnificent 'The House Always Wins', where, in a moment of passing interest, we get Connor's answer to the same question 'Don't know yet'. Does Angel's response hint not only at his own questionable identity in his new job, but also to where exactly Connor lies in all this?

-Science is being played with again, and people's moral neutrality as scientists in particular. Knox seems taken aback by the idea that he could be considered morally reprehensible for his actions, even going as far as to use the utilitarian argument that they've controlled more virii than they've let loose. Prepare for more puzzles about just how the morality of science fits into this heavily Religious Philosophical new show.

-The introductions see the Fang Gang more or less comfortable in their new environment. Lorne seems happiest of all, for the moment. The point where the girl sings to the empath is as undoubtedly a metanarration on 'American Idol' as the other classic metanarrations in this episode. We see the talentless singing to the talented, only to be told they're useless. The utter pointlessness of it all is amply demonstrated in those few seconds.

-There's an excellent piece of camerawork as Wesley is Gunn's doubling shadow as he walks out of his office at one point. Wes is the devil on the shoulder, the reflection in the mirror making him wonder whether his every move is right or wrong.

-There's a moment where it looks like Joss might break with tradition and give Harmony a moment of pathos, when she hears Cordelia is in a coma. Cordelia means more to her than anyone else, (except perhaps Spike), and she genuinely almost breaks down. Then, in a nod to Disharmony she goes back to her opportunism, reminding us she is a soulless vampire.

-Spanky was a very fun one-time character who I really enjoyed.

-There's a loss of innocence vibe going through the whole classroom scenario. Of course, the child isn't innocent at all, he's talking about the Punisher, but my mind sprung back, particularly after the Goat Sacrifice line, to 11 year old Isaac being sacrificed for Abraham's principled devotion to his God. One of the scariest of Yahweh's games, and weirdly unsquarable with the later God, to me as an agnostic at least.

-We see Fred getting angry at the science department, and at the same time there's Hauser subverting Angel's plans. Maybe Fred's method of leadership, straight out non-brooding anger, is shown to be the best option here. But then, like all Whedon episodes, we get the reversal where Angel's forceful commands ends in Hauser's death.

-Tradition is a word used towards the end, and a fascinating one. Angel has broken with his tradition, and yet Hauser's blind following of tradition, his refusal of upheaval, is equally as potentially damaging, as they almost take out a class of children. There is no easy answer to Tradition vs Innovation here, other than both can be dangerous.

-And so we wonder about Gunn. He has the most 'potential' of the bunch, a sly metanarration on his underuse in previous Seasons. He seems unperturbed by the operation, certain that it is 'still him'. But this sudden change, the medical one to Angel's philosophical, is going to be more complicated than it appears.

-And so to 'The Pirates of Penzance', and back to England, where the rain falls, and there's no Angel until January for all but the lucky few. To skip forward timelessly from 1890 to 1960, I'm singing in the rain.

Great episode, maybe a little behind 'Deep Down', but up there with 'Judgement' and 'Heartthrob'. Angel remains with a 100% excellent premiere rate.

Thanks aliera.

In nomine Patris, Filii et Spiritu, Amen.



[> He's back! -- Masq, 10:11:40 10/06/03 Mon

And I managed to get my episode analysis up before he did! All is once again right with the world.

Off to read TCH's analysis....

[> [> But, but... -- Tchaikovsky, 10:16:48 10/06/03 Mon

It's not fair!

Even with aliera's extraordinarily clinical sending, I can't see the episodes before Monday of the week after.

You better watch yourself. One slipped weekend and I'll be there first...;-)

TCH- preserving, preserving, preserving

[> [> [> Re: But, but... (minor 5.1 spoilers) -- Masq, 11:31:25 10/06/03 Mon

It could have gone very differently, though. I was on the ball this weekend and had some enthusiasm about the ep, so I did my analysis. But you remember how traumatized I was by "Home". If they had failed to mention the "C" word(s) and the memory mojo, it might have taken me four more months to get my "Conviction" analysis up.

So the little "Yeah, me!" at your expense was more about me than you. I'm happy, happy you are able to see the new eps as they come out and that somehow you don't have a problem with non-PAL formatted tapes.

'Cause of the salty TCH goodness!

[> That was fab! -- Ponygirl, 10:14:28 10/06/03 Mon

What a treat to see the Odyssey beginning! Wish I was feeling more coherent so I could comment but for now great work!

[> [> Agree, so glad you're continuing the Odyssey! -- Scroll, 13:05:58 10/07/03 Tue

I'm just running out the door now but hopefully this thread will still be here when I get back. Especially love the Judgement Day stuff. I find I'm actually quite excited about the new season, which I didn't expect after "Home" and a summer of denial and avoidance. Reading people's analyses is getting me pumped up again. Whoo-hoo!

[> [> All I can say is wow.. -- jane, 22:20:02 10/07/03 Tue

What a fascinating thread this is! Thank you,TCH,Diana, Masq. for sharing your insights with us. I think this season is going to be very, very interesting. Your analyses promise hours of lovely post episode reading. I look forward to it with much anticipation.

[> The human heart, its hungry gorge (Spoilers, Conviction) -- Rahael, 11:48:54 10/06/03 Mon

Brilliant analysis, TCH, brilliant.

I have lots of incoherent thoughts bubbling up after reading your review. Needless to say I'm very excited about seeing this ep now. I thought I was going to be apathetic about this Season. Glad you are going to be doing your Odyssey (thanks Aliera!).

(You know, a lot of my incoherent thoughts keep going back to Merchant of Venice. Law courts and Lawyers. (Portia pretends to be a lawyer when she gives her speech. Her invocation of Mercy, to me at least, is tinged with irony.) The Pound of Flesh, the blood that is not part of the bargain. But perhaps it's not relevant at all).

Angel rejects Jasmine. Steps into an uncertain world. He has lost conviction. Unpredictable, lost, accepting temptation. Has left the Eden of of Jasmine's Garden. Is his sacrifice of Connor an act of faith? Or does the parallels between Abraham and Angel simply highlight the disjunctures. An act born out of despair, disillusion. Connor, who never believed the lie, who died fighting. Cordelia, laid out on the alter - Connor's despairing, haunting speech.

Angel does not kill Connor for truth, but for another kind of Lie. Will this season show him truth? Milton says that he did not respect untested virtue, cloistered, unbreathed. It must sally out. It must be tempted. It must choose. Because God exists in Trial, in choice. Reason is but choosing, and God is reason.

Milton likens God to Light, in Samson Agonistes. But the darkness is a metaphor. The blindness of the mind, not physical blindness. What does it mean, that Angel rides about now, in daylight? It's almost a paradox, that Angel, that thing of Darkness, that outcast of God, now emerges into the light, while seeming, to sin. Samson scorns Dalilah (when reading the actual poem, the name has to be pronounced Da-le-lah, not Da-ly-la btw), saying that compared to the temptation she offers, the grand future, the prison he lives in is a House of Liberty.

Has this Samson accepted the temptation that Milton's did not? Or, is this Samson, going to bring down the house, just taking longer to do it (well, AtS S4 will have to cover 22 eps, after all)?

One might note that while Milton wrote of the blind hero who never yielded, never crumbled, never accepted temptation, he himself, blinded and scorned, similarly, paid a ransom to the monarchy he detested, and lived.

"It's Joanie loves Chachi meets the Sorrow and the Pity. It's Joanie loves pity!"


Innocence....and Experience... The Apple, the loss of Eden, may perhaps also stand for journey between Innocence and Experience.

Blake seems incredibly apposite, and Angel, is something that belongs neither on earth or heaven. He is a thing, tortured in the space in between. The deep ambiguity. I sometimes quote poetry because it seems like a nice thing to do. This time, it's because it's the entire point of my post:

The Divine Image

To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
Is man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love the human form divine,
And Peace the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.


A Divine Image

Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror, the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.


[> [> One question -- Tchaikovsky, 06:06:26 10/07/03 Tue

Hooray, the board's back.

The two poems you quote. Is one from the collection 'Innocence' and one 'Experience'. I should remember, but I don't have a copy of the two collections on me. They seem like Blake's usual duality. 'The Tyger' against 'The Lamb', and 'Little Girl Lost' against 'Little Girl Found', and indeed the occasional (deliberate) naivety (or just simple-ness?) of Auguries of Innocence against the much more confused, French-Revolution-Crushed Auguries of Experience.

And thank you.


[> [> [> Yes; first from Songs of Innocence, the second, Experience -- Rahael, 06:25:35 10/07/03 Tue

[> Apples, Epiphanies and Promises (spoilers 5.01) -- Diana, 05:56:53 10/07/03 Tue

The Apple

Eve's apple in "Conviction" is a bit different from the apple that Eve gave Adam in Genesis and to me this difference is very important. Eve, in the Bible, gives Adam the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They eat from it and they develop shame. This apple, in essence activates our conscience, because once we know what is good and what is evil, we begin to judge things accordingly. They feel shame for the first time. In "Conviction" Eve doesn't offer this apple. It is figuring out what is good and what is evil that will keep the gang from being corrupted. Instead Eve gives them the apple of the Knowledge of Evil. She is giving them evil's secrets, but and here's the catch (and I'm letting you know the catch so you don't wonder what it is), they have to let some of it slide. This reminded me of "The Ring" when Lilah offers a deal to Angel. The difference now is that there is no external restriction imposed on Angel by Wolfram and Hart. He has to use his judgment to decide which cases to squash and which to let slide.

We can take this back to the story of the Original fall in the Bible. Per the Catechism "The tree of knowledge of good and evil symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits of man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom." (paragraph 396) In the atheist Buffyverse, where a real God (not the faux one like Glory) in essence betrayed us, there is no Creator to depend on. Angel has insurmountable limits (he's not omni anything), but has to find a way to deal with those. The gang is given the secrets of evil without the corresponding secrets of good. They will have to figure those out for themselves.

Fries was dealt with using the knowledge the firm provided, BUT Hauser was dealt with by Angel figuring out one of the secrets of good, namely the power of mercy. I can see future episodes following this trend with the knowledge gained from evil solving the case, but their experience giving them a greater understanding of good and applying that to not save the day, but their souls. It is the reverse of BtVS, where she would have the psychological revelation and then slay the demon that represented this. Instead the gang will deal with the problem and then have the psychological/spiritual revelation. It is in learning that the problem isn't the real problem and how to deal with this that their evolution will be.

Who are you?

I saw this echoing not Connor, but Angel's original Epiphany where he learned about what matters. He is trying to return back to that in order to insulate himself against the temptation he will face. It is clinging to the epiphany, in which there is no big picture and all that matters are small acts of kindness that will save him. He isn't the one that saved California from the plague. His small act of kindness in not killing the other Operative guy did prevent him from going down the path to darkness.

Isaac and promises

God doesn't ask for the sacrifice of a human being. He asks for Abraham to give up his miracle and trust that God will still fulfill his promise to him. It isn't about what Abraham is willing to give up, but what sort of Faith he has in God's promises. That is why we speak about the Faith of Abraham. Jesus, like Isaac, is the vehicle that God uses to fulfill a promise. In the case of Isaac the sacrifice is made by Abraham and once Abraham has demonstrated that he is willing to make the sacrifice, the death of the child is not necessary. In the case of Jesus, the sacrifice is made by God himself. There is no point, short of death, that God can demonstrate what he needs to. As such, Isaac could live and Jesus had to die.

[> [> Interesting stuff (sp 5.1) -- Tchaikovsky, 06:14:10 10/07/03 Tue

Are you saying that Angel killing Hauser was in itself an act of mercy? Or merely that letting the second operative guy go was an act of mercy. The latter I can see- the former I'm having trouble grasping- I took Angel's 'mercy' line as being ironic to his action rather than complementary.

As to Isaac, I agree. I still find it marvellously incongruous that the God of the New Testament would make Abraham make himself ready to sacrifice the one thing he wanted more than anything. It's almost like an old-style 'Who do you love more?' thing. And while, as some scary religious self-help books I've read proclaim 'God first. The family second. Yourself third,' it's interesting to see just how wrenching this prioritisation can be when two are put in direct conflict.


[> [> [> Re: Interesting stuff (sp 5.1) -- Diana, 06:42:52 10/07/03 Tue

Are you saying that Angel killing Hauser was in itself an act of mercy? Or merely that letting the second operative guy go was an act of mercy. The latter I can see- the former I'm having trouble grasping- I took Angel's 'mercy' line as being ironic to his action rather than complementary.

I saw it as the second. The line that follows is "You just saw the last of it." Some people are seeing this as Angel giving up on Mercy in general. Instead I see that line directed to *you* that one guy. He has seen the last of it. Next time he screws up, it will be his brain splattered all over the wall. This line is a correction of an earlier one, "If they wanna see how I handle running Wolfram & Hart, they're gonna find out. Everything must go!" At the end, this guy in Angel's act of mercy isn't going. I didn't see it as Angel's impression of Gandhi, but rather how Angel learned to deal with his circumstances and still maintain who he is. Saved by an Equalizer.

I still find it marvellously incongruous that the God of the New Testament would make Abraham make himself ready to sacrifice the one thing he wanted more than anything. It's almost like an old-style 'Who do you love more?' thing.

Depends on how you view the sacrifice. Being willing to sacrifice Isaac proved Abraham's Faith and Love, but who was he proving it to? An omnisicent God would already know. Abraham was the one that didn't and I'm sure it left quite an impression on Isaac. Per "Hero" we don't know how strong we are until we are tested. Isaac saw first hand just how strong his father's devotion to god was, what this meant and that God loved him enough to save him.

[> [> [> [> Excellent -- Tchaikovsky, 03:51:20 10/08/03 Wed

The story of Abraham's proposed sacrifice of Isaac has puzzled me for ages, and this is the first time I've found an explanation which I can understand- of Abraham showing his love and trust in God for Isaac's sake. Thank you.


[> [> [> [> [> Thanks -- Diana, 09:07:05 10/08/03 Wed

When I look at Biblical myths, I ask why is this story included. Not just what lesson is taught, but why is that lesson taught. The story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac is given to show the strength of his Faith. It forms the very foundation of the religion and is so important that the updated version, the sacrifice of Jesus, forms the foundation of Christianity (which completely fits because Christianity takes the promises God made to Abraham and reorders them to an afterlife, so as Abraham educated his heir on earth, this is reorded to heaven by Jesus unlocking the Kingdom). The story of these sacrifices were stories that were passed down from witnesses. In this case, the witness is Isaac. It isn't just a story that happened, but one that got passed down. It got passed down because it made an impression on that witness. Abraham cutting off his genitals before Isaac was conceived wouldn't have had the same impact. Hey, Isaac guess what your old man almost did? Abraham wasn't asked to sacrifice infant Isaac. Isaac was of an age where he understood somewhat what was going on. Wouldn't you have loved to hear the Father/son conversation that followed?

When Abraham is willing to sacrifice Isaac, the Angel of God tells him "becaue you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring..." The key to the promise of God is offspring and those offspring will flow through Isaac who just got quite an education. Abraham just gave Isaac his Faith, a Faith that sustains the Children of Israel to this very day.

Isaac was both sacrifice and witness. Comparisons of Connor to Isaac fail at this point because Connor isn't a witness. He isn't in the line of Patriarchs who pass the stories down to the next generation, perhaps a father's most important job. This isn't just because of the memory wipe, but because of why the memory wipe was necessary. There is no bond between Angel and Connor where on the way home, Angel could explain to Connor why he had to give him up and Connor would accept and understand. How can Connor be in the line of Patriarchs if he doesn't understand the Faith the stories are built on?

[> [> [> [> mercy -- Miyu tVP, 12:28:04 10/08/03 Wed

Some people are seeing this as Angel giving up on Mercy in general. Instead I see that line directed to *you* that one guy.

I'm sorry, but I still see this scene as the end of Angel's mercy, not an expression of it. We are not shown Angel pointing a gun at the 2nd guy and then choosing not to fire. The 2nd guy does not express relief that Hauser was killed instead of him - he expresses terror at seeing Hauser's brains blown out by a guy who just a moment before was spouting mercy.

The name of the ep is Conviction. In the climactic scene, conviction and mercy are set up in a sort of dichotomy. Then we see Angel perform a dramatically violent act of conviction, explicitly state that mercy is over, and then back in his office begins to assert his conviction that they *will* handle W&H.

That plus the Punisher tie in tells me that conviction is winning out over mercy.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: mercy -- Tom, 20:18:43 10/08/03 Wed

I think the beauty of the line is that it could be taken either way. Joss is being delibrately unclear about Angel's meaning.


[> [> [> [> [> [> Stepping in to agree with Tom, the meaning is unclear and unsettling..........;) -- Rufus, 22:36:03 10/08/03 Wed

[> Re: Hello Mr Fries (Angel Odyssey 5.1)(sp 5.1) -- aliera, 08:23:44 10/07/03 Tue

I think you underestimate how much this was my pleasure since I didn't have to wait six months to get your review of it, but you're very welcome. I haven't been lucky enough to access the board until just now, and I knew this was coming... so, yesterday was pretty well... let's just say my anticipation has peaked.

[> Responses and thoughts -- Masq, 10:42:22 10/07/03 Tue

1. I like your thoughts on Angel's biting the apple; mind if I quote you on my site?

2. Offered Isaac up as a ritual sacrifice to the Powers that Be. And unlike the Jealous God of the Old Testament, they have accepted.

Are you sure it's an offer to the PTB's and not the Senior Partners? After all, Angel cut the deal to give Connor a new life with Lilah, the SP's liason, not the PTBs. And it was W&H who gave Connor the new life. Rahael and I were speculating the other day that if Angel did leave Wolfram and Hart, W&H might reverse the new life/memory mojo spell and put Connor right back where he was, emotionally (if not physically) when Angel invoked the spell.

3. Prepare for more puzzles about just how the morality of science fits into this heavily Religious Philosophical new show.

This is one of the more fascinating philosophical aspects of their new situation (Fred's in particular) that I comment on briefly in my ep analysis. The science division's whole "I was just following orders"/opportunistic approach to their jobs. The bosses tell them what to produce, they just do the producing. Is there any real soul-searching here? I just recently rewatched the movie "Real Genius", a comedy, but one that really puts the question forth. Science nerds doing research that is one step back from actual engineering application, just doing what their prof asks them to do without thinking about how it will be used, "loving the puzzles" of science for puzzle-solving's sake, until they are hit squarely in the face with what the finished puzzle is sent into the world to do.

Crunchy philosophical goodness might ensue.

4. The introductions see the Fang Gang more or less comfortable in their new environment.

I saw just the opposite going on. I saw a huge veil of discomfort hanging over all of them, and as they got deeper into their jobs, a kind of heavy despair hung between them, some hope, but a lot of doubt--about what they were doing there in the first place, about what they could hope to accomplish there, about whether they could accomplish it. It gets worse as they see the odds they are up against. The Senior Partner's expectations, the employee's loyalities. The sheer evil of the clients.

[> [> Ow...Now there's a badly written sentence for you -- Tchaikovsky, 03:59:07 10/08/03 Wed

The introductions see the Fang Gang more or less comfortable in their new environment.

What I meant to say was: 'The introductions see members of the Fang Gang at different degrees of comfort in their new environment'. In other words, we go from Lorne at one end, to Gunn to Fred to Wesley. So, yes, I agree with you about all the discomfort lying over them, to a greater or lesser degree.

Are you sure it's an offer to the PTB's and not the Senior Partners?

That would be an excellent twist- not one that I'd considered for some reason. And yes, if Angel did walk out on the firm, maybe Connor's spell would be reversed. I'd be fascinated to see a well-written Connor/Spike episode comparing the treatment their father had given them. Preferably written by Steven DeKnight. Not that I want wither of them dead, but he's just such an interesting writer.

mind if I quote you on my site?

I would of course be honoured.


[> [> [> Connor as sacrifice -- Diana, 09:26:40 10/08/03 Wed

Angel gave up Connor, sacrificed him, but to what? To whom was Angel proving something? The answer to that comes in "Home." Angel did it to prove his love for Connor. It was Connor that needed to see this, but Connor with the memory wipe will never see this. Connor is both the sacrifice and the one he is sacrificed to, much as Jesus was. This makes Angel, God the Father; Connor becomes God the Son (the miracle child whose conception was impossible); now all we need is Holy Spirit/Ghost and the Trinity will be complete.

Because Angel's friends don't remember his sacrifice of his son, they don't know the depth of his love or what he is capable of. Why else would Wolfram & Hart not want them to remember this? Even Cordy and Doyle knew about IWRY. Now there is no one that knows that day other than Angel.

[> [> [> [> How was Connor a sacrifice? -- sdev, 10:41:17 10/08/03 Wed

Redeemed, rescued, rehabilitated, but how sacrificed? To what? For what?

Is the sacrifice that Angel had to give him up? Then that is Angel's sacrifice.

Can someone please explain this view.

Also Muslims who claim descent from Ishmael might take issue with his portrayal as a bastard son. Concubines had legitimate standing in those days.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: How was Connor a sacrifice? -- Miyu tVP, 11:49:33 10/08/03 Wed

1. Forfeiture of something highly valued
2. Something so forfeited.

Connor *is* the sacrifice, in that he is the "thing highly valued" that Angel is forfeiting from his life. Connor is the person to whom the sacrifice is made in that Connor is the one who benefits from Angel's loss. Angel gives up having a relationship with his son, so that his son will be happy. This is how I understand it.

Which is different that saying Connor *made* a sacrfice. As he has no choice in the events, it wouldn't work to say that he has given up anything. Some (cough-Masq-cough) might say that something was *taken* from him (potential for redemption) but that is not something he consciously decided to give away. So, no he didn't make a sacrifice, but yes, he is a sacrfice, and was also the benefactor of said sacrifice.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Sacrifices------And a SPOILER for tonight's episode after spoiler space. -- Arethusa, 12:15:13 10/08/03 Wed

But in the Biblical sense, Connor wasn't a sacrifice, unlike Isaac, who definitely was.

1 : an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially : the killing of a victim on an altar
2 : something offered in sacrifice
3 a : destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
(Mirriam Webster On-Line)

Also, according to the angel of God, God wanted proof of Abraham's fear of God. I don't think that's quite the same thing as faith. For example, someone who followed Hitler out of fear wouldn't necessarily share his beliefs in white supremecy. Although one might say Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac in return for something else-immortality of a sort-countless generations of descendents.

"11": And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

"12": And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.


Spoiler Below for tonight's episode:

Does this Trinity theory mean Spike's the Holy Ghost?

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sacrifices (with no spoilers) -- Diana, 12:43:07 10/08/03 Wed

Fear didn't mean then what it means now. (I only learned this because of a class I took with Father DiLella, O.F.M. Etymology is fun ). Abraham doesn't do it because he is scared what God will do to him if he doesn't. It is more a sense of reverence and awe. That is a cornerstone to Faith, so much so that it is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (per Isaiah 11:2) In the Vulgate and the Septuagint, fear of the Lord is even translated as piety.

The NAB translates Gen 22:12 "I know now how devoted you are to God."

As for who will play the Holy Ghost, that is probably where ME will put their own spin on the Trinity. Have to see what they do first. Then I'll post until my fingers bleed.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Sacrifices (with no spoilers) -- Arethusa, 12:51:54 10/09/03 Thu

So fear doesn't mean fear, except when it does. Does this mean that when the Bible says

"2": And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

it really means reverence of Adam, and that reverence and dread are the same thing?

How about when God says to Abraham:

"1": After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Does that really mean Abraham shouldn't reverence God? After all, this is the same time as before, so the meaning should be the same.

And when Abraham said Sarah was his sister so the local ruler would sleep with her without killing him first, did he really mean he reverenced to say?

"7": And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> And again with the correcting -- Arethusa, 14:56:20 10/09/03 Thu

The last quote was re. Isaac and Rebekah, not Abraham and Sarah (although the exact same thing happened with Abraham, twice I believe). You can really see the oral tradition (repetition to aid memory) with Genesis, can't you?)

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> That is what context is for, that and Hebrew -- Diana, 08:08:04 10/10/03 Fri

We can debate how fear was used in regards to Abraham in this particular instance. I was taught by various biblical scholars, including Father DiLella, O.F.M. who oversaw the NRSV, that in this instance fear meant awe and reverence, not scared of. Just because fear means scared of in other places doesn't mean it does here.

We can play dueling Biblical scholars if you want (sound of banjoes heard in background). I'd be willing to stack up anyone from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, such as Father Lawrence Boadt, C.S.P. and John Dominic Crossan, S.S.L.

I'm sure that our Jewish posters could give their interpretation of this event and the actual words used as well.

Abraham obeying God because he is scared would destroy the story. From the Catechism 144-146

144. "To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to 'hear or listen to') in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment."

145. "The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel's ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham's faith: 'By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.'[Heb 11:8 ; cf. Gen 12:1-4 .] By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land.[Cf. Gen 23:4 .] By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. And by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice.[Cf. Heb 11:17 .]"

146. "Abraham thus fulfils the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: 'Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen':[Heb 11:1 .] 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.'[Rom 4:3 ; cf. Gen 15:6 .] Because he was 'strong in his faith', Abraham became the 'father of all who believe'.[Rom 4:11, 18 ; Rom 4:20 ; cf. Gen 15:5 .]"

Not by being scared. By FAITH. If he was scared, his submittance wouldn't be free and the entire religion would be built on not love, but the boogie man. Perhaps that is your God, but it isn't the one I was raised with nor am teaching my children.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Tribes -- Arethusa, 09:41:48 10/10/03 Fri

Abraham obeying God because he is scared would destroy the story.

Yes. That's the point.

Surely you know by now I don't have a god, so I don't worry about whether it's benevolent or malevolent. My perspective is not that of a Catholic priest-it's closer to that of Joseph Campbell. Coincidentally, I just read this passage from Transformations of Myth Through Time.

"...Martin Buber was talking about the Phoenicians and what terrible criminals they were in sacrificing their older sons to Moloch. Aour fifteen minutes later he comes to Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac. Well, you can't let a thing like that go by and I raised my hand. He looked at me...and I said, "Dr. Buber, how do you distinguish between a divine and a diabolical invitation?" He said, "What do you mean by that?" I said, "Well, only fifteen minutes ago you were excoriating the Phoenicians for killing their oldest sons and now you're celebrating Abraham for having been about to do the same thing with his oldest son. So what is the answer?" Dr. Buber said, "The answer is We"-that's a capital W-"We believe that God spoke to Abraham." That's all I got from that man.
So things that are done by us are different from things that are done by others and that's another characteristic of our whole tradition. Moses is not the hero. The tribe is the hero. Ours is a tribal mythology, and the only god of the universe is ours. This is very important.
What about the plagues and all that kind of thing? What kind of deity is that? He sends the plagues for the fun of it; he hardens pharoh's heart so that he won't let the people go so he can send another plague. This is what it says in the book, which is a good thing to read, you know."

So what is the point of all this religious debate? It's really Angel vs. Spike, unsuprisingly. Angel thinks he's in control-or will be. But he's the one being controlled. He's being yanked around by W&H, playing catch-up while trying to maintain the illusion of control over his clients and employees. How do I know Angel is being portrayed as not in control? Look at who the bad guy is in the episode-necromancer Magnus Hainsley, who easily controls him. Angel's the tribal leader now who has to be concerned with the continuance of his tribe, and is committing terrible acts (Hauser's murder, etc.) to maintain status.

But outside the tribe, not buuying the mentality for a minute, is Spike. It is Spike who figures out how to control Hainsley. Spike states he knows he's not in control, and he isn't going to stand for it. He sees the Powers as callous, manipulative and capricious, with little respect for humanity. And he doesn't give a piss about destiny or atonement. Angel's attempts result in bucket-o-lawyer and a very battered client. Spike's attempt results in success.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> You want to destroy the story, though -- Diana, 10:29:43 10/10/03 Fri

I see no reason to do this. There is truth and beauty in all stories. Rather than destroy them, I'd rather uncover this. I'd rather heal the wounded divine spirit, even as an I-really-don't-care-theist. You're just wounding it, stuck on a word that isn't even translated properly to justify this wounding.

sdev even posted

"for I know that thou fearest God"

The word used is "Yerah" and has two meanings-fear or awe. It is commonly understood to mean awe when applied to God. Awe encompasses much more profound beliefs than fear.

How was Connor a sacrifice

I have given three biblical scholars that have studied the text probably more than either of us (no probably about me, they have. I've met them). We were debating the motivation for Abraham's actions, not the morality of it. I made no mention of whether I found it to be moral or not. I don't see how the passage from Campbell has any bearing on what I said about the meaning of "fear of the Lord." If the only rebuttal is "That's the point" then it means you want a definition that destroys the story, rather than one that sees something of truth and beauty there. There is no search for truth, either in the grander scheme of the story or on a lesser level about what that word actually means.

I don't see how Angel v Spike in terms of control has anything to do with the story of Abraham? The story of Abraham is about Faith and trust in God's promises. As episode 5.02 is called, it is about getting your "Just Reward." What does that have to do with anything you said?

Since when does Angel like the PTB? You said "He sees the Powers as callous, manipulative and capricious, with little respect for humanity," he being Spike. How does this differ from how Angel sees them? Since when does Angel "give a piss about destiny or atonement"? That was dealt with back in Season 2.

If anything the Angel v Spike debates boil down to people who have watched the show for 4 years, watched Angel grow and know that he is different now and those that are stuck back on "Amends. "Wonder how much exposition ME will have to write to convey that that isn't Angel any more.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> That would not be possible. -- Arethusa, 11:36:35 10/10/03 Fri

The story is faith, as you point out. I, with my little doubts and words, can't destroy anyone's faith. Faith can move mountains, and certainly can cope with opposing points of view. The existence of other religions or lack of religion can't threaten those who believe, only those who doubt. Just as I am certain in my belief, and therefore feel no threat from others' beliefs, or feel the need to change them.

As far as Angel vs. Spike, we will have to declare a truce. We both see the show through our own particular prisims, and I have little desire to change that either. As I said before, I enjoy reading different points of view. So, pax? And let the best vampire with a soul win. ;))

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Re: That would not be possible. -- Diana, 18:33:37 10/10/03 Fri

The story is faith, as you point out. I, with my little doubts and words, can't destroy anyone's faith

But your own. THE story resonates with each of us. Why defend the improper usage of a word, if not to destroy that story to yourself? Why not see the beauty that is there? Then again that is my belief. I look for beauty everywhere and I tend to find it.

Just as I am certain in my belief

That is called faith and that faith will not allow for correction of that word. That is what we were debating, the meaning of one particular word in one particular instance. You may feel no need to change your beliefs, but why cling to erroneous information? Seems rather dogmatic to me.

but pax it is, though they have some really crappy shows on.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Last post. Really. -- Arethusa, 05:31:17 10/11/03 Sat

It just kills me to do this, LOL, but I won't present my counterargument. See, the point of declaring a truce is that the arguents stop! It will have to be enough that you are happy in your beliefs, and I am in mine.

Agree with you about the crappy shows on.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> A different interpretation of the story -- sdev, 17:02:01 10/10/03 Fri

Hope you don't mind if I step in with a different take that integrates questioning of authority with faith.

Abraham's almost sacrifice brought into play a fundamental precept of religion-- doing something on faith, because you are told to by a higher being, even though you may not understand why you are being asked to do such a thing. Abraham's example was a terrible extreme, and should give rise to anger, fear and questioning. I think that was the point.

The people of those times did perform human sacrifices on a regular basis. The OT God was sending a message. I don't require that. Stick to animals.

It is understandable (IMO correct) to distrust blind faith that commits atrocities in God's name as has happened throughout history. Abraham did not commit the atrocity, but stopped. Maybe the lesson is the opposite of what it initially suggests.

I found an article by a Rabbi that related this story to the tragedy of 9/11. I excerpted this:

"How could God call for his sacrifice? The question is not a challenge of God. The question is the greatest statement of the Omnipotence of God. When we question, we recognize the chasm that exists between us and God. And God's answer to Avraham was that Avraham was mistaken - God never ordered a sacrifice. If a chasm exists between Man and God, how can Man ever be sure that he has heard God correctly? We are called upon to listen to God but as human beings - and that must demand confusion. Are we ever sure? As human beings the answer must be no even as we strive to act in accordance with the Divine command. Thereby, we recognize the Awesomeness of God.

The problem of belief lies in the need for the human being to be sure. He thinks that his belief is sure when he ignores all other voices - within himself and within humanity - and gives himself up to his "beliefs." He thinks he then hears the true voice of the deity. But he in fact only hears his own voice - exactly because he is sure. Reliance upon our Divinely-given human perceptions is how we approach the world - they are necessary. They cannot be forsaken. But in recognition of the Divine, they also cannot be relied upon totally. When there is collision - there is confusion. It is at this point of confusion that we truly find God. Dogma and fanaticism believe that they find the deity in certainty - a certainty that declares normal human perceptions incorrect. Torah (Jewish Law) declares that we find God in our own recognition that we do not understand. We wonder, we question, we challenge, we strive for synthesis of our internal perceptions and the external directive; we wish to make sure that we truly hear God's voice - and we doubt. Not because we doubt God but because we doubt ourselves and our ability to hear God. "

It is also interesting to note that many stories and events in the bible are repeated at later points, paralleled. This has none. The lesson was given once powerfully and that was sufficient.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> What Diana said -- Scroll, 18:54:22 10/08/03 Wed

The "fear" of the Old Testament isn't "fear" the way we understand it today. Abraham's fear is about respect for his God's sovereignty and reverence for God's holiness. Of course, if you're an anarchist or atheist, that kind of fear isn't going to mean much :) I know that one of Joss' trademarks (in Buffy moreso than Angel) is subverting authority and finding loopholes in destiny. And I really do enjoy his themes of growing up and becoming independent and throwing off authority...

But still. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I just don't see respect and reverence to be bad. There's nothing wrong with having respect and reverence for someone -- as long as you're sure that someone is worthy of it. Abraham obviously thought God was worthy. His actions proved his faith in God's worthiness. (Hence the whole Abraham was saved by faith thing.)

Angel, on the other hand, doesn't seem to think the Senior Partners are worth much at all -- even though one might interpret his actions in "Home" as sacrificing Connor to the SPs. (That's not my preferred interpretation, but it's still got some validity.) So yeah, Angel isn't like Abraham in that respect.

Feel free to disagree with me, though. I don't mind. I know this is a tricky subject.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Not disagreeing. -- Arethusa, 21:00:59 10/08/03 Wed

I agree with you that respect and reverence are not bad. I just have a problem with authority, from the top on down. My faith lies elsewhere, guess. I just have to figure out where.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> [> Correction-' I guess' -- Arethusa, 21:02:19 10/08/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: How was Connor a sacrifice? -- sdev, 20:09:40 10/08/03 Wed

"he is a sacrfice, and was also the benefactor of said sacrifice."

That is my problem. I don't think Connor can be both and fit the Abraham/Isaac metaphor. Isaac, as all sacrificial lambs, was supposed to die. No benefit there.

Also the biblical concept of sacrifice, both the Abraham and Jesus versions, involve altruism not self-interested love. Abraham showed his love in and faith for God, and Jesus showed his and God's love for humankind. They were not acting as individuals protecting their own. In fact in that sense Angel's act can be seen as the opposite of Abraham's who was willing to give his son up to die for the sake of his relationship with God. Angel's deal which saved Connor can be seen as selfish in a very human way, protecting his son. This may turn out to be the problem, this bargain he made with the devil's of W &H, not to save the world or bond with God, but for the all too human connection he felt for his son.

"for I know that thou fearest God"

The word used is "Yerah" and has two meanings-fear or awe. It is commonly understood to mean awe when applied to God. Awe encompasses much more profound beliefs than fear.

[> Knox, anyone else less than comforted by.........spoilers for Angel 5.1 -- Rufus, 18:34:14 10/07/03 Tue

Science is being played with again, and people's moral neutrality as scientists in particular. Knox seems taken aback by the idea that he could be considered morally reprehensible for his actions, even going as far as to use the utilitarian argument that they've controlled more virii than they've let loose. Prepare for more puzzles about just how the morality of science fits into this heavily Religious Philosophical new show.


I think you were right, boss. These guys specialize in quick-fire disease scenarios: Sarin gases and viruses.

(stands, backs away)
Which you all built.

Hey, no. We've contained more plagues than we've ever designed.
I'm not all about destruction here.

How long will it be before Fred is able to seperate herself from the results of what she does, after all it's just an experiment?

Now to the apple. I found an interesting bit on the apple in the Penguin Dictionary of symbols...

Apple(-tree): The apple is employed symbolically in several senses which, however apparently distinct, are in fact interconnected. There are 'The Apple of Discord' awarded by Paris; 'The Golden Apples' from the Garden of the Hesperides, the fruit of immortality; the apple eaten by Adam and Eve; and the apple mentioned in the Song of Solomon, which, according to Origen, is the image of the richness, sweetness and savour of the Word of God. In each case we have a key to knowledge, but on which is on the one hand fruit of the Tree of Life and on the other fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, of a unifying knowledge which grants immortality or of a disjunctive knowledge which initiates the Fall. In the language of alchemy, the 'Golden Apple' is a symbol of sulphur.

The Abbe' E. Bertrand (quoted in BOUM p.235) states:

The symbolism of the apple is derived from its core, formed in the shape of a five-pointed star by the compartments which hold the pips...This is why adepts have made it the fruit of knowledge and freedom. Thus, the phrase 'to eat the apple' meant to them abuse of the intellect to gain knowledge of evil., abuse of the senses to lust after evil and the abuse of freedom to commit evil. However, as is always the case, the mass of the uninitiated mistook the symbol for the reality. Furthermore, the inclusion within the meat of the apple of the PENTEGRAM, the symbol of spiritual man, symbolizes the entanglement of the spirit in the flesh.

Robert Ambelain makes much the same observation in Dans l'ombre des cathedrales. 'Contemporary adepts regard the apple as the icon of knowledge. Cut breadthwise it reveals a pentegram, traditional symbol of knowledge, formed by the emplacement of its pips.'

In Celtic folklore, the apple is the fruit of knowledge, magic and prophecy. It also provides miraculous food. The woman from the Otherworld who comes in search of Condle, son of Conn of the Hundred Battles, gives him an apple which provides him with food for a month and never grows less. Among the marvels which the god Lug set the three sons of Tuireann to find, in atonement for the murder of his father Cian, were three apples from the Garden of the Hesperides. Whoever ate of them would never again feel hunger or thirst, sorrow or sickness, nor would the apples grow less. In some Breton folktales, eating an apple is the prelude to a prophecy (OGAC 16: pp.253-6)

If the apple is a miraculous fruit, the apple-tree ('abellio' in Celtic ) is and Otherworld tree. It was a branch of an apple-tree which the Otherworld woman who came in search of Bran gave to him before carrying him across the seas. The Isle of Avalon - Emain Ablach in Irish, Ynys Afallach in Welsh - also known as 'The Orchard', is the mythical resting place of dead kings and heroes. Here, according to Cornish tradition, King Arthur took refuge until the day comes when he will free the Welsh and the Cornish, his compatriots, from the foreign yoke. It is written that Merlin taught under an apple tree (OGAD 9: pp. 305-9, ETUC 4: pp. 255-74). The Gauls regarded the apple tree as being as sacred as the oak.
Warding off old age, the fruit is a symbol of renewal and eternal youth.

Gervasius tells how Alexander the Great, in his search for the 'water of life' in India, found some apples which the priests there took to extend their life to four hundred years. In Scandinavian mythology, the apple is the fruit that regenerates and rejuvenates. The gods eat apples and stay young until the ragna rok, until the end of the present cycle of the universe. (ELIT p295)

If one follows Paul Diel's analysis, the rounded shape of the apple symbolizes Earth-bound passions or their fulfilment. Divine phohibition was meant to warn mankind against being mastered by those passions which would lead through a species of regression to a materialistic way of life, as opposed to the spiritualized life with is the direction of progressive development. This divine warning makes man aware of these two directions and the necessity of choosing between the way of the Earth-bound passions and that of spirituality. The apple is therefore the symbol of that knowledge and of being placed under the obligation of making a choice.

I'm with what Paul Diel says, the apple may be more symbolic of the problem that faces not only humanity but specifically will become the trial that Angel is to deal with this season.

[> [> Apples -- angel's nibblet, 23:36:38 10/07/03 Tue

mmmmm all that talk of apples made me go get one :-P

[> [> Well, the summary pretty much says it all -- Tchaikovsky, 04:06:18 10/08/03 Wed

The apple is therefore the symbol of that knowledge and of being placed under the obligation of making a choice.

I think that's exactly what Angel finds himself doing when taking a bite out of that apple. One of the more interesting lines in the premiere was when Eve reminded them pragmatically about how, when they were back in the Hyperion, they were letting the evil people get away with what they were doing just because they didn't know what was going on. Nowadays, they have to turn a blind eye to their' mostly evil' clients, but they're not doing any more bad than they were before, it's just passive evil done by choice rather than passive evil committed through ignorance only.

Therefore, in one more simple sense, the knowledge that Angel has inherited is the knowledge of the inner workings of Wolfram and Hart, and this is why he bites the apple- to show that he is ready to make the choice he needs to, that he is not turning away from his mission just because his modus operandi has changed.


[> Free will didn't come from eating the apple -- Scroll, 18:20:27 10/08/03 Wed

Okay, I'm coming at the creation story from a Christian perspective, so if the Torah tells a different account, please let me know.

I don't read Genesis 3 as stating that Adam and Eve needed to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (henceforth TKGE) in order to gain free will. The fruit gave them "knowledge of good and evil" and was a way to make Adam and Eve "like God, knowing good and evil". But in no way did eating the fruit give them free will.

I'd like to point out that making the choice to eat the fruit already demonstrates Adam and Eve's free will. Even before they met the serpent, they had freedom of choice. Adam choose the names of all the different animals. Eve choose to listen to the serpent and take the fruit. Adam choose to listen to Eve and take the fruit. The ability to make decisions, the freedom to disobey God's commandment to not eat from the TKGE, was there from the beginning. The fact that the serpent was able to tempt them into eating the fruit, and the fact that Adam and Eve were able to do something God had prohibited them not to, proves that free will was something innate in human beings.

Er, hope that didn't come off as too militant an interpretation. This is just one point I feel very strongly about. I don't even really want to say "in my humble opinion", since I think the Genesis account is pretty clear (at least in all the translations I've read) that Adam and Eve had a choice about eating the fruit of the TKGE.

[> [> Agree wholly -- sdev, 20:24:07 10/08/03 Wed

from the Jewish perspective as well.

From the beginning they knew of the tree and were told to stay away. That they chose to disobey was free will in action. Per OT the world was created ab initio with free will.

It is arguable as to whether they really fundamentally had choice before they had any knowledge of good and evil . Do you have choice before you understand what the choices are? But since they certainly knew that they were not supposed to touch that tree, that knowledge contained in and of itself the concept of good (don't touch that tree)and evil (disobey). And they chose.

[> [> [> But... -- Gyrus, 12:46:23 10/10/03 Fri

But since they certainly knew that they were not supposed to touch that tree, that knowledge contained in and of itself the concept of good (don't touch that tree)and evil (disobey).

But could they have known that disobedience was evil before they ate the fruit? How would they know that obeying God is good if they couldn't understand what good is? They may have had freedom of choice, but they were not necessarily able to make an informed choice.

[> [> [> [> Re: But... And ifs and ands -- sdev, 17:37:40 10/10/03 Fri

Textually (from the OT) you are perhaps correct in that I do not think it is spelled out. But I believe it is implicit in the story that there was recognition by Adam of a divine being who made the rules and thus Adam could infer that it was wrong to disobey. The understanding of good was all around them, in the perfection that was the Garden. It is the understanding of evil which is less explicit.

Two points. First, when God forbids eating the fruit he says, if you eat it, on that day you will surely die. Did Adam know what death was? It is implied that he must have or otherwise the warning would be pointless.

Second, in the OT the prohibition not to eat the fruit of the tree is given to Adam, and it is immediately followed with the story of God's creation of a mate for him. Adam explicitly states his awareness that God had created woman from "a bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" (forgive my editorializing here but it is much more beautifully stated than the reductionist and sometimes derisive expression of 'from his rib') Thus Adam was acutely aware of the creation process, aware of God's role as creator, and surely had some concept of Divinity and the 'chain of command.'

I hope this is not too technical.

[> [> No that's fair- but the question remains -- Tchaikovsky, 02:30:23 10/09/03 Thu

As much as they could choose to do whatever they liked, how could they orient their moral decisions without a basis understanding of Good and Evil? In a sense, despite their free will in action, they did not have the free will to decide whether to commit Good Acts or Evil Acts, (or even the more realistic Morally Ambiguous acts) as they weren't given that information until they partook of the fruit.

In this sense, the state in which they lived in Eden until they ate the fruit was one where they had a lower degree of understanding, therefore knowledge, therefore power to choose, than afterwards.

That was the distinction I was trying to make by claiming this, admittedly very quickly rushed over. What's more interesting to me is the second part of the sentence:

Angel's decision is not dissimilar to his killing of Jasmine in 'Peace Out'- it establishes the possibility of free will, and demands the strength of character from his team that they can both acknowledge evil and fight it.

This, not free will of itself, (last year's puzzle) may be the more important theme of Season Five. Or maybe it'll be goats;-)


[> [> [> Good point, I'm not sure how to answer that -- Scroll, 21:24:10 10/09/03 Thu

In a sense, despite their free will in action, they did not have the free will to decide whether to commit Good Acts or Evil Acts, (or even the more realistic Morally Ambiguous acts) as they weren't given that information until they partook of the fruit.

I asked my Sunday school teacher that exact question: If Adam and Eve had no true understanding of good and evil, no comprehension of consequence, then was their decision to eat the fruit really made with free will?

My teacher's answer so far is that we just don't know. Can we really make the judgement that Adam and Eve weren't capable of making moral choices? We don't know their mind-sets, what they did know and didn't know. I think we can safely say they knew disobeying God was a Bad Thing, and obeying God was a Good Thing. Isn't that enough to make a moral choice? (I guess your answer depends on what you think of God.)

I just wanted to share a story my teacher and I cooked up to help explain the whole free will thing to some of my classmates:

A parent tells her child not to cross the street. The parent says, "Don't cross the street." There are two reasons why the child shouldn't cross the street. (1) The street is dangerous and the child will very likely be run over and injured. (2) The parent told the child not to cross the street (and the parent should be obeyed).

Only one reason is apparent to the child: Reason (2). But does this make Reason (1) any less valid? No. (Now, some could argue that God has bad parenting skills; kids always want to know why.) The child still has a choice. Cross the street or don't cross the street.

Adam and Eve crossed the street and got run over by a Mack.

Hee! Okay, that was kind of irreverent. And yeah, clearly the situations differ in complexity! *g* I get that having free will to make a decision isn't the same thing as having free will to make a decision while having total understanding of the consequences of that decision. God had knowledge of good and evil, understood exactly what death was like, knew how much Adam and Eve would suffer once they ate the fruit; thus he prohibited them from eating the fruit. Adam and Eve, not fully understanding what good and evil and death and separation meant, ate the fruit anyway.

*happy sigh* I love what Joss is doing with Angel. I love exploring Genesis. I love my Sunday school class. Even though my teacher has been trying to get through Genesis for the past three years, and has only now got to Chapter 3. I really hope we manage to get through all fifty chapters before he retires!

[> [> [> [> Genesis is one cool book -- Tchaikovsky, 02:45:54 10/10/03 Fri

Shame about the band really.

I'm starting to wonder whether there's a short-circuit in my original argument- inasmuch as nobody makes decisions based on a complete understanding of the surrounding issues of their choice. It's just that Adam and Eve had one (vital) less piece of judgement than we do when we try to make a decision. Hmmm.


[> [> [> [> [> Why? -- Diana, 09:23:26 10/10/03 Fri

When I look at Adam and Eve pre-fall, I just see them doing things, naming animals, frolicking naked, eating from every other tree. Their choices were "what should we call this animal," "where should we frolick today," and "oranges or pears." The first thing they figure out is "Uh-oh. We're naked." The second thing they do is take steps to correct this. With the knowledge of good and evil comes not only the knowledge they are naked, but how to correct this. Then they go hide.

There is nothing wrong with being naked and they don't need to hide from God. The tree is often seen by atheists as a good thing, that it gives us more knowledge to make choices with. What if that knowledge is "false"? Even the Catechism says, "They become afraid of God of whom they have conceived a distorted image--that of a God jealous of his prerogatives." What if there is no difference between good and evil? That tree started the dichotomies that riddle human thought now. This is what leads to our deaths and all the things that Man has to suffer because of this.

Informed consent and making choices based on knowledge is important, but maybe there is such a thing as too much knowledge. Adam and Eve did gain one piece of information, but is that piece vital? Now we rationalize what they did, much as the characters in the Buffyverse tend to. I can rationalize pretty much anything.

God needed to have dichotomies in order to create the world. That is what Genesis 1 is, creating these separations. Heaven from Earth, light from dark, rain from ocean, land from sea, day from night. All of this stuff God declared good. He saw Man alone and declared it not good. That is why God needs to know what is good and what is evil evil.

Why do we? Job 38-41 says it all. When God told Adam and Eve that they shouldn't eat the fruit, perhaps He should have given them this speech. Could this speech be understood by Adam and Eve, though?

[> [> [> [> my teacher said -- Ann, 12:27:36 10/10/03 Fri

My grade seven science teacher, at Catholic school, was explaining evolution to us. I asked how Adam and Eve fit into that theory, as the bible says they were the first people. She said, in a theory I have never seen espoused anywhere else, that A and E were the first two people who had souls. There were other people around as seen with Cain and Abel's wives (another question that was never answered to my satisfaction). The problems A and E encountered came from the lack of experience as hunter gathers now having to make "moral" choices. I have always thought that was an interesting theory.

[> And the inevitable plug... -- Tchaikovsky, 10:02:42 10/09/03 Thu

Thanks to everyone who's responded. This review is now up with all the others here, and if you've got a little time to wile away, I've also put up a few essays from the last year in the Miscellaneousness section.


[> [> Re: And the inevitable plug... -- sdev, 22:06:39 10/09/03 Thu

Thanks for this interesting analysis. I didn't know you had a site. I'll be looking in especially since I'm not as familiar with ATS.

To Be a Master Vampire -- Claudia, 13:02:37 10/08/03 Wed

Has anyone ever wondered what it takes to be a master vampire?

What I really mean is . . . what type of traits did Darla, Angel, Drusilla and Spike possessed, to become master vampires? I don't mean by what it took for them to become evil. I'm simply wondering what traits they had possessed that enabled them to become strong, intelligent and long living vampires.

Does anyone have an idea?


[> ...is Mainly About Being a Badass. -- Gyrus, 13:14:44 10/08/03 Wed

Being the HVIC (head vamp in charge) seems to depend mainly on how much other vampires fear you. The Master, Angelus, Spike, and Sunday all controlled their minions by force or the threat of force. (This is mainly why Harmony flunked out as a master vamp -- not because she wasn't smart enough, but because her minions weren't afraid of her.)

I don't know if Darla or Drusilla could be considered "Master" vampires, since they never had minions to speak of. Darla survived by cleverness, by sticking with Angelus whenever it suited her, and by always looking out for number one. Drusilla has value to other vampires and evil beings because of her psychic abilities, motivating them to keep her alive. Her prescience may also have kept her out of harm's way over the years.

[> I'll venture some guesses -- Celebaelin, 16:43:59 10/08/03 Wed

Individual circumstances will vary greatly but how about these as rules of thumb.

1 Choose your allies carefully.

2 Trust no-one ever.

3 Be totally ruthless.

4 Remember that popular vampires aren't 'seen' to kill other vampires.

5 Remember some vampires do kill other vampires, make sure you're on the right side of that equation (see rule 4).

6 Conceal your nature from humans in order to be a provider.

7 Flaunt your nature to weaker vampires in order to be feared and admired.

8 Be stylish. A bit of the cool vampire idiom never hurt anyones' reputation.

9 Publicly uphold the 'unwritten laws', be a vampires' vampire.

10 Do something spectacularly demonic once in a while to keep up your profile (preferably just before leaving town, or what's left of it).

[> Oh, I know the answer to that...! -- Random, 19:46:36 10/08/03 Wed

In case you watch AtS (which I assume you do now, since you apparently have this thing for a certain vampire), you might have seen Disharmony, wherein the seamy underbelly of the vampiric ladder of power was laid bare. That is to say, we finally saw that vampiric masterhood was a product of pyramid schemes. The brilliance of this resolution stunned me, and made me view both BtVS and AtS in entirely different lights. So the Order of Aurelius, for instance, was a long-running scam that finally collapsed when it turned out that the last of the order, Spike, failed to grasp the nature of the pyramid (he tends to think in terms of trapezoids, as befitting his uneven personality) and got bitchslapped by Buffy.

In this vein, the institution of Slayerhood is a metaphor for the Justice Department cracking down on the pyramid scams. Thus has the battle raged since time immemorial, the cosmic metaphor for grift and retribution.

[> [> And Vamp Vitamins (TM) Just as flavorful as Flintstones Vitamins, but higher platelet counts -- Random, 19:48:25 10/08/03 Wed

[> [> A little less ritual and a little more fun -- Celebaelin, 21:25:29 10/08/03 Wed

[> [> Okay, that answer was better than mine. -- Gyrus, 22:43:56 10/08/03 Wed

[> To Be a Master Vampire... -- LittleBite, 22:39:00 10/08/03 Wed

One becomes a vampire master through the same steps that have been followed in the crafts since medieval times. And just like in those times not every vampire is selected, and not every vampire selected will advance through the levels.

The starting point is the Apprentice. A vampire can be considered to be chosen for an apprenticeship when he or she is kept close and trained by the one who sired him/her. Following this, this vampires whom we know were apprenticed would be Darla, Angelus, Drusilla, Spike, Luke, Absolom, Colin-the Annoying Anointed One, Sunday and very likely Dalton. Richard Winters was an apprentice as well. In the WishVerse, this would have included both VampWillow and VampXander. It's entirely possible that among the unnamed minions were other apprentices, but we are really only aware of those who advanced to the next level. At this level the vampire would be given nominal leadership of things like raiding parties and such, or tasks requiring greater skill than usual.

Once the master deems an apprentice ready he becomes a Journeyman. Those who reach this stage have shown themselves to be capable of assuming limited leadership roles and enforcing the master's orders. Or, in some cases, may show aptitudes in particular areas that are of special use to the master vampire. In the former case, Darla, Angelus, Spike, Luke and Sunday as well as Winters would have advanced, while the latter case would certainly have seen the promotion of Drusilla. VampWillow would certainly make journeyman status but it's less certain that VampXander would as we don't see him taking much of the initiative. The An...ointed One was clearly no more than an apprentice, with Absolom and the minions giving him authority because of his status only. It's unclear about Dalton, but in my opinion he never rose above apprentice, but was given favor because of his research skills. When the vampire is ready, s/he may advance to master level.

Master level can be attained in several ways. The simplest, and least common, way is for the master to make the promotion. This is rare because two masters don't function well together. The next choice is for a vampire who is ready for master level to simply strike out on his/her own and gather minions together. This was the case with Spike, for example, who gathers a group of minions wherever he settles for a time. Angelus had reached this stage, but never really developed an entourage outside of Darla, Drusilla and Spike, who could really be considered immediate family, but he was still the master of the group. Spike was beginning to show the characteristics of wanting his independence when we saw them in China. The third and most common method is for a vampire who is ready to become master to challenge and kill his own master and simply take over his minions. That's how Winters got his master position. Unlike the vampire known as "The Master" who was one of the few who was promoted by his predecessor to be the head of The Order of Aurelius. Although it should be pointed out that his predecessor didn't last as long as expected after his successor was named.

[> [> Nice synopsis -- Celebaelin, 05:04:58 10/09/03 Thu

Of what we RPGers would often refer to as a Lawful Evil power structure.

Lawful Evil (LE) is a tricky attitude ('alignment') to play as there is a requirement for adherence to the letter of the Law. This is made a little easier by considering 'Whose Law?'. Whilst Lawful Good (LG) characters abide by not only their own (often religious) doctrinal code of morals but also whatever presiding Laws are in place in the area in which they are located LE characters will only serve as regards LE doctrinal Law, and that, as Gyrus said, through fear. Any opportunity to manipulate or misuse the presiding Law for personal/organisational gain will be exploited to the full. W&H anyone? LE structures both provide and require a strict hierarchy so ultra-Lawful LEs (there are shades of black!) might issue a challenge to their superior prior to making their move, particularly if that's what the rules say, but no-one in full posession of their faculties expects a fair fight. It is a lot more likely however that the rising star would simply demonstrate their de facto superiority by removing obstacle(s) in a 'night of the long knives' type operation. OTOH promotion of a threatening junior member could save your skin as well as serving the LE agenda.

I think a large number of vampires, arguably the more stupid ones, exhibit Chaotic Evil behaviour. There aren't really any consistent rules to this however, not even the one about there being no rules. Spike for example - rebel, anarchist, the big bad. Drusilla for another - mad as a box full of worms. Because of their individual talents they would be useful to any organisation, but never really on the inside as 'one of our people'. This could explain Spike's less contemptuous, more pragmatic, view of humans cw Angelus. Souled Spike has definitely strayed into the realms of Chaotic Neutral, and perhaps even ultimately Chaotic Good, although there is a big karmic bill to pay.

[> [> [> Character -- Claudia, 08:59:48 10/09/03 Thu

Yeah, but what was it about the previous human forms of Spike, Angel, Drusilla and Darla that made them such successful vampires? Did each of them possess a certain character trait that enabled them to become so successful?

"Souled Spike has definitely strayed into the realms of Chaotic Neutral, and perhaps even ultimately Chaotic Good, although there is a big karmic bill to pay."

If Spike has a "big karmic bill to pay", can one say the same about Angel?

[> [> [> [> Re: Character -- LittleBite, 10:25:39 10/09/03 Thu

Yeah, but what was it about the previous human forms of Spike, Angel, Drusilla and Darla that made them such successful vampires? Did each of them possess a certain character trait that enabled them to become so successful?

Darla was an independent businesswoman, in one of the few businesses available to a woman at that time. She didn't rely on anyone to support her, other than needing a clientele, but that's true of any business. She was tough, she was persuasive and she knew what her strengths and assets were. The only reason Darla never became a Master vampire herself was because initially she was the protégé of The Master and after Angelus rejected The Master, and the Order of Aurelius, she went with him. They were, however, primarily equal partners with their strengths complementing each other.

Which brings us to Angelus. He received his training from Darla, but he added his own rather unique qualities. As Liam, he was, in my opinion, suffering from a deplorable self-image (yes, due to his father, but the mechanism doesn't alter the outcome). However, he also possessed a reckless nature...drinking, womanizing, petty thievery, brawling...all with apparent zeal, yet always with an eye to the effect on his father. Even his vamping itself was seen as just a new experience, an adventure, to him. Afterward, with no soul, he carried that abandon into his activities as a vampire, sparing no excess except that which might get him killed. He, like Darla, never truly achieved Master status...he kept his group to the bare minimum, with each having a place except, as we have seen, Spike. Spike was not Angelus' choice, he was Drusilla's, and it was clear that Angelus did not like the fact that Drusilla kept him around in the face of Angelus' distaste.

So, now, to Drusilla. Drusilla, as a human, possessed the 'Sight' which was considered an evil thing and in direct conflict with her Irish Catholic upbringing. When we saw Drusilla in confession, she had come because she had 'Seen' and been scolded for her evil ways by her mother. She had attempted to atone for the 'evil' within her by giving her life to the Church, by taking vows. Angelus prevented this. He had pushed her to near insanity, and then his, and Darla's, actions when they interrupted her vigil took her over the edge before he turned her. Drusilla possessed abilities that were valuable to other vampires, and could certainly have moments of crystal clarity when she would act almost more effectively than any other, but for the most part she did not have leadership skills, and required great care herself.

Which she received primarily from Spike. As William, we see Spike as a very insecure gentleman of the gentry. One with the leisure and the resources to pursue his interests which were caring for his beloved mother, poetry, and, it seems, worshipping at the altar of his beloved Cecily. When his hopes are dashed, nay, ridiculed and belittled, he flees and runs into Drusilla, who mesmerizes him through his initial fear by 'seeing' the poet in him and praising it. At that point, he was willing to do whatever she wanted, and she wanted him as a pet. It's entirely possible that would have been their relationship, he both pet and caretaker, had the subsequent events with his mother not taken place. When she rejected and ridiculed him with greater cruelty than ever Cecily or her aristocratic friends had ever used he, now soulless, retaliated by allowing his feelings the violent reaction they required. And it changed him. He found he could control that which would attempt to thwart him by using violence. He was the only one of the four who gathered minions to do his bidding. He controlled them with a combination of his own ability to dominate through intimidation and violence, and with the demonstration of a quick and ruthless temper, as well as his own reputation for a recklessness surpassing Angelus' own. He stayed with Drusilla, or she with him, when the four went separate ways after Angelus' soul was restored. Drusilla helped to add to his reputation as a Big Bad, by her nature and her insanity, thus her unpredictability. The only vampires Spike never controlled, or really even seriously tried to control, were his immediate 'family'-Darla, Angelus and Drusilla. Which is interesting in itself...that while he is the strongest of the four in terms of exhibiting the traits, or desires, of one who would be a Master, Spike is nonetheless, unable to control the other three by either force or personality, while both Darla and Angelus could reduce him to childish behaviors, and Drusilla was biddable unless being so crossed her own interests, thus reducing him to the weakest of the four in actual ability to control. Of course Drusilla's insanity, much like Buffy's emotional deadness, gave Spike an opening he did his best to take advantage of. But that's a different discussion altogether.

So yes, each had character traits, or latent ones, that ultimately allowed them to become the vampires we came to know.

If Spike has a "big karmic bill to pay", can one say the same about Angel?

In my opinion, the answer to this is self-evident to anyone who has watched the early seasons of Buffy, or any season of Angel. Yes, Angel has a big karmic bill to pay. To quote him, "I was cursed with a soul and fought with it for a hundred some years and you spend three weeks moaning in a basement." Angel has been paying his karmic bill for over a century. Some of us, myself included, might even say he's been paying for over two centuries, since he spent a hundred years in a hell dimension being tortured because he had a soul. And I'm certain that his choices in the past few years, even though he has a soul, have added at times to the debt, and at times paid it. Having a soul doesn't guarantee that all actions will gain karmic points. Not having one, conversely, doesn't say that all actions create karmic debt. The point here, is Spike is only starting to pay for his century of evil. Angel has been paying for two centuries for the century-plus of evil as a vampire, and for that which he has done while ensouled.

[> [> [> [> [> Karmic Payback -- Claudia, 11:26:22 10/09/03 Thu

You say that Spike is starting to pay for his past. Are you sure? I've always felt that Spike has been paying ever since he stepped foot in Sunnydale. Which makes me wonder how the other characters - even those not deemed "evil" are still paying for their actions.

[> [> [> [> Re: Character -- Celebaelin, 10:35:42 10/09/03 Thu

Contempt for the naivity of their former personality.

Even Darla.

And sooooooo YES

[> usually its just what you type on your Business card -- neaux, 05:01:32 10/09/03 Thu

Angel's probably says C.E.O. which equates to Master.

but he could probably have Master Vampire on his business card if he wanted.

[> [> ROTFLOL! Very cute, neaux! -- Scroll, 16:40:38 10/09/03 Thu

[> And now for a word from our sponsor...(come on people, this is fun) -- Random, 09:12:04 10/09/03 Thu

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Spike Bugger off, mate. I don't do testimonials. In fact, thanks to Charles Batlas, no-one can tie me down and make me anymore. I went from a poofter to a peroxided poofter in only 26 weeks. Yeah, I took the course twice. Eff off.

DarlaScrew you, Charles Batlas! You stole my dear boy from me, you $@#^%
[the rest has been edited for content] So...thanks....for...the....a....and...great....evil....bad.

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[> [> ROFLMAO (Micah 7:5) -- Celebaelin, 10:51:08 10/09/03 Thu

"Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom"

And other encouraging words of kindness.


[> [> Re: And now for a word from our sponsor...(come on people, this is fun) -- Claudia, 11:28:55 10/09/03 Thu

Oh God! That was hilarious! I loved it!

By the way, is there a BtVS/AtS humor site?

[> [> [> humor me -- Miyu tVP, 14:58:29 10/09/03 Thu

this may not be exactly what you're looking for, but I find it's usually good for a laugh.


it's kinda harsh, but in a loving way. :)

[> [> [> [> Read far enough to know that there are spoilers in the above link -- Celebaelin, 15:52:54 10/09/03 Thu

[> [> [> [> [> yes, sorry!! - some conviction spoilers on the homepage -- Miyu tVP, 16:18:28 10/09/03 Thu

yes, sorry!!! they do thorough ep recaps, and I didn't realize conviction was right there on the homepage. They're usually much slower to get stuff up on the site.



[> [> [> [> [> [> No prob., occupational hazard! -- Celebaelin, 16:27:15 10/09/03 Thu

[> Has anyone actually been referred to as a Master Vampire? -- Sheri, 12:40:53 10/09/03 Thu

Before we can even discuss HOW someone becomes a "master vampire"... do we even know that they exist? Has the word "master" been used to discribe anyone besides THE Master? I'm in agreement with neaux that if the title is used at all, it's simply a title and not some real difference in the vampire.

So the question really is... what makes some vampires better leaders than other vampires? And the answer is: same thing that makes some people better leaders than other people.

Also, while one possible assumption is that a long lived vampire is long lived because there is some special "master quality" about him... it is also possible that the vampire was lucky to have survived for those first few decades and that the leadership (and survival by means other than dumb luck) qualities were developed over time.

[> [> What you said, Sheri -- Scroll, 14:42:19 10/09/03 Thu

The idea that vampires are "born" to be Masters or minions or favoured childer (what is this, Anne Rice?) is merely a mish-mash of vamp folklore, Anne Rice (natch), and fanon. No where does it say Angelus is a Master Vampire because he was born into a powerful lineage (the Aurelians). Angelus is a kick-ass master because he's a kick-ass master. The guy has the balls and the smarts to keep other vamps in line, he has the strength and cunning to out-last rivals and gather followers. He has the reputation to put the fear of Angelus in other demons because he built up that repuation. This isn't a mystical vamp power. Buffy has the exact same power to lead and unite and survive against all odds. It's what being a leader is all about.

[> [> [> Woah Scroll! Extreme! -- Celebaelin, 16:14:09 10/09/03 Thu

[> [> An Error -- Claudia, 14:51:31 10/09/03 Thu

I've made an error with my original posting. When I called the members of the Fang Gang, master vampires, I wasn't referring to their ability as leaders. I was referring to their abilities as long-surviving vampires with a reputation to put fear in others.

I wanted to know what traits that their human counterparts possessed that carried into their vampire personas and led them to be such successful demons.

[> [> [> Ah, I see -- Scroll, 15:58:32 10/09/03 Thu

I wanted to know what traits that their human counterparts possessed that carried into their vampire personas and led them to be such successful demons.

Well, that makes more sense then. I think Gyrus' and Little Bit's replies are probably more in keeping with what you were really looking for, though I don't think either really touches the Fanged Four's human traits.

As a quick summary:

Darla: manipulative as a human, used beauty and sex to manipulate men to secure power and protection for herself, did the same as a vamp, also cunning enough to survive, excellent self-preservation skills (IMHO, Darla is the canniest and most clever of the Fanged Four)

Angelus: driven to excess (drinking, whoring) as a human, had artistic talent, carried those same traits into being a bad-ass vamp with death as performance art, obsessed with proving himself to his dead father thus pushing him to exceed even Darla's and the Master's expectations

Drusilla: had the Sight as human, driven insane by Angelus, is useful to other vamps because of her powers, very into BDSM which appeals to her daddy and possibly other vamps, and like Darla uses men to protect her, had Daddy wrapped around her little finger

Spike: more concerned with flights of fancy than real life, chivalric notions carried on to serving Dru and Dru was Daddy's spoiled little girl so Spike got to live, disdain for upper class led to learning to fight like a brawler, daddy and mommy issues has him trying to out-do Angelus and win Dru

Of course, this is JMHO. So what human traits do you think they possessed that helped them become such powerful, long-lived vamps? It's only fair you share your thoughts too :)

[> [> [> [> They were all social rejects -- Finn Mac Cool, 17:57:00 10/09/03 Thu

Darla was ostracized because she was a prostitute. Liam was disowned and viewed as a worthless drunk. Drusilla's gift of foresight made her "unclean" in the eyes of her mother and the church. William was looked down on and thought of as a sissy by his peers. People turned their backs on each of the Fanged Foursome, and, when they became vampires, they got some payback. Darla used sex in many of her kills, striking back at those who scowled at her selling sex, Angelus went very explicately against his father and anyone else he viewed as being in charge, Drusilla rivaled in "wickedness" and perverted religious symbols/rituals, and Spike struck back at the world as a whole, but his fascination with fighting Slayers could be seen as Spike proving to himself that no woman could hurt him like Cecily did (for all those who might bring up the "love's bitch" thing, that was after Drusilla dumped him and his image was torn apart). Each of these vampires had a grudge against human society, and, when freed of all guilt or remorse, they struck back. Their anger fueled them to greater heights, pushing them towards acts of great carnage and gaining the strength that comes from great rage (much like Buffy, vampires seem to be stronger the more pissed off they are).

[> [> [> [> [> Perfect summation, Finn -- Scroll, 20:34:22 10/09/03 Thu

(much like Buffy, vampires seem to be stronger the more pissed off they are)

So, so true. Distilling the psychology of humans and vampires down to the most fundamental level. As Buffy says to Kendra, "My emotions give me power. They're total assets!"

[> [> [> [> [> Good insights. -- Gyrus, 09:30:27 10/10/03 Fri

Your analysis makes a lot of sense -- those who are rejected by human society may be attracted to vampirism as a counter-culture and are motivated to do well within it. This idea is further supported by the high failure rate of vampires who were turned against their will. Most of them become minions (at best) who are quickly dusted by the good guys. Even those who survive, like Harmony, are certainly not what you would call "master" vampires; Harmony would have died at Spike's hands years ago if she hadn't been wearing the Gem of Amara at the time.

[> [> [> [> [> Hmmm... -- Random, 10:22:31 10/10/03 Fri

I tend to disagree with your thesis, not on logical grounds but on the grounds that your examples don't really provide validation. Of the four, only Spike and Darla were overtly socially ostracized...and Spike was only ostracized somewhat, as evidenced by the fact that he was still welcome in the elite circles, if not well-treated. Liam was ostracized from his family, while Drusilla was ostracized by her mother (by the Church? Doubtful, considering she was about to take her vows.)

More importantly, the modes of lashing out took different forms after becoming vampires. Angelus was as murderous a fiend as ever created, and went directly after his family first. One could argue that he became such a prolific and feared vampire because he was attacking the society for rejecting him, but it's a weak argument, IMO. He was a ne'er-do-well, but there's no reason to think he resented his treatment by society, only his father. Indeed, his primary focus appeared to have been religion and God, if the events of Prodigal are any indication.

Darla was, of course, a reject, but she appeared to be quite comfortable in her role as a prostitute. It brought her wealth and security (and disease, but she didn't seem to be railing against even that -- indeed, she seems defiant that her choice was her choice and she wouldn't accept judgment -- be it man's or God's -- because she chose her doom.) I see no evidence that she is lashing out against society for this reason -- she doesn't even seem to confront it at all until she is brought back from the dust by W&H.

Drusilla...well, the girl's nuts. As far as I can tell, she has no focused animosity toward people who mistreated her or rejected her because of her Sight. Nor do I see a thematic aspect to Drusilla's behaviour other than her childishness and childlike, if evil, glee in playing with familial conventions and the like. If she's angry, she does a good job of hiding it. Lacking any real evidence to the contrary, I tend to conclude that insanity and pleasure are her primary motivations, not ostracism or revenge.

Spike is the clearest-cut of the four, mainly cause he admits to taking his revenge on his tormentors. And to changing his persona to fight back against society. But he is the only clear-cut one of the four, IMO. I tend to imagine one could make a case for almost any vampire being rejected at some point in their mortal life. The problem is, we don't see most of them pre-vamp. So we have no idea if the same arguments made about the Fanged Four could be applied to the lowliest vamp henchmen. Your thesis may have some validity. I just tend to think that we simply lack enough information to make such a judgment yet.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Have to wait till I see Season 2 before I can comment on Darla . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:10:52 10/10/03 Fri

But, as for Angelus, I was counting Liam's father as a part of society there. As for Drusilla, you're right, I was stretching it there. But I did kind of get the feeling that her obsession with being "wicked" was a result of her mother telling her she was wicked as a human, which could be seen as lashing back in a less obvious sense.

the carrot and the stick (spoilers for 5.2) -- Miyu tVP, 09:58:13 10/09/03 Thu

touching on some comments from the tail end of chat last night....

I myself was disappointed to hear that Spike is on the brink of damnation in a very literal sense. Introducing this sort of threat would cloud any future redemption he might seek. Even the slimiest, self-serving scum at W&H would be on their best behavior if they believed they would suffer very real, agonizing pain for all eternity. Someone mentioned that Buffy was the carrot and hell is the stick... but this is the morality of a child! (maybe that's the point, but if it is, I'm even more disapppointed.)

Also on a practical level... getting back into the culpabiltiy of souled/unsouled sins. So a person is killed by a vampire. His soul leaves his body and goes wherever. Then the body is fed the blood of a vampire and a demon soul enters this body. The resulting vampire wreaks havoc. Then by some means the original human soul is forced back into the body... and now it is at risk to suffer the eternal fires of hell for things that its body did in its absense? It's like someone steals your car, wrecks the town, returns the car and then *you* are held responsible for the damage.

Granted Angel as a concept wouldn't work at all if the slate were wiped completely clean upon the return of one's soul. I understand there would be issues to work through. But it seems bizarre to me that Spike's *soul* could actually be a candidate for damnation when it participated negligibly in the evil that Spike has done.


[> It isn't his soul (spoilers 5.02) -- Diana, 10:14:53 10/09/03 Thu

It is his "essence" that is tied to the Amulet of Purification. Yet another concept that is part of the metaphysics of the Buffyverse. It was probably this essence and not the human soul that went to heaven when Buffy sacrificed herself. It is this essence that Giles' probably refers to when he says that who we are doesn't change or Riley is referring to when he tells Buffy that none of this can touch her. This essence is probably why Angel doesn't moan about being ripped out of heaven (or hell) when he is resouled. It is this essence that is probably what Darla refers to in "Inside Out" as what makes us who we are. It is this essence that remains consistent, human to vampire souled or unsouled. Masq is probably having a field day.

Joss is going to have to do some heavy exposition to get across just what the soul is.

[> [> Re: It isn't his soul (spoilers 5.02) -- Ames, 10:22:30 10/09/03 Thu

You could substitute the word "conscience" for "soul" as far as we know about what Angel and Spike have (or don't have from time to time).

[> That was me... (spoilers for 5.2) -- Random, 10:40:15 10/09/03 Thu

Re someone mentioning carrot and stick. And it is not exactly the morality of a child -- it is a cosmic morality in most human societies, via myth and religion. All morality is carrot and stick, really, when one considers that one does the moral thing for the sake of a reward -- self-satisfaction, jewels from the king, karmic balance, general worldly well-being -- and the immoral things are punished (ideally) by karmic retribution or the mechanism of law, or even just a self-loathing. For Spike, the stick is just as interesting as the carrot, and not much different. In either case, it is self-interest that motivates him -- the interest in doing the right thing in Buffy's eyes or the interest in not suffering an eternity in hell. Whether the hell is real or not, or whether he's still dealing with the karma of his existence, doesn't matter. What matters is that he believes it. Spike has given every evidence of coming back without a real understanding of his situation. He appears to believe that his sacrifice annulled all debt, that he was destined for a reward and accolades. But Angel's speech about his own atonement accentuates the problems that Spike has already begun to encounter. If one buys that Angel needs to atone -- a thesis I don't endorse wholeheartedly, but... -- one must observe that Spike has to do more than the grand gesture. As Buffy told Jonathan, you can't just make everything work with the grand gesture. Life is complicated, messy. Call it karma, or just call it a general attitude -- Spike seems to be struggling with the idea that things are not as simplistic as he's always viewed them. Spike the unsouled and Spike the ghost -- both tend to see the world in very basic, very simplistic terms...and now he is being forced to realize that change is about more than quick-fix soul restorations and summary martyrdom. It's about continuity, growth, living each moment out as it comes. It's hard work, and often painful, but it's necessary. This is what I see being established now: Spike reclaiming his humanity just as Angel struggled to reclaim it. In terms of outlook and personality, there are many instances of where he's changed little since the halcyon days of the Big Bad (his treatment of Harmony stuck out like a sore thumb, as did his jealousy of Angel and the attitude he expressed toward Buffy in the opening dialogues of the episode.) He's changed dramatically in some areas...but now comes the nitty-gritty. It's not enough not to murder innocents...that's basic behaviour expected (though not always gotten) from everyone with a soul. He's no longer a monster. Now comes the true test -- can he be a man?

[> [> Changing Tunes -- Claudia, 11:12:19 10/09/03 Thu

It's interesting. After "Chosen" had aired, many had believed that Spike had achieved redemption. Now, after the airing of "Just Rewards", many believe that Spike had made the grand gesture in the matter of self-interest. Which is it?

And has anyone noticed that despite their dislike and resentment of each other, both Spike and Angel managed to come through? Spike overcame his baggage to help out the one person he dislikes the most. And Angel overcame his to accept the help of the one person he believes (out of jealousy and resentment) he should not trust.

I think that both have come a long way.

[> [> [> Who are these 'many' you keep referring to? -- Random, 11:16:15 10/09/03 Thu

I am certainly not one of them. I think he did it out of both self-interest and desire redemption. I never said he achieved transcendence. You might want to clarify what people you're referring to. My only point in that matter is that Spike has a long road to travel, IMHO. If you disagree, cool. Offer your own thesis, and, preferably, a lucid defense of it.

[> [> [> Re: Changing Tunes -- LittleBit, 19:06:23 10/09/03 Thu

If I recall correctly after "Chosen" aired, there were far more opinions offered on this board questioning what Spike achieved for himself by his sacrifice than I recall claiming he had achieved full redemption. Some of those views, and the arguments used to present them at times made it seem that a majority of the posters disliked season 7, leading to a rather shrill post by Rina about how she liked it and didn't care if we all hated it. I didn't hate s7, I liked it. That said, I never stated, nor really saw stated on this board, that Spike was redeemed. Let's face it---if he had been that would have been the end of his story).

I do feel compelled to point out, though, if you haven't already noticed, that this board is quite different from the other Buffy boards I visited at one time. It's one of the reasons I like it. We don't tend to post questions for others to answer without posing our own thoughts. We don't wait for others to respond just so we can say "Nope, not good enough for me." If you want a true discussion, this is certainly the place to come. But if you choose to make your case by telling us what others, not you, have said, without offering your own view of what they've said, then, yes, we will eventually stop responding. Those of us who like to participate in an exchange of thoughts, or when the topic is an unfamiliar one, want to see thoughts...not a parroting of what some nebulous 'other' has said (and making that other a 'many others' in no way alters the fact that we are still not hearing your thoughts.

That said, I'll answer your question "Which is it?" It's both, Claudia. One of the interesting things about the TV/film/music experience is that no one is obliged to have the same opinion as the next person. There are those who believe that the 'grand gesture,' the saving the world, does redeem a person for wrongdoing. I don't happen to be one of them, but I can understand the "what more do you want?" concept. There are others, myself included, who see it as an amazing step in the journey.

Regarding your comment, yes, I noticed, as did many others, that the Angel and Spike interaction was true to their past relationship, and that they were able to put things far enough aside to do what needed to be done. Things weren't moved very far though and that bodes well for some interesting dynamics as things progress. I think they both have come a long way.

[> [> thanks, Random! -- Miyu tVP, 11:27:09 10/09/03 Thu

Your comment stuck with me... but by the time I digested it, I'd fogotten who said it. hope you don't mind!

I'm going to have to disagree with you about carrots and sticks. I agree that it is "a" level of morality - one that works fine for most people, and certainly one that is the back-bone of any self-respecting organzied religion. But I think, I *hope*, that it isn't the very highest level of morality we humans are capable of. Still say it's trite and self-serving. and childish.

I'm coming at this from a personal/aesthetic angle, so I'm sure I can't articulate this into an airtight logical argument, but I don't think right and wrong comes down to rewards and punishments. If something has a better reward overall than something else, that makes it more "moral"? too utilitarian for me.

[> [> [> I Said . . . -- Claudia, 11:38:24 10/09/03 Thu

I said many fans or viewers. I did not refer to any person in particular. Or any forum in particular. I always use the generic term "many". I have heard similar comments about Spike on other forums.

[> [> [> [> Why don't you try something new for a change? -- Sheri, 15:29:29 10/09/03 Thu

I said many fans or viewers.
Actually, no, you didn't:

"It's interesting. After "Chosen" had aired, many had believed that Spike had achieved redemption."

When someone directs a generic statement at me, I do wonder if I am being included. So while maybe in your head you think that it's clear that what you really mean is "on the several boards I frequent, I have seen a large number of posters who apparently believe this or that...", for those of us who are not mind readers, it sounds like you're making a blanket accusation against the entire board.

I can only speak for myself, but if you want me to take you at all seriously, why don't you try citing actual examples and quit making "generic" statements? Otherwise I'm just going to continue presuming you're a troll looking to start flame wars.

[> [> [> [> [> This Is Getting Ridiculous! -- Claudia, 10:37:19 10/10/03 Fri

[I said many fans or viewers.
Actually, no, you didn't:

"It's interesting. After "Chosen" had aired, many had believed that Spike had achieved redemption."][

Okay, this is getting ridiculous! I admit that I didn't say "many fans". But the word "many" is in there. Why are you making a big fuss over this? I didn't mention anyone's name on this forum. I didn't even mention this forum by name. And I also mentioned that I have been visiting other BtVS. Why are you making such a big fuss over something so petty?

[> [> [> [> [> [> I think what she was trying to say is... -- Scroll, 12:13:54 10/10/03 Fri

I admit that I didn't say "many fans". But the word "many" is in there. Why are you making a big fuss over this? I didn't mention anyone's name on this forum. I didn't even mention this forum by name.

I think you're missing what Sheri's trying to say. And I'm definitely not trying to be mean or petty here; I'm merely explaining her position, since I'm pretty sure I know what she's trying to get at. (Sheri, if I'm wrong, please correct me.)

This board has a different atmosphere from most boards. Most of our discussions involve posters sharing their own opinions, with lots of on-screen evidence and hopefully reasoned arguments. We don't shy away from giving our points of view, but we always try to give rational explanations for why we think the way we do. We don't shy away from stating our opinions. But we always try to speak only for ourselves.

For example: Wesley is my favourite character. I think Wesley is a complicated character with complex motivations and many psychological issues. I think he's one of the most dedicated of all the fighters on either Buffy or Angel, that his training as a Watcher is a vital part of his decision-making process. Wesley is intelligent, clever, strong, noble, faithful and loyal, dedicated to saving the innocent and fighting evil. He's also a fucked up SOB who makes bad decisions, plays lone wolf too often, screwed around with the enemy, then fell in love with her. He's got Daddy issues up the wazoo, trust issues, mental stability issues, and will absolutely take his shot-gun to Angel's ass once he finds out Angel's fucked with his memories.

Strong statements about a character I adore beyond all others. If you quote me in one of your posts as saying, "Scroll thinks Wesley is a fucked-up warrior of good with Daddy issues up the wazoo", I will be more than happy to say, "Uh-huh, what she said."

But when you say "Many posters think Wesley is a fucked-up warrior of good with Daddy issues up the wazoo", you are putting words in other people's mouths. There are plenty of Wes lovers who don't think he's fucked-up at all. (Most of us do, though, I think.) And there are plenty of Wes haters who don't think he's much of a warrior of good at all.

So you see why we object to "many posters" or "many posters on other boards" when you don't give actual examples or quotes? I'm not saying you can never ever generalise -- but be cautious of doing so, and be sure to give disclaimers to cover your own butt. I'm saying this as a friend. Personally, I don't get too fussy, but there are those who do, and they would have every right to get fussy if your vague wording implied you were speaking for them.

It's not that you don't name names or name forums. It's that you don't name names or name forums (in other words, if you say this person said this-and-this, please quote). We stand by our words, or at least I know I do. (This isn't to say this also doesn't backfire. If you quote out of context, be prepared for the shit to hit the fan.) But instead of telling us what other people are saying, why don't you tell us what you think? We're interested in your ideas and thought processes. What do you think of Wesley, and why do you think the way you do? (Actually, please do share. I love talking about Wes!)

So there you have it. I hope my explanation helps you understand the way we dialogue on this board. It's not that you can't post any way you want to, say anything you want to. But I'm telling you why some of us might take exception to your posts. It's not that we don't like what you're saying, it's just how you're saying it.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Critiquing my own post above (aka Doh!) -- Scroll, 13:01:00 10/10/03 Fri

Grr! I hate posting stuff without really thinking things through. *sigh* Claudia, trust me when I say we have all, at one time or another, posted things and later smacked ourselves in the forehead, saying "What the hell was I thinking?" (And yes, that sentence is hypocritical considering the point of this post.)

Okay, so here's the big thing I did really wrong in my above post. I told you not to speak for others, and then I turned around and did it myself! Bad Scroll, no biscuit!

I kept generalising how "we" on the Board prefer to do discussion, describing how "we" interact. I guess I did this because I've been on the board for nearly two years now, and I feel a level of familiarity and comfort. I do know how "we" prefer to interact on the Board, or at least the official stance on Board interaction. Therefore I felt able to give my opinion on it.

When you posted that 'After "Chosen" had aired, many had believed that Spike had achieved redemption"', some of us took exception to your "many". I think the difference is that the statement (since we had to assume you were including us in your "many") felt like a false statement to us (or at least Random and Sheri, since they address that point specifically).

There were a good many of us on this board who didn't believe Spike had achieved redemption (myself among them), and so since it didn't seem a true statement, people took exception to your generalisation. Now, if you had said "many fans on the net", I think Random and Sheri wouldn't have replied as they did. Perhaps they were being a little over zealous in pointing out the vagueness in your statement; possibly they could have let it slide. In my opinion, by itself your statement isn't that big a deal, like you say.

But please be aware that if anyone consistently makes vague statements that seem to imply that other posters are thinking things they aren't actually thinking, people are going to get upset. It's better to take an extra minute to make sure your post is clear and understandable, than to unintentionally offend people. At least, that's how we tend to do things on this Board. Which is why I'm kind of ashamed of my obvious error in telling you to do what I say, not what I do! I really should've been more careful in making generalisations and speaking for the board, no matter how confident I am that I know what others are thinking. Ahem. I do apologise for my above post, and henceforth promise to be more precise in my language. *g*

[> [> [> Re: thanks, Random! -- Finn Mac Cool, 15:23:03 10/09/03 Thu

I do think all moral choices are based on a self-serving bias. For example, if you do something you believe is wrong, you geel guilt, which you don't like. but, if you do something you belive is good, you feel all warm and fuzzy, which you do like. So, after a fashion, all good deeds are based around making ourselves feel better.

[> [> [> [> Re: thanks, Random! -- RJA, 15:27:37 10/09/03 Thu

But what about not doing something that you would like to, and which would improve your life, but you feel is wrong? With the contradiction betwee physical/material satisfaction, and that of emotional well being, which is the strongest and can both be reconciled?

And say you dedicate your life to trying to do good because of a burning sense of injustice in the world and trying to alleviate that, is that still out of a sense of making ourselves feel better?

[> [> [> [> This Reminds Me . . . -- Claudia, 10:41:09 10/10/03 Fri

[I do think all moral choices are based on a self-serving bias. For example, if you do something you believe is wrong, you geel guilt, which you don't like. but, if you do something you belive is good, you feel all warm and fuzzy, which you do like. So, after a fashion, all good deeds are based around making ourselves feel better.]

This reminds me of a Season 5 episode of "Friends", in which Joey and Phoebe argued over selfless acts. Joey, in one of his flashes of "brilliant" thoughts, insisted that there was no such thing as a selfless act. And no matter how many times Phoebe tried to prove him wrong, he ended up confirming his theory.

[> [> [> [> [> Is that how it went? -- Gyrus, 12:36:40 10/10/03 Fri

IIRC, didn't that episode end with Phoebe doing something selfless that didn't make her feel good at all, forcing Joey to acknowledge that she was right? (Not that I remember any details.)

[> [> [> [> [> [> Here's what happened: -- Finn Mac Cool, 14:05:18 10/10/03 Fri

The characters soon lost track of the original argument and considered Phoebe's good deeds self interested when she got something material in return instead. Near the end, she called into the telethon that Joey was a phone answerer at and pledged $200, which she wasn't happy about but was doing anyway. However, this was the pledge that gave the telethon a new record, which meant Joey got on TV. Phoebe's response was an ecstatic:

"My pledge got Joey on TV! I feel so happ . . . OH NO!!!"

[> [> [> Moral development -- Gyrus, 07:57:18 10/10/03 Fri

I'm going to have to disagree with you about carrots and sticks. I agree that it is "a" level of morality - one that works fine for most people, and certainly one that is the back-bone of any self-respecting organzied religion. But I think, I *hope*, that it isn't the very highest level of morality we humans are capable of. Still say it's trite and self-serving. and childish.

This statement brings to mind Kohlberg's theory of moral development. Kohlberg used what he knew about cognitive development to generate a 6-stage model of moral development, which looks roughly like this:

1. Carrot-and-stick: Whatever gets me a reward is good; whatever gets me punished is bad.
2. Fair exchange: I do the right thing as long as there is some kind of reciprocity. I won't help someone who I know won't return the favor.
3. Socially-oriented morality: I do whatever will earn me the approval of others and don't do whatever will make others dislike me.
4. Authority: Being a good person means behaving the way authority figures tell me to behave.
5. Rule-based morality: I obey a moral code that is part of a contract with society at large. My personal needs are not as important as those of society.
6. Individual morality: My idea of morality is determined by a combination of society's norms and the dictates of my own conscience. I feel guilty if I do something I believe to be wrong, even if society does not necessarily condemn it.

Kohlberg states that everyone's moral development stops at one of these stages, but that we each go through the preceding stages first. (So, as Miyu points out, carrot-and-stick morality IS childish, as all children start out in this stage of thought.) Kohlberg also does not suggest that stage 6 thinking is somehow more moral than, for example, stage 4 thinking -- it is simply more complex in a cognitive sense.

I would say that Spike is at stage 2 or higher. His fear of Hell seems like stage 1 behavior, certainly, but other actions of his indicate that he has a sense of reciprocity (ex. he spares Wood's life because he took his mother's life, i.e., he owed Wood one life, and he paid up). He also did good things for the sake of gaining Buffy's approval; however, since he doesn't give a damn about gaining anyone ELSE's approval, I don't know if that is enough to put him at stage 3.

In any case, I think most people make it to stage 3 at the very least, and not a few make it to stage 6. The moral debates I have seen on this forum are evidence of that.

[> [> [> [> Re: Moral development -- sdev, 23:48:25 10/10/03 Fri

I always found Kohlberg's theory fascinating. Here is a link which describes the test and theory very well:


I think most people make it to stage 3 at the very least, and not a few make it to stage 6. The moral debates I have seen on this forum are evidence of that.

Does that mean more or less than a few?

Per this description I would put Spike at level 3 or more.

[> [> [> [> Re: Moral development and Carol Gilligan and a footnote -- Ann, 11:23:41 10/12/03 Sun

Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, 1982.

Also see links from a quick google search of Gilligan: http://www.afirstlook.com/archive/diffvoice.cfm?source=archther



From the second link a quote "Gilligan's reply was to assert that women were not inferior in their personal or moral development, but that they were different. They developed in a way that focused on connections among people (rather than separation) and with an ethic of care for those people (rather than an ethic of justice)".

A different perspective on Kohlberg's and Piaget's theory.

I also think this better describes Buffy's actions to some degree in her choice to share the power and that Kohlberg's represent more of the watcher mentality. I am still thinking about Angel and Spikes place in these theories.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: Moral development and Carol Gilligan and a footnote -- sdev, 01:09:27 10/13/03 Mon

Thank you for this info. I had never heard of Gilligan. I read only some of it so far but it was fascinating. I also can see where it would explain the sharing the power concept in Chosen.

Your second link did not work for me.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Re: Moral development and Carol Gilligan and a footnote -- Ann, 08:13:36 10/13/03 Mon

I learned about Gilligan's research years ago in college - a feminist history course I think. The second link is


I hope that works. If not, do a Google search with -different voice gilligan- and it is the 4th result.

I like her idea that women see (and I think she is generally correct) through the eyes of the group or perhaps the family. I think that may have evolved as a hunter/gather protection response. (I try to look at stuff in this hunter/gather view as I think it explains a lot as humans did evolve through / as this) Buffy saw the scoobies group as her family and even though she was "leader" she did take into account sharing the power. Angel sees himself as the father figure with AI. He fits better with the Kohlberg description I think. I am still thinking about Spike's view. He is always the harder to peg I think.

[> [> [> [> [> [> [> TY. This link worked -- sdev, 23:22:18 10/13/03 Mon

[> There are more things in Heaven(spoilers for 5.2) -- sdev, 11:38:30 10/09/03 Thu

and earth, Horatio,than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Since we only got a hint of what Spike believed might be happening to him, let's not jump to conclusions. I don't have to tell you to stay tuned!

Also, per many heaven/hell schemes, heaven is only reached after some time in hell atoning for the inevitable (see Dante- I did not invent this theory) wrong all humans commit. Buffy went to heaven to the suprise of all who knew her best. I must say I never understood their assumption, but it probably lay along those lines.

[> [> why Buffy didn't go to heaven -- skeeve, 15:15:09 10/13/03 Mon

Buffy died by jumping into an entrance to hell dimensions.
Her friends were worried that she might have reached one of them.

This one is not convinced that Buffy was in a heaven dimension.

[> Re: the carrot and the stick (spoilers for 5.2) -- RJA, 13:23:50 10/09/03 Thu

I think this really depends on what sort of hell that Spike is facing. Since the Jossverse doesnt operate in an explicitly Christian world (although it does inform it), so Spike isnt necessarily being sent to Hell, in the same way Buffy wasnt necessarily in Heaven.

Angel (the souled version) was sent to hell, or something like that. Yet it wasnt a statement of the sins of his soul, but an effect of what he had done when unsouled, yet an effect that was necessary to save the world. We dont know that Spike is beig dragged to the chasms of hell becaus of what he was (evil vampire) or what he is (a being attached to an amulet). So it could be something more to do with circumstance that is dragging him towards hell, as opposed to his rightful fate.

That said, we really have no idea how the actions of the unsouled relates to the soul, and what effect that has. Its possible that becoming a vampire offers eternal damnation - that the soul was never in peace because the body was sired. We also dont know exactly what type of hell or heaven, if any, awaits the inhabitants of the Jossverse (and indeed, our own world). Can heaven only be obtained by a select few, those who repent, do they have to suffer purgatory first? Two many unknowns to really say one way or the other. Which is perhaps why no one should do good simply for the reward, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, because it isnt in any way assured.

One last point of disagreement though (because its always good to end on a negative dont you think?). You said that Even the slimiest, self-serving scum at W&H would be on their best behavior if they believed they would suffer very real, agonizing pain for all eternity.

I have to say that I dont think this is really true. For instance, did Holland and Lilah not read the small print about what would happen to them post-death (Hell and on the constant beck and call of the firm), or did they realise and simply not care. Some people dont believe in what is meant to await them, or they simply dont care. Essentially a Faustian pact - whatever suits me right now. And of course, some people believe they dont deserve anything other than hell. Witness the human Darla who tells what she thinks to be a priest that he is too late for her.

It reminds me of something interesting - in the early middle ages, the Church's depiction of hell was a place that was dirty, coarse, full of sexual depravity, death and disease. Now this scared the life out of the rich (into both believing and donating), but it was problematic for the church in that the lower classes didnt care. Because that was their life. So there was shift to the eternal fires, torture and so on. And hence a little more fear and respect.

So thats just an indication that sometimes what is a stick to some is either reality or irrelevant to others.

[> [> Re: the carrot and the stick (spoilers for 5.2) -- jane, 15:20:19 10/09/03 Thu

The path to redemption is long, and winding, and full of pitfalls. In the end, redemption is more about how you walk on that path than what lies at the end of it. At least, that's my take on it. As the Bible says, As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

[> Question about intent (Spoilers Angel 5:2) -- sdev, 14:51:01 10/09/03 Thu

mised the point disclaimer: I only saw it once in real time so maybe I missed something fundamental.

Did Spike really want to die? He said so. And if he did want to, doesn't that suggest a dichotomy between his fate upon amulet crushing death and the hell he wants to avoid from ghost slippage?

[> [> Re: Question about intent (Spoilers Angel 5:2) -- RJA, 15:00:08 10/09/03 Thu

But there is a big difference between wanting to die and wanting to go to hell. Spike seemed to want to be able to rest. Yet if all he could feel the alternative to be was fiery hell, it could convince him that the world had more to offer/less to fear.

I'm not too sure though how much of his talk of wanting to die was for Angel's benefit. While its obvious Spike wanted to trick Hainsley, its less clear how muc Angel knew of this plan. If Angel knew nothing of it, then telling Angel he wanted to die would be to get the plan working (playing on the very obvious fact that Angel wasnt too comfortable with the idea of killing Spike unless Spike wanted it).

[> [> [> Re: Question about intent (Spoilers Angel 5:2) -- sdev, 18:08:12 10/09/03 Thu

"But there is a big difference between wanting to die and wanting to go to hell."

Yes that is what I mean. If he wanted to die, to be at rest, he must have felt that upon death he wasn't going to the same place as the slippage was threatening to take him. My understanding was that the slippage was happening throughout the episode including when he expressed his death wish. Thus death meant one end and slippage another.

[> [> Re: Question about intent (Spoilers Angel 5:2) -- OnM, 19:00:09 10/09/03 Thu

As per usual, there's a passel of ambiguity as to whether or not Spike really meant it when he said he wanted to 'rest'. Ater watching the ep a second time, I lean towards this explanation which I'll back up by first referring to this scene from the latter part of Touched (B7.20):

SPIKE: So? (waiting for reaction) You were right.

BUFFY: (Shakes her head) I don't feel very right. They blame me for stuff, and honestly? I can't say they're wrong.

(Spike crouches down by the bed.)

SPIKE: You're not foolin' me.

BUFFY: What do you mean?

SPIKE: You're not a quitter.

BUFFY: (defeated) Oh... watch me.

SPIKE: Buffy, no. You were their leader and you still are. This isn't something that you gave up;
it's something that they took.

BUFFY: And the difference is?

SPIKE: We can take it back.


Spike doesn't really give Buffy her confidence back, he makes her understand that it never left her-- she's just repressing it. He tells her that she 'isn't a quitter', and he isn't just mouthing a platitude-- he knows that it's true, that it's an integral part of what makes Buffy Buffy.

I think that Angel understands this about Spike also, namely that he isn't a quitter, that he "always knew he would go down fighting". (The Gift, B5.22)

Spike can't be absolutely sure whether the necromancer might have a way to listen in on his conversations with Angel. Therefore he had to have a way to tip off Angel without the tipoff being obvious. So, he tells Angel that he wants to end it all. Watch the look on Angel's face when Spike says this-- he knows something is off.

Secondarily, even though it disturbs him no end, Angel understands that Spike "is in [Buffy's] heart". (Chosen, B7.22) Why would Spike suddenly want to end it all forever, with no possibility to ever meet Buffy again?

(Wesley is the first to suggest this 'mercy' idea to Angel, but Wesley presumably doesn't know what Buffy said to Angel about Spike, or about the level of passion and devotion Spike has felt for Buffy.)

What I like about this idea is that Angel and Spike know each other like a book-- whether friends or enemies or both at once. And even among all the constant sniping back and forth, at a critical moment they can communicate when it's needed.

[> [> [> Re: Question about intent (Spoilers Angel 5:2) -- sdev, 21:56:46 10/09/03 Thu

I like this. Especially the part about Angel and Spike underneath it all reading each other well. That was sort of a twist thrown in which made their relationship seem quite a bit different at the end of the episode.

I think also, despite what Spike said about not caring about redemption, he is a man of action, not prepared to knit sweaters. He got depressed with the chip when he couldn't do anything either. He can't stand this incorporeality (is that a word?) stuff. It was depressing to him, but when he found a way to be useful he perked up.

I think it was a creative coup to find a way to make Spike temporarily corporeal without in any way changing his incoporeal status. Kudos ME on the plot device.

[> [> [> What instance are people talking about (spoiler 5.02) -- Diana, 06:41:39 10/10/03 Fri

I've only watched the show twice so far, so maybe I missed something.

The first time Spike talks about death is when he in the lab. "You'd think saving the sodding world would be enough to earn me a little rest" This is right before the first time he fades, presumably the first time he sees what is waiting for him, based on his reaction when he pops back in.

After this, he is rather upset about being shoved back in the world against his will. This has to do with control and his desire for a reward. He doesn't say that he wants to die, just what happened isn't fair. It is this sense of injustice that fuels his exchanges with Angel.

The next time that a perceived talk about death would be is when he is in the shadow prison of Angel's bedroom. He doesn't say he wants to die. That is an assumption made on the part of the audience based on his rants about it isn't fair I'm still here (like I don't get enough whinning at home). He says that he can't exist like that and can't be helpless. Then we cut away to the cemetary. Angel is making sure that Spike wants to go through with this. Through with what?

The plan. Angel tells Wesley that Spike came to him with the plan. When would Spike have given this to Angel? When they cut away. Spike couldn't just stand by and only haunt Angel any more. He's the fool, not just for Buffy, but for a good fight. When Spike came up with his plan, it was like learning he could still hit demons. He learned that he wasn't completely helpless and staying on Earth not only meant escaping hell, but he could do things.

So people on this thread, when did Spike say he wanted to die? The cemetary was for Hainey's benefit, so it would have to occur before then.

[> [> [> [> Re: This instance (spoiler 5.02) -- sdev, 10:26:41 10/11/03 Sat

"The next time that a perceived talk about death would be is when he is in the shadow prison of Angel's bedroom. He doesn't say he wants to die."

I don't interpret the dialogue in the bedroom that way. Spike clearly expresses a desire for his life to be over in that scene. What I can't get a handle on is when did he start pretending for the sake of destroying the Necromancer? In other words was his expression in the bedroom his true feelings or was he playing a part? I suspect that it was only after the bedroom scene that he begins pretending.

There is an imaginary (off camera)scene not shown where Angel and Spike plot the way to bring down the Necromancer. What makes sense to me is if that scene took place off camera in the bedroom right after Spike expresses his death wish. What I imagine is Angel came up with this idea which had two purposes-- kill the bad guy and give Spike a fulfilling role which will restore his desire to live. I also see Angel's development of this idea to work with Spike as a direct result of Spike's comment "I don't play for that side anymore." Angel then decided to utilize Spike on his side.

Still not sure about it though.

Diana-- I have a pending quetion to you (in the above thread) if you care to answer it.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: This instance (spoiler 5.02) -- Diana, 17:04:50 10/11/03 Sat

Can you link to the question? Thanks. If it is the one about why I saw Angel's decision to sleep on whether to smash the amulet as what saved the day, I explained that in the main post and I can't think of anything to add to it. Pretty self-explanatory to me.

On first viewing I saw the bedroom scene as Spike wanting to die, but on second viewing, knowing what was coming next I saw it as Spike's expression of how he couldn't remain helpless, thus setting up what he was going to say off camera. Third viewing agreed with second. Have to see how fourth fares.

ME's loves to do cutaways while the heroes plan things out. It makes sense for what Angel refers to when ppeaking to Gunn about Spike coming to him with the plan to be at that cutaway. It builds up Spike's character in a way that even I can accept. Angel didn't come up with the plan. He wouldn't have given Spike credit for it if he had.

[> [> [> [> [> Re: This instance (spoiler 5.02) -- s'kat, 20:40:06 10/11/03 Sat

There is an imaginary (off camera)scene not shown where Angel and Spike plot the way to bring down the Necromancer.

Having recently re-watched the episode? I believe this is true. There's a moment, if you watch with closed-captioning, when the Necromancer has his hand in Angel's chest - that Angel says "Spike, would you please..."
and then the Necromancer goes nuts and cries : "no, no, no". There's another moment in the grave-yard where they exchange a look as if they are waiting for someone.
It's subtle and kudos to the actors for putting it there.
Then in the last few minutes - Angel tells Wes that Spike came to him and they hatched out the trap together.

So that leads me to believe they plotted it. Angel had trust Spike to carry it through of course. But I think Angel knows Spike well enough - also remember, Buffy told Angel what Spike did. Angel clearly knew Spike was dead when he pops up and how he died - since he says two things: 1) You're dead and 2) Last I heard the amulet was buried beneath the Hell Mouth.

The episode is better upon re-watching.

[> Just a short chapter I like ... -- Dedalus, 17:19:44 10/09/03 Thu

From a wonderfully witty book by Raymond Smullyan called "The Tao is Silent" that I just happened to have with me. This is a few paragraphs on why one helps their fellow man -

"Imagine a group of four people, each of whom is strenuously engaged in some charity work or some useful social or political activities, each from purely altruistic motives. Someone asks them, 'Why do you work so hard helping your fellow man?' We get the following responses: The first says, 'I regard it as my duty and moral obligation to help my fellow man.' The second replies: 'Moral obligations? To hell with moral obligations! It's just that I'll be damned if I will stand around seeing my fellow man oppressed without my doing something about it!' The third replies: 'I also have never been very much concerned with things like duties or moral obligations. Its just that I feel extremely sorry for these people and long to help them.' The fourth says: 'Why do I act as I do? To tell you the truth, I have absolutely no idea why. It is simply my nature to act as I act, and that's all I can say.'

"I should like to compare these four responses. The last one delights me utterly! He seems very Taoistic or Zen-like. He is the true Sage or saint who seems completely in harmony with the Tao. He is the one who is completely natural, spontaneous and unself-consciously helpful. It there is a God, I hope he lets him into heaven first! Close at his heels, I hope, would be the third man. He strikes me as sort of Buddhistic - not 'moral' but compassionate, though perhaps a little too self-consciously so.

"It is of interest to compare the first and second men. Both are being ego-assertive, but what a difference! The second, though somewhat gruff, is really kind of charming and humorous. He strikes me as the 'tough man with a heart of gold' (like some of the roles played by Humphrey Bogart). He is really a very sympathetic person who is somehow ashamed to admit the fact and does not wish to appear sentimental. If I were God, I would, of course, let him into heaven too.

"But the first man! Good heavens, what a monstrosity! I'm sorry to offend those readers brought up in a puritanical tradition, but I can no more help feeling as I feel than you can. People like the first man are so often pompous, vain, ego-assertive, puritanical, inhuman, self-centered, dominating and unsympathetic. They are the people who act out of 'principles.' In a way, they are even worse than people who don't help others at all! Now if I were God, I would, of course, let him into heaven too, but not for awhile! I would first send him back to earth for a few years for a little more 'discipline.'

"Some pragmatic readers may well say: 'Why this emphasis on how a person phrases it; does it not really all come to the same thing? Isn't the important thing how helpfully a person acts rather than his motives or reasons for doing so?' My answer is 'no.' I feel that if people's actions are helpful, but engaged in the wrong spirit, they can - in the long run - be as harmful as no helpful actions at all. I guess I have been very influenced by the Chinese proverb: 'When the wrong man does the right thing, it usually turns out wrong'."

While I was typing this, it also brought to mind a story Alan Watts was fond of - "Kindly let me help you up or you'll drown," said the monkey putting the fish up a tree.


[> [> That's a great one, Ded! Thanks for posting it! -- OnM, 18:28:23 10/09/03 Thu

[> [> A nice little condemnation of modern ethical thought -- Masq, 19:32:33 10/09/03 Thu

They are the people who act out of 'principles.' In a way, they are even worse than people who don't help others at all! Now if I were God, I would, of course, let him into heaven too, but not for awhile! I would first send him back to earth for a few years for a little more 'discipline.'

One of the trends in "modern" (i.e., since the 18th century) ethical thought is to say morality is a set of principles that should be applied without emotional considerations. This is the "objective" way to think of ethics. It seems to guarantee we will do the right thing consistently, because we won't let our emotions sway us when we're feeling less than charitable towards a particular individual. It's all about following pre-set ethical principles.

This is the ethical approach behind people like Kant and Mill and others. It overlooks the fact that any moral act takes place in a context--a human being struggling to interpret what is going on and what principles might possibly apply, and struggling with their own feelings, which inevitably enter in to any decision or action.

[> [> Re: Just a short chapter I like ... -- Grant, 10:55:53 10/10/03 Fri

The problem I have with this passage is that the author seems to think that the least important thing is that people are being helped. His favorite motivation for helping others is being "completely natural, spontaneous and unself-consciously helpful." However, based on this standard it seems that he would be equally happy if a man acted completely natural, but instead of helping people his nature was to go around kicking puppies and stealing candy from babies. As long as this man was being natural, who is Smullyan to condemn his nature? Unless, of course, Smullyan would argue that it is not enough to be natural but that one must be naturally helpful. But then he would be offering an arguement about morality by defining what is good nature and what is bad. If that is the case, then what is his point with this whole passage. Basically, he either has a similar external moral code as the "puritans" he dislikes, or else he thinks that the right thing is doing your nature no matter how good or bad that nature is, in which case count me out.

Perhaps worse is his critique of those who do good things because they gollow a moral code. Smullyan writes, "People like the first man are so often pompous, vain, ego-assertive, puritanical, inhuman, self-centered, dominating and unsympathetic. They are the people who act out of 'principles.' In a way, they are even worse than people who don't help others at all!" Strawman much? I mean, if I had to choose a camp, I would probably throw myself in with the first man. So it is good to know that Smullyan already knows that I am pompous, vain, ego-assertive, puritanical, self-centered, dominating, and unsympathetic. For a second, I thought that he was making an unfair generalization based on his limited experience and strange belief that one cannot believe in a moral code with being a puritan, but it is good to know that he has characterized me so perfectly. Putting an end to my sarcasm interlude, one thing that I find very amusing is how Smullyan defines the first man as vain and "ego-assertive" but not the second man. The first man referrs simply to a moral duty. This is something outside himself that he obviously feels is more important than his personal needs and desires, which is why he is spending his time and resources with the charity. The fourth man, on the other hand, spends all his time referring to himself. I got the feeling reading his response that the fact that he was helping people was secondary to him. What was important was that HE was following HIS nature. HIS enactment of HIS nature is far more important than the end result of that enactment. And this is not vain or ego-assertive?

To use Smullyan's own device, I'm going to be vain, ego-assertive, and domineering and imagine that I am God letting people into Heaven. The first and the fourth man come for judgement, and I have to decide who should be let in first, and whether they should be sent back to Earth for more "discipline." I would be faced with a man who did the right thing because it was the right thing, and therefore put certain values and his fellow men above himself, and a man who did the right thing because it happened to fit in with his personal nature, with no belief that it would have been any worse for him to follow his nature had that nature been a bad one or led him to do bad things. Doesn't seem like such a hard choice to me.

[> [> [> pompousness -- skeeve, 15:34:29 10/13/03 Mon

A full moon doesn't cause frost.
There is a strong correlation between frost and *seeing* a full moon.
Clear nights tend to be colder than nights with clouds to act like a blanket.

Likewise you might only know of a person's moral code if he is pompous.

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