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an Essay on Vampires, their reproduction, families etc.
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LisaP
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: an Essay on Vampires, their reproduction, families etc. Reply with quote

As the whole Spike/Angel thread on the B/A forum has sparked such ardent discussion, here's an (unfinished, alas) treatise that I penned a couple of years back following a *loooong* post convention car discussion with Jo. Just thought it would be good to throw into the mix, as we did some serious exploration of vampires. (Jo does not necessarily agree with all the points I've made, I hasten to add).
Oh, and yes, Angel is Spike's sire....

Vampires - Procreation, familial relationships, blood ties
Liam/Angelus/Angel - William/Spike - an Essay


Procreation

Human procreation

Adult male and adult female come together, mate, and procreation takes place by the male sperm joining with the female egg. Cells divide and divide until an embryo is created which then grows inside the female human. After nine months a human child is born.

At some point within the procreation process the new human body is imbued with a spark which animates the body and creates the human spirit. – This process is and has been the subject of theological and biological discussion for centuries. We are going to assume that the ‘spark’ is a mystical process.

Humans that do not receive this mystical spark do not survive the gestation or birthing process.

Vampire Procreation

As with human procreation, vampires require two bodies to procreate. In this case one vampire and one human being. The vampire selects the human – usually a young and very attractive adult of either sex. The vampire bites the human and drains them to the point of death. Just before the human dies, the vampire makes the human drink the vampire’s own blood. The vampire’s blood is the equivalent of human male sperm, and the human body is the equivalent of the female egg.

The human being dies and the human spirit departs from it. Then there is a process of transformation of the human body to become a vampire body. At some point during this transformation the new vampire is imbued with a mystical spark which animates the body and creates the vampire spirit.

The vampire is ‘born’ usually within 24 hours of the procreation process, but the process can last up to three days or even longer in certain circumstances.

The new vampire is not merely an animated undead human body. It is a new species altogether. It has perfected a method of procreation which eminently suits its predator status. The new vampire is ‘born’ with an adult body of an attractive human being, and a full set of memories and personality traits which will enable it to pass freely and unobtrusively among the human population on which it will prey. What it does not have is the knowledge of how to be a successful vampire. New vampires require care and nurturing from the vampire that made them – the Sire. New vampires – although physically independent from birth – have to learn how to hunt discreetly and understand their powers and limitations. The sire is their teacher, as well as their companion.

Familial relationships

Human Familial relationships

Typically the human has male and female parents, and often older or younger siblings. In addition they may have grandparents, aunts, uncles and other familial relationships such as cousins. These are all genetically related. ( In western culture there will also be more fragmented family relationships, many which do not have a genetic link, but for the purposes of this document we are going to assume the blood family relationship).

The human family will be powerfully bonded, but status is usually clearly defined between parents, children and other relations. When children grow up they will seek their own partners away from the family relationship – requiring a partner from outside of their own gene pool. In this way the human family constantly grows, changes and expands.

Vampire Familial Relationships

The concept of parents, offspring and more distant relationships is irrelevant in vampire familial relationships.
The Sire (the vampire that ‘mates’ with the human to create the new vampire) can be either male or female in appearance. The Childe (the new vampire created from the human body) can also be either male or female, and will appear as another adult.
Although the Sire will nurture and teach the Childe as it ‘matures’, much as a human parent will nurture a human child, the Sire and Childe will also have a full sexual relationship from the outset.
Sex does not form part of the procreative process for vampires as it does for humans, and therefore it performs different functions within vampire families.
Sex is a method of bonding for vampires, and when combined with the sharing of blood re-enforces familial relationships. It can also be used as a method to assert one vampire’s dominance over another.

The vampire family can vary between one Sire and several Childer, or can have the originating Sire and its Childe, who in turn may have sired other childer. There can therefore be several sires within one family, as well as multiple childer. There is a generally accepted hierarchy within the family, based upon the eldest vampire having seniority, down to the youngest being most junior. Occasionally this balance can be challenged, with the childe becoming dominant over its own sire, but is only usually successful if the challenging childe has a particularly dominant personality, or the sire is particularly tolerant of, or in love with that childe.

Vampires, unlike humans, do not seek to have relationships outside of their blood family. They do not therefore understand the concept of friendship. Other vampires that do not share their blood link are regarded as competitors; to be avoided or eliminated. They will only seek out human companionship as a prelude to engaging that human’s trust prior to feeding, or as a potential new childe. Their familial relationships are powerful and intense, and young vampires that lose their sire through accident or abandonment rarely survive long. More mature vampires that lose their family will grieve terribly and some will even choose to end their own existence rather than create a new childe to replace the lost family.

Can vampires love?

Vampires feel incredibly intense emotions. It is their passions that drive them, even though in many ways they are far more animalistic than the human being.

Vampires certainly feel passionate, deep attachments to their own sires and childer. These emotions can be likened to love between human beings. But whereas humans have the capacity to love outside their own familial attachments – and have the capacity to feel love in the broadest sense of loving humanity (and other animals) – vampires’ ‘love’ is restricted to their own blood relationships.

How does this relate to the human Liam, Angel/Angelus and Spike?

Liam/Angelus


Based on the assumptions already made, we can now look at the creation and development of Angelus.

We know that Liam was a young Irishman in his mid-20’s when he was turned into a vampire. He was by all accounts an extremely reckless and wild young man. Passionate, artistic, filled with frustration and rebelliousness against his own father. Yet Liam also demonstrated real love and tenderness towards his younger sister. It might be considered that Liam could have had tendencies towards some form of manic depression – featuring wild mood swings and erratic behaviour – an illness commonly linked to creative individuals.

We do not know if Darla had been actively seeking a mate when she had come across Liam, but his very obvious attractiveness and physical beauty would have inevitably have made him an ideal candidate for turning. Darla was a mature vampire of 144 years existence when she turned Liam, and was herself sired by an exceptionally ancient vampire, making her bloodline a particularly powerful one.

Liam was bitten and drained by Darla and forced to drink her blood, thus becoming the ‘egg’ in the vampire procreation process. His human body died, and human spirit fled, allowing the vampire transformation to begin, and giving space for the vampire spirit to be imbued in the new body. Although the physical appearance of Liam remained relatively unchanged, and the vampire brain retained all the memories and personality traits of the human being – the human Liam was dead and gone – as surely as if he had died a natural death.

The creature that arose to meet its new Sire was therefore the ‘infant’ Angelus – a new vampire.

There is little record of Angelus’s early relationship with Darla, but it is clear that Darla was entirely besotted with her new Childe and they enjoyed an extremely passionate relationship. We do know that she even chose Angelus over her own Sire – a very rare occurrence – although the Master’s ugliness and inability to pass as human may have been a factor in that decision, as we know that Darla loved beautiful and luxurious things.

The traits that Angelus inherited from his human progenitor made him a powerful personality, and that combined with his exceptional looks allowed him to have a great deal of influence over his sire almost from the beginning of their relationship. We can even suppose that as he matured, the balance of his and Darla’s relationship began to tip in his favour until they became equals rather than senior and junior.

The wild recklessness that Angelus inherited became tempered with caution as he learned the skills essential for a vampire to survive, and his innate creativity developed in new directions – not least the development of a complete artistry in the infliction of pain and torture. Darla seems to have encouraged and praised him constantly, perhaps encouraging Angelus to even more extreme lengths of depravity in order to continue receiving that praise.

We do not know if Darla sired other Childer before or after the creation of Angelus. She seems to have been content with him alone, and despite occasional separations and betrayals (abandoning Angelus to Holtz and his followers in France) we can assume that Darla never felt the need to sire other vampires, Angelus being more than enough for her.

Angelus, on the other hand, sired at least three Childer, Penn, Drusilla and Spike.( It appears that Penn was still part of the vampire family although not travelling with them, as he was expecting to meet up with Angelus in Italy when Angelus was cursed and so he never made the assignation.)

Despite driving Drusilla insane prior to her turning, Angelus seems to have been an indulgent sire to her once she became a vampire. She would certainly have required far more nurturing and supervision than a sane childe, and there is little doubt that she adored Angelus above all others – including her siblings. The same can be said for Spike, who, turned in 1880, was still very young when Angelus was cursed in 1898, and it is possible that Angelus’ abandonment of him had long lasting effects affecting their later relationship. (This will be explored further when we look at Spike).

Angelus had therefore created a tight-knit vampire ‘family’ by the time he was 145 ( a year older than Darla had been when she sired him) and was cursed by the gypsies.

Angelus/Angel

The general assumption is that the gypsies cursed Angelus to have a soul which would make him regret all his actions as a ‘soulless’ vampire and cause him to suffer for eternity.

This can be regarded as too simplistic – and also implies that vampires have no moral sense – they are psychopathic creatures with no appreciation of the consequences of their actions.

Vampires are not simply animated undead human bodies. They are an entirely separate species. They have their own societal structure and lore and their own codes of behaviour. The fact that these codes appear ‘evil’ to human beings is purely a question of perspective.

Vampires do not consider it anything other than normal behaviour to kill and feed from human beings. Turning other human beings into vampires is their method of procreation and as normal to a vampire as sexual procreation is to humans. Playing with their food is also as normal to a vampire as a cat toying with a mouse. The vampire has a complete understanding of the consequences of their actions on humans – they simply don’t care about them. They do, however care about the consequences of actions on their blood kin. Darla’s attempted coercion of the gypsies to lift the curse on Angelus is proof enough of this.

When the gypsies cursed Angelus to suffer torment and guilt over his past deeds as a vampire, what they did was imbue Angelus with the capacity for human love.

Human love is an infinitely expandable commodity in its purest form. Humans can love both individuals and ideals. They can empathise with others joy and suffering – even if they don’t have any kind of familial relationship. A human doesn’t even have to know another person to grieve over them (witness a nation’s grief over the death of Princess Diana). Human love can be both selfish and entirely selfless. A person can be prepared to die to protect loved ones. This is not a concept that vampires share.

When the gypsies cursed Angelus with the capacity for human love they effectively transformed the vampire into a human that existed in a vampire’s body. Angelus retained all of his vampiric qualities and traits. He still needed to drink blood to survive, and retained all of his instincts as a predator, hunter and killer. But he now empathised with his prey – felt their fear as though it were his own, and therefore mourned his previous victims. It also meant that he was no longer able to relate to his own vampire familial relationships. Even if Darla hadn’t expelled him from the family, it is almost certain that Angelus would have left of his own accord shortly afterwards as he could no longer behave as a fully functional vampire, empathising as he now did with his prey rather than with other vampires.

Which brings us to:

The Shanshu Prophecy

Far too many assumptions have been made about this vaguest of prophecies.
1. There is no indication of when the shanshu is going to take place. It has been assumed that it will be sometime in the future from when Angel first stole the scrolls of Aberjian from Wolfram and Hart. This is not necessarily the case.
2. It is assumed that the Shanshu will be a reward. This is based solely on Wesley’s words “It’s his reward”. The word “reward” does not appear anywhere in the prophecy itself. It could equally well be a punishment rather than a reward.
3. It is assumed that the translation is correct. That the vampire will “Live until he dies”. It could – with very little change - mean “Love until he dies”.

It is our assertion that Angel received his Shanshu when the gypsies cursed him with the capacity to feel human love. He was in effect rendered human by this capacity – despite his vampire body, and has therefore already achieved the Shanshu.

Spike

Spike was created when Angelus selected the young man William as the vessel to be used to make his third childe.

It appears that Angelus enjoyed the challenge of taking a human with pure or innocent qualities, and then re-forming them in an entirely new image. Drusilla was a virgin, destined to become a nun when Angelus turned her. As a vampire she carried forward the insanity that Angelus had created in her prior to her turning, but Angelus wrought huge changes on her personality. Drusilla morphed from being an innocent, pure girl into a highly sexualised and darkly perverted creature.

William was a weak ‘mother’s boy’, fancying himself a poet and a romantic. After Angelus had turned him, William/Spike was moulded into a brash, vicious brawler – entirely unlike his previous human personality. This process was well on its way to successful completion when Angelus was cursed by the gypsies and left his vampire family.

Spike was still very young in vampire terms. At 18 years of age he was barely beyond his fledglinghood, and would have still been very submissive to Angelus. Angelus’s removal from the family would have wrecked the dynamics of the familial relationships, with the childer feeling abandoned, despite the continuing presence of their grandsire, Darla.

It’s clear that even this continuity was short-lived, as it seems that Darla left Drusilla and Spike shortly after Angelus’s brief return to the family in China in 1902. It is likely she returned to her own Sire, the Master. Why they didn’t accompany her is unknown. What is known is that Spike assumed responsibility for his elder sibling, and because of Drusilla’s madness, became the dominant member of their partnership.

This early dominance was very influential in shaping Spike’s mature personality, and that, combined with his Sire’s abandonment of him did much to create the arrogant yet needy vampire of his later years.

The Initiative’s experiment on Spike, the chip implanted in his brain that rendered him unable to attack and bite any living creature, also had profound effects upon him. Until then, he was an independent vampire of Master status. After the implant, Spike was rendered completely helpless. Unable to feed himself, or defend himself against any human. He would have most likely starved into a coma unless the Slayer and her friends had not seen the possibilities of using Spike to assist them in their own mission. Unwittingly, by bringing Spike into their ranks, the humans became Spike’s new family. Buffy, as the supernaturally powerful slayer assumed the dominant Alpha position in his eyes, with Giles as her (non-sexual) consort, Dawn as her ‘Favoured Childe’ and her friends as his ‘Siblings’. Given the intensity of vampire familial relationships, and their extremely passionate nature, it is therefore unsurprising that Spike formed a powerful bond with Buffy. Spike’s fondness for Dawn can also be seen as Spike’s protectiveness over his new ‘Sire’s’ favoured childe.

The humans, by accepting Spike among them, also unwittingly exposed themselves to Spike’s vampiric competitiveness to rise in the hierarchy. It is clear that Buffy valued Spike’s strength and preternatural senses more and more, until she had unconsciously placed him as her ‘Beta Male’. It is therefore no surprise that their relationship became a sexual one as a result. Spike had accepted her as his Alpha, and imprinted himself upon her accordingly. He loved her with all the passion that his vampire spirit possessed, which was considerable.

Spike, like all old vampires, is highly adaptable. Without the imperative of the microchip, he would never have conceived of a human family. But with the chip in place he adapted to his new circumstances, thus maximising his chances of survival. In doing so, he effectively re-created a new family, with Buffy at its head.

There has been much argument as to whether Buffy loved Spike or vice versa. Although the Slayer’s emotions seem confused and doubtful, Spike’s constancy is unquestionable. The fact that he was not capable of ‘human love’ did not make his feelings any less intense. The vampire spirit loved Buffy passionately and needfully. Spike was prepared to go to great lengths in order to have Buffy respond to him in the same way – hence his decision to try to get a soul.

This is where another cosmic trick was played upon one of the line of Aurelias. Spike’s sire was cursed with a ‘soul’ (the capacity for Human Love). Spike went to get a soul – with no idea of what he was actually asking for, or what it would feel like. Spike’s trials and tribulations in Africa – the pain that he suffered, and its aftermath – convinced him that he had been given a human soul.

It has frequently been commented upon that Spike’s reaction to gaining a soul was completely different to Angel’s. Spike was disorientated and distressed for several weeks, and then seemed to return to being the same vampire as he had been before going to Africa. Angel’s century of tortured guilt and misery seems ridiculously over-dramatic in comparison. There is, of course, a good reason for this. Spike never gained the capacity for Human Love. But he couldn’t know this. All Spike – and his human friends – could see was that Spike chose not to hunt and kill humans, had affection for them, and loved Buffy. He was, therefore, a ‘Good Vampire’ and no longer required an artificial means of containment.

The fact is, that Spike had no need to go to Africa to search out a soul. He had adapted to the requirements of his new life. Those requirements demanded that he did not hunt or kill humans, that he protected the Slayer’s friends and family, and that he loved the Slayer herself as his ‘Sire’. There is no loophole to Spike’s soul – simply because he doesn’t need one. His vampire spirit is intact and not swamped by humanity. There is no humanity for him to lose.

It needs to be re-iterated time and again that this does not make Spike’s feelings for Buffy any less genuine or strongly felt. But Spike cannot feel empathy towards humanity as a whole, which is why he was never overcome by the avalanche of guilt and grief that afflicted Angel after the curse.

It also provides the explanation as to why Spike did not immediately leave Los Angeles and go to Buffy as soon as he was re-corporealised after his resurrection.

Spike spent several weeks as an incorporeal being, fastened to Wolfram and Hart, and Angel in particular. Although this was not a comfortable experience for either of them, what it did was re-establish Spike’s relationship with his true Sire – Angel. By the time he was returned to solid form, Spike, despite his assertions to the contrary, would have found it very difficult to leave Angel’s side. Angel’s requirements of Spike were not dissimilar to Buffy and her friends’. It remained unacceptable behaviour for Spike to hunt and kill humans, re-enforced by W&H’s ban on human blood for any vampire in its employ. Spike’s preternatural abilities were as useful to Angel as they had been to Buffy and he recognised that Angel regarded Fred and Wesley as his particular family. (It is interesting that Spike has little or nothing to do with Gunn or Lorne – who are both on the periphery of Angel’s family, even though Angel has obvious affection for both of them).
Spike therefore assumed the role of protector over Fred, much as he had done with Dawn, and regarded Wesley as a sibling, to be teased and annoyed, but ultimately defended.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is all very interesting, and I'm sure that I'll have some comments once I read it over again several times. You've brought up some ideas that I'd not considered before.

Going away to think now.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What he said, Lisa. Wink

I have read and have to go away to think. Whether they be profound thoughts will be up to debate. And as I am about to go out in half an hour, I need to *brood* on it more than type something in a hurry.

Well done, you've brought up some very interesting thoughts.


Watch this space, or don't. Laughing

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking foward to a healthy and active debate - that's what this essay was designed to provoke after all. And, at this point would like to share any credit for the thinking with Madame Jo, as this essay was as a result of a 4 hour car journey! Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, just to get a question out of the way, isn't Drusilla Spike's true sire. Admittedly, he learned how to "be" a vampire from Angelus, even called him his Yoda, so I guess in a very real way Spike is one of Angelus' get.

I totally agree that the assumption that the gypsies cursed Angelus with a sould to make him regret his actions is simplistic. However, I think that if you consider the curse from the gypsy point of view they do think they are working with creatures who are psychopathic and disregard the consequences of their actions. And to understand the curse, you have to also accept, to a degree, the gypsy POV.

(BTW...I'm trying to look at this by sections. I may or may not succeed.)

Now, there's no reason to argue with your assessment that vampires have their own codes of behavior, nor that they are a totally different species.

I'm not sure that I totally agree with the idea that in returning Angelus' soul, they returned his ability to love as a human. I think it's a bit more existential than that. Vampires do not feel guilt for killing humans (not that they should since to their way of thinking they are just playing with their food), nor do they feel any form of responsibility for the vampire species with the exception of their small groups...and I'm not sure it's a common occurance to feel that small responsibility. They are hedonistic creatures who cater to their own pleasures and wants without regard to its effect on others.

Now this is my opinion based on the behavior of only a few vampires -- Angelus, Darla, and Spike. Drusilla is a special case...and I think Angelus kept her around because she amused him.

When Angelus' soul was returned, he was naturally confused and disoriented. Again he was an outsider. As you said, he still had the insticts of a predator, but he also experienced the feelings of the prey. I'm not convinced that this was because of the capacity to love because empathy and love are two different things.

I think the gypsies restore his conscience...that part of humans that makes them consider their actions in relation to the entire species. Angel told Buffy that it was an easy way to live, without conscience...and I think this is true. If we look back at Liam and his behavior, he's fighting his feelings of worthlessness (from his father's abuse), and he's not a particularly good person; but, the few times that Liam was shown on the shows, he seems so sad...as if he's lost. which leads me to think that his conscience was hurting.

I'm going to stop at this point because I want to watch a favorite movie. I'll be back later to carry on.

This is fun.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
First, just to get a question out of the way, isn't Drusilla Spike's true sire. Admittedly, he learned how to "be" a vampire from Angelus, even called him his Yoda, so I guess in a very real way Spike is one of Angelus' get.


Well, of course BtVS later did a *huge* backtrack on the whole question of who sired Spike, didn't they! I always have a secret snigger every time I visualise the moment that one of the writers realised the implications of Angel siring Spike. I mean, why would he?? Unfortunately for us slashy fans, it was *too* late, and Angel will always be Spike's sire - and for the reasons that made the writers gulp and start frantically re-writing history! So yes, a bit of a fanwank as far as I'm concerned - but let's face it, there are so many inconsistencies throughout both shows that it gives us the flexibility of using whichever suits us best.

Quote:
However, I think that if you consider the curse from the gypsy point of view they do think they are working with creatures who are psychopathic and disregard the consequences of their actions. And to understand the curse, you have to also accept, to a degree, the gypsy POV.


And I have no problem with the gypsy POV. The gypsies wanted revenge, and that curse was a good one. (Again, the loophole is a very clunky plot device that was an essential element of the show, but which actually caused far more difficulties in Ats over the years and it never really made any sense anyway.)

Quote:
When Angelus' soul was returned, he was naturally confused and disoriented. Again he was an outsider. As you said, he still had the insticts of a predator, but he also experienced the feelings of the prey. I'm not convinced that this was because of the capacity to love because empathy and love are two different things


And now we are really beginning to scratch the surface of the whole "What is love" subject - and how does it relate to the concept of a soul?
I'm firmly of the belief that animals can love passionately, but that love does not resemble human love in the slightest, as I've never seen any evidence that an animal is capable of empathy - or the ability to have an emotional resonance with any kind of third party. The human ability to sacrifice themselves for families, friends - even a dearly held principle - is unique, (although dolphins and whales might be an honourable addition here), surely it is that ability to empathise that expands the horizons of human love beyond animal passion?

Quote:
Liam was shown on the shows, he seems so sad...as if he's lost. which leads me to think that his conscience was hurting.


Oh, how I agree with you here. Not sure if it was Liam's conscience, rather than he was indeed lost, covering his feelings of worthlessness with aggressive bravado and wildness. Being a wild and reckless young man disguised his insecurities and lack of self-esteem. But that is a 21st century view of an 18th C individual!

Quote:
This is fun.


Isn't it. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Unfortunately for us slashy fans, it was *too* late, and Angel will always be Spike's sire - and for the reasons that made the writers gulp and start frantically re-writing history!


True. That was one of the "oops" moments on the show.

Quote:
The human ability to sacrifice themselves for families, friends - even a dearly held principle - is unique, (although dolphins and whales might be an honourable addition here), surely it is that ability to empathise that expands the horizons of human love beyond animal passion?


I can't argue with your comments about empathy or the ability to sacrifice for others (but I do think you must add both wolves and gorillas to your additions). Again, I'm not sure that it is empathy that causes that great love that allows for sacrifice. From my experiences as a therapist, I can tell you that I've seen great examples of sacrificial love by people who have absolutely no empathy for the object of their sacrifice. Now is this because I'm defining empathy differently than you. (I am defining it as the ability to understand, if not agree, with the feelings/thoughts/beliefs of another.) Or is it because I've worked with some very strange clients. (Also true.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that I believe empathy is wonderful, but not required for good and honorable behavior. However I do think that a conscience is required. (I've also worked with some clients who were totally lacking in that, and it makes therapy very difficult.)


So on with my comments...

Regarding the Shanshu propecy. I so agree that it was vague and questionable at best. Admittedly, when it was discovered in the W&H vaults, Angel was the only souled vampire, so the assumption that it was about Angel was reasonable at that time. What always bothered me was that Wesley didn't consider how chancy prophecies are.

Quote:
It is our assertion that Angel received his Shanshu when the gypsies cursed him with the capacity to feel human love. He was in effect rendered human by this capacity – despite his vampire body, and has therefore already achieved the Shanshu.


Now that is an interesting idea...one that I'd never considered. When one thinks about it, it fits the sadistic responses of the PTBs.

Spike:

There's no doubt that Angelus was the alpha male in the group. And given his personality, there's no doubt that Spike paid a heavy price for his entrance into the group. The William-personality probably accepted this as his due, and the demon-personality probably revelled in it. When left alone, it's no surprise that he turned vicious.

Given Darla's personality, I doubt that she was particularly fond of either Spike or Drusilla. They would've taken Angelus' focus off her. I'm sure that in some way, she even blamed them for Angelus' fall from (vampire) grace. Of course, we have no way of knowing for sure if they traveled to China with her or if they met up by accident. I agree that it was the last time they were together.

I think Spike loved Drusilla...possibly because he could dominate her. She replaced the girl that he wanted to impress as that wimpy human. And, she stayed with him...the only member of his new family that did so.

Quote:
This early dominance was very influential in shaping Spike’s mature personality, and that, combined with his Sire’s abandonment of him did much to create the arrogant yet needy vampire of his later years.


Couldn't agree more with this.

Quote:
Unwittingly, by bringing Spike into their ranks, the humans became Spike’s new family.


Again, I agree. Chipped Spike was in many ways a throw-back to human William, but with the desire to return to his vampire abilities. He was a pitiful creature until he found a way to manipulate the situation to his advantage by using his strength and contacts in the demon community to help the Slayer.

Did he love the Slayer? I don't think so. He wanted her. In many ways, he respected her. But I think at this point in time, he was incapable of loving a human.

Did the Slayer love him? Yes and no. She respected his abilities as a fighter and appreciated his help. But he was still a soulless vampire. The relationship between Spike and Buffy was abusive on both sides. Buffy was taking out her feelings of desolation on him, and Spike was behaving as he would with a vampire. Whether or not one considers the whole "marked mate" idea, Spike was enjoying taking something that belonged to Angelus away from him.

Quote:
This is where another cosmic trick was played upon one of the line of Aurelias. Spike’s sire was cursed with a ‘soul’ (the capacity for Human Love). Spike went to get a soul – with no idea of what he was actually asking for, or what it would feel like. Spike’s trials and tribulations in Africa – the pain that he suffered, and its aftermath – convinced him that he had been given a human soul.


Now, here I disagree. I have never been convinced that Spike went to Africa to get his soul. I have always believed that he was searching for a way to remove the chip. He was angry that his (vampiric) advances had been rebuffed. He wanted to give her what she deserved. I think the idea of giving him a soul was another of the writers' way of revising show history. But putting aside why he got a soul, one has to consider that he got one. And that lead to some interesting entanglements.

I've always felt that the difference between Spike and Angel is found mainly in their reactions to having a soul and how they got it back. Angel's soul was forced into him along with a curse. It seems that the curse intensified his reaction to what he'd done as a vampire...it reactivated his conscience, and he reacted by feeling a deep guilt for his behavior as a vampire. He was never able to separate Liam's soul (assuming that was the one he got back) and Angelus' actions.

Spike, on the other hand, never considered what he did as a vampire. Perhaps it was the effect of the chip, or perhaps he was able to separate himself. Or perhaps, William had little or no conscience as a human, and therefore, had little or now conscience when he regained his soul. His sacrifice with the amulet has been called the act of a "champion" for good. I believe it was the act of a creature who wished to impress a girl and one-up a rival (Angel). I also believe that he was tired of the restrictions of the soul. Spike liked being a vampire, and for a year he'd been force to behave according to human standards.

Again, I think I'll end this here. I shall think on Spike in Los Angeles and comment on that at a later date.

Fun, fun, fun
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason I've not said much so far is not because I don't want to - I desperately want to get in and argue, and Lisa knows I diverge a bit from the original premise. Note, I don't say disagree, because I can hold several different opinions about all this, and hold all of them to be true.

But. I'm totally immersed in something else just now, and Lisa, among others, will shout at me if I lift my head above the parapet for too long! So, I'll be back later...

But another But.

There are one or two quick and easy things...

LisaP wrote

Quote:
The human ability to sacrifice themselves for families, friends - even a dearly held principle - is unique, (although dolphins and whales might be an honourable addition here), surely it is that ability to empathise that expands the horizons of human love beyond animal passion?


Actually, this self-sacrificial behaviour is not that uncommon among animals that live in genetically tight family groups. Bees. Meerkats. Blind mole rats. African hunting dogs. And quite a few more. If they have to fight an enemy, they'll fight to save the queen or the young, even if the young aren't their own, but their sister's. And many mother animals will fight to the death for their own young. I'll even argue a bit about dearly held principle if, in animal terms, that equates to territory, as an example.

It's those sorts of things that human behaviour is built on. Vampires are predators, and like most predators, I would expect them to dislike having competition, except maybe close kin. Think of a pride of lions or a pack of wolves. Or, you could see vampires as parasites, where I think it's every parasite for himself, mainly. Sorry, this paragraph is a digression. No time for digressions...

lj gould wrote

Quote:
I have never been convinced that Spike went to Africa to get his soul. I have always believed that he was searching for a way to remove the chip.


Well, I have to say that I agree. Jane Espenson, though, at the Halloween Convention, stated absolutely categorically that they had always intended him to be going for a soul, but just disguised that a bit to increase the surprise factor.

PAH! (Which is what I said at the time.) That sounds like a whole load of post hoc rationalisation to me. Besides, if getting a fixed soul was so easy, wouldn't Angel have done it already?

and

Quote:
He was never able to separate Liam's soul (assuming that was the one he got back) and Angelus' actions.


Joss said in an interview that he'd intended to give Angel a different soul - the soul of a warrior from the Boxer Rebellion, with that strong code of honour. However, he found that too difficult to get across on TV. Certainly, the shows veer between restoring Angel's soul and giving him a soul, so I think that can be taken any way you want, at any particular time.

Got to go.

Jo
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Actually, this self-sacrificial behaviour is not that uncommon among animals that live in genetically tight family groups. Bees. Meerkats. Blind mole rats. African hunting dogs. And quite a few more. If they have to fight an enemy, they'll fight to save the queen or the young, even if the young aren't their own, but their sister's. And many mother animals will fight to the death for their own young. I'll even argue a bit about dearly held principle if, in animal terms, that equates to territory, as an example
.

Get back to the grindstone, Jo!!! (But it is nice to get your input too...)

I don't think that I'm explaining myself very well regarding my take on human love Versus animal/vampire love.

Yes, there are endless examples of animals putting the needs of the herd/pack/offspring first. That tallies completely with my premise about vampires and their blood kin.
However, it is rare to the point of non-existance for an animal to put the needs of another animal outside their own pack first. If a wolf could empathise with the suffering of a deer, it would require that wolf to be able to "stand in another's shoes" something that I do not believe an animal capable of. My own dog has demonstrated that to me. This is a very gentle animal, who 'loves' me, my husband and my friends, and demonstrates that with every fibre of his being. This is the same animal that when he caught a baby rabbit earlier this year, thought nothing of crunching it up from the feet upwards - while the rabbit was still alive and screaming. I was, as you can imagine, hysterical because I could empathise with what that poor animal was suffering. I felt genuine horror, grief and sympathy with that little animal. My dog just enjoyed a rather noisy morning snack.

My argument is that because the human being can sympathise (is that going to be a better word than empathise, I wonder?) with the agonies of another creature, it sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom and our vampires.

Quote:
I can't argue with your comments about empathy or the ability to sacrifice for others (but I do think you must add both wolves and gorillas to your additions). Again, I'm not sure that it is empathy that causes that great love that allows for sacrifice. From my experiences as a therapist, I can tell you that I've seen great examples of sacrificial love by people who have absolutely no empathy for the object of their sacrifice. Now is this because I'm defining empathy differently than you. (I am defining it as the ability to understand, if not agree, with the feelings/thoughts/beliefs of another.) Or is it because I've worked with some very strange clients. (Also true.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that I believe empathy is wonderful, but not required for good and honorable behavior. However I do think that a conscience is required. (I've also worked with some clients who were totally lacking in that, and it makes therapy very difficult.)


And here it becomes even clearer that somehow we need to get a common understanding of the terminology we are using. Not being a therapist or counsellor - I'm going to willingly bend the knee to someone who makes their living at it! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry. I am tardy as well getting back to this discussion.

Teehee at Lisa giving Jo the command to get nose back to grindstone.

First, and maybe last...

Lisa wrote,

Quote:
Well, of course BtVS later did a *huge* backtrack on the whole question of who sired Spike, didn't they! I always have a secret snigger every time I visualise the moment that one of the writers realised the implications of Angel siring Spike. I mean, why would he?? Unfortunately for us slashy fans, it was *too* late, and Angel will always be Spike's sire - and for the reasons that made the writers gulp and start frantically re-writing history! So yes, a bit of a fanwank as far as I'm concerned - but let's face it, there are so many inconsistencies throughout both shows that it gives us the flexibility of using whichever suits us best.


What about Penn, then? In AtS1 the writers had no trouble with Angelus siring a male. There is slash written about that too. Therefore, it can't be fanwank ( if I understand what fanwank actually means) because it happened, but not in Spike's case. And I have to wonder about James and Elizabeth. Who were their sires? Or who was their sire? Angelus calls them children when on the run from Holtz. Begs the question. Wink

Jo wrote,

Quote:
Well, I have to say that I agree. Jane Espenson, though, at the Halloween Convention, stated absolutely categorically that they had always intended him to be going for a soul, but just disguised that a bit to increase the surprise factor.

PAH! (Which is what I said at the time.) That sounds like a whole load of post hoc rationalisation to me. Besides, if getting a fixed soul was so easy, wouldn't Angel have done it already?


I too, am one that doesn't believe Spike went for a soul. And, good point about fixing a soul, and how did Spike find out anyway? How long was he gone from Sunnydale? A couple of weeks? Yeah, right!

Lj said,

Quote:
Did the Slayer love him? Yes and no. She respected his abilities as a fighter and appreciated his help. But he was still a soulless vampire. The relationship between Spike and Buffy was abusive on both sides. Buffy was taking out her feelings of desolation on him, and Spike was behaving as he would with a vampire. Whether or not one considers the whole "marked mate" idea, Spike was enjoying taking something that belonged to Angelus away from him.


Their relationship was abusive. And to think that fans attribute this as romantic love? Eck! Maybe they could see something as that in S7 but S6? No way. I think of Spike and Buffy's *affair* like an abusive relationship that many human couples have. A woman abused often professes love for her partner, the abuser often saying that they do love the woman (or man) that they are beating to a pulp. We all know that that is not a healthy relationship.

Lisa wrote in her essay,

Quote:
Vampires do not consider it anything other than normal behaviour to kill and feed from human beings. Turning other human beings into vampires is their method of procreation and as normal to a vampire as sexual procreation is to humans. Playing with their food is also as normal to a vampire as a cat toying with a mouse. The vampire has a complete understanding of the consequences of their actions on humans – they simply don’t care about them. They do, however care about the consequences of actions on their blood kin. Darla’s attempted coercion of the gypsies to lift the curse on Angelus is proof enough of this.


How often did we hear a vampire call humans food? A lot. And Penn said to Angel(us), 'we're not people', and how true is that. They *are* a separate species. Angel still has the urges that a vampire has. His soul tells him it is wrong, but that doesn't stop him from wanting to kill, to drink, to commit acts of violence. And Angel uses his vampiric abilities to do good. He enjoys violence, even as a souled vampire. He enjoys the taste of blood.

Well I guess you said that too, Lisa.

Quote:
When the gypsies cursed Angelus with the capacity for human love they effectively transformed the vampire into a human that existed in a vampire’s body. Angelus retained all of his vampiric qualities and traits. He still needed to drink blood to survive, and retained all of his instincts as a predator, hunter and killer. But he now empathised with his prey – felt their fear as though it were his own, and therefore mourned his previous victims. It also meant that he was no longer able to relate to his own vampire familial relationships.


Except I like to think that it isn't a human inside a vampire's body, but Angel is still Angelus and he has a soul. A conscience. I guess you said that too. Going away now, but, as you guys have said, this is fun!
Laughing

Feel free to send flames.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LisaP wrote:
Quote:
And here it becomes even clearer that somehow we need to get a common understanding of the terminology


Yes, terminology is always a problem. Sympathy is to feel another's emotions with pity or compassion and often involves a commonality of beliefs. Empathy is understanding another without the need for commonality, and although compassion is often a part of that understanding, pity is not. In therapy, sympathy often leads to problems for a therapist by leading to over-identification and an attempt to "fix" the client. Empathy allows understanding but not identification. Congratulations, you've just completed Intro to Counseling. Laughing

Ares wrote:
Quote:
Their relationship was abusive. And to think that fans attribute this as romantic love? Eck!


Ahh...probably better not to go there. It often leads to rude remarks (by me) about the lack of intelligence and misunderstanding of love and abuse by some fans. Mad

So back to Spike's appearance at W&H:

LisaP wrote:
Quote:
The fact is, that Spike had no need to go to Africa to search out a soul. He had adapted to the requirements of his new life. Those requirements demanded that he did not hunt or kill humans, that he protected the Slayer’s friends and family, and that he loved the Slayer herself as his ‘Sire’. There is no loophole to Spike’s soul – simply because he doesn’t need one. His vampire spirit is intact and not swamped by humanity. There is no humanity for him to lose.

It needs to be re-iterated time and again that this does not make Spike’s feelings for Buffy any less genuine or strongly felt. But Spike cannot feel empathy towards humanity as a whole, which is why he was never overcome by the avalanche of guilt and grief that afflicted Angel after the curse.

It also provides the explanation as to why Spike did not immediately leave Los Angeles and go to Buffy as soon as he was re-corporealised after his resurrection.

Spike spent several weeks as an incorporeal being, fastened to Wolfram and Hart, and Angel in particular. Although this was not a comfortable experience for either of them, what it did was re-establish Spike’s relationship with his true Sire – Angel. By the time he was returned to solid form, Spike, despite his assertions to the contrary, would have found it very difficult to leave Angel’s side. Angel’s requirements of Spike were not dissimilar to Buffy and her friends’. It remained unacceptable behaviour for Spike to hunt and kill humans, re-enforced by W&H’s ban on human blood for any vampire in its employ. Spike’s preternatural abilities were as useful to Angel as they had been to Buffy and he recognised that Angel regarded Fred and Wesley as his particular family. (It is interesting that Spike has little or nothing to do with Gunn or Lorne – who are both on the periphery of Angel’s family, even though Angel has obvious affection for both of them).
Spike therefore assumed the role of protector over Fred, much as he had done with Dawn, and regarded Wesley as a sibling, to be teased and annoyed, but ultimately defended.


First, let me say that I think this was a ploy by the writers to bring the Spike fans to AtS after BtVS ended. Truthfully, other than providing comic relief (often needed despirately) and someone for Angel to be annoyed with, Spike was not needed on the show.

I like Spike (except for Season 6)...he's amusing and made a decent adversary.

Spike on AtS was, in my opinion, primarily comic relief. The AtS group treated Angel (mostly) with respect, especially after taking over W&H. Spike was a naughty boy who enjoyed needling his Sire because he knew that Angel (unlike Angelus) wouldn't dust him. I do think that he enjoyed time with Fred (and later Illyria) and Wesley, possibly because they were intelligent and interesting to him. Lorne was just another demon, and Gunn didn't like vampires -- so they weren't important.

Two things about Season 5 of Angel really bothered me: (1) In "Destiny", Angel lost in the fight with Spike for the Cup of Perpetual Torment; and (2) "The Girl in Question".

I cannot imagine Angel losing a fight with Spike...unless he wanted to lose, and why would he want to lose (unless he knew the Cup was a fake)?

I just found "The Girl in Question" to be annoying. I can imagine Angel lurking around and watching Buffy with the Immortal, but what purpose did it serve other than to make both Angel and Spike feel bad. Maybe that was the point.

I think I got off topic.

Spike and Angel are so different. Spike enjoys the perks of being a vampire, even after getting his soul. I think the only reason he considers Shanshu to be important is because Angel wants it. Spike enjoys interacting with the people at W&H, and he enjoys being thought of as a "champion" (oh, that word again).

Angel accepts the assets of being a vampire only in so far as they help him in his quest for redemption. Does he believe in the possibility of Shanshu? He signs it away to prove his devotion to the Black Thorn. At the end of Season 5, after all the losses, I got the feeling that Angel's reason for fighting had changed from redemption to revenge.

My brain has just turned to tapioca, so I'm going to stop now.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK - here's a complete volte face...

I've just spent a wet and windy morning sitting drinking coffee in our tack room, waiting for a break in the horrid weather so we can work some horses. Conversation ranges far and wide - and today I raised the subject of Animal Love versus Human Love and how it could relate to Vampires with and without souls. (I have very tolerant and understanding friends, who are, fortunately equally interested in this kind of philosophical discussion).

Now, a very cogent argument was put forward, which I found entirely convincing, and which, if it was accepted would have devastating consequences regarding the portrayal of Angel and his soul.

My friends made the point that there is no way of associating the soul with the concept of a moral code. Their belief is that there is *no* difference between Animal love (see my explanations previously) and human love. My argument that human love is capable of empathy/sympathy was rebutted with the argument that this empathy/sympathy is entirely culturally based, and not inherently part of a human's psychological make up.

They put forward endless examples of where humans defend their particular 'tribe', families and friends in exactly the same manner that pack animals behave. They also pointed out that defending the tribe/family was an efficient mechanism to ensure continued survival of the individual and its tribe/family.

They also argued that there are a multitude of examples where humans that are outside the tribe/family are regarded as 'competitors', 'threats' and 'prey', rendering my assumption that humans are different from the rest of the animal kingdom entirely null and void. I probably haven't explained this very well, (and without recounting over an hour's worth of conversation this summary will have to do), but being decisively convinced that the soul has nothing to do with a culturally imposed code of sympathy/empathy with creatures outside of one's own tribe, it has implications regarding my view of Angel's own soul.

If we assume for the purposes of this discussion that the soul is entirely separate from cultural and moral codes of conduct, then when Angel was cursed with a soul it shouldn't really have had any effect whatsoever upon his conduct. Why would it make him feel remorse for his previous actions if we assume that remorse for torture/killling/maiming etc is purely the response to a social moral code?

OK - this would completely upturn the Jossverse applecart - but shouldn't the curse have really been about somehow making Angelus sympathetically aware of a particular moral/cultural code that made him feel shame and remorse over his previous actions? Shouldn't the whole issue of 'good' and 'evil' never have come up in the first place??

My head hurts now.... Confused
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lisa P wrote:

Quote:
If we assume for the purposes of this discussion that the soul is entirely separate from cultural and moral codes of conduct, then when Angel was cursed with a soul it shouldn't really have had any effect whatsoever upon his conduct. Why would it make him feel remorse for his previous actions if we assume that remorse for torture/killling/maiming etc is purely the response to a social moral code?


Laughing

Sorry LisaP. I understand your confusion. This is why I agrued for the term conscience rather than "human love" as you used it.

If we consider that Angel was a child of his culture, complete with the morals and codes of conduct, then the restoration of his soul would reactivate the conscience that is effected by the following or failure to follow those codes.

We are all children of our native culture...even if we try to live in another, there are some things that will be with us forever. (Did I tell you my undergraduate and first grad degrees were in anthropology?) Angel would be no different. Perhaps returning his soul (conscience) let him see all the things the demon did as crimes against his cultural imperatives as opposed to physical imperatives (breeding, eating, etc.)

Congratulations on your choice of friends, and what breed of horses do you have?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eeek! Another yummy part of the discussion, and this has to be just another very fleeting visit... But - polishes fingernails about the animal bit...

I should declare that I am entirely schizophrenic when it comes to some of these issues about souls. Is schizophrenic still the right word if you're in half a dozen minds at once? However, even in real life, I am entirely of the belief that humans are only a rather specialised chimpanzee, and still part of the animal kingdom. We have a bigger brain, but the brain we've got is built on the animal brain, and you can trace back the layers, I believe, back to the most primitive reptile. Or further.

So, what's a soul, and who's got one? That's when it starts getting tricky. Perhaps it starts with the essential 'Me', and the concept of mind.

Current thinking, I do believe, is that we can definitely be in different minds in our own heads, because the essential 'Me' is whichever major nexus of neurons is actually firing. So, 'Me' changes with whichever part of the brain is being used, or whichever different parts are coming together to work through, or experience, different things. What we experience as 'Me' is just the currently firing synapses.

Intellectually, I like that, because all animals have these things. Even a humble flatworm has a nerve network that maybe gives it some simple concept of 'Me'. The more complicated your brain architecture, the more complex your notion of Mind. And different brain configurations might well make us seem to be schizophrenically angels or demons with those internal thoughts...

Where does the eternal 'soul', the one that's going to go to Heaven or Hell, fit into this? Well, it really doesn't. It can't be an animating spark, because every living thing, down to an amoeba, has that. So, maybe everything does have a soul, including your pot plants. I've certainly taken that view in some of my fiction and a lot of my arguments.

Is the soul a conscience? If it isn't the animating spark, and it isn't the concept of 'Me', then all that's left might be that moral code, that's imprinted into the architecture of the brain from a very young age - the younger the better. But that's just learning and socialization, and will die with you.

Intellectually, that might be attractive, but emotionally it's extremely unsatisfying, because it means that there is no such thing as an eternal soul, and this is it. This is all we get. And maybe that's what Angel has figured out when he tells Kate in S2 that 'If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.' Because if there is no eternal soul, then there is no afterlife, and the Powers are a sham.

What of demons, then? Well, if the 'soul' is just a learned moral code, then demons have a moral code which has been conceived and developed in a very different social context. They have a 'soul', but it has a very different perspective to our own society, just as different societies on Earth have different perspectives. Each social unit would be different in that, and would be the code learned by the young from the adults, or quite possibly, the code developed by groups of youngsters in defiance of their elders, deriving from the ancient hard-wiring of the brain, and feedback from their peer group.

How, then, could gypsies give Angelus a soul in that context? Well, they'd have to do it by imposing magically a different set of learning. There would be nothing physical or metaphysical - just implanted memories and learning.

Eeep! That's when my own brain doesn't like the argument and goes back to a baseless belief in something else, something that might well be shared with the animal world, of which we are a part, but which has ongoing existence, and ongoing memory, derived from the experience of previous lives.

Now my head hurts...

Jo
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phew - ljgould, you've saved me from disappearing up my own fundament on this one!

Quote:
If we consider that Angel was a child of his culture, complete with the morals and codes of conduct, then the restoration of his soul would reactivate the conscience that is effected by the following or failure to follow those codes.

We are all children of our native culture...even if we try to live in another, there are some things that will be with us forever. (Did I tell you my undergraduate and first grad degrees were in anthropology?) Angel would be no different. Perhaps returning his soul (conscience) let him see all the things the demon did as crimes against his cultural imperatives as opposed to physical imperatives (breeding, eating, etc.)


Yes, that makes a whole lot of sense, and I can now understand your determination to use the term conscience rather than "human love". I can merrily substitute 'conscience' rather than 'soul' in future.

Quote:
Congratulations on your choice of friends, and what breed of horses do you have?


Yep, I'm a lucky, lucky girl indeed as my friends are quite the most wonderful bunch ever - and that includes a couple of people who I've met through the Buffy/Angel arena of cyberspace!

If you go to the 'my pictures' forum and look at the topic 'Neigh' you'll see a piccy of some of the neddies that take up far too much of my time.
We look after/own 9 horses in all. We have four retired horses of various shapes and sizes and five who are working. Of these, we look after a pure bred Portugese Lusitano, and own between us two cobs, a brilliant cob pony (my beloved Badger), a pure bred Highland Pony and a beautiful big Dutch Warmblood. (No quarter horses, I'm afraid).
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