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I still think BOTN was swiss cheese continuity wise, but I like it better as an ep than initially. The hole-y ness and hokiness of some of it obscured a bunch of neat

Yep, not a bad episode at all, because it really has made me think. I can forgive a *huge* pile of crap for "Get Bent" plus days worth of think-think!

Most of all, t's made me think about Evil. What is it in the Buffyverse, how can it be defeated, yada yada. This is all tied up with those things that Beneath You made me think about moral superiority and the Buffyverse and how I'm thinking it's the real dominant theme of this season. Lots of random thoughts occur to me here, and it appears I'm going to babble on for a loooonnnnnnng time in this post. Feel free to nod and smile as you back away slowly and carefully...

Initially, I start out by thinking that to defeat the First Evil, we need it's opposite--some kind of "First Good". But after a full day of randomly thinking about it and revisiting conversations with friends (*waves at Mint*) about it, searching on the Buffy db for 'evil', and googling around various philosphy texts, it occurs to me that going for the opposite is just the *wrong* reaction. I mean, what happens if matter and anti-matter collide? Go Boom! Not exactly the kind of solution we're lookin' for here.

The other notion about opposites that occurs to me is that the nature of opposites tends to be polar -- that is, one can be said to exist (be defined?) only in relation to the other. That is, there's no good way to define 'evil' without the notion of 'good', and vice versa? Which sorta works with the whole concept of balance as the ultimate value here -- nothingness being the result of lack of balance. Except, if I define opposites each as the lack of the other, something's missing from the equation. I mean, what does it mean to say that evil is the lack of good? Most folks would give a definition of evil that involves harm or pain or suffering or some such. But is the lack of harm, pain, suffering, etc. really what we mean when we say 'good'? That's really more of a neutral state, right? Sounds rather boring and nothingnesslike to me.

Nevermind the whole 'intent' question, at least for this moment. I'll get to that if I don't get tired before I finish babbling into this little screen. Given that this stuff has been percolating in my head for two solid days, there's a decent chance my fingers will fall off before I finish typing half of it out *g*

Okay, lost in the tangles there. Next thought: doodling around the Buffy db put me in mind of Spike's Becoming reasoning -- the world ain't perfect, but basically It's A Good Thing (no tm). Which kinda sorta led me to the notion that, in the Buffyverse, especially taking into account the atheist bent of it's creator, Evil is really more of a thing inherent in human nature than a force that can act on its own. I presume that's the whole point of the non-corporeal, has to have minions and Harbingers and suchlike to actually have an effect on the world. And certainly that's what the anvils are saying this season, a la Joyce with the whole 'it's natural, it's inside us all' speech. So, to do a sideways return to the point, using an opposite to defeat=Bad Idea. World go boom (dare I say it?) = bad.

Then I veered back to the original thought -- if the answer to defeating the First Evil is not the First Good, then what is it? In the BV, the ultimate in goodness seems to be manifest as love, defined amorphously as sometimes involving romantic feelings and sometimes not, but always as demonstration of concern for others above self. If I think about it carefully, pretty much all of the big bads have been defeated through love and togetherness... Ergo, this evil/big bad will, too. So, if it's 'love' that will defeat the FE, then the question becomes how, right?

I start to get really, *really* fuzzy on things at this point, but that won't stop me from meandering about some more on the subject :-) Maybe if I recap for myself I'll make more sense. You got your good, and you got your evil. Both living inside people/creatures. Both necessary (natural). One overcoming the other entirely seems highly undesirable, so balance between the two is what we're really after. Note to self: probably can't have a perfect balance. Another note to self: Do we really believe the writers/Joss are thinking about these metaphysical things so deeply? I hope one of them gives an interview someday that says so...

Wait. Back to the list. Natural (check) Want balance (check). Choosing love regardless of morality seems to be the key to preventing apocalypse regularly (check). Aha! New item: It's all about the power. Hammer, meet nail. Power, power, who's got the power... people do. But only if they recognize it...not sure if actual use is required or not at this point...

Anyway, If evil is helpless without a host, then FE is helpless unless there's cooperation. It thrives when folks give up and give themselves over to apathy or indifference or defeat. I'm going to say the good side can't win, but that evil can't either. The trick is going to be having people 'own' their power. Willow owning her magic as well as her geekiness, Buffy owning her slayerness as well as her womanhood, Spike owning his demonhood as well as his manhood, Dawn owning her keyness as well as her normalcy, Xander?? Anya?? I haven't thought that far. What I am pretty sure of, though, is that the only way they 'win' this is for each of them to own their own power before the FE can grab it.

Gah... I'm tired of typing. Thoughts?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2002 04:35 pm (UTC)
Hey Chica!
I never got around to thanking you for hand holding over the laptop. If we ever get face to face again, I'm buying!

I did finally get the ferret owning Computer Boffin to hook it up - yes, the card was bad so we switched to the widget and then had FOUR connections between the widget and the hub. So connections were deleted and PapaStang is surfing porn to his heart's content.


Dec. 19th, 2002 04:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey Chica!
LOL! Cool beans (java, of course...). Glad it all worked out, and the ego is thankful to know we weren't off track after all! I felt kinda bad that we left it still not worky-worky.

You going to Vulkon in Tampa? Will be there with bells on!
Dec. 19th, 2002 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey Chica!
Totally Vulkon in Tampa. I can drive, bay-bee! And I will be hoteling it and staying the whole time so much drunken brawling can ensue. I was kind of hampered last time by only having a Day Pass and not staying local. Money sucks when you're short of it.

No, I will be drunk and disorderly after nightfall. Heh.

Dec. 19th, 2002 05:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey Chica!
Oh *most* excellent! I'm rooming with Mint and Kimi (who's still a maybe at this point). Landing on Thursday and not leaving til Monday. Lotsa time for lotsa fun... Really, really glad you'll be there full time this go.
Dec. 19th, 2002 05:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey Chica!
You going to Vulkon in Tampa? Will be there with bells on!

Can't wait to meet y'all! :) Thai food? Or Cuban?
Dec. 20th, 2002 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: Hey Chica!
Oh god, this is going to be *fun*! I'm for Thai, but Cuban's good, too :-) KellyHK & I were discussing what kind of trouble we should get into on Thursday...
Dec. 19th, 2002 04:43 pm (UTC)
Zen and Evil
Laptops aside. What you're postulating is a Zenlike response to the whole issue of Evil. Rather than fighting Evil, you have to take a position where Evil expends all it's energy elsewhere, so it has nothing left to attack with.

Taoist writing gives "The cork upon the water" as an example. Become a cork upon the water to your enemies, let them try to battle you into the water, but the cork will always bob back to the top.

Or The Art of War where you have to let your opponent be defeated by his own stregnth.

It's all very Asian and makes my teeth hurt.

But the point is, Buffy's not going to be able to defeat the FE by fighting it, she's going to have to outsmart it and make the FR turn the energy back on itself. Possibly by doing nothing, which we know is the hardest thing to do.

Fuck. Zen. Where's Oz when you need him. He'd get it.

Dec. 19th, 2002 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Zen and Evil
Nods. Oz would be of the good, and my teeth *definitely* hurt. But it's the good kind of hurt ... bored hurts much worse.

I'm thinking more of the Art of War than of the cork at this point, and I can't quite rise out of the meta to see how the plot would carry this all off, what with the doing nothing bit... They'll have to metaphor it out somehow, just not clear on how.

Of course, the other, far cheesier notion that occurs to me is that the writers really *don't* think things this deep and metaphysical, and we're going to get First Slayer vs First Evil at some point.

*cue insane laughter*
Dec. 19th, 2002 05:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Zen and Evil
I'm with you on all of this. That's pretty much where my last post on BOTN burnt out as well...

the writers really *don't* think things this deep and metaphysical
Well, I'm reasonably certain that Joss thinks these things through. He just doesn't give nearly enough guidance to his minions though. I'm in the camp of people who although I don't wish Joss personal ill, are really quite happy that Firefly failed on the vague hope it'll cause him to spend more time working on BtVS. Unfortunately, I'm realistic enough to know that "shopping the show around" will probably consume even more time and energy than making it did.

Dec. 20th, 2002 10:15 pm (UTC)
Evil is as Evil does?
I'm still swishing around in the concept waters post our last chat, but I'm glad I finally had a chance to catch up and read this. It tilts me even further into the Chaos Theory/fractal realm, unfortunately, which does no one any good whatsoever. Gah.
Dec. 21st, 2002 08:48 am (UTC)
Re: Evil is as Evil does?
Oooooh! *claps and whistles* I want to read Mint chaos/fractal theory as it relates to BtVS ... Please?
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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