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Thread: What if ... the Soul Glutton had devoured Spike`s soul?

  1. #21
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    I wanted to stay out of this (knowing that engaging in the discussion will probably end up with me feeling cranky and frustrated) but I can't resist.

    To answer the opening questions: no, I think Buffy would not and should not have dusted him. About their relationship, I like to think that they'd still try to make it work.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpuffyGlitz View Post
    He wouldn't forget all his personal growth and the evolution of his relationship with Buffy and would still love her and probably want to continue in the same way as before.
    Exactly. And I think/hope Buffy might be inclined to give him a chance this time.

    However, he would completely lose the ability to perceive right from wrong, he wouldn't care about that any longer (except in so far as it pleases his own interests.)
    Agreed, but I think plenty of people care about right and wrong only in so far as it pleases their own interests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I agree with those that have said that he would return to being fundamentally morally limited
    Spike may be morally limited without his soul, but since plenty of people without this moral limitation don't behave much better anyway, I think it doesn't make that much of a difference in practice. A soul may give people the theoretical capacity to be 100% good, but I'd say that in practice, most people probably don't use more than, say, 60-70% of that capacity. Most people are pretty selfish and only do things because it is expected from them or it somehow benefits them (even if it's just because doing good makes them feel good). I'm solidly with Tribel on this.

    Say that Spike's lack of a soul means he will never be able to reach more than 60% goodness, but he is still trying hard and succeeding to be the best he can be without a soul (reaching his ceiling of 60%), then in practice this still makes him more or less as "good" as the average person. You could even argue that it makes him better because he has to work a lot harder for it than those who do have the full (theoretical) capacity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vampire in Rug View Post
    Spike with a soul from season 7 onwards was guy who was trying to better himself. Mentally, he was a regular guy who had issues. Pre-soul Spike, if tested would probably show be classified as a sociopath. Completely incapable of feeling remorse, severely limited capacity to feel empathy (almost none), and even though he is capable of good acts, his inner moral compass points him towards evil. He finds starving kids in Africa funny. Sees no harm in Buffy killing an innocent girl he doesn't know because in his eyes, good and evil is a numbers game and one kill doesn't "tip the scales." Transports dangerous demon eggs for cash.
    I'd say, Spike without a soul from Season 5 onwards was already a guy who was trying to better himself. And if finding starving kids in Africa funny, and all the other listed examples, are signs of being inherently evil, then sadly lots of souled people are evil too, without the excuse of being "inherently limited" because of lacking a soul.

    I think soulless Spike has the capacity to feel empathy and remorse, but it only extends to people he actually cares about. Again this doesn't make him different from most people. Plenty of people don't care about others if those others are people they don't know. (As I was typing this, I was listening to one of our politicians talk about not letting refugees into the country. I don't mind classifying this as evil, but I don't see how S5-onwards soulless Spike is worse.)

    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    But Spike`s choice is still important because it is a deliberate choice to change. He is not saying "I won`t eat my neighbour anymore because society or Buffy tells me not to do so" but instead he says "I won`t eat my neighbour anymore because I choose to be a person that doens`t eat neighbours". That`s what is imho so verse-shattering and verse-building about Spike`s soul-quest. And that would have been belittled if the Soul Glutton had devoured his soul and no-one would have noticed. It would have meant to take that choice away from him.
    I don't follow this, because it's in fact soulless Spike who made the choice to change. That is what is so awesome about him, in my opinion. He didn't have a soul but he deciced he needed one. Even if he had never succeeded in actually getting one, just wanting to have one made him good enough for me.

    Btw I don't think Spike could have lost his soul without anyone noticing. Getting his soul *did* change Spike and even though losing it wouldn't make Spike suddenly become evil again, people would sure notice the difference in his behaviour and mindset.

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  3. #22
    Well Spiked Stoney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    TriBel: First I thought, woah that`s a fantastic idea for a less boring season 12 plot line. On second thought though I do agree with Stoney,although maybe for different reasons (I am not sure,but Stoney hopefully will confirm or clarify that). To me it`s not having the soul that makes such a difference but getting the soul.

    We all know that demons have souls (although we do not really know how they work) and we certainely know that evil humans have souls. It does not always give them the neccessary sense of morals, especially since morals is something we humans make up as we go along. There have been times in history of makind when it was not considered to be an immoral thing to eat your neighbour or have sex with children. Morals are more connected to how society progresses and moves forwards (and sometimes backwards) as to the having or not having of a soul. But Spike`s choice is still important because it is a deliberate choice to change. He is not saying "I won`t eat my neighbour anymore because society or Buffy tells me not to do so" but instead he says "I won`t eat my neighbour anymore because I choose to be a person that doens`t eat neighbours". That`s what is imho so verse-shattering and verse-building about Spike`s soul-quest. And that would have been belittled if the Soul Glutton had devoured his soul and no-one would have noticed. It would have meant to take that choice away from him.
    I was meaning that being souled changes the character and his behaviour significantly enough that to suggest that he could become unsouled and it not be apparent was a negative plot idea for him because it would pull down the literal difference that being souled makes to him. Yes it also would backtrack on the reasons/choice to go and get it in the first place, but it was more the idea that his characterisation wouldn't shift in a noticeable way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Dutchess View Post
    I wanted to stay out of this (knowing that engaging in the discussion will probably end up with me feeling cranky and frustrated) but I can't resist.
    I know what you mean DD, I try to avoid soul conversations quite often because I end up feeling like that too. From my pov an unsouled vampire just isn't in the same position as anyone souled who can make cruel/poor choices because of the literal limitation on the breadth/depth of their ability to feel emotions/morals. I don't think the capacity is there in a way that creates a distinct unreliability and when it isn't something that personally interests them it can plummet to 0%. When souled there's a significant and literal limitation that both Spike and Angel feel exists in them unsouled, and that's from their perspectives of having experienced both. I always thought Angel distinguishing between himself unsouled and Faith when she was walking a dark path as not being the same because she had a choice was a significant perspective. That souled he doesn't look at himself unsouled and think he can make choices with the same scope of understanding. This I think really fits Spike's disparaging pov on the love he felt/offered unsouled. It was a shadow and perhaps it could result in some good, but it wasn't strong enough to be able to control/inform his choices reliably. That the character's personality led him to seek/fight for his soul to become something other than he was is fascinating and such a great story. But his inability to even know what difference it would make and his perspective on who he used to be when he has one really underlines to me that it was a blind choice to a great degree rather than indicative that he could ever bridge the gap without one.

    And in light of wanting to avoid cranky frustration, I always turn readily/eagerly to the agreeing to disagree conclusion.
    Last edited by Stoney; 04-05-19 at 09:06 AM.

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    Slayer Supporter vampmogs's Avatar
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    I must be really blessed to be surrounded by such good people in my life because I can't say I know anyone, let alone "most people", who are guilty of the kind of actions/feelings that soulless Spike did/had I can't say I know anyone who finds starving pictures of children funny, or thought pedophiles raping and killing little kids was funny, or would grin at the sight of murderous bikers rampaging through people's homes and terrorising them, or had such a limited capacity for empathy they could only care about someone they personally knew and liked. I also don't know anyone whose guilty of killing, maiming and raping people without a hint of remorse about it (yes, even in Season 5-6) or who immediately tries to kill someone the second they believe that they can again.

    I mean, do those people exist? Unfortunately, yeah. And they are evil. But "most people?" Definitely not. I wouldn't want to cross paths with someone like that let alone date them. For example, unfortunately I think a lot of humanity turns a blind eye to staring African children because they're out of mind and out of sight. But I've never come across anyone who thinks pictures of them are funny. And I think it's safe to say that the overwhelming majority of humanity has a natural inclination to protect children and are pretty much unanimously outraged and disgusted by pedophiles who abuse and kill them. The Ted Bundy's of the world are the exception not the norm.

    To me, this isn't even a question. The series already answered it. Even soulless Spike at his best, at his most evolved, still ended up trying to rape Buffy. He still tried to kill the girl in the alleyway. He still tried to sell the demon eggs. He still thought Razor's gang "looked like fun." He still couldn't care one iota about Katrina or understand why it was haunting Buffy. That's why they had him get a soul. Because the soul was necessary and without it, as Spike himself said, he couldn't be the kind of man that wouldn't inevitably harm Buffy again. To his credit, soulless Spike knew that and understood that he was kidding himself to ever believe he could be a man as long as he was soulless.

    In the Buffyverse vampires are literally linked to evil. Holden says he felt it the moment he rose from his grave ("I'm connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that's going to suck the world into a fiery oblivion"). We know what happens in the Buffyverse if someone loses their soul not just because of the countless examples of people turning evil once sired into vampires but also when Kathy was slowly robbing Buffy of her soul in "Living Conditions" or the young boy was missing a soul in "I've Got You Under My Skin." It's actually part of the mythology. We're discussing a universe where the existence of a soul is a real, provable thing and that there actually is "evil" in the world (and an actual embodiment and source of all evil - The First) and it's not just a concept. We've heard firsthand from vampires what it means to have a soul/be soulless. Pregnant Darla was a sobbing mess that she was going to lose her soul after her baby was born because she knew she wouldn't be able to love it and that she'd be a danger to it, even. When Spike gets his soul it fundamentally changes him. In "Underneath" he's saddened and depressed about the fact that half the world is starving and he no longer finds it humorous to see people suffering. And that's the difference between actually being good and simply 'acting' like you're good. I would never want Buffy to settle for being with anyone who is merely playing a part and "pretending" to feel that way and, honestly, 99% of the time soulless Spike didn't even do that. Spike had to get his soul for a reason. To reject it's importance is to reject one of the most pivotal moments in his journey.
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    vampmogs: And what do you think had happened if the soul glutton had destroyed Spike‘s soul? Should Buffy had staked him? Would she have staked him.

    Yes, i am surrounded by nice people too, who don’t think starving children are funny and who care for cats on trees and stuff like that. Eighty years ago exactly the same people - literally their parents or grandparents - killed six million people in gas chambers. They weren’t monsters or demons. They weren’t soulless. They were just ordinary people. Like the people that surround you. Like your neighbors. And they killed their neighbors.

    About twentyfive years ago about one million people got killed within three months in Rwanda. Again, those people women and kids among them were killed by their neighbors.

    I am surrounded by good people too. They are really good people. I just don’t believe that means they could not turn into monsters, should the circumstances become different from what they are at the moment.

    flow
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    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    vampmogs: And what do you think had happened if the soul glutton had destroyed Spike‘s soul? Should Buffy had staked him? Would she have staked him.
    To be honest, I don't really care about the plot lines of the comics because I think they're awful. But, hypothetically, if Spike were to lose his soul at any point from Season 7 onwards, I don't believe Buffy would jump straight to staking Spike or nor that she should. The most obvious thing to do would be for her to attempt to restore Spike's soul. I'd find it pretty inexplicable and OOC for her to hastily try and stake him without exhausting other options first.

    Yes, i am surrounded by nice people too, who don’t think starving children are funny and who care for cats on trees and stuff like that. Eighty years ago exactly the same people - literally their parents or grandparents - killed six million people in gas chambers. They weren’t monsters or demons. They weren’t soulless. They were just ordinary people. Like the people that surround you. Like your neighbors. And they killed their neighbors.

    About twentyfive years ago about one million p got killed within three months in Rwanda. Again, those people women and kids among them were killed by their neighbors.

    I am surrounded by good people too. They are really good people. I just don’t believe that means they could not turn into monsters, should the circumstances become different from what they are at the moment.

    flow
    Ok, but I never said humans weren't capable of monstrosities nor that they couldn't "turn into" monsters. That's not just true in the Buffyverse but in real life as well. But Spike already was a monster, literally. By the mythological parameters of the show, shown over and over again, you cannot be good without a soul in the Buffyverse. Spike's very arc - him needing a soul - is a testament to that. As was Darla's, as was Angel's, as was Harmony's, as was "I've Got You Under My Skin", as was "Living Conditions" etc. It's not something the show has ever been ambiguous about. I think it's something people wish the show had been ambiguous about, but it wasn't.

    I mean, hell, if people don't believe me - believe Spike. He obviously felt it were true or he wouldn't have went after a soul. And apparently (I haven't read it) he tells Buffy to stake him straight away in Season 10 because he knows better than anyone how important a soul is. Angel, Spike and Darla all were adamant that they were evil without souls and didn't want to lose them. They see no moral equivalence between an evil person simply doing 'good' things and actually being good. And who would know better than them?
    Last edited by vampmogs; 04-05-19 at 02:39 PM.
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    Oh, I absolutely agree with you about the soul canon of the buffyverse.

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    I don't think Spike gaining and benefitting from having a soul undermines how awesome/ exceptional he was soulless, or undermines his soulless acts of selflessness. Because there were many. Even Buffy acknowledges there was "good" in him un-souled. I find soulless Spike extremely relatable and the text mostly presents him as "theoretically" evil - we don't really emotively process him as "evil" in the same way as we do Angelus in S2, so granted, there's a bit of dissonance generated. So I can understand the will to 'read' him as a 'regular person' (as most regular people aren't shiny paragons of virtue.) And I do agree with TriBel about the moral relativism hinted at in S6 (and in the redefinitions of meaning in S7.)

    Can I just ask a question that sorta indirectly relates to the issue of Spike's soul? I'm genuinely curious.

    How do people feel about S6 (and S5) Buffy? Her main objection to Spike (and her biggest struggle in having a relationship with him in S6) was his lack of a soul. When you watch that season, how do you feel towards her? Do you think she was at fault or misguided for feeling that way? To me this is actually pretty key - because it keeps coming up in fanfic too.

    I'll just reiterate that Buffy wouldn't have staked Spike if he lost his soul, period. And she shouldn't have.

    (Though 'should' feels a bit authoritarian, lol - I'll leave the fictional characters to do what they want )

    - - - Updated - - -



    PS. I'll just quickly add my perspective on why I bring this up:

    For me, the issue with viewing the soul as unnecessary/ irrelevant to Spike's canon journey is that it massively shortchanges Buffy's character. To benefit from a soul doesn't at all undermine Spike's path IMO, I actually feel thrilled for him when he achieves it, but to say the soul is irrelevant absolutely depreciates Buffy's.


    She goes from being a hero adjusting to life after death, whilst battling the desire to give up, feeling a genuine conflict between her feelings for someone who's been a remorseless killer in his past and someone she can see glimmers of humanity in, someone she has feelings for and someone who's actively pushing her in various directions -- to just being seen as a misguided, bitchy, ungrateful female who can't see the value of the heroic guy she keeps rejecting. That's not my view of her at all, but I have encountered it so often.

    That reading of Buffy just really, really freaks me out, and it's more prevalent than I'd imagined. It's just an unfortunate by-product of reading Spike's soul as unnecessary. Appreciation of soulless Spike is absolutely valid, but viewing the soul as unnecessary unfortunately translates into a misunderstanding of Buffy's character, into active Buffy-dislike, or worse, condescension ("poor thing, she's been conditioned to think the soul is necessary so she's not really understanding Spike"/ "she's like this because of her past trauma"/ "she's just depressed and taking it all out on poor Spike".) That's just not true of Buffy and I don't think the text or canon wants us to view her that way. In my view. This subject is pretty important to me so I just wanted to get my thoughts on it out here. Apologies if it offends anyone, not my intention.
    Last edited by SpuffyGlitz; 05-05-19 at 12:04 AM.
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    Double Dutchess
    I don't follow this, because it's in fact soulless Spike who made the choice to change. That is what is so awesome about him, in my opinion. He didn't have a soul but he deciced he needed one. Even if he had never succeeded in actually getting one, just wanting to have one made him good enough for me.
    I was a bit confused about your post at first because I thought "But it`s exactly what I think too!". After reading your post for the third time or so I think I finally got it. You say, the fact that Spike decided to get his Soul already is the fundamental change no matter if he actually gets one or not. I can see your point and I don`t know yet if I am on board or not. But what is important to me - apart from the decision in itself - is that Spike made a huge effort, went to Africa, faced trials and literally put his existence on the line for the soul. His decison wasn`t only "I could get myself a soul" but it was " I will either get a soul or dust trying". Which imho makes it impossible to separate his decison from him actually having a soul.

    SpuffyGlitz:
    How do people feel about S6 (and S5) Buffy? Her main objection to Spike (and her biggest struggle in having a relationship with him in S6) was his lack of a soul. When you watch that season, how do you feel towards her? Do you think she was at fault or misguided for feeling that way? To me this is actually pretty key
    I`ve said this before, in a discussion about whether Buffy loved Spike in season 6 or not. My take was and still is that she wanted to love him but couldn`t, because he had no soul. She still trusted him more than she should have - against her own better judgement and her declaration she does not trust him and could never do so. That`s the part, where she is in denial and misguided. She knows she can`t trust him, she says she can`t trust him and yet she does. At least to a certain point. But Spike proves her to have been right about that all along. He can`t be trusted.

    flow
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    @Stoney: I'm not disputing that the soul makes a difference; I agree that soulless Spike isn't as good as he can be with a soul. I just think that without a soul he could be good enough for most practical purposes. It would take effort, but with enough incentive (desire to maintain his relationship with Buffy and respected position among the Scoobies) he'd definitely be willing to put in that effort. And yeah, agreeing to disagree is always a good option!

    @vampmogs: Re-reading my own post, I can see that I didn't express myself very well and that it comes across a lot more extreme than I intended. (And maybe I was also arguing --in my mind-- against some things that were not directly said in this thread, which didn't make things clearer.)

    I didn't mean to say that most people are as bad as soulless demons. What I was trying to say is that soulless Spike has the capacity to reach more or less the same level of goodness --in actions if not in thoughts-- the average person has. Without a soul, he may never be "perfectly good" (whatever that means) but he can be good enough to get by in practice. After all, most people are not perfectly good either, even though with a soul, they supposedly have the theoretical capacity to be so. Mother Teresa level of goodness is the exception, not the norm. Most people (I think!) are just trying to get by and think of themselves and their family first.

    When I said these things about "most people being selfish" I was actually thinking of myself in the first place. I'm pretty sure I have never been capable of loving selflessly (so I strongly identify with soulless Spike in that respect), and although I try to help people when I can, I think it's basically because it makes me feel good to do so. I spend a lot of money on food and vet bills for my cat (because I love him) but I don't care enough about anonymous cows not to eat them (even though I know this is wrong, and they have the right to live as much as my cat). I shouldn't have been generalizing to "most people" based on just my own experiences, but to be honest I think all those things are pretty normal, and they put me in the 60-70% goodness level like most people. (Of course, percentages completely made up by me.)

    About finding pictures of starving people funny: looking at what people post online, I do have the strong impression that there are plenty of people who enjoy seeing other people suffer, make jokes about it etc. Trafficking demon eggs? Look at the size of the weapons industry. Etc. But I didn't mean to imply that these things are normal for "most people", although on re-reading my post I see that it looks like I did.

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    When Spike gets his soul it fundamentally changes him. In "Underneath" he's saddened and depressed about the fact that half the world is starving and he no longer finds it humorous to see people suffering. And that's the difference between actually being good and simply 'acting' like you're good. I would never want Buffy to settle for being with anyone who is merely playing a part and "pretending" to feel that way and, honestly, 99% of the time soulless Spike didn't even do that. Spike had to get his soul for a reason. To reject it's importance is to reject one of the most pivotal moments in his journey.
    I do agree that the soul makes a big difference for Spike. Maybe it's because he was a good man before he was turned. Otherwise, even with a soul he might still have ended up as one of those people who just don't care about starving people as long as they're on the other side of the world, who like to make jokes about drowning refugees, etc. But Spike was already making efforts to overcome his "evilly inclined" nature when he was soulless, and he would surely have doubled his efforts if he lost his soul. What I do want for Buffy is to be with someone who tries.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpuffyGlitz View Post
    For me, the issue with viewing the soul as unnecessary/ irrelevant to Spike's canon journey is that it massively shortchanges Buffy's character. To benefit from a soul doesn't at all undermine Spike's path IMO, I actually feel thrilled for him when he achieves it, but to say the soul is irrelevant absolutely depreciates Buffy's.
    I do think Spike benefits from his soul, it's not irrelevant at all. Otherwise it would have been pointless for him to try and get one in the first place, and I love that he did get it. But I think that *not* being able to get one (or getting one but then losing it, as we're discussing here) would have made a great journey for him too. I love soulless Spike as much as souled Spike, and what I don't like about the strong emphasis that is put on the importance of the soul, is that it undermines how far he got without one. To me, soulless Spike is a glass half full, not half empty.

    I'll get into the Buffy side of things in another post!

    Quote Originally Posted by flow View Post
    You say, the fact that Spike decided to get his Soul already is the fundamental change no matter if he actually gets one or not. I can see your point and I don`t know yet if I am on board or not. But what is important to me - apart from the decision in itself - is that Spike made a huge effort, went to Africa, faced trials and literally put his existence on the line for the soul. His decison wasn`t only "I could get myself a soul" but it was " I will either get a soul or dust trying". Which imho makes it impossible to separate his decison from him actually having a soul.
    Exactly. And yes, he manages to get it because he wants it so badly. If he would have decided to get a soul, but then just gave up at some point, it totally would not count. But if for some reason (no fault of his own) he failed at getting or keeping it, I would not hold that against him.

    (Whew, this is exactly why I shouldn't have posted in this thread in the first place: another two hours gone that I could have spent working on whatever I'm going to do for Seasonal Spuffy! And I can only hope that I made less of a mess this time than with my previous post...)

    - - - Updated - - -

    @SpuffyGlitz: I also dislike fics that paint Buffy as being mean to poor Spike who does nothing wrong. (But TBH I can't recall any of the "poor thing, she's been conditioned to think the soul is necessary so she's not really understanding Spike" variety. Might be a blind spot on my part???)

    In my view, Buffy and Spike messed up more or less equally in S6. I do think that in other circumstances, things might have gone a lot better than they did. Buffy would have benefited (among other things) from less depression and Spike would have benefited from more positive reinforcement from her and the Scoobies. Instead of being constantly put down as an evil soulless thing, some acknowledgement of the good things he did do might have gone a long way.
    Last edited by Double Dutchess; 05-05-19 at 02:13 AM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Dutchess View Post

    In my view, Buffy and Spike messed up more or less equally in S6. I do think that in other circumstances, things might have gone a lot better than they did. Buffy would have benefited (among other things) from less depression and Spike would have benefited from more positive reinforcement from her and the Scoobies. Instead of being constantly put down as an evil soulless thing, some acknowledgement of the good things he did do might have gone a long way.
    So well put, absolutely agree!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Dutchess View Post
    I didn't mean to say that most people are as bad as soulless demons. What I was trying to say is that soulless Spike has the capacity to reach more or less the same level of goodness --in actions if not in thoughts-- the average person has. Without a soul, he may never be "perfectly good" (whatever that means) but he can be good enough to get by in practice.
    The moment he thought the chip had stopped working he tried to murder a girl in "Smashed". How is he then even remotely comparable to the average person even in practice? Remember, Spike wasn't refraining from killing people in Season 4-6 because he wanted to. He didn't have a choice.

    He wasn't even a reformed killer at this point. The atrocities committed by him and the body count to his name would make even the most sadistic and prolific killers in history blush. And not only did he not regret these crimes but he'd still be committing these crimes if he had the physical capacity to do so. The show even compares him to being "like a serial killer in prison." You acknowledge that his thoughts and actions are two different things, and that whilst he can't be good in thought he can at least fake being good in action, but are you saying you could honestly be comfortable being with someone who you know wants to kill innocent people but just can't put this physically into practice?

    To be clear, I'm not trying to suggest it's wrong to like Spike as a character. I don't think there's anything wrong or shameful whatsoever about enjoying a fictional character no matter how good or evil they are. But if we're having a serious discussion where we're equating soulless Spike with regular people or whether it'd be fine or healthy for Buffy to be in a permanent relationship with soulless Spike, then I do think this moral relativism is downplaying the reality of who Spike is. I don't actually believe you'd be comfortable being in a relationship with Ted Bundy so I'm not sure why Buffy would or should be comfortable being in a relationship with soulless Spike.
    Last edited by vampmogs; 05-05-19 at 07:47 AM.
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    SpuffyGlitz

    ("poor thing, she's been conditioned to think the soul is necessary so she's not really understanding Spike"/ "she's like this because of her past trauma"/ "she's just depressed and taking it all out on poor Spike".)

    she's been conditioned to think the soul is necessary
    Yes...she's been "conditioned" but "conditioning" implies there's a "non-conditioned" place to be and, IMO, there isn't. She's no more or less conditioned than anyone else, in text or outside. No more "conditioned" than people who "believe" in the "obvious", in "commonsense" (SpuffyGlitz - you've read Mythologies - I know you have ). When I use the term "ideology" I use it in an Althusserian sense: "Those who are in ideology believe themselves by definition outside ideology: one of the effects of ideology is the practical denegation of the ideological character of ideology by ideology: ideology never says, ‘I am ideological’. It is necessary to be outside ideology, i.e. in scientific knowledge, to be able to say: I am in ideology (a quite exceptional case) or (the general case): I was in ideology. As is well known, the accusation of being in ideology only applies to others, never to oneself (unless one is really a Spinozist or a Marxist, which, in this matter, is to be exactly the same thing). Which amounts to saying that ideology has no outside (for itself), but at the same time that it is nothing but outside (for science and reality)".

    "she's like this because of her past trauma"
    Yes, she is...there isn't a single bloody character in the 'verse or outside who's not like they are because of trauma. S7 brings psychoanalysis to the fore, if we do something similar then we've all undergone trauma, trauma that's repressed. The initial separation from the mother, the repression that comes about as a result of Oedipus etc.).

    I don't think she is "depressed". I think it's melancholia - a failure in the mourning process. I think Joyce is the absent presence in Buffy's life and I think her "depression" is directly related to Joyce's death. I think Holden Webster possibly talks bollocks...Psychoanalysis 101. I think there's a possibility he gives the analysis he does because he's a man...not a monster. I think the text has a much better understanding of Freud than HW.

    As for Smashed, Spike is of two minds. He's talking to himself. We have no way of knowing whether he would have killed the women if the chip hadn't fired. We presume he will (perhaps he presumes he will) because of the way he's been represented in the past...in the same way that Andrew knows he's English because of representation (Dr Who). Similarly, Buffy thinks the "muggers" are vampires...because of her expectations of the past (what would have happened if she'd staked before she kicked?). But the past, our knowledge of the past (history) is partial (this is one of the functions of the brief appearance of the Guardian). He's trying to make a "grand gesture" to prove his evilness but S6 is about the banality of evil...and the banality of good. ANYA: I'm serious. Responsible people are ... always so concerned with ... being good all the time, that when they finally get a taste of being bad ... they can't get enough. It's like all (gestures) kablooey. Xander says badness is seductive. What's his (the text's) point? Can goodness be seductive to a bad person? There's probably a few Christian martyrs/saints who'd testify to it.

    Here’s why I think there’s a massive problem in relation to Spike and the soul. The text's thinking on the soul (as made manifest in various characters) has changed. Was what we knew before, the text's mythology or the belief system of various characters (IDK)? In the West, the soul has traditionally been privileged over and above the body. The difficulty is that soul (spirit/intellect) aligns with the masculine, the body with the feminine. Men are reasonable; women are emotional. Men are culture, women are nature. In effect, when women reject the body they reject themselves (and, it’s important to note that Joyce, the mother, IS “The Body”. Count the number of times “mothers” are mentioned in S7. Starting in the first episode with “Mom hair” (that she’s like a mom is of concern to Buffy”); through Beneath You (Madonna & Child icon); through all of the appearances of Joyce; the Mission (Madonna & Child icon, statue of the Virgin); Woods’ mother, Spike’s mother. In Chosen, it’s only when The First mentions “Mom” that Buffy rallies herself. IMO, there's a massive problem with "the soul" because of "touch" and Touched. Buffy claims Spike gave her strength...what was the nature of that strength...what does it mean? Oh wait...they don't know.

    "The disparagement of touch has a long history in the west and mostly occurs through the conceptual separation of body and soul and the aggrandizement of the latter. As Anne Davenport states in reference to Aristotle’s writings, ‘The highest rank among terrestrial animals is occupied . . . by the rational animal, human being, in whom a new and final principle, the rational soul, is added to the sensory soul, making him the most “perfect” terrestrial nature.’8 She continues, ‘While touch, to Aristotle, is the most basic sense, the sense without which no sensitivity and intelligence are possible, sight is heralded as the supreme sense, yielding the “purest” pleasure, paradigmatic of the ultimate perfection of sensoriality.’9 This equation which links vision to spirit and intellect has stayed with us throughout western history. The Enlightenment with its emphasis on rationality and science continued the onslaught against touch".

    Check just how many times “vision” or the ocular is alluded to in S7, particularly as a metaphor for “knowing”. Include in this windows, eyes, perspective etc. Look at the function of "light" (light can clarify, it can also blind). Ask why there's 7/8 unlit light sources in the Stranger's house. Look at the emphasis on showing, on display, on seeing and been seen. Look at the purpose of shadows - the shadow caster, the shadow men. Ask why this seems to allude to the Allegory of the Cave.

    "Although there were moments in western history when physical sensation was not underrated, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the privileging of intellect to the exclusion of sensation began to be challenged in an articulate and significant way. Prior to and during the Cold War, the threat of atomic annihilation made many people begin to fear the reign of science and rationalism, which was held responsible for the developments of the Final Solution, the Eugenics Movement, and the creation of increasingly more effective weapons such as nerve gas." This is a fear of Man - not monster. Ask why the device both Spike and Xander are "sacrificed" on seems to allude to Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.

    "This challenge contributed significantly to the development of European and American philosophy. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s great treatise The Phenomenology of Perception10 was first published in 1945, but the English translation by Colin Smith was not published until 1962. Merleau-Ponty was an early existentialist and phenomenologist. His ideas of an embodied consciousness and the underlying supposition that all knowledge is experience-based challenged the Cartesian duality of mind/body, subject/object, intellectualism/sensualism, and exemplify the move away from Rationalism. Feminist criticism, as expounded by thinkers such as Luce Irigaray, Elizabeth Grosz, and Hélène Cixous, has drawn heavily on his work, and has used it as the springboard to argue against what is seen as a ‘phallogocularcentric’ world (phallus=male, logos=rationality, ocular=sight)". http://www.interpretingceramics.com/...rticles/22.htm

    SpuffyGlitz, it's for this reason I think BtVS is - ultimately - a feminist text.

    flow: get back to you on "work". I'm in a similar position.
    Last edited by TriBel; 05-05-19 at 11:11 AM.

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    Double Dutchess
    I love soulless Spike as much as souled Spike, and what I don't like about the strong emphasis that is put on the importance of the soul, is that it undermines how far he got without one. To me, soulless Spike is a glass half full, not half empty.
    I am completely on board with you on that Yes, Spike tries to bite a woman in an alley. Is it because he his inherently eveil, nothing but evil always was and always willl be and therefore returns to evil deeds the second he thinks he has a chance to do so?

    The text allows this interpretation, maybe even supports it. But it is also possible that Spike was in a process of being reformed and reforming himself and simply experienced a major relapse. Which would not necessarily mean he would not be able to pursue his path to goodness further as soon as he recovered from the relapse. And after hiding the dead body of the poor woman in the alley behind a dumpster. Or maybe he would have recoiled in the very last moment. We don`t know. The text allows this interpretation as well.

    Double Dutchess:
    In my view, Buffy and Spike messed up more or less equally in S6.
    Again, I completely agree. I don`t think either one`s behaviour is an excuse for the other one`s behaviour. But in season 6 there are examples of Spike`s behaviour that support your thesis of the glass being half full. There are situations, when his Actions aren`t inherently evil and do not benefit him. He failed on many other occasions and sometimes was outright wrong or wronged Buffy. But seeing his good and his bad actions in season 6 I always see someone who is torn between two sides and hasn`t yet managed to find his way to one or the other. I am not saying he would have made it to the good side safely even without a soul. But I see that he was trying at least sometimes.

    I am also aware that this would not have been a great comfort to the poor woman in the alley :-)

    flow
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    For me I think the text directly answered the question by Spike failing to keep to something he thought he could confidently state was a line he wouldn't cross, to hurt Buffy. I think the text deliberately showed that he was torn and he could lean one way or the other at different points, but at the end of the day that he was unreliable and inherently limited without his soul/because of his nature. It concluded that he would eventually fail because even the best of what he had achieved when inspired by his love and commitment to Buffy and his wish to be with her, couldn't reliably be seen to inform his choices or even mean that he could meet his own affirmations of how he could be trusted. So yeah, for me S6 directly addresses his potential that had been shown and I really feel that the show drew his story inline with the consistent message that a soul is needed and makes a meaningful difference that can't be substituted (and that it deliberately intended to do that). The soul has in-verse specific context to its importance that starts to get stretched if you look to transpose it to real life directly. When it comes to the importance of the soul in BtVS I feel there is a consistent message and with Spike it was shown that without one he would eventually fail. I will just have to happily agree to disagree to the idea that it left that question ambiguous.

    I also really dislike the leaning towards implying that Buffy just lacked appreciation for Spike that you sometimes see in fandom or the victim blaming that sometimes happens (and often features in fanfics). This and the dismissal of the importance of the soul are the main reasons I tend to avoid fics set in S6 or later. It bothers me on a different level when it is part of a story post S6 canon.
    Last edited by Stoney; 05-05-19 at 08:49 PM.

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    @vampmogs: When I said "soulless Spike has the capacity to reach more or less the same level of goodness --in actions if not in thoughts-- the average person has" I didn't mean to imply that he had already reached this level in S5-6. It was still very, very much a work in progress then. Maybe I should have said "potential" instead of "capacity"?

    The way I see it, more or less (I know it's far from being a perfect analogy), is like a class of students. Almost all of them have the intellectual capacity to achieve a grade A+, but for them to actually achieve this is rare. Most of them are a bit lazy when it comes to studying, or they have other things on their mind, so the average grade in the class is a C+. There is one student who somehow ended up in their class in spite of being not very smart. He will never be able to get an average grade of A or B, no matter how hard he works, but with exceptional effort he could still achieve a C or C+. Fortunately this student is very motivated, and he manages to achieve that level, after putting in several years of hard work. At first he had to be locked up in the library and forced to study, but later he got into it and managed on his own. So, eventually he manages to reach the same average grade level as most of the other students in the class. He'll never be an intellectual, but he gets by. Of course he's better at some subjects than others. He actually gets an A+ on Heroics and Saving People, but his score on Empathy For People He Doesn't Know will probably never be higher than a D at most. Sometimes his discipline lapses and he is close to getting an F, but with the help of his study buddies he manages to avoid this. Very different from his past, when he got an F on each of his subjects (and ate the teachers).

    Back to the reality of the show, and Spike trying to kill the girl in Smashed. That's indeed a major lapse; he's very clearly not there yet. But the scene also shows that he is no longer at his pre-chip level of evilness. He has to talk himself into it, whereas S2-or-earlier Spike would not have hesitated for a second. (Of course, as flow pointed out, for the poor girl this would have made zero difference, had he succeeded.)

    However, the original question was about Spike losing his soul in S10, and whether he should be staked / could still be in a relationship with Buffy. S10 soulless Spike is not the same as soulless Spike in S5-6. After years of having had a soul, being a hero and a champion and working with Angel's team as well as the Scoobies, when losing his soul I don't think he would be right back where he was at the end of S6. I am quite certain that at this stage he would no longer be making the same mistakes as in S5-S6, and he would be in a much better position to maintain a sufficient level of goodness. (To go back to the studying analogy, he loses the miracle brain upgrade that suddenly allowed him to get a grade B, or maybe even A, grade average without having to work very hard for it. But he still remembers the subjects and he is now best friends with the best students in the class. And because he wants to remain best friends with them and stay in the class, he is now even more motivated to study very hard than when he originally got the upgrade.)

    Quote Originally Posted by vampmogs View Post
    To be clear, I'm not trying to suggest it's wrong to like Spike as a character. I don't think there's anything wrong or shameful whatsoever about enjoying a fictional character no matter how good or evil they are.
    Thank you, but I never thought you were trying to suggest that. I like pre-chipped Spike a lot too, and he was a Ted Bundy for sure, with zero interest in being anything else.
    Last edited by Double Dutchess; 06-05-19 at 12:41 AM.

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  31. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Dutchess View Post
    I like pre-chipped Spike a lot too, and he was a Ted Bundy for sure, with zero interest in being anything else.
    Nah, Bundy was a no holds barred psychopath. Spike is, at best, a sociopath. Angelus, however fit the profile perfectly. This was their fundamental difference after all and the writers took pains to point it out.

    I think this is why we often wonder at the differences between souled and unsouled Spike. He wasn’t quite the monster his sires were.S10 made a clear statement that Spike himself didn’t trust the monster but it doesn’t stop us [me] from speculating.

    Flow chooses an interesting source for the argument. Barb is a hard redemptionista. If you’ve read all her fiction, souled Spike is, basically, contemptuous of a Buffy who finds anything attractive in his unsouled counterpart. Buffy is indifferent to a souled up Spike. She has built a world around the question of whether an unsouled demon and a damaged slayer can make a life. She believes they can and goes on to actually write a bazillion words to prove it. She convinced me enough that I squirm at Spike ‘s declaration However, I think there is good canon reason to accept Buffy felt a solid connection to unsouled Spike. I think her shock at his betrayal is enough that she would give him a chance. Ironically I don’t accept that Buffy would stake him as Barb surmises

    Spike isn’t human and as a character he can’t really relate to the real world. Real People don’t lose their souls, they don’t ‘eat’ people. The best we can gain from him as as a character is speculating about how you handle society if you care or don’t care. We can speculate about motivation, intention and outcome. Unsouled Spike could potentially do everything perfectly and be a Champion simply because he loved a woman. His souled version may do exactly the same for no other reason than it was right. This is why he is interesting.

    Buffy is the wild card...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamw30 View Post
    Nah, Bundy was a no holds barred psychopath. Spike is, at best, a sociopath. Angelus, however fit the profile perfectly. This was their fundamental difference after all and the writers took pains to point it out.
    To be honest I don't know much about Ted Bundy besides that he was a serial killer, and Spike used to fit that description. But it's true that Spike and Angel were very different types of killers.

    [Barb] convinced me enough that I squirm at Spike ‘s declaration
    Same here! I'm a universalista first and foremost, but a redemptionista next and I'm not sure if that's because I love Barb's fic so much and find it so believable, or the other way around.

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