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SPN Meta: Relating to 5.13 - CaffieneKittySpace
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caffienekitty
caffienekitty
SPN Meta: Relating to 5.13
Here we go, the other part of my post for 5.13, the bit where I scoop up the goo that is my brain, put it into a cake-icing tube and try to make decorative meta flowers.

In other words, rambling and possibly incomprehensible Meta ahead.



Is it stretching the truth to tell your boss you're dog-tired because you were up late preparing a document for an online conference on free will and determinism in a fictional context?

'Cause really, yeah.

(Of course I didn't tell her that.)



Vessel mini-meta and random thoughts:

I'm thinking there's a bit of attuning of vessels by temperament. Dean and John, righteous, more attuned to Michael; Sam, rebellious, more attuned to Lucifer even before the demon blood treatment; Jimmy Novak, faithful, and Castiel has him prove his faith. I don't know, it's just a thought. Uriel's vessel's temperament... I don't know. Violent perhaps.

Anyway, the main thing. From 5.13 we now know that all YED's kids, every single one, were potential angelic vessels, or had parents who had the bloodline (I have no idea how genetic inheritance of the capacity to contain a being of pure energy works. I think it might be a little beyond a basic Punnett Square, but 100% inheritance might be a bit much to assume.)

Now, I think being fed demon blood attunes a vessel to accept Lucifer, or at least not reject him as a tainted angel. Whether this renders them unusable by regular angel is unknown. However, the big special kid showdown that narrowed them all down to one vessel not only selected Lucifer's vessel, it eliminated that many potential hosts for angels. Suddenly, YED's got some strategic thinking. (and this drabble I wrote a long time ago is pretty much proven correct, yeah?)

Wee little Rosie, who'd be what, 5 now? She's still a vessel, and possibly un-demon-blood treated, as are any of her cycle that are still surviving (thundering herds of five year old angels! Hee!) although I suspect a purge took place with the showdown, when it became clear that Sam's generation would work. ....whiiiich... ooo. Nick's baby and wife. He's a regular, untainted angel vessel (which is why he's burning out holding Lucifer). Maybe his spouse made a deal? Or maybe killing his wife and child, beyond softening him up towards saying yes to big L, did away with another potential vessel or two. The demons may be more tactically savvy than I've been thinking all this time.

As for Michael's side of things, I think John would have worked and been Michael's Sword, had he broken in Hell. See, I think that a righteous person, who is a vessel, who sheds blood in Hell becomes Michael's Sword. They needed Dean to break and not John, because the dynamic would have been wrong. I wonder, maybe, if Michael nudged things while he was there in 1978.... if so, it had to have been a part of the plan all along to influence Mary's unborn baby, otherwise observer effect and causal looping would come into play. Or would it? *ponders*

What all this does then, is has Heaven and Hell dancing lock-step with each other. The righteous person who becomes the Michael Sword must break and shed blood in Hell in order to open the first seal and start down the road to releasing Lucifer and bringing the Apocalypse. A righteous person must break in Hell to become the Michael Sword so he (or she, had things shaken out differently) can be there to host Michael for the big showdown with Lucifer at the end. One doesn't happen without the other. Hell forges the weapon of its own destruction.



Causality and Determinism vs Free Will
(WARNING: I fully admit, I only have half an idea what I'm talking about in this one. Some part of me thinks there's sense in this, the rest of me just wants some extra-strength acetaminophen. Oh, BTW; May cause blinding headaches.)

Supernatural time travel as demonstrated on the show to date indicates that it is arguably a Type 1.1 universe: Immutable timeline operating under the Novikov Self-Consistency Principle. The general gist being; events will unfold as they were intended to, regardless of interference, because any change made will be compensanted for by several smaller secondary changes, leading to an indistinguishably similar outcome.

Or is that just what the Angels want people to think?

This time out, Michael manually reverts everything to base state. No 'things adjust so the same result happens regardless of action taken to change the outcome of events'. Michael came in, mind-wiped everyone, and reverted everything to normal. The person Anna killed, John's boss, is likely still dead; under Novikov's principle, he would have died at around the same time of a heart attack or something if Anna hadn't killed him.

In 4.03, the situation was such that Dean's presence might have influenced events, but in the end, the same thing as always happened happens, and had to otherwise Dean would not have been there to change it. However, people in the past retained memories of events, and John bought the Impala. If Novikov's Principle were a factor, the Impala would have caught John's eye whether Dean had suggested it to him or not.

In "The End", Dean takes an action contrary to what his future self says he did, and things change, but will they still end up in the same place? Everyone still seems to be aiming Sam at Chicago Detroit (Thanks percysowner, but whether that's what happens remains to be seen. Events Dean witnessed did not shape who he was when he saw them, but they did affect his decisions upon return. Therefore it seems like observer effect may be in play, because if he hadn't been sent forward, projection or actual future, he may not have made the same decision he did (although I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have cut Sam off forever)

There's an arguable point that Zachariah had his thumb on the scale to weight the future projection of current events in a way he thought favoured his ends. If that's the case, then by doing this and seeming to have shot himself in the foot, he may have deliberately instigated the observer effect. Because Dean has seen this future and it has had an effect on the decisions he's made, even though the decision he made directly contradicts statements his future self makes, it may be enough to ensure that future is brought about.

The angels and demons both have a vested interest in the concept of Destiny. Destiny means no matter how hard the humans try, they'll still end up in exactly the same place. The place where both sides want them to be. The humans are nothing but game pieces, and a means to an end.

But they have free will. A large part of the issue of getting Sam and Dean to take their assigned roles in events hinges on them giving consent. Saying yes, of their own free will. And to get that consent, both sides will use as dirty tactics to gain that consent, even if it means using free will.

The concept of destiny in this case is being used by both sides as a bludgeon. The Winchesters are told that their actions don't matter because they're going to end up in the same place regardless of any actions they do or don't take. They're being told, over and over, that no matter how hard they try, they will fail. They're being told free will is an illusion, directly and indirectly, and the only way to fail is to believe that.

In "The Song Remains the Same", before Michael steps in and hits reset, Mary and John know an awful lot about the future. In order for that to be washed away by Novikov's Self-Consistency Principle, it would take a mammoth amount of change. John's boss died with his eyes burned out; could be explained as an industrial accident, a mishap in the shop. Mary and John's knowledge though would be very difficult to have slip away without fundamentally changing the people they are. Standard amnesia would involve an injury, and medical intervention, adding a traumatic event they never had into their lives. Slowly forgetting over time would not likely happen, not without a psychological fugue. Aside from stopping Anna, which if the Supernatural universe is a type 1.1 universe was not necessary in order to save Mary and John, an instant, gapless non-traumatic amnesia was the only way to revert the timeline to base state, the state it had to be in in order for the people and entities who went back in time to be the people they were.

SO! It's a causality dilemma. Is Michael (and by extension, the other angels involved in forwarding the Apocalypse) acting as a force of self-consistency, restoring events to what they must be according to observer effect, or is he forcing self-consistency into an inconsistent universe? Making the timeline immutable by any means necessary, enforcing predestination on a timeline which actually may or may not be fully locked into one path and one path alone.

Michael evidently believes or wants to believe that he does not have a choice in his role in events. By his own statement, he doesn't want to kill Lucifer. Lucifer's his brother. He's following orders and free will is an illusion. Angels do have free will. If they didn't, Lucifer would not have been able to rebel against heaven. Other angels have used free will; Anna and Castiel and Gabriel, of course, but also Uriel (joining the cult of Lucifer, killing his fellow angels when they refused to join him), even Zachariah, taking initiative to bring about the Apocalypse. Free will among the angels abounds. Michael says it's an illusion. If he had free will, he could say no to killing Lucifer, and try a different path.

And as I said before, integral to the entire Apocalypse is Dean and Sam's assent to be vessels. The whole predestined, fated, predetermined, inescapable schmozzle hinges on their free will.

Free will is shaping destiny. Team Free Will has already won.



(Not quite as coherent or polished as I was hoping, and like I said above, I only have a vague notion what I'm talking about here, so hopefully if you made it all the way through, it wasn't an utter waste of time.)


And now I'm going to come out of post-episode hermit lockdown and start catching up on things (right after I inhale some Tylenol), so if you get a comment on something from last week, that's why

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Comments
percysowner From: percysowner Date: February 9th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
See, I think that a righteous person, who is a vessel, who sheds blood in Hell becomes Michael's Sword. They needed Dean to break and not John, because the dynamic would have been wrong.

The thing is, I think that the Angels are SO sure of fate that had John broken in Hell and become Michael's sword, they would have claimed that that was fate too. John would be God who commands Michael so he is the true vessel for Michael. Sam is the disobedient son in both stories, rejected by his father, ordered into Hell by his father and Michael is the son who carries out his father's orders. The Angels and Lucifer see predestination and fate in every movement, so whoever came out as the vessels, the Angels would have found a way to work it into their mythology and belief that these people were the designated vessel. If Jake had lived, he had a sister who could have played the part of the righteous person who defies her brother and goes to Hell only to be raised to become Michael's sword. When you believe everything is fated you see fate in everything. Perhaps free will is an illusion, but I see the points in my life where I made choices that affected where I am today, and since I believe in free will, I see them as choices, not as psychological situations where I could not make a decision on my own. People and Angels and demons make the world fit their own philosophies, even when they don't.


Oh, and it is actually Detroit, not Chicago that Lucifer keeps going on about.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 9th, 2010 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)
People and Angels and demons make the world fit their own philosophies, even when they don't.

Of course. Such is the nature of sentient beings. :-)

Oh, and it is actually Detroit, not Chicago that Lucifer keeps going on about.

Thanks, for some reason I always get those two confused.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 9th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bravo!

I think this is very wise. (Actually, I think this whole discussion is of the impressive *smile*)
Angels officially lack 'free will' ( or as I would argue came to it late in life - because they sure have it now) and so will tend to seek for a 'gods will' interpretation of events - even if they have to twist a few details.
tigriswolf From: tigriswolf Date: February 9th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Free will is shaping destiny. Team Free Will has already won.

YES.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 9th, 2010 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely! \o/
malevolent73 From: malevolent73 Date: February 9th, 2010 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't leave a productive comment as, for the most part, this went over my head, but I LOVE this line, "Hell forges the weapon of its own destruction."

Stupid demons. ;)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 9th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Stupid demons. ;)

Yup!
From: spacefarer Date: February 9th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem with predestination is that it's impossible to disprove. If you believe that everything is predestined, planned from the start, then no matter where you end up, *that* becomes what the plan presumably was. If Dean and Sam do something that appears to be a free will choice, something that is *supposed* to change things--like Dean's agreeing to get back together with Sam at the end of 5.04--the believer in predestination will simply shrug and say that it was always supposed to be that Dean and Sam got back together, that Result A wasn't the real plan, though it may have seemed to be, it was always Result B.

To anyone who firmly believes that all things are part of A Plan--not just the goal, but also every step along the way--then you can never prove otherwise. To a believer in predestination, even an apparent exercise of free will was always God's plan, that is, God *intended* you to be defiant and make your *own* choice, which was really *His* choice.

There's no real way to shake that belief, because it's broad enough to include any and all actions taken, and any and all outcomes.

One thing to note is that Dean's agreement to rejoin Sam appears to have actually *speeded* things up: in 5.04, it's a couple of years before Sam says yes; in 5.10, it's down to six months. Apparently, Dean was right at the beginning of 5.04, and they should have stayed apart. (Please don't hit me, but one little nitpick: It's Detroit, not Chicago. lol)



//As for Michael's side of things, I think John would have worked and been Michael's Sword, had he broken in Hell. See, I think that a righteous person, who is a vessel, who sheds blood in Hell becomes Michael's Sword. //

I don't think John would have worked at all, because I don't think John Winchester, by the time he went to Hell, was a righteous man in any way, shape or form, whatever he might have been when he was younger. He was a vengeance-obsessed bastard (and "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord". That alone takes John and Sam out of the category of "righteous," IMO) who sacrificed his children--most especially his older son--on the altar of his obsession. He turned his elder son into a subordinate soldier and guard dog, because that's what *he* needed, with no concern for what Dean needed. He was an arrogant, demanding taker who, until his worst enemy made him see what he'd become, gave little or nothing back. Once he thought he had a bead on the YED--at the beginning of season 1--he abandoned not only his son, but also the innocent people being menaced by other things that go bump in the night (and sending the boys on hunts was not to help those people; it was to keep them away from him).

IMO, he doesn't remotely qualify as righteous. The fact that John in the end sacrificed for Dean is not enough (and I keep wondering how much of that was the fact that John didn't want to have to face killing Sam, so as always, he dumped it on Dean). It means he wasn't totally lost. But righteousness, for me, goes to how you live your entire life, not merely how you choose to die.

I believe that even the show supports this: Hell was eager to trade him for Dean after only two months (Earth time)--it wasn't because John was holding out, because Dean held out longer than two months. Heaven made no attempt to pull him out before he broke--and we're told that they went after Dean as soon as they found out what the plan was (which also means there was no plan to break John, other than like any other human soul, in the wind). And John, who presumably never broke, was free to stroll out the gate when it opened in 2.22, which means he wasn't trapped on the rack.

I think that because John was of the right bloodline, he could be a temporary vessel for Michael in 1978, because technically, Michael's True Vessel had not yet been born. Dean, however, was always the True Vessel.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 9th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
One thing to note is that Dean's agreement to rejoin Sam appears to have actually *speeded* things up: in 5.04, it's a couple of years before Sam says yes; in 5.10, it's down to six months. Apparently, Dean was right at the beginning of 5.04, and they should have stayed apart.

Or they're rushing things so Lucifer's side doesn't have as much infrastructure and infiltration (and maybe Jesse found and brought back from Australia) and so will be less prepared and the angel's side will be able to mount a more effective plan of attack. Regardless, I'm thinking they're starting to realize there might be a way out that doesn't involve saying yes to anyone.
aescu From: aescu Date: February 9th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Time paradox is a huge sand box. Hope you won't get lost (or your brain explodes)...

Besides that I agree overally (is this even a word?)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 9th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Time paradox is a huge sand box. Hope you won't get lost (or your brain explodes)...

Are you kidding? Everything else aside, I've been an avid time travel fiction reader since I was twelve and I'm a Doctor Who fan too. I eat paradoxes for breakfast. Om nom nom. ;-D

Besides that I agree overally (is this even a word?)

I think in that context 'overall' might work better, but the english language is a strange and shifting thing, so who knows. :-)
irismay42 From: irismay42 Date: February 9th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only thing I didn't quite understand about the bloodlines / vessels thing was the Cain and Abel reference. Because, according to Judeo-Christian belief, isn't everyone descended from Cain and Abel? i.e. the sons of the first human and his wife. (Although I never did understand how Cain and Abel got themselves wives to go forth and multiply with...)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 10th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Oof. Here's where an expert in the Judeo-Christian belief system would be able to answer better, lthough you might get more answerd from that wikipedia page I linked up top.

To my knowledge, after Cain slew Abel he was cursed to wander the land or something, with the mark of Cain ensuring no one would kill him and any land he tried to work was blighted. Essentially he was forced to wander the earth as a beggar and leave his people. Abel was dead (not sure if he had kids first or with who), Cain was cursed and wandering the earth (I heard he'd married Lilith and bred monsters, but I don't know whether that's Biblical or from Vampire: The Masquerade. :-P He's got descendants in the Bible, (Lamech, Enoch) and it says somewhere the Mark of Cain was set to expire after he'd had seven generations of children, sooo... *shrug*) and Adam and Eve had more kids over the next several hundred years.

That's the general gist as far as I know, and really, I don't know much. Literal interpretations of the Bible are tricky.

ETA: Apologies for the coding fail :-P

Edited at 2010-02-10 05:25 am (UTC)
irismay42 From: irismay42 Date: February 10th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think my brain hurts now!
annspal From: annspal Date: February 10th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the thought-provoking post. (I'm here from the newsletter.) I appreciate having these kinds of ideas organized for me.

Free will is shaping destiny. Team Free Will has already won.

I think that is the point of giving us a prophet recording the gospel - with edits, no less! And a fanfic writer able to play with and embellish canon. And LARPers making fantasy concrete.

Not that this is a new concept in the SPN universe given the S1 Hell House's spirit being controlled by prevailing beliefs. I'm not entirely sure about whether Free Will shapes destiny. ("What if it comes back?") But, I am convinced Free Will exists and can be utilized to shape reality.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 10th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that is the point of giving us a prophet recording the gospel - with edits, no less! And a fanfic writer able to play with and embellish canon. And LARPers making fantasy concrete.

A very interesting point. And I've been waiting for them to re-visit that Tulpa-symbol since it aired. ;-)
blacklid From: blacklid Date: February 10th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Si, si, compadre.

If you don't believe in Destiny, does it still have an effect on you? Feasibly, yes, because OTHERS believe in it and will continue to shape it on your behalf. But what they EXPECT the result to be versus what you actually DO... it might be the total opposite of the intended result. That's why it takes two.
blacklid From: blacklid Date: February 10th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am friending you because these metas are awesome and right on track (do you know how rare that is?) and because you mentioned Joseph Campbell.

Hi. *waves*
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 11th, 2010 08:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello again! I remember you from the Case of the Missing Impala Spotlights a few years back. How's the truck?

I'm glad the meta is comprehensible, I was wondering for a while there if I was just frothing at the brain. And hell yeah, Joseph Campbell! *high fives*
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: February 11th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
See, this is why I leave the meta to you;) Causal loops and time travel are so much fun for the mind..lol Now going to read my Joseph Campbell again.

Edited at 2010-02-11 02:24 am (UTC)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 11th, 2010 08:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee! It's making more and more sense to be a fan of Supernatural and Doctor Who, eh?
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: February 12th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee!! Absolutely:)
auriliawestlake From: auriliawestlake Date: February 11th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I normally don't chime in on discussions of fate versus free will, but I thought I'd break pattern for once and throw my two cents worth into the mix - maybe it'll be enough to keep your brain firmly between your ears (and not have it go dribbling out your nose or whatever it was trying to do):

I look on fate and free will rather like a road map - some things are inevitable, but how you get there is what counts. For example, if I want to head to San Antonio for the weekend, I could take the easy way and hop on I-10 East for a few hours. However, I've driven that stretch before and know it's a bloody boring trip. So, if I wanted to head over to see the Alamo this weekend, I'd actually take a meandering series of two-lane blacktops through innumerable small towns - sure, I'd waste a whole day (possibly a day-and-a-half) doing so, but my experiences on the back roads would be infinitely more interesting and thus more pleasurable than simply going the easy way.

How does this relate to fate? Simple, really - some events in a person's life are inevitable; no, I don't mean the big things like births, deaths, or weddings. I've always felt that those moments when you get that déjà vu vibe are those fated moments - everything else is up for the choosing.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: February 11th, 2010 08:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh of course, that's kind of what a type 1.1 universe is; fixed destinations with mutable paths. There are many ways to get to San Antonio, but no matter what, you're going to San Antonio. The path taken offers variation, but the end result is the same. What I'm saying is did the universe come with the GPS pre-locked on San Antonio, or are the warhawk angels using free will to not only set the GPS to San Antonio, but keep it from getting reset to Albuquerque? If they're choosing destiny, they're using free will. And if they're using free will, free will already won.

I think. *shrug*
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