Are the Souls really "bad?"

Discussion for Stephenie Meyer's debut sci-fic/romance novel. Now open for all discussion. Don't enter if you haven't yet finished the book!
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Post by Una »

It's like the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The souls have a wonderful intention, they create a Utopian environment. However, to do it they take away free will and they banish/kill the original "soul" from the body they take over. There is hope when Wanda talks about the child of the two souls that may never be a host to a soul, depending on the wish of the parents. What if through the raising of children with souls as parents that eventually the Earth will be a planet of souls and humans coexisting. But the fact remains that to attain that goal, there were humans taken against their will, being forced/eliminated out of their bodies. Now you can argue that those human souls that were "killed" were done so for the greater good.

Is is possible to justify the elimination of the humans' original souls for the purpose of this Utopian society?
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Post by Leah Clearwater »

I don't think many of them are really bad. They're just kind of naive.
I mean, they don't even realise that what they are doing is wrong - they truly want to make the universe a better place. And, as Alphie said, they did make a lot much better.
To them, the humans are nothing but violent creatures without feelings who stand in the way of making the world perfect. They are scared of them - so they erase them.
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Post by vampgirl39 »

This seems like a good place for me to point this out.

I don't know if many of you have read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, but this book kept popping into my head as i was reading The Host.
Basically in Uglies, humanity is being controlled by giving everyone an operation that eliminates the violent and negative instincts of humans by making the humans bubble-headed pretties.
There is a refuge called The Smoke that reminded of where the remaining humans were hiding in The Host.
The Seekers in The Host were like Specials in Uglies.

The Pretties are like the Souls, beautiful and oblivious (yet souls are more pure and innocent than pretties)

I could go on and on about the connections between the two books but it really all boils down to one thing...

Humanity can not be oppressed unless dramatic measures are taken (i.e. brain damage or sticking a soul in a humans body) and even then some people will slip through. Maybe, no matter how awful we all, we aren't meant to be controlled?
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Post by JulietMontague »

vegasn8ive wrote:I think the souls are the way they are because that's all they know. Clearly, some of the souls get to see life from the other perspective (going native) and their good nature makes them realize that it is wrong.

I think the initial way of life for a soul was brought about by necessity for survival. I don't think they had any intention of "conquering the universe" and, therefore, aren't "bad".

To illustrate what I mean, a few years ago (quite a while, now :oops: ) I got the chance to meet one of my long-lost relatives who grew up in the former Soviet Union. This was just after the iron curtain fell so he hadn't really been exposed to any western thinking at all. He was raised in the kind of society that knew exactly what they were doing, unlike the souls whom, I belive, truly thought they were doing something good. I got the chance to sit down and talk with him and the most fascinating thing happened. We disagreed but I realized that the only reason we disagreed is because he, simply, couldn't understand another way to think. He had no idea that he could or should think any other way than the way he had always thought, believed. When I was reading this story, I immediately thought of him because it's very much the same.

Souls know they need to survive. They have figured out a way. They have never been on the other end of the situations they create so they have no way of understanding just how wrong it is. And, they view the worlds they inhabit as being better because of their presence, no violence, no crime, happiness and peace. Like when you are a child and you think you are doing a good job throwing your garbage into the bin because that's so much better than throwing it on the ground and mommy and daddy smile and tell you what a good job you've done. Until one day you make the horrible discovery of land-fills and realize that there is so much more than just throwing things "away". I don't think the souls ever stopped to consider the land-fill side of what they were doing. Metaphorically speaking, of course. :wink:
Wow, what a fantastic experiebce to compare it to! You really hit the nail on the head!
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Post by Edwardisanangel! »

I think that the Souls aren't trying to be bad...in fact, they're really trying to improve the world...and, if they could do it without invading the humans, they are really making the world more peaceful(although they overdo it just a little bit). I think that their perspective is warped. They see humans as violent, fierce animals, and aren't really trying to annihilate them for the purpose of killing off the race, but are trying to change their ways to make them more peaceful.
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Post by ebbe »

"The Healer stared straight at me, his face childlike in his bewilderment...'Why?' he asked me." (Stephenie Meyer, The Host,549)
This best potrayed the souls to me. As far as they know, they are doing the right thing. But they are like young children, they don't know anything about sorrow or negativity, they just haven't experienced it. This seems to limit them and they don't see that it's just hard for humans to be peaceful all the time. I think they see a species that is malicious on purpose because it was never hard for them to be peaceful, its just who they are. Sorry if I've just repeated everyone else's comments :oops:
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Post by Trey5565 »

I think the Souls have good intentions, but they don't understand. I think it shows us that you should let things play out. Fate.
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Post by Corky »

I think they are good, but it is also a question of ethics. How far would you go to save a species if what you do to save it will eradicate all that was unique about it?

They're (pardon the pun) misguided souls...but I think they are good at heart.
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Post by I_always_loved_vampires:) »

I'm not positive, I just skimmed the posts before mine, but I think I am the first one to voice the opinion that there is something fundamentally bad about the souls. Now, I hate generalizations and I don't want to make a blanket statement (I'm going to, but I don't want to), but I can't believe that creatures that would chase people down and steal their bodies against their will (effectively murdering them) and then parade around being unbearably nice and compassionate to each other are good. At least not the not wholly. I would compare it to ethnocentrism, I suppose, but I think it is a bit of a stretch. They see humanity as barbarous and therefore inferior. Perhaps I haven't thought this through fully...
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The Souls

Post by HMMM I Wonder »

I think the souls have good intentions. They go to new worlds and try to create a great place to live for their families.

They see humans as evil fighting amongst each other, hurting others around them very violent. They did not stop to look at the good things that make up humans and the human spirit. They see placing the souls into the humans as a good thing taking out the bad.

In the end Wanderer sees this and sees that the souls were wrong. She does see the good in the humans that she is with and in the body she is in. She admits that they the souls got Earth and humans so wrong.
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