I am particularly wary of arguments
suggesting that Dean selling his own soul was problematic
(wrong, reprehensible, ect) because it somehow wronged Sam (As
if he had no “right” to do what he did or as if it were a
self-serving action that harmed Sam/ threw Sam under the bus
specifically). Which too often is how it’s framed. While Sam was
undoubtedly affected by Dean’s decision, shouldn’t “murdering
yourself in order to save someone else’s life” be an action that
deserves scrutiny for its own sake? Is murdering yourself to
save a life a wrong or immoral action? Why or why not? The idea that
it’s wrong only or mainly because the person who’s life you save
may feel bad about your sacrifice, rings incredibly false and
short-sighted, to me. We aren’t just talking about suicide, but
sacrificing your life for the sake of another life. If we are to say
this action is truly wrong and should never be done, I think we’re
going to need a bit more of a reason for condemning this action than
“the saved person may feel bad.”
This is a complicated question and I
hate seeing that diminished. On one hand saving a life/ making the
ultimate sacrifice for someone you love is considered by many to be a
beautiful, even noble action. This is not an uncommon theme in
fiction, and few would judge someone harshly for doing so in reality.
Many parents who love their kids, for example, may be apt to
sacrifice their lives to save their child’s, or even for the uncertain possibility of saving it (I once heard a broadcast about a woman who fed her daughter her own blood in attempts to save her when they were trapped without water. I never once thought, “what cruel and selfish woman. Instead of dying mercifully, the girl will now feel guilt!!”)
Certainly, they realize their deaths will cause sorrow,
but when the choice comes down to their life, or the life of their
child, many, many parents would chose to sacrifice their own instead.
Some would similarly die to save their lovers or siblings, or even their friends. The
sentiment is far from unheard of. It may, in fact, be argued that
this is a very human response toward those one cares very deeply for.
It need not be universal, to be universally recognizable or accepted.
On the other hand, there IS something
disturbing about Dean’s sacrifice in this S3. However, I feel that the gravity of the issue has little to do with Dean’s death making Sam
feel bad. And more to do with the context. It was more than a “I
pushed you out of the way of a speeding care and took the hit
instead” or even an “I jumped in from of a firing gun aimed in
your direction” type scenario. One reason it’s disturbing, here
(to me at least), is that this sacrifice comes from a person who’s
constantly had his own well-being devalued by those around him, who’s
been conditioned since early childhood to sacrifice for others, Sam especially. Because of
this, it’s difficult to deny said conditioning was likely a significant
factor in Dean’s decision to kill himself to save Sam, and there’s
something disturbing about that. Was it pure love, or the lifetime of
psychological abuse that led to Dean’s decision? The possibility
that it might be, even partially, the latter is disquieting, for
Dean’s sake. As this is not the type of action, one ought to feel
forced or guilted into.
Then there is the issue of hell itself,
in that Dean not only loses his life in this deal, he also subjects
himself to eternal pain, abuse, and suffering. The selling of one’s
soul in this case is FAR more than a life for a life. Dean did not
merely agree to die in order to save Sam. He knowingly agreed to
suffer unimaginable and endless agony and violation at the hands of
the most sadistic creatures in existence. This alone complicates
the question significantly. And that’s without all of the
philosophical implications surrounding the concept of the soul.
Sadly, the narrative itself only passingly addresses these things and at times diverts focus to a third issue, the discussion of a
“natural order,” of some sort. This question is based on the fact that Sam
was already dead and the deal revived him. Was that then, a form of playing god? At times the narrative suggests this. However, I also find this discussion to be
missing the mark for several reasons. One being that their particular
interpretation of “natural order” in modern society is violated everyday with support from the majority of the community, as doctors work to revive
those who’ve died whenever possible. Sam was recently dead. This was not a question of
changing history or living forever, even, but more one of reviving
someone who’s recently passed away from an injury or other
unnatural cause. If the show wants to suggest this is somehow wrong, they’re going to need to do a bit more work to convince us why.
Another issue is that the show itself violates its
own rules far too often, praising a violation of their so called
“natural order” just as often as condemning it, and worse,
depending on that violation for the sake of the narrative. Both boys
are resurrected multiple times, almost ad nauseum, as are other characters. Yet the show tries to look down on this, while also promoting it. For example, the character, Death, condemns resurrection,
but then himself actively participates in making it happen again and again.
So, clearly it’s not SO bad, if he not only doesn’t put a stop to
it, but himself encourages it when it proves useful.
This is why I feel such arguments fall flat. If we’re going to judge this action, a more reasonable objection
(imho) would be the question of whether or not Dean’s choice was
actually a choice, and not mainly the result of a lifetime of psychological/ emotional abuse
and conditioning. And there’s always the question of
the sanctity of a human soul and whether it’s fundamentally wrong
to sell it, even if it is yours to sell, (similar to the question of
the sanctity of human life and if it’s fundamentally wrong to end
it, even if it’s yours to end). Or even perhaps whether there is an important
difference between risking your life in the heat of the moment and
seriously, contemplatively choosing to not only murder yourself but suffer hell in to save another’s life.
It bothers me then that these
discussions are reduced to, “Dean was being selfish and mean to
Sammy,” an argument that makes little sense in context here or
SO I JUST FINISHED S3. I am having ISSUES. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY CHILD, NAMELY BEING THE MAIN ISSUE. Tbh, I’m not gonna apply any Shiro specific S3 things from canon until more is discovered ‘cause rn its still pretty vague concerning pointed direction with him. Basically, the only S3 things that will apply will be the newfound general information and history.Given it likely wont come up in Rp just yet anyways since s3 just came out and not everyone has gotten the chance to see it yet, I’ll maintain a spoiler-free setting (and tag it accordingly if it DOES come up.) But yeah, that’s about it on my s3 status. Besides, y’know, me screaming about my children and LADIES.