umm really really really long post

4

so i’ve been reading @decembercamiecherries’ fic, Words That Water Flowers, and I really really loved chapter 7!! There were a bunch of really great moments and nice visuals that made me really want to draw… (that underwater scene???? just??? it was so nice in my head omg)

And this one isn’t necessarily chapter 7 specific like the others, but i wanted to throw it in bc how can i post fanart for a hanahaki au and not include any flowers?

Dean and Free Will

Re: your “Dean Winchester and the End of Free Will” meta - LOVED it, so detailed and well-worded *hearteyes*, and can I talk to you more about it?

That meta got me thinking, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to put it into words in a way that makes sense, but I feel there are 3 “components” to Dean’s attitude on free will:

1.) Dean denies himself free will, and is thus released from having to take any responsibility for his actions;

2.) others around him DO have free will, BUT

3.) Dean is the only one who is allowed to decide how/if it is exercised.

I’m looking at how Dean treated Sam throughout the seasons - IMO were Dean to really believe that people don’t have a choice/are who they are, he wouldn’t be kicking Sam so much over all his perceived “betrayals”. In 8x06 he actually says, in so many words, that demon blood, Ruby, losing his soul (still so very bitter and angry over this, like holy crap), hunting with Samuel, are not Sam’s mistakes, they’re his choices - very clearly assigning free will and blame to Sam.

Yes, he was under the influence of the cursed penny, but the penny needs for some grievance to be there in the first place to latch on to, as proved by Garth, not to mention that Dean had previously said all these things, in some variation or another, when under absolutely no  influence whatsoever, and in fact gave the very same list to Sam in 8x23 as “sins” Sam needed to confess, so I feel safe in assuming that this is how Dean actually feels.

Then there’s Kevin with the whole “And now he’s in it… whether he likes it or not”, and Sam’s most important question yet “So…free will, that’s only for you?” Because Dean does have a history of deciding other people’s lives for them and, as such, overriding their free will - Lisa and Ben, Kevin (already mentioned), and of course Sam (oh dear God Sam).

I’m not actually sure where I’m going with this. Fascination, I guess, with the mental gymnastics Dean must be going through to validate his life choices?

I am SO sorry for rambling at you, but you kinda said you didn’t mind discussion, and I wasn’t sure whether it’s okay to put all this into a reblog of your meta bc I didn’t want to hog the post, and YOUR META MADE ME HAVE ALL THE THINKY THOUGHTS.


Oh my goodness, thank you so much for sending this to me. It makes total sense, and I am so very here for talking about Dean and free will.  (Original meta on the topic of Dean’s denial of free will here, if anyone dares.)  

I love your thoughts on this subject! I very much agree with you on your discussion of the penny. While I don’t hold Dean responsible for his violence in that scene, since he was under a strong, supernatural influence, it seems clear that there was a lot of truth in the vitriol he unleashed on Sam. The way he treats others, like you mentioned, also seems to imply that Dean sometimes values his ability to choose for people over their freedom to choose for themselves.

Wild speculation on Dean’s thought processes and motivations beyond this point as well as criticism of some of those choices. You have been warned. Read on at your peril.

I love that you brought up how complex and convoluted Dean’s treatment of free will really is. It’s so true that he seems to hold others responsible for their actions, especially Sam, and yet shy away from taking responsibility for the very real harm his own actions cause, hiding behind a very black-and-white, militaristic “me or them” mentality and the belief that he had no choice.

He accepts the ‘choice’ part of free will, but (when it comes to his own actions) discards the idea of personal responsibility that free choice necessarily entails. 

His actions regarding free will are so twisted and self-contradictory, in fact, that I sometimes think they’re just some subconscious last-ditch coping mechanism for him, a way for him to preserve the status-quo and the way he prefers needs to see himself and his role in Sam’s life. (Namely, the Big Brother and benevolent protector who does bad things for good reasons and saves people.) In the end, I think it’s all tied up in and inextricably connected to Dean’s unwillingness to admit that he’s wrong.

Jensen Ackles has acknowledged (more than once, but I can’t find the other quote now) that Dean will not ask for help or admit he’s wrong. Jensen admits that that part of Dean baffles him; he doesn’t know why Dean won’t do those things. I think the show gives us some very compelling reasons why he might not, though:

  • If he admits he’s wrong, he’s making himself vulnerable to Sam. He’s putting himself on an equal level and admitting that he’s made a mistake. That’s a problem, I think, because if Dean admits that he’s capable of making a huge and damaging mistake, it opens up a lot of his past treatment of Sam to the same scrutiny, and he’s just not in the right place to face that or make changes in his life, so he keeps up that lie with everything he has. (He was in the right place at the end of season 5, but things have changed since then.)  Sam has to be the screw-up, the flawed one, the little brother/dependent, the one that needs Dean’s support and forgiveness. If he’s not, then the shaky foundations on which Dean has built his self-worth start to crumble.
    • Acknowledging his own part in the whole demon blood and Ruby debacle would be to say that he didn’t treat Sam right and that he made some harmful choices not with but for Sam.
    • Same with killing Amy. If that was wrong, and if people can rise above circumstances they were literally born into, it makes it that much harder for Dean to uphold his shaky beliefs about his own responsibility. 
  • If he asks for help, the same thing happens. He puts so much of himself into believing that he (and their relationship) is good for Sam, and that he can ‘watch out’ for Sam. If he asks for help from anyone, he’s once again admitting that he isn’t as confident in his role as he needs to be to maintain it. 
    • Sticking to his belief that Sam makes bad ‘choices’ re: demon blood, soullessness, and Purgatory cements in Dean’s mind the idea that Sam needs someone to help him make the right choice, someone to keep an eye on him, and that feeds into that need to be the leader and supporter.
    • If Sam can be blamed and is to blame for things, then Dean doesn’t really have to acknowledge his own guilt. The Gadreel thing quickly got derailed (in perhaps one of the most impressive red herrings in the show) from the real discussion about Sam’s right to make choices about his body for himself to ‘you would’ve done the same.’ And when Sam replied that if Dean were in the exact same circumstances, he wouldn’t actually usurp his free will like that, Dean grabbed onto that and made it about how Sam wouldn’t rescue him if he were in danger… which wasn’t at all what Sam said. (Dean either didn’t understand or chose to ignore the same circumstances clause in Sam’s response). Either way, that kept him from ever acknowledging or facing his responsibility in what happened to Sam. 
  • Interestingly, though, Dean is capable of acknowledging his responsibility in things. He just does it in front of people who aren’t Sam. That makes things a lot more complicated, but it does make sense re: his attempts to preserve the status quo in his and Sam’s relationship.

That’s part of why I think his response to Sam’s accusations about Gadreel and his response to Sam’s apology in 11.11 are so perfectly in character but also very not okay. The thing is, I think Dean tries to tell himself (and Amy, and other ‘monsters’) that he is doomed by circumstance and unable to change, but the fact is that he can change if he actually recognizes the  flaws in his thinking and the unhealthy and harmful effects it’s having on his relationship with Sam. Until that happens–if it ever happens–I’m not sure how much he can grow as a character. He remains static by necessity, because he doesn’t want to change. 

All of this is just speculation based on the way he has interacted with Sam in the past and the things he’s admitted about the way he treats Sam, but it’s the most plausible reasoning I can come up with for what are (as you said!) some pretty impressive mental gymnastics to justify his choices. I welcome disagreement and discussion.

150628 Daehyun Ustream talk
  • *Live started*
  • DH: Hello this is Daehyun
  • *sang "baby baby" to thank baby*
  • DH: I just wanted to do this for the fans
  • DH: wow! 5 thousands wow! *laugh* I can't imagine it
  • DH: wow it keep increasing... There are even Italian fans
  • *Drank water from a bottle labelled as "Damchu"*
  • DH: I'm so nervous!! Why am I so nervous?
  • DH: wow! Brazilian fans are here too
  • *sing again*
  • *finish singing*
  • Emcee: it really is like a birthday party right?
  • DH: yeah! Thank you so much
  • DH: in order to make it as perfect as possible, I practiced
  • DH: if there are 8K watching.. I'll dance
  • DH: I'll wear animal suit and take a photo to post it if the broadcast ends with 8K watchers
  • *the girls mentioned that Daehyun is a "Spartan" trainer when he giving pointing in sighing*
  • Emcee: shall you.. Shall us..the "I dreamt that I saw a ghost" aegyo
  • Emcee: do you want to show the fans "I dreamt that I saw a ghost" aegyo?
  • *did the aegyo*
  • MC: oppa! The MC here is handsome too. Did you see it?
  • DH: oh no! I didn't see it
  • DH: you have to study (fans says that they have finals)
  • DH: baby love you (in Busan accent)
  • Mc: for fans.. Please say "I miss you"
  • Mc: he missed you
  • Dh: I miss you
  • DH: fans please leave many messages if you are curious ... I'll try to answer it
  • DH: is talking in Helium from balloons to speak in high tones
  • DH: this is the first time in showing such a side of me
  • DH: I'll call Youngjae now
  • DH: I would be really sad if he doesn't answer his phone
  • DH: baby are watching now
  • YG: Hello everyone.. This is Youngjae
  • DH: that's all?
  • YG: I love you
  • *Daehyun singing "only you",a little of "Loser","showgirl","all I do"*
  • Mc: it's cool to see the side of you that chase your dreams Daehyun
  • DH: me? Thanks *laugh*
  • DH: to me, babyz are people who allowed me to chase my dreams.it was actually rather hard on me, but I can get strength from fans who send me a lot of messages to support m. Baby are my women
  • DH: these are friends I have had for 5 years,that I'll introduce
  • Mc: you know what people will say
  • DH: right?
  • DH: you know.. you don't introduce your friends to your woman? yeah so I'm worried about how to introduce my friends
  • Friend: he really nags a lot
  • DH: sorry my mouth exist to nag
  • MC: what kind of friend is Daehyun? you can be honest cos babyz are curious
  • Friend: he's nice and cool
  • DH: you see!
  • One Voices: since fans wanna know more about Daehyun we'll play games to know more
  • MC: let's hear about when he's young
  • OV: He practices singing in his sleep with high notes (demonstrates it)
  • DH: no it's not true, don't believe him
  • *Daehyun sing "stop it, stop it now" (in Korean to stop his friends)*
  • DH: I don't really drink much... Usually with ssem
  • OV: he starts nagging when he's drunk
  • *dH Sing stop it stop it now*
  • *Hakssem has appeared!*
  • H: some babyz have told me to pass this to him. It's a birthday cake
  • DH: (holds the cake) oh there's me (points to kekemato) and that's Baby (points to matoki behind kekemato)
  • DH: my first wish was to meet babyz soon. second wish was to promote for a long time with members
  • DH: I had a shock when the monitor went off... system has a problem, sorry..
  • We'll perform the next song right now.
  • *dH sing.. How am I suppose to live without you*
  • DH: all I want is to sing by your side. That's all I need. I'm happy
  • Q: Can you sing a BAP song?
  • DH: umm.. I'm not quite sure
  • MC: he's in difficult position now
  • *call Himchan*
  • *Himchan posted a photo of daehyun*
  • DH: wait a minute!!did he really post it? He really did it! Hahahah
  • DH: you really did it
  • HC: it's your birthday so I want to make you happy
  • DH: but I don't feel happy
  • DH: I'll sure be back with the 6 members and baby soon
  • *wear his chicken suit*
  • DH: this is really the first time, since i was born, it's the first time everyone.
  • DH: To do this till this extent. (Wearing chicken suit to sing) Everyone, you know it right? My heart?
  • *kiss screen*
  • Bye
  • Cr: ricejusayo