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 Vampires and Dragons

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Trench
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PostSubject: Vampires and Dragons   Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:05 pm

I hope to at least post up some sort of discussion topic each day. We'll see... But, I wanted to start with vampires and dragons, it's a topic I've been thinking on for some time now. What do the two have in common, you might ask? Both are questionable whether they ever existed or not. Why questionable? Surely I am not suggesting dragons once really existed...
The argument for both is similar. How could they not have existed, yet have been a part of so many different cultures? All around the world you find stories of both mythological creatures, right? Cultures that had no connection with each other for the longest time. Is it possible that because of this similar connection, maybe they did exist, despite our inability to find traces of them?
No. To me, both are entirely and easily explainable. The more difficult of the two is vampires, so I wish to start there. The dead has been a strange fascination, even now. However, civilization didn't used to understand it as well as we do now. Many unexplained events happened that are easily explained now. Illnesses, genetic defomaties... Alergy to UV rays would explain why a person would be weak against sunlight. There were some people known for drinking blood, as they believed it helped them keep their youth. Of course, most of these were killed by the villagers before they got a chance to prove such. It is all these bizarre stories and worries of the undead, the superstitions that lead to all kinds of tales of demons and vampires. I will concede on this, though... There is a lot of unexplained in the world. Before I delve too deeply there, I will address dragons.
Dragons are far more simple. Cultures all over the world tells about the dragons in their society. Yet, we don't find it curious that no culture speaks of dinosaurs. Yet, there were dinosaurs well known through the entire world. Your explination is simple, your dragons are simply dinosaur bones found in the ground. Having a lack of the technology that we have now, they come to create stories to explain these strange bones. The explaintion they end with? Dragons. And thus, why every culture around us has them.

Do not get me wrong. I am not a total skeptic. But, where is it we draw the line between fact and fantasy? A person drinks blood. Technically, they are a vampire. If they're not possessed by a demon or have an expanded life span, does this make them any less of a vampire? In our minds, it does. But, the definition of a vampire is still there. If you believe in ghosts and the like, is it impossible to have an entity that possesses people, and in return gives them supernatural abilities? Something who is sustained by blood of people? I am skeptical of vampires. But, I do not rule it out right. The point of this last paragraph, however, is to note for those that believe in aliens, UFOs, ghosts and magic, but then say vampires, werewolves, sprites and fairies is just silly. There are some things that are just outright. Things that are so obviously fantasy; minotaurs for one. But where is the line on fantasy and reality? To some, it's a very clear line. To others, there's almost no line at all... My question to you, dear reader... Where is your line drawn?
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BarristerBud

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:09 am

So B-Man invites me to talk about spirituality and I find my first reply will be about dragons. Go figure.

I have no opinion on vampires, I think they are grounded in a much more fantasy line of thought than are dragons. People used to, as you said have UV reactions, drink blood, etc.

Dragons however, I think are proof that man coexisted with some dinosaurs still around. If cultures only had myths about dragons, that would be one thing, but there are countless stories of people in various cultures having to "get rid of" dragons...all the way up until what? The 13th or 12th century, in cultures as "advanced" as the england countryside at that time.

I find cryptozoology very interesting, and if there is one thing it has shown us is not to count out a species we thought didn't exist or was extinct because those species eventually have a way of showing themselves later. Cryptozoologists can point to numerous species that were considered extinct or fantasy until one was actually found...that prehistoric fish, some weird zebra/house/ant eater thing in south america, giant squid, etc. The loch ness monster & the champlaign monster probably exist too for all we know, now we call them monsters, tomorrow we will call them prehistoric animals that have existed all this time without our knowledge, and what earlier man would have called "dragons".

What I think this does point to, is man's vanity in believing that something doesn't exist unless it exists within our realm of "knowledge". I mean, c'mon, nothing can exist unless we know about it right? Surely that tree in the forest doesn't make a sound if no person is there to hear it. Which goes into my argument for God...but that is for another thread at another time.
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BMan

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:53 pm

I like the idea that dragons are based on dinosaurs and that they may have coexisted at one time. Carbon-dating is flawed, so I hear, so who's to say when they lived? If you know anything about dragons (I know some), then you'll know of the different dragon types. The flying dragon, the water dragon, the wingless dragon, these could all be attributed to the numerous dinosaur species.

As for vampires, I have no idea what to think. It could be that they're reality-based and that the truth has been overblown over time. It could be something closer to Hollywood's take and that they know how to keep themselves secret really well. That possibilty is not closed off to someone as paranoid as I am. Either way, the possiblity that vampries exist is not one that scares me, even if it should. I suppose this paragraph didn't really offer anything, but now you've read it, and you can't un-read it. Ha!
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Trench
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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:41 pm

Can something exist if we don't know about it? I mean, what is existance? We could look at several possibilities of reality. Anything from the dream theory (that states our entire life is nothing more than a dream) or 'The Matrix' theory or... Well, I could go on with the list of theories on reality. But, outside of what we know to be there, outside of what we've seen, what is it we really know? Or, for that matter, what that we HAVE seen are we sure about? I watched Hostile. Anyone see that? Gory movie. But, though I saw it, I still know it's not real. But, that's meant to not be real. Still, as real as it looked, it reminds us that there are many things we 'see' that may not be real. So... Reality is all just illusion. That's really not the point I meant to make here.

I digress. I think the end point is, reality is only what you take it to be. Reality is perspective, and perspective is reality. How can we be sure? How can I be sure that dragons didn't exist, or vampires? Or any other such creature. Or, on the other end, how can I be sure we ever really landed on the moon, or that God in any manner really exists? How indeed... I do intend to prove something. I'm not sure what, yet, but that is why I created this forum. I also intend to find a way to un-read BMan's post. I will keep you all up to date on how either turns out.
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Knyteowl

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Mon Jun 04, 2007 9:40 pm

I beleive that Vampires are more easily explained than what was stated earlier. There are many people around today that believe them selves to be vampires and that is fine. These individuals often drink blood and will share there blood with a partner. They will even avoid that light and some go so far as to get there teeth perminantly capped with fangs. I beleive there are two types of vampire, the vampire of fantasy and the vampire of reality. The vampire of fantasy is the undead embodiment of evil that rises from the grave and drinks the blood of the living. This fantasy version can be explained by basic biology. When someone dies the body statrts to change very quickly. Hair and nails continue to grow for a few days after death so a man who died clean shaven could have stubble a couple of days later. The body begins to lose fluid, because of this the skin shrinks a bit making the face seem a bit more taught and the nails longer from skin pulling back from the nail. Cracks form around body cavities such as the mouth and blood will leak out making it appear as though they have been feeding on blood. Another thing is that dead bodies do make noises especially as they go through rigor mortis. A moan can be heard as air escapes the lungs and cavities. Put all of these things together with a midevil lack of knowledge and a few people of the time who are known for there bloody exploits (Vlad the Impaler) and you get the Vampire of fantasy.
This does not mean that I don't believe there are vampires in the world but they are different from the ones of legend. I wouldn't be surprized that a few of the characters of legend were actual vampires but there stores got snowballed over time. I realize many of you are going to think "Yes I have heard that before and you don't have to throw science back at us." That is not my point. My point is the human telephone effect. Lets say a local maiden is a real vampire and gets cought licking there own blood or they are light sensitive and tend to go out at night. Someone tells a friend of this who in turn tells someone else but they don't quite get all there facts straight. After enough retellings the story can completely change.
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Trench
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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:16 pm

This is what I was saying...

Though, not quite in the same way. Bah, y'get my point.

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BMan

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:43 pm

Can something exist if I don't know about it? I say yes. Example: Jessica and I were driving past Wal-Mart the other day and saw a patch of trees and space that we had never seen before. We had never seen it before, never noticed it before, but it was indeed there.

Now, I also believe that perception is reality. This is on a personal level, though. It's the difference between objective and subjective perception. Science is the study of objective perception. This is real. This is concrete whether Jack knows about it. I'll tell Jack and then he'll know. However, my personal reality is a bit less rigid. Until the rules make themselves known to me, there are none. Until I jump off the cliff and fall, I can fly. Until I punch the wall and break my hand, I can break it down.

I wonder if I made my point?
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rogorm

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:24 pm

Sorry, I don't know Jack.

or so I'm told.
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BarristerBud

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:17 am

Trench wrote:
Can something exist if we don't know about it? I mean, what is existance? We could look at several possibilities of reality. Anything from the dream theory (that states our entire life is nothing more than a dream) or 'The Matrix' theory or... Well, I could go on with the list of theories on reality. But, outside of what we know to be there, outside of what we've seen, what is it we really know? Or, for that matter, what that we HAVE seen are we sure about? I watched Hostile. Anyone see that? Gory movie. But, though I saw it, I still know it's not real. But, that's meant to not be real. Still, as real as it looked, it reminds us that there are many things we 'see' that may not be real. So... Reality is all just illusion. That's really not the point I meant to make here.

I digress. I think the end point is, reality is only what you take it to be. Reality is perspective, and perspective is reality.

Chuang Tzu dreamed that he was a butterfly, flying about enjoying itself. It did not know that it was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he awoke, and veritably was Chuang Chou again. He did not know whether it was Chuang Chou dreaming that he was a butterfly, or whether it was the butterfly dreaming that it was Chuang Chou.

That is the "butterfly dream" from Chang Tzu and basically what you were saying.
On the issue of reality, I believe almost every philosopher of the rationalist movement after Descartes in his Meditations struggled with the distinctions of reality.

I enjoy tend to think Locke and Berkley has it right. Reality is objective exterior occurrences. Dreams are subjective inner occurrences. Meaning despite HOW we perceive x, x is still x. Let x be red for example.
The color red is so because particles of light emit a certain wavelength when reflected off of an object. That wavelength stays the same. While Person a & person b may each SEE a different color does not mean they are perceiving different realities, just that they are interpretting them differently. Descartes believes that this is why man is led to error, and is one of the perfect aspects of God. Our minds are imperfect and cause us to err in our misperception, which inevitably leads us to sin, however, God, with a perfect mind, never errs...ok, I'm digressing now. Anyway, point being, there exists an external reality despite what man perceives. A "a priori" state of things. This is the only reality, what we perceive is a "copy" of that reality, and thus imperfect. An imagination will never be as detailed as seeing the "real" external object, composed of all its particles. Thus our perception, which is subjective of itself, leads us to falsely call reality this and that.

Thus that is the distinction between perspective and reality.

That was my point with the above statement that somewhere along the line in modern thought, people have begun to think that reality starts within the mind and extends outward, rather than vice versa. I think this is one of the most vain trends of modern thought. Immanuel Kant actually said that though (the Copernican Revolution), not me, so don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you are vain. Smile
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BarristerBud

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PostSubject: Re: Vampires and Dragons   Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:19 am

BMan wrote:
However, my personal reality is a bit less rigid. Until the rules make themselves known to me, there are none. Until I jump off the cliff and fall, I can fly. Until I punch the wall and break my hand, I can break it down.

I think this illustrates my point...in a battle of objective reality and subjective reality...in this case, physics vs. B-Man's superman like abilities...

Physics will win, but please don't try to prove me wrong. Laughing
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