Discussion in 'Transformers Comics Discussion' started by AnomusPrime, Jun 10, 2017.
I really like this thread.
The discussions are so interesting!
I can't say I disagree more with the OP. Personally, I think the "redemption" of Megatron actually comes across as a sham and poor writing at best, and at worst an actual insult to true redemption.
To redeem something, it requires a sacrifice of great value, normally life for wrongdoing. Using faith a guide (and not proselytizing), redemption must be accompanied by a sacrifice of some type, most often one of blood. For example, (again using faith, so bear with me, and again not preaching), but redemption in the Bible, is done through sacrifice. If man as a created being has wronged his Creator, then fellowship between God and man is broken. God is all about redemption. It's in His character, but it has to come through a sacrifice, particularly an innocent sacrifice. In the Old Testament, redemption comes for Israel and individuals through the death of animals, both daily and at ritual times during the year. The blood of the animal is placed on the alter as the redeeming price for the sins of the people or the individual, based on the sacrifice, and fellowship with God and the people is restored because of it. Nearly every facet of the law in the Torah is consummated by the death of an innocent to redeem the sins of the guilty - doves, goats, cows, sheep. Carry that over to the New Testament and the work of Jesus at the Passover, where Jesus - the Son of God - becomes the blood sacrifice for the sins of humanity to restore fellowship between God and man. In both instances, redemption is paid for by blood, and in both instances, we find something innocent as the price for redeeming the wrongdoer, but at the cost to wronged.
Even the outliers in the Bible that didn't require a blood sacrifice, such as when Ruth is redeemed by Boaz, required a sacrifice of some type. In that instance, Boaz was willing to give up his entire estate - all his inheritance and social status - to redeem Ruth.
The problem for Megatron becomes that redemption is something that is external. Repentance, the act of the wrongdoer turning away from their wrongs and looking for redemption, can certainly be internal, and I would allow that Megatron has perhaps found some level of repentance. However, redemption must come from outside the wrongdoer, and beyond is their power to invoke, and it comes at the cost of the wronged. Redemption is a gift of the wronged to the wrongdoer, and it comes at a cost. So far, their has been no cost given for Megatron, no price paid for his guilt
Sorry I have to completely disagree with you. If a "redemption" need a sacrifice of blood, especially of the innocent, animal or not, it is no redemption. I don't think the sacrifices of any other person or animals, especially innocent, can be used to redeem anyone. I'm not at all religious so I don't have any restrictions on saying that: it is no redemption and it is completely ridiculous. Maybe the word "redemption" is misleading, but just let me say this: I'm not at all interested in that sort of "redemption."
Imho, redemption is an internal action. There is outside efforts that should be made. But that should be trying to correct what is wrong and compensate the victims, even if the wrongs were not possible to be fully corrected and compensated. But such is another topic.
The redemption is about change of self. If someone can't change themself to be better and forsake their old ways, no matter what else, they are still the same horrible person and not at all redeemed. If they do realized they were wrong and they aimed to become better, then they are on the road of redemption. That is all that matters. The sacrifice of innocent is not only ineffective to the positive change of the wrongdoer, but actually a wrong of its own. No innocent life should ever suffer. It is just wrong.
The part about the gift of the wronged to the wrongdoer being beyond the power of the wrongdoer, I do agree with. However, that is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not something that is necessarily linked to the state of the wrongdoer. Sometimes people can forgive other people even if they never even apologized or realized they were wrong. That is because forgiveness is the power of the person being wronged, and it is their power to give up their own hatred and live better. Living with hatred is a terrible experience, and it can easily lead one down the dark path. Retribution is not justice. That said, whether someone chose to forgive is entirely their own business, and even if the person who wronged them had redeemed themself, the wronged still don't have to forgive him.
I don't like thinking of redemption as forgiveness. They are not the same and they shouldn't be. To say they are the same is to say 1. someone can only be redeemed if everybody forgive them, which isn't possible in many cases, or 2. if someone was "redeemed" by some outside force, say, a court, then it is the victims' duty to forgive this person now, which is infuriating to say the least. Besides that, the "pay the price" argument doesn't really work, because there is no equal price of crimes or any kind of harms. What is done is done, no amount of "paying" is going to right the wrong, because there is no price in wrongness. That is why Megatron was so proud under the trial, he thought he could shoulder the responsibility of all his wrongs by being judged to death. But judging and killing Megatron is not going to bing back the dead. It is not even close to "equal." If he was not forgiven for all the rest of his life, that would be fine. But that is not the same as saying that his inherent value as a living being is forever lost, and that he can never be redeemed even if he had became a better person.
To forgive or not to forgive is definitely a very relevant question, but in a way, about his redemption, it shouldn't matter whether he can ever be forgiven or not.
I am afraid, my friend, there really is no other type of redemption. It comes with a terrible cost. Perhaps you are thinking of a different word? Maybe reformed or rehabilitated?
Webster defines redemption as the act of redeeming, which is defined as the "serving to offset or compensate for a defect." By definition, redemption is attached to a cost; it's compensation. It's a form of payment of some kind, and the greater the defect, the greater the payment required. It comes from outside the redeemed from the redeemer. It is certainly not simply acts of contrition on this person's part.
Repentance is also defined by Webster as the act of repenting, which is defined as "to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life, or to change one's mind." Repentance is entirely internal from the wrongdoer, but it does not redeem that person as a separate act of redemption - a paying of the price - must come from outside the one repenting. I would certainly allow Megatron is here.
Forgiveness, also thank you Webster, is the act of forgiving, which is defined as "to give up resentment of or claim to requital, to grant relief from payment." Forgiveness is entirely external of the wrongdoer as well, and it is not justice. If anything, forgiveness is very much linked to mercy as they both willingly deny of justice for the wronged by the wronged for the sake of the wrongdoer. While the benefits of forgiveness are tangible for the wronged, in the days when justice didn't involve a lengthy court system and you could execute someone for certain crimes by sundown, forgiveness had tangible benefits for the wrongdoer. It freed them from a punishment that could enslave them for life, if it didn't take their life outright. As a sign of that forgiveness, or often as the payment for the crime, a redemptive price was set - the sacrifice, and it covered the crimes of the wrongdoer by giving a substitutionary life in their place. Either by forfeiture of a legal right, or by blood, someone else paid the just price for the wrongdoer. Now, it's different as our courts control justice regardless of forgiveness.
So, the cycle (ideally) goes that the wrongdoer repents (an internal act), and seeks forgiveness of the wrong, and are forgiven, though they now owe an unpayable, uncollectable debt to the forgiver. If the wronged was unable or unwilling, the price was exacted from the wrongdoer. In that instance, only a redemptive act - a sacrifice - was given in their place. The blood of an innocent becomes the substitute for the wrongdoer's crimes.
I am afraid though that any further foray's into redemption or forgiveness or repentance will be a journey into God's domain because I really can't go father without delving into my faith because redemption and grace are the bedrock of Who I know God to be. I will be happy to PM with you if you'd like.
@raindance773 thanks for the definitions. I think it help keeps everyone eye to eye on the discussion. Once we deviate from dictionary definitions into religious context or personal thoughts on the definitions I think we lose sight of the original discussion. The discussion at hand I believe is about the narrative merits of Megatron's character arc.
Besides the dictionary definitions there are story telling conventions with redemption arcs. Of the seven basic plots redemption falls under rebirth. Let's look at the established structure for a redemption story. A redemption story will present the character and their actions to be redeemed, and to who they are redeeming themselves too. The character finds themselves at odds with their actions and end up with a climatic choice. The character makes the choice to redeem themselves and earns redemption by paying a price. The structure is important because it works to create interesting drama. This basic structure has captured audiences for years in stories like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and Return of the Jedi.
Megatron's arc completely fails as redemption. It's not clear who he is redeeming himself to. He's never faced with a dramatic choice. Most importantly he never chooses to pay a price and earn redemption through heroic feat or sacrifice. What we see on page is repentance by definition. Repentance can be dramatic, I think it can be worked into a overcoming the monster basic plot. If Roberts had wanted to do a repentance plot we needed to see the internal struggle. There needed to be some kind of depiction of Megatron struggling against and overcoming his demons. We got some insight, but we never got any compelling struggle. In storytelling characters need to earn what they are given. The act of earning needs to be dramatic to capture the audience. Megatron's lacked any real earning of his character's status.
Now let's look at why myself and many others at the time liked the Megatron story. We know Megatron as a character very well. He has strong traits that have remained common to different depictions for 30 plus years. The Megatron Aubotbot thing was new and different and therefore exciting. We were given some compelling scenes and circumstances. A story is the sum of it's parts and some of us were too enthralled by some parts to see that it didn't add up to good. I think we as fans are are easily susceptible to this mindset, it's tough to detach and be honest about why we like it.
I'm however not afraid to tell you this: you don't have the authority to say that. Nor does definitions in any dictionary. If you don't know this, language is a fluid thing. It is not a authoritive set of rules any organizations ca define. Instead, people are giving it new definitions everyday. It depends much more on the contexts and the people who speak it than on dictionaries' definitions. That is why good dictionaries like Webster or Oxford publish new revised editions all the time. Dictionaries edit old definitions and add on new ones every year to adapt to the current state of the words, but they still can't really catch up all the time. The meaning of a word is much more about the intentions if the people speak it than some written-done rules. So no, your quoting Webster is not going to give you a definite say in what the world "redemption" means.
So nope, your argument don't stand just because you quoted some dictionary definition. No one have authority over language. I think the word "Redemption" is misleading exactly because it can have so many interpretations. Some link to moral, some even religions. Anyone can have their own interpretation. And just to clear the air, no religious interpretation interests me. And the "blood of innocent" as a price to redeem some guilty person disgusts me. No matter how many times it is repeated, it still disgusts me. My view on this is clear: no sacrifice of innocent can or will redeem anyone else. It is illogical and barbaric. It should not be tolerated. I know I won't tolerate it. Blood sacrifice is a primal act of brutality that belongs to primal tribes and nowhere else.
To be honest, I have never feel this disgusted by any comment in this forem before, not even the homophobic ones. So excuse me I'm going to block you.
I think you're way over reacting and really getting hung up on the religious aspects of his post that are easily ignored. I don't want to speak for @raindance773 but I think he was trying to illustrate the historical and religious aspect of redemption and not arguing that we go out and kill animals today.
I understand language is some what fluid, but to a point. How can we have a serious discussion about something if we can't agree upon what words mean. Why is your definition more valid than mine? Where is your proof that redemption has so many interpretations? Do you have better insight into the english speaking world than the people publishing the dictionary? You share your feelings, he quotes what the english speaking world accepts as the best current definition of a word. You think you have the better argument for what the word means? The meaning of a word is about the generally accepted definition(s) and which definition is defined by context. Can you explain me to how you know with certainty anyone's intention? The rules and definitions exist because we aren't in people's heads and need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate.
Well. I don't like talking religion. I can't even grasp why such a thing as sacrifice of the innocent is still a thing to be discussed in this age. Is it so hard to understand that if someone is innocent than hurting them is wrong? This is not something up to debate for me. This topic makes me furious. And the sort of saying:"You must think this way" whether by religion or a dictionary. Nope. The last thing I come into this forum for is to feel angry. So overreacting or not, I have to block him. Not really a choice for me.
About the definition, there is no generally accepted meaning of "redemption" that must involve repayment. There are different interpretations. In fact if you just look up the word in Oxford living dictionary you will find this: "1. The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil." This is not inherently linked with payment of any kind, but simply salvation.
Language exists long before dictionaries exist. Humans are inherently "programed" to use language. You do not look up a dictionary to see each word's meaning to understand a sentence. Maybe with a new word you don't know before you can look it up, but not the familiar words. (And since I went through learning another language, I can tell you, people are perfectly able to learn and understand new words just by context, without memorizing a word list with dictionary definitions.) Especially with a familiar word like "redemption," everybody has an understanding of it. This is why actually discussing what one means by a word is much more effective than looking up a dictionary.
So nope, saying you can only interprete the word one certain way because some one certain section of explanation from one dictionary vaguely suggests so is foundationless. Languages are alive. Dictionaries adapt to them, not vice versa.
I have stated long before that I think the word is misleading. But that is not because there is some fixed meaning of the word everyone must follow. It is because it has too many interpretations and sometimes people are talking about different things. In the end it is not what is the definite, fixed meaning of one English word (and there is no such thing) that matters. What matters is what we consider matter. And I have make my point pretty clear about my stand on that.
Your first paragraph shows you either didn't read or couldn't comprehend what @raindance773 said or what I attempted to clarify for him. You didn't answer my questions or really even understand what I was I trying to say. You then proceed to put words in my mouth, I never said "only", I said "best", big difference that you fail recognize. If you want to argue with people you should respond to what they said and not what you think they said. Also look at what you posted and don't understand "the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil", the "action" is the goddamned payment he was talking about.
You didn't like (or comprehend) what raindance said and it hurt your precious feelings so you had to go and try and hurt his by being a condescending prick. Real hypocrite you are. At least his slight against your precious feelings wasn't malicious like your actions towards him. Maybe I'm wrong and your feelings are more important than other posters? Maybe they are because you seem really enlightened. Maybe I should repent (what does that word mean? can we discuss it into oblivion?) and beg your forgiveness. You should probably block me too.
Whatever. If my actions hurt his feelings I apologize for hurting him, but I stand by my opinions and yes, I'm sensitive to the topic of innocent lives being hurt. You can call me a jerk if you want. Maybe it is inevitable that misunderstanding will happen. That's it. No more discussion.
Dictionaries are/have become descriptive, not proscriptive.
Anomus, I'm not trying to be rude, so I hope you won't take offence at this - but your approach to vocabulary reminds me of Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland...
It's going to be quite difficult to have any sort of conversation with you about redemption if you insist that your definition of the word - which you seem to have created yourself, and which apparently runs counter to every established definition - is just as valid as those that appear in multiple dictionaries. You say there is "no generally accepted meaning of "redemption" that must involve repayment" - but in fact that is *exactly* what the word means. It has its origins in a latin word which means 'to buy back'. It shares this root with the English word 'redeem' which means 'to compensate' or 'to get something in exchange for payment'. Redemption necessarily involves payment by somebody - either the person who needs redeeming, or someone else who intercedes on their behalf - it's at the heart of what the word means. You're absolutely right to say that language evolves and words change their meaning over time - but given that the meaning of the word 'redemption' hasn't changed in the last 2,000 years or so, that's not really applicable here. If your concept of redemption doesn't involve repayment, it's probably advisable to use a different word instead which better explains what you actually mean.
You also wrote "if you just look up the word in Oxford living dictionary you will find this: "1. The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil." This is not inherently linked with payment of any kind, but simply salvation." But that definition of redemption - being saved from sin - is exactly what @raindance773 was talking about when you decided to block him. Once you start talking about 'sin' and 'salvation' (as you just did) you are straying into a religious understanding of redemption.
Given the topic under discussion, it was inevitable that someone - whether that was raindance773 or someone else - would directly bring up theological dimensions of redemption sooner or later. If you're going to block people for talking about the elephant in the room it makes you look pretty unreasonable. If you then immediately start invoking those same concepts yourself - and in a way that suggests that you don't really understand them - then you look a bit of a hypocrite. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but that's how it looks from where I'm sitting. It's obviously up to you who you decide to block, but it's going to look like double standards to everyone else if you block someone for talking about religion - and then start invoking the same religious concepts yourself just a couple of posts later.
So you make up your own definition of redemption - which is at odds with how it's been understood for thousands of years - and then demand that everyone else accepts it as equally valid. But when raindance773 writes a post about redemption - which is consistent both with the dictionary definition and a classical understanding of the concept - that you don't personally like, you denounce it as the most 'disgusting' post you've ever read and block him for it, refusing to accept that his contribution has any validity. If you can't see that you're behaving like a jerk (to use your word) it's probably for the best if this discussion ends here.
Nice analysis. Your perspective comes from a very western and specifically old testament view point of redemption. Are you familiar with the Edicts of Asoka? He was an indian ruler around the 400's ad who's grandfather and father were leaders of an independant regional power in India and both had different religious afiliations. I don't remember the gf, but the dad was a jainist. Anyways, he was a hindu who after years of successful conquering rule changed from a vedic(proto-hindu) to a buddhist after he had united much of modern india and ruled for years at the age of forty. Sacrifice is equally important to vedic practice as it was in old school judaism, but buddhism really doesn't leave room for killing. So he had to balance the values and needs of the people he ruled with his new found change of direction. Essentially he created a written set of rule changes that were inscribed in stone and place around the kingdom which are said edicts. I find this to be a very relevant comparison to megatron's change of heart.
Megatron always believed in what he wanted to accomplish but went down a path of compromise untill he became lost and couldn't recognize himself. Eventually current events led to a direct contradiction where he was forced to choose between the path he went down and the motivation that led him there.
The response wasn't a rejection of his beliefs, nor a need to pay in order to even up some kind of debt for his mistakes. It was a realization that redemption in the judeo-christian sense was beyond possible. One life doesn't make up for billions. However, until he was as sick as an addict when the truly see the cost of their behavior, He couldn't move forward. Like Asoka, He moved forward with a literal debt that cannnot ever be paid, but recognized that he didn't arrive there out of true malice but out of failure and weakness.
In response he didn't attempt traditional redemption but sought to fix himself and make good on the promises he made while leaving himself no quarter. In this circumstance redemption can never be personally obtained nor the debt paid, but it can be achieved via providing results and change. While from an external view it appears to be escaping justice, it also is equally valid because it requires one to submit oneself to indefinite slavery to rightiousness without reward nor power.
In that sense he has redeemed himself, but can he ever pay back the debt and can any freedom ever be obtained? I like your accurate depictions of western religious remption and its cost so i thought this would make a nice counter point.
Though i agree megatron can't ever make things right, even with his death he is but one.
I must admit that i do disagree that redemption comes from the wronged. That assumes that the wronged are capable of accepting something and that they are correct in how they view the wrong done. If one has ever dealt with the heavily autistic pr schozophrenic, such becomes quickly impossible. Redemption comes from a public perception of accepted repentance and debts paid, but it doesn't require the specif party wronged to feel that way in many cases.
Sorry something i just noticed, what is it that megatron needs remption for? The autobots were the bad guys. The primes were all corrupt at best malicious at average. The functionalists were fascists who had no morality at all. Who he represented had been wronged by every outside force of power. The neutrals were basically the indifferents, cowards, and lazy by vast majority. He became a true monster, but recognized it and changed. No autobot has ever owned their legacy or their actions, and the other groups dropped responsibilities or were wrong and died out. He is guilty for much suffering but can megatron really be held accountable because those he wrong also have never faced justice and the group doesn't admit its own guilt. He's monstrous, but has fought demons who think they are angels because they got distracted from actively participating in direct evil. Who does he actually owe who hasn't done worse and refused to own up to it?
In this universe the nazis essentially saw the rise of communism and switched enemies, no more no less
Except you're drastically over-simplifying the scenario. Putting aside Autocracy (which Barber and other modern writers have done their best to retcon, because it's a garbage, black & white hatchet job), the "Autobots" didn't exist when Megatron began writing and went to jail etc. Hell, it was after Megatron was beaten badly in his cell by Whirl that Prime strolls into the Senate and calls them out and notes that "the galaxy calls us Autobots, as if we are mere automatons, blah blah blah." Megatron wasn't rebelling against the Autobots. The Autobots didn't exist. He was rebelling against Functionism, powerfully so; Functionists were not and never were Autobots. Megatron rebelled against a caste system and a society that was indifferent to the plight of the lesser castes. He sought a peaceful revolution, became discouraged, turned to violence, and let violence consume him until he'd forgotten what he was even fighting for. One of the best bits of post DooP, for me, has been Ratchet calling Megatron out here and there for his monstrous hypocrisy. Absolutely, the Prime lineage is corrupt, but they're long gone. Millions of years gone.
Now then we get into the murkier area where Autobot is co-opted as the Senate's forces, and Prime himself peaces out to maverick against the Autobots (See Elegant Chaos, past Prime's hostile reaction to the Autobrand on the timetravelling Lost Light crewmembers). It's all kind of murky, mind you, was it Nova Prime then as Cybertronian leader? Whatever. The fact that most of IDW continuity is a series of retcons trying to fudge it all together is tricky; that Barber has managed to stitch the disparate parts together as well as he HAS is something of a minor miracle.
So you're saying THE AUTOBOTS WERE BAD GUYS WHO NEVER FACED JUSTICE. This is simply not true. I'd argue further that Barber, Roche, and Roberts have gone out of their way to demonstrate shades of gray between both sides, but make no question. Megatron became a monster personally responsible for the death of billions --- billions --- of lives across the universe at his hands or the hands of his Decepticon army. He set up Grindcore as a prison/death camp. He annihilated entire worlds. The Autobots, writ large, contain some individuals and groups who committed war crimes and even atrocities (that's... kind of one of the central points of Last Stand of the Wreckers). But it's also a group that fights because "Freedom is the right all sentient beings." The vast majority of the IDW "Autobot" history is one of a force standing up to the Decepticons, who quickly move from being revolutionaries into xenophobic killers. The Cons hate organic life; Soundwave is characterized repeatedly as being for the "purity" of mechanical life. It's part of the DJD's mandate. Blurr? Bumblebee? Bluestreak? Trailbreaker? They're all old soldiers, they've seen their share of shit, but they're not guilty of atrocities or war crimes, nor do they need to face "justice" for their actions in attempting to prevent a mass murdering army from mass murdering almost the entire galaxy.
The aforementioned others have, to varying degrees of success, tackled the gray areas. Some Autobots have faced justice: the Dinobots have been ostracized; Sandstorm couldn't cope with the weight of some things done and rampaged. Prowl went crazy. Now have the writers necessarily explored the issue to its fullest? No, I wouldn't say that. But let's be reasonable here. Not all Autobots --- hardly most of the Autobots --- need to be put on "trial." At the same time, not all Autobots are idealistic heroes, not all Decepticons were necessarily thuggish bullies. But let's also note that Optimus Prime was against Functionism, finally stands up to Nova Prime, and tries to lead the Autobots in a much different direction. And those Autobots are the Autobots for almost the entire Civil War. Skids calls Megatron out on this, powerfully, in slaughterhouse. He makes it explicitly clear to Megatron what wearing the Autobrand means.
What does Megatron need to be redeemed for? Genocide, billions dead, etc. That is the personal change his story since Dark Cybertron has been about. The question is, tying back to OP, is can Megatron be redeemed? Does he actually seek redemption? What is he truly seeking? And why has his story been cut-off in such a poor fashion that derails his actual development for the sake of lazy moving him off the board? If Megatron is to see the error of his eyes, he's simply done too much to be simply allowed to go back. He's had, in story time, what? A year on the Lost Light? a little less, a little more? Weight that against 4 million years Civil War (which, IMO, is a figure I'm sick of --- it doesn't need to be that long, but it is). Great that he feels bad about things and wants to try to make amends, but as Skids points above, what does it all mean to Megatron?
And that's what we begin to see over MTMTE season 2, a Megatron who reflects heavily on what he's done, who changes his goals, who reconsiders what his next steps are, who becomes crushed with the weight of his horrors. One of Milne's most affecting panels ever: Megatron standing amidst the spark flowers. Billions of spark flowers, his statue alone and far removed from all other Transformer statues on Necroworld, because nobody is close to his level of monstrousness.
Don't forget each flower was 12 Cybertronians each. Prowl gave the death toll at somewhere around 90 billion, I think, plus another trillion or so organics, directly related to Megs. Also don't forget about Aequitas. For all the grey pumped into the Autobots, and probably rightfully so, the Autobots did do a fairly decent job of policing themselves under OP.
That's a narration Starscream pushed to the Council, and while truthful, it's not the whole truth. And the Autobots did bring their own to justice through the Aequitas trials.
And I would think Megs' debt, if not to the universe in general, is to the 'bots who he killed, directly or indirectly. Certainly, at the least, Fastback and Bumper and the random guard he beat to death.
Separate names with a comma.