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The Philosophical Side of Supernatural

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Supernatural was a show that first aired on September 13, 2005. The show mainly focuses on two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, who face terrible circumstances as they hunt monsters, demons, and angels. Violent memories and harsh throwbacks are a burden on the two brothers and strongly impact their lives. Old tricks and useless tools are used on them, they rely on one another as their friends betray them. Supernatural explores multiple themes that, tie in with various philosophers. It inspires conversations that entail discussions about theology, morality, consequences of free will and the hardship that comes along with it, or just how the world of the Winchesters and demons can be explored in metaphysics, overall. Metaphysics can be defined as, a theory or talk that has no basis in reality. If a substance exists in the universe, from a Metaphysics point of view, it has to be unitary. The objects in the universe cannot be made of more than one substance. Towards the beginning of the show, there is an introduction to various monsters and devils.

As you go deeper, more and more creatures begin to take form. When the angels are discovered, the idea of pantheism is uncovered too. Pantheism was formulated by a 17th-century philosopher, Baruch Spinoza. He opposed Ren? Descartes’ famous mind-body dualism, the theory that the body and spirit are separate; whereas, Spinoza believed that the body and spirit are one (monist view). Pantheism became a term after his death. The angels in the show preach that everything is a manifestation of God. When all the angels fall to Earth, the two worlds mix together and become one and the same world. The angels begin to live amongst humans by taking over their bodies. The difficulty with the idea of the two worlds colliding is how they react to one another.

The angels go around taking over bodies, killing people and doing things out of the ordinary as they were never trained to live on Earth. They are lost and frightened because “God” disappears and leaves them on their own to figure everything out. This leads to the questioning of whether there is a God. He leaves mankind, angels and the demons on their own to figure it all out. As the supernatural world begins to intervene with the natural world, it leads to chaos. It causes deaths, odd weather and outbreaks of crime all over the United States of America. This promotes the idea that all things came from one, which is why two different worlds are able to blend together so easily. Logically speaking, if the substance used to create the supernatural world was different from the one that was used for humans then the angels would not have been able to take over human bodies and keep themselves alive. There was a common factor between the two creatures.

When the two worlds do intervene, there are two possible reactions. First one follows the Laws of Nature and the other one entails something discussed in the following paragraph. If the supernatural world blends with the natural world, then the Laws of Nature break. If a ghost or demon comes into contact with a human and influences the physical world (Earth), it has to break the Laws of Nature. When one of the angels loses his grace, it makes it hard for him to affect the demons when in combat and makes it difficult for him to emit his powers to humans. That grace seems to possess the common substance. Every angel has a specific grace that was specifically made for them. One of the angels tries to become God, he kills a bad angle and claims he is the new “God.” Shortly after he ruins control of his vessel (human body on earth) as the Leviathans (forbidden creatures from Hell) begin to take over. According to monist, forces from other things do not affect the nature of things. But, one human body is possessed by a grace from heaven and a presence from hell. All three creatures are combined into one, which supports the idea of the pantheistic view that the angels hold.

The second reaction that is possible when the “natural” and the “supernatural” world mix together is only during its’ creation. The King of Hell believes, “the supernatural world explains the creation of the universe.” This argument is flawed. Creation is a construct made by humans. The ideas that the universe an original cause comes from a construct created by the world and people that live within. It can describe just like the idea of time, space and mortality is. These are all constructs that are part of a subjective interpretation of physical differences. It is geographically proven that all that is around us has been formed through transformation, not through creation or destruction. In Nature, nothing is created. Is it possible that Nature could have been created itself? No. Nature is described as the behavior of a substance, such as the nature of a pulley, nature of things, nature of science and so on.

Furthermore, a substance exists as a thing by itself. Now if the universe is created using a unitary substance, why aren’t all creations subjective to it in the same manner? That’s the questions Dean has. He bears “the Mark” which gives him supernatural power when holding a dagger made for “the Mark.” Dean questions how demons and angels possess stronger abilities when all of them claim to be made of the same substance. How is it that one end can impact the natural world, but the natural world can’t do anything to the supernatural world without a thorough understanding of each creature? The way the world is conceived in the TV show is they exist by each other, and in one another without the knowledge of it. Humans can’t tell that their neighbors are demons until one of them kills them. But the demons and angels are able to find each other through their scents. Humans are the puppies of the two worlds. They are easily affected by both angels and demons. But there is another way to view their world, that is the Monist view.

There were many philosophers who came up with the idea that everything in the world comes from one single element; Thales believed it was water, Anaximander believed it was an undefined infinite, Anaximenes believed it was air and the list goes on and one. Stoics believed that there is only one substance, which is God. For the Monist, there is only one world (their own world). Anything that exists, belongs to this so-called substance or doesn’t. The items that don’t belong to the substance are classified off as “non-existent.” To most of the humans, it is only their own world. They have no interaction with demons or angels so they rule out the fact that there is any other world. In a monist view, the human mind is the only place where a ‘“supernatural world” can exist. Throughout the show, Dean and Sam have to tell other humans about angels and demons. Those people ask them if they have lost it, or if they are serious. When something out of the ordinary happens, they don’t just assume it was a demon or an angel.

According to the show, you get cold chills out of the blue but most people just assume that their heating is down. They come up with logical explanations for illogical scenarios. Supernatural helps us realize that “Sometimes it turns out the truth is stranger than fiction, and we like to explore answers to life questions raised each time an antagonist butt heads with a Winchester” (Foresman, G. A. (2013). We are creatures of nature so anything that exists in the universe subsequently is within us, as part of a human construction we alter things in a view according to our needs. It makes a lot of sense when you put things into perspective, we have to make every bad thing have a good counterpart. For the angels, we have the demons. For the heat, we have a cold. For all that is bad in “Supernatural,” we have the Winchesters. The show asks questions that could trigger many critics. They focus on monsters openly being a part of the human community, the extent to which free will is no longer free and the role of naturalism in “Supernatural.” There are a few exceptions where the demons attempt to live amongst the humans. The demons who do so follow the moral conduct of humans.

Do these monsters deserve to be killed? The show clearly depicts that sometimes a killing monster isn’t clearly “black and white,” as Dean says. The show clearly depicts this, there’s an episode where they allow a college girl to go off after she becomes a werewolf. They don’t just track down and kill her for being a monster, instead, Dean says that if they hear of her killing people or doing things that aren’t ethically acceptable then they will hunt her down. Free will seems to wreak havoc on the grand scheme of things, and the effect it has on things doesn’t always lead to intended outcomes. John Locke’s views on the whole concept of “free will” have been an influential role in the philosophy of action. Locke and Dean both strongly uphold a belief that, “free will” can be a very dangerous thing. Even if team free will has people that hold no platform and don’t make a widespread difference, they can still have a strong impact on the lives of many others.

Team free will, in this case, is an ex-blood addict, a high school dropout with six dollars to his name and a comatose angel (the protagonists of the show). Another philosopher that has a potentially strong tie with the show is, Thomas Hobbes. Thomas Hobbes was an English Philosopher who is considered one of modern political philosophy. He is best known for a piece he articulated, Leviathan. To Hobbes, the term Leviathan meant, “an organization of commonwealth among the people” (Lloyd, S. A., & Sreedhar, S. (2002, February 12). The term Leviathan was mentioned earlier in the essay. In the show, the “Leviathans” were ancient creatures that served as God’s very first beasts. Now when the terms are overlapped and put into contrast. It makes a case that even though the angels have the brute strength, the demons have the cunning and have a far better ability to gather up as a team. It seems that Hell is far more democratic than Heaven is. In season four, an episode aired which portrayed the ideal “American Dream.” The episode demonstrates an overreaching Marxist theme in the series. Karl Marx was a philosopher, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist.

In the episode, Dean and Sam aren’t hunters and live a normal American life. The American dream is impossible because we are alienated from our labor through capitalism. The episode puts forth the horrific reflection of the life that we are living, it highlights the boring day to day life we are living that has no ultimatum. The episode clearly demonstrates that as long as a system exists wherein the workers are not the owners of the means of production, everything is fine. Laboring for their own sake is merely an illusion. Then there’s a constant thought of, “why God allows evil in this world?” This conflict is called “the problem of evil.” In the show, when the angels fall. Everyone claims that “God has taken the bad seat” or “God is away for a break.” When there’s mass destruction going on, the Gates of Hell are open and there’s a war between angels and demons while humans are in the midst of it; God has decided to take a break. This really makes those who know of the existence of “Supernatural creature” wonder whether there is even a God. How could he allow so much violence and death of so many innocents? A logical answer would be that when God gave humans free will he gave the option of doing the right thing or the wrong.

Ultimately, if God was to end all suffering and bad things, he would have to take away free will. Along with free will, God gave morals. This is the argument that Alvin Plantinga suggests as an answer. He says, “God could not eliminate much of the evil and suffering in this world without thereby eliminating the greater good of having created persons with free will with whom he could have relationships and who are able to love one another and do good deeds” (Chapple, A. (n.d.).All in all, when taking the show into examination with a philosophical viewpoint, it changes the perspective that you see the show from. The things that interconnect the two are very strong. It certainly impacts the way that fans see the show.

The show ties in Metaphysics, Pantheism, Monism, Free Will, Naturalism, “Leviathans,” Marxist Theme, Problem of Evil and Stoicism. These are just themes that are repeated throughout the show. As the show ties in closely to a world different than ours, it holds potential for controversy which helps lead it to philosophy. Philosophical way of thinking helps retrieve answers in an organized manner. Supernatural covers thorny issues in an accessible manner. Even if you do not know about the show, you get a whole new perspective on things such as Heaven, Hell, Angels, Demons, God, and Lucifer. The show is compelling, has a twist around every corner with hidden knowledge under every stone.

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