In the Cat’s Ear Ficbit – Sane and Rational

“The paperwork hasn’t been filed,” Ishida said plainly. “I’ll ensure it’s not.”

Hei tried not to visibly tense. Too easy

“Because he’s my patient.” A hint of exasperation crept into Ishida’s tone. “I have some experience with being hunted. You may not be entirely human but you went to no little effort to make sure your associate would survive. I’m inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt, even if your enemies are human.”

Yin tilted her head, likely trying to make out the blur of the doctor against the room’s lights. “You’ll help?”

“Within reason.” Ishida looked over them all. “If you do think you’ve been found, I’d like enough warning to keep my hospital out of the line of fire.”

A sane, rational, selfish request. Hei almost breathed a sigh of relief. They could work with this.

Whoever Ishida was, he had enough experience to feel the tension drop. The doctor nodded, and glanced at Mao. “An ikiryou is a living ghost. All or a portion of someone’s spirit sent out at a distance, for purposes that may be harmless or actively malevolent. You appear to be one that has detached completely from your body; which implies your original life is either in a coma, or dead.”

Mao tilted his head, whiskers one slow flick. “Explosions don’t leave much. And… interesting. I’d read about displaced spirits in folklore, years ago, but I didn’t know you had a word for them here.”

The way glasses gleamed, Ishida had just added that to whatever pieces of their puzzle he’d put together. “As for Keiyakusha… I’d never heard Contractors referred to until those explosions on the news last night. But I would say I am not one, simply because the traditions of training spiritual abilities I am familiar with generally do not have to train people not to kill. Rather the reverse. Sometimes an exorcist has no choice but to destroy a possessed body, but taking a life… it’s never easy.”

Hei traded a glance with Mao, and then a shocked Huang. If Ishida wasn’t lying-

Then he’s right. He’s not a Contractor.

So what is he?

28 thoughts on “In the Cat’s Ear Ficbit – Sane and Rational

  1. So what is he?

    A Quincy.

    He can shot arrows made out of spirit energy. I do not recommend getting hit by one.

    All facts that you will learn at some.

    But I would say I am not one, simply because the traditions of training spiritual abilities I am familiar with generally do not have to train people not to kill.

    Probably because said people are human and most humans have difficulty killing someone else. They hesitate, try to bluff, or have to pushed beyond the point of reason in some fashion. The very idea bothers them. As it should. Lives cannot be replaced.

    Assuming that said Contractor was previously a human of normal psychology . . . whatever actually happens to transform them into a Contractor does some seriously creepy stuff to their brains and minds. Serious heebie-jeebies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Though if the Quincies from the final arc are representative, one could argue that they have very little regard for human life. 🙂 But haven’t I been celebrating this fic as an excuse to break from canon?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Though if the Quincies from the final arc are representative, one could argue that they have very little regard for human life.

        Noticed that before I gave up on the final arc.

        Honestly, it made me less sympathetic about them getting wiped out. It was starting to feel warranted rather than tragic. And that made me very uncomfortable because your reaction to a genocide should never be that maybe the people doing the wiping out were doing the world a favor.

        . . . . celebrating this fic as an excuse to break from canon?

        I know I am.

        But I have strained relationship with the canon.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’d argue that there’s several different factors involved. If a genocide is “doing the world a favor” _and_ is the only valid solution, then it should be right to feel “this is the right thing to do here”. However, a real genocide should simultaneously (even when it’s the right thing) cause you to feel bad because of just what it includes “killing everyone, men, women, and children too”, and that fact that it is doing so is something that should not be necessary. And that leads into the final factor, that you shouldn’t feel proud that it was necessary, because it almost assuredly means there were a lot of failures leading up to that situation, where if sufficient (but not total) numbers of “the right targets” were killed (or otherwise dealt with appropriately), then the genocide wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place.

        So, you’re feeling uncomfortable for the wrong part. You shouldn’t be feeling uncomfortable over your reaction to the genocide being “this is doing the world a favor”, but rather over the fact that you got to the stage where that is a valid feeling to have, while still having that feeling because it is valid.

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      3. Re: Genocide

        I can’t think of genocide as a valid course of action. It’s a ruthless course of action. People have certainly justified doing it. And with the Quincy arrows destroying the Hollow and all of the souls it has consumed, etc perhaps it can argued that it was necessary.

        Still cannot say that it was the RIGHT thing to do. And even if it was, one is still talking about killing everyone of an entire population. That will never be okay. It is still the wrong thing.

        Wrong thing done for the right reasons is still the wrong thing. Stealing because you were starving is understandable but still doesn’t change the fact that you intentionally took something that didn’t belong to you.

        So, you’re feeling uncomfortable for the wrong part.

        I feel how I feel.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. One (short) story I liked actually goes into this. A race was encountered, and telepaths and precogs were able to confirm that this race could not be coexisted with peacefully, that it was either genocide or be genocided. They came up with a third option. They arranged a trap that would require that race to actively be the ones who used it to destroy themselves as simultaneous proof of their inability to coexist peacefully with others and karmic retribution performed by their own hands, but a trap which would simultaneously leave the unborn children of that race alive. Then they arranged for those children to be brought up and live full lives, never knowing or being corrupted by their origin culture. Effective genocide that left the innocent alive, and that prevented them from needing to be killed as well.

        The reason I bring this up is because while I was arguing the technicalities of genocide ethics, and do contend that “if a genocide is really the only good option, then it itself should not be held as wrong”, I also do believe that it’s almost impossible for there to be a situation in which genocide is truly “the only good option”, and that allowing things to reach the point where it is necessary is likely a failure in many other ways.

        Basically, arguing theory vs practice. In practice, I would not argue most any genocides were reasonable. And I strongly doubt there will be any future genocides that are not wrong. That does not stop me from analyzing things and realizing that, in theory, it might be possible for such a thing to happen. And if that theoretical case came to be, then theoretically it is the necessity for it that should be lamented, and that it is all the things that doing it includes which should be lamented, but not the doing of it itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Right and wrong, and feelings are matters of values. Values are not and never have been universal and uniform across all human societies.

        If you want uniformity of values within a society, you are probably talking about something that will need a certain amount of force. Which will have costs.

        My values? Are a topic I normally love to discuss, and this situation is somewhat of a favorite. But I think I gotta pass this time.

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      6. >> Right and wrong, and feelings are matters of values. Values are not and never have been universal and uniform across all human societies.

        Mmm. Yes and no. I actually just finished up a summer course about this very subject a week and a half ago, Introduction to Ethics.

        Most ethical systems end up being divided into at minimum two major components, and one of those is each system’s ‘Theory of Value’, i.e. what is the chief ‘good’ that this ethical system prioritizes.

        That’s mostly me getting a bit distracted by vocabulary. There are two important counter arguments I’d like to make to what you’re saying and that does feed into one of them, so I’ll get back to it later.

        At the very beginning of the class before we went into any units or specifics one of the things we covered – very briefly – was the question: “Is there truth in ethics?”

        The main reading we had on this was actually a rather brilliant (I admit, that’s definitely my opinion, so I am not without bias here) piece by James Rachels talking about whether or not ethics could or should be regarded as a science. I wasn’t wholly convinced it should be, but I was definitely convinced that yes there is such a thing as Truth in Ethics.

        One major point that Rachels argues – as part of his larger idea of ethics as a science – is actually this very topic: the Universality of Values. Rachels put forth, with excellent examples, that while many values are extremely culturally relative, there are some values that either are universal or at least can and should be applied universally. It may not always seem that way when observing other cultures, but often what’s actually relative between cultures in such cases isn’t the value itself but its importance compared to other values.

        So, two (and in fact many) different cultures may place a great deal of Value on human life, but what seems an immoral treatment of human life to one culture is in fact justified to the second culture because of a second value that is considered to have greater worth than human life.

        Rachels builds on this further by arguing that part of the job of ethicisits is to weigh such cultural customs against greater, broader, cultural values and evaluate if such practices – placing greater importance on one culture specific value over another more universal value – are in fact ethical practices, both from an outside perspective and within their own culture of origin. It’s just really. Bloody. Hard. to do this without letting the ethicists’ own cultural bias taint their perspective.

        So. Basically that’s my first point: yes, some values are in fact universal.

        The second point is the one dealing with Ethical Theories of Value that I mentioned earlier. Most Ethical Theories, at their base, are put forth as answers to the frankly complex questions of:
        – How do we evaluate the ethics of a situation?
        – What exactly is ethical behavior?
        – And how do we in turn behave ethically?
        Each Theory ends up being a broad list of rules – or at least guidelines – with the basic components being their Theories of Value and Conduct: ‘This is what’s important’ and ‘This is how we should behave’.

        The Theories – in all the cases we covered in class – want to be universal; they’re broad frameworks for how everyone should behave and evaluate ethics. Whether they succeed or not is… almost a separate argument, and frankly, while the Theories we covered in class were compelling I wasn’t really completely sold on any of them (granted, it was a summer course, and we only had time for three major Theories).

        However the key bit here is that each Theory we saw was trying to be universal, and so the Theories of Value they argued were equally broad. Since the Theory of Value was what was held as the highest goal of ethical behavior within each Ethical Theory above all other Values, Theories of Value were not just chosen for a broad appeal, but often argued that they already were – or at least should be – universal.

        So. tl:dr- some values actually may be universal, just relative; and there are Ethical Theories built on the grounds that some values are universal, whether we realize it or not.

        … Granted, I’ve taken one. introductory. class. So. What I say here is frankly armchair philosophisizing ethicising, and I don’t doubt that I’m open to counter arguments. The fact that such counter arguments exist does not make me feel – in this moment – that my points here are any weaker.

        Some values are universal, or at the very least can be.

        Liked by 3 people

      7. This fic is a definite break from canon and the final arc does not exist. Masaki was a human, because that makes her even more badass protecting young Ichigo. And Old Man Zangetsu was Ichigo’s zanpakutou all along – Shiro is his Hollow, just like the other Vizards. Because being half shinigami is enough ridiculous heritage for anyone to live down!

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      8. I don’t argue for moral relativism. I am against that position.

        I believe that the values of my religion and culture are the correct ones.

        There’s a flavor of modern that supposes that the whole of human history and prehistory reflects the beliefs they hold, that they assume are universal. I think there is strong evidence that this position is deeply wrong.

        I do not think there is a uniform set of values even inside of American culture. I think conformity is something that would have to be enforced.

        The ethicists? Think about how information moves from one discipline to the other in the humanities. There’s reason to believe that some disciplines may be making foundational assumptions based on work from other disciplines, work that may no longer be current, work whose later development they haven’t followed. Forex, do the ethicists know that Meade’s work was fraud? Or do they merrily base their understanding of anthropology on her work, completely ignorant of what the physical anthropologists have been learning recently? I tend towards ‘a lot of academic work is deeply flawed’. I may have mentioned that I am arrogant.

        I wasn’t meaning universality in terms of a grand unified theory of ethics. “All specimens of Homo sapiens are people” is a statement of a value. I am not convinced that this value was present in every human society, particularly unconvinced where prehistory is concerned. Visit a large enough correctional facility, and you will find people who disagree with this value, though you may not recognize them. “Don’t commit murder” is a value statement, and if more than noise is backed by coercive force. My denial of universality is denial that the values you prefer are naturally spontaneously generated in all humans. All humans have values, but the distributions have been influenced by force and persuasion.

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      9. Or, you could just derail the final arc from ever starting to begin with.

        I mean, seriously. That Quincy “prophecy” about Yhwach reviving has literally been floating around within their culture, ever since the guy first died 1000 years ago. And in all that time, Seireitei never once put in any effort at all toward preventing it?

        Not only that, but here we also have Aizen trying for the exact same thing: overthrow and replace the Soul King. I very strongly doubt he’d appreciate the competition, especially from someone who, at this point in time, still qualifies as “dead”. (Mostly.)

        Just have something happen to sabotage Yhwach’s resurrection, so that he fails to revive and instead stays perma-dead. Boom, problem solved.

        Hell, ten minutes and I’ve already thought of a possibility, one that actually take Kubo’s own stated canon and turns it against itself:

        Quincy powers and Hollows are apparently anathema to each other, like matter and antimatter. After Masaki was infected by “White’s” bite, her own soul would have torn itself apart, if not for Isshin sacrificing his powers in order to keep the two existences permanently separated.

        My suggestion is that, because of how both rushed and highly experimental the procedure to do that was, it didn’t actually come off quite as perfectly as Isshin and Urahara thought. Some tiny sliver of “White” still remained embedded within Masaki, that didn’t get passed on to Ichigo.

        Then when Masaki’s powers were stolen by Yhwach’s Auswählen, that silver also happened to get snatched up along with it.

        Except now, there’s no more Isshin-power available to keep them separated – that Hollow-bit is now completely free to go to town on Yhwach’s soul, complete with all the Quincy power that he’s just stolen.

        Can we say, “Soul Suicide, Up To Eleven”?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m open to being persuaded that the Quincy genocide was absolutely the best thing ever.

    The final arc of the manga does not effectively persuade me that this is so. So, most of the living Quincy are horrible jerks? There’s maybe five of them, of thirty to forty, that aren’t the handpicked loyalists of the Quincy king. Think Hitler, Himmler, Goring, and the most extreme die hard residue of the Hitler Jugend and Bund Deutscher Madel after having festered for years in a bunker. That would be a representative sample of Germans?

    I’m mainly persuaded that Kubo Tite is not a great judge of morality, makes apparently unnecessary over the top creative choices, and is afraid to let the Shinigami have even the moral ambiguity of a fairly normal society. Okay, the Quincy King is a nasty piece of work, and extremely influential over Quincy. Okay, that really was a nasty war without tons of good options for peace. The degree and intensity of establishing that goes too far to work very well for me. Like how Hellsing goes too far into absurdity to really serve as a discussion of Nazi evil, the root causes, and how one might hope to prevent re-occurrences.

    I have very mixed feelings about Bleach. I’m not sure I see enough of a point in the final arc to be worth the narrative space.

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  3. Also, I could believe that Quincy are normal as far as taking life is concerned. The folks in that final arc? Regular folks in a toxic enough group in bad enough circumstances really do go that nuts.

    I’ve been willing to argue the opposite also. I’m an argumentative jerk.

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  4. Yeah, that nutjobbery of a story I was suggesting I would likely abandon if I didn’t find more of a purpose? These discussions have shown me more purpose. Fixit needed badly.

    I have mixed feelings about Bleach. Recently, a lot of the later developments inspire both “that’s awesome and works” and “that’s bullshit and doesn’t work”.

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    1. That was supposed to be a reply to The 17th Immortal. Has WordPress changed the no javascript threading or am I a dumbass?

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      1. I simply inferred that there would be given the title, your previous stories, and that something INTERESTING was happening to Hei according to you.

        Liked by 1 person

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