The Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless

By Richard Greene; K. Silem Mohammad | Go to book overview

13
Deserving to Be a Vampire:
The Ethical and Existential
Elements of Vampirism

TED M. PRESTON

I was once paid an extraordinary compliment: “Ted, I can’t say this about many people, but I think you would make a great vampire.” I swelled with pride. Vampires are powerful, mysterious, immortal, and sexy (just review the vampire “headquarters" in the film, Underworld, if you have any doubts). I have sometimes found myself daydreaming about what it would be like to be a vampire. In my daydreams, it’s always good (though I’d have to teach only evening classes if I wanted to continue in my current profession). But (and here the “professional philosopher” bares his fangs), upon reflection, I have to wonder, would it truly be good to be a vampire? Morally good? Desirable?

If there’s something immoral about vampirism, and if being a good person is of some importance to me—shouldn’t that give me an overriding reason to reject vampirism (in the fantastic and fictional scenario in which it’s offered), no matter how supernaturally sexy I might become?

It’s often assumed that vampires are evil by their very nature. There’s a strong and immediate objection to vampirism from within a Christian perspective. If Jesus of Nazareth is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and the only legitimate source of eternal life, then any alternative route to immortality could easily be regarded as rebellion against God. Indeed, many of the stereotypical weaknesses of vampires depend upon this perception that they have somehow rebelled against God. Consider their aversion to crosses, their “allergy” to holy water, and so on. Indeed, in the film Dracula 2000, this notion of rebellion is

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