I’ve been thinking a lot about philosophy lately. One of my favorite fantasy novels, the Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, has philosophy in abundance. Lately, I’ve been pondering the Wizard’s First Rule: People are stupid. They will believe anything if they want to believe it or they are afraid of it.
I found that very true. I am only smart enough to know I stupid I really am. I do stupid things every day. Everybody does. It’s part of being human. By embracing our humanity, we forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make, and then are able to move on.
But I also found a deeper meaning in the matter of morality. Our culture values potential: the great potential that everyone can access or express through hard work and perseverance. That’s the potential to be good. But no one talks about the potential of evil. We may protest and swear that we aren’t the bad guy. But because we’re human, because we’re stupid, because we make mistakes, we are not walking a path but a tightrope of morality. Any one of us can make a choice that hurts others or hurts ourselves. And because doing evil is easy, making choices that mistreat or harm other people makes it easy to rely on those choices to confront problems in the future. It all builds up like a snowball. Before you know it, you’ve crossed the line of morality. We become the bad guys.
Living with the Wizard’s First Rule requires us to be constantly aware of this weakness. We must embrace our moral vulnerability and live on, doing the best we can to live the life we want to live. Not that it’s easy. Temptations are everywhere. But that’s all right. It’s part of being human. We have to take the good with the bad. That’s what a life of reading fantasy books has taught me (supported, of course, by the education of life). That’s what I try to write about.