On the Nature of Man
I will not sit here, writing this exquisite piece of literature you hold in your hands, and tell you that I know everything about the soul of a man. It is a complex, diverse, and varied thing, as different from one another as one blade of grass is to the next. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? When looking down as a giant, the supreme ruler of a pasture where your livestock graze and your children run, do not all blades of grass look the same? Of course, upon closer inspection you’d find that each differs in size and shape, but you never look that closely, do you? Of course not. It’s grass. And that is why I can tell you about the nature of man.
I have the perspectives of giants on the pastures of the human soul. And from here, you all look the same.
The first thing the soul wants is preservation. Someone will do most anything to continue surviving, even if they tell you otherwise. There are Paladins aplenty roaming the lands, seeking a venue in which they could sacrifice themselves for the greater good, but they only do it because the soul seeks eternal preservation. Those who are not so dull as to believe in an afterlife know that the longer you stay on this earth, the longer you’re you. After that, you’re nothing.
In light of that, we’re always experimenting with new and inventive ways to stay alive. Some eat right, keep their bodies shapely, and even avoid danger whenever possible. I, however, have always found mages the most prudent in this regard. Show me a mage who is capable of wielding magic, and I’ll show you a mage who will someday, if they haven’t already, attempt to use that magic to keep themselves alive. Some may cast a spell to restore their health, but it is those who go too far who truly intrigue me. Those who seek the dark arts to keep themselves from nothingness.
Come now, wipe that scowl from your pretty little face. You’re told at Temple that the dark arts are for dark individuals and that any who use them have forsaken their humanity. On the contrary, my dear reader. It is these people who have sought humanity to its fullest. These are the people who are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their humanity.
Believe me when I say: Those who deal in absolute good and absolute evil are furthest from their humanity.
The tides of good and evil are ever shifting. They exist, of yes, they exist. There are good people and there are those who are evil for a time, but there are never individuals who are always good and always evil. The same man who kills his brother one day may care for his orphaned nephew the next. Context, my friends. You can only ever view acts of valor and vile through the lens of context. The right thing done for the wrong reasons may be the wrong thing. The wrong thing done for the right reasons may be the right thing. But judgement, my readers, oh, judgement – how we love it. How we adore categorizing, placing, and fitting individuals into predetermined boxes of shame and prestige. How we love the labels.
We are quicker to judge than to learn.
That is within our nature. We hear from a friend who heard from a friend that the bad man is bad, and we pass our judgement without ever having met him. We cannot help ourselves. Even those who hold out judgement have already passed it in their minds – they are simply holding the verdict to fulfill their own sense of righteousness.
The only way, and I do mean the only, to cease passing such judgement is to disbelieve in the concept of good and evil. If you stop believing that a person can be good and a person can be evil, than a person is merely a person, and their actions bring about consequences based only on the merits of those actions.
When good and evil are dead, we can finally be alive.
Take note, my friends. Even actions are deceptive. Remember that no omelet is made without the breaking of eggs, and no future is created without the disruption of the present. We wish to pass judgement quickly for the sake of ending tyranny, but oftentimes patience proves the ally of judgement.
We should not judge what we do not understand. And understanding ever has required time.
The nature of man is this: Souls passing judgement upon one another in the interest of preservation in the face of good and evil. There can be argument that man is a horrid thing.
But perhaps, if we are guided by the right hands, we can become better.
I will be the hands. I will see each blade of grass for what it is. And I will help us escape from the nature of man.