The descent to Hell is easy and light. I am an easily influenced man. Every reason sounds reasonable to those without reason. It is for this reason I believe wars are not created in the houses of the common people, but in the universities at the desks of philosophers. After all, generals must get their own philosophy from somewhere, and generals are usually trained at fine colleges.
Furthermore, those who seek power should never be allowed to hold power, even though they are invariably practically the only ones who attain it.
I studied at the University of Seo Dumang on the Quidish coast for several circles, where I busied myself with theoretical mathematics and metaphysics, as well as philosophy. Some other students would routinely join me in the library for engaging conversations. We debated all sorts of things, from the meaning of life to intrinsic morality.
At the end of the winter semester, half of us questioned whether we really existed. One of the students frequenting my group killed himself.
Though I never questioned my own existence (such a thing would be like denying if fire burns dry grass,) I did however compile my own philosophy from whatever concept fancied me. The sensual thoughts of Ferranmore pleased me. I took ladies whenever I liked and gained a slight addiction to chocolate, though I always loathed the taste of any alcohol, so I never accepted that one. I validated this with Lillion, who stated life has no intrinsic meaning and we must give life whatever meaning it is capable of possessing.
I failed to realize that establishing something has no meaning is actually giving it the meaning of not having meaning. Also, if life has no meaning, how could I have realized it? There would have been no meaning to understand. This is a prime example of the kind of illogical concepts I accepted because it allowed me to do whatever I wanted. Whatever goodness I did was my own aesthetic. Nothing stemmed from any morality on my part.
The problem with all of this is that, like my suicidal friend, I discovered life had no reason for existing. I attained a high post in the Quidish government, one so high I could pull rank with almost anyone lower than the Emperor himself. Now I wish I knew that when I reached the top, there would be nothing there. I married a noble lady from Latron and fathered seven children over four circles. All of this before my thirtieth circle. Nothing gave me pleasure.
I failed to provide satisfactory answers for myself. Everyone must tackle the questions of life, death, meaning, and morality. I decided life is pleasure, death is inevitable, nothing has meaning, and morality is relative. Then I discovered pleasure is worthless as an end unto itself, life must have intrinsic meaning, and the statement "morality is relative" makes no sense (though I was right in that death is inevitable.)
Happiness is the most fleeting and fickle emotion I think anyone is capable of having. Because of this, I do not understand why people make happiness or pleasure the goal of their lives. It is impossible, and not just that, also incredibly frustrating. Frustrating to the point of driving a man bonkers. Happiness, out of all emotions, is the most unstable and relative. It is unwise to make something like that the foundation of your existence.
Morality cannot be relative because then that would mean I had no right to complain if something "immoral" happened to me. If morality is relative, there is no good or evil, because then there would be no standard by which to tell the difference. But there is good and there is evil. Evil is not a thing unto itself. We consider something in levels of evil depending on how far removed it is from good. Evil cannot exist without something good to ruin or pervert. There is an absolute moral. I railed and thrashed against this. It meant I had to take responsibility for myself, and as we all know, men are puerile. No one wants a spanking.
We conclude truth is relative, even though the statement "truth is relative" also makes no sense. It is an absolute statement stating all statements are relative. There is no logic, but there is an ulterior motive. Men want there to be no truth.
Though they really do care if they are paid in a hundred silver coins or a hundred gold coins, or whether their spouse cheated on them. On such things, truth is everything to them.
Do people not think?
From the journal of Tan Dian Shitan:
Honorary Kinkeri by rights of Courage
Dean of the College of Philosophy at Taine'allan, Arost