Voldemort and Harry meet at the Piraeus


[originally posted to facebook, June 22, 2016]

Voldemort: Join me, Harry! There is no good and evil. There is only power, and those too weak to seek it. Will you join me?

Harry: Before I answer, tell me this: what is power?

Voldemort: The ability to do whatever you want, and to have whatever you want happen. If you become a Death Eater, there will be no limits to the magic you can perform. Do What Thou Wilt shall be the whole of the law.

Harry: But if I join you, I'd have to do what you say.

Voldemort: Of course. I am the leader of the Death Eaters.

Harry: So I would actually be losing power, if I joined you.

Voldemort: Technically.

Harry: Tell me about honesty and dishonesty.

Voldemort: Mere illusions! This binary opposition derives from the fundamental illusion, which is morality itself!

Harry: Illusions, eh?  So you mean that saying that morality does exist is... dishonest?

Voldemort: I see what you did there.

Harry: If there are no rules about honesty and dishonesty, why would you ask me whether or not I will join you? Would you believe me if I answer yes or no?

Voldemort: Why? What are you trying to pull, here?

Harry: I mean, I might say, "Yes, I will join you," but secretly I will be working as a spy for Dumbledore and the other good guys, rising up through the Death Eaters and betraying you at the last minute....

Voldemort: Don't do that.

Harry: On the other hand, I might also say, "No, I'll never join you," but secretly I will be a Death Eater from then on, and nobody at Hogwart's - and none of the readers of the books or watchers of the movies - will be any the wiser, except for the really clever, perceptive ones....

Voldemort: Interesting... go on....

Harry: In other words, if I say, "Yes," that means I agree with you, which means I think the concept of honesty is meaningless, so you shouldn't trust me. And if I say, "No," and I really mean it, that means that I don't agree with you, and I'm not on your side, so you shouldn't trust me. You lose either way.

Voldemort: Hm.

Harry: And there's another possibility. What if I say, "No, I'll never join you," and I really mean it, but in fact I've internalized your principle, that there is no good or evil, and there is only power? In other other words, I no longer believe in good and evil, I only believe in power, and precisely for that reason, I don't want to be under your power - I want to be independent.

Voldemort: I guess I see what you mean....

Harry: And if that were the case, even if I were doing many things that most people consider evil, I would want them to think that I am good, because I would want people to be on my side....

Voldemort: Well, that's pretty devious....

Harry: In fact, what you're doing seems pretty stupid and counterproductive - loudly advertising yourself as a Bad Guy. Look at you, all dressed in black, with that creepy noseless face and reptilian teeth... no one's going to want to be your friend. Seems pretty weak, if you ask me.

Voldemort: Now you're just being mean.

Harry: No wonder you're so desperate for me to join you! If you really had all that much power, you wouldn't care whether I joined you or not.

Voldemort: I'm not desperate. It's just, you know, a guy gets lonely....

Harry: Whereas, by looking like a nice, cute, innocent, little boy, I get everyone to trust me, to love me, to identify with me, and to want to protect me. Even if I break the rules!

Voldemort: Hey, yeah, that's true! That's not fair!

Harry: Plus, by opposing you, I not only get the power that comes from the support and obeisance of all of these suckers, I also get to enjoy the bloodlust of violent action against you and your goons, AND the supreme sense of self-satisfaction that I am right and righteous.

Voldemort: Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

Harry: If you don't believe in good and evil, does hypocrisy have any meaning?

Voldemort: Good point.

Harry: I mean, if a person REALLY gave up on all belief of good and evil, and merely sought power for its own sake, then not only would they be willing to lie to everyone else, they'd even be willing to lie to themselves. They'd be willing to convince themselves that they were good people, if it made them feel good. So they would wind up believing in good and evil after all, though in a very self-serving way. In this way, the act of not-believing-in-good-and-evil undoes itself.

Voldemort: I'm getting confused. What are you saying?

Harry: By looking the way you look, and saying things like, "There is no good and evil, only power, and those too weak to seek it," I think you're being a bit too honest.

Voldemort: Too honest?

Harry: If you really cared about acquiring power, more than anything else, you wouldn't say honest things like that. You'd only tell people what they want to hear, nice talk about democracy and friendship and love.

Voldemort: Damn it, you're right.

Harry: So "Bad Guys," who talk the way you do, that is to say, honestly, are really more good than "Good Guys".

Voldemort: On second thought, I rescind my offer. Don't join us. You're creeping me out.

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