Friday, December 22, 2017

The Little Way of Terry Pratchett

An oldie (2015) but a goodie from Leah Libresco Sargeant. Via Will Duquette.
“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”

“It’s a lot more complicated than that—”

“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they are getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”

“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes—”

“But they starts with thinking about people as things …”
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum
Reading that as an atheist, it was the first time I’d seen a definition of sin that didn’t sound like, as Francis Spufford describes our modern use of the word in Unapologetic, a kind of “enjoyable naughtiness” that seemed mostly to do with sex or very expensive chocolates.

But the kind of sin that Granny talks about isn’t an indulgence in something harmless, luxurious and secret. And it’s not the world-shaking evil of a monster or a murderer. It’s a seemingly small rejection of creation and the particular place our fellow people have in it. It’s not always choosing hatred; it can be putting aside love for indifference.
Leah Libresco Sargeant, The Little Way of Terry Pratchett
I have long loved Granny Weatherwax for all the reasons Leah Libresco Sargeant mentions in her piece, which you should go read. In fact, I included that quote in Happy Catholic for it's solid truth.

It is interesting seeing how influential Terry Pratchett's insistence on human worth can be. Certainly it is one of the reasons I loved his stories. He doggedly and continually defends the value of each human. And the clear-sightedness of what sin really is. Whether he called it sin or not.

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