Dear Princess Celestia,
I'm sure you recall how keen I am to treat friendship as the thing most literally resembling real magic
on Terra of Sol. But something has been building up among the lives of those I care about that I've been striving to stabilize, and it's suddenly hit me last night that... maybe I'm wrong. What if I've been abusing
this power? I don't think of it as a power, sure, but that's kind of what it is. I felt better equipped to make things work out a certain way - a way that I have believed to be
for the better. But with every give, there is a take. The higher we climb, the farther we may fall.
I believe I may have alluded to this in previous letters, Your Majesty, but I have a tendency to always be thinking about the worst case scenario. It's no secret that under my outward efforts to push for the most optimistic outcomes, I am a deeply rooted pessimist always considering how badly things might go wrong. Every time I have ever done something for someone, it has only been after reconciling the fact that I may never see benefit for it myself--or further, that I could face betrayal at any instant. It's because I feel that before I can get behind a decision, I should
do my best to understand the consequences.
It just so happens that something reminded me of this in a video recently released by MLP-Silver-Quill
- his Magical Ethics
video, to be precise. It seems that I wasn't alone in my thinking. It was written about in "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin:
But you must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act. The world is in balance, in equilibrium. A wizard's power of Changing and of Summoning can shake the balance of the world. It is dangerous, that power. It is most perilous. It must follow knowledge, and serve need. To light a candle is to cast a shadow.
... I have cast many shadows, Celestia. From this sense of relationship maintenance I have cultivated, there has
been suffering; perhaps no greater quantity of suffering than there would have been before (at best), but now more concentrated, more stark. And in recent days I've been seeing where these shadows have fallen. Whom upon they have fallen. Uplift one, destroy the reputation of another. Unite these two, isolate that one. Protect these, but allow the other to rot. My Liege, are you familiar with the Trolley Problem?
Today I see the deepest shadow that perhaps I have ever cast. When they made a mistake, I stuck by their side. When they made poor decisions, I suspended my judgment. When they would cut off their leg to spite their hoof, I held my tongue. I thought I was being supportive. I thought I was being a balancing influence.
... Your highness, I fear all I've been doing is enabling their self-harm
. I've failed to be supportive or balancing at all because this IS the balance of all the good I've done. And now I have a hard question to answer.
Was it worth it...?
Must I sacrifice a friendship to save a life...?