the best of all possible worlds. (Leibniz)
this one. here. this is the best of all possible worlds. with this formulation, it is not important, how many or how placed the worlds are in relation to each other, whether they are reachable or only hypothetical. of course, one might challenge Leibniz’s criteria for comparison and all sort of such things, but that is irrelevant.
recently my inner voice just splashed into my head suggesting i re-read Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials. Whilst looking for a suitable e-book to read, i accidentally stumbled over the TV series (i haven’t seen that yet). Of course, I have seen the Golden Compass a decade or so ago. well, that is the setting then for today’s thought.
the best of all possible worlds. here is the conundrum wrapped in mystery then: how come the human mind, which is so god-like it can create countless alternate realities, keeps creating bleaker and bleaker worlds, simultaneously claiming ‘based on true facts’ or at least experience. notice that i do not use the question mark here.
so here is a world which is presumed to reflect the best of all possible worlds in a light that discovers something we did not know earlier. the idea of daemons, i think, is amazing. the idea of the Magisterium which is a power-hungry structure loosely reminding of a cross between a hierarchic church and mad scientist organisation (the coinage ‘experimental theology’ alone merits a separate discussion) is, well… lukewarm. and then the motivation for the great conflict: removing the daemons would remove all that is sin. except that the purity of a child is taken for granted. lol.
yeah, blame the daemons. blame the souls represented by creatures great and small for what someone called Magisterium has called summarily ‘a bad thing we think is not necessary in this best of all worlds’. this is the beautiful straw-man argument constructed by Pullman. it also serves as a plot device, enforcing the conflict(s) and providing solutions. and because we, in this reality know how such organisations work (by dysfunction), on the grounds of pure affinity we feel this must be right (or wrong), and so the story leads us into a false dichotomy.
so, from the position of actually living in the best possible world, i wonder. about higher callings and saviours of the world; about the innocence of children and sinfulness of adults; about crooked mirrors of every tradition; about stories we tell warping the reality.
and about such a silly thing as the pandemic. in the best of all the possible worlds.