Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Monday, March 17, 2003

In Defense of Harry Potter - Zenit.

"At a news conference Feb. 3 on a Vatican document on New Age, [Monsignor Peter Fleetwood] was asked about the fictional adolescent wizard. Monsignor Fleetwood, who helped draft the New Age document when he was a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, responded: "Harry Potter does not represent a problem."

"[T]he characters always find victory through universal virtues such as courage in the service of honesty or friendship. Self-sacrifice, the willingness to put oneself in danger for another's sake, is one of the constant threads running through the series."

I believe that "self-sacrifice" is a fundamental underlying theme of Stoicism.

'What then does the character of a citizen promise?' said Epictetus (Discourses II. x. 4-5).'To hold nothing as profitable to himself; to deliberate about nothing as if he were detached from the community, but to act as the hand or foot would do, if they had reason and understood the constitution of nature, for they would never put themselves in motion nor desire anything, otherwise than with reference to the whole . . . The whole is superior to the part and the state to the citizen.'


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