The problem of evil is brought out expressly by Rowling in the Potter series. The forces of good and those of evil square off at one another. The outcome of the series, from a metaphysical point of view, is not clear in the sense that neither good nor evil can persist without the other.

This predicament brings us to the question of the source of evil in the world. If God is the ultimate source of all things, then He is the ultimate source of evil. In that case, we end up with a contradiction; i.e., opposing forces, which are presumed to be existentially incompatible, constituting the same being. God cannot be absolutely good and absolutely evil at the same time as one being. If God is not the source of all things, then evil or whatever is the counterpart of God (an ordering principle) or goodness is coeternal with God.

The root of this thesis is Plato. We find that there are primary causes (archai) of ordered things (the Forms) and there are counterparts of the Forms (matter and space).

Harry Potter, being a durational being, can manifest both sources; i.e., he can be forces of both good and evil. The ultimate aim of that force of evil is to create disorder and its correlative conscious function, pain and suffering. Potter, reflecting the Forms as best he can, manages a quest for the good. Yet, inasmuch as he exists as a reflection of these entities, he is also a mixture of that which is evil; his being exists in the receptacle and is constituted in its extended mode as a part of the receptacle.

Let me put it another way --Potter's problem. The Forms, says Plato, are eternal immutable objects. The counterparts of the Forms, matter is that which imperfectly reflects the Forms and that which contains matter (for the sake of no better word, let us say "space") is that in which these imperfect reflections are located. What Harry is is a distortion of the Forms which are the sources of order and goodness. Why Harry is a distortion is that his existence is the materialization of these orders in a location. Harry's problem is that the forces involved with material and space tend towards disorder (sort of 2nd law of thermodynamics) whereas his nature, inasmuch as it involes the Forms, desires and strives for order and goodness.

Harry is a person with a mind and body (they may both be modes of the same thing, but that is for a previous discussion). His mind desires that which is most akin to it and is its ultimate source, the Forms (order and goodness). Yet, his body places him in space with its coercive nature. He is thus a person in time who faces the challenge of being an agent of good (the Forms: order) or being an agent (and ultimately subject) of evil (disorder). Harry's problem is to discover the Forms as best he can and in the process create or master himself.

If Harry Potter is the agent of good, then how is Voldemort the agent of evil? Well, if you look back into the chapter which deals with the problem of evil, you may get a notion of what evil is. The general definition given as a genus is, "unnecessary suffering." Voldemort, as an agent of evil, causes by intentional unnecessary suffering. Put another way, suffering is brought into being for its own sake and certainly not as an instrument to some greater, outweighing good. Thus, Voldemort has true malice of intent. He seeks to bring about suffering for his own satisfaction and/or just to have it manifest in the world.

Two things are interesting here. Intentions and unnecessary suffering. Intentions involve minds. I may intend an action, but may not do the action. Yet, my intention is an indicator of my moral status; i.e., my goodness or badness. Example. Suppose you see me helping an old lady across the street. You may say, "My, what a good person Roberts is." But, suppose that you found out that the reason I did the act was to find out where the old lady lived so that I could rob her. The intent of my act was not to help the old lady, but to get information to lead to my doing an act that would cause her unnecessary suffering. Most persons do actions with good intentions, but, if you are like me, sometimes we do actions caused by wrong intentions. Voldemort is the prime example of pure malice or one who has intentions only to do actions which cause needless suffering.

Voldemort also is the instantiation of the paradox of being in a world of time. He is at once alive, yet the arrow and agent of death. If death is the end of all meaning, then Voldemort is the paradox, for we see his intentions of causing needless suffering which ends in death. Yet, if death is his ultimate goal, it must also apply to him, in which case, his action seems to be self defeating, much as cancer cells that thrive on, but kill the very host that supports them.

For a different look from YA perspective, google Teen life in the Tiny Kingdom.

Take me toVoldemort, and unconditional love


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