The Ancient Scrolls
The Dialogs of Primus and Hanmon
The Reasonable Man
Primus: To believe a thing means to think it true, would you not agree?
Hanmon: Of course, why else would you believe a thing?
Primus: Good. So a reasonable man believes all his beliefs to be true?
Hanmon: Of course, but one could always be wrong.
Primus: Naturally, a reasonable man knows that, from experience, some of his beliefs are false?
Hanmon: Yes, that is reasonable.
Primus: So a reasonable man believes both that all his beliefs are true and that some of them are false. Does this seem reasonable?
Hanmon: It seems we must be wary of being a reasonable man.
Primus: I believe you are right.
Smokescreen for the Weak
Primus: And what of good and evil? Has anyone ever seen such things?
Hanmon: Of course not, how could they?
Primus: And is it not more true to say that people require duties of you rather than performing them themselves?
Hanmon: Well, many behave badly, but…
Primus: But there is no good or bad, do you not see? There is only expedient or inexpedient.
Hanmon: What can you mean?
Primus: Is not ethics to make life better?
Hanmon: Of course?
Primus: And what can "better" mean here but more comfortable, longer, and more pleasant?
Primus: And are all people of equal power? Do they have equal needs? Equal desires?
Hanmon: No, we are all different.
Primus: And do all deserve the same?
Primus: Thus is ethics and all talk of good and bad just a smokescreen for the weak playing a trick upon the strong, for it is the way of nature that the strong take and the weak give. Anything else is against all human reason.
A Dialog between two nameless monks
A Trustworthy Man
Monk 1: If a reasonable man is one we must be wary of, then what is his motive?
Monk 2: Well, I suppose if he acts not from reason then from emotion.
Monk 1: If not the mind then…?
Monk 2: The Heart.
Monk 1: Indeed, it must be.
Monk 2: Then how can any man be trusted?
Monk 1: Well, then perhaps the only trustworthy man is one without a heart.