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I've had this idea for an essay. I'll be trying to do something, and my thoughts will wander back to this idea. I've tried to ignore it because I've got too much to do, and I'm already working on one essay. (If I start too many things, I won't complete any of them.) Be that as it may, the idea will not go away.
I'm going to sketch out the idea here. I hope that if I do this, if I know that the idea has been captured, that I won't "lose it," maybe I'll be able to concentrate on some of the other stuff I've got going on.
There is a series of fantasy books called The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. It is a long series. (Nine books, published from 1999-2011. Wikipedia says the entire series is 11,216 pages long. Reading the series is a commitment. I did an edition of ⚯ Reading Notes about a small section of one of the books.)
In the series, there is this weapon, a sword called Dragnipur, which is carried by a character named Anomander Rake.
Dragnipur is a terrible weapon. It can cause massive destruction and suffering, and if it is used, the possibility of the weapon getting out of control is very high. One thing that makes Anomander Rake interesting is that he can hold onto Dragnipur responsibly, which usually amounts to not using it even though he could.
- There are lots of characters that wish that Dragnipur would not exist, but it does.
- There are lots of characters that want Dragnipur, but they can't get it from Rake.
- A few characters want to destroy Dragnipur, but they don't know how.
What I think is interesting about Dragnipur and Rake is how they could be used as a metaphor for powerful weapons on a macro scale, such as nuclear weapons, cyber attacks that can take down critical power infrastructures, biological weapons, etc. I also think it is Dragnipur could be used as a stand-in (metaphor) on the micro (personal) level with guns.
- Terrible weapons exist.
- Lots of nation-states and other groups want to have these weapons.
- A few people and groups would love to get rid of these weapons, but of course, they can't.
Rake is the sort of character that everyone hates. People see him as a power monger who keeps Dragnipur to himself and uses the threat of using it to keep others (individuals and groups of people) from doing things he thinks are double plus un-good. Lots of other characters are sort of saying, "Who the hell do you think you are to tell us what we can and can't do."
Rake responds to these people by calmly saying something like, "I'm more experienced and wiser than you are. I don't want Dragnipur. Bearing the weight of its power is not easy. I hold it because everyone is safer when it is held by someone who does not want to use it. If someone like you, some young person who does not question their motives, because they are so sure they know what is best, got ahold of this weapon and its power, you could not be responsible with it. YOu would use it to enforce your desires on others, you would destroy all who disagree with you, and in destroying them, you would also destroy yourself."
One of the problems we face today, which is a dangerous problem, is that there are many Dragnipurs in our world and very few Alamander Rakes.