The Wizard’s Rules – The Sword of Truth series, Terry Goodkind
Wizard’s First Rule:
“People will believe anything they want to believe, or fear to believe.”
Explanation: “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because either they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true.
People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”
This cautions all of us to think twice about things. Do we believe something because we want it to be true or fear that it is?
Never arrogantly believe you are immune to this. Everyone is susceptible to violation of every rule.
Wizard’s Second Rule:
“The greatest harm can result from the best intentions.”
Explanation: It sounds a paradox, but kindness and good intentions can be an insidious path to destruction. Sometimes doing what seems right is wrong, and can cause harm. The only counter to it is knowledge, wisdom, forethought, and understanding the First Rule. Even then, that is not always enough. Violation can cause anything from discomfort, to disaster, to death.
Wizard’s Third Rule:
“Passion rules reason, for better or for worse.”
Explanation: Letting your emotions control your reason may cause trouble for yourself and those around you.
This rule tells us to use our experience and knowledge to make our decisions, rather than our emotions. It means to think before we act.
Wizard’s Fourth Rule:
“There is magic in sincere forgiveness, the magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, but moreso in forgiveness you receive.”
Explanation: Forgiving and being forgiven are powerful elements of healing, not for your body, but your soul. Forgiving others is healthy for you, but being forgiven is even more powerful.
Wizard’s Fifth Rule:
“Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.”
Explanation: People will lie to deceive you from what they truly mean to do. Watching the actions they take will prove their true intentions.
Wizard’s Sixth Rule:
“The only sovereign you can allow to rule you is reason.”
Explanation: The Sixth Rule is the hub upon which all rules turn. It is not only the most important rule, but the simplest. Nonetheless, it is the one most often ignored and violated, and by far the most despised. It must be wielded in spite of the ceaseless, howling protests of the wicked.
Misery, iniquity, and utter destruction lurk in the shadows outside its full light, where half-truths snare the faithful disciples, the deeply feeling believers, the selfless followers. Faith and feelings are the warm marrow of evil. Unlike reason, faith and feelings provide no boundary to limit any delusion, any whim. They are a virulent poison, giving the numbing illusion of moral sanction to every depravity ever hatched.
Faith and feelings are the darkness to reason’s light. Reason is the very substance of truth itself. The glory that is life is wholly embraced through reason, through this rule. In rejecting it, in rejecting reason, one embraces death.
Explanation: The only sovereign I can allow to rule me is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists, exists; what is, is. From this irreducible bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. This is the foundation from which life is embraced. Reason is a choice.
Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality – it’s our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see.
Wizard’s Seventh Rule:
“Life is the future, not the past.”
Explanation: The past can teach us, through experience, how to accomplish things in the future, comfort us with cherished memories, and provide the foundation of what has already been accomplished. But only the future holds life.
To live in the past is to embrace what is dead. To live life to its fullest, each day must be created anew. As rational, thinking beings we must use our intellect, not a blind devotion to what has come before, to make rational choices.
Wizard’s Eighth Rule:
Explanation: Be justified in your convictions. Be completely committed. Earn and deserve what you want and need rather than waiting for others to give you what you desire.
Wizard’s Ninth Rule:
“A contradiction cannot exist in reality. Not in part, nor in whole.”
Explanation: “To believe in a contradiction is to abdicate your belief in the existence of the world around you and the nature of the things in it, to instead embrace any random impulse that strikes your fancy–to imagine something is real simply because you wish it were. A thing is what it is, it is itself. There can be no contradictions. In reality, contradictions cannot exist. To believe in them you must abandon the most important thing you possess: your rational mind. The wager for such a bargain is your life. In such an exchange, you always lose what you have at stake.”
Wizard’s Tenth Rule:
“Willfully turning aside from the truth is treason to one’s self.”
Explanation: “People who for whatever reason don’t want to see the truth can be acutely hostile to it and shrill in their denunciation of it. They frequently turn their venomous antagonism on whoever dares to point out that truth … To those seeking the truth, it’s a matter of simple, rational, self interest to always keep reality in view. Truth is rooted in reality, after all, not the imagination.”
The Primordial Rule
“You can destroy those who speak the truth, but you cannot destroy the truth itself.”
The Final Rule:
“One must always seek the truth in life for themselves, rather than simply believing that which they are told without their own rational understanding and justification for that belief. Failure to do so can lead to a life of clinging to empty promises and following trails of false hope. The knowledge gained through seeking the truth, if used for the purposes of good, is the key to enjoying life to its fullest. Those who use the truth for hate however, only betray themselves.”
By all means, put these to the test, but you have to be honest with yourself, because lying to oneself is the most damaging sin one can ever commit.