• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
  • offline last seen 15 hours ago

Sprocket Doggingsworth

I write horse words.

More Blog Posts274

  • Thursday
    New Chapters Coming

    It's been nearly 4 months since I've released a chapter of Hooves of Fate. I found this slow pace both frustrating and disheartening until I looked at the word count of my document, and found it to be well over 18,000.


    Chapters seldom end where I plan for them to end. That's nothing new. But it looks like this block is going to end up divided in two.

    Read More

    3 comments · 98 views
  • 2 weeks
    Quiet Couple of Months

    As some of you may have noticed, I've been relatively quiet of late, (and then, suddenly, out of nowhere, today, I sort of exploded with content).

    Read More

    2 comments · 115 views
  • 2 weeks
    Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - Defining Equestria

    In the show, "Friendship is Magic", and its tangential media, Equestria is referred to as a "kingdom," despite the plain and obvious fact that it is a princesspality.

    Read More

    0 comments · 36 views
  • 2 weeks
    Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - The Old Factory

    I'm rewatching Chapter 4 of Make Your Mark in anticipation of Chapter 5 coming out in only a week and a half.

    Did I just watch a My Little Pony episode about collectivizing a former defense contractor's factory?

    Read More

    3 comments · 48 views

Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - Virtue · 2:46pm Feb 28th, 2018

I was taking an Internet quiz a few minutes ago, and one of the questions leapt out at me, and lead me to a pony-related epiphany. (I hope you’ll bear with me as I explain how I got there).

The quiz asked:

What lesson is more important for your children to learn:
A) Kindness
B. Discipline
C) Tolerance
D) Justice

On the surface, this really shouldn’t be that hard. Kindness, after all, would seem to be the ultimate rubric for measuring moral worth - the foundation of what makes a “good person.”

The problem is that it’s a lot more complicated than that.

I got to wondering: What is Kindness without Discipline? We all know that one guy who has a big compassionate heart, but no courage whatsoever. A listening ear, a hug, or a bite of one’s sandwich is wonderful when you’re blue, but when the chips are down, what you really need is someone who will also have your back. Just think of where the Mane Six would be if Fluttershy had split, and abandoned the other five to the mercies of the dragon.

That kind of courage requires self-discipline. Courage is, after all, not fearlessness, but rather, the will to push yourself forward despite your fear.

Teaching discipline without kindness, on the other hand, has the potential to produce a monster. This should be self explanatory.

Then there are the other two options: Tolerance; and Justice. (Don’t worry, I’ll be getting to the Pony part soon).

Tolerance and Justice, like Kindness and Discipline, are on the opposite sides of the same spectrum. Tolerance is a noble virtue. We must all strive for a better understanding of people from all walks of life. We must all strive to extend our compassion to those who are not like us.

However, what is tolerance without justice? Any concept of justice must stem from objective moral values. Tolerance, on the other hand, requires a certain amount of flexibility and moral relativism.

There, I summed up my thoughts on the stupid internet quiz question. Now what does any of this have to do with My Little Pony?

Well, the central premise of the show is that the Elements of Harmony passed to six ponies, each personifying an important virtue. On the surface, it might seem odd because none of the Mane Six are perfect paragons of their virtues. It’s not like Applejack is the most honest pony to exist in 1,000 years, nor Dash the most loyal. They screw up like everypony else.

However, when these ponies are placed together, something magical happens. Harmony is created, not by the perfection of each virtue, but by the counterbalancing of them.

So much of the show is about playing these characters off of one another - putting them in unique situations where their character archetypes conflict. Stories like this are super common, especially in children’s programming, but My Little Pony takes these tropes and makes them someplace deeper.

Obviously, not every single episode is a grand metaphor, but when examining the body of MLP as a whole, these conflicts have metaphorical value. All of MLP’s personality-based disputes demonstrate how virtues conflict - how harmony is about a balance of these virtues.

Magic without laughter is just a stodgy old wizard like Starswirl. Honesty without kindness or generosity is just cruel words.

I think that the ultimate lesson to be taken from MLP is that good friends keep each other in check, and ground one another’s moral centers. They challenge one another.

We should seek out friends who bring out the best in us. When we look inward, we should question how our virtues might be conflicting with one another. To what extent should we let our actions be guided by principle, and to what extent, (if ever), should we put lofty philosophical aside to achieve the greatest good?

I think that it’s important to search for truth and morality, not in the absolute realization of our ideals, but in the balance and tension between them. That’s why the Elements of Harmony only function when together - because it’s all about balance - because each virtue works against each other as well as they work with each other.

That’s the nature of harmony.


Please support me on Patreon. That is, if you want to. No pressure of course.
You can also follow Heart Full of Pony on Tumblr

Comments ( 2 )

Precisely. Harmony isn't some perfect, unchanging edifice. It's a dynamic equilibrium, the machine that's greater than the sum of its parts because their strengths more than offset their weaknesses. That's why it takes multiple users to fire the Rainbow Beam of Fix Everything properly.

Aye, I think I've thought of this sort of thing before, but I don't think I've put it so well; thanks. :)

Login or register to comment