• Member Since 18th Oct, 2014
  • offline last seen Last Friday

Trick Question

Being against evil doesn't make you good.


Not content to believe her special talent is simply 'being rich', Diamond Tiara struggles to uncover her true calling so she can become a better friend to her classmates.

Eventually, Diamond has an epiphany: she can help not only her friends, but all of Equestria! Unfortunately, it means she needs to leave Ponyville on short notice.

This is the letter she leaves behind.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 44 )

Oh my god.



I've just been reading a bit of your blog.
Apparently, you've been feeling a little down of late.

That was a kick to the stomach, a well written and very touching kick.

There is a lot of value in stories that can deliver that, even if they make one uncomfortable.

Are you alright?

Took me 5 minutes to realise what this letter meant - that's very powerful writing. Great job!

That was... unexpected. On the other hand: She is gonna substract herself?

So her special talent is suicide...

That's a great talent to have, sweetie!

On a more serious note, this is a kick in the gut kind of story. I read it, I I kept asking, "Where is she going?" And I got the last part, and I was like, "Oh. Oh... Oh, that's so sad."
I'm not sure the given reasons would be quite enough to drive her to suicide, but for the sake of the premise I can accept it.

Yes. It is a direct allegory, and I agree completely with Diamond Tiara's logic (only directed at myself). Everything I write is personal allegory. The only exception for my published works here has been certain chapters of The Sound of One Hoof Clopping (which desperately calls out for revision and updates), because those are translations of koans, not all of which directly apply to my life (though most still do).

That said, there are a few things in place that make it extremely unlikely that I will follow Diamond's lead. This depresses me, because most of the time I believe that's what I should be doing. But life is hard for everypony, and all things considered I don't have much to complain about.

I have a tendency to spontaneously and permanently leave social groups and the hobbies associated with them when I realize I've either become a debit or am not welcome for some other reason. The fact that I have incomplete stories on Fimfiction which I have promised my readers I will finish, keeps me here.

The implication is that Diamond Tiara committed suicide immediately following this letter.

Um... oh God... she um... she decided to um...

That wasn't what I expected to happen at ALL!

Well done... Very well done...

I don't quite agree with that specific philosophy, and I also think that most time those who consider themselves a social burden are not such a thing. I'm also convinced that you are, at the net of your interactions I've witnessed, a positive factor (I follow you, which means I'm interested in what you have to say and how you say it).

That said, I also think that if staying somewhere induces more stress and dread than positive feelings, it is better to distance oneself from that situation when possible, maybe even only temporarily. But it should be because it is bad for the individual, not because one's convinced to be a disruptive factor. Usually if one has a constant negative impact on a social grouping, a lot of people will tell him or her repeatedly and in a unequivocally fashion.

The story remains a tragic and heart wrenching glimpse in a terrible situation.

I'm not really sure. For an example you would have had exposure to already, it's clear most ponies in the group we participate in think I'm intentionally trying to cause harm to others. That means not only must I be causing harm, but I'm doing it in a way that makes it appear like I enjoy hurting others. That's very difficult for me to accept, psychologically.

I'm glad you like hearing what I have to say, but I believe that a growing number of ponies who I have deep and abiding respect for are coming to the conclusion that it's time to sever all ties with me. At some point it will be the majority of participants who are bothered by my involvement, and I believe I've already crossed that threshold. And long before I became a gadfly to the majority of participants, I must have been an overall debit to the group.

Most of what you're saying is probably because you're a compassionate soul and you feel bad about my situation, and I don't mean to trivialize your efforts; I appreciate that you care. But I don't think that's an objective measure of whether or not I'm worth something. I admit my point of view is severely slanted by depression, so maybe everything I'm saying here is totally off the wall (I suppose it's rather likely, to be fair). But is it really worth the risk that I might be right? Ultimately, you can't rank ponies as "positive" or "negative" like Diamond Tiara is doing here. All I can truly say, is this:

With my voice, there is a discussion; and without my voice, there is a different discussion.

However, with certainly carries more drama than without, and I obviously can't control that (unless you choose to believe as others do that I am actually trying to be hurtful). At least, I can't control it until I find a medication that works for my mood disorder. Hopefully I will someday, but it's too late for that to matter now.

Here's the thing, you come of sometimes as abrasive, sometimes you seem to have a short fuse and there are some themes that tend to "agitate" you and that means you give your unfiltered opinion on those issues.

That said, you are also insightful, quite cultured and often you bring interesting points to discussions, you tend to defend stories that have merits but go against some kind of hypothetical common sense, you can be fiendishly funny and you care.

I know people that are a net negative to social groupings, I tend to avoid said people and try to not interact with them, and you are not one of them.

I understand (maybe, I can't really be sure) what you feel, and there have been situations where the discussion didn't evolve in a constructive or happy manner, but I don't think that this is symptomatic of some kind of intrinsic problem on your side. I didn't follow the last thread, had too much to do elsewhere, but generally even when things got a bit out of hand it was in short spurs that calmed down and didn't devolve in anything too toxic.

If you feel the need to take a few steps back for a while, that is understandable and maybe the right thing to do, but it would really be sad if you left almost everything here because of this. Just don't burn bridges yet, quite a few of us like to come over for a visit.

I agree with anybody here.
Trick, if ever you decide to leave, I'll immediately buy a plane ticket and wing over the pond to put things back in place in your head. :derpytongue2:
And I can be dreadful when I want. :raritywink:
So you better stay!

Let me a day or two to draw a strip about you.

BTW, how was your NYE party?

Come on! We won’t let you down.

A lot of my reaction here is simply me being selfish. I'm overly sensitive to how other ponies see me, and once I think they believe my intentions are malicious, the only way I feel like I can redeem myself and show that I care about them is to go away.

My childhood education probably plays a role in how I behave. When I was young I had terrible social skills. My parents also moved around frequently, and I went to nine different elementary schools. This meant that the only times in my life I had the opportunity to feel social pressure deescalate, were the times I simply walked away from my problems. Sometimes it was the right thing to do (I dealt with some pretty abusive teachers at some schools), but often it taught me escapism. Fortunately, I stayed at the same school from tenth through twelfth grade, and this helped me learn to deal with my problems directly (not in all cases, but in some). It also gave me enough social stability to make a few friends, and I was much less socially retarded after I graduated.

It still took about ten more years or so before I had decent social skills, though, and I continue to err regularly. It's frustrating to not be able to know if you've done something wrong. I'm pretty gunshy, and despite my popularity as an instructor at the university I work at, I generally expect to be fired. My contract ends this year, and I'll probably be renewed, but it remains to be seen. My behavior has been erratic for the past year because of the escalation in depression (which I've been open about to the department), especially in Spring when I made a number of significant faux pas for which I was notified by staff (and one incident this Fall). At least they know I'm trying, and what the problem is (stress from unchecked mood disorder).

The big party is tonight, actually. :pinkiesmile: I need to afk now to prepare for it.

Have fun! Revel in the company of people that love you!

Aoch. That's not a good insight to come to. :fluttershyouch:

I have come to the conclusion, that there is no problem about herself DT couldn't solve without repeated listens to 'Light Of Your Cutie Mark'. I would like to think, as an addendum to this story, she changes her mind, and her and her friends can look back at this letter in years to come as a turning point in her struggles for self-adequacy.

I sincerely wish the same for you, too.

Comment posted by PinoyPony deleted Mar 15th, 2016

If only Diamond Tiara had learned about complex numbers in math then she would realize that her absolute value is always positive but it can sometimes be pointing in the wrong direction. Sometimes being negative is just a phase and finding the right direction can turn a negative into a positive. After all, subtraction is really just a 180 degree rotation.

Heh. I love story tags. Like, I always forget to look at them before I jump into a story. Then twists like this become far more amusing when I do look at them when I jump up top of the page to green thumb.

It's more of a catharsis than it is a burden to write these personal allegories, isn't it? If it ain't, maybe there's a way for you to revel in and relish the emotional pain and agony of those personal experiences, turning them into something more positive. Use that pain to fuel your drive to create more (actually, you seem to already be doing that by writing these stories), to continue living and have a chance at achieving something out of it, eh?

I dunno. Sometimes, when I feel I hate the world a lot on a particular day, I end up working harder at my job. Turn negativity into something positive. Well, at least it should be something positive in your own eyes.

Great story! I managed to suspect the twist about a quarter of the way through, but was kept guessing until the end by the fact that DT's talk of putting others first and serving made me think she might instead be going into the armed forces to be some sort of tactical anti-diplomat. :rainbowlaugh:

I don't think any person has negative value, though their actions may. By this logic, our value isn't the sum total of our actions (including our thoughts or other less voluntary actions). I also think that suicide is an invariably negative action for its impact on others and the removal of a valuable person from their lives. Suicide doesn't change or remove a person's worth, but it does make utilizing that worth much more difficult.

I believe that the value of a person is in how much potential others have to love them. I mean that my value is determined by how much my parents, family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers either can or do love and serve me, not for my sake, but for their own. I've come to this conclusion based on the understanding that no service or disservice I've received has ever done as much good or bad for me personally (in growth, satisfaction, peace, or happiness) as the service and disservice I've dealt others. The most valuable thing, therefore, and the most important thing by far to any person, in my belief, is how much we can love and serve others. Therefore, the best way I/we can help or hurt others is to make oneself available or unavailable to be served by them while taking advantage of any opportunities we have to serve in turn, to brighten somebody else's day or give them something edifying or uplifting to consider for our own happiness's sake (more than for theirs). All people have the same value by this standard.

Sorry if that makes little sense. I'm nappish right now. :ajsleepy:

I feel cold now after reading this..... I wasn't sure if this is about suicide by reading the description, when it spoke about her leaving Ponyville. But then it was.....
This letter has so much realistic value, it gives me shudders.
I want to think now this is indeed her special talent and that she has ascended to a higher being that can use its power to improve the lives of others, unbeknownst to them.



it's clear most ponies in the group we participate in think I'm intentionally trying to cause harm to others. That means not only must I be causing harm, but I'm doing it in a way that makes it appear like I enjoy hurting others. That's very difficult for me to accept, psychologically.

That sounds quite similar to something I experienced. While I can't say that most people in the group I'm participating in (which would be the whole fandom, basically, because I haven't yet found a specific group inside here that I would consider my "home", except for one group, but we're still in the process of getting it really active and to carry in a lot of people) think that I'm intentionally hurting others, I know that there are a few who think that, by the behavior they showed towards me.
I don't know what exactly happened to you, but in regards to this we're similar.
The difference between you and me, though, is that I have a very thick skin and if someone is treating me badly or hating on me for the way I am, the negative energy drips off of my mind and soul like water of hydrophobic material most of the time.
And even if something does pierce me in very rare cases, I recover from this very quickly, before others can abuse this exposed weakspot.
But I know how the low self-confidence feels, I know it very good, and I try to accept this feeling and to be aware of it all the time, so that it can't control me and can't make me insecure about myself.


I mean that my value is determined by how much my parents, family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers either can or do love and serve me, not for my sake, but for their own.

I'm not sure if I understand you right here.
Do you want to say that a hypothetical person who isn't loved by anyone and who no one wants to love for their own sake, because they don't think it would bring them something good or worthwhile to love that person, does have no value? :rainbowderp:

7000399 No, sorry. I meant to say that the value of a person in the lives of others depends on that person's potential to be loved, not how much they might actually be loved. Now that I'm refreshed, I'll add that our worth in others' lives also depends on how loved we make others feel, but only secondarily. (Somebody might love a lump of manure, and that lump might have all the value in the world to that somebody without them caring about whether the lump loves them back.) If you or I are untapped resources, unloved by the people near us, it doesn't affect our value negatively at all, but it certainly would be a shame for others not to enrich themselves by loving us, especially since (as sentient non-lumps) we might offer them some return on their investment. Worth to others and self worth are separate things, of course. I was speaking about the former.

As far as individual self worth and happiness goes, I think that depends not only on how loved we feel, but on how much love we're able to successfully express and reciprocate love to other people in various ways. Diamond here seems not to feel like anypony understands or accepts the love she's tried to express or that she's no good at expressing love so her perceived self worth suffers greatly. Still, it doesn't diminish her value at all in the lives of others, despite what she writes. Removing herself from the lives of those who love her (or might love her) makes it difficult or impossible for them to access her worth to them, to express their love to her or to feel loved by her.

Sociopaths (not just jerks, but people without the ability to experience empathy) may never value anyone but themselves and present an interesting challenge to this model of thinking. My understanding is that sociopaths can learn to function safely in society, but, whether or not they do, I question whether, despite their selfishness, they have any inkling of their actual self worth without caring about others and, therefore, no knowledge of how others might care about them.

7000399 I posted a lengthy edit to explain better below.


So a person has value either by being loved, by giving love to others or by both. Now I understand.
Sorry for my short answer an that I don't talk about this more. Season 6 was just announced for March 26th completely surprisingly and now I have all hooves full to do to get ready. :rainbowderp:

7001507 I'm excited about the news as well! Good luck.

Just to re-clarify, "value" is too broad a term. Diamond Tiara makes the grave mistake of oversimplifying it in the story, and that's what I was attempting to give my perspective on by breaking down the value of a person into the two most important types of value: self-worth and what I've been calling value to others. There are other facets to a person's value beside these, as numerous as the properties of a person. Also, beside "value," there's "potential value" (and all of its sub-types) which is more important over all and always very high when it comes to the lives of individuals -- so, how much Diamond is loved isn't as accurate a measure of her worth to others as how much she could be loved.


She sounds so proud of herself.

Wow... This is so deep.

:ajsleepy: But you'd get a better reaction out of me if it wasn't halfway through the night right now. But have an upvote and fave.

Another sad reminder how a world where death is fixable problem is really desirable as a (hopefully) possible future.
Diamond Tiara's letter leaves so great impression of her personality: clear reasoning, caring, decisive and taking her believes seriously. If it weren't for some small cognitive flaw...

Negation doesn't work that way, you cannot remove not-water from a glass to make it fuller, and the death of the individual still leaves their absence as a positive presence. It is silly to chastise a child horse for not understanding dialectics, I guess.

Excellent story, I would prefer to become zero, but it is not possible.

I've read this once or twice, had it on my shelves for a while, too.

I still didn't see it coming.

I recommend using Suicide/Self Harm tag.

On the other hand this bumps story's rating to Teen.

Nice story btw.

In a way, she's correct. Some people do make the world better by removing themselves from it. But here's the thing... they usually do this without realizing it. If they somehow do happen to realize this, the equation shifts and the formula is no longer true.

Still, A+ for effort. She did what she thought was right.

The ending hit me even though I knew going in what the story would be about :fluttercry:

Author Interviewer

At the risk of hypocrisy, I never consider stories like this need anything beyond a T-rating.

And hey, I'm glad you're still around and writing more fanfics that make me think. :)

If you look, I only mentioned this in the blog to note that a while back I'd already changed it from E to T, at one of the earliest points where I realized one of my ratings was too loose. I'm sure T is right for this one. Also, I've always been tempted to write a second chapter to do right by DT because this is much darker than it needs to be. I'll probably do so someday.

And thank you for being a kind and non-judgmental friend. That is sadly a :raritydespair: in these divisive days.

Author Interviewer

I'd have to really look at the language used to be sure, but I feel like there's a way to make this not a suicide note, just a goodbye letter, as she leaves society behind or something.

And you're welcome. :twilightsmile: It's my pleasure.

My intent would be to make it a failed suicide attempt.

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