Reviews for Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Guy-In-The-Hoodie chapter 39 . 9/20
Heavy subject matter, but beautiful all the same.
Yeza Nairomof chapter 39 . 4/30
I question why I am laughing so hard right now, it started around the part when Dumbledore and harry started talking about death...
ack1308 chapter 39 . 4/7
Mutual total incomprehension.

Loving it.
renextronex chapter 39 . 3/21
wow, now thats heavy
Darrk Rabbit chapter 39 . 3/6
This fic really makes me realize how stupid I am. I wonder how maby people feel the same...?
Jatok chapter 39 . 11/15/2016
The reason i hate most books is because most authors view the world in black and white, for some inane reason
Evan Ewing chapter 39 . 9/27/2016
I like the part where Dumbledore was holding a Pilantir. Nice chapter.
Thingamajig chapter 39 . 6/18/2016
The thing that Harry doesn't understand is that as a scientist he's a rare creature. It makes him very passionate, he's always totally immersed in reality, thinking, experimenting, plotting. Always hungry for something new, always so much ahead of him. It might be true that HE would not grow tired of life for a long time, for he always has science to live for. Is it true for all people, or even most? No, not really. Most people just slowly munch on their lives and they do indeed need to see life as a story, which Harry is so condescending about, for it to even make any sense to them, and he doesn't get it. Harry's passion and hunger for life and knowledge makes him morally grey - like most of the greatest people, of course. He's more admirable and interesting as a person like that, but in the end he's just as selfish as everyone.
The Anguished One chapter 39 . 6/17/2016
Such an intense conversation between Harry and the Headmaster. Immortality is a fascinating possibility, but I can see Dumbledore's perspective on it too. It's something that can't really be settled by a single conversation.
Guest chapter 39 . 6/13/2016
Funnily enough, I came to the conclusion that humanity are the ones who created and will uphold happiness. Nice to see that belief spoken so eloquently. Therefore, I thank you.
Sonictheblur chapter 39 . 4/19/2016
I really have to disagree with all the reviewers who think Harry is just an arrogant brat. Okay, he is arrogant and jerkish, but it doesn't mean what he is saying is false. His arguments are constructed quite well, and it isn't just a spew of rational thinking. Harry's stance is simply "I haven't see evidence of afterlife and about souls, with all such cases you listed being shakey examples, and the fact that we aren't acting like 'oh well, my friends died, I'll take the death train to catch them in a few years' actually shows how improbable the afterlife is." It isn't a case of "lack of evidence doesn't exist" because of that latter argument, which isn't sufficient to prove impossibility but at least does make it much less plausible than how Dumbledore is selling it.

On the contrary, we have Dumbledore, who IS actually quite condescending, even if he isn't intentionally acting like he is. Compared to other people he is a bit better (at least, like he says, he listens when there is indeed a need for some advice), but he immediately disregards anything that contradicts his own beliefs. Harry repeatedly points out logical problems and inconsistencies, and Dumbledore just merely smiles, says "I don't agree" or "you don't understand," and dodges all further debate by not telling what or why. Extra points for adding so-called wise words that don't mean anything just to obscure your opponent's understanding and force their own interpretation. Hell, I actually wished Harry outright made the comeback about Neville's parents, because it is right on point about the contradictions in Dumbledore's beliefs.

As for other things, the soul not existing really could be a possibility. For example, the dementors could be sucking out the electric signals in your brain, and the horcrux could be really good backups of the mind and DNA sequence data, his main body as the primary server, that makes sure the mind won't be lost as long as there is at least one working holder of the data (F1 tolerance, I guess). I can see where the brain damage argument comes in, that since loss of such functionality is related to brain damage, it shouldn't be related to and hence carried over by the soul. Of course, like many reviewers pointed out, it could be the brain is an interface for the soul, something that if I was Harry I would want to test out by seeing if a person with a damaged brain (i.e. amnesia) turned ghost can remember everything, assuming the ghost really is the reflection of the soul.

That part wasn't important. What was more important was what follows, that it had given Harry false hope of speaking to his parents, and frankly, I think that's why Harry is so angry at Dumbledore, because he is preaching about how that false hope is true without actually good reasons for doing so. If Dumbledore really did show that the afterlife exists, Harry wouldn't actually be mad and rather become quite happy with the revelation.

And now that Harry knows that magic can do much more than he expected, of course he has high hopes for solving humanity's issue. Then the Philosopher's Stone, the very existence of allowing people to live as long as they want. WHICH DUMBLEDORE KNOWS ABOUT BUT DOESN'T WANT TO SHARE! He locked himself for so long into the belief that everyone should be obligated to die some day, so that's why he doesn't give the one solution to everyone's resignation against death out. What's more hilarious is that after reading spoilers, in retrospect that very attitude CREATED VOLDEMORT! Nice Breaking It Dumbledore doesn't even begin to describe how much an old man's stubborn attitude costs the world.
SirMandokarla chapter 39 . 3/14/2016
Are there armies in other years? It seems like something that was implied several times, but all evidence points to the contrary. No other years received Christmas wishes, and nobody is ever mentioned as part of another set of armies. If there are no other armies, why not? If so, how do they have no impact on the school, even being shown up by the first years?

As for this whole death conversation, it really feels like they're both talking past one another. Harry is even making the mistake of coming up with explanations, then assuming them to be true. I guess it's been proven many times over at this point that he's still only human.

Good writing. Very enjoyable.

On the subject of monthly truncheoning: if you have no explanation for the phenomenon, no way to prevent it or mitigate its effects, you might as well view it in a positive light, because you're not avoiding it. I suppose that's what they're really arguing: is it avoidable? In which case, Harry's the most arrogant, idiotic genius to ever exist, since he clearly believes he'll solve death. At least other people who don't believe they'll die usually think a large group of people will come up with a solution.
Science Bug chapter 39 . 2/22/2016
So much of this reminds me of God's Debris. Nice work.
Guest chapter 39 . 1/30/2016
If people had souls there would be no brain damage? I disagree with Harry's statement. My counter-argument: the soul doesn't control the body directly; it controls the brain, which in turn controls the body. If the brain is damaged, the soul has a broken interface with the body, and things won't work correctly.
Secre chapter 39 . 1/25/2016
That...that was awesome!
Montara chapter 39 . 1/22/2016
Wow!
bugaboo13 chapter 39 . 12/15/2015
Most interesting life and death argument ever and I fully side with Harry
WatchingTheWatchman chapter 39 . 12/7/2015
How would Harry react if there truly was an afterlife, and Dumbledore is right? It feels like his basic motivations wouldn't change, actually, but I'm not sure. Though he is forgetting or ignoring some of the downsides of immortality, like overpopulation
ShadowLDrago chapter 39 . 10/20/2015
Dumbledore...
U r amazing chapter 39 . 9/5/2015
Jk ur not fab at all ur horrible jk ur ammmmaaaaazzziiinnnggggg
bloodyvamp101 chapter 39 . 8/23/2015
I really like how you add the various gadgets making noise. It really adds to the story. Just wanted to say... and as for the ending *scoffs* Dumbledore you just proved Harry's point!
Zyxis chapter 39 . 8/15/2015
This was an interesting chapter. It showed two different views that I know clash, and actually played out that clash in a civil manner, which is something many people could learn from. I definitely learned a couple things from that chapter.
kabs chapter 39 . 7/12/2015
you've made harry so awesome, i love it
DesperateReader chapter 39 . 6/9/2015
This the best chapter I've read so far.. Amazing! Phenomenal!
PA chapter 39 . 5/20/2015
What an interesting conversation.
Hippothestrowl chapter 39 . 3/25/2015
The one thing I am doubtful about is that Harry ought to know he cannot know for certain what lies beyond death so why does he cling to such a strong opinion on the matter? He has no evidence either way. People's bodies falling inanimate proves nothing. A true scientist would know that he does not actually know.
Village-Mystic chapter 39 . 3/23/2015
Heavy.
Guest chapter 39 . 3/2/2015
Finally caving and writing a review after hearing about this on io9. The author's notes have stated before that Harry's views are not necessarily his own (but it's hard not to see him as an author insert!) but his view of wishing for immortality can only be held by someone who has never known or felt the aging process and is convinced of his or her own indestructiveness, or has enough money that old age or becoming infirm will never be a problem.
Riniko22 chapter 39 . 2/20/2015
Yes, Dumbledore is as crazy as a loon, I would love to download my mind into a vast database to live and learn forever.
Guest chapter 39 . 2/13/2015
I've enjoyed this story.

But what exactly is Harry's problem with a method of immortality that involves killing one person for every person who becomes immortal? Given, of course, that there's no other known way to do it.

I would have thought the obvious thing to do would be to hold a lottery - the lucky ones sacrifice the unlucky ones. Maybe this occurs to him later on... I am a long way from the end.
Ronald Lambert chapter 39 . 2/9/2015
My belief concerning the state of the dead is based on consultation with the only source I believe is reliable—the writings of the Bible that give evidence I have validated that are inspired by the Creator and Source of all life. In keeping with the requirement of sound scholarship, I have compared every statement in the Bible concerning death and the state of the dead, and allowed the plainer statements to explain the few which may be more obscure as a matter of being cultural idiomatic expressions.

My conclusion from this source is that there is a spirit of life animating each of us with an essential identity that the Creator “stores” in some manner after death, like a memory. “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Yet there is no consciousness in death. “The dead do not praise the Lord, Nor any who go down into silence.” (Psalms 115:17; NKJV) “For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate, and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; NKJV) The overwhelming common consensus of all the Bible is to liken death to sleep. “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death;” (Psalms 13:3; NKJV) Jesus said, “Lazarus sleeps.” (John 11:11; NKJV) “Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’” (v. 14)

There is a logical need for the spirit of life to be more than a mere energizing spark, but also include an essential identity. This is so that when God chooses to resurrect someone from the dead, He can actually return to life the original person who lived before; it is not merely a recreated body with a new mind with duplicate memories that only thinks it is the original person who lived before. God does not perpetrate a fraud. When He resurrects someone, He really returns to life the person who lived before—even if the body is changed.

Some people may be appalled at the thought that their loved one who has died is not living in a present afterlife enjoying the bliss of Heaven. But this ignores two things; their loved one may not have “gone to Heaven,” and how could their loved ones be truly happy as they witness the trials and sorrows and sufferings of their loved ones who are still alive on earth?
kyle.hill.7965692 chapter 39 . 1/17/2015
I wish we could put a giant bag over the Malfoy Manor to suck out the dirty toxins in our air from various sources and replace it with clean air to clean out the filth in everybody.
esde chapter 39 . 1/6/2015
This chapter was so very interesting to see. I absolutely disagree with Harry and it"s amazing how childish he looked here. Although his arguments are good, the whole picture is so terribly wrong. I loved the way you made him look argumentative and wrong at the same time. Oh and I am kind of shocked that so many people in the reviews agree with Harry.
Thank you!
Holy Carp chapter 39 . 12/30/2014
Oh, My, God, Harry IS me... A lot smarter, and with a lot more knowledge of formal rationality and science, but otherwise almost exactly the same. It's amazing and wonderful to read of him explaining things that I deeply believe but could never articulate so well.

Still, just reading this fic is making me a little depressed, since I always know in the back of my mind that magic doesn't exist in the real world, and the rules of physics AREN'T just guidelines, and immortality and/or godhood will almost certainly never be possibilities for me... :( Yes, I have issues.

(I also share, and have always shared, Harry's attitude toward condescending adults, even now that I am one; and I despise how "greater life experience" (and that awful pitying smile) is used as a get-out-of-jail-free card whenever a younger person's logic threatens the opinions of an elder.)

Gosh durnit, it makes me mad just thinking about it... :
hiye chapter 39 . 11/28/2014
great chapter - one thought that struck me while reading was demontors. if Dumbledore believed in the afterlife and souls, how could he allow a demontor (sp? I don't really care to check) to steal a soul? to guard the prison? if it is the next great adventure that he believes in then he is stealing that opportunity away from everyone that is condemned with the kiss?
OrtyBortorty chapter 39 . 11/22/2014
I'd never heard a lot of the arguments Harry makes in this chapter before, they were inspiring.
Guest chapter 39 . 8/29/2014
Interesting discussion, but you made Dumbledore kind of stupid and gullible.
thepkrmgc chapter 39 . 8/2/2014
I really like harrys optimism in the face of an uncaring universe, instead of moping about the presense of darkness he is determined to create a light of his own
zolydck chapter 39 . 7/24/2014
Well said, that was incredibly well written. The ending line from Harry was both profound and Elegant.
A Watcher chapter 39 . 7/14/2014
Time for a slightly more serious review.
I first found this story when, in middle of writing what I hope will be a book, my muse decided to go into a deep hibernation. This book written for the purpose of expressing symbolism to promote inference, while stating most things symbolism is merely based on history and preconception. It advocates rationality. It also expresses my views on several things of the philosophical sort. Oh, and it's a case study. That takes place in a steampunk-ish-verse-thing so I can piddle with tech. This chapter gave me back my muse, and gave me a short opportunity to rant about my work. My two favorite things! Great chapter for the characters, and for between the lines.
Please excuse the rampant grammar errors that I'm too lazy to check for, I'm writing this on my iPhone and I haven't slept in 53 hours.

-The Watcher
Muggle chapter 39 . 6/26/2014
I disagree with Harry's theory of death in this chapter. Imagine if nobody ever died, ever. The population of the earth JUST NOW is over 7 billion. Scientists are already in disagreement over whether this is too many people. How many people can one planet hold? I understand Harry's plan is to send them people to other planets, but at the moment we have no proof that this is plausible. As the real Dumbledore said, "death is but the next great adventure". Why question this? Life on earth is hard enough.
silverrain-shiningsun chapter 39 . 5/21/2014
"Well, sounding wise wasn't difficult. It was a lot easier than being intelligent, actually, since you didn't have to say anything surprising or come up with any new insights. You just let your brain's pattern-matching software complete the cliche, using whatever Deep Wisdom you'd stored previously."

Hahaha!

Oh my, this chapter made me laugh (lots) and even cry. And, best of all, it made me THINK.
Guest chapter 39 . 3/8/2014
Epicurus relations:

. . . death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. [Death] does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more.
Guest chapter 39 . 3/7/2014
Both Dumbledore and Harry are wrong about this subject. If the Veil was simply an archway that made you hear voices and disintegrated you if you passed through, a large amount of Finite Incantatems would be sufficient to break the charms and boom, no more Veil. The fault of Dumbledore is that it hasn't occurred to him to test this and prove Harry wrong. About what you said concerning Neville's parents, if they are truly uncurable, the best thing for them would be death, afterlife or no. They're basically brain-dead. As for the truncheon scenario, I find it extremely naive. The universe doesn't care what you think about death, just as it doesn't care that you have to say Wingardim Leviosa to make things fly. All the same, death shouldn't be subjectified as something good either. Subjectfying death and the afterlife are some of Dumbledore's faults as well. The thing Harry fails to realize is that people do eventually get tired of living, and that someday he will too. I don't think Harry should be skeptical about the afterlife, because I can think of plenty of ways the afterlife can be proven using magic, ways that wizards just haven't thought of yet.
,
OstensiblyInsane chapter 39 . 3/3/2014
Oh my god. Author person dude, I despise you for being able to make the wizardest wizard ever, and then turning him into a complete idiot.
WHYYYYYYYYY does this happen? why would you torture us so? WHY?
Guest chapter 39 . 3/2/2014
Ugh. This is a really painful chapter to read. Harry is being such a fucking asshole.
Darkerfox chapter 39 . 3/1/2014
Best fic ever? Probably. Amazing enough to crap your pants? Most definitely.

Despite it's greatness, my brain requires frequent breaks because of the sheer amount of cerebral stress. I feel dumb and ignorant, but less so with each subsequent chapter, so thank you.

Hopefully you've mentioned it somewhere in the following 62 chapters. but if you haven't, since the story is near 40 chapters covering the first semester of 1st-Year, can it be possible that this story would be near 560 chapters long to cover all seven years of Hogwarts? Or will it (mercifully .) end before that? I ask because this story must be a huge undertaking and I look forward to your next piece of work.

Do you write anything else?
Nimhe Zehir chapter 39 . 2/24/2014
I'm pretty impressed: this is the first argument that's been so wrong I just had to say something. I like this story! I'm so glad I found it. Thank you, TvTropes! *grin*
Anyway...

The soul is spiritual, not physical. The body is the soul's interface with the physical world. So if the interface is damaged, of course the soul won't be able to communicate properly. It's kind of silly to say that a soul could go on using its body to talk to people when said body is broken; a bit like expecting someone to keep up a perfect video call with a smashed laptop, and saying that the person trying to talk to you doesn't exist if their image flickers on your screen and their voice breaks in your speakers.

A body missing a brain is even less useful than a laptop without an operating system, really. At least you can install an operating system. A brain? Not so much. Anyway, just because the person you're chatting with experiences a total system failure, does that mean they cease to exist?
Pantherus chapter 39 . 2/12/2014
This Harry is, more and more, demonstrating himself as a complete and utter hypocrite.

He resents how adults disregard him, as a child, out of hand under the assumption that they are surely smarter than he and thus above anything he might have to say; and yet he CONSTANTLY does exactly the same to nearly everyone else he talks to, especially adults.

He is so supremely arrogant in himself that, if he cannot understand it, then it is wrong; if someone disagrees with him, then they are either not listening to him, not understanding, or are plain stupid. Dumbledore called him on that perfectly when he said that listening is not the same as agreeing - and Harry has been proven wrong MANY times...yet every time, he approaches the next obstacle with the stubborn belief that he is right and everyone else is wrong...

I'm enjoying this story thoroughly, but Harry is really pissing me off...
Rapey Lemons chapter 39 . 1/28/2014
You perfectly described why I want to live forever. Why I want to research immortality. You are amazing.
Alexja2013 chapter 39 . 1/24/2014
The title of this chapter is false.. Harry is really freaking wise
OzmaofOz chapter 39 . 1/21/2014
Hi there - I just discovered this fic a couple of months ago and am really enjoying it. Thanks for writing; what a lot of work you're doing! I just have to mention that in my understanding, cognitive dissonance and sour grapes are totally different from one another. One is value-free: cognitive dissonance can arise from any jarring between any two closely held ideas or observations. Dissonance can be exciting, formative, or merely adaptive (it can also be difficult, but is not necessarily so). Sour grapes, on the other hand, is laden with a psycho-emotional signification that is expressly negative: it refers to a deliberate process of self-deception that is all an act: no one really believes that they never wanted something in the first place, only after finding out they didn't get that thing. Someone who expresses a "sour grapes" attitude wastes emotional energy while accomplishing nothing, fooling neither themselves nor their intended audience. I never thought I'd have a difference of opinion with you over sense or signification. (plotting, maybe, but then I'd never feel it would be appropriate to mention it...plotting is wholly at your discretion, as my choice to read your novel is at my discretion. Hence, no comment.) Anyway, yes, I'm continuing to read this fic, slowly but surely, and overall am enjoying it quite a bit! Thanks for writing!
Grizzmon chapter 39 . 1/14/2014
Being smart doesn’t make you evil, it just makes it easier.
567zoock67 chapter 39 . 11/28/2013
Wow, I really loved this. You know, a lot of Harry Potter fans (me included for the later books) really hate Dumbledore because of his ways and I believe this chapter here unravelled an aspect of his personality and explored the very reason we all hate him so much. It's good to see him portrayed with a weakness and fault, and I thought Harry's counterarguments for Dumbledore's viewpoint on death was very accurate.

I loved the whole theme of death in this chapter, and the conversations regarding it. I think I'm on Harry's side regarding the issue.
Reviewer1 chapter 39 . 11/7/2013
Jesus that chapter was cringeworthy.

Never before have I seen a greater example of using characters for one's own soapbox.

The sad part is that it destroys Dumbledore's image and now I can't like Dumbledore as a character (in this fanfic).

I loved the book so far, and I think you'd be better off removing this chapter entirely, since there is nothing sciency about it anyway.

Keep up the good work.
loxi9 chapter 39 . 10/17/2013
"The universe is neither
evil, nor good, it simply does not care."
Brilliant!
addikhabbo chapter 39 . 8/19/2013
LOVVVE ITT!
Guest chapter 39 . 7/29/2013
The arguments in this chapter, on both sides, are just retarded. I generally like this fic, but in this chapter EY's disagreeing with dogma because he didn't understand it, not because he understood it better than its backers. Kinda like the fountainhead.
scorpioneldar chapter 39 . 7/10/2013
i can respect harry's point though i do not entirely agree with it
i feel i could be a very good friend of your harry or a bitter foe
oddly i agree with Dumbledore side more (existence of afterlife things happen for a reason) and yet agree with little to none of his arguments
to the idea that brain damage should not matter i only ask if maybe the brain is how the soul interfaces with the body (i have no answer to this it is the first possible alternate theory i came up with right now)
indeed my greatest fear aside from the destruction of my soul itself is to be trapped in a body that is unable to interact with the world while still being aware enough to comprehend what is happening to me
to be clear an eternity of torture is more pleasant a thought than either of those 2 options to me
Anon chapter 39 . 7/4/2013
That was interesting
L.E chapter 39 . 5/14/2013
That was an unconscionably good argument for the pursuit of immortality! We grow up hearing from all kinds of main stream sources that death is something natural, something that shouldn't be feared or that we shouldn't try to overcome as it is inevitable anyway. But thank you for putting it so clearly and in a forum that so many will be able to see! I think writing about this sort of thing on Less Wrong is akin to preaching to the quire, where as Harry Potter fanfiction will show this concept to far more people who had not previously considered it.

Well done, sir!
Mittelan chapter 39 . 5/5/2013
I felt I should comment on this.. I've tried to read this fic before, but I find the long scientific explanations a drag to go through.. though this is to be expected with the title haha. Now it seems I cannot like Harry's character. He's a bit of an ass to be honest. I realize he is supposed to be a genius, especially compared to his schoolmates and teachers on science.. but his hm.. arrogance? is off putting. I could also care less for his penchant for chaos.
Your fic definitely had its' funny moments, I laughed a lot at Draco and Harry's first meeting. And you are a great writer, I loved the little noise breaks in this chapter :)
Sadly, I feel i cannot finish this. I wish I could cause it seems like 87 chapters of fun.
RussianDestruction chapter 39 . 4/28/2013
Harry's and Dumbledore's relationship continues to intrigue me. Harry, for all his precocious understanding of things normally far beyond the grasp of eleven year old boys, cannot comprehend why ANYONE would welcome death. I like it.
Lotska chapter 39 . 3/28/2013
Wow, this is the first time that I've disagreed with Harry so strongly that I have to post and I think that it's because he has made assumptions in one, and lacks imagination in two. He assumes that life for Alice and Frank Longbottom holds no sweetness that is good for living the now- but I think they are happy to see their son. He also assumes that if you don't believe in souls or an afterlife, that you -wouldn't- put Frank and Alice out of their misery. There are many more examples in this chapter!

He also lacks the imagination to believe anyone could feel peace at the knowledge of their own death. How shortsighted of him. There is limit to the range or style of human feeling. Pleasure in pain, peace at death, sad at happiness- we humans are a fricken vortex of contradictory feelings, which he knows!

Thank you feel helping me really enjoy disagreeing with a character again. I love you.
dragoon109 chapter 39 . 3/26/2013
there is sevral flaws in harrys statment.

for example the ritual requires to split ones soul. and the ghost well, they dont live but they do exist. they can do more than just speak but even remember the living. he would just need to ask or talk to a ghost.
Keith chapter 39 . 3/13/2013
You don't do a great job of making your shabby puppet Potter sell your side of things. He's correct in that the opposite of desiring immortality is desiring death, but Albus is not mistaken either, and makes rather a stronger point. Immortality is not always the same thing as living forever, and there comes a point when even gods feel that they have experienced enough, and oblivion is not the worst possible fate for them. As always, you suck at writing, and have only made an interesting concept by piggybacking off of a far greater series than anything you'll ever do with your life, whatever its length.
felix.beier.79 chapter 39 . 3/11/2013
Well this is the first time I comment on one chapter of this fanfic, so I will keep my comment short as there is too much wothy of an comment up till now. As I myself are keen of science and a big fan of natural science and also empirism as it is mostly presented here, I enjoyed the read very much. It was a fun and also educating experience to see the scientific view clash on phenomenons of the fictional world. But with further progression of the story, my pleasure is getting more and more spoiled. Which is for one, that the humor of that clash and the originality of the need of explaining seemingly impossible phenomenons and presenting ways to think while doing it wares out over time, which in my opinion is a inevitable process. But on the otherhand it becomes more and more clear that the rational method presented here is quite one sieded. As the story focuses more on an actual plot with the possibilitys of an interesting clash of different rational aproaches Harrys antagonists use either the same principles, which tends to end in simple outwitting or are presented rather "simple" in there ability to lead an argument or even think logical. This is a little sad for there are more than one possible and scientific method that can lead to an rational point of view and there would be a much more interesting rivalry if it would be genuinly different oppinions struggling for a plauible integration of magical britain into a rational world.
NightHerald chapter 39 . 3/8/2013
I just wanted to slap Harry again, his views on immortality just seem so incredibly childish. I wouldn't mind as much (it makes sense personality wise) if he weren't so incredibly arrogant and condescending. He sounds exactly like a kid who's led a happy sheltered life and is afraid of having that happy sheltered life torn away form him (the death of his parents). It appears as though he believes the world is a paradise where suffering is nonexistent, except he *can't* think that, since he's seen suffering, even if he hasn't really experienced it himself. It just seems too childish to have come out of his brain, can't he think of the ramifications of immortality?

In my opinion, immortality would be a curse in disguise. Eternity is a LONG TIME. Oh, the first thousand years might be nice, but then everything would become tedious and life would dull. You'd lose the drive to do anything since there would be no pressure on you to move your ass and eventually you'd run out of things to do. And then you'd have to live through all the major catastrophes, like the ocean blowing up and the sun swallowing the earth. And even if we did find a way to live on other planets, who wants to live on Mars or Europa? It would be a rather bleak existence there.

There's also the fact of overpopulation to think about. Children are born everyday and yet nobody ever dies. Soon we'd run out of space, food, water, and fuel for all these people. The earth would deteriorate from humans overusing it's resources and polluting, and so would society. War would break out over precious limited resources and the quality of life would steadily decrease. So no, I would rather enjoy the limited time allotted me here while it lasts. The reason life is so precious is because it ends after all.

(sorry for rambling like that, I just think it's an interesting subject)
redcat512 chapter 39 . 2/23/2013
It just occurred to me, in chapter 23 where Draco locks Harry in the dungeons with the torture hex on his hand at 7ish p.m., why didn't future!Harry (who'd already been released, had waited til 9pm for the time turner to work and gone back to 7 pm or a bit earlier) fetch help to let out current!Harry just a moment after current!Harry had had the idea?

After all, both you and Rowling have gone with the singular-and-unchangeable timeline rule, so it would be possible for the effects of such a rescue to be backwards-reaching in that the action came from future!Harry, even if the idea was current!Harry's. Even in your prime number calculating would-be time loop, as soon as current!Harry had thought of the idea, future!Harry had dropped the piece of paper, before current!Harry had even torn it (from memory?).

I suppose in the end he decided not to use the time turner at all, but should this option have at least occurred to him, when he was desperate for a solution? Desperate enough to consider chopping his own hand off, anyway.

Sorry if someone else has already asked this! This is a very interestingly unique - and educational! - story, which is rather rare for fanfiction, and I'm really enjoying reading it. Keep up the great work!
ValeSka chapter 39 . 2/15/2013
Ok, I give up. I'll try again tommorow, I guess.
Just so you know, I love this fanfiction.
ValeSka chapter 39 . 2/15/2013
(I think I accidentally hit a button I wasn't supp
ValeSka chapter 39 . 2/15/2013
I was wondering if you could give me an online source for the process of disproving of a hypothesis, according to Bacon?
I know this sounds odd ;)
I believe I could really use it for a presentation I'm supposed to give on the history of natural sciences, though :D
That said, th
Sayla Ragnarok chapter 39 . 1/17/2013
Hello,

I have a protest for this chapter. I really don't understand why you didn't ask the obvious questions as a counter argument for Harry's disbelief in the afterlife. They are: Why would you expect there to be evidence for an afterlife? Do you think it is contained in our universe when the universe limits us? Why should it be and why should it work by the same laws when the afterlife is meant to make us happy?

Ahem, to explain it further, I see the afterlife as working outside the limits of our own universe that the laws which govern us here do not do so there. Why should they? If you think about it, getting in a car to drive to work is not a big deal but it's something we secretly gripe about because we want to get to work instantly and not waste time getting up, getting ready, and dealing with road rage just to reach our goal. Why should the afterlife be the same if all that hassle is a little thing that makes us miserable in this life?

The 'next great adventure' is sposed to be a perfect place with a plan of immortality already in place and all the little things in this life that even so much as annoy us don't exist from offensive BO to falling of your bike and feeling pain when you hit the ground. And getting from point A to point B could be as simple as thinking about it no advanced technology required (though that would still be cool).

It's just the way Harry puts it makes it sound like he already expects the afterlife to work to a set of rules he built in his mind. In actual fact if the afterlife exists then that means he didn't make it, it was already there before man thought of it, so it doesn't conform to whatever laws man makes or discovers so in the end it won't be what any of us expect it to be.

Now back to my original question, why didn't you try this as a counter argument?
Fullmetal11791 chapter 39 . 1/1/2013
It's kinda funny that you have Harry spouting off all of these different scientific theories, and yet he cannot seem to comprehend a very basic scientific rule. He prides himself on having to prove everything but again, it's a very simple fact that it doesn't matter how unprovable something is, just because you have no way of proving something is absolutely no grounds to claim that it doesn't exist. You cannot prove it, yes, but in the same manner you cannot DISPROVE it and to argue otherwise and get mad about the belief of souls is immature and hypocritical.
Lairion chapter 39 . 12/26/2012
I feel for Dumbledore on this one.
Logic type people...never seem to understand me either.
*shrugs*
As long as they're happy with their logic.
Guest chapter 39 . 12/25/2012
I'm finding Harry less and less plausible, less and less likable, and less and less sensible as this story goes on. As far as I can tell he believes that intelligence and background reading on the scientific method and rational logic is all one needs to be a functioning human being. That he has held onto this idea for over 11 years indicates that he's seriously under-socialised, seriously inobservant, seriously stupid, or some combination of the three. He's emotionally immature, even for an 11-year-old, which may have gone unaddressed because at this point he knows how to make his tantrums genuinely dangerous, and the adults who should be teaching him basic self-control are either intimidated or irresponsible. Guessing by his behaviour, he's half as educated as he thinks he is, and significantly less than half as intelligent, besides which, he's shown all the trustworthiness of a hungry lion cub. A this point, the only person coming off as stupider than Harry is McGonnagal, who has the life experience to realise that Harry is playing with fire, but apparently not the sens and/or guts to stop him. Dumbledore would be beating her, except that his choices appear to be based on childlike, if genre-savvy, faith in the power of designated-heroes to come out okay in the end, which is charming, but not enough to make the ramblings of Harry's unchecked god-complex into an enjoyable read.
StrangeoneXD chapter 39 . 12/21/2012
...huh
Susan M. M chapter 39 . 12/20/2012
"The universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky. But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!" And so long as Harry believes that, he will be neither entirely evil nor entirely insane.
MissNikita chapter 39 . 11/10/2012
This was a hard chapter to read, brilliant but hard, I myself am truly terrified of death cuz I do not believe there is an afterlife and disappearing in nothingness well it doesn't sound all that attractive now does it, so this chapter was very powerful toread and you did it brilliantly.
Guest chapter 39 . 11/9/2012
I'm with Dumbledore on this one. When it comes to vague wise-sounding sayings, there's a huge difference between saying things because you've actually experienced them and understand them, and just saying them because they sound cool (like the difference between saying quantum if you're trying to sound smart or if you actually know what it means). And Harry is, despite his protestations, not the one who's thinking here, or willing to be proved wrong. He's the one trying to crack the rules rather than understand them. And about cognitive dissonance, well, Dumbledore's right. There's nothing you can do about death (or at least, people do what they can, like surgery, but you can't stop it forever), so it's not a question of dying or not. It's a question of spending the time you do have constantly worrying about it or not.
1000Nachts chapter 39 . 11/8/2012
Good lord, Harry, I'm feeling like you're acting like a metronome here. It's possible that I'm just misreading his emotional state and stretches of text, but I don't believe so. He just keeps switching, in my head at least, tones of approach.
Ghost chapter 39 . 11/5/2012
I have to say, it's kinda weird to see Dumbledore be so against immortality when in canon one of his good friends was Nicholas Flamel, who was more than half a millennia old at the time of his death and evidently still had to be pursuaded into letting his life end. Granted, this is a different Dumbledore, but it's still a bit jarring.

The moral, at least as far as the first Harry Potter book goes, seems to be that immortality is not in itself a bad thing, but that the ability to accept and come to terms with death is ultimately an important quality to have.
Oli chapter 39 . 10/2/2012
Haa. Well, what an enlightening chapter. I do wish to read more on Quirrell now; and Dumblesnore seems rather... old? Perhaps it's also something that comes with old age, though I know not much of rational thought... eh.
d0.0b chapter 39 . 10/1/2012
Please let me say that the only thing I like better than taking hard, well defined science and applying it to magic is listening to a passionate debate on philosophy where both sides truly believe that they are in the right. I thank you for this chapter.
MegaB chapter 39 . 9/17/2012
Haha! Hahaha! Bwahahahahaha!

This is FUNNY! So you delved into existentialism, religion and philosophy and this one. Now I won't argue your point in real life because it's very clear what you think when combined with who you are in real life...

But can I just point out an argumentative fallacy in trying to prove Harry's point in the Harry Potter Universe? There are many, but there are two that completely contradict your stance and are most certainly canon-concepts.

Firstly, the existence of Dementors and what they do so casually slipped Dumbledore's mind?! I mean, he didn't even use it as part of his argument for souls?! They SUCK souls from bodies for goodness sake!

And secondly, the Killing Curse, destroys the soul, is aimed solely (haha) at the soul and allows the body to remain intact.

Nice try, but I really don't think this was any way to go about it. It's fallen flat in a world that is very much powered by the soul and soul-magic.

Humbly yours,
B
voodooqueen126 chapter 39 . 8/2/2012
I prefere reproducing as a method of achieving immortality...
Oh and if you don't have a capacity for love/empathy, then all your reason will turn be used to achieve selfish ends.
Poetheather1 chapter 39 . 7/29/2012
Very nice conversation, deep and intense.
anon chapter 39 . 7/26/2012
Harry is a self-righteous little prick. The more I read your fic, the less enthralled I am with his little nuggets of "wisdom" and urge to flaunt his "intellectual superiority". This is not the Harry Potter J.K. Rowling wrote; not even remotely close, and you do her a great disservice by even allowing your warped character even a titular connection to her work. This is a complete AU, yes, but not even artistic licence can justify your grotesque mutation of Harry Potter and its characters. You should have just made up your own characters' names, not bastardized Rowling's. They are so far from accurate as to have nothing in common with canon anyway, so really it would be no great matter to you if you changed the names.
Guest chapter 39 . 7/12/2012
"Why would anyone deliberately make himself a monster? Why do evil for the sake of evil? Why Voldemort?"

I adore the "Why Voldemort," at the end of this. It's as if Dumbledore is asking Voldemort instead of asking someone who is not Voldemort to answer the question. Excellent. Truly excellent!
PinkMusicalCherry chapter 39 . 7/1/2012
Oh my God. I need to thank you for continuously making me laugh. Harry is amazing. I can't believe how much I have laughed (I have a particular laugh for your story, it's weird - and no, it is not "bwa ha ha" :'D). I'm scared I'm coming to the end of your chapters, I NEVER WANT this to end! PLEASE continue this onto all seven of Harry's year (AND FURTHER!) with as much detail as you've put into this! I might admire you almost as much as I admire J. K. Rowling (is there a space between the J. and K. or is it J.K.? Hmmm).

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR THIS AMAZING STORY. I AM INDEBTED TO YOU.
Guest chapter 39 . 6/29/2012
An interesting notion, but immortality brings with it a whole load of other problems, like overpopulation. And also, while it may be possible to preserve the physical body and prevent it from detoriating, there is still the issue of whether the human brain and mind could last for an eternity.
Georgie Porgie chapter 39 . 5/9/2012
Tom Riddle is easy...I think.

Study Criminalogy.

It's in his name, Voldemort, Flight from Death - because he's /afraid/, Tom Riddle is defined by his fear.

Tom Riddle was born and raised in an orphanage, left there by a mother who did not live for him. Tom Riddle never had the protection of a parent's unconditional love - he never had anyone who placed his welfare first - therefore placing the burden on him!

Tom Riddle is afraid of losing control - that's why he's afraid of death. Tom Riddle can't imagine being loved - he wasn't. Tom Riddle doesn't trust anyone to watch his back - he feels he must control all, or be hurt.

The only thing we could do for Voldemort himself is to put him to death. To prevent NEW ones, there needs to be a better social safety net.
Sin Oan chapter 39 . 4/30/2012
All this talk of immortality and NO mention of the six hundred and sixty five year old alchemist wizard Nicholas Flamel? Aka Dumbledore's personal friend? If anything I'd think Harry would blow a gasket if he learned that Dumbledore was going to talk an actual immortal wizard into giving up his immortality and dying. I know I was furious with it when I read the first Harry Potter book. Where the hell is the philosophers stone in this story? Harry would be even more furious if he learned that one of Dumbledore's friends had discovered the secret of immortality (without murder) and was keeping it to himself.
Finariona chapter 39 . 4/20/2012
This was a refreshing illustration of the difference between being intelligent and souding wise, as well as the superiority of the former.

Harry : 1

Dumbledore : 0

Thanks!

I love how you are using Harry's reference scheme-to which we are privy since Chapter 1-of explaining incredulous astonishment through picturing them as ''looking like they just saw someone turn into a cat''. It's a nice little motif.
erinacea chapter 39 . 3/16/2012
Another great chapter! I really enjoyed this talk with Dumbledore that shed large quantities of light on both Harry and Dumbledore's ways of thinking. I don't exactly agree with Harry. (He seems to be quite liable to, in terms of general statement, turn the fact that A is not always true to mean that not A must always be true. For example, I fail to see how not wanting to live forever would mean you were prepared to die right away. Actually, I think Dumbledore explained it quite well. He simply expects to grow weary of life one day at which point he'll start yearning for death - which obviously does not mean he'd have to commit suicide to bring it about. In other words, he expects his enjoyment of being alive to be, while long, very much limited, that is, not infinite. In general, I think the world is a lot more grey-tinted than Harry makes it out to be.) Still, he brings up some pretty good points.

What's up with the noises? And I didn't understand some of Harry's conclusions. Why did the memory of that disastrous Potions lesson make him understand the Dementor's purpose? (And what's up with that anyway?) And what was the first example he thought of to test the Resurrection Stone?

Great chapter, very insightful, thanks!
Mr Stereo1 chapter 39 . 3/11/2012
Hm. So, rereading this, it occurs to me that in canon only magical individuals were shown in the 'afterlife', and in both MoR and canon only magical ghosts were ever encountered explicitly. Considering all the other perks of magic seem keyed to the 'magical'/atlantean folk, the 'afterlife', however you address it, probably is too.
ColtKit chapter 39 . 2/28/2012
I think Harry would grow up to be a lot like Dumbledore, minus his view on death. He already manipulates his friends and loved ones simply because he believes he knows better then everyone else. Don't get me wrong I like Dumbledore but he does do alot of horrible things.
Grace chapter 39 . 2/22/2012
I like how, instead of just an awkward pause, the space was filled with sound effects.
Anonym chapter 39 . 1/25/2012
I will omit a good deal of useless incredulity, remarks to the effect that Rowling herself failed to wrote this good, et cetera. Let us go straight to stating the important thing:

I do get a great deal of pleasure out of announcements of progress towards new chapters, and do not experience distress upon perceived withholding of finished chapters, and finally do look most eagerly forward to this new arc- it will brighten my days considerably.

Finally, so as not to leave a basically useless review:

" And it was Myrtle, poor sweet Myrtle, who died for it"-

I always felt that the sweet is out of place here. It disrupts the flow of the sentence and also- "sweet" towards a 12-year old girl, from a 130-year old teacher? No replacement, just extermination :-)
zeke chapter 39 . 1/21/2012
I've greatly enjoyed this chapter and all of Methods of Rationality. However, one part always bugs me.

'"Yes, and so do you," said Harry. "I want to live one more day. Tomorrow I will still want to live one more day. Therefore I want to live forever, proof by induction on the positive integers. If you don't want to die, it means you want to live forever. If you don't want to live forever, it means you want to die. You've got to do one or the other... I'm not getting through here, am I."'

This induction is flawed. He proves the base case well enough but fails to show that k implies k1. I am not hungry right now, I will not be hungry in half an hour, this does not prove that I will never be hungry.

I don't think you can actually make this proof work. It would be out of character for Harry not to fight tooth and nail for life, so a footnote clarifying Harry's mistake would seem appropriate.

Thank you so much for this wonderful story.
Remzal Von Enili chapter 39 . 1/4/2012
harry potter: madness? THIS. IS. HOGWARTZ!

dumbledore: umm what?

*harry kicks dumbles out window*
Donteatacowman chapter 39 . 12/1/2011
I think I've forgotten just how heavily this fic impacted me when I first read it... gosh, that must have been a year and a half ago, since I hadn't heard of Fermi before I read it (and I recognized the concept from this when I did learn about it in Physics class). This wasn't, of course, the only reason why I gave up Christianity and am now agnostic, but I think its style of thinking definitely influenced that heavily. And I don't regret it. Before I... un-converted(?) I had been doing what Harry accused Draco of-believing that it's good to believe something, and mistaking that for true belief. So, heh, thank you.

In particular, this attitude towards death is something that I forgot about but happens to coincide with the views I have now, though it didn't when I first read this. Although I do disagree on some points about death being the ultimate evil, I really do regard it more as the destruction of the "soul" now-whether that be right or wrong.

Ultimately, I think I'm more open to learning about my false beliefs and exchanging them for what seems to be truth until something more-likely-to-be-true comes along. I owe you for that. (: So thank you again.
Deadzepplin chapter 39 . 11/29/2011
Harry really needs to find the secret to the Philosophers stone and then BING BANG BOOM! everyone happy
Jymn chapter 39 . 10/21/2011
"Besides the obvious problems about running out of space, and how we're not even caring for our current population well enough..."

Harry decided to allow her to continue rather than going into the potential for intergalactic colonization.

"Harry, the older we get the harder it is for us to change and learn new thoughts. There's a reason-" she stopped and looked around, "Occusule." She looked around again, "Quietus." and still she kept her voice a whisper, "There's a reason you're friends with Draco. You'd never dream of working with Lucius. You know it would be hopeless. If the old generation never ceded the world to the new then our social progress would grind to a halt."

"Yeah..." Harry had never thought about that. In some ways wizard society was progressing slower than muggle society. He had assumed this was connected to scientific thinking, but he hadn't considered any other hypothesis. Come to think of it: Wizards were living three times longer. "but, once more people have been awakened as scientists, as true rationalists, then they will be able to change their minds."

"Well if we just arbitrarily say that all social problems have been solved, sure immortality starts to sound better. I'm sure it would take hundreds and hundreds more years for me to tire of life if I didn't have to know that somewhere a human being is torturing another human being right now-a-a hundred somewheres at this very instant! And I know that it's happening and it's because I think-" her voice was rising in pitch and volume, "because I think of that person, begging for death, begging and pleading for the mercy of oblivion that all I can think when you talk of immortality, Harry, is don't you dare. Don't you dare force immortality on the world. Not on the man who is in the hands of-of, say, Lucius Malfoy, who's only, only spark of hope is that the pain cannot be truly indefinite."

"But-" Harry tried to interrupt. She spoke right over him, "And even if you could solve every social ill, heal all the violence in every heart in all the world, and take medicine so far that no accident could ever leave us crippled and in pain, even then, if just ONE person were hurt and lost alone where no one could find them, then that person..." there were tears welling up in her eyes, "Harry if you'd made that person immortal, that lost soul, then you would have committed the greatest crime ever imaginable because they would go on suffering forever. Forever. You must know what infinity is! So you know that a billion billion years under the cruciatus curse is nothing just absolutely nothing in the face of infinity. Even if the person wasn't hurt, and just alone for all that time... It would be worse-It would be worse than every moment of pain felt by every creature who as ever ever walked this earth all put together because no matter how vast that sum, it is FINITE and it is NOTHING, less than nothing, compared to infinity."

She stopped talking, at last, and took a moment to breathe her ragged breaths. Harry took a moment to process before composing his answer. She had presented a serious problem, but it could be solved with a bit of outside the box thinking, specifically, outside the troublesome corporeal form thinking. With his new strategy of conversation ready to launch Harry opened his mouth-too slow: "Harry," she said solemnly, "Everyone is afraid you will be the next Dark Lord. But now I'm afraid you think the way to be light is to find us immortality -If there's anyone who can find a way it's you- You'll think you're helping us but the reality will be worse. Worse than Grindelwald. Worse than Voldemort. So, so much worse."

Harry knew he shouldn't say it. Knew he really, really shouldn't say it, but... "Infinitely worse?"

She smacked him.
Abigail chapter 39 . 10/16/2011
Okay, this chapter really made me think.

I'm starting to think I wasn't wrong when I said that Harry's version of rationality is kind of incompatible with religion. It kind of is - and that really doesn't bother me as much as I would have expected.

And then there's this.

Stop people from dying? My first reaction was: what would we do about overpopulation? and what about evil people who legitimately deserve to die? and what about third-world dictators? I can't really imagine that the world would be better now if Stalin had had a Philosopher's Stone.

And then my second reaction was: Well, yeah. Of course we should stop people from dying. Why didn't that occur to me before?

And I'm trying to figure out how both of those thoughts are coexisting (no, I don't have a multiple personality disorder like Harry), and I think it comes down to this:

I have an acquaintance who's an atheist, and I asked her once, "What do you think will happen when you die."

And she said: "Well, that's just it - you stop existing."

And I thought that was the most horrible, depressing worldview anyone could possible have. (I hate nihilism, and existentialism, and etcetera). And I was really glad I didn't believe that.

But, I think, if I did...

Then of course I'd want to do something! Even something reckless and stupid, like what Harry's probably going to end up doing! Because if this is IT, then there's really no point in being grand and philosophical and resigned about it - not if we can change it instead.

Am I right?

Actually, I'm probably reading way too much into this. Like I mentioned before, it's a problem I have - any idea that occurs to me shatters my whole brain.

And this is a brain-shattering story.

Also, you are awesome.
AR chapter 39 . 9/22/2011
"There are those who say that to comprehend evil is to become evil; but they are merely pretending to be wise."

This line resonated with me...thank you for putting it like that. I have tried to explain this many times but have been unable to put it so simply.

You know...I may be a psychologist and understanding the "why" in behavior may be one Holy Grail. But sometimes I believe..at least with the knowledge we have and the methods of testing..that evil for the sake of evil is enough. There is no greater motive and nor should there be one.

The universe does not exist in a perfect design with a perfect plot. There are things that have no explanation and while I agree that it may be unscientific of me to say so...it is not always necessary to seek that explanation. Sometimes all you can do is deal with the aftermath.

Wow...you certainly don't have any compunctions in poking at taboos do you? Afterlife and religion and the finality of death. Very interesting.

Human nature is driven by fear of death...and yes I agree that to NOT fear it is little different from having no will to live. But I suppose it depends on your ambition does it not? A boy like him with his desire to know EVERYTHING would see death as an ending. But someone like Dumbledore who, has done what he believed he was meant to...he would be quite comfortable with its idea wouldn't he?

But I understand Harry's point about life being a checklist. It is not meant to be no...but how else would you go about DOING anything?

But I thank you...as a religious person myself it is rare for anyone to challenge me about the existence of an afterlife and why I believe as I do. Food for thought is always welcome..

Great writing and you managed to do so without being offensive.
becuzitswrong chapter 39 . 8/27/2011
Loved the chat between Dumbledore and Harry. Neither can see the other's point. I admire Harry his skepticism for the afterlife. I share it. I also admire his reason for not becoming an evil wizard. Because we are the light in the universe. Awesome.
theInsaneArtist chapter 39 . 8/7/2011
... Harry, may I direct you to a little article called '5 Reasons Immortality Would be Worse than Death.' /article_18708_

Also, when talking about human mortality in general and not specifically yours, death is neccesary for multiple reasons. If there was no death, the Earth would soon become so overpopulated we would be living on each other's heads. As a short video I recently saw said "Immortality ups the chances of getting stuck to 100%." Eventually, you will end up trapped somewhere you can't get out of, like getting buried in an earthquake or trapped in a cave in. It may take awhile, but it will happen.

Sometimes death is needed to stop suffering. Imagine being unable to die from a wound which you cannot recover from, like getting sawed in half or eaten by a shark. Or if people starving never died and just went on starving. Or instead of dying from dehydration you simply dried up and continued living in an immobile husk.

The ability to die is the only way evoution works. Or to put it another way, without death evolution would not be neccesary. There would be no way to tell which genes are more fit for survival because all would survive and the need for a species to change would become nonexistant.

And it would not be only good people being unable to die. But I will stop right here because I am starting to turn this into an essay. ...Maybe I will write an essay on this... Haha! Term Paper, AWAY! :D
Neen chapter 39 . 8/7/2011
No-one seems to have noticed this, so I'll mention it... I thought the author made a mistake he shouldn't have. To be exact, it was on titanium. Fiction oh so loves to make it some unbreakable material, stronger than anything, etc, etc. It's main property in reality is being *nearly* as strong as steel while being half as heavy. So, a quick search, and the second most important property was reminded to me... Resistance to corrosion.

Which leads to the conclusion: you magnificent bastard, you managed to force me into reading the wikipedia article on titanium - by NOT making any mistakes!

Not commenting on the dialogue, opinions thrown around, etc, because I managed to find the author's notes archive. The characters say what they say in this form to stay, well, consistent as characters. And there was hardly any way to avoid it.

If you want my opinion on the subject... well, note that any cures might be imperfect, or problems might not be solved, or... To be frank, I'm probably just as scared of immortality as I am of death; in both, there are too many unknowns to feel safe, at least for now. And if you force the first on people, it'll be a bit like being aliens in crystal ships, coming to remove the pain from the young species, saying that they should at least agree to not torture their children, while being capable of *forcing* their opinions with extreme prejudice and large amounts of rayguns.

At some point, they'll have to look around and notice all the fresh graves between your first promise and it happening.
Unless you've never been loved chapter 39 . 8/3/2011
It is silly to believe that science triumphs love.

I like your story but I felt that I just HAD to share this.
Chibi's Sister chapter 39 . 7/24/2011
As far as people reacting as if they truly believed in an afterlife, I would like to point out that many, many people who believe in an afterlife do NOT believe that it will be GOOD for all people.

If you believed in a Judeo-Christian afterlife and you had a loved one who was like the Longbottoms and you were not 100 percent convinced that they would go to heaven if they died, which would you rather do? Allow them to continue on in a not-so-pleasant state of existence for as long as possible? Or send them directly to an eternity of torment that nothing in this world compares to?

And apparently, you have never been sad that you would not see someone for a very, very long time. When I cried at my grandfather's funeral, I wasn't crying for HIM. I was crying for my grandmother, for my parents, and for me.

Overall, this is an extremely well-written story. I love your version of Quirrell (although I don't trust him for a minute) and the whole general/army thing is wonderful and made me remember all over again how much I loved Ender's Game. But this chapter could have been much better. It's not so much that it was more didactic than the others, it's that in the other chapters, there seems to be a more fair discussion of ideas that both have their merits and flaws. But in this chapter, Harry is so OBVIOUSLY a mouthpiece for the author and Dumbledore (I'm not really sure who got shafted more by this story, him or Ron. Such a shame because the other characters are so well done.) is so OBVIOUSLY a strawman.

Like Harry tells Draco, "it would be obvious if you fixed the battle, it had to be a real fight, between two different theories that might both really be true..."

What a pity that you thought so little of your own belief that you couldn't expose it to a true battle.
Diane White chapter 39 . 7/22/2011
This is the kind of "book" you read and while still reading it you keep telling yourself that you'll have to re-read it immediately after finishing it for the first time

At my second read I promise to review at each and every part I find really worthy (which happens to be quite many).

If I were to describe your work in just one word I would definiteley choose "Inspiring". Congratulations :)
Isa Knightwalker chapter 39 . 7/17/2011
Does Harry really want every person to be able to live forever? I mean obviously the Earth could in no way support that many people (given the damage that current and past population levels have managed to inflict). Plus there is not definite evidence there is a planet out there that could support people (although one would assume so, but atm no possible means of reaching that place anyway afaik), so I don't really get why Harry would seriously try for immortality for all humans when the planet could not support all of them, probably even with magic.

Anyway, interesting chapter!
Materia-Blade chapter 39 . 7/14/2011
This chapter has given me a very very strong urge to write a fanfic in which Voldemort is converted to christianity. Lulz. A rather marvelous one at that.
Joel chapter 39 . 7/11/2011
I have decided to quit reading this story. I think you have an interesting writing style. However, mostly, its immature. Harry's little rants about the beauty of science (while originally entertaining and occasionally insightful) have become tiresome, ostentatious, and inaccurate. Your characters are just very one dimensional. Nobody is good at anything except for Harry; an eleven year old, self-proclaimed genius. I think the storyline has become old and the plot is so slow moving as to be insulting. I get it. Science is great. I think the key difference in why I think it is great and why you think it is great is that I think of science as the ultimate exercise in humility. You think of it as the ultimate authority of truth. There is a difference between these two viewpoints (though at first, it may seem like not). As a scientist, I find that the more I learn about Nature, the more I do not understand. That there is so much more to learn and that I cannot possibly hope to understand it all. Only a very little, insignificant bit. Your characters are completely obsessed with proving everyone else wrong and you right, even though this goes against what their dialogue says. Science is not about proving other people wrong. Rather, it is a commitment to learning. I have encountered a great deal of this arrogance in the scientific community and it is most unsatisfying. I love learning. I love discovering things that nobody else has before. But I cannot endorse this view of science that it is the only way to learn, know or understand something. It is the right way for me to do so, but I learn in a very linear fashion. To discredit other ways of learning is to show how little you understand everything else, outside of science. Sorry for the rant. I wish you the best of luck in your future writing endeavors, and in science. I hope that you come to understand how little about the world you (and me) actually understand.
curry chapter 39 . 6/27/2011
I don't find your treatment of Dumbledore to be offensive; He has seen all life has to offer, and consequently, doesn't fear death. There are days that even i feel that death would be a release. When Harry has lived as long as his conversation partner, I would bet that he will be more reluctant to cling to life.
ultravioletcolorblind chapter 39 . 6/20/2011
So Harry wants to live forever? You know, I've read exactly one article criticizing the original Harry Potter books for being too deathist. Ironically, it was an article on a Christian website that opposed Harry Potter for teaching witchcraft. I'd love to see a scene where this Harry visits his parents' graves: the inscription on the tombstone that so confused the original Harry might make more sense to him.

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Although this Harry seems to put destroying death above most of his other enemies, come to think of it. Which makes it all the more of a glaring plot hole that he still hasn't found out about the Stone. Dumbledore is trying to arrange for him to find out about it, even more blatantly than in canon, but even without Dumbledore's hints it seems that methods of achieving immortality would be one of the first things Harry researched, especially since he knows Voldemort managed it.

Fabulous story, incidentally. But I'm sure you've heard that before.
jasonjannajerryjohn chapter 39 . 6/19/2011
I agree with you/Harry and also with Dumbledore, but not on the points that might be expected.

First of all, I expected Dumbledore to put up more of a fight or good argument. As it stands, he just comes off as something similar to C.S. Lewis here in his belief in an afterlife.

I agree completely with the pretending to be wise thing. It is very true that many people believe that oldwise or that wise is a virtue or that wise should even exist at all. Rationality does and should triumph over bullshit. Philosophy has tended to be and is that bullshit. People are impressed with bullshit. People think that bullshit coming from another's mouths (especially if that other happens to be older) is wonderful and will follow said person. Look at religion, politics, and yes philosophy. The sad thing is that all the rest of the disciplines have broken off from philosophy through the years.

Even so, (StrawmanHasAPoint- yes I'm a fan of TV Tropes) Dumbledore did have a point. It would be terribly inconvenient and annoying to live forever, no matter how long the lifespan, even though that idea is probably cultural. Most everything we think is cultural, to the point where it's hard to come up with anything original anymore. Though, it is true, living forever would get boring especially if everyone around you died. If everyone around you didn't die and we could take care of the obvious resource problem, it might be acceptable to live forever with your friends. We'd of course have to stop creating life and stop all the things that come along with that creation.

Either way, good story and good conversation. I'm greatly enjoying it and looking forward to continuing.
Death by manga chapter 39 . 6/7/2011
You have awed me again.

Your argument towards death and the fear of death is wonderful. Personally, I fear pain and Alzheimer's disease. I fear loosing my ability to think. I don't care if I live or die, so long as I don't forget the things I have learned over the many years I have lived.

I have just one argument. If you make yourself Immortal, you are relinquishing both your life and you ability to make life. Because only a thing that is alive can die, and if you cannot die, you might as well be a rock. Also, you should understand that if everyone is immortal, and we have kids, our race would over populate the earth in five generations and consume every natural resource available.

I prefer to lean towards the idea of Eternal Life, rather than Immortaliy also, because something that never ends, appeals to me more than something that never dies.
AnaRola chapter 39 . 5/25/2011
I have to say, this chapter must be my least favorite of all the ones so far. Your characterization of Dumbledore is the only character that isn't better than canon, and when you've improved Voldemort and Harry and even Draco and McGonagall and Hermione, you need a competent Dumbledore.

Of course, seeing as Dumbledore is actually right, maybe your point is just that Harry sees him that way, not that he actually is that way. Which is interesting as a means of pushing Harry closer to Quirrell. -3 points on the Anti-Dark-Lord Harry plan, and so forth.

But even if that's your point, I don't think the execution is up to the ridiculously high standards of your writing in the first 38 chapters of this. Dumbledore seems like he's being willfully stupid in places, and so does Harry. And you'd think that discovering magic exists would be cause enough to question your beliefs about souls and the afterlife.

But if I'm honest, maybe that's my main problem with this chapter - Harry wants everyone to live forever? Really? Maybe after he's figured out FTL travel this would seem like a reasonable priority. But giving everyone immortality in the world we live in now seems like it would be a disaster. If Harry doesn't think that - and I've learned enough from this fic to suspect that I might find his/your argument persuasive - then he would need to present a solution to the problem of overpopulation, hunger, ect. that would result. And a conversation with Dumbledore doesn't seem like the best way to do that, since it's not in Dumbledore's character to point out the overpopulation argument (it's not the way he thinks about things).

SO take this as an example of the initial reaction of someone who hadn't thought a lot about death, before.

Second reading: (I read all your chapters 3 times before going on to the next one, more often if there's science I don't know) it's obvious that this is something Harry/you has thought about a lot, and it's interesting (until today it never even occurred to me to think about living forever, let alone to set that as a goal)but a world that actually does have an afterlife doesn't seem like the best setting. Dumbledore still comes across as an idiot. I'm trying to come up with objections to immortality in general (in a world where resource shortages, ect. weren't a problem) and the voice in my head that sounds like your Harry keeps smacking them down. Everybody? Live forever?

I feel like this is a dangerous path to go down in thinking, in our real world; there aren't any philosopher's stones, and there isn't much point in realizing exactly how tragic and pointless death is when we can't actually do anything about it.

Liked this a little better on the second read-through.

Third reading: (sorry, I usually don't comment on my second and third read-through of a chapter, but this chapter had so much of an effect on me I thought I'd give you the complete story):

"I'm not evil, I'm just very creative."

This story is a gold mine of awesome quotes. This chapter particularly, although I still don't like it. Dumbledore at the beginning, asking Harry why he didn't write down his conversation with Malfoy, is perfect; Dumbledore at the end, trying desperately to fit Harry into a narrative that doesn't make sense, still doesn't quite work. Or if that's only the way Harry sees him, and this chapter is colored more than most by Harry's perception, then there should be some way of making that clearer...

So I've complained a lot about this chapter, and I did find it jarring, and it remains my least favorite in the book. But yo made me think about something I'd literally never considered before, in a Harry Potter fanfiction no less, so I'll give you credit for that.I'm going to have to check out that website of yours as soon as I finish this story...I've written all this about you, and my guesses about your motivations and so forth, and its going to turn out you aren't a person at all but a group, or you're an evangelical Christian.

I'll keep reading.
SaintNicholas119 chapter 39 . 5/14/2011
Why didn't Dumbledore mention Dementors? Souls must exist if they can be sucked out of you.
Akatsuki210 chapter 39 . 5/7/2011
I really like how you started each section of this chapter with the sounds of the various "fiddly gadgets" in Dumbledore's office. It was particularly effective during the parts of the chapter where Harry's discussing/arguing weighty metaphysical matters with Dumbledore, because you could imagine them sitting in an uncomfortable silence after one of them said something that disturbed or confused the other, so that the only sound in the room is the gadgets.

During the section where Dumbledore and Harry were talking about the possibility of an afterlife and immortal souls, there was one thing that I'm surprised neither mentioned: Animagi. The brains of most animals (especially a beetle!) wouldn't be capable of supporting a human intellect. Thus, McGonagall's ability to maintain her sense of self (and knowledge of the magic required to switch back) while in cat form, proves that the mind isn't dependent on the physical structure of the brain in the Potterverse. I was a bit surprised that didn't occur to Harry, given the impact McGonagall's transformation in his presence had on him.

Harry also seems to overlook some major disadvantages of universal immortality. The big honking obvious one, of course, is overpopulation. Even if that could be averted (by establishing extraplanetary colonies, for example), there are others that could be just as devastating. For instance, young people generally tend to be more socially progressive than their elders, and ideas that were once considered radical gradually become part of the mainstream as these younger generations replace the older ones in society. We saw this with the movements for equality of women and blacks, and are seeing it happen now with gay rights-young people are, by and large, more likely to believe that gays should be able to marry and adopt children than elderly people are, and support for gay rights is becoming more widespread as those more-tolerant young people come to make up a larger and larger proportion of the population. If this cycle of one generation replacing the one before it didn't occur, social progress of this sort would be greatly slowed. In addition, the power of evil men is limited in part by the fact that they're mortal-imagine how much more suffering there would be if people like Kim Jong Il could rule their nations literally forever.

As an avid fan of sci-fi and fantasy, Harry might also want to think about why humans are often portrayed as advancing faster than longer-lived races *because* of their mortality-their shorter lifespans are shown as giving them an increased sense of urgency to their endeavors, which leads to them developing new innovations and technologies at a much faster rate than other species. By contrast, beings that don't age (the ones that immediately come to mind are vampires and fey in fantasy stories) are often portrayed as stagnating. Obviously, these are all fictional stories, but why does that seem to be such a common thread? Perhaps it's because when authors sit down and think through the implications of immortality, or about the differences that would be likely to arise in societies whose members have vastly differing lifespans, they all come up with the same answer. As someone who clearly values scientific progress, Harry might actually find a society of immortals a rather terrible place to live.
anon chapter 39 . 5/2/2011
Sable Katze: The writer himself was an orthodox Jew. If Harry has made a mistake about this than that is due to Harry's lack of knowledge, not the author's.

Leading theory regarding Quirrel&Harry is some form of mind manipulation on Quirrel's part to make Harry ignore the Doom.
Spiny Norman chapter 39 . 4/12/2011
Immortality? Is that wise, demographically speaking? Did Harry P.V.E. never read Malthus' essay on the Principles of Population? The consequences if no-one would die but people would continue to have children!

The means of subsistence (primarily food) would have to keep increasing at the same rate. Else there would be more people than could be fed, which would lead to the Malthusian Positive Checks: war, famine, disease, basically everything that kills you or makes it more likely that you die. The alternative is the preventive check: not having as many children as possible, but keeping the population small on purpose.

Soon there will be 7 billion humans on this planet, all in need of food, water, electricity, oil - even if every country adopts China's 1-child-policy, it is still everyone's DUTY to die.

Note 1. If it turns out that house elves can simply magic food and clean water out of thin air, forget everything I just said. Eventually we would run out of physical space but by then we could hopefully move into space.

Note 2. The man who thought this up, just over 200 years ago, was a genius. Without Malthus there would be no Darwin.
Lady Asher chapter 39 . 4/10/2011
...damn... I think my mind just got blown. lots.

you said it's commonly held that this story got going around chapter five. I think it got going from the first word, and just kept speeding up more and more until now we've got a train full of humor and philosophy and science and making people THINK barreling down the tracks of the universe at incredible speeds and holy crap I can't wait to see what happens so I'm gonna go read more now!
loonyphoenix chapter 39 . 4/2/2011
This is, hands down, my favourite chapter of the fic. I liked all your arguments. You also voiced a lot of things I thought about the original Harry Potter series but couldn't quite voice them. You generally voiced a lot of things I couldn't quite put into words so elegantly before.

Of course, I suspect that this chapter has turned quite a lot of religious people from this fic, because Harry is so obviously an agnostic atheist here, and is very rational about it, which is something a lot of people can't bear. This is an observation I got from skimming the reviews for this chapter. I was very disappointed by some of them...
Caffeinated Star chapter 39 . 3/23/2011
So I've been reading. And I enjoy the story, even though sometimes the long extended explanations of science hurt my head because I've always disliked math and never really cared to learn the deep meanings of the universe through science. However, then I get to chapter 39. It's written wonderfully, as is most of the story, with a very complex plot.

I have quite a few problems with this chapter.

A) Dumbledore's character is even more completely out of character than it has been the whole entire storyline.

B) Some of Harry's reasoning seem to be off. Ex. "If people had souls there wouldn't be such thing as brain damage." Assuming there is a soul, the soul and the brain should be separate. They don't interfere. So you can have brain damage.

C) Science over love. Wow. Great morale here. Great. We're going to sacrifice everything - our friends, our family, potential friends, for knowledge. I don't know if you actually believe in this - in fact I sincerely doubt you do, and probably didn't mean for it to come across that way - but it's ridiculous. And not healthy. Without relationships, humans are nothing. Because without relationships there is frankly nothing worth living for. Except the knowledge. But there has to be a point where you reach your limit in knowledge. And that's where the other part comes in.

D) Harry seems to be making himself into a godlike creature. Sigh. Of course your Harry is completely OOC from cannon Harry because of his different circumstances. Still, you would think a scientist would realize you can't control the universe.

E) The whole immortality portion. OK, it's great to want everyone to live. But then you have a whole slew of problems: immortal dictators making people's lives terrible; overcrowding of the world; inability to make room for the new generation; inability to make those wonderful relationships because suddenly you realize they won't matter as much since life isn't short anymore. Selfishness brews.

I'm sure you've already gotten quite a few complaints. Actually, I know you did, but I need to put in my own opinion. I am going to continue reading, because, despite everything, it is rather well-plotted. And so, I bid you adieu.
Higashiyama Sayuri's Devout chapter 39 . 3/8/2011
Dumbledore stared at Harry.

Harry gazed equably back at the Headmaster.

The old wizard passed a hand across his forehead and muttered, "This is madness."

No Headmaster... THIS IS SSSPPPAAAARRRRTTTTAAAAAA.

Sorry could not help myself.
Darth Parallax chapter 39 . 3/4/2011
Hello good sir. You win. You win the internet. You win a cookie. More imortantly, you win at Life.

So MANY great topics and questions and theories posed!

not just this chapter, the whole thing of course.

I wonder why it took me so long to review this. I think it was because for the most part, not exactly true all the time, but MOSTLY, the previous chapters offered answers.

although, Harry would say I was doing it all wrong and should be asking MORE questions now, not less. I wouldnt make a good Claw. Even if 'book' Harry was a Claw, I'd probably prefer Gryffindor.

But this chapter in particular is where I find myself oddly not relating to any of the characters anymore- rather than stop reading, I am so UN-related from what I think their opinions are that Im CURIOUS to see what happens.

Im split right between Harry's and Dumbledore's views on Death-which means theres still more learning for at least 2 of us to do!
Nait chapter 39 . 3/3/2011
Ah, in this chapter our little Harry is regrettably naive and limited in his perception.

The question of Immortality is not a mathematical equation, but understanding the human mind and transferring known behaviour under specific conditions to other variables.

In this case:

Assumption: A human who is locked in a cellar for his whole life will inevitably be bored - as there is simply not enough diversity to follow to entertain him. Being in a cellar for a lifetime is boring.

Evidence: When someone has nothing to do, he will be bored. Common knowledge. To not be bored by a lack of diversity requires a being to be unable to feel "boredom" and thus requires the person to be in a degraded emotional state.

Transfer:

The diversity of limited space is not related to the soley the space itself, but naturally linked to the time available to access said space. If you enter a living room and you have only five minutes to look around, everything will be interesting. If you instead are given months to spend - locked in the same room - you will find that it is not very interesting after a passage of time, but quite boring.

Variantions and diversity also are not based on the principle of difference in being the same, but difference in being similar. As an apple is not an apple because he is *like* and apple, but because he is different enough from anything that is not categorized as an apple, the categorization of said object as an apple is comprehensable.

As such the human mind categorizes and can does not naturally distinguish between two events if the events are similar enough to be categorized. As such, going shopping twice in different supermarkets is recognized as going shopping two times, not as going shopping once in one supermarket, and once in another.

This means that even if a seemingly enourmous amount of different tuples or configuration of factors seems to exist, there is a large number that will be recognized as the same, as it lacks significant difference to distinguish.

Thus, as long as their is not a infinite number of *significant* variations, in an infinite amount of time, you will naturally be caught in repetition.

As such in an infinite amount of time, the possibility of variations (or things to do) in an enclosed space, be that in a cellar or an entire world or universe will simply amount to no significance in relation to the time.

Conclusion:

You will be bored. Very bored. And indeed, if you made friends through five generations and saw them all die, naturally you will not wish to make and loose anymore.

In time you will lack any and all ways to entertain yourself and nothing is new, fun or even remotely interesting, as the mind categorizes it all as a repetitive experience.

Which would lead us to the next fallacy - that death itself would be wrong. Quite obviously this is not the case, as death is one requirement for life. Even philosophilcally speaking: If there were no definition of death (a difference to life) there would naturally be no life as well.

If one looks at the biological machine, one would realize that death itself is a driving engine to provide chain. Humans live because plants and animals die and get eaten. Exchange of biomass is a necessiety. If one were to remove the necessity to absorb biomass (to change) than you would not only and with a perpetual mobile but also find yourself in the same sordid situation as "happyness for everyone" would lead you to. A state where no change or alteration of anything is necessary, as the status quote is so content that alterations are not necessary. This would simply said, result in a world where no one and nothing every moves, as there is no reason to move or to alter anything, as it would not cause any change of relevance. And that perhaps, would be a state that is more akin to the idea of death humans fear, than real death itself.

That aside, fearing something that will certainly occur and is in no way possible to prevent is very much useless. Instead, one perhaps should consider the fear of not living ones life to its full extent to be far more terrifying.

As such, there are any number of philosophical, logical and thus rational reasons as for why Harry's understanding of the topic as hand is - quite fitting for the story, I might add - laced with inexperience and ignorance of other possible conclusions as well other rational ways of analyzing a certain situation that do not just base on mathematics, but also include understanding about humans.
mendota chapter 39 . 3/1/2011
I'm rambled for awhile, unable to pin down the point I wanted to make. I've deleted everything except what I was trying to communicate:

I've been jumping around your story. It's good. Except for chapters 39 and 40. It felt like the author was trying *very* hard to make Dumbledore lose and Harry win. After chapters 39 and 40, I stopped seeing the strength in the storytelling. I couldn't shake the feeling that the author just wanted a strawman for Harry to completely pummel. That's bad writing.

I don't think Dumbledore is wrong in pointing out that the animated portraits are a form of immortality or afterlife. There's no physical continuity of self, but close analysis of the brain already shows that there's no physical continuity of self. There's just an archive of autobiographical information. And that archive creates the illusion of a continuous self.

There is no continuity of self, so it doesn't matter if your self is copied to a portrait and the original body destroyed.

Harry fully admits to fearing death, and Harry's solution to death is physical immortality. Harry wants to preserve his body in order to preserve his self. That's a blind spot for Harry, and I would enjoy having at least one character point it out.

That character should be Dumbledore.

If I were to rewrite chapters 39 and 40 I would make a few minor changes. Somewhere in his past, Dumbledore consumed hallucinogenics (or the wizarding equivalent). As a result, the headmaster revealed to himself the illusory nature of the self. Ever since he's never feared death. There's nothing to fear since his pattern of thinking is carried on in portraits and other non-human-body archives.

(Now that I think about it, I know where my Snape would get his LSD. And I know why my Dumbledore relates to reality with plots!)

It's a counter-intuitive reaction to death. On the surface it completely rejects rationality. Harry would be completely justified in not believing a thing Dumbledore said. But the current in-roads to cognitive science (which I assume are nearly the same as the in-roads twenty years ago) reach for pretty much the same conclusions. The self is an illusion. And so long as an individual's thought-pattern is preserved somewhere, physical death pretty much doesn't matter.

It would completely challenge Harry's world view, and it would give the headmaster a substantial (rather than trivial) part to play in Harry's cognitive journey.
ARMH chapter 39 . 2/23/2011
Well that conversation was a roller coaster. I have to say I really enjoy this story. I think I would count it as one of my favorite books I've ever read.
The Great Rick chapter 39 . 2/21/2011
Death speech and afterlife always suck.
anemix chapter 39 . 2/18/2011
This is one of my favorite chapters ever. Harry's insights into wisdom and death were very interesting and were brought into sharp relief against Dumbledore's ideas. I think that one of the major comprehension difficulties between them was their association of ideas to each other, such as how Dumbledore automatically thought of immortality as bad because of the horrible way Voldemort achieved it. Harry was also wrong in that he believed that one could only be afraid of death or find the fear of death unbearable. Some could have existence being of a lower priority, in which living would be better, but dying would only be horrible in how it would affect the living, with the dead having no opinion. Keep writing!

(\/)

( . .)

c(")(")

BUNNY
Moonlit Wave chapter 39 . 2/9/2011
this was one hell of an interesting chapter O_O
Madork Gunna chapter 39 . 1/21/2011
Wow, back up here! Dumbeldore is drumming his fingers on WHAT? Leliel? As in, the angel Leliel from NGE? The sentient wormhole that tries to kill us all? Well, possibly kill us all, I don't know what 'Third Impact' would look like if an Angel initiated... What would happen actually? Never seen the show so I dunno if there is a preset definition or anything. But, I digress. Is or is that not Leliel?
DrBlue2K chapter 39 . 12/24/2010
"Harry, how could Voldemort have survived the death of his body if he did not have a soul?"

He couldn't...therefore he probably didn't.

"Voldemort stole the book from which he gleaned his secret; it was not there when I went to look for it."

You've been making a big deal about "The Interdict of Merlin," which, as Harry describes in #23:

"[The Interdict] stops anyone from getting knowledge of powerful spells out of books, even if you find and read a powerful wizard's notes they won't make sense to you, it has to go from one living mind to another."

I'm not sure what conclusions to take from this. Did Voldemort learn the art of the horcrux from another wizard? Are there other ways around the Interdict? If so, why did Salazar see the need to make his monster?
justwanttocomment chapter 39 . 12/19/2010
Oh Harry. He thinks that if there's no evidence for something's existence then that something cannot exist. C'mon, a true scientist wouldn't have that bias!

Wonderful fanfiction - you seem to understand so many of the character's positions, and it's rare to see such an insightful work. Thank you for your writing!
ender13sfd chapter 39 . 11/28/2010
Well, you have created a nice Debate between Dumbeldure and Harry.

Obviously Dumbledore's arguments are meek at best (he sounds like an old priest) but so did one of Harry's.

An example:

"if people had souls there wouldn't be any such thing as brain damage" exactly like people can't move their arm after it's been cut off, it doesn't make them less alive..

However under this story's constrains Dumbledore's position is indeed poorly dependable and even more poorly defended.

It's your story to tell...
HoosYourDaddy chapter 39 . 11/24/2010
"I suppose it is useful to those without wands," said Dumbledore, frowning. "But it seems a strange thing by which to define yourself. Is science as important as love? As kindness? As friendship? Is it science that makes you fond of Minerva McGonagall? Is it science that makes you care for Hermione Granger? Will it be science to which you turn, when you try to kindle warmth in Draco Malfoy's heart?"

You know, the sad thing is, you probably think you just uttered some kind of incredibly wise knockdown argument.

Now, how to phrase the rejoinder in such fashion that it also sounded incredibly wise...

"You are not Ravenclaw," Harry said with calm dignity, "and so it might not have occurred to you that to respect the truth, and seek it all the days of your life, could also be an act of grace."

***************

Surely an intellect as remarkable as yours can see that blindly privileging science over love, compassion, friendship, kindness, etc., is just as foolish as the reverse? But the fact that you end the argument there-and that you give Dumbledore no rejoinder-suggests either that you do not see it, or that you are intellectually dishonest.

Indeed, you make Dumbledore too stupid to even grasp the exalted truth of Harry's godlike wisdom. He just caves.

The arrogance of this narrative moment is simply breathtaking. How can you not see that you are creating the illusion of intrinsic and supreme value for that attribute which will flatter you the most, while denying and dismissing the value of what makes human life tolerable at all?

Dont deceive yourself with Harry's words - the impetus behind your embrace of 'science' in this story is nothing so exalted as a quest for truth. The impetus is to win. To prove to yourself and everyone else-once and for all-that you and only you are the best, the brightest, and the most worthy to be adored.

You are not a god.
A Common Hero chapter 39 . 11/16/2010
Well now I have the answer to my question, "How would Harry respond to the confirmation that souls exist?" He would be unable to acknowledge the evidence as even true, not because the result is "impossible," but because the evidence is weak.

There are any number of explanations for what the Dementor's kiss does (I found it a little odd that Dumbledore did not bring up the subject as evidence of the soul, actually), such as that the creature induces a coma like state, just more surely than a car crash might. After all, does a blow to the head destroy the soul? No? Then why must the destruction of the brain's cognitive ability be confined to such a power?

Now I'm interested in how he would explain a horcrux. The books rely quite a bit on the soul existing for their function and their formation to work. Of course, the alternate explanation might require the knowledge of what makes magic function, and therefore Harry could not possibly know it yet. But I would be a little disappointed in a scientist who discards a theory based solely on the fact that he cannot back up an alternate hypothesis for lack of evidence.
Kay chapter 39 . 11/15/2010
I have this great mental image of eleven-year-old Harry Potter giving moral advice to condescending adults. And then, somehow, proving them wrong.
Trivia chapter 39 . 11/11/2010
Harry's argument against an afterlife seems to be based off the assumption that a 'soul' can speak. (or even think for that matter)

He also disregarded the veil without even attempting to test it, isnt that a scientific no-no?.

You have him talk a lot about challengeing preconceptions, but he clearly has them and is unwilling to challenge them. Was this intentional?

Immortality might sound well and good, but part of me thinks it would get boring after a few million years. (Much sooner if you age.)
NormalAnomaly chapter 39 . 11/7/2010
I get why you had this go the way you did, but the part about Horcruxes and not popularizing a method of immortality that involves killing people could have gone differently.

Given that Voldemort's smoking corpse was found, but "he" is still out there, Harry might surmise that this is not the "you can't die" type of immortality, but the "make a backup of yourself that you can reload from" type. If it's possible to reload multiple times from one backup, it would be possible to make one person immortal (by killing a terminally ill child molester or doing a bit of cleverness with two people and a time turner) and then have the first person get killed to back up the second person. Then they could both get reborn, and killed to immortalize two more people, and repeat until everyone's been done. This seems plausible in-universe, because it didn't "use up a horcrux" when Voldemort got rezzed in Goblet of Fire. I'm not saying that this would ultimately be possible or a plan Harry would like, but given what he does and doesn't know I wouldn't write it off if I was in his position.
AspergianStoryteller chapter 39 . 11/3/2010
Interesting. I agree with both Harry and Dumbledore on different things.

Life isn't fair, but we can make find our own fairness.

People don't want to die early, but dragging on would be tiresome, but there's so much to do. There's a difference between loving life and fearing death and you can do both. I'm both but I'm much too young to decide whether I want to live a normal lifespan or longer. Some people are defined by their enemies, some people by other things.

Since souls are anchored to world by and contained bodies, our bodies shape and affect our souls. Perhaps something else sustains them after our physical bodies die?

And I reckon Harry's already thought about this: if we're all immortal, and we keep having kids, isn't Earth going to get crowded? I hope the universe can fit us infinately.
Indigo Ziona chapter 39 . 10/28/2010
"Headmaster," Harry said quietly, "Professor Quirrell believes very strongly in live-fire tests under realistic combat conditions. Wanting to bring in an actual Dementor is completely in character for him."

Now the Headmaster was giving Harry a strange look.

"In character?" said the old wizard.

It was like there were three walls, but no fourth wall...

And Dumbledore had concluded that his pet hero had cunning to match his destined foe, the Dark Lord.

Which wasn't asking for very much, considering that the Dark Lord had put a clearly visible Dark Mark on all of his servants' left arms, and that he'd slaughtered the entire monastery that taught the martial art he'd wanted to learn.

It's a fair cop.

"Too many Dark rituals, maybe? In the beginning he thought he'd do just one, but it sacrificed part of his good side, and that made him less reluctant to perform other Dark rituals, so he did more and more rituals in a positive feedback cycle until he ended up as a tremendously powerful monster -"

"I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er."

"Love is more important than wisdom," said Harry, just to test the limits of Dumbledore's tolerance for blindingly obvious cliches completed by sheer pattern matching without any sort of detailed analysis.

Haha. I love this whole conversation. But I liked Dumbledore better when he was mad :)

"Yes, and so do you," said Harry. "I want to live one more day. Tomorrow I will still want to live one more day. Therefore I want to live forever, proof by induction on the positive integers. If you don't want to die, it means you want to live forever. If you don't want to live forever, it means you want to die. You've got to do one or the other... I'm not getting through here, am I."

True, and yet somehow it doesn't seem quite right.

“You know, when I got here, when I got off the train from King's Cross, I don't mean yesterday but back in September, when I got off the train then, Headmaster, I'd never seen a ghost. I wasn't expecting ghosts.”

In all honesty, ghosts seem to be the one thing missing from your story, particularly Peeves. I mentioned in an earlier review I'd written a sort of AU fic where Harry for various convoluted reasons is Sorted into Slytherin... On his first morning, Draco plays a prank on him making him late for breakfast, however he crosses paths with Peeves, manages to distract the Bloody Baron, and Peeves, a little stunned by the good will, drops a rather heavy hint that the best way to the Great Hall is through a secret passageway (though yells GOT YER CONK in a hurried attempt to appear menacing), making him there faster than Draco... when Draco asks him how he did it, he says, “Oh, magic...” Really wish I'd thought of snapping of fingers too :)

And that was when Harry realized that there was exactly one person who'd originally told Professor McGonagall that the Dark Lord was still alive in the first place; and it was the crazy Headmaster of their madhouse of a school, who thought the world ran on cliches.

Which really makes me wonder where this is going...

The young boy stood very straight, his chin raised high and proud, and said: "There is no justice in the laws of Nature, Headmaster, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky. But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!"

I want to put that on a plaque, or maybe a sampler. Have thought the same myself – or rather, have thought the first part in anguish during a crisis of faith... If there is no god, where is the justice? But what's justice? A human construct. If there is no god, where is the meaning? Meaning's a human construct too. There's no real meaning, and no real justice... is life a cosmic joke? Of course not... there's no one to laugh. So what can we do but try and make things better here and now?
The Wind God chapter 39 . 10/26/2010
Yet another absolutely brilliant chapter. Thank you.
Bar00n chapter 39 . 10/17/2010
pitty, I just don't feel it with this story anymore, might be that I'm just tired of fanfics but this have become boring for me:/ But that aside, you are a very good writer and I wish you the best of luck:)
Dragonanzar chapter 39 . 10/15/2010
Hmm. Is Harry's opinion your own, if it is not too rude to ask? Or are you just making Harry into a reductionist scientist because that is how you envision his character?
Nerdfish chapter 39 . 10/14/2010
""I have intercepted a great many owls to you, I am afraid," Dumbledore said soberly. "You are a celebrity, Harry, and you would receive dozens of letters a day, some from far outside this country, did I not turn them back.""

You haven't had Junk mail until you have had magical junk mail LOL.
Another Lazy Rationalist chapter 39 . 10/12/2010
"Harry felt rather embarrassed. Yes, if you'd just fumbled through a mysterious conversation full of significant hints you didn't understand, the bloody obvious thing to do would be to write it all down immediately afterward, before the memory faded, so you could try to figure it out later."

You must have felt sorely disappointed and annoyed when you had to explicitly say in your author notes that readers should write down all the hints you were sprinkling in this fanfic. My condolences.
Kutta chapter 39 . 10/11/2010
Excellent chapter
gfunk43 chapter 39 . 10/10/2010
I have finished the work and am a huge fan. Rather than going into all the positives (which far out way the negatives) I wanted to share my largest criticism which centers around Dumbledore.

It seems that his character could have been used as a beautiful foil full of mysticism and a view of the larger communal/societal human organism which would juxtapose Harry's insistence on individual immortality and the rationalism associated with the prolongation of individual. Instead of a strong character offering valid view points to challenge Harry's he came across as bumbling, self absorbed, unable to critically examine much of anything at all, and acting because things fit into a "plot" (what ever was the deal with Harry's father's rock anyways?).

I nearly stopped reading after chapter 17 which simply confused me and didn't seem to fit in with anything. How did Dumbledore's bumbling enhance the story (perhaps I just missed it)? Why on earth would he admit to stalking Harry's mother or you include that part of the conversation (as a plot device the only purpose it served was to paint him as unpredictable as nothing ever really became of this story anyways; but this effect was already established, so how did this add to the story in anyway)? In any case it seemed that you were just painting a picture of Dumbledore as one who would be in the background- bumbling, unreliable, but essential as a back drop. This I was disappointed with but found easy to forgive due to how much I was enjoying the rest of the developments.

So thankfully I kept at it, but was even more disappointed in chapter 39, after both of the characters had gotten a chance to known each other and had an opportunity to discuss philosophy with each other and grow. But instead of growing, instead of discussing the world in a dialectic manor, Dumbledore remained the bumbling fool you already had painted him as, unable to offer any real resistance to Harry's ideas on rational discourse. Now I know already that you agree: the stronger a character the more difficult must be his trails; well in this chapter Harry is smart and thus his potential foil Dumbledore must be able to counter his best arguments effectively (just as Harry challenged Draco to attempt to falsify his own theories, Dumbledore needed to come up with the most convincing arguments as to why Harry was wrong but failed spectacularly).

The largest pit fall here is Harry's argument about why it is good not to die. Dumbledore's response is muddled and even deconstructed in a later chapter when instead he could have offered numerous rational arguments as to why immortality is a bad thing (need for renewal of life, the tendency of people to crystalize in perspective and the necessity to flush the world with new perspective in the next generation, the necessity of evolution and adaptation as something that happens not to an individual but to a species that is constantly renewing itself in the world). Instead of acting as the perfect counter supporting mysticism, love, death and renewal Dumbledore comes across as barely understanding these things himself. As a writer, even if you disagree with these foils - you must present the counter arguments in order to make Harry's view points more solidified and thoroughly discussed. You could have even used Dumbledore's view on selection to keep things unclear as to weather or not he would have been capable of killing Draco's mother.

Furthermore (that is if you are still even reading this), I loved how Hermione found strength in her army by listening to her members rather than just trying to do everything herself. This would have been a hugely valuable lesson for Harry, even if he learned it in just a small way (which he certainly did through Hermione, but could have done more through intelligent discourse with Dumbledore). When Harry learns to cast the Patronus, he does it out of his own ingenuity and out of his own ability to look into the thing itself and not "turn away." Further more it seems that a large part of casting the Patronous was the ability to recognize your own smallness and connectedness to the world - this could have been linked to seeing your own vulnerability, to seeing yourself as part of the great tradition of life (that which is born must die, but life will always fight on for as long as it can), and this is a quality that could have been inspired by talks with a stronger Dumbledore. Harry could have grown and learned through talks with Dumbledore; in Hermione he grows through talking to someone who is smart - in Draco to someone who is manipulative - but in Dumbledore he could have grown by talking to someone who was at least as wise as he was. More than this he could have seen the value of this discourse and the value of listening to the wisdom that came out of mutual disagreement.

I think I have said enough about this. Other than that - what was the deal with the cloaked individual advising Zabini?

All in all, awesome story. I had a blast reading it. Is it finished or do you plan on making a sequel? Thank you,

Greg
LunaSlashSea chapter 39 . 10/8/2010
Excellent chapter. Very, very interesting. One question: In this chapter Dumbledore-an obviously old man-comments that he is 110 years old and implies that he is near the end of his life. But in a previously chapter you stated that wizards lived to 170 before they even started to get old. How long do you think wizards live?
AlpineBob chapter 39 . 10/3/2010
"And so Harry had finished up Transfiguration class, and studied with Hermione, and eaten dinner, and spoken with his lieutenants, and finally, when the clock struck nine, turned himself invisible and dropped back to 6PM and wearily trudged off toward the gargoyle, the turning spiral stairs, the wooden door, the room full of little fiddly things, and the silver-bearded figure of the Headmaster."

This paragraph is one long phrase. And there is nothing wrong with that. Just thought I'd mention that it struck me as perhaps less than optimum on the, what?, 10th?, reading.

After I noticed that, on re-reading this chapter I realized that run-on sentences like this are pretty much the norm. So I guess

I must like them...

Anyway the real reason for this review is buried in the paragraph: "turned himself invisible". For someone who seems as much of a stickler as Harry to be so imprecise struck me strangely.
DeMarquis chapter 39 . 9/27/2010
Chapter 39: Author exposition is a high stakes gamble- the chance of alienating more people than you convince is too great. By the commonly accepted principles of fiction writing, EY should eliminate a lot of chapter 39. There is a deep philosophical point that EY is trying to make, which is that denying your fear of death is a greater source of hypocrisy and evil than having no faith in an afterlife, or in universal justice. Better to be honest, and acknowledge that we have no reason to think that there is a God who loves us, than to live with inconsistent beliefs and actions (Chuck Palahniuk anyone?). Perhaps because it is better to be an honest monster, than a nice hypocrite? I presume that EY is writing this story to demonstrate what a character who actually believed this would be like, and to present him in as heroic a light as possible.

It isn't very well presented, Harry's character comes across as an insensitive jerk, but hopefully most people will overlook that based on the merits of the rest of his writing.
Trayus chapter 39 . 9/13/2010
This story is a grad student's dream come true. Thank you for sharing it.
ejhawman chapter 39 . 9/11/2010
Now THIS is how dealing with manipulative!Dumbledore should be written.

Usually, though, Harry would be a few years older than this, to make it more plausible.

The chapter title seems leading; it should be more like "Inventing Wisdom", or "Defining Wisdom", as that is much of what the central discussion works at.

The point about evil not knowing love is central to the books, and here we begin to intimate it is a weakness of this Harry: his rationalist upbringing and character has given him LESS preparation and a weaker emotional foundation for developing this particular tool, and so offers the prospect that his struggle against Voldemort will be all the harder. OTOH, a smarter Harry would not need the raw Power of Love (TM) if he knows so many better ways to disarm and disable Voldemort.

Adding Dementors to the mix at this point: I'm not sure it counts as a weakness of the books that Dementors are not introduced until the third book. It would have helped Harry to read about the institutions of the Wizarding world in his first year, so that Hermione wasn't alone in having read Hogwarts: A History, and about Azkaban and the Ministry and An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe, etc. This Harry has probably paged through all those books, and so has a breadth of knowledge of the magical world that Hermione had in the books in first year, so he is more independent, and deals with everyone on a more equal footing.

Dubledore vs. Grindelwald: really no more than the canon version, but explained better than Rowling did it.

Dumbledore wishes he could have been defined by his friends. Perhaps he wishes his public reputation could have been more defined that way, but individually, we are defined by both friends and enemies.

Harry recognizes the importance of Love. As of yet, he doesn't foresee a time when it will come into conflict with his value on the pursuit of Truth. This looks like the shape of the challenge of coming years. Harry should be advised not to put too much effort into avoiding that conflict; he will need to know he must build up his capacity for Love.

The discussion about Death: as pointed out, views are relative. A hundred years ago, dying at fifty was not so tragic, given the common life expectancy of the time. Now, we react more strongly to deaths at fifty, and assume eighty is a more proper age to live to. Wizards must consider this to be one of the more unfortunate aspects of Muggle life, that they have such short lives, when they are used to living up to 150, assuming one does not run afoul of a Dark Lord.

Harry knows of the Veil already? I was under the impression that was a Ministry secret, which mere students would not be taught. Perhaps you are assuming the Ministry in this story is being more open about its research, publishing on its projects and results in public journals.

I am not sure Myrtle's death broke off the soul fragment that Tom Riddle used for his first Horcrux, if that's what was being implied. She was killed by the basilisk; I would think the killing act would have to be more direct - it was probably a fragment from when Tom murdered his parents, a couple of years later.

Harry's attitude toward Death is the child's classic attitude, that Death is always bad and Life is always good. But in a finite world, infinite life means no breeding. More than that - it means infinite accumulation of memories. Would a mind with a million years of memory really be just a mortal, fifty-year -old mind scaled up? Harry can get away with assuming so, for the moment. There is much research yet to be heard from in this field. I suspect his outlook will change with experience, as seems to happen with everyone. Only time will tell...
kenlon chapter 39 . 9/9/2010
Huh.

I love the fundamental dichotomy here - Dumbledore can't understand why someone would never want to be able to die, and Harry can't understand why someone would ever want to be able to die.

Age vs Youth, in it's most distilled form. And, afterlife or no afterlife, they're both right.
twistyguru chapter 39 . 9/7/2010
Bravo, Harry!

Truly, the old man does not...and can not...understand.
Eleanor Blackrose chapter 39 . 9/6/2010
(,”) Hi (“,)

First off, I love this story!

Secondly:

Obviously Harry Haven’t heard of sustainability or carrying capacity. Because, if everyone was immortal, the world would become more over populated even faster.

From a strictly scientific point of view, diseases like HIV, TB and their mutations are natures coping mechanism to stay sustainable. Because:

Less people cultivatable land more food.
Morbious20 chapter 39 . 9/5/2010
awesome chapter
Mantimeforgot chapter 39 . 9/2/2010
I think the debate between Dumbledore and Harry went just fine. Harry is convinced that wisdom is a sham, and this is entirely in keeping with his inability to accept the value of life experience (pattern recognition ability is no the only aspect of decision making that one needs; possessing a repertoire of known patterns against which one may compare and contrast is also invaluable).

Harry is unable to see that wisdom is knowing how to apply one's knowledge properly. He lacks the scope that comes with age and making mistakes time and again. Perhaps once hormones kick in and his "vaunted rational ability" suddenly takes a hike he will be able to better appreciate the value of "wisdom."

And Dumbledore's approach is entirely in keeping with someone who is working under the assumption that death is inevitable and that seeking to avert death for yourself will only lead to either a life of misery and heartache OR a life bereft of morality as one spirals down the path to being a Dark Lord. Dumbledore might not be the best person at expressing his understanding, but Harry does not yet have the life experience to know the difference between wanting to live and not wanting to die.

There are plenty of people who refuse to die, but don't want to hold on to life either. And this is entirely in keeping with the irrational nature of a phobia. Humans, as a general rule, do not want to die, but it is often more than that. For a great many it goes well beyond the rational consideration of continued existence versus discontinued existence. So I won't even bother to address the arguments "in favor" or "against" death or immortality (either one).

What Dumbledore fails (quite spectacularly I might add) at conveying is that most people are unable to accept the inevitability of death and in so doing live their lives in a near constant state of anxiety in trying to avert death while knowing that it is impossible. A life that is lived in fear has a demonstrably lower quality of life than a life lived by someone who loves life and seeks to make the most of it.

Perhaps if Harry were to see the difference between someone with a strong "Will to Live" and someone who merely "Does not want to Die" he might be able to come to understand some of what Dumbledore was talking about.
Rick Peterson chapter 39 . 8/30/2010
I stumbled across this story recently and was immediately hooked. I have been meaning to write a review and may yet go back and review many of the other chapters (if I overcome my normal laziness), but I couldn't pass by this chapter without commenting. First, I have to say that you are a very good writer and you are coming at the HP Universe from a very interesting (if not quite unique) point of view. You've fleshed out your version of the Wizarding World, particularly the secondary characters, in an impressive and entertaining way; and have put Harry through a maze of moral challenges that (while far from enjoyable for him) gives a real depth to his character. The story is also as funny as hell.

Now the fun part. I have to start out by saying that I think JKR is wonderfully ambiguous about the existence of an afterlife. The evidence for it always has other possible explanations. Luna believes the voices behind the Veil come from the dead. Harry draws some comfort from this, but is not completely convinced. Does the resurrection stone actually bring the dead back, or are they more like the 'echoes' Harry saw in the graveyard in book 4? Sirius tells him: "We are a part of you, invisible to anyone else." Afterward, everything Dumbledore tells him, he could have subconsciously worked out for himself from the clues and hints he already had. Souls, on the other hand, clearly exist: something non-material gets sucked out by Dementors, is fragmented to make horcuxes and survives the death of the body. We might as well call it a soul as anything else. This does not ensure an afterlife (at least in any meaningful form) however. What happens to the soul after death is unknown. That, I think, is why Dumbledore calls it the Next Great Adventure; it's not much of an adventure if we know what's coming. There could be a traditional Christian-style afterlife, souls could be recycled into newborns, they could get mixed together into the Cosmic Consciousness (or Unconsciousness), or they could snuff out like the fragments released from the horcruxes. Dumbledore seems to believe there is an afterlife of some form; although I wonder if he truly believes or just wants to believe because he feels such an overwhelming need to apologize to his dead. It is, in any case, a very personal belief that he sees no need to try to force on others; even in the scene in King's Cross, Dumbledore will say nothing of what follows death. Even if he isn't really there, it tells us what Harry believes about him.

Immortality is, to me, a more interesting issue. There is someone (two someones) who pursue immortality but are not portrayed as evil: the Flamels in book 1. They have lived close to 700 years and would have lived longer, if not for the danger that Voldemort would steal the Philosopher's Stone. Far from considering them evil, Dumbledore considers them friends and is willing to hide the stone at Hogwarts for them. The difference with Voldemort is that he is so afraid of dying that he turns himself into a monster to try to avoid it. Dumbledore tells him, "There are worse things than death," a sentiment your Harry clearly agrees with. Although there are no horcuxes in the Real World, you can still destroy your life by trying to minimize all risk of death. Don't ride in a car or bus or train or plane, don't take showers, don't go out in public where you might be mugged or catch something lethal, don't...

So Dumbledore believes in an afterlife, Harry doesn't; Dumbledore believes that eventually life becomes not worth living, Harry doesn't. Since none of these positions are provable or disprovable, they can hold them without prejudice. Dumbledore is pushier about his beliefs that in JKR's books; but since he is your version of Dumbledore, he can be. Harry makes a lot of strong assumptions about what the afterlife and immortality must be like and derives his position from this. Well, he doesn't have to be the perfect rationalist; these are highly charged subjects and responses can often tell you more about the person who made them than the (inevitably subjective) 'truth' of the matter. But his 'proof by induction on the positive integers' is just silly. It assumes that nothing changes from one day to the next. If there is any change, then the proof fails; how you feel today does not necessarily determine how you will feel about death a hundred years from now. If nothing changes, that would be boring.

In your author notes, you connect this with opposition to efforts to cure aging. Well, I'm certainly not opposed to that; I would much prefer to be healthy up to the time I decide I've had enough of life. When might that be? Ask me in a hundred years, if I'm still alive; maybe I'll know by then. Or maybe not.
Zebra Scale chapter 39 . 8/27/2010
*Shrug* I could care less about lifeisim vs deathisim. My opinion on the matter is "If I had access to immortality I would take it, but I do not, and I feel it's unhealthy to obsess about something that newton's laws and entropy demonstrate is impossible." Still, I was startled confused by your version of Potter's vehemence about it. It makes him slightly less sympathetic. The increased aggression he displayed reduced my liking of him somewhat. It 'felt' like Potter was taking advantage of the uncertainties of an old man to hurt him. If that was your goal, good. Otherwise you may have miss-written it.

I don't know, and honestly don't CARE what your opinions on immortality are. Characters are separate from authors, and knowing author's political views often ruins my enjoyment of things. No offense, but once I know an author's political views I can't stop seeing them creep into the writing, and I find that annoying because it causes me to lose focus on the characters.
homunq chapter 39 . 8/27/2010
This is in regards to "squeamish ossifrage". On the whole, I conclude that it's probably insignificant; but if not, this speculation could be a major spoiler, so I'm going to put it in rot13.

Qhzoyrqber unf fbzr pbaarpgvba gb be xabjyrqtr bs n pelcgbtencul snpg juvpu vf, ng gur gvzr, uvtuyl frperg. (V'z qvfpbhagvat gur vqrn gung Eba Evirfg rg ny, va 1977, vapyhqr fbzr jvmneq jub unccraf gb xabj n fhccbfrq bar-gvzr cnffjbeq juvpu Qhzoyrqber erhfrf sebz gvzr gb gvzr, naq sbe fbzr ernfba qrpvqr gb vapyhqr guvf va jung gurl oryvrirq gb or na hapenpxnoyr chmmyr).

Guvf jbhyq zrna Qhzoyrqber vf abg whfg hc-gb-qngr ba fpvragvsvp cebterff; ur'f rvgure irel vagvzngryl vaibyirq, be hfvat fbzr fbeg bs zntvpny nytbevguz gb penpx gur pbqr (whfg orpnhfr Uneel'f gvzr-gheare nytbevguz qbrfa'g jbex, qbrfa'g zrna gung Qhzoyrqber vfa'g cbjreshy rabhtu gb znxr fhpu na nytbevguz juvpu qbrf.) Va rvgure pnfr, vg pbzcyrgryl punatrf bhe ivrj bs uvf eryngvbafuvc gb Zhttyr cebterff.
Detective Ethan Redfield chapter 39 . 8/27/2010
Fascinating. What an interesting discussion between Harry and Dumbledore. I look forward to more.
Aris Katsaris chapter 39 . 8/26/2010
I think that Dumbledore's side on the issue isn't given good enough support, and I think one problem is this: that Harry doesn't distinguish between *dislike* of Death (which he personifies) with *fear* of Death (which the Deatheaters personify).

Dumbledore has been friends with Nicholas Flamme, who also found a way to avoid death: which means that he preferred immortality to death. However when a situation necessitated it, he wasn't afraid to put his affairs in order and then destroy the Philosopher's stone.

Same in the canon books, Dumbledore didn't *seek* to die, but when a situation arose that made his death inevitable, instead of prolonging his life by some few months, he started planning of how to use his death to be for the benefit of all.

Deatheaters both hate AND fear death above all else - they never sacrifice their own lives for any cause.
Casper chapter 39 . 8/26/2010
But what about the Filosofers Stone then? Is Flamel also "evil" for unaturally extendindg his lifespan?

And for those who think that unnaturalbad, should not live in cities or use any sort of medicine. Modern tech is already making our lives unnaturally long. Cave men were lucky if they lived till 40!
Draic chapter 39 . 8/25/2010
End of fourth section:

Dumbledore's eyes were fixed on Hary

I love this story. Love it.
Muhoshin chapter 39 . 8/24/2010
Deep wisdom makes a great deal of sense because it's like poetry. You're exploiting their experience and hardware to do the processing for your statements rather than just saying it outright, and thus can compress the data immensely compared to just laying everything out. Further, we know people (for good reason!) are more willing to accept a position if they come to their conclusion themselves that you just started with a leading question or statement.

If you have highly intelligent people like Dumbledore and Harry, Deep Wisdom is actually an excellent way to communicate, particularly if you both can model each other's thought processes. Now, it's probably a fairly sure bet that neither Harry nor Dumbledore are particularly good at modeling each other's thought processes, since Dumbledore explicitly is asking for Harry's advice because he thinks in a way foreign to Dumbledore (although Dumbledore could simply be working on a deep level, I prefer to think that he's being somewhat forthright with Harry rather than the entire chapter being an attempt to manipulate him, although doing such would be extremely in-character for Dumbledore as manipulating people's perception of him is his stock-in-trade). And Harry, of course, isn't even a teenager, so his odds of accurately mentally modeling a 110 year old brilliant man who literally grew up in an environment completely foreign to Harry Potter until very recently are virtually nil. Actually, I'm well on my way to convincing myself Harry Potter got played in that chapter...whatever Potter might think, Dumbledore has maneuvered himself into positions of power repeatedly and can pretty much make anyone do his bidding. In this chapter, at least, HP is an unreliable narrator, and we are intentionally never shown what Dumbledore is actually thinking at any point in the story.

Anyway. The fact that Harry calls Quirell in-character means he's ignoring one of his basic tenets. Something's not quite making sense to him about Quirell, and he's ignoring the dissonance rather than examining more deeply.

And even though I know I shouldn't go there, the whole point of immortality is that it is unnatural, because nature isn't ifair/i. Immortality seems exceptionally dangerous to me from an species evolutionary standpoint, but at the same time, I would rather enjoy the removal of senescence from the equation. It seems highly likely that humanity would master immortality before they master the ability to evolve at will (one being the subset of the other).

But yes, I'm afraid Harry Potter is simply wrong about the relative morality of sacrificing lives for immortality. If lives are approximately equal, then sacrificing one life for immortality is at worst break-even. Since accidental deaths declines with age aside from the consequences of senescence, that's a strong argument that immortality would be worth several mortal lives. True immortality would of course be worth an infinite amount of mortal lives for one immortal if our accounting system counts days of existence as being interchangeable and morally equal.

And of course, if we value individual lives as more valuable than a long-lived life, then immortality is a great evil, so Potter doesn't have a leg to stand on, in fact he should be working to shorten lives. Unless he is applying discounting for other people's lives compared to his own, in which case killing other people for personal immortality again makes sense. In which case releasing the secret of immortality into the world would be the most immense evil.

Of course you could argue it from an infringment of rights perspective, that one is free to obtain maximum life as long as you don't infringe on others' lives, but then you run into the limited resources/overpopulation argument again. Your very existence consumes entropy that could be used by others.

I'm not really sure I understand Dumbledore's position that well. From his argument, it seems clear that he has in fact gotten tired of some things but not others as he has aged. So he should have more insight than Harry Potter to the ennui of eternity. And it seems evident that there are a finite number of things to experience. This may predicate on how good your memory is though. I would imagine someone with Hermione's eidetic memory would derive less enjoyment from rereading a book than I do. If there are truly a finite number of things to experience, then it's a strong argument against immortality as a human. I'd argue the problem may then be humanity rather than immortality, but that's a whole nother problem.

Still, it's a pretty worthless argument against living for a thousand years or a ten thousand. If Dumbledore is willing to accept 150 years but not 200, that's only an additional 1/3rd tacked onto a lifespan. I'm afraid Dumbledore must truly be lacking in imagination if he can't imagine what he'd do with another 50 years. Either that, or he has lived an exceptionally full life and he literally cannot think of anything else to add to his bucket list. This may not be as ludicrous for him as it would be others, considering he's reached the apex of so many things, but it does belie the fact that he's an active researcher in Transfiguration. Perhaps he simply believes that the mantle of responsibility should be passed to another at some point. After all, he's been responsible for saving the magical world at least twice, and he's performed admirably. If Dumbledore were to live forever, what impetus would there be to pass that mantle to a younger, more capable wizard? It may be true that they're more capable, but who really wants to take that chance when you've got a mighty wizard with power, intelligence, and experience? Still, it's every bit as likely that someone of inferior abilities would have to step up, and it seems he'd rather groom a successor of his choosing than otherwise.

All in all, Dumbledore's position seems exceptionally weak and short-sighted for him being who he is. But then again, true friendship seems ever harder to come by with age, so...still, it would hardly be an argument against immortality for a newer generation whose friends and family would also be all immortal.

Yeah, Potter so got played.
yog chapter 39 . 8/24/2010
There is one argument for existence of souls in your story. Harry even points it out in the second chapter. It is existence of animagus. HOW can McGonagall think while being a cat, if consciousness is confined to a brain?
tadrinth chapter 39 . 8/24/2010
I'm a bit surprised that Harry hasn't picked up a nice tape recorder yet. Seems like it would be even more useful than taking notes on his conversations.
Heidinanookie chapter 39 . 8/24/2010
I like Dumbledore. He might just draw Harry onto his side in time, even though he's clearly nuts. Fiercely intelligent, yes, but also crazy.

The solution to the Dementor-riddle is pretty easy, though. Harry needn't have called on his dark side to figure it out.

Do you know that Dumbledore is actually gay and Grindelwald was his one true love? I'd like to see what Harry would have to say to THAT confession, since he doesn't care very much about love, as it seems. Though there are pretty hilarious statements coming of this, like "Well, I'd better go off and love something, then, that's bound to help me defeat the Dark Lord. And next time you ask me for advice, I'll just give you a hug -" Great idea, Harry! Brilliant!

I think Dumbledore and Harry are at odds about the ageing/dying part because Harry is so very young and Dumbledore so very old. Due to his youth Harry is simply unable to imagine getting tired of life. I don't see this conversation as much of an indication that Harry is "dark" or anything and I hope Dumbledore is intelligent enough to see it, too.

oh, and the "Death is only our next great adventure" is a quote from somewhere, isn't it? I just can't remember where I heard it. Sounds vaguely like Star Trek... uh, no! I got it! It's a genuine Dumbledore-quote! Nice one!

It's infinitely cruel of Harry to destroy Dumbledore's mental haven that is the idea of an afterlife, but the idea of giving eternal life to everyone is... horrible!

So, this was a really cool chapter! I enjoyed it far more than the last... 10 chapters at least. Great work! (and this review is probably not making any sense, being pieced together of random thoughts lie a Frankenstein monster, but there's nothing I can do about that right now.)

heidi
Alex Mennen chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
If you have to kill one person for each other person you make immortal, and there is solid proof that there is no other possible way to achieve immortality (which is admittedly unlikely), then popularizing the murder/immortality spell makes sense. I would prefer a 50% chance of dying immediately and a 50% chance of gaining immortality over a 100% chance of dying sometime in the medium-near future (i.e. 20 to 200 years).

Also, what was up with Lucius Malfoy? I did not get that scene.
DoubleC chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
Fantastic. Utterly amazing. One of the best chapters of all.
Bias Hazard chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
Another excellent set of chapters! I've refrained from just giving a meaningless "hooray!" on every update, though they've basically all been awesome.

For those wondering, I'm pretty sure Harry's views on death are pretty much those of the author. His most recent talk at a conference contained most of these points. If you're using that as an excuse not to think about it, I recommend you find a better excuse!

For those citing that Harry must be evil because he wasn't considering overpopulation, you are silly people! The evidence is that Harry likes it when people make decisions that make their lives better (not at a greater cost to others). He's probably motivated to make life GOOD and long for everyone, not to make an overpopulated hell.

He's got an affinity for space travel, which could be his best solution at the moment. Also, magic. But it doesn't matter - that's an engineering problem, which he probably intends to consider at the same time, and with the same intensity as that of death. That doesn't make him evil at all, or even naïve! He just has TWO goals, which are coupled, and chose to elaborate on one. Dumbledore never brought up that problem, so there was no need to address it.

(There are more subtle issues - Harry hasn't presented enough moral structure in this argument to handle trolleys or dust specks. But that may be explored later down the line.)

As the old saying goes, "May you live as long as you want to, and want to as long as you live!"
Anon chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
I'm sure you have found out by now from other reviews that Harry actually visits the afterlife and talks to dead Dumbledore, right?
PorcupineGirl chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
iBecause if people had souls there wouldn't be any such thing as brain damage, if your soul could go on speaking after your whole brain was gone, how could damage to the left cerebral hemisphere take away your ability to talk? /i

Oh now, this is just silly. If souls exist, they clearly seem to be (under all normal circumstances, muggle or magical) bound to a body while the body is still alive. If their only way of communicating through that body is through the natural neural mechanisms, there's no reason to think that screwing those up wouldn't screw up the soul's ability to communicate through the body while not severing the soul's attachment to the body. Harry can do better than that.

I'm also curious to know what Harry would do about overpopulation in an immortal world, since there's absolutely no reason to think that it would lead to us managing to colonize other planets any faster than we already are. I mean, it might lead to us wanting to, certainly some portions of the population wanting to, but that doesn't mean it would happen.
Miss Cow chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
I like this chapter because it contains so much truth. And with the Longbottoms stuck at St. Mungo's thing . . . Well, with all the people in this world that are living but in permanent comas, or with permanent brain damage that covers over 3/4's of the brain, murder being illegal and sobs at funerals, how could anyone truly believe in the afterlife? Yet people say that everyone really does believe in such things in their dying moment, when it's really just a wishful thinking. In reality, a dying person would have no reason to feel scared, as if they do not believe in afterlife, they must believe in oblivion, where in which case they would not have any feelings about it because they would be dead, and cease to exist - like a dreamless deep sleep that you never wake up from. They would not remember in their deaths.

This is exactly the reason why people fear death. If they somehow manage to find a way into immortality, they would.

I came to this conclusion as a mere child, and am still always surprised to find people (such as Dumbledore in this chapter) lying to themselves by saying it's okay to die, and that it would be bad if everyone were immortal.

Sorry that my review involves more of my personal feelings than it probably should. It's just that your fanfiction makes me really think about a lot of things, and it only seems fit to make sure you know that I'm not just skimming through your chapters when I'm bored, or really feeling like paying attention much at all. I do hope that your chapters have a similar effect on your other readers, because to bother to consider what one hasn't considered before (or sometimes has, in which case is to rethink it through) would really be the smart thing to do.

By the way, why did you do the "Whistle. Tick. Bzzzt. Ding. Glorp. Pop. Splat. Chime." etc. things in between the different sections? It seems a bit random to me, unless I'm missing something that I should have caught.
Jaythe chapter 39 . 8/23/2010
Hoping you'll actually read this, so here goes...

Interesting chapter, though I must say that I must disagree with your position on certain points (but I suppose you're expecting that).

I just want to point out one possible flaw in Harry's rational argument, when he says

""Yes, and so do you," said Harry. "I want to live one more day. Tomorrow I will still want to live one more day. Therefore I want to live forever, proof by induction on the positive integers. If you don't want to die, it means you want to live forever. If you don't want to live forever, it means you want to die.""

Um, so the issue here is that proving by induction works with integers because integers are discrete units (-1,0,1,2,etc). The problem is, time is CONTINUOUS (at least according to the General Relativity model...there was something on Google about Planck time units, but that is still a conjecture I think). "Days" are merely human abstractions used to partition time.

I think this is a similar case as Zeno's Paradox. Zeno observes an arrow in flight. Stop time for an instant, and the arrow is not moving. Stop time during another instant, and the arrow is still not moving. So how does the arrow get from point A to point B? Conclusion: motion is an illusion (or something like that).

The problem here is that Zeno is assuming that time is discrete, but from our modern perspective, time is continuous (hence between point A in time and point B in time, there are an infinite number of other points in time...kinda like taking a limit in calculus).

So yeah. Just wanted to mention that, in case Rational!Harry didn't factor that into his logic... ]
William H. Stoddard chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
It just struck me that when Harry said, "I mean, it's entirely consistent with the way Professor Quirrell usually acts ...," the problem with this mode of explanation is precisely the one pointed out to Harry by Professor Quirrell back in #20: "The import of an act lies not in what that act resembles on the surface, Mr. Potter, but in the states of mind which make that act more or less probable." Which means that Harry, ironically, is thinking here in terms of the representativeness heuristic, despite his understanding in theory that it's unreliable. That's an elegant back reference, but I must say it took me multiple readings to get it. On the other hand, that's better than I'm doing so far with Harry's conversation with Lucius, which leaves me so far as perplexed as it does Harry. . . .
Herra Tohtori chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
Wow. This chapter is like an allegory of all the logic vs. religion debates I have ever seen.

And for the record I, too, have to side with the Dark Wizards. Dying sucks, and it being natural doesn't make it ok.

However, as far as I'm personally concerned, I am not afraid of death per ce. If, against all odds and evidence, my existence continues post-mortem in some shape or form, I count all existence as fundamentally positive thing. Nonexistence will not hurt (can't be worse than before I gained enough brain capacity to perceive), but it will rob me of all the awesome things that I'll never get to do, and every consciousness fading into nothingness is terrible, terrible waste. Plus it'll make my loved ones sad when I eventually do the pass my expiry date.

Good job turning the somewhat morbid topic into an amusing read.
FuzzyBoots chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
So sad that Harry should be so cynical so soon. And when he talks of death being unnecessary, I think he's overlooking the sheer stasis of a world where no one dies. Either you'd need infinite resources, or you have to stop reproducing. And without reproducing, how many people will truly come up with new ideas rather than rehashing what they know to be right for eternity. *shrug* But, as you've often pointed out, he is a child. He is an intelligent child, but he knows so fiercely that he is right sometimes that it blinds him to the possibility that he could be wrong, the very sin he calls everyone else out on.
GinnyLover14 chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
I think Harry would LOVE to meet the Flamels :)
luosha chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
i like the truncheon argument, but i think you're still wrong about the obviousness of not wanting to die (on this one, i'm betting that you are 100% in agreement with harry).

if we had been hit with truncheons every month, for all of history, we might have evolutionary adaptations that rely on it. with unfortunate consequences if we got rid of it. kind of like, "wouldn't it be great if we got rid of pain?" - only it turns out pain is useful and those who don't feel physical pain die young and unnecessarily.

granted no individual adaptation can rely on death, but if you do care about other people, then it doesn't seem hard to see that social structures are built on a finite lifespan. yes you could build new structures, and they might be better, but it's not *obvious*. and even leaving aside costs of the transition, would it be possible to go back to the way things were?
Guest chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
As it turns out, it is possible to believe in an afterlife without strong evidence and still be sad at funerals, and condemn murder. One just has to believe that there is a "right time" for people to die, and killing someone is still like sending them on a one-way trip to Australia when they do not want to go.
iwannabeX chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
ok, this was one of the best things i've ever read. not just the best thing in this story, not even just the best thing in this fandom or even genere, but one of the best things taking into account every single thing i've ever read. and i do happen to like reading philosophy. it is, admitedly, just a mixture of ideas that are already in circulation for decades, and it brings nothing new and earthshattering in the philosophical sence, but what it does do is to present such a good choice of the basic questions of existence to the popular prose, that it should get you a monetary award for spreading reason among the (mostly) uneducated masses. you have earned my deepest respect.
fontgoddess chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
I think Harry would be absolutely *pissed* is he knew that he was in a story and the universe really did operate the way Dumbledore thinks because they're all fictional.
badkidoh chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
another great chapter.
Sabrinasidd chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
I loved chapter 39. It's easily one of my favourite chapters so far... and considering how much I love the rest of this fic, that's saying a LOT. I'm learning so much about the different aspects of rational, critical thinking and objective analysis from this fic that I'm beginning to feel this fic should be prescribed as compulsory high school curriculum.

This latest chapter pitted Harry's rationalistic view against Dumbledore's 'wise and experienced' mind-set... and Harry turned out as the clear winner. Granted, part of this is because Dumbledore's mind runs straight and direct and finds it difficult to turn around corners, whereas Potter's way of thinking seems to be ALL angles and laterals. In acquired power, wisdom and experience, Albus has the edge, but in creativity and comparative thinking, Harry's got an advantage. I LOVED seeing that demonstrated.

Even more than that, I loved the Harry's matter of fact way of examining all of Albus's 'evidence' pointing to an afterlife. I consider it very fitting that Harry doesn't believe that an 'eternal soul' carries on after the neurons have died. He's enough of an empirical thinker to examine the evidence, and NOT be taken in by comforting thoughts about one's personality living on after death. To him, it's a hard truth, but it's one that Harry doesn't flinch way from. I think that's very in-character for him.

Thank you for the amazing fic.. and thank you SO much for the awesome new three chapter delivery. I was leaping with joy first thing this morning.
Greytune chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
"Professor Quirrell believes very strongly in live-fire tests under realistic combat conditions. Wanting to bring in an actual Dementor is completely in character for him."

"In character?" said the old wizard.

"I mean, it's entirely consistent with the way Professor Quirrell usually acts..." Harry trailed off. Why had he put it that way?

*snort* Harry still believes this is all a story, now, does he?

"I try my best to anticipate my foes, to encompass their wicked minds and predict their evil thoughts. But I would never have imagined sharpening a Hufflepuff's bones into weapons." Was Harry ever going to live that down?

LOL just showing my appreciation for that paragraph.

Oh, and loving the Death vs. Immortality debate.
Mastigo chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
I think I just had some insight into another major reason Dumbledore wants to die: his belief in narrative causality (which amusingly enough is completely correct due to it being a story ... suck on that Harry). All stories must come to an end, in one form or another. And indeed, for many of them, the end merely lays the groundwork for the "next great adventure"
Abderite chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
I find it more than slightly strange that Harry doesn't pause to consider the implications of making everyone immortal. Sure, no one dying would be a good thing, but what of the Earth's limited resources? If everyone were immortal, the population would increase both exponentially and at an incredible rate, and it'd cause a lot of problems.

Of course, I suppose that space colonization wouldn't be such a big problem with magic, and Harry's probably working on that anyway, but food would be a pretty big problem, seeing as it's one of the exceptions to things that you can create out of nothing. (I always thought that that was just put into the books as an excuse.)

So the space colonists, assuming that he can gather enough wizards interested in science and with similar intellect to back this project, would also need to figure out agriculture systems that would work on these new planets, etc.

Immortality isn't as cut-and-dried as Harry portrays it here, and I would think that even though he's emphasizing rhetoric while talking to Dumbledore, he'd elaborate on the mechanics of things. Just seems a bit out of character, that's all.
newyn chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
If you ended right at chapter 39, I don't think you could change much the sense of reward and fulfillment I have gotten already as a reader of this fantastic fic.

Well-put, the philosophical talk about the afterlife. I don't think you could get more central than that. Well, maybe you could. You're proving to be full of surprises.

Thank you for sharing.
anon chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
I feel you don't understand human emotion very well...

People would certainly mourn (and are devastated by) a loved one taking a one-way ticket to Australia.

My mother was devastated when I moved to another country and no visits were possible due to cost.

Many people in this world really DO anticipate (and react) exactly as if their relatives where going on a permanent trip and they wouldn't see them in a long time.

Voldemort's desire for immortality in this world can be explained away as insanity.
Arkh Cthuul chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
wow...
gwern chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
Harry took a deep breath. "Meet all the interesting people in the world, read all the good books and then write something even better, celebrate my first grandchild's tenth birthday party on the Moon, celebrate my first great-great-great grandchild's hundredth birthday party around the Rings of Saturn, learn the deepest and final rules of Nature, understand the nature of consciousness, find out why anything exists in the first place, visit other stars, discover aliens, create aliens, rendezvous with everyone for a party on the other side of the Milky Way once we've explored the whole thing, meet up with everyone else who was born on Old Earth to watch the Sun finally go out, and I used to worry about finding a way to escape this universe before it ran out of negentropy but I'm a lot more hopeful now that I've discovered the so-called laws of physics are just optional guidelines."

Missed a great chance to insert some _Haruhi_ references...
Loonynamelass chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
This chapter makes me excited. Because the one thing I am SURE of in this story of layers upon layers of deception is that Dumbledore is good.
Sarshi chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
This conversation was just. Perfect. Awesome. :D

And what's up with uploading chapters in trios?...
everetza chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
It's always fun when I know a theory before you put it in the story. The whole 'hit on the head with a shovel' and looking at it from outside thing is something I've used myself in a speech (after seeing it on LW). Anyway, quite an interesting chapter - I liked it better than the last, it was intruiging.
Rowan Mikaio chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
Man, I wish I knew if this made more sense when I'm not stoned or drunk of my ass, or if it's as absolutely bloody incomprehensible as any other day I try to expand my mind and figure out this stuff that seems halfway between absolute nonsense and the most ridiculously brilliant words I've ever read.

I suppose I'll find out tomorrow.

~rowan
Nongarak chapter 39 . 8/22/2010
Nice. Very philosophical.
xBud chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
My god that was soul-rendering-ly heavy.

My emotions felt exhausted by the end of this chap (39).
Furcas chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
The afterlife debate was awesome, especially when Harry explains what the world would be like if people really, actually, completely believed that there is an afterlife. In that world, people wouldn't fear death at all, nor would they consider murder a major crime, and they certainly would kill without guilt or hesitation if it was to end someone's suffering. Since Harry doesn't live in such a world, and we don't live in such a world, it follows that no one really, truly believes in an afterlife in either universe, with the possible exception of a few thousand religious fundamentalists, mostly Muslims and Christians.

What's sad is that I'm fairly certain that those of your readers who believe (but not really) in an afterlife will read Harry's words, smile at them, and go on with their lives without ever questioning their own belief.
mynameisthedoctor chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
This is the mot epic epic ever (and yes I did write epic twice on purpose, once for adjective and the other as a noun) I'm going through a phase where I'm having existential questions about myself and I've come to an idea personally that even though there is no scientific consensus that life is important that it is still important to me and that the world is a better place with it. This chapter speaks to me on a deep level but I still believe in an afterlife.
farwalker chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
"There is no justice in the laws of Nature, Headmaster, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky. But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!"

WOW!

I so love this fic. This conversation with Dumbledore is Awesome!
ilikebluepineapples chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
"Why just you waiting by the Dementor?" said Harry. "I mean, shouldn't it be you plus a couple of the Aurors -"

The Headmaster shook his head. "They could not withstand the repeated exposure to the Dementor, each time I dispel my Patronus."

If the Aurors can't withstand that much exposure to a single Dementor, then in your version of the HP world, Sirius couldn't possibly have withstood 12 years of being continuously exposed to multiple Dementors, correct? I'm curious to see your alternate storyline for him.

" it wasn't that Harry had lied, but Dumbledore seemed far too impressed with Harry's ability to phrase things so that they sounded profound, instead of putting them into plain English like Richard Feynman had done with his wisdom..."

Haha. You won't think much of this compliment, then, but I'm terribly impressed with your ability to phrase things so that they seem profound. It must be very useful. And there's nothing wrong with being able to say an idea in a striking and musical way, as long as you don't confuse that for actually gaining new understanding. It's pretty ;)

General feedback: I was turned off by your descriptions of Dumbledore in the first part of this chapter. It crossed the line into overwrought (words like "agonized" and such).

I was majorly turned *on* by the dialogue about death. Your characterization of Dumbledore was good there. You managed to make him convincing, while still obviously wrong-well, obviously wrong to me, but I already agreed with you beforehand. I wonder how actual deathists reacted to this chapter.
Lady of the Hunt chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
I wish to say something, but I'm still processing this chapter. So I can't really put it into words. You've got the greatest gift of actually making me think. :) Thanks! It's a nice change. :)
109 chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
Dear Less Wrong,

I just wanted to say that this chapter is the same fight I've had with many of my religious friends, and also that it is everything I hope for the world. That people might not have to die, for even if a human life spanned a billion years, knowing that death lay at the end someday, a billion years away, it terrifies me.

So, too, do people ask me, if there is no higher order, why not simply be evil? And my answer to them is the same as Harry's: that while it may not matter to the universe, it matters to people.

I don't even know if this is the author's belief. Like you say, no one character gets all of the author. But at least, you understand Harry's view and sympathize with it, and for that, I am grateful forever. I don't know what else to say. The words in this chapter strike so close to my atheist equivalent of a heart. They mirror, in almost the same order, in some cases very nearly the same words I and my opponents have used, a talk I have gone through countless times. I'm just grateful that there exist other minds in the world that think in this way, and that my mind isn't entirely amongst strangers.

That wasn't quite what I meant. Even if my mind is among strangers, I am reassured that my worldview is at least somewhat valid, and that my fight might not be completely futile.

Peace, love, happiness,

wobster109
Denubis chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
I really like your discussion of "deep wisdom" and I'm struck by the parallels used in this neuroscientist's account of her own psychosis. ( 2010/08/10/a-neuroscientists-psychosis/ - if that link doesn't work, mind hack's blog, search psychosis) The rationality parallels of both are really really interesting, especially if you didn't mean to use the same phrasing.

Thank you for writing this summae into the philosophy of science.
Evil Midnight Lurker chapter 39 . 8/21/2010
...Yikes.

That bit near the end, where Harry expounds on the absolute horror that the destruction of a single soul would be? The worst crime ever committed?

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel, but that's the first time I've ever seen anyone else articulate it in so many words. Nice. .