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These Fatalistic Gods
Giant Squid & Kingsley S. & Minerva M. & OC - Words: 4,784 - Rated: T - English - Mystery & Sci-Fi - Chapters: 3 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 01-05-2017 - Published: 17-04-2017 - by screening (FFN)

An excerpt from Doctor Mattaniah Jones at the Shipton Christmas Lecture, 1999

"…Last year, the Shipton Christmas Lecture had no topic or focus. 1998 was a year of reflection, and so we reflected: on the people we lost here, the damage that was done to society, and mostly how dangerously lucky we were. It was the luck of the draw that kept each one of us alive. And Grandmaster Chowdhury reminded us that, while we owe a lot to the staff and students of Hogwarts school for standing against tyranny, the prejudices that created it remain.

…In my personal opinion, Grandmaster, you stopped a little too short in refusing to specifically call out the Ministry of Magic's complacency and corruption in facing said tyranny, but hey. That's one guy's opinion. I get it, they pay our bills. And you pay mine. Yeah, I'll get back on script now.

But as we look towards the new millennium, you've given this year's Shipton Christmas Lecture to me, to look towards not what was but what could be. And to the students and guests of this year's lecture, I have this to say:

Progress is not a guarantee.

Grandmaster Chowdhury wasn't wrong in saying that prejudices remain in this world, and while the events of last year have created a great many changes for the better, we cannot become complacent in the inevitability of 'improvement'. Things don't get better because the future is coming; things get better because we make them better.

A lot of you know my studies, both at MIT and at here at The Worshipful Company of Magick, focus on time and linearity. And when I was writing this I got a lot of jokes from certain colleagues— Samuel— about going through our founder's prophecies to see what the next year holds. Yeah, ha ha, but you actually picked up on a major problem I deal with in Prophetic Studies. Which is as follows:

Say that our founder (the cleverest person ever to live in my opinion), Ursula Shipton, had prophesised the exact way the year 2000 would go, and you found it. And it said your child was going to die. Are you not going to use that prophecy to avoid how that fate goes? You take your child and force them to live in an empty, safe room for a year, with no contact.

But then, your child gets resentful of this treatment: they run away, and on their way out of the house get hit by a car and die. Is this coincidence, or is this fate asserting itself? Did you actions kill your child, in an example of the Macbeth Fallacy, or was it impossible to evade your fate to begin with?

Well, the wizard Tom Kenneth thought the same in 1867, when a prophet predicted exactly that fate, and exactly that instance occurred. Many of my students know it well, because it's the best known instance of the biggest question of all:

Is prophecy inevitable?"

The following report of the XK Prophecy Event (commonly referred to as 'the Muggle-Wizard war'), 2000-2020, has been reconstructed by the Archival Society of Wixen, the former Department of Mysteries' Pensieve Collection, and supervised by historian Dalton Roche. However, certain historical fallacies must be noted:

i. The events written in the historical records 'Fantastic Beasts', 'Pottermore' and 'The Cursed Child' shall be disregarded largely as false.

ii. To streamline the text, most footnotes have been omitted and left to the bibliography. However, in exceptional circumstances, some footnotes have been left in place.

iii. As far as possible, the events recorded have been vetted by survivors for accuracy. However, in some scenarios, no survivors remained.

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