What's a Protagonist?

Protagonism used to take its name directly from my values. During my late teen years, I believed in 8 "cardinal" virtues with 4 sub-virtues each. One of the 8 corresponded to my current value of Agency, and I considered it the holiest. Since I had to split each of the 8 into 4 distinct sub-virtues to fit the pattern, I ended up attaching direct moral value to a lot of things I don't anymore but that were closely related to values like Agency. One of them was Adventurousness. I was also coming at it from a virtue ethics mindset rather than a consequentialist one, so part of my problem was that I was trying to describe morality in terms of what makes a good person rather than what makes a good action.


So I saw it as close to the center of my "religion" that a Protagonist was a protagonist of a story in a very deep sense, *the* story, even. If God watched the human chronicles as a story, Protagonists would be the protagonists.

The derivation of the name started to make a bit less sense after I moved away from the 32 virtue model, through an 18-virtue model, then a 12-virtue model, then 6, 5, and 4, as I kept gaining understanding and noticing that one thing I believed in was either a mistake or reduced to another. I started to explain the name as based on a *sentiment* that Protagonists were protagonists rather than that being explicitly a moral value. I still think that sentiment is true, but I understand why better now.

Around the time of moving from 6 to 5 main values, I noticed a deeper definition of Protagonist. Everyone is driven by ideology. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful "believing" in something evil can be as a motivation for doing it with seemingly selfless devotion. But not only are their ideologies wrong, but their devotion to them is completely divorced from conscience; it isn't even an earnest attempt perverted by bias or under-generalization. They rarely change their ideology, and when they do, it's not because they encountered a situation where it conflicted with their conscience, but because of authority or peer pressure.


Me, on the other hand...

My ideology was born out of the quest to make it align with my conscience. My reasons for leaving Catholicism were almost entirely autodidactic; they were beliefs no one around me shared.

How I left Catholicism

I've met a few people like me. All of them end up my closest friends - in the *miki* sense, not the *fiki* sense. Not all were ideological wanderers when I met them, but none fit into anything close to a major faction's ideology. And we've all actually changed each other's beliefs, and not through memes or peer pressure, but through reason and conscience.



It's almost as if there's a metaphysical difference between us and "normies". I know there isn't *actually* a metaphysical difference, but that there *seems* to be one is... beautiful.

So the real definition of a Protagonist is someone who changes their ideology because of their conscience, without social pressure or personal interests forcing them to see the truth. Not someone who believes everything I write in the Protagonism section. Not even someone who believes most of it.


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