Key idea 1: Great stories can provide insights into the narratives of our lives.
Key idea 2: Best leaders teach by example and guide by encouragement.
Morris argues that Dumbledore exemplifies the Aristotelian virtues. The virtues are important because “what makes” a good leader is something internal. We talk about “building the inner person” but no one really knows what that means in the concrete, aside from something like “integrity.” The Aristotelian virtues provide a starting point.
Life is dynamic. We are always in a process of becoming.
Dumbledore has a “generosity of spirit.” Morris says this lets him see “beyond the categories that define people.” I might take a stab at it from my own perspective. I have had some students that were generally annoying and often made bad choices. I realized, though, that they had a lot of raw potential and would probably get straightened out in time.
Key idea: The fundamental virtue in business and life is courage.
This gets interesting. On one hand, Gryffindor is the house that generates the virtue of courage. However, Voldemort’s followers often act courageous themselves. In that case, why can’t a vice generate the same outcome? To answer this, Morris points to the ancient truth of “the unity of the virtues.” It is impossible to just have one good virtue. Here is the difference: Voldemort’s followers appear to act courageously because they are bullied by fear; the good man actually overcomes the fear.
The self-help mindset only goes so far. True success has a communal side to it.
We can summarize the chapter on ethics under several propositions:
1) Ethics is about creating strength.
2) Doing acts of evil, as seen in Malfoy and Voldemort, always rebounds on itself.
3) Iris Murdoch: when we habitually do good, we often create “good structures” that visit us later on.
Morris calls Wicca “that priesthood of perpetual graduate students and coffeehouse radicals.”