People As Things

It is very late at night, and I have too much work to do to be up this late and waste tomorrow into the Brighton smirr and too-thick coffee. But I have been thinking so often about the following piece of writing from Sir Terry Pratchett, one of the biggest influences on my attempting to be a nice person. Also a writer.

“There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example,” said Oats.

“And what do they think? Against it, are they?” said Granny Weatherwax.

“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”



“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.

“It’s a lot more complicated than that –”

“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”

“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes –”

“But they starts with thinking about people as things …”

From Carpe Jugulum. And Granny Weatherwax is right. Everything we do wrong is a consequence of regarding a person as a thing instead of a person. It’s when you stop caring about someone and starting thinking of them as a resource that you have to worry.


  1. Philip 10/18/2013 / 11:16 am

    I love this quote!

    I once brought it up in a church youth group meeting because it struck me as a great way to express Jesus’ core message, but the mention of witches confused people and it didn’t go down well.

  2. Dozer 11/07/2013 / 3:20 pm

    I love that book. I love it more than soup.

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