Tag Archives: veritaserum

Veritaserum — Would You Use It?

If you are a Very Cool Person, you know about the Harry Potter books more than simply a peripheral awareness of their huge influence.  If you aren’t, just stay with me.  You’ll want to read this.

One of the most compelling things about the books is their use of ethical conundrums to get the reader to really consider their own choices in life.  One such has to do with a teensy bottle of liquid truth:  it’s called veritaserum, and it’s a truth potion.  The most powerful truth potion in the wizarding world, as a matter of discussion.

The use of it is forbidden, but that makes no difference to a number of folks who consider it perfectly justifiable in what they consider their quest for answers.

Here’s the thing:  if you had a bottle of veritaserum, would you risk using it?  Would you feel justified in using it?  Have you ever wished you could just “know” the truth about something, and would do just about anything to find out the answer, whatever the cost?

I have thought that on a number of occasions.  Suffice it to say that, if the stuff existed, I’d like to think I wouldn’t try to obtain it and use it.  But there have been times, I suppose I might have.  Would I have regretted it?

Would knowing the truth solve any problems?  Probably not.  I think it would create more.  It’s not for us to know what’s in someone else’s head, and not for us to decide whether someone has to tell us what they’re thinking.   Or is it? 

Sodium pentothal is a drug like many others, and its use has been debated in India as recently as 2008.  What about when athorities are interrogating terrorists?  Suspected terrorists?  It’s a compelling question.

We must not tell lies.  At least, that’s what Delores Umbridge would say.


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