The Non-Zero-Sum Character
Here, in no particular order, is a sampling of real-life non-zero-sum characters.
Jesus of Nazareth
The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae
Joan of Arc
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
And a few from fiction and motion pictures:
Celie in The Color Purple
Rick Blaine in Casablanca
Pike, Dutch, and the Gortch Brothers in The Wild Bunch
Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) in Saving Private Ryan
If the Villain believes in a zero-sum world, the Hero believes in its opposite.
If the Villain believes in a universe of scarcity, the Hero believes, if not in a world of abundance, then at least in the possibility of such a world.
If the Villain believes in a reality dominated by fear, the Hero believes in one ruled by love.
The Villain is cynical. He or she believes that mankind is inherently evil. The Villain believes in “reality,” in a Hobbesian world of all-against-all.
The Villain is not necessarily “bad” or even “villainous.” In the villain’s eyes, he is the Good Guy. He is simply acting and making choices within a universe of monsters. He must therefore become, in the name of Good (or at least self-preservation or the preservation of those dear to him) a monster himself.
The zero-sum view of life is that of limited resources. Not enough to go around. If you and I want our share (or even simply enough to survive), we must take it from somebody else. However much of the pie we grab, that’s how much less remains for everyone else.
In the non-zero-sum world, on the other hand, resources are infinite. The love a mother gives to her child (and that the child returns) grows greater, the more each loves. There is and can never be a shortage of love.
Compassion is infinite.
Integrity is infinite.
Faith is infinite.
Zero-sum versus non-zero-sum. Which point of view do you believe?