When he was young, and still living in the warren, Nin would often talk with his fellow rabbits. He debated everything, had discussions concerning all topics—from the lowest gossip to the highest philosophies. He relished these conversations, but not for the topics themselves, although he found value in them, too.
Rather than concerning himself with a fellow rabbit’s opinions and values and beliefs, Nin found himself more interested in the processes by which they came to hold these convictions.
It was a fascinating study. Some rabbits could not tell Nin how they came to their convictions, merely that they had them. They were developed slowly, almost unconsciously over time, naturally, shaped by daily experience, or common wisdom, or emotional certainty.
Some beliefs were created by formative experiences—strong memories of youth they carried into maturity. Other rabbits, he found, had minds like steel traps—they expressed no opinions except those they had reasoned long and hard about; had come to strong conviction concerning.
All rabbits had their principles, and often, these principles formed the basis of their lives. A rabbit who valued knowledge could often be found studying, while a rabbit who prized connection would spend his time in the burrow’s main chamber, surrounded by his peers.
This made sense to Nin, that rabbits would pursue what they valued most. But there was worry also: for Nin knew what he valued most of all was the little truth that beat within his heart. How did he express this conviction? How did he pursue this truth? He wasn’t sure. Often he felt that he was struggling, that his search merely pulled him in many directions, and that he lacked the courage to commit to one path, to follow that path doggedly to the end, whatever end that may be.
And sometimes Nin worried that rabbits lied to themselves, and others. In his questioning of his fellows, it seemed to Nin that a rabbit who was naturally strong tended to pursue a philosophy exhorting the virtue of strength. A rabbit with long legs would praise the value and glory of speed.
This quandary worked itself against Nin’s brow. All he spoke to had their convictions, and claimed to have come to their convictions through long process, although these processes differed from rabbit to rabbit.
Yet Nin was worried that all of this was backwards—that the reverse instead was true: rabbits only convinced themselves of virtues they were inclined and predisposed to embody.
In all his search, he had never met a large, strong rabbit who championed meekness.
This worried Nin endlessly, and threw his mind in doubt.