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a congress of convoluted conworldery
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 12:25 pm
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Religions of future earth

The strongest human-majority countries in post-apocalyptic earth are two nations, Kandit in southern Spain and Kapal in southwestern France, both of which use dialects of Val, "city (language)", a distant Yoruba/Yoruboid descendant with a heavy Romance substrate as their official languages. The origin of these countries involves Nigerian allies helping depopulated Europe fend off Arab invaders, followed by the defending armies settling in cities as a permanent garrison. Romance admixtures increase in frequency with distance from the great cities.

Kandit and Kapal have a complex religious tradition that can be divided into three segments: oracle, mystery and enlightenment.

The oracles form the oldest layer. You go to temples and get your fortune told for a fee. Classical mythology is also associated with the oracles. It recognizes two supreme forces of nature: Ar is the world conceived of as a complex machine. Esh is the world conceived of as a productive force like the earth. The immortal high priest of Ar is Wadin (Etym: Ogun). The immortal high priestess of Esh is Sholfye. The major festival is celebrated on All Hallows' Eve, when spirits return from the underworld to witness Wadin and Sholfye renew their marriage vows for another year. The festival is staged like an elaborate marriage ceremony celebrated across the country. Temporary renewable marriages have religious sanction in Southwest Europe, but not renewing them is seen as a personal failure.

During the medieval period, people started trying to reinterpret the oracular tradition. At first, a number of mystery cults sprang up. Their doctrines were secret, but their detractors said they participated in obscene rituals that depicted the marriage of Wadin and Sholfye in an abominable light. (Trigger warning till the end of the paragraph.) For example, the influential Vafer Mahim cult is said to have enacted the following ritual without actually doing any of the acts described: 1. Catastrophe. Wadin rapes and impregnates Sholfye. 2. Trial. Sholfye struggles with chilbirth as Wadin struggles to craft the perfect dagger. 3. Sacrifice. Wadin sacrifices the monstrous child born of his union with Sholfye using his hand-crafted dagger in an elaborate ceremony. 4. Apotheosis. With the conclusion of the sacrifice, the congregation expresses catharsis and the internalization of divinity through ritual gestures.

When confronted, the reaction from Vafer Mahim was that the gruesomeness of the ritual had been exaggerated. Plus, they did not advocate taking it literally. The gruesomeness of their rituals was only an exaggerated metaphor for how ordinary people experience the cruelty of everyday life. The ritual was a safe place where they could vent their frustration and return to their daily routine.

As the mystery cults waned in popularity, they came to be replaced by Talash, the enlightenment. Although the Talash went hand in hand with scientific advances, its major theorists in early modernity were psychologists who grappled with the unsatisfactory nature of the Kanditian religious tradition. The view that prevailed in early modernity proposed the following means to lead a satisfactory life: Avoid religion. See the world as truly indifferent. Learn to feel excitement at encountering all kinds of true indifference. Suppress this inner excitement and put on an inert "rational" veneer. People who succeeded at this were perceived as well-bred.

After early modernity, the "Inertia School" was discarded in favor of the Granulated Implication School. This doctrine saw the world as mathematical in a way vaguely similar to Alain Badiou's ontology, but their ontology said that being has the following nature: (Trigger warning: Confusing till the end of the paragraph.) It follows the location arithmetic of the Caspians where each distinction is a power of 2. Distinctions are applied to each other in combinations determined by their locational order. For each combination, its Cut, Problem and Solution is computed. Cut consists of paring away unrelated distinctions. Problem consists of stating the pure difficulty posed by the combinational application. Solution consists of resolving that difficulty. This resolution consists of two parts: Question and Answer, which are confusingly named because both are parts of the "answer" in the non-technical sense. ...and that is the nature of being. The profit of this method is that it allows one to rule out incorrect meta levels of reasoning while arranging the process of problem solving into an ordered series of actions that can be taken one at a time.

People who aren't Kanditians or Kapalians find the details of this idea very hard to understand, since its roots are buried deep in the Southwest European intellectual tradition, but some have mastered it by studying in the academies that teach it.

A third rival to Kandit and Kapal is the country of Mei in Southern China, a strong trading nation. During the apocalypse, the American state apparatus was disrupted. That is when a small number of reactionaries managed to establish their white ethnostate in the Northwestern Front, which gained a lot of territory but eventually turned into a rural backwater like Islamist countries. China's major population centers having been decimated, very large numbers of Americans had fled to China as refugees. Mei is populated by half-American Chinese who speak a distant descendant of the Suzhou dialect with a strong Californian English substratum, but have only recently switched to Mei as their official language from Standard Mandarin and Standard English. For the first time in human history that I know of, every major human language is tonal.

The dominant religion in Mei is Mahayana Buddhism, but more often a Californian reinterpretation rather than the traditional Chinese reality. There are large numbers of atheists, Baptists and Presbyterians. The state claims to be secular and democratic, but it is a distinctly Confucian democracy with an unmistakably Singaporean flavor.

The strongest Martian-dominated country is Bileshti on Antarctica, the world leader in scholarship, which speaks a distant descendant of Ossian with strong Caspian influences, the only major non-tonal language on earth. Martians are incapable of distinguishing tone and humans are incapable of emitting radiation without additional hardware.

Bileshti is a kritarchy, a country ruled by judges. The two most important concepts in society are gras (thirst or complaint) and mard (sip or amenity). The government is called Marderak, well of sips. To become a judge, one masters a scholarly canon called Grasev, thirst-bearing tree or tree of complaints. A gras is literally a complaint, but a theory is also a gras. The two questions, "When is a student mature enough to contribute their own theories?" and, "When is a citizens responsible enough to issue complaints about how they are treated?" are subsumed under the single concept of gras.

The Grasev is divided into three sections: 1. 210 lorebooks concerning mostly mathematics, science, classical history and legal history. 2. peer-reviewed research manuscripts, 3. miscellaneous apocrypha.

People join academies as neophytes and master the 210 lorebooks by heart one by one. They take an exam to certify that they have mastered each lorebook. With each test they pass, they are allowed to issue an additional number of gras equal to the total number of lorebooks they have mastered so far. Once they have taken all 210 exams, they are promoted to a Graskun scholar who undertakes individual research. Graskun means master whiner (or philosopher, if you prefer), someone who is allowed to issue an unlimited number of complaints. Each complaint issued that makes it past peer review and ends up in the Grasev entitles them to one mard or amenity from the state. That is, the state is obligated to address one complaint they have issued. The state is not obligated to do this for non-scholars.

If someone wants a grievance redressed systematically at a social scale at a reasonable clip, they are obligated to become a Graskun or petition one. If that is taken care of, one releases the complaint as a well-researched thesis that will pass peer review. Once the gras is canonical, the mard one is entitled to is used to get the relevant council of judges to address the complaint. This process is not required in order to, say, lodge a complaint with the police. However, it is required to, say, make lasting changes to the laws of the land.

The problem is that it's impossible for just anyone to become a Graskun because about a third of the 210 lorebooks are fuz, lost to the public. The books aren't missing. They are housed in private collections that are closed to ther public. Public libraries contain synopses, fragments of important sections or some volumes of the lorebook, but exams require candidates to have intimate knowledge of the complete and unabridged text.

Social revolutionaries called the Accessists are always raiding private collections and releasing manuscripts to the masses, but even as they release some books, other books mysteriously vanish from public collections. It is not easy to keep track of all the books at the same time because each lorebook spans multiple volumes like an encyclopedia, and technology is stuck at a premodern level. Because of the primitive technology, not all of the manuscripts one finds are accurate, so one is obliged to compare and contrast multiple manuscripts to master a given lorebook.

Becoming a Graskun may seem like a superhuman task, but 1. Many private collections allow access for money, which people are willing to spend to be able to lodge a complaint against the legal system as a whole. 2. A Graskun scholar is not a judge yet. To become a judge, a scholar volunteers as an adept who is assigned public duties by the government, including teaching the neophytes, for low pay. One needs to do this job well enough for a judge to accept the adept as a graduate undertaking studies in a specialized subject. If the resulting work passes peer review, then the graduate finally becomes a judge.

Only judges are regarded as full citizens of Bileshti. They sit in councils that debate and vote on how the country should be run. This system is so clunky and inefficient that no one has time for the supernatural in Bileshti. Not unless you count imagining the eternal torments faced by Karvreg, the woman responsible for originally editing the 210 lorebooks and establishing the system of government based on gras and mard.

If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way. - Mark Twain

In reality, our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness, which indeed is a divine gift. - Socrates

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