And now for something completely different


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #1

(Here is a little myth because I was drunk (re-)telling it and apparently I was funny or something, but in any case was trapped by evil people with evil betting schemes into putting it in public. Enjoy. I’ve cleaned the words up a bit from the recording but essentially it’s there.)

In the beginning, all humans lived on the other side of the EVE Gate. And we lived with God, and with all human spirits, and some say there was perfect harmony. (But knowing humans, probably not.)

Humans are by nature inquisitive and brave. So when the EVE gate opened, we ventured forth. We explored, and we conquered, and we brought our God and our spirits to this cluster that had never seen them.

When a cataclysm closed the gate, we were cut off. Humans were cut off from their ancestors, their spirits, and God - God was cut off from Herself.

This cluster is not made for humans. It is an alien place, with alien planets, and alien spirits. Many people died when the Gate closed. Many suffered greatly. And God-in-Exile - He went insane with pain, with grief, with fear, with the infinite and compassionate need to protect His people.

Some humans found refuge in this cluster. Some learned to live with local spirits. Some found new gods. And some God-in-Exile kept safe. Generations passed, and we had ancestors again. God-in-Exile never recovered, but He grew, and His people grew in number and in strength.

There are many gods in this world, but God-in-Exile - the one we know as the Amarrian God, the Evil God, the Nameless God - is the most powerful of them all. He has the power to judge over people and to tell sin from virtue. What He desires is to all in this world to be His subjects, for only then can He be sure humanity is safe.

That is the story of God in this world, and it is true. The Amarrian religion is not wrong in this. The Reclaimers are not completely wrong. The Blood Raiders, even, are not completely wrong in their searching for God’s power in the power and blood of men.

But it is not the whole story, for there is still God-beyond-the-Gate. There are our ancestral lands beyond this world, where we of the Tribes can escape God’s judgment to, if we live our lives true to our kin and our Fate. There are many stories now, many gods and spirits, many ways to live. And they are all true.

The Sisters believe that if we can re-open the Gate, and find again God-beyond, we can bring forth a new era of peace. Who knows? Maybe we can. Maybe there was that original pure harmony after all. (Knowing humans, probably not.)

What we certainly can do, is to open the Gate in our hearts, and see that all stories are incomplete. Protection is incomplete without freedom. Freedom is incomplete without honor. Honor is incomplete without power to uphold it. And power is incomplete without compassion and the wish to protect the weak it creates.

Here endeth the sermon.


(Diana Kim) #2

Not going to speak about pink unicorns and cactii playing guitars on the other side of the gate, but…

Now, that is simply impossible. Correctly it should sounds something like “Protection is incompatible with freedom”.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #3

The “four incompletes” are all paradoxes, Diana.

When you give people their freedom, you give up being able to completely protect them. When you submit to personal honor, you give away some freedom to act as you wish. To aspire for power is not completely honorable. And compassion means you will have to refrain from using your power, and accept the weak.


(Jocca Quinn) #4

What were you drinking? … and where can I get some ?


(Diana Kim) #5

The thing is: power, protection, honor, compassion - these are all merits.
But freedom? It’s pure evil. It has no place among merits.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #6

:smile: Just some Thukker whiskey. I have a good supply in Thebeka but you probably have your own sources.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #7

It’s actually compassion, freedom, power and honor, in this myth. Protecting people is an action following from compassion, not a virtue in itself.


(Diana Kim) #8

Okay, not going to argue a place of protection, and will just agree with that. My point was that freedom is not a virtue.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #9

In this story, it is. Or, maybe, not so much a virtue, but a desirable [auto-translator note: an object of desire, a component of full life].

EDIT: ■■■■ off, translator. It means, it is something without which a person or this particular person cannot be considered ‘complete’ in a metaphysical sense. Same root as ‘fulfill’ in ‘let me find my Fate and fulfill it’. Not necessarily a virtue, as in something that makes a person good, but something without which one’s personality is not whole.


(Arrendis) #10

And yet again, Diana, ‘freedom’ in the context in which Elsebeth is using it is not chaos. It is agency. Self-determination. The ability to choose one’s own course in life, just as the Caldari Megas insisted upon when the Federation attempted to seize their colonies before the establishment of the State.

And you know that, but you insist on continuing to cling to the un-nuanced meaning for the word in your own language, despite being told many times what other people mean when they use their word for it.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #11

We also say, back home, “loyalty not freely given, is worth nothing”. What makes loyalty a personal virtue is the choice to stick to it, often facing hardship. Loyalty without the possibility to choose otherwise is just slavery.

That is the core of the Matari concept of ‘freedom’.


(Diana Kim) #12

Well, while I consider it to be unhealthy desirable, I believe it is definitely not a component of a full life.

In fact, I’d like to make an accent more on the second part of the reply - the freedom cannot make anyone ‘complete’ in a metaphysical sense, since it is the force that makes one incomplete. It breaks you apart, it shatters societies and personalities. What is a freedom exactly, from impassionate point of view? It’s just a separation of bonds. And, I hope, you will agree with me, that humans were created to live in a society. To be complete, to be fulfilled, a human must take a place in a society, to do his part. To love, to live, even to procreate - you need a second part. If you take a completely healthy, fulfilled, happy person and apply freedom on him, you will shatter his life. You will make him wounded, lone, hateful creature who will seek to inflict freedom to others, because he was deprived of what he has earned.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #13

As Arrendis says, you are using the word differently from what I use it. A person who is happy or fulfilled in their current life and has [auto-translator: freedom, agency, free will], will choose to continue in that life. It is different from [auto-translator: freedom, loss of control, unrestraint, desertion], which I assume your original is closer to.

There is no point in continuing this discussion when we do not talk about the same thing.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #14

This translation ■■■■ is, incidentally, one reason why this would not be public were it not for the whiskey.


(Synthetic Cultist) #15

Interesting.


(Teinyhr) #16

As I recall, in Napanii(?) chaos and freedom is the same word, “vaajpa”(I think) which she “hilariously” cannot differentiate from context, ever. This is like the billionth time she has done this and for the longest time I believe her “misundestanding” is deliberate, and has been for years.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #17

I understand the concept of freedom/chaos because I too have a word for freedom as in something drifting free, without constraint or control. (As in, a boat in a storm.)

But if someone does not recognize the difference of that to freedom-as-choice, then indeed they are either deliberately trolling or hopelessly stupid, and in both cases there is no point in continuing the discussion.

It should not be too hard to adjust your translator software to remind you there is a mixed-up concept here, pay attention, if it cannot deal with the context.


(Aria Jenneth) #18

Hm. So-- it’s an engaging story. It won’t surprise you if I have some concerns, though.

Completely leaving aside the nostalgia for a beautiful, mythic past that most likely never was and the view of this world as “broken” in a way that leaves God partial-- implicitly denying both the possibilities of accepting and of improving this world …

Power put forth as a virtue, even as one part of a set in which each is incomplete without others, just makes my skin crawl.

Power’s a tool set. Whatever you can do: that’s your power. Its “virtue” is self-evident: the more you can do, the more you can do. But the things people do to collect and maintain that “virtue” and the effects it seems to have on those who possess it are …

Power seems to distort those who possess it: to not only grant the ability to trample others, but the license (in the minds of those who have it) to do so. It’s been the coin of tyrannical figures throughout history. It’s the real coin of the capsuleer. And frankly we’re not exactly what most people think of as a virtuous lot-- more like ancient aristocrats marching the commoners to their deaths by the thousands and tens of thousands because that’s how the common folk are most useful at the moment.

I think … there’s no vice in being small, and humble, and even weak. I think one can have great honor but little strength, and be a deeply virtuous and balanced person. And it’s dangerous in the extreme, to tell ourselves that the powerful are strong in even one virtue, only by reason of being powerful.

The ability to inflict our will on this world might let us do what we want. But there’s nothing especially virtuous about being better-able to batter the world into a shape you happen to like a little better.

Strength needs no elevation. Strength elevates itself, by its nature. To count it a virtue, even balanced by others, encourages contempt for those who lack it … to the great delight of the strong. And the misery of their victims.


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #19

Is strength the same as power?

What use is honor, if you do not have the means to integrity to uphold it?


(Elsebeth Rhiannon) #20

Also, I told a myth while drunk and my rendering of it was found amusing by some. This is not a good basis to start a moral discussion assuming that I personally can or will defend all implications of said myth. I admit the four [EDIT: damnit translator] qualities and the story of God-in-Exile appeal to me but my relationship to them is far from religious.