While certainly not the most momentous news of late (the situations in Rens and Lirsautton are far more worth noting, and acting on!),this one struck me as it’s an excellent demonstration of the intersection of legalism and social standing in the State.
To discuss, and acknowledging that there are many cultural differences between the various Megacorporations which will mean my perspective will not necessarily represent the views and understandings of those from Hyasyoda, Wiyrkomi, or really any other of the Megacorporations, I thought we’d delve a little bit into this.
The first thing an outsider should know is that reputation is important, vitally so. Reputation will determine who you socialize with, who recommends you, who contracts with you. Often, this is why formality is viewed as so essential in the State: a formal, respectable treatment of others is viewed essential both in showing due respect to others, and in being respectable, yourself! At the same time, reputation isn’t a matter of law. It’s social: the respect and admiration of your peers, the unspoken network of debt and obligation that forms the basis for effective communal action, the view that favors you ask will be repaid, and favors you grant warrant return. It is built over the span of years, and is not easily changed, unless you yourself doom your own reputation by hidden deed.
At the same time, not all life can be rigidly formalized. We are, after all, humans and not machines. Comradery is founded on shared work and shared pleasure both. Even in this, however, there are lines not to be crossed. Of course, what is right and respectable is a matter of place. Watching a Mind Clash bout at a bar, or communal baths, or any such thing may be right place, depending on local custom, on the traditions and habits of your peers, of how strenuously you work, not just the appropriately driven actions of the workplace.
Now, there is the matter of slight, of insult, of smearing others. Often, this is a matter dealt with by in-group pressure. If one crosses a line, if one behaves too disrespectfully, that is a mark against and will be felt; but likewise is the response of the person slighted an indicator of their character. Defensiveness, brittleness in personality does not demonstrate right thought. Unfortunately, I can’t explore and explain this too deeply. It’s a soft system! So much feeds into reputation and standing that any rule would have exceptions to the point of uselessness. Prescriptiveness belies our human nature.
Of course, none of this rises to court action. Reputation is, after all, an informal thing, and the courts are for matters of contract and arbitration.
This is where we pass from reputation to actual damage, to the realm that is more universally considered the realm of slanderous or libelous acts, and to the challenge put forward by Wiyrkomi against NOH. The damage to reputation is so difficult to quantify! And how could pithy words to damage to a thing the Seituoda build for themselves in a labor over decades and centuries? For if words leave a mark, it is because a mark is easily left: unless Wiyrkomi can prove material damage, or a deeply orchestrated campaign that actively undermines a reputation justly earned. Fortunately for Wiyrkomi, the standard for guilt is lower than in a criminal case.
More likely is that Wiyrkomi’s complaint will, if it is well-supported by investigation and discovery, be borne out by seeming efforts by NOH to distribute the material to Wiyrkomi citizens, as that speaks more directly to seditious intent, which crosses into a new sort of action entirely. There one could more readily argue intent to cause material damage.
Still, this will be a fascinating test of the limits of the State’s contractual framework, and the intersection between social standing and material wealth. I look forward to seeing how this plays out, and how the tribunal rules on these matters.
(and, in the meantime, I might nudge the esteemed Tuulinen-haan or Adams-haan to give their read on things, given our different experiences!)