Notes on Achura


(Jev North) #21

Ah, but if you find a fallen tree in the forest… mm, but perhaps it was sculpted in place by a gifted woodworker. Philosophers tend to be easily confused by basic trickery like that.


(Aria Jenneth) #22

Uh. Unless I’m misunderstanding you, Veik, the core assumption of most Achur sects is that the universe definitely “exists” whether we sense it or not, and the question is whether we and our perceptions are real. (Though stuff about how things behave differently when observed is pretty intriguing…)

The Shuijing answer (not to be taken as representative of Achura generally) would be “no.” In other words, a tree falling in a forest when no one is around not only is an event that happens, it’s probably all the more “real” on balance because there’s no sapient mind around to swath it in veils of words like “tree,” “forest,” “falling,” and so on. (It doesn’t change a thing about its reality if there is; it just means that there’s someone on hand telling themselves little, functional lies about it.)

We’re not particularly stuck on the question; we just have a different answer from most people. Also we kind of tend to assume the universe doesn’t care a lot what kinds of conceptual games we play with it, and try to be aware that abstraction is a really good way to end up telling yourself some real whoppers. It’s useful, necessary, but … to be used carefully, maybe?

If you think of the Totality as the world without borders, things, or names, you’re maybe not far off though.

Obviously, it gets a little hard to describe…


(Aria Jenneth) #23

… Jev, I don’t think there’s an Achur seeker out there who thinks humans are important enough to mess with like that. Unless there’s like a forest demon out there molding artificial fallen trees for a laugh or something.

Actually, this kind of suggests what I should maybe talk about next.


(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #24

But you would only know it fell, given the statement, because I said it did.


(Aria Jenneth) #25

Oh, I see. This was a sophist tree.


(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #26

Maybe, maybe it only collapses its superposition of fallen/not fallen upon measurement by an observer.


(Aria Jenneth) #27

I’ll let you argue that with someone who accepts the basic premise of your question, Veik.

In general, you’re probably going to find it a little hard to get me to tie myself in abstract knots. A lot of philosophy from other cultures isn’t very okay with ambiguity and uncertainty, but, that’s not so much the case with us. After all, what we regard as “reality” literally can’t be put into words. At most, it can be hinted at with contradictions and riddles.

Hm. Maybe some of your knots might be good for something. Usually a Shuijing riddle has fewer moving parts, though, and it’s quite clear on close examination that it doesn’t have an answer in an ordinary way.

That’s the point of such a thing.


(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #28

I’m just saying the universe is built on fundamental uncertainties, and that there’s points you do have to say maybe because a null hypothesis has been reached and you can’t say anything on it with certainty or accuracy.

Case in point, I could say, “Beyond the limits of our current observable universe there are space dragons the size of galaxies.”

Since no actual observation or measurement can be made, it’s a null hypothesis – it can’t be proven, nor can it actually be disproven.

However, just because there’s present points where there does exist uncertainty or ambiguity, or simply, “I’m not really sure” in descriptions of reality in a properly axiomatic framework does not mean one should condone giving up further investigations until you do know. To do otherwise just feels like that’s giving up on the practical aspects of empirical inquiry.


(Aria Jenneth) #29

Sure, but, since we tend to do that anyway I’m not sure what your point is.

“Curiosity,” remember? We’re not exactly on bad terms with the sciences.


(Nauplius) #30

There is no Oneness; there is no Totality.

There is only Duality.

God versus Molok.
Amarr versus Minmatar.
Paradise versus Hell.
Sefrim versus Demons.
Truth versus Heresy.

There is no escape from Duality; it is a cycle of time that passes through a Blood Age, an Earth Age, a Dark Age, and a Golden Age and back again, Good and Evil grappling at each others’ throats…forever.

How great and terrible are the errors of the Achurans.


(Lasairiona Raske) #31

Isn’t your fiancee Achuran?


(Nauplius) #32

She has converted to the True Faith; she has cleansed the errors of her ancestors in the Blood of the Minmatar.

…something I offered to Aria, too, but she chose to remain in Error…


(Lasairiona Raske) #33

So what is she now? Not-Achuran?


(Aria Jenneth) #34

“Truth”

Another common thread in the Achur faiths generally is this: a sect’s purpose is to help people navigate this world. It’s kind of one of the reasons we don’t tend to bicker too hard-- if someone isn’t benefitting from the sect’s teachings, they might do better with someone with a different point of view. Likewise, religion to us is something to shed light, not to hide things, so, you won’t normally find even a seriously animistic/polytheist monk arguing with a geologist over the age of the planet.

In general, if a story disagrees with the world, it’s the story that needs to step back and rethink things a bit. After all, even our most widely-told stories about beings like the Creator are exactly that: stories.

If Caldari Prime is cold and hard, Achura’s habitable bits are a place of storms and earthquakes, where no shelter, no matter how comforting, is really safe from all that will come. Material wealth is transient, and Achura does seem to really like to break things. If Caldari Prime taught the Caldari to be thrifty and to work together, Achura taught us that knowledge and understanding is something you can carry with you that will let you and your loved ones survive, even if you lose everything you own-- that in the end it’s all you can depend on.

(This is a bit of wisdom preceding the Caldari style of building cities, which involves modern engineering and metallurgy. If we’d been able to build metropolises of metal spires the lessons we learned might have been quite different. Mind you, we still mostly don’t have those-- we’re the rural folk, so, big storms and earthquakes are still kind of a problem.)

The world is the world; denying a truth staring you in the face won’t do you any good. So, we’re kind of big on education and scientific stuff. All of our most respected roles in this world belong to people who explore it (collectively, “seekers”): monks, who seek inward to understand themselves and the world; inventors, who explore the margins of what is possible and are thought to pluck inspiration from the mind of the universe itself; stargazers, who seek the truth in ephemera (but mostly find it in psychology). Most Achur with the resources to become capsuleers come from one of those backgrounds.

You might notice that there’s a little entanglement of spiritual and scientific matters in all three cases. That’s actually pretty typical; truth is truth, to us. Rigorous scientific method is important for that type of exploration, but there’s no contradiction in having a shrine in the laboratory, assuming the occasional bit of incense isn’t going to mess with your work.

What is, is; what isn’t known, though, is kind of up in the air. Observant people might have occasionally noticed that even though I’m a little spiritually skeptical (I don’t think of souls as a separate, spiritual existence, for example, or expect to experience an afterlife), I’ll sometimes pray. Probably the spirits and gods are stories to help guide lay practitioners in pursuing their lives, but … I don’t really know that, do I? Similarly, a lot of the more animistic types (of the non-crazy variety) might concede that they’re not really sure whether the little rocks in their garden have feelings-- but does that mean it’s bad to be considerate about how you treat the world around you?

What isn’t literally true can still be important, and worth teaching for that reason. Most Achur spiritual beliefs and stories can do this kind of double-duty.


(Pieter Tuulinen) #35

That’s interesting. The Caldari way suggests that enough of us, together, contributing sufficient resources can form a whole that is strong enough to endure the worst blizzard, ice storm or long winter.

It seems that the lessons of Saisio are different.


(Aria Jenneth) #36

Pretty much, yeah. We still have that community-spirited thing going on, but, material wealth historically just kind of becomes another bunch of stuff to lose.

It’s a lot of why Achur tend to be better known as teachers and scientists than, say, industrialists.


(Halcyon Ember) #37

The difference seems, to an outsider, to be defiance vs acceptance. The Caldari fight the storm, the Achura accept the storm?


(Aria Jenneth) #38

Oh. Hm. That’s an interesting way of framing it. Let me think.

… I think there’s maybe something to that, though I’ll have to think about what.

In both cultures, nature is something vast, unconquerable-- and not actually malevolent. The Caldari “Winds” aren’t evil spirits or anything; they’re teachers. The Caldari just see the universe as a crucible where troubles are always on the way, and the worthy can survive by teamwork and preparation. The Achura also see the value of community, but, for us, believing you’re prepared typically means you’ve overlooked something. You “prepare” by learning to read the sky and land and sea. You learn where and how to build your house, and of what-- and when you need to get out and leave everything you own, or lose all of it plus your life.

It’s mostly just a different way of being prepared. Just on Achura, there’s historically been no possible way of preparing enough, so you have to accept that sooner or later all material value will be reduced to mud, splinters, or ash. Nowhere on Achura’s really safe, not from everything that’ll happen to it. The real, lasting value, is what you carry in your head and what you’ll teach your children.

That’s changed a little, now, of course. Even if a lot of villages still build and rebuild in the old ways, we tend to have kind of bunker-like community centers based on Caldari materials and construction for housing the stuff it’d really hurt to lose-- major computer systems, community records, the local power generator; that kind of stuff. And of course a few Achur do get wealthy enough to try building a modern, Caldari-style house.

Results vary a little. Caldari cities are normally strong enough to survive what Achura throws at them, but it’s still not smart to build on a ridge. Even if the wind doesn’t wind up tossing your house into the valley (that happens), it might find it a little easier to toss you, and wind on Achura’s not always so polite as to wait for a storm.

So, I guess, we do what we can while understanding that nothing truly lasts. But even immediately after the storm, you and your family can walk into the woods or down to the shore if it’s safe, and pretty reliably at least find something to eat.

If you know how to rebuild, and have neighbors who’ll help, it’s not so bad.

I suppose that’s acceptance, sort of. But then also the Caldari seem to greet trouble like an old friend, so maybe they just have their own way of accepting the world for how it is.


(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #39

There really wasn’t much of one besides half-hearted devil’s advocacy to generate viewership and discussion on the matter – I thought I’d might as well at the time since no one wanted to it seemed.

As far as discussion with Achurans go, it remains about the same old, same old for me. They, and you are welcome to your beliefs, but it’s never particularly interested me, just like with any other foreign notions.


(kul Shaishi) #40

You know were supposed to be allies right