Notes on Achura

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #41

That does not, nor will not change the fact that I do not concern myself with foreign belief systems. I do not care about any of them, whether it is Achuran mysticism, Jin-mei Adakul, Amarrian monotheism, or Matari spiritualism. I accept that others have their own beliefs and they are welcome to them. What others believe I just do not consider my problem, and by the same token, what I believe is not the problem of others raised outside the Caldari culture.

Do as you will do and I will do as I will as far as I’m concerned.

(Synthetic Cultist) #42

+1 Informative.

(Pieter Tuulinen) #43

Veik’s answer represents the standard view of the mainstream within State kultur. You should remember that, as much as I’m a willing convert to KK, my origins are in Suvee and ‘figuring out’ the Achura is a cultural priority for those of us who come from that Mega.

(Ithera) #44

Thank you, Jenneth-haani, for this informative essay. I agree with Tuulinen-haan; mutual understanding is the key to productive cooperation, and insider views such as this do help.

(Aria Jenneth) #45

Well … that’s true to a pretty large degree, Pieter. I should note, though, that the Way of the Winds does recognize Achura as practitioners of a common faith-- just under a different name and by different means.

We’re just a client people. There’s really no evading that. But, as such entities go, we’re closer kin than most. I sometimes analogize our position in the State to a cross between a poor cousin and a protected species. There’s some unhappiness in that, but, actually, and particularly considering SuVee’s reputation for Practicality and ruthlessness, I think we’ve been treated better than we could have expected.

Our peoples aren’t strangers to one another. We’re kin. The Wayists see it, even if Veik doesn’t.

(So, somewhat less upliftingly, does SuVee’s marketing department, which I think is one of Veik’s complaints on the subject: a client people’s art and culture being tapped to sell stuff to Caldari. She’d rather we were kept as thoroughly at arm’s length as any other client nation.)

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #46

My opinions on the Achur are informed by history, and in particular lines in history such as:

Over time, the influence of the CDS began to become increasingly noticeable. Several Caldari regimes were overthrown by uprisings and replaced with democratic governments, with many claiming the Gallente covertly supplied them with resources. The largest powers were slightly more resistant to change, with some absolute monarchies creating a parliament of some kind. These Caldari democracies differed from the Gallente ones, however. They were much more centralized, favoring a strong executive over a divided legislature. Nonetheless, the Caldari traditionalists found these changes outright sacrilegious, even an abomination, believing the new stability to the homeworld was not worth the price of cultural change.

The entire existence of the State today is due to the resentments created when one adopts a parochial and colonialist attitude seeking to impose one’s own cultural and political norms upon an indigenous population in the name of “civilization,” or, “progress”. That regime change is justified when it is used against a people and society viewed as inferior because it is different. The Caldari Megacorporations of today were formed and funded by those the Gallente sought to overthrow through subversion and revolt in the name of their ideology.

Now, I would describe myself in terms of political worldview as a fascist. I believe in the individual submission to the authority of lawful institutions. I believe in loyalty to a strong leader possessed of cunning and ruthlessness, with the will and ambition to power for the people they lead just like the Warlords of the Tikiona States. I believe in the legalist traditions of Oriyoni in which all are held equal under the Law and the meritocratic standards of the military and the bureaucracy in service to the Ruler. I believe that the fundamental purpose of a State is to make ready the conduct of War, and thus the highest calling of a citizen is to also make themselves ready for the conduct of violence against others.

To me, these beliefs are absolutes. They are not up for discussion or debate in their prosecution with prejudice. If I was drafted back into the Navy and I was given a mission order by Command, I’m going to seek to fulfill those objectives as given – not form an ad-hoc philosophy club debating questions like, “Is this a real order if Command isn’t real?”

The worldview of the Caldari and the Achur are different, because the history, culture, language, beliefs, and politics that inform those worldviews are different. However, to me it is preferable to accept those differences just as they are because being cognizant of history as a Caldari should also mean being cognizant of the perils of seeking to impose one’s own beliefs and value systems upon another society or people. I believe in respect and toleration of other societies and cultures which requires a recognition of their own unique differences to my own.

(Aria Jenneth) #47

The State (of Relations With the State)

So, a quick sketch of realities on the ground, here…

Achura got itself found during the run-up to the Caldari/Gallente war, the first one. We actually had an empire at the time, a huge planet-wide unified single civilization, which is pretty impressive if you consider we were still an iron age people. Even the habitable bits of an actually kind of chilly world (once you get away from water) seem really really big when your fastest means of transport is by boat and your fastest method of communication is messenger birds.

It gets a little less nostalgic when you look at some of the rarer artifacts from that time; the methods the old empire used to keep itself together got a bit brutal. The old empire never had a chance against the Caldari, though.

Not that it came down to a fight. The Caldari approached the old military aristocracy, offering what must have seemed like wonders from the celestial realm, and over a few decades they uplifted the cities they lived in and converted the residents, and the whole aristocracy, fully to Caldari culture. Most ethnic Achur are SuVee citizens, now. So, basically, they converted the people who were most likely to fight them not only to their side, but into Caldari.

Poof. No more empire. (Well-- if you count a few decades as “poof.”)

The monasteries had been kind of a secondary source of local leadership a little more sympathetic to the common folk than the nobility tended to be for a long time. With the nobility disappearing and strange space-people with stern sensibilities functionally running the cities while also considering our business (like maintaining public order in rural areas) none of theirs, the monasteries stepped in.

And here we are.

There’ve been a lot of changes during the last couple centuries, since the Caldari came. Cities on Achura are all now pretty much Caldari, of course, and keep to themselves a lot more than they used to, having traded aggressive projection of military authority for Caldari isolationism and self-concern. Having pretty deftly eliminated not only our military but the caste that even really had a military tradition, the Caldari don’t meddle with us much.

They do trade with us, though. Kind of a lot.

In general, rural areas are really, really good and important for food, and, while hydroponics is a lovely thing, sometimes you just want to trade a holo-projector for a cartload of cabbages, or a generator and community mainframe as part of an agreement to keep you in cabbages for fifty years. So, gradually, we’ve kind of come out of the iron age to join this modern world.

We’re still an economic backwater, don’t get me wrong; holo projector systems and mechanized transports aren’t rare, but neither are dirt roads, hand looms, or books or scrolls. Most fishing boats have actual engines, now, but not everybody’s got a local factory for processing the catch.

(We’d probably make a lot on tourism if the Caldari were big on being tourists. But, they’re mostly not.)

So, that’s sort of the state of things. We trade stuff to the Caldari; the Caldari trade stuff to us.

Formally, we’re a “client people,” which means we do have legal status in the State-- not as citizens, but people it’s still not officially “okay” to cheat, rob, murder, etc. (Compare to the Caldari nonentity non-caste; the main thing Caldari can’t do to such people is enslave them. Otherwise, they’re without legal rights. That’s typically the status of indigenous peoples who haven’t accepted Caldari protection.)

SuVee being SuVee, if the Caldari really really want something (valuable mineral deposit, typically), we mostly just have to get out of the way while trying to extract some kind of favor out of them in exchange. Otherwise they pretty much leave us be.

Oh-- one important thing: the Caldari do kind of keep us in touch with the rest of the cluster, and individual Achur do travel a little. Getting direct, personal access to Caldari resources, like admission to the State War Academy for capsuleer training or getting to play with a SuVee graviton reactor, requires converting to Caldari culture, though. That’s not a trivial step. It’s, not coincidentally, a little like immigrating to a new country entirely, and getting citizenship-- if that country’s immigration policies are broadly run by people whose views aren’t that different from Veik’s remarks, above.

They can’t really stop capsuleers switching back. Everybody else, though…

(kul Shaishi) #48

Well in Qí we have A far weirder System for example SuVee calls are province the Qí special administration regional due to our Treaty’s with them I will give you another example of both the countryside in the cities are all under the control of the provincial government which is rule under the Grand counselor

(Pieter Tuulinen) #49

Given the problems that can be caused by rapid uplifting and cultural bombardment, I’m not sure that slowly, slowly isn’t the better solution though, Aria.

I’m not going to lie and say that the reason for that isn’t because going into the countryside and conquering it has a very dubious Return On Investment, as well as the difficulties of fighting a Guerrilla War from the wrong end, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Rural Achur are being left to find their way at their own pace.

The current solution allows the Achur to move into the future on their own terms (swiftly, as Caldari or slowly, as Achur) and it also means that the agreement doesn’t depend solely on guilt or obligation - motivations that tend to get abandoned in the face of expediency.

(Aria Jenneth) #50

Well, maybe, Pieter. I always thought feelings like Veik’s, on the hypocrisy of doing to other cultures what the Gallente had previously done to you, also had a little to do with it. Particularly considering that our cultures really do really recognize each other as kin, of a kind, so it really would have been like smashing your own reflection.

That’s not to say that pragmatism doesn’t have a role, but, after all that was done to you, and all that you justify doing on that basis, it does seem like it wouldn’t sit well to just turn around and do that same stuff, and things even more intrusive, to others. “Morality,” or “conscience,” by itself, might not have much role to play in international relations, but cultural quirks and hangups certainly do.

I’m not sure military considerations played much of a role. Once the old aristocracy was gone there wasn’t much of anyone left who was going to be very eager for a war anyway. Great War-era rifles and armor versus, what, bows and makeshift spears? Monks train for training’s sake, not for war; we weren’t even a significant threat to the old aristocrats and their long swords. Peasants mostly didn’t train at all. We’d have been crushed.

But why bother? You had what you needed: secure foothold, labor, and everything you needed to get modern industry going. And it’s not like you’ve made a habit of just rolling over other peoples-- even the ones who didn’t accept client status-- if they weren’t in your way.

(Pieter Tuulinen) #51

I wouldn’t want to completely discount the difficulty of putting down an armed insurgency consisting of people fighting with improvised explosives and primitive weapons. I don’t think it’s ever as bloodless as you think to fight people on their own home turf - and I really don’t think the Caldari could have crushed the Achur and stayed Caldari.

And staying Caldari is, after all, one of the things we’re really keen on.

But yes, there are lots of reasons not to do it. I, personally, wouldn’t sleep easy after extinguishing a weaker power for no better reason than strategic asset relocation - but it goes against the grain to impose my morality on other citizens.

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #52

It’s that and also the old saying about: Never trust anyone who professes noble intentions because it’s always the cloak to hide the dagger.

It’s why I don’t trust the Gallente. It’s why I don’t trust the Amarr. It’s why I don’t trust Caldari liberals in Ishukone.

To me, it’s far more respectful to deal with others solely on a quid pro quo basis – not some kind of disingenuous ploy where [insert ideology/religion/politics of choice] is used as the noble cover over a disadvantageous relationship of a more powerful over a less powerful because, “It’s for their own good,” Or, “We’re bringing civilization to the savages!”

That kind of thinking is best left to societies like the Gallente or the Amarr who actually believe their own crap when it comes to colonialist and imperialist enterprises of what’s good for you is really only good for me.

As far as I can see, State and corporate relations with the Achur follow quid pro quo thinking: The Achur get something out of deals with State corporations and the State corporations get something out of the Achur. To me that is a fair and equitable relationship to have with another society because in the end what is mine is mine, and what is yours is yours.

Yet you and others seem to think me harsh because I don’t condone, in the treatment of the Achur or other cultures that are qualitatively or quantitatively unable to resist Caldari or State imposition upon them, the colonial and imperialist exercises of “uplifting” them to forcibly accept foreign normative values, “For their own good.”

(Aria Jenneth) #53

You have this little way of not mentioning what you think should have been done instead, Veik. Somehow I’m not thinking it’s really, “Leave inhabited planets and their resources untouched.” I’m sure someone believes that.

You? … Ms. “Spalling Ammo?” Ms. “I Target Crew Compartments and Escape Pods?” Ms. “Edgy Reputation Maintain?”

Pretty sure you’d have had less problem with killing us than converting us.

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #54

If there was ever a hypothetical requirement to conduct a cultural genocide, then yes, I would say mass killing is the polite and respectful thing to do as opposed to the humiliation of forcible conversion. However, that is a solution to a problem that has not yet presented itself as regards the Achur.

Sure, I might kill on the small scale from time to time as a capsuleer because I’ll be the first to admit that fighting and killing the other guys is fun. Genocide however? That would require far more rational and practical reasons to do so, given the amount of management, infrastructure, logistics, and investment required to successfully enact a pogrom if such is demanded. Which is why it should only be entered into with a fair degree of equanimity – and not for fun.

I am not aware of what the Achur have done to justify such a high initial sunk cost without potential for future ROI.

(Aria Jenneth) #55

Oh, Veik.

It’s not that hard. One people. One pre-industrial civilization. One planet.

Killing people at the bottom of a gravity well, when you’re at the top?

You take thousands and thousands of iron rods up above settlements. It’s not hard. You’re up there anyway.

You let them fall, a final storm of burning rain.

We’d be gone. … or close enough that it wouldn’t matter.

Your ancestors showed a quality you lack:


(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #56

Come now Aria. You should watch one of those old Alien Invasion period genre films.

You know the ones where an advanced space-faring species decides to go invade the planet (usually either Gallentia or Home) and a band of plucky heroes have to go save the day.

The suspension of disbelief in such movies is always premised around not answering the question of: Hey, if this species is technologically advanced enough to go build giant spaceships with the engineering and power generation know-how to support trillions, why the damn are they wasting all that manpower and resources invading an inhabited planet when there’s already countless millions of such planets already?

With the Achur, why expend the resources – even if they’re minimal – in a pogrom of extermination, when there’s more potential benefit down the road in treating them as allies?

I might not have mercy, but I do have restraint when I feel it is required. Just because I know I’m able to prosecute the kind of actions that might lead to the deaths of millions does not mean I advocate for the deaths of millions out of hand – only if it is necessary.

(Jev North) #57

Same reason the rest of us do; growing crops and breeding people is a lot easier when you have native gravity, air, water, and soil, and Kaalakiota already owns all of the other easily-exploitable temperate planets within reach.

Mercy and fiscal responsibility; rodding an entire inhabited planet has bad consequences for the biosphere, for decades to centuries, and the biosphere is usually the reason you’re there to begin with.

If there’s natives that aren’t too organized or widespread, it’s far more efficient to just troop in, then displace or enslave th integrate them into the workforce.

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #58

Given the amount of already terraformed worlds, there isn’t exactly some kind of overpopulation crisis that would mandate having to go boots in to take new living space. Arcological megacities tend to be rather efficient in achieving high urban densities in both vertical directions which doesn’t require much actual land house to provide sufficient population housing.

Sure, there’s crops, but I think that’s a pretty niche market aimed at hipsters with too much disposable income who would actually buy ridiculously overpriced “organic” food when there’s cheaper synthetic alternatives that give the exact same nutritional content.


Well, I guess Achuran farm to table enterprises might be a profitable enough concept now that I think about it.

Off-Topic Thread
(Aria Jenneth) #59

Also it changes the equation a bit when the people you’re buying from are, in your terms, dirt poor, especially if you can arrange things so their standard of living doesn’t improve so much that they start expecting to live like you do. An industrial society living next to an agrarian one tends to get the better of the deal for quite a while, all the more so if you can keep the agrarian one from industrializing too fast by, for example, forbidding your corporations to move operations into their territory.

Nope. SuVee’s got a pretty good thing going, actually, Veik. They get our produce, art, and handmade goods, as well as benefiting from anything our Inventors manage to cook up, all on the cheap, and we get to keep most of the planet unless they really really want it.

You might not approve, but, it’s the way things are. Our approval wasn’t asked.

(Pieter Tuulinen) #60

It’s also a PR nightmare. The Gallente bombarding Home didn’t put the survival of the Caldari people in serious jeopardy, but it’s a stick for us to hit them with. It didn’t cost enormous numbers of lives, it cost column inches, blog posts, report articles. The fact that the Gallente actually went and bombarded Home, whilst the Caldari have tried to avoid civilian casualties, seriously undermines their public attempt to defame us as cold and remorseless monsters.

It’s still wrecking their PR war to this day.

If the Caldari had glassed Saisio III to bring the Achur to heel then that’s the story that would be told about us forever. We would never again have been able to add that weight into the balance of contention against us and the Gallente. The truth is that once you get a reputation for orbitally bombarding people, you don’t get to have a reputation for much of anything else.

Ask the Amarr. If Slavery wasn’t enough of an ethical deficit in their struggle against the Minmatar, they’re also still expiating the shame of glassing that world in reprisal for the death of a single Holder.