Notes on Achura

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #61

The Achur, on the whole, are simply treated in a similar manner to the scientific and intellectual castes within Caldari society. They live within their own walled garden to do as they will. You seem like you’re just looking for anything to grind your axe upon.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have an attempt at minimizing social and cultural impact, and then complain about the lack of industrialization.

Then you complain, when Achur are afforded opportunities off-world that they’re expected to adhere to Caldari social norms. Well, surprise, every citizen of the State is expected to adhere to Caldari social norms.

For example, I’m Deteis, and I was raised in he culture and history of the Deteis. As such, I’m expected to be Deteis. I don’t complain when people seem to stereotype me as being ruthless, cunning, and a cold pragmatist prone to being possessed of a silver-tongue able to manipulate and inveigle with sophistry and demagoguery in the pursuit of a vision of the greater good which is framed solely in the context of a cynical realpolitik. Or that because I’m a Deteis woman specifically, I’m liable to bend the rules to the point of breaking to do what I feel needs to be done in service to the power and authority of the State.

It’s not like all Deteis are perfectibilists sitting around a dimly lit table within a secret volcano lair plotting how best to advance corporate interests while sharpening our knives to stab our enemies in the back with.

But that’s just the way things go.

(Aria Jenneth) #62

It looks like you don’t get me any better than Arrendis does. Ah, well.

If you want to talk to some Achur who actually do care a lot about this stuff from a normative rather than a descriptive standpoint, I know at least three (though come to think of it I don’t think I’d be doing them any favors introducing you, so, I think actually I won’t). I can’t really claim total neutrality, of course, but for me it’s more a matter of little kindnesses and cruelties intermingled with power dynamics and complicated realities than any substantial thoughts about autonomy or separatism. If you’re watching this space to get a read on my politics, you’ll probably get some mixed signals.

In other words, I don’t care so much about what should be, as what is.

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #63

I’m watching this space for idle banter between bites of bacon pancake.

(Zetakya) #64

To return to the actual subject:

The issue I have with Shujing thought is that it treats the universe - Totality, as Shujing would have it - as something that is already determined, and all the Achur have to do is look at it properly to find Truth.

That’s… Well, I’ll politely say that it’s just not the case.

The universe doesn’t have a defined Truth. The universe is a system for working out what the truth is. The fundamental constant of the universe isn’t Truth, but Conflict.

Every moment, conflicting beliefs, opinions and actions are tested against each other, and one or both are found wanting in various ways. Each Conflict is a question, each resolution an answer which then poses more questions.

As the universe makes such resolutions, entire possibilities that could have happened if the resolution went a different way do not come to pass, and ones which do happen are predicated on the resolution which did occur.

In this way approaches to existence are winnowed, each against another, defining what the universe is and what it is not.

The tree that falls in the forest was not merely a tree; it was a contest between tree and storm that the tree lost.

Zetakya, Sangharsh Achur

(kul Shaishi) #65

I have a question for you do you know which province your from

(Nauplius) #66

Achurans. We must save them from their errors. Amen. Amarr Victor.

(Halcyon Ember) #67

One of those errors being listening to anything you say?

(Aria Jenneth) #68

Ah! … thank you for your remarks, Ms. Zetakya.

I think I mentioned a ways back that Achura, as a faith, is recognized as kin by the Way of the Winds. The Sangharsh, or “Struggle,” sect, might have a little bit to do with that, having in common this idea of the universe as a sort of crucible for burning weaknesses away. Survival, standing the test of time and everything the universe can throw, becomes a sort of sacred process. Everyone and everything falters eventually, of course, but having others able to carry on-- children, or spiritual successors, and more broadly a community pulling together against the tests of history-- is taken as actually a core goal. The grove of its children that the tree in Ms. Zetakya’s example leaves behind is its way of triumphing over that final storm.

Am I representing this correctly, Ms. Zetakya?

As you might gather from Ms. Zetakya’s remarks, to a pretty large extent the different sects are attractive to different personalities. Shuijing, in the end, sees the world as something harmonious-- a seamless whole, in which apparent conflicts are merely the interactions of different influences within the Totality. Not everyone is going to find that a compelling or even a comforting thought. To some, it is important that the struggles in their lives be important struggles, and real.

Hence, Sangharsh. (And the bajillion other twigs off that particular branch of Achur practice.)

(… to be clear, we’re also just one twig off a much larger branch. They’re not called the “thousand sects” for nothing, and actually a “thousand” is probably a low estimate.)

A single person doesn’t necessarily spend all their lives in just one sect, of course. The same person might find more inspiration and truth in Sangharsh at one time, in Shuijing at another, and even wander through a dozen or more over the course of a life. It’s just as common to stay stubbornly in just one, though.

(Pieter Tuulinen) #69

It’s impossible to separate power dynamics from relationships - all you can do is try to prevent the worst abuses that are possible. Even the act of doing that, though, is an expression of the culture of the powerful and is enforced upon the culture of the weaker.

For example, the nobility of Achur might well have believed that Might is Right. Upon contact they were uplifted, eventually, have pretty much been completely subsumed by the Caldari mainstream - not because the Caldari set out to destroy them, but because the Warrior caste embraced the stronger culture.

The relations of peoples are also the relations of people. That means cruel people and kind people, strong people and weak people, idealistic people and venal people. There will be both kindnesses and cruelties.

(Aria Jenneth) #70

Symbolism and Significance

Like the Caldari Way of the Winds, Achur sects tend to be pretty respectful of natural forces. Our shrines tend to honor or placate (if you’re of a more spiritualist bent) the spirits or (if of less) natural forces. They also serve, in a way, as reminders to watch the sky and sea-- and as memorials to those lost to them.

That’s mostly by implication, mind. Like most other stuff on Achura, shrines break, so setting a community’s shrines back up is part of the normal process of rebuilding. Mostly, they’re made completely of stuff you can put together in an afternoon, given even like a gaggle of children and one or two adults to handle the trickier parts. That varies a little in the monasteries, where spiritual stuff tends to meet resources, but especially for animistic shrines-- why would you use graven images to honor something that seems to really hate stuff that’s “built to last”?

A lot of symbolism’s not all that anthropomorphic; we’re not particularly enchanted with our own importance in the world, so, our spiritual images tend to be abstract or animal more often than human.

Stars are a symbol of special importance to the Achura. If you think about it, it’s not at all surprising: in a world where nothing lasts, and nothing can be fully trusted except to be exactly what it is, the stars hang in the sky, predictable, peaceful-- seemingly eternal, and shared by everyone. They’re not just a comfort, either. You can navigate by the stars if your boat gets blown out to sea. You can watch them to see what the sky is doing at night. If the sky is full of stars, usually you can feel safe from the weather.

No wonder our Stargazers rely on them for their divinations and our monks often use them as a focus for meditation. Finding out they’re not quite as peaceful or as eternal as they seemed doesn’t seem to have dampened our enthusiasm very much, either.

More later.

(Aria Jenneth) #71

So … other stuff with widely-recognized symbolic significance.

A lot of it’s kind of the usual: crystals-- pretty, mysterious, grow naturally in out-of-the-way places; certain really old trees that have seen a dozen human lifetimes and hundreds of windstorms and floods; certain celestial phenomena; basically any kind of place that instills a sense of reverence, so, reflecting pools, mountain peaks, sea cliffs, secluded bays … (coincidentally places you might want to visit but might not want to build a house) …

sigh … inevitably (to the boundless joy of someone who’s been waiting for like a year for me to talk about this at all) blood. Human or otherwise.

That’s not specific to us. Nor are we so unusual, cosmologically speaking, that we don’t pay it any mind. It kind of crops up everywhere (which that certain someone is going to be reading just piles into). It’s natural, right? It’s liquid; it’s colored like almost nothing else outside of cinnabar; it’s inside everyone; if you lose a middling amount you weaken; if you lose a lot you die-- symbolically speaking, it’s basically liquid life. Cosmological significance in a bottle, so to speak. So, for us, too, a little. It’s not like we use it for everything, though.

For the most part, the spirits of Achura aren’t really placated or worshipped-- they’re to be understood and respected; they are what they are. They don’t aid us out of love or harm us out of spite; Achura teaches us to recognize what’s coming and, if it’s going to hurt, get out of the way. Sticking your neighbor on an altar and bleeding him into the sea isn’t going to stop an oncoming storm surge, and trying is traditionally a pretty good way to get executed for sorcery. About which-- sorry-- there’s not a lot that’s remotely consistent. Rumor, superstition, and stories. Same as most places.

More later.

(Toroko Shiyurida) #72

I find much to agree with here though offer a few points of contention to the fundamental constant of Conflict. As Aria already described with an introduction to the concept of conflict as harmonious I will restate as conflict as cooperation.

We are all deeply interconnected through The Living Universe, all actions have an impact on other pieces of the whole. The Totality as the Shuijing sect decries. Conflict is very much a portion of the existence we live in, yet it is another form of cooperative existence the crux being rooted in finding the necessary balance between conflict and harmony.

Allow something to grow without end and it will subsume all. Continuously cull and you will be left with nothing. Action is as much the way as inaction, it all lies in the manner of myriad interconnections.

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #73

Hah. So you’re the reason there was a demon summoning citadel in Saisio.

Good one.

(Aria Jenneth) #74

Pretty much, yeah.

If you’re looking for an angle of attack that’ll actually draw blood, though, Veik? Stuff I’ve already confronted (helped blow up, even) probably isn’t going to do a lot.

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #75

Oh come on, it’s just funny. How can you not see it’s funny?

I mean… I guess you could say it was… all a bloody mistake.

(Aria Jenneth) #76

Of course it’s funny. … Just not funny, “ha ha.”

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #77

But yeah, thanks for these primers. It’s really helped me flesh out this Achuran sorcerer I’ve started roleplaying in this game from Suvee.

(Aria Jenneth) #78

Sure, Veik.

. . . Is this an online game?

Actually, either way, would you mind sending a copy of the magic system and related lore to Mr. Nauplius? He’ll want to mine it for ancient wisdom and it’ll probably make as much sense as any other version of Achur “sorcery” I’ve managed to find anything on.

… Speaking of things that won’t be funny “ha ha.”

(Veikitamo Gesakaarin) #79

What magic? All the quests so far have involved silly things like finding rocks and being told the magic comes later.

(Aria Jenneth) #80

Really? … Might be more true to life than I expected.