Eldraeic Word of the Day: Zakhrehs

(I realized upon using the word in a comment thread here that I’d never actually given the full definition, so…)

zakhrehs: “barbarians”; specifically those sophonts who are alien to the Imperial ethical and moral traditions, in re libertism, negentropy, and gentlesophly behavior.

It should be noted that this term does not refer to those who merely come from foreign lands/strangers (Eldraeic qildaráv, “persons-from-yonder”), or those who do not knowingly subscribe to the Fundamental Contract (Eldraeic ulvaledar, “unbound-people”); rather, it refers to those who reject the core precepts of the Imperial ethical and moral traditions, whether or not they are aware of them in the first place. In particular, it does not carry any implication of primitivity or undevelopedness.

Anyone, regardless of species or ethnicity, who lives by the core rules of these traditions is “civilized”, and will be treated well. Even an honest effort by the ignorant will be looked upon favorably. In the areas within the Empire’s sphere of influence, autochthones who adopt Imperial ways — or seem to – will be treated with respect, perhaps to the annoyance of their neighbors. Intentional rejection of the core Imperial traditions, however, is nearly equivalent to declaring oneself a barbarian.

It is neither a direct cognate for any of the classic Imperial insults – i.e., “Defaulter”, “choiceless”, “slaver”, “parasite”, “dullist”, “cacophile”, or “entropic” – nor a direct reference to foundational concepts such as the Fundamental Contract, the Code of Alphas, the Nine Excellences, the Five Noble Precepts, etc. Rather, it is a general implication that the referenced person or society, while not technically and to-a-legal-standard provably guilty of specific and enumerated acts of coercionism, infiduciarity, theft, mooching, razorwalking, willful culture-lack, destructionism, disharmony, and chaos, is nevertheless in the speaker’s opinion a repulsive, nauseating mass of all, or at least many, of those things, and deserves to be treated accordingly.

It is no less insulting for all its generality and implicitness.



Human-Enhancement-Survey_1-01With reference to Jade Nekotenshi’s comment here, the graph to the right taken from this survey, methinks, reveals another key application of the so-important primitives-barbarians dichotomy.

See, if you don’t have these technologies, that just classifies you as “primitive”. That’s a term of art, not a value judgement. Every sophont race was there once, and with thought, effort, and will, can rise above it.

Not wanting them, on the other hand, that classifies you among the “barbarians”, and indeed with every “bigoted, knowledge-resenting, knuckle-dragging regressive” stereotype listed in the Big Book of Offensive Terms for Offensive People. Which are value judgements.

It’s the latter, as per said survey, that they’d hypothetically be sneering at us over, not simply our not having teched the tech yet.

Ignorance isn’t only pardonable, it doesn’t need to be pardoned, only cured. Gnosiophobia and its associated family of pathologies, on the other hand…

Trope-a-Day: Barbarian Tribe

Barbarian Tribe: The term “Interstellar League of Tribal Chiefdoms” was not intended as a compliment, nor was it given with any degree of irony.

Also, given their views on, say, the sanctity of contracts, the personal defects of people with authoritarian tendencies and the systems they produce, etc., even before we bring in issues like entropism and cacophilia, the “barbarian” moniker is quite widely applied.  But very specifically has little to do with degree of technological advancement, even if it might apply to lack of desire for such advancement.


“The fundamental question we must answer before operating is this: are they barbarians because they want to control each other; are they barbarians because they’ve been conditioned to someone’s ownership; or are they barbarians because they have to be controlled? Different diseases have different cures…”

– Cordane Viriaz,
External Rectification & Clarification Ad-Hoc,
architect of operations ICE SHADOW, HIGHWATER MINT, and BRASS DANCER