The Worlds Revealed

In partial apology for the lack of artwork thus far, I bring you a map of the Associated Worlds, constellation by constellation!

[The Associated Worlds]

(Click through for the full version. Caution: it’s a big image, 3049 x 3030.)

Key-wise, gold constellations represent the Imperial Core and Fringe, blue the mainstream Associated Worlds, purple the Expansion Regions, and green the Periphery. Red constellations represent the off-the-edge-of-the-map places, namely the Leviathan Consciousness and the connected constellations of the Voniensa Republic. Thin lines are interconstellation stargate connections; thick lines are special high-capacity arterials.

The major connected sets of those are the Worlds’ major trade routes: in green, the Lethíäza Trade Spine; in red, the Mercantile Corridor; and a rough circle in black at the edge of the major Worlds, except where it shares a link with the Spine between “58” and the Azure Fade, the Circumferential, or Golden Band.

I’ve annotated the approximate locations of the major powers, and also (in small text) of a few minor powers that have been mentioned and about which there might be curiosity.

(Oh, and when it comes to those constellations currently numbered – the aforementioned “58”, “E76”, and “P13”, et. al.? Apart from a couple of potential spoilers, that’s my innovation space/creative breathing room. Pay no attention to the Doylist explanation behind the curtain.)

 

A List of Eikones

It occurred to me that the parallels that I drew here make less sense, and inviting comments and thoughts is less useful, inasmuch as to the best of my knowledge I never actually clarified (except in one still-to-be-completed series, by implication) exactly who all the eikones of the Church of the Flame are, and what the specific concepts are that they personify.

So, I’m going to correct that right now with a handy-dandy reference table.

Let us begin with the Triarchs, who do not strictly speaking “lead” the pantheon, but who are recognized as representing somewhat more fundamental cosmic principles/aspects of the Flame and thus as somewhat greater than their cousins:

  1. Aldéré, Starkindler, the Bright Lady, the Great Maker, Divine Ignition; eikone of creation and beginnings, inspiration, rebirth, the stars and celestial vault
  2. Elmiríën, the Bringer of Order, the Patterner, the One Word of Truth; eikone of order, structure, stability, perfection, and proper functioning
  3. Entélith, the Serene One, the Dark Lady, Pale Mistress of Death, Gatherer of All Things; eikone of death and endings, rebirth, and other major transitions

And then the Divine Ministers, who number forty-eight:

  1. Aéren, the Voice of the Sky, the Whisperer, the Answer to the Unasked; eikone of intuition, mysticism, spirituality, transcendence, and the Celestial order
  2. Aláthiël, the Namer, the Fountain of Knowledge, the Great Sage; eikone of knowledge, wisdom, scholars, literacy, and skill
  3. Atheléä, the Sigillord, the Harmonious Chorus, the Weaver of Voices, the Repose of All Wisdom; eikone of speech, music and song, poetry, language, logotecture, and memes
  4. Athnéël, the Unlooked For, the Eternal Gambler, Lady of Surprises Auspicious and Welcome; eikone of fortune good and ill, chance, randomness, and patron (?) of gamblers
  5. Baranithil, the Balancer, the Mind of Many Masks, the Silent Architect; eikone of peace, prosperity, diplomacy, cooperation, emergent order, self-organization, patron of branches
  6. Barrascán, the Ever-Watching, the Unsleeping Guardian, the Implacable One; eikone of vigilance, guardians, protectors, those who watch, safeguards, fortifications, readiness, and contingency planning
  7. Braníël, the Unconquered, the Unceasing, the Fixed Point, the Sky-Shatterer; eikone of power, drive, ambition, the unconquerable will, defiance of impossible odds, resolve, and endurance
  8. Cálíäh, the Bringer of Rest, the Warder of Sleep, the Shadows of Desire, the Imager of the Unreal; eikone of dreams, desires, sleep, hope, fiction, and virtual reality
  9. Cinníäs, the Laughing Rogue, the Reveler, the Prince of Wine, the Maddener; eikone of revels and carousing, wine and beer, entertainment, humor, mirth, whims and fleeting passions, and hedonism
  10. Covalan, the Golden God, Prince of Wealth, the Hidden Cog, Lord of All Trade; eikone of trade, markets, money, wealth, commerce, and patron of businesssophs and the plutarch darëssef
  11. Dírasán, Heaven’s Messenger, the All-Embracing, the Default Route; eikone of messengers, communications, couriers, and patron of the Imperial Post and the Imperial Courier Service
  12. Dúréníän, the Noble Warlord, Grand Master of Strategies, Champion of the Just, the Ice Warrior; eikone of righteous war, battle, conquest, strategy and tactics, and patron of the sentinel darëssef
  13. Éadínah, Princess of Shadows, Walker at Night, the Artful Planner, the Unraveller; eikone of night, darkness, subtlety, espionage, deeply-laid plans, and (some say) thieves and organized crime
  14. Édaen, the Smiling Lord, the Joybringer, the Renewal of Life; eikone of joy, happiness, serenity, leisure, celebration, recreation, rest, and auspicious downtime
  15. Elárion, the Unfettered, He Who Walks His Own Path, the Shatterer of Chains; eikone of the red moon Elárion, liberty, individuality, self-will, independence and self-reliance
  16. Éjavóné, the Vengeful Maiden, Mistress of Storms, Keeper of Lightning, Defender of Purity; eikone of storms, thunder and lightning, protection, vengeance, and those who guard the pure or innocent
  17. Éléia-Líëran, the Lover Gods, the Ever-Faithful, the Two Who Are One, the Blissful; eikone of married love, marriage, family, and relationships
  18. Elliseré, the Architect, the Inventrix, Ideas’ Gleaming, Our Lady of New Thoughts; eikone of curiosity, research, exploration and discovery, invention, innovation, science, progress, and patron of the technarch darëssef
  19. Eslévan, the Soul of the Star, the Cornerstone, the Throne and the Ecumene, He Who Was Once Alphas’s Line; eikone of the Empire, the spirit of the Imperial people, and set over the race-lords and genii loci
  20. Esseldár, the Measurer of Time, Guardian of Hallowed Ways, the Remembrance of Worthy Deeds and Honored Forerunners; eikone of time, memory, preservation, conservation, tradition, history, maintenance, and ancestors
  21. Gaëlenén, the Soother of Hurts, the Flower of Dawn, the Second Chance; eikone of health and healing, medicine, bioengineering, and clemency
  22. Gáldabar, Old Treefather, Lord of the Wilds, the Red-Fanged Hunter, First Among Beasts; eikone of wild nature, beasts and the hunt, and set over the beast-lords
  23. Ithával, the Shining One, Prince of the Dawn, Bright Lord of the Highest Excellence; eikone of beauty, glory, pride, achievement, radiance, status, wealth, and the rewards of excellence
  24. Kalasané, the Laughing Warrior, Sword of Heaven, Lord of the Two Swords; eikone of battle, courage, victory through strength, and personal combat
  25. Kanáralath, the Bringer of Clarity, the Tester, Lord of Reason; eikone of philosophy, reason, logic, mathematics, rigorous thought, and truth
  26. Lanáraé, the Flame, the Inspirer, Lady of the Muses, the Lovers’ Friend; eikone of art, inspiration, the warm passions, romantic love, patron of lovers and the aesthant darëssef, and set over the Court of Muses
  27. Laryssan, the Slumbering Goddess, Lady of Our Fate, the Mistress of Nets, She Who Knows the Shape of Things to Come; eikone of the future, fate and destiny, preordination, foresight, oracles and divination
  28. Leiríäh, the Cloaked in Shadow, the Weaver of Nets, Mother of Mists Real and Not; eikone of mists, illusions, deceptions, trickery, wit, and intrigue
  29. Lódaríön, the Forger of Souls, the Flame that Purifies, Scourge of the Failed; eikone of honor, rigor, self-discipline, purity, and self-perfection
  30. Lumenna, the Sunlord, the Great and Blinding Light, the Fire at the Heart; eikone of the sun Lumenna, light, the energy principle, and motive power
  31. Mahánárel, Great Forger, Engineer of the Empyreals, Master of the Forces of the World; eikone of creation, craftsmanship, engineering, construction, the forge, and patron of artisans
  32. Medáríäh, the Golden Mother, the Fructifier, Our Lady of Mass Production, the All-Abundant; eikone of fertility, productivity, agriculture, industry, mass production, reproductive sex, and abundance
  33. Merélis, She Who Approaches, the Ever-Changing, the Seeker; eikone of action, change, evolution, mutation, improvement, and upgrades
  34. Nimithil, the Wise Ruler, the Bestower, the Crowned One, the Right and Authority; eikone of authority, governance, wise use of power, the Imperial Mandate, and patron of the runér
  35. Olísmé, Lady of Mourning, the Sorrowful Goddess, Comfort and Hope of the Reft; eikone of empathy, pity, grief, loss, the bereft and forlorn, and intercessor for those who die untimely
  36. Pétamárdis, the Raven Prince, Enlightened Guardian of the Ephemeral Cycle, Lord of Necessary Decay; eikone of reuse, recycling, repair, and necessary rot and decay
  37. Ráfiën, First Minister of the Ivory Rod, Emperor Among Paper, the Hand of the Wielder; eikone of bureaucracy, sound administration, large organizations, and patron of the executor darëssef
  38. Rúnel, the Font of Courtesy, the Word that Moves the World, Gardener of Civilization; eikone of harmony, smooth functioning, efficiency, etiquette, civilization and the spread of civilization
  39. Samildán, the Far Wanderer, Walker on the Dragon Paths, the Key, the Door, and the Way; eikone of roads, travel, adventure, frontiers, the far horizon, patron of explorers and wanderers, and the stargate plexus
  40. Saravoné, the Revealer of Truths, the Just One, the Scale-Bearer; eikone of law, justice, the rule of law, and arbitration
  41. Seládéir, Lord of the Shining Metropolis, Builder of Gentle Places, the Home and the Wall; eikone of cities, communities, citizenship, and set over the patropoli and matropoli
  42. Seléne, Our Lady of Silver, the Five-Faced Lady, Serene Watcher, Princess of the Moon; eikone of the silver moon Seléne, cats, the cunning mind, tides, and those who travel at night
  43. Súnáris, the One Who Chooses, the Light of Thought, the Will that Commands; eikone of the second sun Súnáris, reason, mentalics, the mind, and patron of digital intelligences
  44. Sylithandríël, the Viridian Queen, Veiled Mother of the Twilight Forests, Giver of Fruits, Lady Leafcloak; eikone of nature, the forests, set over the seasons and the plant-lords, silviculture, and gardens
  45. Tárvalén, the Binder of Obligations, the Party of Every Part, the Entanglement; eikone of loyalty, vows, oath-contracts, promises and agreements, the social order, and dogs
  46. Úlmiríën, the Changeling, the Wanderer, the Enigmatic One, the Necessary Chaos; eikone of rogues, shapeshifters, trickery, epiphanies and unwonted revelations, and sudden paradigm shifts
  47. The Unnamed, Dark Prince of the Unknown, the Subtle One, the Whisperer of Secrets, Architect of Locks; eikone of seals, secrets, mysteries, and that which you are not cleared to know
  48. Véválíäh, the Hearthtender, Lady of the Earthly Blessings, the Protector, Provider, and Welcomer; eikone of the hearth and home, domestic life, hospitality, and patron of the hearthmistress darëssef

So. Now you know.

 

June and July’s Questions

(Somewhat belated, for which I apologize, but day-job-wise, it’s been a hell of a month. Actually, it continues to be, hence the dearth of postings in August, and now I’m about to ship off to Maryland for a week on a business trip, so…

Yeah.

Sorry, folks.)

Without further ado, let us commence:

Another question, in particular reference to A Good Man (https://eldraeverse.com/2012/04/05/a-good-man/): Would our titular “good man” have come under near as much scrutiny if, instead of going for general atmospheric distribution, he had instead just bottled the stuff and handed it out at sporting events, donated it to soup kitchens, passed it around as a seasoning when he had people over for dinner, etc., without explicitly revealing what the “secret ingredients” in his “special sauce” were?

Only insofar as it would have been harder to catch him at it, and inasmuch as the smaller the scale of your atrocities, the lower the relative urgency of dealing with you compared to whatever other atrocities are going on at the same time. Not less important, mind you, merely less urgent in the ISS master limited-resource-allocation algorithm of which target(s) get hunted down, mind-ripped, and archived in the inaccessible depths of the Aeon Pit today.

As per monthly question & provided I am paid up in full:

Would love to see a write-up of some alien ships. The Múrast in particular.

Ah, múrast designs. Can do. For anyone not remembering my species in detail, the múrast are methane-breathing, multiheaded serpents who originated on a Titan-like homeworld, and have a biology therefore rooted in ices, hydrocarbon sludges, and plastics. They are a biologically casted society (assembler, thinker, technician, worker, refiner), and most curious of all, possibly, the thinker caste are polysapic; they typically have around five minds each.

A múrast icehull – I can’t really give you the details of an individual múrast ship class because they don’t build them to class spec – looks something like a flying baroque cathedral, if baroque cathedrals were (in the gross details) radially symmetric and lacked a down direction. But that’s not how they start out. They start out as comets.

When a múrast sept needs a starship, they go out and grab a comet, and then start shaping it, burrowing into it, and adding machinery as necessary. A typical example has three or four main chambers: there’s a near-spherical “nest” chamber in the center of the mass where the assemblers (the caste responsible for breeding/building new múrast) and the refiners (food-producers/food-storers/biofactories) dwell; an ovoid “bridge” from which the thinkers command the icehull from a half-dozen consoles each, still buried but nearer to the leading edge, and an “engineering” chamber near the trailing edge where technicians and workers tend the main drive (typically a non-torch fusion thermal, or something of that ilk, with teakettle thrusters for fine maneuvering; i.e., they’re slowships, but the múrast mostly aren’t in a hurry).

Cargo vessels include a large hold volume somewhere accessible from the outside; often using simply cutting out and refreezing the ice in lieu of a mechanical cargo door. Military vessels are similar, except the hold is filled with racks of AKVs – or, in some cases, kinetic impact vehicles (i.e., flying icebergs) flown by members of the only-slightly-sophont worker caste.

The rest of the internal space is taken up with a “maze” swarming with more technicians and workers – auxiliary machinery tends to be melted into the ice here in convenient locations, as do various bits of “crew quarters” and “storage” – and, of course, the ice and incorporated sludges and slushes itself, which serves as food, replenishment, and remass, expanding the maze as the trip goes on. (When it runs out, it’s time to either graft on or jump ship to a new cometary body.) Múrast passengers just join the crew in the maze; the odd passengers of other species must bring a suitable cabin module of their own, or travel steerage.

Múrast biology is fairly vacuum-friendly; the ornate look of the ships comes from the workers and technicians who swarm over the outside, too, in flight, polishing and carving and generally buffing the icy brightwork to a mirror shine. The best theory on this is that it’s the sept-level equivalent of twiddling one’s fingers to ease deep-space boredom.

I’ll throw in three quick summaries of other species ships:

Sefir ships are the ones that I’ll never design in detail unless I need to, because they epitomize Boring, But Practical. Basically, they’re ISO Standard Human Spaceships, per the trope: boxy frameworks, mostly in haze gray, with maybe the odd logo or two slapped on the side. Conventional and middle of the road in essentially every way. Species which care more about aesthetics and less about low-bid procurement rules roll their eyes or break out in laughter or tears. Sometimes both.

Linobir ships are what you might call… culturally distinctive. It’s not quite a planet of hats situation, but what must be admitted is while the linobir themselves have a varied culture, the vast majority of linobir who own their own starships are space mercenaries, or other kinds of hired muscle, who turn certain cultural traits right up to eleven.

As such, the [stereo]typical linobir starship is instantly recognizable by, at the stern, the pusher plate of the Worlds’ loudest, dirtiest, and most importantly most powerful drive system, and everywhere else by all the turrets, blisters, bays, and barrels caused by strapping on whatever weapons systems they could get hold of literally everywhere they’ll fit; i.e., it’s a bundle of strapped-together guns that fires nukes out of its ass.

Any of the hull plating that’s still visible under all of that tends to be covered in advertising the crews’ abilities to kill things and break people.

Esseli starships are semi-organic. (Unlike the link!n-Rechesh, they aren’t dogmatically attached to biotechnology for relatively unsuitable purposes such as hulls – although they are made by biotechnological means – or drive systems; although their hulls do have a distinct curvy, organic shape to them, and very organic-looking mechanical tentacles.)

Step inside, on the other hand, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that you’re wandering around inside the warm, pulsing veins of a living creature, because you’re wandering around inside the warm, pulsing veins of a living creature (with, fair to say, a bionic fusion torch). The esseli are perfectly comfortable with using organic life support, shipboard information systems powered by ganglia, doors reminiscent of heart valves, fleshy control nodules and neural tendrils as user interfaces, and lots of similar tech on the squishy, slightly moist side.

(It is entirely untrue, however, that passengers are occasionally digested by esseli ships. They incorporate every standard biotechnological safeguard against unintentionally eating sophonts or their commensal lifeforms, and such would, as well as being rude and inhospitable, be ill-suited to their metabolism – they were, after all, engineered to eat fuel slush and occasional space rocks.

…and the odd hijacker.)

What would be popular on the Eldrae version of television? Or to broaden the question…’Mass media’. Do they go to the movies? 

Yes, indeed. From the incomplete list back in No Such Thing As Alien Pop Culture of things which the canon currently has named examples of – music, an extensive literary culture that includes popular novels, graphic novels, watchvids, InVids, slinkies, virtual-reality games, virtual-reality cosmoi, alternate-reality games, regular computer games, RPGs, board games, mechanical toys, recreational dueling and non-combat challenges, haut cuisine, participatory sports – they would fall under watchvids. (And this does include movie theaters, regular and drive/fly-in, because movie-as-social-experience is a subtly different genre from movie-as-personal-viewing.

Would something like ‘Iron Chef’ work…would ‘Days of Our Lives’ be in it’s 300th year? Would the times of the korásan be ‘Game of Thrones’ analogue?

Hm. Well, okay, let’s see what I can come up with by way of generalizations and specifics. One thing to bear in mind is that as you might expect, speculative fiction is very popular even among the widely varied mix that popular culture *there* is.

Some genres have trouble with the culture: soap operas are very limited for the reasons mentioned below about Days of Our Lives; sitcoms aren’t absent, but are limited in their presence and style by the local sense of humor; reality television is just plain absent for exactly the same reasons as the previous two are limited.

Game shows are present, but are not exactly the sort of thing we’d recognize as them: they have to incorporate very little of an element of chance, and be pitched at a level appropriate to an audience and contestants with quantum computers and Internet access lodged firmly between their frontal lobes, raised in an intellectual hothouse culture. This gives rise to shows like One Hour Mastery (learn a new skill in an hour well enough to impress our judges), Civil Engineering Challenge, Extreme Theorems (can our amateur mathematicians prove these unsolved hypotheses before time runs out?), and Science The Shit Out Of It (a very loose translation).

Likewise, there are talk shows, but they are appallingly high-brow by here’s standards: you aren’t getting celebrity gossip and personal issues, you’re getting Eliezer Yudkowsky Discusses The Finer Points Of Bayesian Rationality With The Panel.

(Popular science shows also have that same level adjustment – and that speculative fiction? Writers need to listen to their scientific advisor, because while the audience is willing to suspend its disbelief in your handwavium, it won’t put up with baryon sweeps or temperatures below absolute zero.)

The horror genre doesn’t play very well; an Imperial audience watching our example of it will spend all their time waiting for the monster to be punched in the face with a space magic fist of doom and will not be happy if they don’t get that payoff. (Eldrae in particular are really, really bad at being scared. They also have no respect whatsoever for stupid, which makes most horror-movie protagonists epic failures at attracting audience sympathy.) At that point, it’s more or less moved into action-adventure territory.

This affects the disaster movie genre, too, to a lesser extent: basically, anything from an earthquake to a zombie apocalypse can be good movie fodder, but the plot needs to include the essential elements of How We Triumphantly Overcame Adversity, Saved Our Asses, and Fixed Our Shit, Only Better. Canon example: After Rockfall, an RPG along the lines of Fallout with a heavy rebuilding-civilization slant.

(There’s also their quirky “construction/achievement drama” genre, which produces epic dramatizations of Touching Heaven: The Building of the Interworld Trade Center, and suchlike, which play well because there is an endless market for stories of Awesome Sophs Doing Awesome Stuff.)

To be specific, then, Adamantium Chef would definitely work, and gains some extra levels when you consider the amount of offworld biologicals available, and all the fun of biochemical compatibility. Hell, there’s probably Adamantium Pharmacist, too.

Days of Our Lives analog is rather less likely, since the whole soap opera genre is a casualty of the change in ratios between NTs and SFs per The MBTI Lens ; by and large, as said, the media of ideas is primary, which is not to say that plot and character elements aren’t important: Buffy the Vampire Slayer would work just fine because it has those coupled with ideas, although it probably doesn’t have a direct analog because of its core concept being subverting assumptions that don’t exist *there*.

Game of Thrones works, both for the above historical analog and because fantasy is a big part of the speculative-fiction genre.

Other shows and movies *here* likely to have analogs or port reasonably well with some care and attention would include, to give a necessarily incomplete list of examples, Eureka, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy – actually, throw in Iron Man and certainly the first Captain America, early House, Indiana Jones, Leverage, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Mythbusters (again, perform appropriate level adjustments), Sherlock, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Star Trek (only with less technobabble and communism; its analog To Boldly Go is established as taking ideas directly from declassified Imperial Exploratory Service mission reports, much as its more military cousin that might be loosely analogous to somewhere in the middle of Babylon 5/Star Wars/etc. grabs them from the declassified Military Service equivalents), Warehouse 13 … and I’m pretty sure at this point I’m revealing that I don’t actually watch all that much television, aren’t I? (You could dramatize some of our video games, too, for that matter – the InVids of Dragon AgeMass Effect, or Destiny would fit just perfectly.)

A question about the Fifth Directorate-is there some things they won’t do? Is there some acts that if the only choices are “we do this unforgivable thing or EVERYTHING dies,” the answer is “we die”?

Yep. Figuring out where the boundary lies is the job of the Operational Ethics Working Group, a.k.a. DREAMING MALIGNITY, whose professional abyss-gazers are specifically tasked with figuring out how much of a monster it is permissible to become in order to fight monsters.

I can’t give absolutely firm guidelines for where it is, because they don’t have any: by definition, they’re operating in the realm of excursive ethics, or for the Culture readers out there, Special Circumstances. But it’s easy to come up with some specific examples:

Given the choice of the Hive, for example, it’s a pretty clear-cut case of time to walk away from the Worm Gods, give ’em the finger, and choose extinction, on the grounds that becoming one’s antithesis – i.e., an entropy-worshipping horde of omnicidal maniacs – is not merely extinction-equivalent, but actually more negative than that in any reasonable ethical calculus.

On the other hand, when confronted by such an antithesis, murdering their gods and cleansing the remains from the universe using anything up to and including ontopathogenic weapons, while outside the boundaries of non-excursive/optimal ethics – well, it starts to seem downright reasonable.

There is a lot of territory in the middle for negotiation.

…and I’ll throw in an unpaid July question as a free bonus to the questioner who wished to know why the equal protection clause of the Imperial Charter doesn’t mention race, sex, age, orientation, etc., etc., etc.:

(a) What, “all/any/each citizen-shareholder(s)” wasn’t clear enough for you? When they say “all” in those parts, they mean it.

(b) The same reason that we don’t feel the need to specify that such equal protections also extend to mustache-wearers, artichoke-eaters, hat-featherers, Monopoly players, HBO subscribers, or people who have noses.

Think about it.

 

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.

 

Eldraeic Words of the Day: Talisqor, Aelvaqor, and Alathqor

talisqor: (from talis “truth” + qori case tag: standard): the perspective of truth; objectivity, science, and mathematics; reality-as-it-is; existence; history; positive claims.

aelvaqor: (from aelva “beauty” + qori case tag: standard): the perspective of beauty; ambijectivity, art, and the numinous; reality-as-it-ought-be; creation; mythology; normative claims.

alathqor: (from alath “wisdom” + qori case tag: standard): the perspective of wisdom, that attained by the simultaneous affirmation of both talisqor and aelvaqor in fullness, dwelling in the eye of the paradox; see also tarev i-alathqor, “the task of wisdom’s perspective”, the Flamic challenge to bring about the perfect marriage of the two in an unflawed universe, the March of the Flame Against the Fall of Night.

(I must at this point acknowledge a great debt to Scott Alexander and his own worldbuilding project, Raikoth; those familiar with it or his blog posts about it on Slate Star Codex will no doubt have felt a sense of familiarity on reading the words above. The ideas expressed in that particular link helped greatly to clarify some ideas on the shape of the Imperial noösphere I’d been kicking around for a long time without fully congealing, arising from my own ruminations and various inspirations – notably, for one, Pratchett’s Hogfather – so all credit where it is due.)

The MBTI Lens

It occurred to me that I hadn’t posted on this specifically before, and it might be interesting to those of you who might be interested in the construction equipment behind the curtain.

Are you familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality types? Well, if not, you might want to become familiar with them before you continue with this post, ’cause otherwise it will make no sense.

Take a look at this table which shows the frequencies with which the various personality types appear in the (human, Earthling, American) population:

mbtiNow, consider that we live in a world built by the standards of and for, to a large extent, the majorities of Sensing types (73%) and Feeling types (60%). And specifically that the rarest group, the iNtuitive Thinking (“Rationals”) make up no more than 10% of the population.

Now invert it, and consider what a world would be like in which it’s the NT Rationals whose corner dominates the chart, and where the Intuitives and Thinkers are the more common functions seen in the other types, too1.

If it seems familiar to you after spending time reading here, that’s because this exercise was part of my original worldbuilding process.

(Disclaimer: the author is an INT[J|p].)


1. The world also caters more to Is than our very much built-for-Es in many ways, *there*, although that’s a subtler effect and one less reflected in the raw numbers.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Troubles

So I just scribbled down some notes on the physical representation of the exval, the Accord on Trade’s exchange currency:

Exval notes are denominated in powers of two, from 20 through 27. Of these, the 1 exval and 2 exval notes bear a line-work drawing of the seal of the Conclave of Galactic Polities, and a stylization of the opening paragraphs of the Accords, respectively, while the 128 exval note bears a similar line-work drawing of the Conclave Drift itself.

The five middle notes, however, the 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 exval notes bear designs representing and selected by the five Presidium powers, although in the same line-work style; and to avoid giving any sense of precedence or priority, which design is applied to which note is rotated for each printing, although the dominant background color is not. (The confusion this causes among visually-oriented users of the exval’s physical currency is widely considered an example, among libertists, of how politics prevents us from having nice things.)

…you can pretty much blame the Leagues for that, incidentally. (The Empire taking the position of “oh, ffs, give us the one, we know that we’re awesome and that this argument is petty”, the Photonic Network having no use at all for physical currency, and the Echelons, while not immune to the lure of this sort of thing, being quite prepared to chill at least to the point of abstaining.)

But the really big political argument at the time was in the League of Meridian, over whether they wanted the sixtyfour (the highest denomination, value- and hence status-wise) or the four (of which there are the most around and thus get your design seen, whereas the sixtyfour is about as rare in use as the $50, or maybe even the $100).

…at least it kept the Senate and Congress of the League Assembled out of trouble for a couple of weeks.