School of Thoughts

From: Michael Raaterova (michael.raaterova.7033@student.uu.se)
Date: Fri 17 May 1996 - 21:09:52 EEST


In my view a temple to Lhankor Mhy is more akin to a carefully guarded
collection of mysticism and esoterica than a public library. An initaite of
Lhankor Mhy is more like a philosopher, oracular mystic or quester for
Truth beyond Illusion than the simple librarian he is presented as in the
write-up.

To give the Questers for Truth something to argue about i took inspiration
from classical and mediaeval philosophy and mysticism. I have tried not to
do just a transposition of RW to Glorantha. As you might have guessed the
favorite topic to discuss in a Lhankor Mhy temple is, of course, TRUTH
itself.

[On a side note - could the collective singular for 'thought' be 'school'?
If it is, we'd have a 'school of thoughts' just like we have a 'murder of
crows' or a 'pride of lions']

SCHOOLS OF THOUGHTS

Within the cult of Lhankor Mhy an interminable argument has been going on
for ages. It concerns the Trigramma (the Truth Rune) and its three arms or
paths - Knowledge, Wisdom and Intellect or, as some would have it,
Knowledge, Wisdom and Truth - but there is no consensus on the subject.
Some denounce the trigram, saying it is only one thing - Truth - or that it
is a digram on a stick consisting of Knowledge and Wisdom, or Wisdom and
Honesty, or Truth and Knowledge. Some go so far as to say that only Honesty
is the prime requisite for Truth. Some say that the shape of the rune is
only a symbol.

There is one big faultline within the cult, and it runs between the
Purists, who claim that the mortal mind can never reach Truth while
constrained by the flesh and the heart, and the Unitarians, who claim that
Truth can only be found within the unity of mind and heart, spirit and
flesh. The interpretations of what this really means varies wildly from
interpreter to interpreter. There are those who call themselves Purists who
differ only in name from Carnalists.

The Carnalists, who claim that the only Truth is Love - the flesh and the
heart in balance - are usually excommunicated as soon as they rear their
ugly heads. There is at least one Carnalist temple in Esrolia.

I. PURISTS

They different aspects of purism below are usually not mutually exclusive,
and some purist ideas are common among Unitarians.

Purists usually denounce the trigram altogether or have a pretty skewed
interpretation of it. The basic tenet of purism is that knowledge and
wisdom are separated from Truth. Knowledge is merely the accumulated
observations of the worlds of flesh (mundane plane) and heart (spirit
plane). And, as we all know, these worlds are malleable and changeable.
Truth is of course unchanging and forever the same. Thus the worlds of
malleable, treacherous flesh and disorderly, fickle heart are but
Illusions, unfit for Truth.

Another interpretation is that the three arms of the trigram represents
Reason, Honesty and Purity - the pathways to the Truth where the arms meet.

Thus most hard-line Purists make a qualitative difference between the World
of Illusion and the World of Truth, dismissing all knowledge as illusory or
even dangerous. Indulgence in the ways of flesh and heart can lead to
physical and mental blindness. Only Pure Reason lead to Truth, everything
else leads away.

More tolerant purists make a distinction between the World of Shadows and
the World of Truth, for the worlds of flesh and spirit are but shadows of
the Truth. If there is a shadow of truth somewhere the light of truth can
not be far away, though some shadows are really illusions and can lead very
astray - into disorder, darkness and even chaos.

Most purists disdain the ways of flesh and heart and dismiss them as
temptations to cloud their Pure Reason and lead them from the path to
Truth. Vows of Purity are common among them.

ASCETICS
Truth can never be fully known by mortals, chained by their flesh and their
heart. Only the unfettered mind can comprehend the fullness of everything.
But the trauma of Death can easily obliterate the mind of the unprepared,
leaving the soul mindless. Thus one must prepare the mind for the coming
freedom, by chastising the flesh and the heart.

Not everyone can seek Truth, for the gods have chosen other fates for them.
Only those who are truly called by the Mhy are worthy of following the path
of Truth, for it is an arduous path, festooned with traps and illusions and
temptations.

If the Ascetic has prepared his mind sufficiently, Death will not shatter
his mind, and so the mind will follow the soul to the Tower of Ivory to
hear the Truth from the lips of the Mhy and serve its Word.

ILLUSIONISTS
Truth can only be reached with clear Reason. The experiences of the worlds
of flesh or spirit is an illusion and clouds the clarity of reason. Only
the unfettered eye of the mind can gaze beyond the Illusion upon the Light
of Truth without harm. If the impure see the Truth they will be stricken
deaf, dumb, blind or mad by the Light.

The illusionists claim that a mortal can comprehend the Truth even while
mortal, if he has learned properly how to control his treacherous flesh and
fickle heart, and trained his mind with Reason to unveil the Illusion.

Some illusionists claim that there is only Void beyond the Illusion, and
that the quest for Truth is futile. They also claim that the Illusion was
created by the gods to protect Existence from chaos, which is why the
Illusion must be maintained and kept a secret, lest chaos devour Existence
itself. Which also explains why the gods destroyed the God Learners, who
almost ripped the Illusion apart.

GUARDIANS OF TRUTH
Truth can be extremely harmful for people who are not prepared for it. Thus
the Truth must be cloaked in Shadow - allegory, metaphor, paradox and
riddle - not to break the mind of the person receiving the answer. Those
who can contemplate the enigma and see through it with Reason are capable
of learning the Truth.

The Guardians see the World of Shadows as a labyrinth of paradox made up of
smaller labyrinths. The only way through it is Pure Reason. Reportedly
there are 111 smaller labyrinths which must be passed in the precise order.

Guardians are the most likely to become illuminated, and it is said that
their methods of solving paradox is akin to Riddling.

II. UNITARIANS

Most Unitarians claim that only mortals (with mind, soul, flesh and heart)
can gain truth, which excludes spirits (who have no body), trolls and other
beasts (who have no mind), dwarfs, elves and dragonewts (who have no souls)
and undead (who have no hearts).

The usual interpretation of the trigram is that Soul, Flesh and Heart are
the three arms and Mind is the centre. Some interpretations incorporate the
concept of Soul into the concept of Heart, as do most purists, and claim
that Mind, Flesh and Heart are the arms and Truth is the centre.

Almost all unitarians agree that Unity leads to Truth. Every possible
experience of the worlds is knowledge for it is part of the Truth and
inseparable from Truth. They do not denounce the Flesh and the Heart as do
Purists, but hold all parts equal.

VISIONISTS
Truth (or Gnosis as they call it) cannot be taught or learned, but only
experienced in personal revelation. Truth is a mystical experience too big
for words. Such a revelation is called a Moment of Light, during which the
visionist understands it all. Afterwards only the memories, the Shadows of
Truth, remain. Some record these memories in a Book of Shadows.

These Moments never come when expected, but they do come more often if the
visionist prepares himself with the proper rituals. It is always an
experience that triggers the Moment, be it physical, emotional, spiritual
or mental.
The visionists may teach the ignorant the ways to experience these Moments
of Light, to open the inner eye to the visions and revelations of the Light
of Knowledge.

Some sceptics argue that the visionists search for the Perfect Light of
Nysalor, some argue that it is the Lies of Gbaji. Sometimes they may be
right, for not a few visionsts are illuminated.

IMMERSIONISTS
Immersionists believe that truth and knowledge can only be gained through
immersion in experience and rapture of discovery. You can never learn the
secrets of fire if you have not experienced fire in all possible ways. Some
immersionists are pretty close to carnalists when pursuing the secrets of
love.

Knowledge of a Secret is impossible to gain if the immersionist do not
immerse himself in the experience. Mere observations are for Linneans.

It is extremely difficult to gain the Secret of something and is a Truth
Quest, with all the gifts and sacrifices that it entails.

III. OTHERS

LINNEANS
When everything is known and named and thus placed in the order of things,
Chaos will cease to exist, for if chaos is given its proper place in the
order of things it will no longer be chaotic. This school was named after
the famous sage Linneus, who first proposed this idea.

Linneans observe and categorize and name everything, and they compile
everything in Lists of Lore. When the Lists of Lore contains everything in
existence, Truth will be revealed and Chaos will be part of the Order of
Things.

There is endless bickering among the Linneans about what should have what
name and how it should be categorized.

Linneans are propably the most well-travelled of all initiates of Truth. In
their neverending quest to name all of existence they have travelled to
most of the worlds and places of Glorantha.

More experience-oriented Linneans are firmly in the fold of Unitarians, but
most of the Linneans are observers.

WEAVERS
Everything is connected to everything else in the Web of Arachne Solara by
Threads of Correspondence. Finding these Threads is the goal of the
weavers.

They create and contemplate various types of Correspondences to understand
how it all works and to find the Light of Knowledge which sits at the
centre of the Web.

Weavers are the masters of various systems of symbolism such as the Secret
of Numbers, the Permutation of Letters, the Dance of Words and the Tree of
Truth. Usually they are quite adept at prophecy and divination as well.

Weavers can belong to either the Purists or the Unitarians, as their arts
are used in some form by almost all initiates of Lhankor Mhy.

IV. AFTERWORD

The List of Schools is of course not set in stone. Most initiates belong to
no one school, and most Sages have discovered their own True Way to Truth
(which of course is the ONLY way). But if the debate heats up, the
initiates will either stay out of it or take party for one of the sides,
effectively polarizing the debate between the two schools..

The rift between Purists and Unitarians varies according to how big the
temple is, the whim of the storyteller, the amount of tolerance prevalent
in the temple and the presence of orthodoxy. And the relative numbers of
purists and unitarians, of course. If there are 15 purists and 1 unitarian
in a single temple, the unitarian will receive a friendly visit from Brain
Flayer or be excommunicated. Or at the very least limited access to magic
and library. Hopefully the unitarian would just transfer himself to a more
tolerant or unitarian temple.

I wrote this to breathe more Life into the dull and dead write-up in RoC. I
find the idea of stereotyped info-merchants clad in uniform gray robes
abhorrent. In the write-up there is mentioned the intensive in-fighting.
Now they have something to fight about, in addition to the mystery of
Glorantha's elusive horizon.

I also gave the mechanics and appearance of the cult a re-animating
treatment to suit my view of how a cult of truth should behave and look
like, and what powers it has. If someone likes to see this on the digest
despite its non-orthodoxy please say 'lemon curry' three times very fast.

Valete

- -------
Michael Raaterova <Sig omitted on legal advise>

------------------------------

End of Glorantha Digest V2 #572
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