Speeding the plow

From: Bernuetz, Oliver: WPG (Bernuetz.Oliver@cbsc.ic.gc.ca)
Date: Mon 07 Apr 1997 - 22:51:15 EEST


Wow, I never expected such responses to my overly long plowing treatise.
 Thanks to Pam Carlson and Nick Brooke for their kind comments. It seems
however that there was a reason why I got a D in Pelorian geography, thanks
to everyone involved for setting the record straight on that. It seems
pretty definite that there are Lunars who could easily manage plowing in the
Zola Fel valley.

Peter Metcalfe:

>That's the orthodox opinion but A. Trevor Hodge in response to a
>criticism of this view (ie harnesses strangles horses) in the
>Letters Column of Scientific American (June 1991) says:

> The view of Roman Harnessing I expressed was the standard
> one of current orthodox scholorship, but it has been
> disputed by J. Spruytte in _Etudes Experimentales sur
> l'Attelage_ (Paris, Crepin-Leblond, 1977). That well
> -documented study has perhaps not had the opinon that it
> should

>I must say that I have not seen this book and my above comments
>are based on some derivative source which did not go into detail
>and whose name is forgotten.

>So although the amount of work that could be gotten out of a horse
>is limited by the harness, it is disputed as to whether the harness
>actually throttled the horse.

Good point, it struck me after I sent the e-mail that I recalled reading
somewhere that they used yokes on donkeys which didn't make much sense if it
was strangling them. Perhaps it's the combination of factors, the low
efficiency of usng a yoke on a horse, the heavy plow needed and the heavy
soil that makes a horse collar necessary?

That'll teach me to take everything I read in an encyclopedia or hear in a
classroom at face value. I have to remember the propagation factor of
half-truths. One it's written somewhere as a fact it's hard to get rid of.

Peter again

>And here is the nub of the problem. The Orlanthi AFAIK are using
>scratch plows as practiced in Roman Times. The heavy Lod-plows
>have not yet been adopted by them. So they don't need the eight
>oxen pulling at the plow. Methinks someone somewhere has fouled
>up.

Wouldn't be the first time.

Martin Crim:

>However, Oliver also goes on to say:
>>
>>To raise a contentious issue again I think this issue IMO serves to
>>differentiate Glorantha from our world. In our world people believe
things
>>will happen if they perform the right ceremonies. In Glorantha whether
you
>>believe it or not things WILL happen.

>The Freemen of Montana don't believe in the U.S. government, but they're
>still in a U.S. jail. If enough of us stopped believing in the government,
>it would cease to exist. Although the U.S. government is avowedly secular,
>many people who support it do so on a religious or quasi-religious basis.
>The only difference from Glorantha is the lack of comic-book flash-bang
>nonsense spells, which aren't part of the *real* Glorantha anyway, just the
>game reality. Just think if your notion of western 20th century
>civilization were based on James Bond movies.

Unfortunately while governments start out as ideas and beliefs they quickly
become self-sustaining. That's why the Freemen are in jail even though they
don't believe in the U.S. Government. It doesn't matter if they do or don't
it's still there. Somehow I still think that if people were performing
little rituals and spells as part of their day to day life that were totally
necessary the world would seem quite different even from say ancient Greece
or stone-age Gaul.

>>If I murder someone in Glorantha
>>their ghost will come after me (whether I believe in ghosts or not) if I
>>fail to appease the ghost or perform some sort of ceremony that binds the
>>ghost in place. If the baker fails to say the proper words the bread
won't
>>rise. IMO I think magical and divine things happen in Glorantha without
>>people having to believe in them. It's just a different mechanism.

>And people in the real world use and interact with the divine and
>divine-derived concepts all the time, sometimes without realizing it.
>Moreover, people have recognizably religious experiences without asking for
>it. Let the scales fall from your eyes and you'll see there's little
>difference on this score between the worlds. (For those of you with Bible
>Lore of less than 10%, that's an allusion to the Apostle Paul's conversion
>experience--something he did not ask for or want.)

>I'm beginning to hate anti-religion as much as religion.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine
eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt
thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Matthew 7 verses3-5 (See I can make Biblical references too.)

Why do you assume that I'm anit-religion (or maybe I'm the making the
assumption now?) Being anti-religious is like being anti-air or anti-rules.
 Religion is morally neutral. I'm not "anti-religion".

I'm having a hard time phrasing the argument I want to make in terms that
are relatively inoffensive and somewhat coherent. All respect to people's
personal convictions and beliefs aside I do not agree with this position as
 Martin has stated here. Yes, I admit that people in our world use and
interact with what they consider the divine all the time. I agree that the
use of magic shouldn't seem to be any different than the use of technology
I'm unfamiliar with (ala that overly used quote from Isaac Asimov). Fine.
 These things are a given. I agree with you that they're both "true". But

I think I've finally boiled down what I've been trying to say into a
catchphrase (what an evil goal).

In Glorantha the divine and the magical can be objectively manifested.

I can attend religious services until the cows come home but I may never
experience the "divine". (Then again I might, I won't deny the
possibility). Meanwhile someone else may have had the most wonderful
spiritual experience possible. (At the same time I may have enjoyed the
music but hated the seating but that's all).

A Gloranthan IMHO (that's In My Heretical Opinion) always experiences
something beyond the mundane. If a Lunar or a Kralorelan or a Pamaltean or

a troll or an elf were allowed to attend an Orlanthi ceremony they will
experience something, they may disagree on the interpretation but they would
never deny the divine. (They may not attribute Orlanth with divinity but
they won't deny that something calling itself Orlanth is out there). They
might not experience the presence of the god but they will see the
ceremonies used and can witness the spells.

A Gloranthan can argue that Orlanth and all the rest of the gods are just a
big spirits masquerading as deities but they wouldn't refute the existence
of spirits.

What about the Brithini or the people of God Forgot? Well the Brithini
don't worship gods but AFAIK they don't deny their existence either. (Of
course this means they're not really atheists but what else do you call
them? Apatheticists?) As for the people of God Forgot I'm afraid I don't
know much about them but they're a pretty small group from what I
understand.

There is an objective reality underlying Glorantha. It doesn't seem that
any group in Glorantha really understands it or the divine and that's why
dissent and different beliefs, chronologies, etc. exist.

I still don't think I've made my point very well. Perhaps I need a few more
months to think about. Suffice it to say that this is my personal vision of
Glorantha for what that's worth and it may or may not conflict with your
own. Frankly for all intents and purposes the two Glorantha's may not seem
at all different to any but the most perceptive.

Oliver D. Bernuetz
bernuetz.oliver@cbsc.ic.gc.ca

P.S. Happy belated birthday Chris.

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

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