Sophistry and other truths

From: argrath@aol.com
Date: Sat 23 Apr 1994 - 05:27:40 EEST



I said: "The Goddess is imminent."
Alex retorted: "<checks watch> Really? How soon?"

For you, Alex, the Goddess Has Left the Building.

Re: John P Hughes on initiation
Couldn't agree more. Party of two (dutch treat, though).

John said further: "'Cept of course Protestants said reality was absolute, and its OUT THERE, while the GLs said its fluid, and its IN HERE."

     I don't agree with this. I think the God-Learners were modernists, and believed they were getting to that Core Reality through scientific rationalism. (Thanks to Peter Michaels, for pointing this out to me.)

Re: Operation Desert Storm as "Murder"

     Uh, well, you get to an interesting point, which is that every religion has to deal with the concept of war. I don't think you advance the dialogue by calling killing-through-warfare murder, especially since the U.S.A. is the only country that even tries to adhere to the laws of civilized warfare (which is not as oxymoronic as it sounds). (How many other countries have ever tried their own officers for war crimes?) And you picked a really bad example, since Desert Storm was run much more by the book even than other wars fought by U.S. forces.

     I'm rather reminded of those anti-abortion folks who say that abortion is murder. "Murder" has a specific legal definition in Anglo-American law (and thus also in Australia). This definition includes the term "unjustified" and the phrase
"in the peace of the Commonwealth." It simply doesn't apply to
warfare--by definition. Be a pacifist if you like--no matter how morally indefensible such a position is--but don't call war
"murder." That just reveals ignorance and/or willingness to
obscure the issues through misuse of emotionally-laden terms.

     Persons of good will can certainly debate the wisdom of Making the Mideast Safe for Oil-Rich Monarchies. But trying to argue away war is wishful thinking, at best. And the medieval concept of the "just war," though making something of a comeback, is an unworkable compromise between reality and a crypto-pacifist religion.

Re: Real law 'n' order

     The loooong discussion was a couple years on GEnie, where someone was arguing that the Praetorian Guard investigated crimes in ancient Rome because he had read that in a historical novel. I suggest reading the bits on Viking law in the Vikings supplement, Sartarite law in KoS, and Irish law in Pagan Shore. It's alien to our way of life to have laws without law enforcement officers, but that was the norm throughout history. Besides, it's much more fun to roleplay out the public accusations, counter-accusations, and the open manipulation of the wheels of justice. A good nonsensical ritual ("If she weighs the same as a duck...") also helps to get players into the swing of things.

     Paul suggests that Malkioni schools are divided primarily by philosophical differences. I tend to agree, but see them mainly as different interpretations of Malkion's Laws (there is but one God and Malkion is his prophet; love that which God has created; do not ruin that which you love; be loyal to God, Law, your family, and your lord). 3 and 4 have caused most of the divisions, including those over the use of the Tap spell. In fact, it is written that "the ease with which this law can be misinterpreted has led to many different sects of Malkionism." In this, I see them as being much like the divisions in Islam.

     Islam's two main branches are Sunni and Shi'a, who disagreed (originally) over who should be Caliph after the Prophet's death. The Sunni are primarily divided by their disagreements over the interpretation of the laws, but these divisions are nothing like the divisions in the Christian church, or even among Protestants. The Shi'a are divided by their loyalty to various Imams of the past, but again these divisions are not directly comparable to those in Christianity. Smaller groups like the Druzes, Baha'is, and Sikhs take off from Shi'a into areas which Sunnis and Shi'a would not recognize as Muslim at all. None of these groups (and none of the Christian sects) correspond terribly well to Malkioni heresies. It is, however, the KIND of division I see in Malkionism.

     One thing to remember is that Malkioni philosophy is shot through with caste, something which is missing in this globe's missionary religions. And the caste progression business has no earthly analogue.

G. Fried says: "relativism has no grounds of its own to stand on to say that it does NOT imply that anything goes."

     This man is dangerously close to becoming illuminated.
     You have put your finger on the self-destructive heart of
relativism, deconstructionism, and some other isms I probably don't even know about. This is why the Illuminated laugh at illumination. (Ever seen the interior illustration to the King Crimson album "In the Court of the Crimson King"? That guy is the way I expect Illuminates to look.)

     Yes, relativism is a castle in the air. But it has a great view.

     Most philosophies forget one thing--that we are biological critters. If we were beings of pure thought, like outta Star Dreck, philosophy would certainly guide us. Since we're eating, drinking, rutting bags of chromosomes, we tend to avoid things that cause us (and our near kin) harm. My belief in this ground marks me as a "soft" relativist, as opposed to a "hard" relativist, who denies there is any ground over which the castle is suspended!

     To apply this to Glorantha: initiates have contact with the divine, and this undeniable religious experience anchors their belief in the rightness of their beliefs. Malkioni only have the second-hand revelation of the Law and the New Rites, except when they participate in the veneration of the saints and/or visible gods. That's why the Brithini and Vadeli, without any religious experiences, are amoral.

     I finally got TotRM #11 today, and read it cover to cover. Kudos to all involved. The art direction is much better than in previous issues, and the maps and illustrations are superb. Even if I never run or play in Pamaltela, the article and ideas on the role of kinship in RPG's are easily worth the cost of the issue.

     I also got Penelope Love's _Castle_of_Eyes_ today, Chaosium's second novel. It bears a 1993 copyright, but I haven't seen anywhere before. I'm looking forward to reading it.

     I finally found a good game store (Game Parlor, in Chantilly, Virginia), where I got Castle of Eyes, so I also bought 4th edition Pendragon, mainly for the magic rules. Has anyone given any thought to adapting the magic rules to Gloranthan roleplaying? How about you rugged individualists (David Hall, for one) playing in Glorantha with Pendragon rules?

--Martin


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