Orlanthi philosophy

From: Peter Metcalfe <metcalph_at_bigfoot.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 22:09:01 +1200

>Peter Metcalfe says:

> >Since feats are easy to come by, I really do not see how a
> >keenly developed philosophy can amplify this further. Is
> >a Uroxi going to improve his connection with the Storm Bull
> >merely by learning the rudiments of Socratic dialogue?

>I wouldn't say "rudiments" and "keenly developed" are equivalent,
>but if the philosophy would (for example) help the Uroxi separate
>what is necessary and unnecessary in his religious practice, then yes.

What _is_ necessary and unnecessary in Orlanthi religion? I do not get the understanding in Thunder Rebels that the Orlanthi religion is cluttered up by unnecessary things that impede the understanding of their god.

>Mind you, I
>don't think the Uroxi have much superfluous material in their religious
>practice -- Urox is the Scouring Wind, after all, and his followers can't
>remember all that much... As long as we're raising extreme examples,

So my example of Uroxi religion being improved by abstract speculation is now extreme and thus useless as a rebuttal. Rightio. So how about telling us how the aspects of Orlanth, Yinkin and Odayla are improved by abstract speculation? An example of it in action might be nice too...

>you imagine Lhakor Mhy followers not engaging in abstract speculation?

No, I can't. But the topic happens to be about engaging in abstract speculation to improve the religion. And I can quite happily conceive of Lhankhor Mhy types quite happily engaging in Abstract Thought about the nature of their god without doing anything to improve their understanding of him. In thinking about meaningless drivel, they are acting like their god and so draw closer to him (the same could also be said about their progressive inability to think about the real world).

> >No, they don't. Yelmites have an edge over Elmali because they
> >worship a Great God whereas the Elmali does not. Everything
> >else is chrome. Even if the Yelmites forgot their philosophy
> >entirely and the Elmali uniformly subscribed to a well-developed
> >philosophy then the Yelmites would _still_ have an edge over the
> >Elmai.

>Is it possible in your vision of Glorantha for something to have
>more than one cause? Is it possible that the relationship between
>deity, worshipper, religion, and culture might rest on more than
>"mine's bigger?"

The topic has been about the relative power of the deities. Since the power of those deities is real and not contingent on the size of the worshippers, grandeur of their temple etc., it is deeply misleading to go around ascribing the differences to worshipdependent  factors or at least view the gods as such. For example, when I played an Elmali clan in KoDP and had a great temple to Elmal and a middling temple to Orlanth, my clansmen did _not_ think "Elmal is a greater god than Orlanth". They might have said "Elmal has blessed us highly with his presence" or even "Orlanth is distant from us" but to imply that Elmal's strength is a function of his worshippers sounds dire.

> >Likewise
> >the purpose of Dara Happan philosophy was not to improve their
> >religion but to resolve troubling questions of doctrine and
> >myth.

>And these "troubling questions of doctrine and myth" never involve
>feats or magic or the worshipper's understanding of them?

No. If you want to know what went on, look at the Fortunate Succession for details. Secondly just what is it about feats that philosophy has to deal with them?

>Theism in Glorantha has always seemed like a two-way street to me, with
>gods and their worshippers influencing each other;

You have been arguing for something stronger than that. That a god's power be dependent on his worshippers is more than a matter of influence IMO.

>your vision seems to be "the gods are what they are and give what they
>give, and their worshippers are passive recipients.

I have to wonder at "seems to be" for I do recall such matters as explaining numerous times in this thread about the difference between the god and his cults among various peoples for example.

> >And the simple answer is they don't. To prove me wrong,
> >point to anything in Storm Tribe, Thunder Rebels, King of
> >Sartar or RQ3 material that shows the average Orlanthi
> >engaging in philosophical speculation. Everything they
> >do think about is thought about in concrete and tangible
> >terms.

>Well, there's the priest or priestess keyword that Tim Ellis

A keyword which speaks about a philosophy skill. It says nothing about whether they indulge in abstract speculation and John's provided his interpretation of the skill that avoids them doing so.

>There's the evidence of the Orlanthi involvement in the Bright
>Empire and EWF.

The "average Orlanthi" engaged in abstract thought during the Bright Empire and the EWF? Please.

>but as I have pointed out repeatedly, a quick study of history
>shows that religious speculation is endemic in the human race

But religious speculation is far from the same thing as abstract thought. Could you at least recognize this?

>Why you deny the Orlanthi this basic human trait I have no idea.

I am not denying it. I am denying that the Orlanthi think about their gods in terms of abstract thought, platonic dialogues and any other such philosophical tools. I have repeatedly distinguished between using reason and using abstract thought even to the extent of providing examples of such. For some reason, this distinction continues to evade you.

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #530

Powered by hypermail