OBSOLETE: Vajhoran Religion: Seven Vehicles – OBSOLETE

THE FOLLOWING IS OBSOLETE.


The Seven Vehicles

The Eight Clear Roads are simple to deduce, but not always easy to follow. Theologians have therefore constructed a number of ‘vehicles’ to allow people to pass along them with greater ease and alacrity. Where the roads are universally agreed, the efficacy of the different vehicles has perpetually been debated. Broadly, the vehicles fall into two categories – those that address the spirit directly, and those that address the spirit through the body. The spiritual vehicles are the Vehicle of Intercession, the Vehicle of Remonstrance, the Vehicle of Empathy, and the Vehicle of Purity of Will. The bodily vehicles are the Vehicles of Abnegation, Penitence, and Asceticism.

Intercession

The Vehicle of Intercession, considered the easiest and most universal Vehicle, and that most suitable for children and converts, places faith in the power of the saints. The saints are to a degree unified with the General Will, but are at the same time more human and conceivable. A person may thus use them as a path to acting in unison with the General Will. By doing so, three of the four Cities are approached – others are not placed in poverty (because the General Will includes the wills of all), virtue and law are respected (because violating them is contrary to the Will), and unison is achieved with others who are also in unison with the Will.

This Vehicle focuses on two things – mantras recited to bring the individual to the state of mind of a particular saint, and to open the spirit to be receptive to the entrance of the saint, and ikons, physical items (mostly paintings or miniature sculptures, or occasionally relics) that draw the attention of the saint. It also involves actions in accordance with the likes and dislikes of that saint. More will be said on the matter of saints later.

Remonstrance

The Vehicle of Remonstrance revolves around the importance of forgetfulness. Forgetfulness is a major cause of evil – it leads to both foolishness and selfishness. Accordingly, it is important to remind the individual of the mistakes that they are making. To this end, individuals must confess their deeds and plans to others, and hear their criticisms.

Empathy

Related to Remonstrance is the idea of empathy. Here, individuals learn of the suffering that unwise action causes through observing others, both contemporary and historical.

Purity of Will

The Vehicle of Purity of Will is an ancient but contentious theory that holds that, through meditation, the will may be freed from the local concerns of the body and brought directly into unison with the general will. Once associated with orders of monks, it has long been suppressed, but is beginning to regain influence.

Abnegation

The Vehicle of Abnegation recognises that many sins arise from egoism, and in particular egoism that springs from an excessive attachment to the singular body. The Vehicle therefore recognises that the unessential needs and vain dignities of the body are eschewed. Physical humiliation lessons the love of the self, and the love of body, by demonstrating the equality of all matter.

Penitence

Other sins arise through the lack of consequences for actions – a lack of appreciation for the needs of others arises from the inability to feel their pain, and foolishness arises because of the distance between unwise action and the eventual possible consequence. This Vehicle is distinguished from the Vehicle of Empathy through its bodily approach – rather than observing other pains, actual pain is inflicted, commensurate with the pain (to others or in the future to oneself) that a sinful action creates, where the pain would otherwise not be directly felt.

Asceticism

The Vehicle of Asceticism confronts the hyperbolic desires people have by demonstrating that they are unnecessary. Gluttony, on this account, springs from a fear of hunger – by imposing moderate and undangerous levels of hunger, the individual is shown how little food they really require.

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Why be good?

This is not going to be an explanation of my ethical position. [this is partly a warning to you, but mostly a warning to me not to make this too long].

However, somebody Elsewhere has asked why people should live ethically, and further has made clear that they are asking those with developed ethical systems why people should follow those systems. So, within that narrow metaethical remit, I offer an answer.

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Note to self

An important thing for me to remember is that I can’t speak German. I try every now and then, but each time I am reminded that I cannot speak German. I divide responsibility for this failure between two culprits: the fact I never learnt German, and the fact that whatever poor pale inception of a simulacrum of German I may once at school have begun to learn I have long since forgotten.

The chief consequence of attempting to write in German for me seems to be that the return to familiarity from the frustrations of a language I struggle to say anything in does tend to cause me to run havoc with my English syntax in a surfeit of ebulliance. Witness this post.

Yay!

Well, ‘oh, good’, at any rate. Finished Part Two of my novel. This should put be about a third of the way through. The easy third, unfortunately. And I’ll need to massively rewrite that third at some point, too.  And I’ll have to seriously think about how to organise the next third before I can do any more writing.

Still, feels good to have reached such an arbitrary mark in my progress with an irrelevent flight of fancy.

Fantasy and Structure

This will probably not turn out to be that interesting, and perhaps I’ll revist the topic once I’ve actually thought about it – this is experimenting with the idea of using this blog for working out thoughts rather than presenting them.

I believe in Fantasy – that is, I believe that, despite all evidence to contrary, it is a genre in which great writing can occur. One reason for this is the inherent freedom that the genre affords – but another is the fact that, quite contingently, it has become a genre in which works can be written that would not be permitted in most other types of books. Works that are… massive.  The scale of this is almost hard to overestimate. The internet tells me that an ‘average’ novel is between 75k and 100k words. Other sources tell me that it’s crept up, and is now more like 100k-120k.  By comparison, Robert Jordan’s posthumously-completed “Wheel of Time” looks as though it will end up around 3.5m words.

Some people see this as a problem. Having grown up reading this sort of thing, I don’t see it as a problem at all – I see being 3.5m words long and taking twenty years to write as being a GOOD thing. This gigantic size allows more content, more depth, more exposition, and more development. This is not to say, of course, that these opportunities are commonly seized…

The point of this post, however, is to think about the big problem that large structures pose to the writer (after all, I would like to deal with these problems one day – while I’m currently writing a tiny little novel only tangentially fantastic, and have no hope of ever being published, I nonetheless have always wanted to be a writer, and for me being a writer has always meant composing a multi-volume epic fantasy – George RR Martin may have been a successful short-story writer, and not done too badly with his early novels, but he will always ‘be’ the writer of A Song of Ice and Fire – to me, on a primitive and by-now-unquestionable level, being a writer simply is writing such a series). The big problem: what to do with all those words?
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