Friday, August 12, 2022

Four Cultural Worldviews

Cosmogonic Myth
Foundational Story
What Is
What To Do

Culture Index
The Bandit Reavers of the Earthheart Tribe
The Worshippers of the Burning Eye
The Empire of the Twin Canals
The Subjects of the Hallucigenian Diadochi

The Bandit Reavers of the Earthheart Tribe

Cosmogonic Myth
The world was in the bladder of a snake that was devouring itself. Within it, the god and goddess made love and it was good, until a seed grew between them and a tree tore them apart, putting the god in the sky and the goddess in the earth. In the hollow of the tree there was a man, and he climbed forth with the sun in his eye and a serpent in his heart. He gave his eye to his father and his heart to his mother.

He was a poet and a swordsman, a lawgiver and a lawbreaker.

Foundational Story
The man who was born in a tree was one of many gods that emerged at around this time. They wrangled and disputed, for the world serpent had been mightily disturbed by the eruption of the great tree in its belly. It snorted and breathed fire, and emerging out of this fire came many gods, many creatures, not all of whom were a part of this man’s family.

Each god had a way of dealing with these creature-gods. The One Astride the Sea drowned and chopped them up for brining in his shed. The Builder of Megaliths walled them out and went about his business. The Maiden of Morn tamed them and made them into her creatures. The Craven One hid, the Murderer Killed. The One Draped in Gold fought them, took their treasure, and then made love to the Hero-Chooser in the Builder’s shed, which made the Black Trickster so jealous that the Purple Shroud was born from his ear.

This piecemeal effort was not enough. The Gods did not have enough resources to turn back the tide.
Take this girdle, said the One who had emerged from the Tree, I made it out of the Aarachnowyvern’s hide.
And take this helm, said the One. I wrested it from a Trollsquito’s head.
And take this mead, said the One. It was my gift from the Wasp Maiden.
Then the Gods had what they needed, and they threw the interlopers into the outer dark.
They made love in celebration, and we were born. The Gods named the One their chieftain, and so the foremost among our pantheon is the One Who Enriches Companions. 

What Is
We were born of the gods, but the story of the gods does not end there. The gods are a part of our lives and a part of us. We sacrifice to them and they bless us; sometimes they possess us. Sometimes we travel to their realm to aid them in their Great Raid against the creatures of the outer dark, and we are rewarded and destroyed as befits the nature of such a place.

What To Do
Every man and woman should have a personal deity, and consider which others one ought to pay homage to. A deity provides a way of life, but you might need to turn to another deity if you encounter something that you don’t know how to deal with.

Be brave, be just, be truthful among your own people. Foreigners are remnants of the armies of the dark gods and should be treated as such. If you are to engage in protracted concourse, first induct them into our ways.

The Worshippers of the Burning Eye

Cosmogonic Myth
All was potential except for a mote. The mote was the latent force of differentiation, and at the beginning of time it blossomed and divided was was from what was not.
Within what was, it differentiated what was this from what was that.

It severed what was this from what was that and then animated them so that they could resist the force of entropy, which is the polar pull of what is not on what is. (The reciprocal pull is the emergence of novel forms from nonexistence.)

Some things were also imbued with a potential form, a state to transform towards but not to calcify into given that a static thing is brittle against entropy. It serves to channel the animation of certain things in a manner that vitiates totality’s continued animation if those certain things are imbued with a potential state.

The mote then illuminated and warmed what was using galaxies of stars. Some things that had potential, like planets, subsequently came to life and engendered new forms, countering the tendency of entropy.

Foundational Story
One form that arose was Humanity. Humanity became a great engenderer and animator of forms, selectively warming and illuminating their world with fire as the mote had warmed and illuminated the cosmos with stars.

Just as humans were produced by differentiation and animation, so too did humans produce things through differentiation and animation using their respective tools, fire and its nephew obsidian.

Humanity tended in this direction inside of themselves as well as outside of themselves, for humans that did not produce new forms inside and out were overtaken by entropy and did not engender their tendencies.

So powerful were obsidian and fire that their modes were echoed in humans via emulation, and Thought was born. The action of Thought in Consciousness echoed the cosmogonic action of Differentiation in Potential, and thus the mote took an interest in humanity.

The mote went into them gently as Soul, or Conscience; a tendency in the direction of potentiation, but not compulsion, for that would be a static mode towards a static conclusion and thus tending towards entropy and reclamation by nothingness.

What Is
As a primordial force of differentiation and its subcategory animation, the mote is interested in engendering those things in us. It does this in two ways: through our conscience, and by punishment.

Normally its ways are subtle. They manifest in events rather than divine wrath. The burning of conscience and the collapse of things. It hastens entropy in service of animation.

Its personal intervention is not unknown. 

The mote is known by a symbol of its gifts and its punishment. The eye and the fire. Illumination, destruction, and the finest tool of discernment possessed by the human consciousness.

It is The Burning Eye.

Fire and obsidian. Entropy and conscience. They see you. They burn you. In life, you possess the counterentropic forces of discernment and discretion. In the end, entropy will have you. You have some say over the path.

The final form of potentiation to which it steers us is not known. As such, the Burning Eye is regarded by most as a dark, dour, cruel god. Nonexistent or unfit for worship. It does not punish such people; it leaves them to entropy.

What to Do
The Burning Eye speaks through the conscience. The conscience speaks only when it is not interrupted. 

Spend time in absolute solitude communing with your conscience. Do not allow your voice to cover its voice. Do not confuse the two. Enquire of it; do not attempt to shape its answer. Be humble when speaking to it; almost beseech it.

Act upon its dictates. Its desires are yours and can vitiate your spiritual desert, the place of revelation. It knows what you are made of better than you.

What it says is likely to surprise you. Its values will differ from those of your higher consciousness, which are mediated by your society and habits.

It may rebuff trivialities. It may not explain itself. It may speak rhetorically. It will never lie.

Petition your conscience in silence and in solitude. The forest is good. The desert is better. The mountain is best.

WIP for Artist

The Empire of the Twin Canals

Cosmogonic Myth
In the beginning there were twins, for things can only be defined by their opposites. The twins contained spirit and matter in precisely equally opposed ratios.

They wrestled so fiercely that their bodies fused and became their father, who was pleased and taught them many things. But in this form they grew complacent and their mother tore them apart.

They are seeking each other once again and we are projections of their shredded skin in space, seeking to come to grips with their transcendent struggle while avoiding the blows and traps of the cosmic force that attempts to keep us dynamic by killing us.

Foundational Story
A man was born who was a fusion of twins in a single body, and though he looked like a normal person he had the wisdom of all the ancestors immediately accessible to him. He taught the lessons of a dozen fallen civilizations to the kings and chieftains of his day, and they were well able to avoid devastating wars and rebellions of injustice. When he was pleased by what he had seen, he split in two and took his place in the waters of the Twin Canals, for he could pass on the wisdom of the past but not of the future. The people grieved for him, but he heard their grief and spoke words of comfort from the water. His words mixed with their wails and became the gods we know today.

What Is
While we achieved great knowledge with the coming of the Twin, history since that date has been fraught with error. While there was a period of great conquest and subjugation, the incoherent talk of our subjects has disrupted the schema of the universe as such, rendering our gods distorted, and through them matter and the state. The babbling of the people of the earth will undermine and crumble our sacred places if we do not keep them at arms’ length, and if we do not hold our subjects in metaphysical silence to the degree that we can. This is also true of any new peoples we assimilate into the Empire; they are to be building blocks, not parrots in a cage. We will construct our grand sanctuary far above them.

What To Do
Be taciturn and strict. Enforce boundaries of stillness and sanctuaries of silence. Give hospitality in hospitality’s house, give wisdom in wisdom’s house, give judgement wherever you are, but do not allow the foreigner or subject across the sanctuary’s transom except in chains. Work in stone; complete the megaliths. When you go abroad, go to expand the domain of the Empire. The proper place of subjects is metaphysically encased in stone, encased in the cornerstones of the great work, because they have never had the knowledge of the ancestors and do not have it written into their works and their blood. Do not allow yourself to be disjointed by the maddening music of the outside world.
Your family lives at your feet and works on your behalf as the lesser gods serve the Buildergod. If they do not respect this contract, cast them out and let them come back when they have felt the elements to their bones, even the claws of the lion.

The Hallucigenian Diadochi

Cosmogonic Myth
Existence began with a great lobopodian ouroboros bathing in divine ichor. One day it enclosed a section of ichor in its spines and this became existence.

The ouroboros perceived that it was perfect and all else was less than perfect. Therefore, it decided to perfect what matter there was.

It impregnated the ichor inside of its arms with a blast of its divine seed, and one million hallucigenians were born of golden mulch and sacred milt. These hallucigenians set about devouring the placenta of their birth, which was the cosmogonic ichor enclosed by the ouroboros. Their bezoars and coprolites became the planets, and the hallucigenians selected one fertile planet in particular to become the seed of their perfection, which is their special charter as children of the lobopodian ouroboros. This planet, Earth, was where they were to transform into something as perfect as the lobopodian ouroboros.

Foundational Story
The hallucigenians are sparks of perfection, but the Earth is not because it is the refuse of their first meal. They found many impurities in the Earth that made it unsuitable for immediate transfiguration into the seed of transcendent rebirth, as some matter had been unnaturally electrovitiated by static electricity, and was thus animate in the way hallucigenians were animate, but had no souls nor place in the divine order. There were reptilian creatures, beings of pure energetic radiation, airborne viral fogs doubling as neural networks, fungal agglomerations sopping with brain fluid and myceliaic nerves, and creatures that defied the very matter of the substance blessed by the lobopodian ouroboros, becoming something else entirely. These were just a few of the things that the bold hallucigenians encountered in their world, but so splendid were the children of the ouroboros that it would have been a cosmic perversion to have erased these impurities with their own spiny legs. 

Lo, the hallucigenians remade a bag of disgusting mud into the first man and woman, then cut it in half. The hallucigenians vitiated the first pair with a single breath, and bade them deal with the strange creatures while the hallucigenians planned the rebirth of the planet.

Mankind spread, erasing some species, but in their utter corruption and idiocy were coopted by others. Soon a situation of existential intolerability presented itself, as the human race had just made things worth by being divided up into a number of empires ruled by the different animate species of the world!

The day of the human race’s most unforgivable crime came when their deluded and incoherent words drove many hallucigenians to madness and despair at their creation, and thus hallucigenian empire warred against hallucigenian empire, as well as those of the soulless filth that had come about through accident in the earliest days of the earth.

Thus humans were the matter trod beneath the feet of superior races, and our filth encrusted every corner of the earth.

At this the earth itself rebelled, and a great fungal agglomeration at its heart shattered the empires of the world. At this tragedy the hallucigenians went beneath the earth, turning their faces from their creations for a time, cleansing their perceptions of the folly of mankind.

In the eons since, a few humans have gone to them, pleading for absolution. The hallucigenians have instructed them in the disgusting folly and world-corrupting history of mankind, how the human race was made to cleanse and perfect the earth for the great work of the hallucigenians and their holy creator, and how the hubris of independent human speech and thought cast down the great work, derailed cosmic history, and the self-reinforcing bacterial rot of what is called human civilization, the disease that worships itself. Could there be anything more perverse?

What Is
Humans ape the condition of civilization as they knew it beneath hallucigenia, without hallucigenia. This is the final travesty, and see the horror of the Earth today. See the corruption of mankind, its madness and directionless brutality. See the strange creatures that should not exist, some of which we even worship!
We seek something to worship. We need something to worship. The hallucigenians created us this way, in their wisdom, so that we would have our place, our orientation, our axis. We seek to fill this void. We cannot. Only they can.

We have forgotten what we are. We know only vanity on a galactic scale. But there is meaning on a scale that transcends the galactic. The cosmic ouroboros is the source of all things, and the hallucigenians are its charter.

We are a mechanical appendage of the hallucigenians. We are soulless, but we are not accidents, like so many animate things in this earth.

Humans must return to the service of the hallucigenians, and bring other humans to the service of the hallucigenians. All other creatures and all humans who will not return to their divinely-ordained mode of existence must be destroyed and extirpated from human consciousness.

What To Do
To avoid the catastrophe of the Fall, humans must be silent in the presence of hallucigenians. We are to be instructed. Our ability to formulate words is to be directed laterally and downwards, not upwards. It is a tool to be used in service of our purpose and not applied to our makers. Doing so was the source of the glitch that corrupted the world in the first place.

We can communicate amongst ourselves, but all text and symbols of human origin are to be destroyed before an area is reclaimed by the direct presence of a hallucigenian. 

Everything made by human hands outside of the direction of hallucigenians is a form of existential corruption and so dangerous that it once even touched the hallucigenians themselves, to our eternal shame. That which is useful may be used, but all manifestations of human culture must be destroyed and erased from human memory, so that the cycle of degradation we began may be brought to its final conclusion.

You may eat and you may create new servants of the hallucigenians, but with these conditional permissions comes a charter that is fundamental to the perfection of the actual cosmos.

Statues, music, paintings, fiction, records of postlapsarian human history and anything posited and not directed from on high is an unalloyed cosmic evil and must be destroyed and disappeared from human memory. There is only our relationship to the hallucigenians. 

Birds, bulls, wheat, pigs, you may eat them but they are accidents and will be erased before the day when the world becomes the seed of perfection. Until then only hallucigenians and dynamite are to be loved.

Serving in human armies that destroy cultural artifacts on behalf of the hallucigenians is a glorious thing, but some of us must go undercover in the thing that humans mistake for civilization. It is permissible to lie to humans in the course of converting or destroying them, but you will be assessed when you return to the hallucigenian fold and you are likely to be found wanting.

Some hallucigenians may yet be lost to the madness of human words. If you are directed to destroy such a divine body by your master, you will do so with grief, horror and shame in your heart.

We will answer for our sins and the world will be perfected.


  1. Love all of these. The Hallucigenian Diadochi bit sent me running for the dictionary, but in a good way, I had no idea these things existed!

  2. For me, it must be the Burning Eye.

    Exploring a faction through its central narrative feels natural and memorable, I don't bounce off it like I do with drier, more statistical, etc., ways of depicting them.

    1. Yeah, and it also gives a way to actualize characters of the culture. What ideas do they share about the world? How does that make them different from the players?

      I agree about the Burning Eye, or at least the depiction of conscience here is something that I've experienced, though the role of the Burning Eye in the game world is not consistent across cultures that have members associated with it. Some believe that it mediates between this cosmos and foreign cosmoses that are seeking to acquire discrete packets of human consciousness for their own universes based on the contents of each packet. Some believe the Burning Eye is a representative of such a cosmos


Art - First Run