Jul 06, 2022 9:12 PM
the teachingsphere looks for other worlds' understanding of the logos
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Now that they have made interworld contact, the Teachingsphere is most interested in other worlds' understanding of the logos. Since the logos exists, it is obvious that other worlds must have also learned about it! But they presumably have discovered aspects of it that the Teachingsphere has not. The Teachingsphere likely has blind spots that other worlds can correct! Several hymns have been written about the infinite mercy of the logos to grant them this opportunity.

The logos is the creator of the universe. It is less the reason that physical laws are invariant and math works to describe the universe, and more the fact that these things are true. It is also objective morality; we know this because it functions similarly to math. Objective morality loves us, and so we know that the logos loves us. It is blasphemy to ask that the logos interfere with the world, which it has already designed perfectly for its purposes. However, there is a shard of the logos within each soul, which is how we are capable of understanding morality and math, and it is permitted to "ask the logos for guidance and strength," which is metaphysically really just connecting with that shard, but it is easier for people to think of transcendent entities as being people. 

Do other worlds have books which describe something like this? The Teachingsphere would like to make them available for publication. 

[If you like this post you may also enjoy "it is a beautiful day at the censorship bureau and you are a horrible medianworld."]

 

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A book of poetry by space-worshipping animists about the vastness of the universe and the math which governs the planets and stars. It doesn't really engage with morality at all because it is instead about the workings of gravity and magnetic fields and the balance of delicate yet inevitable systems.

A book of arguments between founders of various principledsystems of ethics. They don't reach any clear conclusion but all of their ethical systems are beautifully laid out and argued for!

A collection of essays on history and the feeling of things-making-sense, the way that learning more about your field of study clarifies everything you already knew, the way that reality pulls on itself and facts influence other facts in ways that are unintuitive to guess yet no-other-way-it-could-have-been once you know them.

More poetry about the vastness and beauty of the natural world and the delicate balance of systems but this time instead of being about space and orbital mechanics it's about forests and ecology.

The twelve most elegant mathematical proofs of the last twenty-four years in Olari mathematics, explained for laypeople without much background in math; the explanation is both of how the math works and of why the proofs are so beautiful.

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Malachitin

Oh wow this is very cool! The Teachingsphere is smug in its conclusion that all universes would discover the logos. 

The Teachingsphere asks the Malachites if they would like to set the space and ecology poetry to music; if not, they will read it out loud in the appropriate rituals in the original language, with the Malachites' translations available in prayerbooks for anyone who would like to read them. 

The history essays and mathematical proofs are sold in various reflectionbooks, for people who prefer their morning meditations to have a little more structure. An enterprising monk creates a website that has a daily reflection from someone from another world, for people who would like their devotionals with a side of contemplating the fact that the universe is unchangingly beautiful; it becomes quite popular. 

The ethical arguments become popular among philosopher monks; unfortunately, to the Teachingsphere, they are far too arcane to be properly said to be ethics. A teaching monk uses it as the textbook for a curriculum on Malachite ethical systems; they hope to continue to develop the curriculum to incorporate more extraplanar ethical systems. 

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Oh gosh absolutely here have three different translations of the poetry (with translators' notes about the choices made) and a couple sketches of ways to set it to music, none of the original authors are musicians but a couple of them tried and one of them got a musician friend to write something, if the Teachingsphere has musical traditions around this genre of poetry that'd also be super cool to hear if they want to send recordings back!!

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The Teachingsphere sends back a collection of hymns about space and ecology! They aren't sure if the Malachites just wanted space and ecology praise hymns or, like, praise hymns in general, but here is a praise hymn about how great brassicas are and here is one about orgasms and here is one about the feeling when you've been suicidal for your entire life and then you wake up one morning and realize that somehow without you noticing things have become okay. 

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eeeee foreign musical traditions! okay so here are some more religious odes set to music that's meant to be in conversation with hymns as a music genre, cowriting is FUN--

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oh WOW Malachitin is so good at hymns! This manages to overcome Ozytopians' fundamental aversion to novel songs and several of them hit the charts.

Because of their fundamental opposition to novel songs, most popular Teachingsphere hymns have been covered thousands of times in various musical genres! Here is a history of Teachingsphere musical traditions told entirely via covers of a song that is almost but not entirely quite unlike Morning Has Broken

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Green does not really understand what the Teachingsphere is after, here, but here are some guesses:

- textbooks about math and science and music and logic and philosophy and whatnot
- educational fiction where for whatever reason the characters need to know, or happen to enjoy, an academic subject
- a song about how neat it is that milk turns into cheese when that doesn't seem at all necessary for the evolutionary purpose of milk
- an entire musical from the perspective of various edible plants whose defensive properties didn't deter human consumption at all and which are now successful beyond the reach of their inedible cousins because of it, though some of the songs are playing this for creepiness (the line "they will eat our children" features)
- religious texts about how to honor various naturesouls / animist spirits / egregores / etc., including attempts to spiritualize math or love or gravity or whatever

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The grapeverse is not totally sure what this logos thing is all about, but the Teachingsphere seems neat and they want to be helpful, so some interested parties get together and compile a collection of hymns to the five archetypes and send them over as soon as they hear about the Teachingsphere being on the lookout for plausibly logos-related things. Is this the sort of material they're after?

All together, the picture painted by the collection goes something like this:

Fierce Phoenix, adoptive mother of civilization, protect us from oppression and shelter us from hardship. We admire your courage and your tenacity. Now, um, have you considered... chilling out, like, occasionally? Not every bad situation needs to be endured with a laugh. Sometimes it's safe to just, have preferences, and express them calmly, and you don't even need to threaten to light anything on fire, and people will just be nice to you, and it's okay.

Gentle Ondine, delicate and sweet, teach us your compassion; show us how you see the world, full of pain and beauty. We love you so, so much, and we wish you had an easier time knowing that. Please be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and recognize that when you say everyone's happiness is very important, that includes you.

Clever Raven, trickster, inventor, lead us in understanding the systems and structures that surround us, and in reshaping our world by building better ones. Just maybe don't break quite so many of them. Did you know we have pentesting now? People will pay you to cleverly try to break their stuff, instead of getting mad about it. That seems better.

Noble Dragon, artist and architect, generous and lonely. You give us such beautiful things, and we appreciate you immensely for it. Maybe consider letting us give something back? It is actually good for people to participate in society some of the time. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but even the most fiercely independent Dragons seem to consistently benefit from having friends. Just a thought.

Honest Griffin, clear-eyed and clear-voiced, philosopher, historian, keeper of oaths and speaker of truths. Your work is so incredibly important. You're not as flashy as some of the other archetypes, but you're useful and dependable, and we appreciate that. However: tact. The surprisingly useful skill of occasionally not letting every thought that crosses your mind fall out of your mouth. Please, for all our sakes, work on that one a little. Thanks.

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It takes a little time for Anadyne to put together a response, but it's clear that the tenets of faith should be shared with them. 

Foundational works for the Four Great Knowings - Storyteller, Sensate, Devotary and Ecstatic - are selected and put together in a diplomatic bundle. The entire senior Council of Reflections participates.

Storyteller's package, put together by Liar, speaks about history and politics. The obligation of integrity and the joy of duplicity intertwine, here, underscored by the fundamental moral duty to witness and remember - not necessarily in stark detail, but true to the intangible essence of the story being told, not minimizing the dark nor forgetting the bright. Collections of poetry on healing from abuse, learning to see the truth, remembering the dead and gone, and being remembered in turn are prominent here; a complex history of Anadyne is presented that's deliberately contradictory, braiding together the aims of the Four Knowings in a way more reminiscent of myth than fact. It is explained that this knowledge, the record of the past, is the Great Knowing of the Storytellers and their sacred duty, and forms the backbone of the shirasanmi* of Anadyne as a whole. 

Sensate's package, put together by Explorer, speaks about science and experience. The obligation to live a broad and rich life is fundamental, here, underscored by the fundamental moral duty to be open to new ideas and actions. An image library of scenes of Anadician natural beauty is included, as are the astronomical tables used for ritual navigation by sextant. An account of a great explorer's travels across Anadyne and the discovery of the new continent that is now Eravia are included. High school textbooks on biology, chemistry and physics are also in this package, as is an explanation of the Anadician writing system and an Eravian-Anadyne dictionary. It is explained that this knowledge, the education that makes a modern Anadician from a child, is the Great Knowing of the Sensates and their sacred duty; they maintain the shirasanmi of Anadyne by ensuring that the knowledge kept by Storyteller passes down to future generations. 

Devotary's package, put together by Servant, speaks about service, compassion and worship. The obligation to be a compassionate and ethical person is foremost here, emphasizing the necessity to live in the service of what you believe in, whether that's a person, a reflection, or an ideal. Discussions of ethics taking many different perspectives are included in this package, along with a book of veshtarath** intended to place one's ideals or devotary reflection more centrally in one's meta-personality through humbling and ascetic practices. There is also poetry, stark and unflinching in its description of the trials of attempting to be a good person in a flawed and broken world, and yet ultimately hopeful. It is explained that this knowledge, the foundation of ethics and service, is the Great Knowing of the Devotaries and their sacred duty; they maintain the shirasanmi of Anadyne by working to support its people and providing the compassionate care and solid foundation that keeps the world from breaking people, or failing that, pieces them back together. 

Ecstatic's package, put together by Laughter, speaks of joy, artistry, sexuality, and the flowering of all things that bring life and light to reality, beyond the solemn duties of the other sects. There is so much art. There is devotary erotica that treats the physical form as a plaything while treating the mind with compassion and love. There are stories of gender transition, spiritual awakening, recovery from psychosis, recovery from illness, poetry, video games - the bundle is rather large. It is explained that this knowledge, the understanding of joy, is the Great Knowing of the Ecstatics and their sacred duty; they create the shirasanmi of Anadyne, going forwards into the future, creating all the vital things that make life worth living and worth telling stories about and worth remembering in the first place. 

Lastly, there is Snowblossom's contribution. 

Liar, Learner, Faithful, Lover;
For five hundred centuries,
We have remembered,
Through fragments,
Through care, 
Though effort and strife. 
This, our Shirasanmi,
we share wilingly,
and ask nothing in return.

*Soul-record, in practice a combination of a will, a eulogy, and a personal mythology with specifically defined rites of remembrance, generally written by the person in life or their survivors. It is a daily ritual for the Sanctified to select a shirasanmi from the vault and publicly perform one of its rites, thereby representing symbolically the wishes of all the unremembered. 

**Method of control, will-breaker, conditioning. Connotations of aspirational service and deliberate self-modification. 

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Green

Green seems to be... a little bit confused? The hymn about cheese turning into milk, and the less creepy songs from the plant musical, end up going on the hymn list, but they're much less popular than Malachitin's hymns. The animists seem more polytheist*, but it's neat that some of the polytheists seem to have worked out that the logos is real? Or are least are gesturing in the direction.  

*This is a totally different word from the word for the Teaching, and is understood to be a completely unrelated social structure. 

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Grapeverse

BUCKETS!!!!!!

The Teachingsphere LOVES buckets. There are instantly three different reflectionbooks themed around the buckets-- one devotes three months to each bucket, while one explores a single issue through the lens of each bucket every day, and a third just tags each essay according to what bucket it describes. There is also a cottage industry of websites classifying popular essays, hymns, meditations, and reflections by which bucket they fit in, and another cottage industry of What We Can Learn About The Logos From Its Manifestation In Assorted Buckets. Some people start wearing the symbols of the different buckets in order to show what kinds of people they are. (None of them, to their disappointment, get magic.) "You need to be more Raven about this" enters slang, especially among people who are big fans ot alternate worlds. 

They request that grape factcheckers confirm the books' correct understanding of the buckets. 

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This is all incredibly charming and the grape factcheckers (many of whom are Griffins or Ravens or both) are delighted to pore over all the books and attempt to correct their understanding of the buckets. They would like to make a general note that, in case anyone was confused on this point, the five archetypes are not understood to collectively form a complete system for categorizing minds, because a lot of people have some of a bunch of different ones and many people don't super have recognizable amounts of any, and this is probably even more true among aliens than it is among grapes. That said, feel free to keep sending your archetype-related material over for factchecking, it's adorable and the factcheckers are having fun.

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Here's a book of decision theory and its applicability to both real-life situations and exotic hypotheticals! Here's a book on the evolution of moral intuitions and the ways they do and don't line up with the decision-theoretically correct thing to do in various circumstances!

Here's a collection of books on the aspects of morality that unlike decision theory are subjective and expected to vary between species. There's a collection of essays on axiology (what humans and parrots and in some of the essays other animals generally want and enjoy, what conditions should obtain to make all of the above happy and free and competent and capable and virtuous and generally flourishing). There's a set of books on the nature and purpose and history of social norms, and the specific norms(A) of various present and historical parts of the world and how A are/were shaped by the prevailing material conditions and the distribution of social power and what problems A caused/are currently causing and the relevant tradeoffs. There are yet more books on forms of government and the benefits and tradeoffs of those forms and some more abstract speculation on what things it's a good idea for governments to try to accomplish. There are the collected archives of four different highly-reviewed advice columns, for a concrete view into how modern Anomalans mediate their interpersonal conflicts and manage tradeoffs between people's preferences.

More on the physical-law side of things, here are some physics textbooks. Here is a collection of awesome telescope photos; each photo is accompanied by a detailed explanation of what the star or planet or nebula or galaxy or etcetera is and why it looks like that, written by people who think these objects are the coolest thing ever for an audience who think "tangent" means "extra bonus content". There's a companion volume of music and poetry; the songs and poems don't map to the pictures one to one but it's clear that the former was inspired by the latter. Here is a similar pictures-and-descriptions-and-poetry-and-music package featuring aerial photos of Firstplanet wilderness. Here is another one for the works of minds and hands, with pictures of factories and farms and buildings and railroads and satellites and rockets and planes and grocery stores and genetically modified glowing fish. They can send instructions on how to make any of those things if people want that but it sounds like those should not go in the Logos packet. Here is a dramatic fantasy novel about multiverse explorers finding a universe that doesn't run on simple mathematical laws and being extremely horrified and doing some carefully reified but very unrealistic magic to give it consistent physics in a way that doesn't damage the handful of animal species that have managed to evolve in the pockets of less-chaotic chaos.

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One of the first things the Union sent to other worlds, once they were discovered, was a copy of the Canon (both in it's original canaanite and translated as best they can). Hadar is a flexible religion, that is and has been practiced in many different ways. Although there are very few beliefs which are considered absolutely necessary, there is a sort of consensus orthodoxy. The Canon is a collection of texts, maintained and regularly (if infrequently) updated by the priesthood, meant to convey the most important parts of that orthodoxy and serve as a reference for ordinary people. It includes writings on metaphysics+epistemology+mathematics (this is all sort of one field of study), axiology (primarily concerned with why and how truth and beauty are sacred; various texts disagree with each other), social-philosophy (a combination of political philosophy, economics, decision theory, game theory, and derived from those, principles and rules for how Hadarite society is meant to function), history, instructions for various rites, devotional poetry and hymns, reasoning-advice (focused on practical techniques to overcome illusions, distinct from the more abstract metaphysics+epistemology+mathematics), virtue-advice, and a large collection of hortative aphorisms. It combines contemporary and old texts, including some very old ones written by the prophet or his students. The older a source is, the more annotations and commentary it has, some of which is itself quite old.

The Diplomatic Corps has also sent a note explaining the orthodox position on what, as best as they can tell, the ozytopians are referring to as the logos. It is not known who or what created the universe, if it can be said to have a creator at all. Depending on what one means by 'create', it may be the case that the universe was created by the existence of physical laws and mathematics. The priests on staff are confused about the notion of 'objective morality' that works like math and loves people, or how it would have purposes or create the world. There are fringe sects that make similar claims, they are also confusing.

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Grapeverse

 They would like to make a general note that, in case anyone was confused on this point, the five archetypes are not understood to collectively form a complete system for categorizing minds, because a lot of people have some of a bunch of different ones and many people don't super have recognizable amounts of any, and this is probably even more true among aliens than it is among grapes.

The Teachingsphere: :(((((( but we LIKE buckets

Various theologians offer opinions on what the logos might have been trying to communicate by creating this specific set of buckets, as opposed to some other set. They are all very tentative; the theologians expect it to take a couple centuries before any sort of consensus opinion is derived.

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Firstplanet

The Teachingsphere is very confused by this package, because it seems like Firstplanet has come up with everything about studying the logos, without coming up with the logos that makes it all make sense. A confused monk concludes that Firstplanet might have some kind of impairment in finding overall systems that make a bunch of random details make sense, and sends them an explanation of how evolution works; she is removed from the First Contact Committee for misbehavior and failing to check whether the aliens actually already have concepts they're trying to explain. 

Some less confused theologians prepare a package attempting to explain why the logos connects all of this, with meditations that the Anomalans can do to check various claims empirically for themselves. 

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Firstplanet doesn't think their models have a deficiency in connecting details? Figuring out the exact evolutionary causes of common traits is an inherently speculative endeavour, and of course the existence of multiple species of human makes it very clear how contingent most things are, but the evolution/game theory/ethics causal web is pretty solidly understood as these things go.

Speaking of contingent evolution, panhuman neurobiology is different enough between planets that the same meditations have different results, which is very cool. Some of the techniques the Teachingverse sent work as advertised and some do something completely different and some do nothing! Anomaland sends back a package on the neuroscience behind Anomalan edgecase-sensoryconceptualexperiences and on the meditations and chemicals Anomalans can use to trigger them and also how to make sure they go away completely when one is done having them rather than sticking around being a nuisance. Since it seems results may vary, they advise some caution.

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There are chemicals that allow you to connect to the logos???

Some contemplative monks immediately volunteer to research this, following the most conservative possible procedures. 

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Olam

This is basically the sort of package that the Teachingsphere expected from every world; it sends back its own collection of basically the same thing. It's interesting that mathematics is considered to be the same sort of thing as metaphysics and epistemology; that's not how the Teachingsphere divides these things up, but it definitely makes sense. Social-philosophy is a category the Teaching has, covering basically the same territory; Olam seems to have put much less work in identifying reliable-bad-actors, and they might be interested in the Teachingsphere's tests for such people. However, the tests should be extensively empirically tested before they're relied upon. Different human populations have different psychology! Some of them seem to be driven into some kind of haze of lust which renders them incapable of making responsible decisions if they are exposed to the concept of sex.

The existence of physical laws and mathematics creating the world is one common theory for how the logos created the world! The Teachingsphere tends to find it easier to think about things if they're personified; is that not true for Olam?

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Thinking about things by personifying them is a common frame, but it is considered dangerous to get too attached to one frame, because you can easily forget what a thing really is and draw inappropriate conclusions about it. ...That might be what's happening when ozytopians think the logos loves them.

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Obviously morality loves them! Why would morality want people to be happy if it didn't love them? That's what love is, wanting other people to be happy. 

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The ozytopians are making some assumptions which are totally not obvious to Hadarites, who would like them to explain themselves more to help cross this inferential distance. Why would morality want people to be happy? Or want anything at all, for that matter. By 'morality' they are referring to an abstract concept, right, and not an actual person?

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Morality has, or alternately is, an axiology, and generally beings with axiologies are said to want things?

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