Philosophy and Religion on Saulkement
There is no monolithic philosophy or theology that dominates the populace of Saulkement. This may strike some as ironic because the people physically reside on the body of a God. Yet the Cult of Saulke is very limited in its scope and attracts the most pragmatic of followers. Saulke provides material blessings to the members of his Cult in exchange for direct satisfaction of Saulke’s desires. The Cult of Saulke does not offer its members an explicit system of values or any pathways for personal or societal transcendence. Nor is the cult of Saulke demanding of intellectual or religious fidelity. Thus the population of Saulkements can take an allacart attitude towards metaphysical and social doctrines.
The teachings of Koret are a popular yet divisive doctrine among the Vartandel Ghosts living on Saulkement. The details of the teachings and its origins are discussed below, but the reasons for their rise in popularity is as follows. The teachings are easy to understand, they justify the status quo, they are largely anti-intellectual (thus fairly resistant to challenge) and they are wide reaching in their promise to improve all levels of the human experience. Koret’s teachings are not widely accepted by the educated philosophers. The most common reasons given for dismissing the teachings is that they fail to provide an internally consistent and logical argument for their conclusions. There have been post-Koret philosophers that have attempted to retro-actively ‘prove’ Koret’s conclusion. Those treatises are not widely known outside a handful of Vartandel scholars, and they do not need to be known. The chief appeal of Koret’s teachings is their simplicity.
Regardless of whether an individual on Saulkement accepts the teachings of Koret in whole, in part, not at all or have never even heard Koret’s name the teachings have been influential. On Saulke they use of the imperative “ Breathe” to mean “be quiet” or “reconsider your actions” is directly born from Koret’s commandment. The phrase “look for buffalo first” meaning “do not make this more difficult than it has be” or “take the path of least resistance” is common Koret derived wisdom. The most far reaching influence of Koret’s teaching was his classification of human existence in terms of what he called four theaters: The Nation, The Mob, The Individual Mind and The Body. Even subsequent philosophers who completely reject Koret have been forced to address their ideas towards these four theaters of life.
Before the God Saulke hurled himself into the sea a man named Koret was born in Vartandel. One day he claimed to realize that the world of humanity was doomed. Shortly after that he also claimed to have figured out what was wrong with the world and determined how to right all the world's problem. He recognized that all human suffering was due to four chaotic influences that affected the four different theaters of human existence. Koret called these four chaotic influences the The Four Insults
The Four Great Insults
The first insult is an insult to nations and that is class warfare (or social mobility).
Koret believed that movement of citizens through the ranks of society prevented society from advancing as a whole. If a laborer spends all his time trying to become yeoman than he is ignoring his duties as laborer. Koret concluded that if everyone just played their role nations would be efficient and stable.
The second insult is an insult to the mob (the general populace) and that insult is vapid communication.
Essentially Koret thought people talked too much, particularly the lower classes. He thought music and poetry were wastes of time because they communicated nothing quantifiable. Koret concluded that if people stopped wasting their time listening to music or poetry, gossiping and discussing their feelings they would more efficient.
The third insult is an insult to the mind and that insult is over confidence.
As Koret saw it people only fail because they tried something that was too hard or too difficult for them. Koret was a big proponent of scaling back one’s ambitions to match one’s abilities. It is better to do something simple in which success is guaranteed, than attempt something complicated that risks failure.
The fourth insult is an insult to the body and that insult is poorly regulated breathing.
Koret believed that most physical, mental and emotional problems could be attributed to inappropriate breathing practices. Holding your breath too long allows toxins to build up in your system. Hyper-ventilating depleted you essence and would make you feel weak or scared. Snoring distracted the dreaming mind. Most of humanity breathed incorrectly. Aside from his commands regarding proper behavior, most of Koret's writings describe breathing techniques for different situations.
One reason Koret's teachings have persisted for so long is that they are literally carved in stone. In southern Vartandel their are four great monoliths on to which Koret's teachings were carved. The philosophy was never accepted in Vartandel, but it was never forgotten either and it has been discussed through out history. Now on Saulkement it has begun to gain popularity. Koret's commandments are widely known among the residents of Saulkement. In a heavily stratified society like Saulkement the commandments are easy to employ because they hold the different classes of individuals to different standards.
Koret’s Commandments for the High Born
- The dragon hunts the buffalo because it is above the buffalo and the dragon has the right of strength to its flesh. The dragon does not hunt the griffin for although it is above the griffin, there are still buffalo. A dragon, which hunts the griffin, grows scars and cultivates pain; the dragon that hunts the buffalo grows fat and cultivates joy.
- Do not love that which is unworthy of you.
- Being born to power makes one worthy of power
- Power is the means to take, and everything can be taken except for power
- One word in the mouth of the ascending is greater than a thousand spears in the hands of the common
Koret’s Commandments for the Warrior
-Be wary of songs and poems, let them not drive your blade or slow your hand
-Take note of the common farmer, when he strikes at the worthless weed or wandering tree he strikes at the root, when he harvests fruit from a worthy plant he takes the fruit and leaves the shrub. Be this way in battle. Destroy the weak and the worthless, but do not harm the plants that feed you.
-Breathe before entering a cathedrals, castles or place of import. Breathe and confirm life.
-When you are compelled to fight, fight. When you are compelled to flee, flee. When you are compelled to kneel, kneel. If you are compelled to speak: breathe. Breathe until you must fight, flee or kneel.
-The sheath cannot wield the sword it carries, just as the weak cannot strike the strong, even when armed with the sharpest blade.
Koret’s Commandments for the Common man
-Eat with awareness of your fortune and gratitude for your quenched suffering
-Pause before taking a thing and determine if you have strength enough to lift it
-Be grateful for opportunities, wants and challenges for these are times to exercise strength
-When you feel compelled to speak in a meeting or conversation with equals, pause, take a breath
-When you encounter your betters listen, they are the ascending
-Notice what you have, not what you do not have
Role-playing and World Building Notes
I hope that having some in world cultural references will give any one writing or playing in this world a greater sense of realism or immersion. Having a character that is really into Koret's teaching could comparable to that guy you knew who was really into Ayn Rand or Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.