People believe in ideas, and they will do so forever. Those that believe in God(s), and those that don’t, those that believe in principles, and those that believe in leaders, even those that claim to not believe in anything - they all shape their life according to something, be it the crudest recognition of their existence and the possibility of survival, up to the most refined of philosophies a human (or another) mind can imagine.
This is a scroll of such beliefs. Additions are welcome.
Additional Ideas (5)
One of the numerous ecological movements, this group has managed to attract so much public attention as few before. In 2035, shortly before the start of an expedition to Mars, a tiny secret pocket was found on one lander! NASA, shocked with this security breach found samples of mosses and lichen inside, and a part of the personnel was identified as members of this group.
The Gaians base their principles (some say beliefs) on James Lovelock's book Gaia, and other derivative works later written by biologists and activists. While both the book and the group try to evade any pseudo-religious interpretations, the group is often accused of cult-like tendencies.
Gaia is in a metaphorical sense the entire planet (the living part of it), a superorganism. It tries to maintain its living status through the actions of every little part of it. Gaians warn that excessive human intervention can change the current equilibrium. While the result will be simply a new equilibrium reached, it won't be necessarily friendly to humans. But Gaia gives life and takes it away. The Humans, in some ways the most developed species on Earth, should instead become the students and helpers of Gaia.
The incident mentioned above is one of the other duties intelligent species have, according to the group: to spread life beyond one planet, to as many places as possible. Mars is in best case a dying world, so it should be given (or returned) the Gift of Life.
The Gaians will certainly have impact on the future. Abandoning their secretive ways, they publicly discuss their principles, and having many scientists between their members and sympathizers, they encourage numerous ecological projects and support space exploration. Their numbers are growing. Their gentle, but not stopping drive to make other planets hospitable for life has quite a public appeal.
"The only condition for joining the Lost is to reject one's own roots. You won't need your nationality, you religion, not even your name. All this will stay behind. No one will ask you. You have been part of something, but that something has harmed you too much. Become one of us if you want."
In the countless wars, conflicts, terrorist attacks and hate campaigns of the 21st century, many people felt suddenly not part of their surroundings anymore. Not recognizing their friends and neighbours, feeling shame for their deeds, and being part of that group, they give up and loose whatever faith and identity they had. The Lost often 'wake up' in the middle of a war, when they find killing to happen without reason, blood on their hands without memory on who it belongs to. Many are killed, many are executed or tortured for mutiny and desertion, but some survive.
The Lost live in small groups and spend their lives farming and helping each other. They ask no questions, and live like monks (though they avoid all kinds of faiths). Trying to avoid any group-identifiers, many abandon even their old languages and speak alternative languages like esperanto instead.
The Lost are no political force, because they don't vote, have no weapons and evade violence. They are often the targets of harassing, and are sometimes massacred (most are from islamic lands, and still live close, by the way). They get occasional support from christian and buddhist communities, and a few of them convert to these faiths. The bulk of this 'movement' but tries to live a simple life without duties to anyone besides a few souls with a similar fate.
The Lost may become a new religion one day.
Many philosophies have already the Aspect at their core, many incorporate it at a faster or slower rate. Some philosophers think that due to its wide acceptance even between bitter enemies, and races that can't find other common grounds, it can be marked as universal, and rate all philosophies and beliefs according to it. So what does it mean?
Simply put, Life is everything that counts in the Universe.
Let us crush a stone. What happens? Unless we can attribute the stone some importance, nothing. Let us destroy a mountain. Still no noticeable effect may happen, or be felt.
Now, let us destroy a planet, or an entire solar system. Anyone may see it as useless, and it is.
But would it matter, if an entire galaxy was destroyed, but no life-form would be ever born in it, and no other would travel there until the End of Universe? Would it _really_ matter? It is only atoms and molecules... randomly they came together, randomly they will fall apart.
It is Life, that determines the usefullness of all things.
The Aspect does not necessarily promote the wanton destruction of anything inanimate. A few highly moral races take great pains to ensure that the solar systems they exploit do not contain any life-forms, and are far from young civilisations, that may wish to use the resources later.
Many follow the Basic Principle, ie you may claim as yours only what is not yet claimed by others. The Anarchist civilisation of Bhrod'kars defines ownership as what one is currently using. And for most races, ownership is also the freedom of destruction - not wanton, mind you. In the end, some claim, the Aspect is actually against large-scale destruction, as future races may consider that planet or system useful.
Based on the beliefs of a special bond between all life-forms of a given ecosystem, the intelligent beings have indeed evolved for a special purpose: they shall ensure their biosphere survives, and possibly even spreads to other places. Many are variants of this belief.
They could become the sophisticated terraformers, and builders of great artificial worlds. But some might turn on other, already living worlds, and change it to their own image. The "change" may range anywhere from carefull implanting of a few well-chosen plants and creatures, that slowly work towards the end; through a massive infiltration; and up the violent destruction of the local ecosystem.
Note: while many of the more destructive followers of this philosophy prefer to erase the sentient beings of their home planets too, some try to incorporate them into their new "better" ecosystem.
Another approach of a similar kind is an attempt to create the perfect biosphere from the best life-forms, genetic engineering being the basic tool. While friendly, these guys start to resemble in a way the Borg. No technological implants, only their organic structure is improved over, and over... until the ultimate end is reached.
Another 'group' of beliefs. For those that believe in a Higher Being, other races are sometimes a problem. To some, they are lesser creations to be their servants and prove their own perfectness and mastery of the universe. Some even consider them Devil's work (substitute for any suitable bad symbol). Not surprisingly, they rarely make good neighbours.
The theory, or postulate of the 'Godly Reflection' speaks differently. The One, a creative force incomparable to any mortal or group of mortals, made every race in his own image - how can you naively assume a single race is his (or hers) perfect reflection, that captures all or most of its essence? Even if there exists a race that is closer to him (and there are many that do not hesitate to point at their own), other races would still, hopefully, contain something unique of godly essence. By knowing their essence and staying pure of heart, one can recognize a tiny bit more of The One, than is possible by knowing only his own race.
For sure, those following this kind of belief are not naive, and do know of Evil that lurks in the hearts of many men, uh, creatures. (And some can mark a civilisation as being the embodiment of Evil, or a more destructive aspect of God - so the friendly priests that spent some time with you could evaluate you, and may _very_ negatively impact any future diplomatic relations with other races!) Being careful, they still are eager to learn of new, before unknown races, and learn to know them. For instance, among the conservative Glynasti is their Church the only organisation that does spacefaring, to the extent of learning to know other races and possibly coming closer to grasping God. Ironically, as they do a little trading on the side, they gain power on their own world, much to their own amazement.