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Old 11-23-2011, 05:42 AM   #211
combatmedic
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

A very brief, and necessarilly incomplete and imperfect, summation of 'Imperial Values' as seen in the late/modern Imperium-

  • Glory to the Emperor!
  • The autocratic powers of the Emperor are as necessary and just as the autocratic powers of a starship captain.
  • The Emperor enjoys the Blessing of God/Mandate of Heaven (not universal, but many people do feel this way)
  • Social equality of ranks and station is unnatural and undesirable; hierarchy is natural and good. God did NOT make all men equal.
  • Blood will tell.
  • Personal loyalty is tremendously important.
  • A man's word is his bond.
  • Cowards are despicable.
  • Duelling is a fine old tradition.
  • A gentleman always pays his debts.
  • The profession of arms in an honorable one.
  • Humans are the most important race in Charted Space, but it's rude to trumpet this around the other sophonts. They've made contrbutions too, often under human leadership.

Last edited by combatmedic; 11-23-2011 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:04 AM   #212
Hans Rancke-Madsen
 
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
A very brief, and necessarilly incomplete and imperfect, summation of 'Imperial Values' as seen in the late/modern Imperium-
  • Glory to the Emperor!
  • The autocratic powers of the Emperor are as necessary and just as the autocratic powers of a starship captain.
  • The Emperor enjoys the Blessing of God/Mandate of Heaven (not universal, but many people do feel this way)
  • Social equality of ranks and station is unnatural and undesirable; hierarchy is natural and good. God did NOT make all men equal.
  • Blood will tell.
  • Personal loyalty is tremendously important.
  • A man's word is his bond.
  • Cowards are despicable.
  • Duelling is a fine old tradition.
  • A gentleman always pays his debts.
  • The profession of arms in an honorable one.
  • Humans are the most important race in Charted Space, but it's rude to trumpet this around the other sophonts. They've made contrbutions too, often under human leadership.
The glorification of the Emperor and the invocation of Divine Favor is not all that prevalent IMTU (especially the divine favor bit), but none of these are actually mutually exclusive with my Imperial Bill of Rights. And not just because people are fully capable of compartamentalizing their minds and holding several mutually exclusive beliefs simultaneously (although that alone would do it), but also because most of them are not actually mutually exclusive with it. People can be created with equal rights and still not have equal starts in life. Societies can have social ranks (actually, I find it hard to imagine one that hasn't) and still profess to believe that all ranks are worthwhile (I'd still give reaction modifiers, though). People can believe in social differences AND in meritocracy and social mobility. People can admire the Emperor and still realize he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like anyone else, etc., etc.

Yes, I can see all of these sentiments existing in my Imperial Culture too.


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Old 11-23-2011, 09:06 AM   #213
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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The Romans did have a state religion, Astromancer. They had one from the time of King Numa all the way to the end of the Empire in 1453 AD; it just wasn't the same state religion the whole time. I suggest that polytheists make a different sort of claim than monotheists. Syncretism is possible with either set of theological assumptions, but it's arguably easier with polythiesm. The same goes for pluralism. Please note that the Romans did, at various times, ban certain cults that made trouble for the Republic/Empire, or that grossly offended the sensibilities of the elite.
At no point did I claim the Romans lacked a State Religion. I simply pointed out their notorious cynicism about it.

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Oh, and it's no fair to make bold claims, like 'the US has never been an empire' and then forbid anyone to challenge said claims. Either make statements you can defend, or don't make them. :)
We have different standards of evidence on the issue. So if common terms aren't possible, I don't want to argue.

But we can comunicate on many other things.

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I'm going to ask again- can we please move the non-Traveller stuff to PMs? I'm perfectly happy to discuss imperialism, secularism, federalism, militarism, and Astromancerism in a more appropriate venue. I'm offering you that venue; let's talk about this stuff in PMs.
I only brought up Terran History as a part of the issue of Imperial Culture. Every culture defines the Past in its own terms. Which events are important and which ones are ignored define the society and the limits of the possible.

This really isn't different that the idea that I floated in the GURPS:TRAVELLER Nobles playtest that popular culture in the 3I would routinely make minor nobles into protagonists and heros. The person who can deal with the problem, be it injustice or vampires, would be a noble or of Noble Blood.

The narrative of the possible is part of the foundation of any society. It's even more vital to an Empire.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:09 AM   #214
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By the way, what are the primary principles of Astromancerism?
As the Astromancer, I'd like to know too!
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:11 AM   #215
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It appears to be: copy the Jacobins, while denying French influence.:0
Why copy losers? Cromwell and Washington are much better models.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:12 AM   #216
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Dulinor! You know he just wants to rock your body politic.
Hey, that leads to plots and stories.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:13 AM   #217
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As the Astromancer, I'd like to know too!
Your opinion does not matter. The tenets of Astromancerism have evolved far beyond your primitive explorations into their doctrines. Consult with the Scrolls of the High Priests and Commisars of Astromancerism.
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Old 11-23-2011, 10:38 AM   #218
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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The glorification of the Emperor and the invocation of Divine Favor is not all that prevalent IMTU (especially the divine favor bit), but none of these are actually mutually exclusive with my Imperial Bill of Rights. And not just because people are fully capable of compartamentalizing their minds and holding several mutually exclusive beliefs simultaneously (although that alone would do it), but also because most of them are not actually mutually exclusive with it. People can be created with equal rights and still not have equal starts in life. Societies can have social ranks (actually, I find it hard to imagine one that hasn't) and still profess to believe that all ranks are worthwhile (I'd still give reaction modifiers, though). People can believe in social differences AND in meritocracy and social mobility. People can admire the Emperor and still realize he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like anyone else, etc., etc.

Yes, I can see all of these sentiments existing in my Imperial Culture too.


Hans
IMTU the Emperor is for a lot of people a convenient and pleasantly personalized stand in for "the Imperium". Much as an Englishman will say "serving the Queen" when he really means "Serving Great Britain." The Imperium is to mechanical and impersonal to be able to count on attracting loyalty; it needs an Emperor as a source of charisma. Even people from cultures more used to abstraction would find it useful, people from more traditional arrangements would find it highly desirable.

The fact is, I think some kind of pseudofamilial system is really the default political arrangement among mankind and attempts at republican government or even more quirky systems are "artificial." Being artificial is not necessarily a bad thing; I also think humans to be transbiological, and that therefore the "artificial" deserves respect just as the "natural" does. However the "naturalness" of pseudofamilial politics makes me think a reversion to aristocracy and/or tribalism in a high-tech society is in fact not the least implausible idea of sci-fi.

I am sure some people would in fact attribute mystical significance to the Emperor, giving him if not divinity, oracular status. Ideas about him being able to heal with his hands or about flowers sprouting around Princess Iphigenia's feet when she dances, or whatever would float around. I don't picture such ideas being eliminated by super-tech. Indeed, the disjunction between the amount of information available, and the proportion of said information that can be processed by a given sophant may make superstition more common. The ability to use technological devices in no way makes people able to understand the science behind them, let alone giving them a worldview similar to a twentieth century intellectuals.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:21 AM   #219
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I am sure some people would in fact attribute mystical significance to the Emperor, giving him if not divinity, oracular status. Ideas about him being able to heal with his hands or about flowers sprouting around Princess Iphigenia's feet when she dances, or whatever would float around. I don't picture such ideas being eliminated by super-tech.
I agree, up to a point. The ruler of 15 trillion sophonts would naturally get a lot of respect and admiration. (A lot more, indeed, than a Traveller SL of 17, much less a GURPS SL of 8 IMO indicates; IMTU the Emperor is TSL 33/GSL 12). And there'd be a fringe of those 15 trillion sophonts who'd believe him divine. But I don't think such ideas would be supported by the Emperor himself. I just don't see Strephon supporting a Cult of the Emperor, encouraging people to build shrines to him, or being at all pleased with displays of excessive adulation.

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Indeed, the disjunction between the amount of information available, and the proportion of said information that can be processed by a given sophant may make superstition more common. The ability to use technological devices in no way makes people able to understand the science behind them, let alone giving them a worldview similar to a twentieth century intellectuals.
OTOH, an ultra-tech society would potentially have the means and resources to educate a lot more people to a level on a par with 20th Century intellectuals a lot more thoroughly than we've achieved in the 20th Century. How much such a society actually did it would, of course, depend on the society. The people on my Capital are far too sophisticated to worship the Emperor.

A lot of them would still KILL for an invitation to one of his parties, naturally.


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Old 11-23-2011, 11:29 AM   #220
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I agree, up to a point. The ruler of 15 trillion sophonts would naturally get a lot of respect and admiration. (A lot more, indeed, than a Traveller SL of 17, much less a GURPS SL of 8 IMO indicates; IMTU the Emperor is TSL 33/GSL 12). And there'd be a fringe of those 15 trillion sophonts who'd believe him divine. But I don't think such ideas would be supported by the Emperor himself. I just don't see Strephon supporting a Cult of the Emperor, encouraging people to build shrines to him, or being at all pleased with displays of excessive adulation.


OTOH, an ultra-tech society would potentially have the means and resources to educate a lot more people to a level on a par with 20th Century intellectuals a lot more thoroughly than we've achieved in the 20th Century. How much such a society actually did it would, of course, depend on the society. The people on my Capital are far too sophisticated to worship the Emperor.

A lot of them would still KILL for an invitation to one of his parties, naturally.


Hans

On a par with 20th century perhaps. But they have left the twentieth century far behind.

And yes people on Capital would be far to sophisticated to worship the Emperor and in any case many religions and even many emperors would consider this blasphemous hubris. The point was that I think imagining a large portion of the Imperial population having an outlook more similar to pre-moderns then to ivy-league graduates in the twentieth century is not implausible either. In the eighteenth century by comparison, large portions of the upper classes had an outlook on life that is surprisingly similar to that of urbanized moderns at times; while peasants seem to have a medieval outlook simultaneously.

I certainly don't see Strephon supporting a personal cult as such. I could see it happening. Furthermore there is a lot of space between a Mark Twain-ish cynicism and skepticism, and Emperor worship as such.
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