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The Concordance

Hierarchy Empathy Equilibrium ꩧဥဓ

Have no fear of perfectionyou’ll never reach it.

Dalvaros Alíd

When mortals imagine an afterworld, many hope for the Concordance, and in this sense it is the most ordinary and familiar of all laminaeAfterworlds that are each aligned with a particular set of facets. The twenty-seven laminae are layered on top of our reality and interact with it in myriad ways.Turn to chapter. The Concordance aims to answer the question of whether suffering is needed to give context to happiness, and their answer, in opposition to the BrinkExultant yet mindful hedonists who form a kaleidoscopic community of explorations in creation and destruction, joy and suffering, exertion and renewal. Visitors are welcomed into the fold, and it is impossible not to be overwhelmed.Turn to chapter, is a no that resounds across a vast network of metropolises and landscapes in which petitionersSouls of the dead that have re-manifested on the most well-suited lamina, where they perfect and reshape themselves while carrying out pursuits in accordance with that lamina's principles.Turn to chapter and mortals alike cooperate in the maintenance of their society and the surmounting of ever greater challenges. It is likely the most populous laminae, and unique in that it has constructed itself with the intention of welcoming mortals and other outsiders, untold numbers of whom have accepted the invitation, and together regardless of origin these residents are known as Roots.

Given the large number of mortals present, who unlike petitioners require sustenance and shelter, the Concordance is more focused than other laminae on the ordinary labors of cardinalThe cardinal worlds make up our foundational, everyday reality over which the laminae are layered.Turn to chapter worlds, though these labors are shared equitably and prove no challenge here. Where many civilizations are fixated by a need to create great works to supersede those that came before them, the Concordance balances this with a commensurate reverence for the act of maintenance, and so, in addition to busying themselves with subsistence and the endeavors of art and sport and competition, Roots take ownership over aspects of their civilization to ensure their perpetuation: when monuments are unveiled the torch is passed to its maintainers, who are as celebrated as its creators.

Roots speak of creating a blueprint so robust that the resulting structure should stand even when built of weakened timbers, for every timber has faults and the task of the system is to jointly find strength. It is said that any conscious being could be dropped unprepared into the middle of the Concordance, and its formations would guide the new arrival into fruitful harmony with the greater whole. This assertion is ripe for subversion, and provocateurs have indeed entered the Concordance attempting to test it. Damage has been done in a literal sense, but overcoming this only brings Roots together. Many would-be miscreants find that successive acts of provocation and reparation become a kind of benevolent back-and-forth with the Roots, and without realizing it they have become part of the fabric of this place. Such arrivals in fact provide a vital source of play and unpredictability that keeps the Concordance thriving. Those who do not follow this well-worn groove eventually grow bored of failed attempts at discord and leave of their own will.

The position that joy does not require suffering relies on several components. Firstly the Roots believe that the opposite of pleasure is not pain, but is in fact sobriety, and so moments of excitement here are appreciated in contrast to moments of calm. Secondly, the surmounting of challengesand the resulting personal growth and increased capacity to surmount ever greater challengesis seen as a source of joy that does not require pain: failing at a challenge need only result in the lack of positive emotion rather than the presence of negative emotion. Thirdly, Roots are not, as most mortals are, encumbered by observations of the suffering of their compatriots: none here need rescue; there are only potential collaborators and benevolent competitors.

The final component of this arrangement is the concept of tangled hierarchies. Following the fable of the stone-cutter,1 Roots continually change roles in order to counter any arising numbness or boredom, often moving to different metropolises within the Concordance to experience varying paradigms, and in this incalculable and complex civilization there is always another position to offer respite and refreshment from the current one. Aeons of experimentation and growth have revealed no limit to the satisfactions attained by these methods.

[This chapter has not yet been translated. Please turn to the Inevitability, the Bloom, or the Unfolding for completed chapters. Recent additions can be found in the Translation Log.]

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