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Facets

Facets describe ethical, moral, and philosophical outlooks on reality from which communities create value systems of right and wrong, grounding concepts such as “fairness” and what “ought” to be. The facets are arranged across the three axes of Method, Motive, and Means that, respectively, answer the following questions:

By what method should resources and efforts be organized?
In service of what motive should resources and efforts be marshalled?
Through what means should this be achieved?

The nine facets are, accordingly:

Method Hierarchy Synthesis Autonomy
Motive Empathy Utility Power
Means Creation Equilibrium Dissolution

Upon reading this, several of these facets are likely to strike you as more essential than others. Readers will vary in such assessments. All readers, however, will find that regardless of personal resonance, each of these facets exists, and individuals tend to align themselves with these facets with more or less rigidity.

These absolutes can be seen as a structure with which to measure and observe phenomena, but they also scaffold personal and cultural alignments that result in all manner of relative judgments. For instance many of those driven by Empathy find those loyal to Power as being something akin to evil, while the latter will disdain the former as weak and ineffective. Differences of facet between individuals or cultures can be extremely hard to bridge, for everyone judges others by internal compasses which have been calibrated to these facets in such a way as to make it impossible to imagine a different state of nature.

Each facet can be understood in a positive or negative light, and provides its adherents with a teleology of being. In cardinalThe cardinal worlds make up our foundational, everyday reality over which the laminae are layered. realms of course absolutes are rare, and most balance views of opposing facets. Along each axis opposites are not wholly incompatible, but you will find that one extreme can always be sacrificed in pursuit of the other.

Whether facets exist in a material senseor are simply mental artifacts that help structure our conceptionsis is far from agreed upon. Many believe that there are raw and tangible realms, totally inhospitable to mortals, from which these forces flow like water from an underground spring. Such forces should pass through the 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., where they are shaped by the efforts of 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., eventually reaching cardinal worlds in recognizable forms.

Method

The facets of Hierarchy, Synthesis, and Autonomy concern matters of control and agency: how societies organize their efforts and distribute power, and how individuals fit into and are beholden to the larger whole. Adherents each lay their own claims to concepts such as integrity, discipline, and community, and accuse those whose views differ along this axis of being untrustworthy and selfish, but in fact they simply differ over how these concepts should be manifested.

Hierarchy

In a hierarchical system there is a clear and rigid relationship between every member in the system, and every member understands their position. Well-established hierarchies tend to be extremely effective at accomplishing goals, but they require that either participants accept the rules of the system, or that those less favored by the system are unable to change their lot: hierarchies by definition contain inequalities, and often maintain these via coercion.

Many find great comfort and purpose in the clarity of hierarchy. Devotees point out the universality of hierarchies from family trees to chains of predation among animals, and find essential hierarchy in arrangements of knowledge, language, history, music, and the body. Hierarchy should not be confused with a lack of creativity; rather hierarchy determines the channels through which ideas flow, and, while there may be more experimentation in Autonomy, the constraints of a system can produce targeted and efficient creativity.

Cohesion and pride result from successful hierarchies, but these are often maintained by the threat of guilt and punishment, and a strict sense of order can result in a visceral disgust at real or perceived transgressions of that order.

Hierarchy tends towards order, deference to authority, systematic analysis, honor, conformity, tradition, inflexibility, control, judgment, structure, law, discipline, and stability.

Hierarchy judges Synthesis to be unreliable and overly complicated, but finds Autonomy to be totally untrustworthy, seeing their refusal to follow rules as unprincipled, immoral, thoughtless, mercenary, and lacking in self-respect.

Hierarchy is righteous and pure when paired with Empathy, orthodox when paired with Utility, and totalitarian when paired with Power.

Synthesis

Synthesis believes that established dictums are valuable and should be neither ignored nor abused. No hierarchy is perfect, for no one system can account for the range and details of individual challenges that are best understood by the individuals closest to those challenges, but nor can large and complex tasks be surmounted without structure and objective accountability. Disciples often take into account multiple and contradictory hierarchies in which responsibilities and status depend on context and rules should not be followed blindly.

Synthesis tends towards practicality, pragmatism, balance, harmony, focus, realism, observation, and syncretism.

Synthesis regards Hierarchy as reflexively rigid and incapable of nuanced judgement, and sees Autonomy as recklessly idealistic.

Synthesis is humane and cooperative when paired with Empathy, practical and diligent when paired with Utility, and ambitious when paired with Power.

Autonomy

The capacity to make wholly self-directed decisions, free from coercion, is sacred to Autonomy. Adherents reject external control and believe the individual can only be whole if self-sufficient and possessed of conscience and dignity.

This paradigm is accused by Hierarchy of being disorganized and untrustworthy. The rebuttal that an autonomous society requires a higher degree of organization and trust, and that a hierarchical one must use dogma to patch over a chronic lack of trust, where codified laws make up for individuals lacking ethical compasses that would otherwise guide their actions. Likewise Autonomy does not imply a lack of accountabilityrather they require it where hierarchies shield members from accountability via appeals to authority as justification actions. In practice, however, these proclamations can be idealistic, and breakdown in any of these qualities results in chaos, fragmentation, and sometimes antagonism.

Autonomy tends towards freedom, independence, unpredictability, individualism, ad hoc invention, radicalism, dynamism, chaos, and change.

Autonomy dismisses Synthesis as pedantic and cowardly, but lambasts Hierarchy for being close-minded, servile, unprincipled, and corrupt.

Autonomy is universalist when paired with Empathy, maverick when paired with Utility, and voracious when paired with Power.

Motive

The facets of Empathy, Utility, and Power concern the methods by which we determine whether a goal is worthy, and what drives us towards those goals. These facets dictate how one relates to other beings and nature at large, and each have their own visions of integrity and their own claims to realistic views of the world.

Most individuals feel compassion and protectiveness towards their own kin, but these facets inform how individuals prioritize the well-being of those beyond their tribethe exact extent of one considers one’s own tribe being formed largely by facets along the Method axis, Hierarchy tending toward associating identity with a large group, and Autonomy identifying with familial units or no one at all. These facets also differ greatly in their responses to perceived weakness: whether to accommodate, overcome, or exploit it.

Empathy

Empathy believes that lack of compassion is at the root of all struggles and evilscompassion for oneself and one’s community, but also for all beings and the environment. Compromise is essential in this worldview, and all perspectives must be considered before embarking on a task. Acolytes are concerned with understanding and being understood, and strive to never offend or hurt others. When this inevitably happens, conflicts are resolved with conversation and compassion in the best case, but in the worst case shame and ostracism become potent reprisals.

Empathy tends towards kindness, self-effacement, benevolence, righteousness, judgment, stubbornness, idealism, altruism, universalism, equity, compromise, compassion, and tolerance.

Empathy accuses Utility of being complicitarguing that without the primacy of empathy even well-intentioned efforts inevitably result in harmful outcomesand of course considers the fruits of Power to be selfish to the point of evil.

Empathy is righteous and pure when paired with Hierarchy, humane and cooperative when paired with Synthesis, and universalist when paired with Autonomy.

Utility

Utility aims for a nuanced realism in viewing the world, and pragmatic heuristics for acting within it. It acknowledges that individuals vary widely in their goals and moral constructs, and so find that the best one can do is to assess situations in the light of all available information and act for the balanced benefit of oneself and others. Conflicts should be measured, discussed, and resolved to the mutual advantage of all parties.

Utility tends towards rationality, pragmatism, realism, balance, pedantry, judiciousness, perception, and level-headedness.

Utility finds Empathy to be naive, and Power to be rash and monomaniacal.

Utility is orthodox when paired with Hierarchy, practical and diligent when paired with Synthesis, and maverick when paired with Autonomy.

Power

Power believes that nature has distributed its merits unevenly, and that efforts to accommodate this fact will backfire. Progress on all levels occurs when individuals work as hard as possible to advance their and their communities’ interests, and the tension that arises when those advancements come at the expense of others only pushes others to work harder, resulting in a greater overall advancement. This is a worldview that prizes competence and beauty, but sees strength and security as essential to survival, resorting to dominance and fear to manage threats.

Power tends towards ambition, achievement, glory, determination, focus, efficiency, beauty, domination, competition, selfishness, cynicism, security, success, and luxury.

Power disdains Empathy as passive, weak, and dependent on others, while finding Utility to be manipulable and inefficient.

Power is totalitarian when paired with Hierarchy, ambitious when paired with Synthesis, and voracious when paired with Autonomy.

Means

The facets of Creation, Equilibrium, and Dissolution are forces that fuel reality. They are, respectively: the inhale, the pause, and the exhalea cycle harnessed by every being in support of its goals. These three facets lie in a careful balance, for any disparity would over aeons result respectively in overflow, stagnation, or annihilation. Those who believe that the same matter has been endlessly cycling from an infinite past feel this balance very deeply, but those who believe that there was once nothing which at some point gave rise to something must believe in a delicate imbalance in favor of creation in order to the presence of things.

Where other facets can be antagonistic towards each other, each seeing their own way as more truly reflecting the nature of things, the facets of Means tend to acknowledge the necessity of balance. Despite the fervor with which adherents pursue their means, the wise know that each facet would eventually stall in the absence of one of the others.

creation is an imbalance that eventually spills over into cardinal worlds. destruction is an imbalance that can only be fueled by cardinal worlds. the two forces are linked via cardinal worlds. preservation…

Creation

Creation is the construction of new ideas, new energy, and new matter. Combining forms in novel ways is a manner of creation, and even creative destruction is constructive for it adds shape to what remains. As the artist will tell you, creative forces can be as maddening as they are inspiring, and take tremendous effort to harness with purpose. On 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. this facet results in an overflow of material into cardinal worlds, and it may be that all the stuff of our existence originates from these laminae of creation.

Creation tends towards activity, energy, passion, agitation, change, mutation, excitation, creativity, egoism, instability, uncertainty, and dynamism.

Equilibrium

Equilibrium is the balance and cycle of creative and destructive energies. In some cases this manifests as an active vacillation between the two, and in others there is instead a careful tiptoe of balance. 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. reflecting this facet are often transit points that mediate alternating forces, and many also reach to cardinal worlds to tweak or support processes already in place.

Equilibrium tends towards maintenance, harmony, protection, pureness of essence, persistence, stagnation, indifference, serenity, observation, renewal, inertia, and preservation.

Dissolution

Dissolution is powerful and frightening to most mortals, and wholly essential. It takes many paths. Some pursue glee in the act of destruction itself, while others patiently shepherdor simply observenatural forces of dissipation taking hold. On a less cosmic scale, dissolution concerns measuring and understanding what one needs, and letting go of past burdens. On 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. this facet is an imbalance that can only be sustained by an influx of material from cardinal worlds, breaking down and dispersing energies that distantly originated in facets of Creation.

Dissolution tends towards finality, rest, release, destruction, nullification, loss, ignorance, waste, death, and certainty.

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