Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Beliefs of True Communion

  1. Everyone matters, no matter how lowborn
  2. We are defined by our connections with others.
  3. True knowledge can be found within, by listening to one’s intuition and accepting the morality one already knows in their heart.
  4. The “real” world is an illusion; only the “inner world” of thought, dream, perception and connection is “real.”
  5. All people are but facets of an infinite cosmic divinity; through introspection, we can understand the infinite cosmic and understand how it connects all people together.
  6. Virtue is found through aligning one’s self with the will of Communion, and in accepting one’s true purpose in life, one’s destiny.
  7. Time is as much an illusion as the world: there is only the Eternal Now.

True Communion on the Self

Who forged your crown?
-The Verses

The king cried “Who is greater than I?”
The sage asked “Who crafted your fine tunic? Who serves your army? Who brings you food? Who built your throne? Who forged your crown?”

The core principle of True Communion morality centers on the notion that everyone matters. It delights in the imagery of a farmer or a thief elevated above a king or a high priest, creating a sense of social inversion, but in reality, everyone, from farmer to king, matters to True Communion. The faith sees community as the weave of a tapestry, and each individual within that tapestry as a thread: while a community might survive without a few individuals, some character is certainly lost, and should you destroy too many lives, the tapestry itself will unravel entirely.

I am all things; I am nothing.
-The Verses

The woman asked “When I was a child, I was my father’s beloved daughter. When I was young, the men flocked to my beauty. When I married, I became the beloved of my husband. When I gave birth, I became my child’s mother. Now, I am an old widow. Who am I really, sage? Am I all of these things? None of these things?”
The sage nodded and replied “You begin to understand.”

Despite the claim that “everyone matters,” an important lesson that True Communion wishes to impart to its followers is that you, as an individual, aren’t important. True happiness comes not from clinging to self-hood, but releasing it and recognizing that when seeking true self-definition, who you are, you are best defined by your relationships with others. A woman may be a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend and a rival, but when you remove all of those things, in truth, you have nothing left, and seeking to find what one is bereft of those things is foolhardy. We are our relationships, the connections we have to one another, and to the larger world. We matter not because an individual thread is important, but because the tapestry of relationships could not be woven without all the threads, but ultimately, the tapestry is what matters.

True Communion is careful when it uses the term “happiness.” The sages of True Communion do not mean the happiness of a selfish thrill, such as from sex or drugs or the satiation of one’s hunger or a victory in battle. Rather, they mean the happiness of watching your children grow up healthy and strong, or knowing that your victory (or sacrifice) in battle means that your family, your kin, your nation, will survive, or watching your student succeed where you failed. They define happiness as that sense of satisfaction and peace gained from knowing that the world will carry on because of your efforts.

True Communion defines morality in a similar way. What matters is the integrity and strength of your community and relationships, and that you learn your role within your community and play it. A good mother raises strong children and tries to be a good mother. A good king empowers his subjects and protects them from invaders, and understands that his role is to be king, and to attempt to be the best king one can be.

Beyond these specifics, True Communion defines general virtues such as compassion for others, respect for life, tolerance for others, a sense of justice and equality, and non-violence where possible. A king who protects his subjects through careful and magnanimous diplomacy is a better king than one who projects his subjects through conquest and the enslavement of his enemies. This is because, ultimately, everything connects to one another: a king is a father who must care for his family, while the royal dynasty, as a whole, must care for their subjects to create a unified nation, but his nation lives in an international community, which exist in an ecosystem of life. To beggar one’s neighbors at any level beggars oneself and damages that greater “tapestry” of community.

True Communion approaches morality as it approaches knowledge and metaphysics: what matters is not the universe around you, but your inner state. Thus, for True Communion, intention and character matters more than results and consequences: consequence is ultimately in the hands of fate, and we can only control our inner world, our intentions, and that is what we must cultivate. A king who mistakenly arrests and punishes an innocent man is still righteous because carefully maintaining rule of law is a vital part of being a good king, he was merely misfortunate in making the mistake he did; meanwhile, a thief who breaks into a house and accidentally scares off a murderer is still a thief and a wicked man, that he scared off a murderer and saved a life was pure luck.. Those who seek to be good should concern themselves with cultivating virtue and character and making sure their intentions, within, are correct.

True Communion on Knowledge

I hold no stone in my hand
-The Verses

I held the stone in my hand and proclaimed “This is real.”
“How do you know?” the sage asked.
“I can touch it, I can feel it, it has weight in my hand.”
“You know you can feel it, but do you know that it is real?” He asked. Then he snapped his fingers and I awoke from my dream. I held no stone in my hand.

True Communion radically departs from most other philosophies in that it denies the reality of the world. A True Communion sage will point out that while we can be certain that we touch and feel, that we perceive, we cannot be certain of what we perceive or of its reality. The only thing we know for sure is that we exist and that we perceive.

This means that ultimate knowledge is not found by examining one’s surroundings, for those may be as ephemeral as a dream. Instead, one must turns one’s perception inward and come to know oneself. In so doing, one can better understand one’s own reality, one’s own ability to perceive, and thus better understand the difference between dreaming and wakefulness, what is real and what is self-delusion.

Fish swim. Children laugh. I find enlightenment.
-The Verses

True knowledge is not learned, but intuitively remembered, naturally acquired by removing our own self-deceptions. According to True Communion, all the answers we might seek already lie within is. Whether we wrestle with a difficult moral question, try to find our true purpose in life, or know what course to take in a dangerous situation, the correct answer is always the intuitive answer, one buried deep within our character. Children often know the right thing to do or say, especially morally, because they have not yet cluttered the purity of their knowledge with preconceptions and self-deceptions. The goal of a teacher in True Communion is not to teach, but to help the student unlock what they already knew and either didn’t wish to face, or had forgotten (“You must unlearn what you have learned”). A student knows when what he has learned (or better said, realized) is true because he feels it within the core of his being. True Communion cultivates that self-realization.

The Cosmology of True Communion

The infinite looked upon the void and asked “Why must there be loneliness?”
The void answered “This is the secret.”
The infinite looked upon the void and asked “What is the cost of knowledge?”
The void answered “You must create.”
The infinite looked upon the void and asked “What is the cost of creation?”
The void answered “Suffering.”
And so the infinite tore itself apart. With its eyes it made the stars. With its limbs it set them spinning. With its blood it made worlds full of life. With its mind, it gave all creatures souls. With its breath, it gave the command:
“Return with knowledge. Answer the question.”
-The Forever Cycle

True Communion believes in God. Not an anthropomorphic deity like those of the Divine Masks, but a cosmic, infinite intelligence that pervades the universe. It is found within every rock, within the hearts of men, within the whisper of the wind. Every person capable of self-reflection is a facet of this divine presence, one spark of self-awareness, one neuron in its cosmic mind. Therein lies the reason that knowledge is found within. Each person is a facet of God: within their hearts lies a reflection of the universe. By understanding themselves, they understand this divine presence, and by understanding the divine presence, they understand everything.

True Communion does not believe in psychic powers, at least not as a distinct and separate or unnatural “power.” Given the unreality of the world, given that the world is better understood through self-perception, seeing it as a “dream,” those who display psionic powers are not exerting an internal force on the external world. No, they are those who begin to understand that the external and the internal are not separate, distinct things. They have sufficient enlightenment to change themselves and in so doing, seemingly change the world around them. Those who achieve even higher levels of enlightenment begin to unify their sense of self with their understanding of infinite oneness. As they merge their identity with the infinite, they achieve communion with the divine, hence the name of the philosophy.

They are all you.
-The Verses

The high priest proclaimed “My flock sins! Heretics defile the land and whisper deceptions! My children are foolish! My wife is lazy! All about me fail me!”
The sage replied “They are all you.”

The notion that each person is a thread in the fabric of their community, so too is each person a fragment of divine consciousness and self-reflection. The divine will that surrounds all and binds all is not a thing that controls the fates of mankind, it is the accumulation of our innate humanity. Every choice everyone makes, every wrong one does to another, shapes the face of the cosmic infinite. If we hate the universe we live in, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

This means that the “God” of True Communion is not a flawless, perfect being. Instead, this infinite divinity is broken, fragmented into a million consciousnesses and fallen into slumber, forgetting what it was. True Communion describes three stages of self-understanding, which the infinity of Communion itself struggles with. At the basest level, one has no conception of self: a drunken man staggers about not knowing what he does, and feeling a sense of self-loathing and self-destructiveness. This manifests as Psychosis, or Broken Communion. At the next state of consciousness, one recognizes one’s self, and overly treasures it. They realize how close to extinction they are and lash out in fear, mistakenly, at others in an effort to survive. This creates self-perpetuating cycles of destruction, as the harming of others creates more suffering which will eventually drag the guilty back down into the Psychosis from which he had emerged. This manifests as Id, or Dark Communion. Those who let go of the terror of losing their newly found sense of self, and realize that their self spreads across all people, that all are distinct selfs that connect with one another into a beautiful fabric of community, only then is a delicate harmony reached, one that can be disrupted by the selfishness of Id, but if allowed to thrive, will succeed in creating an awakening, in which the cosmic remembers itself and everyone returns to their state of divine bliss. This is the Super-Ego, or “True” Communion.

Each person is vitally important because they are a piece of God; all people have within them a fragment of the infinite cosmic within them. The ultimate goal of all who follow Communion is to fully align oneself with the infinite divine, and to do so, they must begin to perfectly embody the virtues represented by the divine in its greatest and most enlightened state (that of “True” Communion). The path to this self-perfection is through introspection, finding the voice of the infinite cosmic within themselves and listening to the guidance it offers their intuition. Those who do this may find their true purpose.

For True Communion, “Destiny” is not a foregone fate, but ones true purpose in life, the path one must follow to achieve enlightenment and bring the infinite cosmic one step closer to restoring It to its ultimate glory. Such a destiny is always good and righteous; those who deny this destiny fall away from True Communion and find themselves trapped in the lies of their baser or self-destructive nature; all “unrighteous” destinies arise from those who deny their true purpose in life.

The widow buried her child and wept.
She asked “Where has his laughter gone?”
She heard his laughter on a distant wind, and she remembered.
-The Book Of Grief

This view also informs the unusual perspective True Communion has on what happens after we die. As all things are part of the cosmic gestalt that pervades the world and all things fundamentally connect, then “time” is as illusory as the world. Because the cosmic exists across all of time and space, and all people are part of and connected through the cosmic, then people cannot be said to cease to exist. They still exist, only the illusion of time separates the “living” from the “dead” in a similar manner to how the illusion of space separates the “near” from the “far.”

There is no “future” or “past,” only the “Eternal Now.” The illusion of the world, as an artifact of our own preconceptions, creates alternate perspectives. Just as one can seem to be “far away” from someone in space, one can seem to be “far away” from someone in time. From the perspective of a descendant, his ancestor is unreachable, and thus “dead.” From the perspective of an ancestor, a descendant may be unreachable and thus “unborn.” In reality, both experience their own personal “now,” but have only a limited capacity to interact with one another. True Communion can bridge this gap, allowing the “dead” to commune with the “unborn.”

Is True Communion True?

The default assumption of Psi-Wars is that True Communion is genuinely true and describes the way the world actually works. The Space Templars are the true heroes of the setting. True Communion recognizes and better explains psionic activity than Neo-Rationalism, and has greater insights into the future and how best to deal with it than the Akashic Order. The Divine Masks skirts around the truths of the setting, but fails to go deep enough to recognize that the divinities they worship are but reflections of our own will and desire. Finally, the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant fails to generalize the experience of Communion the way True Communion does, and over-emphasizes an ultimately illusory physical world, which fails to properly account for why psionics works.

But True Communion makes rather extreme claims about the true nature of Communion, morality, knowledge and the illusory nature of the world, which may not sit well with a particular group. Furthermore, it applies a moral judgment to Broken and Dark Communion and dismisses them as containing no real value. The ultimate result of True Communion’s beliefs are to create a sense of selfless conformity of thought and character. It is, then, possible that True Communion has blind-spots brought on by its assumptions of what is acceptable at what isn’t.

At its worst, True Communion might make promises it cannot keep. It claims that everyone is psionic, that everyone is connected, that everyone is worthwhile, and that everyone has a true purpose (which, if followed, supposedly means the universe will achieve an ultimately desirable utopia). This can easily manipulate the dispossessed who feel lost and powerless, as adherence to the dictates of the philosophy, including self-sacrifice will ultimately result in both power and purpose. Such a philosophy could easily be misused by would-be messiahs and religious hucksters to prey on the vulnerable. In such a case, the harder realities presented by Neo-Rationalism and the Akashic Mysteries represent a possible antidote for the empty promises of a false Communion.

On the other hand, True Communion could be essentially correct except for its moral judgment. Why should the utopia envisioned by True Communion necessarily be “good?” The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant has a much more flexible, and thus potentially expansive, morality, which means everyone can find their own purpose and their own power not through faith, but through their own hard work and the enlightenment gained through personal responsibility. For those who want to chart their own fate and take personal responsibility for their own beliefs, then the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant, even without invalidating the cosmology of True Communion, allows its adherents to live with true freedom.

In a sense, True Communion and the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant don’t really disagree: both argue that the world is fundamentally psionic (and that no division between supernatural and natural exists); neither really believes in an afterlife in any meaningful sense, and both believe that moral knowledge is acquired through introspection. The core difference between the two is how they view the value of people and their relationship with Communion and morality. True Communion believes all people have judgment, and that we should curtail our free-will to serve the “greater good” represented by the “will” of True Communion. The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant believes that people have no value except what value they have for themselves, and that one should exert his own will over Communion, and exercise his own morality. Ultimately, which is “true” might ultimately come down to a personal preference!

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