Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Akashic Theology

The Principles of the Akashic Mysteries

  1. The ultimate fate of mankind our greatest concern.
  2. Mankind faces an existential crisis in the future (“The Coming Storm”)
  3. Humans with psionic powers are superior to humans without psionic powers.
  4. The Akashic Oracles have the ability to see that future and have found a way to avoid it (“The Golden Path”)
  5. The ends justify the means; any act, no matter how immoral, that helps avert the Coming Storm is a moral act.
  6. The Akashic Order, as the only ones who can see how to avoid the Coming Storm, must have the ultimate authority over all mankind.
  7. Everyone must play their part in the Akashic Mystery.

The Beliefs of the Akashic Mysteries

Those initiated in the Akashic Mysteries learn of the true shape of time. They see the many branching choices that extend before them, and that extend before all of mankind. In this way, they learn their purpose, and often that their purpose is full of a dreadful duty. They can turn away from it, condemning mankind to destruction, or they can embrace it and save mankind from the great calamity that awaits mankind and all the Galaxy: “the Coming Storm.”

The apocalyptic visions of the Coming Storm drives everything within the Akashic Order. It drives their secrecy, it drives their eugenic experiments, it drives their deceptive prophecies. The Akashic Order carefully controls the truth of the future, offering only what the masses need to know to avert the catastrophe.

The Akashic Mysteries aren’t a holistic philosophy. They are a precognitive imperative to save mankind. Everything else in the faith arises from those eschatological fears: the Akashic Mysteries exist to help mankind escape extinction. Beyond that, nothing matters to the Akashic Mysteries: one can believe whatever one wants, provided they serve the Akashic interest in saving mankind.

The Akashic Mysteries and the Hard Questions

Akashism and Good vs Evil

The Akashic Mysteries don’t make philosophical arguments about ethics, but they do have some implicit assumptions about morality. To the Akashic, the ultimate safety and prosperity of humanity is the ultimate good. They have looked upon the chaos of time and seen the suffering that awaits their descendants if they do not act, and anything done in the name of preventing the Coming Storm is moral.

The Akashic Order lies, steals and murders in the name of stopping the Coming Storm. It forces people to marry out of duty rather than love. It demands submission to authority. It wages war, slaughtering millions, because it seeks to save the lives of trillions. The mental calculus of the Akashic Order is that the greater good of the future justifies the lesser evils of today.

To enact this end, the Akashic Order preaches the virtues of purity, obedience, sacrifice and secrecy. All people must know their place: the common man must labor, the lord must lead, and the oracle must know. Each should do precisely their appointed task, because too much rebellion, too many questions, might throw the timeline off and force the Akashic Order to take drastic measures to bring it back into line. Everyone must obey the Akashic Order without question, because the Akashic Order often cannot explain why it does what it does. This even applies to members of the Akashic Order who belong in a hierarchy of secrecy, where those beneath have seen less of the Akashic Record than those at the top, and must act on their orders. Those orders often demand self-sacrifice, such as accepting death so that many may live. Finally, those within the order must remain silent about what they have learned, lest rumor and gossip spread the details of a dangerous prophecy, and people begin to act in such a way that breaks the prophecy

Akashism on the State and War

The Akashic Order needs the state to function. It helped forge the Eternal Empire precisely because it needed to exert wide influence. By taking control of as much of the Galaxy as they could, the Akashic Order could control the actions of millions of lives. They could create a careful stability that reduced the noise of excessive variables and make better, more long-term predictions without fear of chaos ripping apart their visions of the future. They could mandate laws that pushed mankind on the path that they needed.

The Akashic Order, in turn, gives legitimacy to the actions of the state. Why is a noble allowed to lead and a commoner must bow to him? Because the Akashic Order says so; because it creates a better universe; because it will avert the Coming Storm. In the Eternal Empire, even the Emperor himself was crowned by the Akashic Order. Today, the Akashic Order has been relegated to a secondary role; many in the Alliance no longer believe, or see it as an outdated philosophy to be followed only out of tradition (in the way an atheist American might celebrate Christmas, or enjoy a cathedral as a tourist destination). But a minority of the nobility remain devoutly loyal to the faith and seek to bolster its power. The Akashic Order must be enshrined in the state for it to truly work.

The Akashic Order definitely believes in justice but, here again, that justice revolves more around a carefully constructed socially order that pushes mankind towards defeating that ultimate threat. A serial killer causes a problem not because murder is wrong, but because too many dead people and general panic is antithetical to the Akashic goal. However, the Akashic Order prefers to engage in pre-emptive justice. They can see the serial killer before he strikes. They prefer to either stop him before he acts (though preferably in secret, with assassins or inquisitors or an obscure favor demanded of the aristocracy), or allow him to act for some reason and then use the terror he creates to further some goal, and then use his trial and execution, again, to further their objectives.

The Akashic Order prefers peace to war because peace tends to be stable and thus easier to predict. That said, the Akashic Order will not shrink from pushing war, especially war against aliens. The Akashic Order seeks to improve the lives of humanity, not of all sapient-kind. In the moral calculus of the Akashic Order, the death of aliens to save the lives of humans is an easy choice to make. Akashics are not racial purists by any means, they just tend to view everything through the lens of eventual human survival (if aliens will help with that, great! If not...)

Akashic views on Time and Destiny

The Akashic Mysteries are intimately tied with the concept of time and destiny. Understanding time is what they do. Most initiates of the Akashic Order have some level of precognition, and thus understand that, on some level, the future exists. The closer to the present the future is, the more “real” it gets, and the more certain. A character with danger sense who detects an incoming attack is certain that the attack really is coming. But as one moves further into the future, the more chaotic time gets.

Time is not “set,’ and the Akashic Order does not believe in a deterministic universe. They see the future as a tree with a million branching points, with the thick, obvious trunk representing the near future, with the billions of tiny twigs on the end of the tree representing all the possible distant futures. The Great Storm is like a terrible fire that consumes most of those distant twigs, with only a few visible escape routes, and the one the Akashic Order has selected is called “the Golden Path.”

Because the future can be shaped by all possible variables, the golden path is fragile, and it’s possible to move onto an entire “branch” of the future that pushes mankind onto an inevitable path of destruction (which, according to many who have left the Akashic Order after the death the of the last Emperor, occurred with the end of the Eternal Empire; according to them, mankind can no longer be saved). This, the Akashic Order must stop at all costs.

While the do not advertise this, deep initiates learn that the unchosen branches of the future still exist. The “weight” of the near future only seems certain because one is present in that moment. In fact, the possible choices of the past still exist, which means alternate possible “presents” can be said to exist. Generally, the Akashic initiates learn to disregard these “time shadows” but it poses the potential problem that messages the Akashic order gets from the future might no longer be relevant if that future has been largely averted!

The Akashic Order has a shadow council, the body that ultimately governs them, and it consists of the most powerful Akashic Oracles, past, present and future. The Shadow Council has largely remained unchanged since its inception, but as time has worn on, some of the “certain future councilors” of the Shadow Council have never come to be born, and offer increasingly irrelevant or incorrect advice. This effect grew sharply with the death of the last Emperor; some in the Akashic Order believe that these shadows act as signposts, explaining how the world should be, and that it’s possible to wrench the timeline back onto the right path by arranging the present as close to the increasingly incoherent demands of the Shadow Council as possible.

The Akashic Order has noticed that despite the chaos of the future, one can feed possibility back in on itself, to make choices that not only guide people onto the proper path, but that reinforces that path, making it more and more stable and certain, so that it can absorb minor deviations. The Akashic Order refers to this temporal inertia as “destiny,” and they work very hard to construct it: the Akashic Order wants more than just to make a knight into a hero, they want to ensure the right person is his enemy, is the person he rescues and romances, , that the right events occur to make his heroic rise as heroic as possible. If even one element falters, the rest ensures that our hero is caged in his heroism.

Destiny is never guaranteed, however. Stuffing so much energy and possibility into a single person or event can cause it to go dramatically wrong. The more Destiny someone has, the more powerful his choices. A minor player, such as some common chef, who chooses to abandon his job, or leave his wife for a mistress, in the broad scheme of things doesn’t matter that much. But if the hero in the example above decides to instead join his rival, or falls in love with the wicked princess, he can wreak great havoc. The more powerful a character’s destiny, the more distinct certain “alternative” options become. The Maradonian aristocracy have been stuffed full with destiny, and thus have powerful alternatives to their duty available to them. Thus, the Akashic Order watches the aristocracy closely, even today.

Akashism on Psionic Powers and Communion

The Akashic Mysteries doesn’t concern itself with a nuanced and precise cosmology or epistemology, and accepts the common view that the world is a physical thing and that the mind, psionic powers and “the supernatural” exist on a fundamentally different layer. They accept that “science” can affect psionic powers (psychotronics), but they still tend to approach psionic powers cautiously and have seen genetic engineering experiments to develop psionic powers go horribly wrong. As such, by default the Askashic Order seeks science as useful knowledge for the real world, but that the Akashic Mysteries are vital for understanding the psionic world.

Akashism acknowledges that genetics impact psionics. They see bloodlines that create psionic power as more pure and better than bloodlines that do not. For the Akashic practitioner, psionic power is not a matter of enlightenment, but genetic superiority, in much the same way that intelligence and physical strength are manifestations of genetic superiority.

Akashism failed to grasp Communion and the revelation of its existence shook the faith to its core. According to Akashism, one’s psionic powers derive from their genetics, and specific bloodlines can access specific powers. No person can access all psionic powers, certainly not just by communing with some vast gestalt or whatever it is that Communion is. To watch an Elegans master psychokinesis through meditation, as well as exhibit power and knowledge that he should not have cracked the very foundations upon which Akashism stood.

Akashics struggle with this, and have diverged on two paths. Most Akashics argue that Communion is a lie. They note that many follow the philosophy of Communion and never gain psionic powers or abilities beyond their genetic potential, and that it may be that there’s simply undiscovered bloodlines that are even purer than those created by the Akashic Order, and that these have mastered far greater psionic power. Those who hold this line of thinking seek out masters of Communion and try to marry into their bloodlines, hoping to find a way to “genetically unlock” Communion.

A minority accepts Communion, arguing that people once thought that psionic powers were but superstition until the Akashic Order and its antecedents mastered those powers. Now, the Akashic Order must master this greater understanding of Communion. They note that the way in which some aristocrats mystically embody the ideal of their ancestors looks a lot like paths, and that the Akashic Temples, where one can witness the Akashic Record, often seem to coincide with locations steeped in holy Communion energies. They argue that the Akashic Mysteries already use Communion, which explains the more mystical elements of the theology. This group seeks out masters of Communion to better learn Communion, and how they can use it to better divert the Coming Storm.

Akashics on Death, the Afterlife and the Purpose of Life

The Akashics make no explicit claim on the purpose of life: one is free to live the sort of life one wishes. However, the Akashics argue that one has a duty to one’s ancestors and descendants to help all of mankind to avoid the existential crisis known as the Coming Storm. In that context, everyone has a purpose.

The Akashic Order can see what actions one must undertake to assist in preventing the Coming Storm, and for the average Akashic, this is equivalent to one’s purpose in life. Many believes in the Akashic Mysteries will approach oracles to find out what that purpose is: who they must marry, what job they should take, what sort of person they should be. In response, the Akashic Oracle gives them commands on how they must live. The details vary: in many cases, the life of that individual makes no serious impact on the Coming Storm, so they Oracle gives the supplicant some generic, even uplifting advice. In others, that person plays a very specific role and must be given precise instructions or, in some extreme cases (as is often the case with nobility) must be assigned an oracle who constantly helps to guide the supplicant through the treacherous waters of their life.

To the Akashic, whether or not an afterlife exists isn’t relevant. They deal with the real world, and even in the real world, they often speak to people long dead or not yet born, as each uses precognition to look upon the actions of their descendants. Thus, in a very real way, to those initiated in the deeper secrets of the Akashic Mysteries, death isn’t a finality so much as a distance placed between two people. The Akashics can even see what would have happened if someone had lived, and thus can describe the “life” of a dead child to grieving parents, who have been separated from their child not by death, but by chance and the gulf of time that only the Akashics can bridge.

Thus, the best way to bridge that gulf of time is to matter to as many people as you can. A heroic ancestor who lives fully to his purpose, or who made a major impact upon history, becomes a point of interest to once and future Akashics. Such powerful individuals find that their actions resonate through the past and present. The Akashic Order encourages ancestor worship. They push the descendants of those great individuals to study their lives and try to imitate them, to draw on the power of those events to improve their own power. The life of a great ancestor can become the template of your own life, and empower you. In so doing, one can create a resonance that helps to break apart the Coming Storm in the future.

The Akashic Mysteries and other Philosophies

The Akashic Mysteries has no strong epistemological or metaphysical assumptions. If one wishes to believe in science or in the occult or in Communion, the Akashic Order doesn’t care. It concerns itself exclusively with time, and the moral imperative of protecting humanity from the Coming Crisis. Only when a philosophy violates that moral imperative does the Akashic Order bristle.

For example, the Akashic Order didn’t mind the philosophy of True Communion when it remained confined to the alien parts of the Galaxy. Only when it began to invade the human realm and make the common man question his place in subservience to the aristocracy, or the reality of the Coming Storm, did the Akashic Order begin to act. The Akashic Order doesn’t mind the principle or idea of Communion; some within its ranks even study it and attempt to understand how they can use it avert the Coming Storm. It’s the subversiveness of True Communion that the Akashic Order objects to.

Likewise, the Akashic Order doesn’t mind science or dislike Rationalism except when Neo-Rationalism’s empiricism and refusal to accept psionic phenomenon leads them to argue that the “Coming Storm” is just some fable made up by the Akashic Order to force people to obey them and to discard the rational in favor of irrational mysticism. Then the Akashic Order objects, strenuously.

Thus, if a philosophy acknowledges the importance of the Akashic mission, and, in the very least, does nothing to interfere with the Akashic Order, the Order accepts it, and may even study it. This has led some of its more far-flung members into speculative investigation of odd beliefs or philosophies, or recasting existing philosophies in a way that suits the Order.

Are the Akashic Mysteries Correct?

The default assumption of Psi-Wars is that the Akashic Mysteries are more-or-less correct, but that they failed, both to grasp the full extent of the great galactic calamity, and to prevent the great galactic calamity from occurring. Now, new measures need to be taken.

The incorrectness of the Akashic Mysteries have several possible degrees. The lightest is that they simply miscalculated; failing to account for Communion is a big oversight. It might be possible for them to return and find a new way golden path, a new set of prophecies that allow greater dynamism and resilience than the previous plan.

On the more extreme end, the critics of the Akashic Mysteries might be correct, and the “Coming Storm” was never real, and that such long term predictions of the future aren’t possible. The Akashics either deluded themselves with hallucinatory visions caused by intoxicants and sensory deprivation fusing nightmares with real precognition and their own minds trying to fill in the blanks. The “Great Storm” might be nothing but the darkness at the limits of one’s vision, and as one gets closer to the event, that darkness simply recedes. Alternatively, the Coming Storm never existed and the Akashics knew it, merely conceiving of it as a way to impose their power on the galaxy and create an empire.

The correctness of the Akashic Mysteries also has several possible degrees. The simplest is to say that they were right and remain correct: the Coming Storm is just over the horizon and represent the primary existential threat of the setting, a new element that a GM can inject into his campaign to add urgency beyond the war between Alliance and Empire. A stronger vision of the Akashic Order is possible. Given that they can see the future, couldn’t they see the eventual decadence of their own order? Couldn’t they see the failure of the Eternal Empire coming? Wouldn’t they have planned for it? What if this was their plan all along? This telling makes the Akashics a powerful conspiratorial force, but I suggest caution on this path: if the Akashics become completely infallible, then the players have no role to play in saving the Galaxy. A slightly better version might cast the Akashics as essentially correct, but lacking in the necessary power to avert the crisis. They manipulated the galaxy into this current state of crisis because only in this state is the redemption of the galaxy possible. But the fate of the galaxy now rests on a tipping edge, doomed to either fall into the abyss of annihiation, or to be rescued and, naturally, the Akashics know whow the ideal people to give the galaxy a fighting chance are...

Beyond this core concern, the correctness of the Akashic Order doesn’t really matter. The true nature of Communion or Psionic activity or of God or whether the universe is fundamentally material or not don’t really concern them. All that concerns them is the reality of the coming storm.

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