Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Happened to the Catwalkers?

Well, I haven't RPed in Midian for a while.  But, I figure it must have played out something like this:

Ok, on a serious note, what the hell happened? o.O;

Medieval - Impossible To Do Without Christianity

This is somewhat a spin off from a topic I read on Pussycat Catnap's blog here.

I agree with her on much of what she states. So this is not really a response to her blog, as it is a spin off. My comments there formed the basics for this.

What I mean to say is, that the period and genre of fiction known as Medieval in RP often has very little to do with the actual period that people try to present.  And I do think that one particular problematic area is that people rarely want to put in the religions of the time.  Particularly, in Medieval/Dark Ages period, Christianity was forming a certain dominance among the warrior king ruling class clans of the time in Europe, primarily around France and Italy, and somewhat in Britain, but the isles were much more the territory of the savages, and didn't really get the polishing up of culture until the 12th century with Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regnum Britanniae.  But even there, the Britain legend and folklore was given an additional boost from the 12th c. French writer Chretien d Troyes, who added to the Arthurian narrative Lancelot and the Holy Grail - two most distinguishable elements of that comprised the more Eurocentric strand of Medieval literature.

Also, when considering a 'tradition' of the time, one would have to be accurate about what period the RP is. For instance, if a sim were to say they are a Medieval RP of English Tradition, then by what English Tradition - the Anglo-Saxon, or the Middle English period?  There is a difference by a few centuries, and most RP is closer to the Middle English as it is just before the Renaissance period that more prominently influences people's vision of Medieval RP.  But, unfortunately Renaissance period is not Medieval, and most Medieval RP should not call themselves Medieval, but much more a revisionist history of the Renaissance, as the RP does reflect on the time in fantasy and fiction, as well as certain structures for the RP's own elements that have nothing to do with any historical nature of genre or period.

Now much of the problem with RP in the revisionist fantasy of it, is that it often excludes the very huge 600 lbs gorilla that is the Christian traditions throughout the narratives and history of the time that they want to play in.  And yet, it is Christianity, with both the internal and external battles of the period and culture in Medieval Europe that that made medieval literature what it was.  Christian warrior kings that were partially tyrants that demanded their subjects to be Christian or die, and yet protectors of their realms from the brutal savages of the Northwest, as well as yet another conquering religion of the Muslims to the Southeast.  All this would fit perfectly for an RP, and there is plenty a rich source of history to back any sort of frame of reference for how to play out the Medieval period and play by the 'true' and 'pure' rules of the genre.

Now, I'm not saying that Christianity is the only element of the medieval times.  Yes, there were druids, and to have any sort of Arthurian legend, you cant deny them, nor the focus of Avalon, the lady of the lake, and Excalibur.  Yet, one can't deny the driving force of Lancelot and the Holy Grail either. Just as there were warrior knights of the clan, there were also the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller.  And where there were druids taking religious vows, there were also Medieval Monasteries and Nunneries.

There's all sorts of resources, with all sorts of angles to take the Christian tradition in Medieval RP.  Without having that particular aspect of Medieval times, one is eliminating a very important part of the era.  And while maybe some want to water down the period for modern political correctness reasons, they are doing a huge disservice to history and understanding of the period.  Sure, people may like the more secularized version of Medieval RP, but they aren't really getting the fullness of the Medieval period.  But further, they are not getting the Medieval period at all.  Instead, they are getting a revisionist fantasy that claims to be Medieval when, at best, it's a revision of Renaissance without the Reformation, and the Age of Reason without the underlying faith that that people were trying to seek out a better reasoning of or from.

In short, one takes out a huge chunk of the drama of the day, when they don't allow to be in place the most prominent religion of the period of RP they propose to play.  Maybe it's because the people who RP aren't all that much fans of religion in general, or at least Christianity.  But without one of the dominant forces of influence of the period, you don't really get the period at all.  You just get a fantasy of fictional revisionist history that is anything but Medieval.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Philosophies, Politics and Their Policies - The 'Apples and Oranges' That Drive People Bananas

[The Following comes from way too much time in the rambling politics on my real life FB page. Enjoy or be intrigued, or however, by what you read.]

Or, simply put, the reason to have a standard by which to compare and contrast it all.

First and foremost, it is important to consider what is meant by the old adage that the path to Hell is paved by good intentions.

As a Christian and Catholic, the other thing I personally consider is what did St. Pa
ul mean by saying, "with fear and trembling work out your salvation"?

On the latter, I particularly like the Aramaic English translation that states it as follows:

"with awe and with trembling, do the service of your life."

The pursuit of life is not easy. I'm of particular belief that it was always meant to be a challenge. And one that ought to be taken up. For it is one's life to live, no one else can do it for you. Some might cooperate and work along side you, others might coerce and attempt to make you work for them. But ultimately, it is you, the person living your life, that has to take responsibility for it, and take the actions necessary to do what you have to do for your own salvation, for the core service of your life - only you can pursue your own life and find the happiness and goodness that is sought for whatever that 'good life' may be.

No one individual has the same vision of what that life is. People may have similar views, but not completely the same. We can say that they would have to be robots to have same pattern of thoughts, but as our own technology shows, even core kernels, like that which Microsoft, Macs, and Linux have in common, they also sprout out to do things similar in different ways. And they also follow a pattern of what their creators intended for them to follow. A sort of residual of the 'fingerprint of God', in a certain manner akin to Tolkien's co-creation concept. And yes, I do believe in Tolkien's concept of the 'true myth' - or, as I perceive it, that which has been long since marred and mimicked by the bullshit, but is actually true.

As for apples and oranges? They are both fruits. Similar, but also different, but similar enough to be compared, and have a standard to do so, as well as a standard by which to contrast them. They both have skins, texture, and taste. An apple is a much more firm fruit, somewhat more tart in taste, with a skin that can be eaten. An orange is softer, more citrus and somewhat sour in taste, and a more juicy type fruit, to which most generally do not eat the skin. See? Compared and contrasted by the standards of what they have in common. It's something of value to learn to do, for your own good, at the very least.

But if you say comparing politics and philosophies is in much the same category, I can agree to some extent. But then you have to find a standard to compare and contrast the philosophies, politics, and the policies they lead to. And that is what the Church Fathers did with the pagan philosophies.

Sometimes, it worked out, and, for the things that had been core to Roman municipalities, as well to res publicae, and res comunae, these worked out perfectly for creating the standards of law for the Holy Roman Empire to come, not to mention the core vision of Western philosophy and the social contract of a constitutional governing system with an emphasis on human rights. Where they failed, it led to the 'dark ages' types of societies that preferred the more totalitarian methods of governing - the ones that refused to believe in public domain and would tax the air if they could, but happily taxed the land and claimed their own private domains, and the people upon it their property. And as such, the commons become those by which the totalitarian power can claim right to deprive people life, liberty, and the basic pursuit of living their lives. In other words, Ayn Rand and Margaret Sanger philosophies, policies, and practices would be perfectly ok under a totalitarian state, because the people in power would have every right to consider how to control, and even kill their people, because in a society where the common people are property, they can be discarded in like manner as people do with a 16 oz bottle of pop.

In one instance, you could call them Socialists in the sense of how totalitarian their view of Kingship was as the government over the people. In another instance, you could call them the ultimate capitalists because they viewed everything on their land, including the water, animals, and human beings, as their private property. But, overall, they should be a relatively clear picture of what happens in a totalitarian government, be it that they claim name as 'Socialist' or 'Capitalist' in nature. They both intend to enslave the commons and they both view the commons as their property, be it as servants to the state, or mere chattel that they count per capita - 'for each head', as the Latin term means.

Again, it's your life to live. You can somewhat live in comfort as the chattel or servants of such states of being. Or, you can work out your own salvation, do the service of your life, work out the pursuit of your life, albeit with all the risks that come with doing so. But at least you would be doing such pursuit of life through the principle of liberty. The principles of justice? Well, that and true human and God's virtues remain the struggle to continue to be fleshed out in the spirit of the Lord.

In short, you can try to live for the personalities of others, or you can make of your life what you will on your own terms. Even the saints will agree that, eventually, you have to separate from the icon, and seek out the real deal.