The import of thought

A minor digression from the usual updates on where the writing’s at, character bios, short stories, etc. Today I want to share some thoughts about the intellectual basis for the Tomekepeers Project. One of the core themes of this project is the attitudes different factions have towards information: how it’s valued; how it’s distributed; and how it’s gathered. While I’ve written about Factor 46 and Asclepius, I haven’t really talked much about the process of how both came to be. I’m not going to give away any spoilers here, but I am going to talk about the greatest enabler for Asclepius.

The single most powerful thing that any human being can do is to think for themselves. However, that’s also a brave thing to do. To see a problem, think about it and come up with a solution is hard.

In Australia, the USA, the UK and other nations around the world, our most important institutions are trying to tell us that we should be afraid; that we should trust their lead; that we should not make a fuss; that we should accept their truth as our truth.  There is a trend towards the doctrine that there is greater value in “simple” answers that can be consumed in the form of a sound bite, a pithy sermon, a news report that presents conjecture as fact.  That kind of trend is dangerous for our democracy.  It’s dangerous because it gets us used to a pattern of thinking that stops us thinking about and solving problems of genuine importance.

Orville Braithwaite is able to create Asclepius because he’s unshackled by the kind of thinking that says the problems of our world are too hard or too complex to be solved. The problem of providing universal healthcare to all of mankind is complex, but not insurmountable.  Orville also has some other ideas about problems to be solved. Poverty. Hunger. Access to education. Scarcity of potable water. Housing. Reforestation and climate change. Computing resources and internet connectivity for the billions of people who can’t afford a computer or a mobile phone, but have no less need for the resources on the internet to survive and thrive. He’s not focused on how tragic these things are. He’s focused on how to fix them.

We need more people in our society who say “Can do.”  We need more people in our society who are unafraid not only to speak up against inequality and injustice, but also to take positive action to defeating the forces that create them. We need to stop framing the debate in terms of how much things cost, but in terms of how much our nations and our civilization as a whole benefits when we fix the problems in front of us.  We need to stop talking about risk in terms of what we could lose, and start talking about risk in terms of what we might not gain. At some point, we just need to hook in and start getting these big jobs done.

In the Tomekeepers, forces who act to advance complacency in the broader population will be those who suffer the most ignominious defeats. Institutions that fail to keep driving the human race forward will be replaced by ones that will, or renewed from within by people who are worthy of that trust. In short, the Tomekeepers is not just a story that I want to tell, but a personal mission statement.

The call to action from this post is simple. Think. Research. Gather your own knowledge. Don’t take other people’s word for things. Don’t take the easy options and challenge your decisions. Take action to advance not only your personal status but that of everyone around you. Be a citizen of the world, not just a citizen of your own nation. Dream. Share. Live. Love. Be true to the moment, and true to your role as a sentient being in a world where a lot is going wrong.

The Lorebinders

Image via Neona - published under creative commons.

We’ve already written about the Tomekeepers – i.e. the signatory city-states/nations that work in support of the Tome and have incorporated the Tomekeepers into their security and emergency services.  Today, I want to give you an idea of how the second core faction within the Tomekeepers universe works.  The Lorebinders are not a single faction, but a very loose grouping of like-minded groups who have decided that the knowledge they hold should not be incorporated into the Tome.  This includes:

  • Religious and martial arts organizations, whose initiated members are privy to rites and meditation techniques that might manifest as powers that could be attributed to magic or psionics depending on who you ask.  Such abilities are becoming less uncommon as the factor 46 antidote takes effect in populations.
  • Isolated outposts of pre-apocolyptic nation states that were sufficiently isolated to be able to quarantine themselves from factor 46 and its effects.  Examples of these outposts might be NORAD, nuclear weapon silos in the Soviet Union, Area 51 in the Nevada desert, and other (largely militaristic) bastions of nationhood and self-serving agendas.
  • Individuals with unusually rich resources who are hoarding works of art and literature, or items/works of historical, cultural or political significance.
  • Organized crime groups whose operations survived factor 46 without losing all of their resources and capabilities.  Knowledge of their networks and trading relationships would be considered highly valuable by Tomekeeper states, and such criminal groups would also have hostile intentions towards the Tomekeeper Corps in particular.

Obviously, this is a work in progress, but you can already see where there could be significant opportunities for conflict to arise between the Lorebinder groups and the Tomekeeper Corps.  In some cases, this might simply manifest as a certain brusque uncooperativeness paired with a stubborn pursuit of their own agendas, but in other situations, the Tomekeepers could be forced to defend themselves against hostile actions from Lorebinders.

The Lorebinders are not necessarily a formal alliance per se.  Individual groups may make situational/tactical alliances with other Lorebinders to further mutual interests, or as a tactical manoeuvre in order to outfox another group while in pursuit of their own goals and agendas.  The politics of the Lorebinders will be diverse, highly entangled and driven entirely by each group’s strategic agendas.

The third faction of the Tomekeepers milieu is the Free Trade Alliance, and we’ll talk about them in the next post.