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Theo
Developer Emeritus
16 Dec 2004

Location: PRAGUE

Ok, here is my take on one prominent aspect of Indoril society. English is my natural language and lore is not my experties, but I hope this text at least raises some interesting philosophical issues that might be relevant.

True laws of charity

Great house Indoril is widely acknowledged as the most pious and charitable of all Great houses of Morrowind and rightly so.

Indoril noblemen have always been generous sponsors and supporters of the Tribunal faith and most of the notable
patriarchs, saints, clergymen, teachers and lawman of the Tribunal Temple, living or dead, are of Indoril blood.

It is therefore our foremost duty, as guardians of the holy doctrine, not only to endorse it vigorously in our everyday lives, but also to protect it from erroneous teachings that threaten to obfuscate it.

While House of troubles always sought to corrupt the true ways of Dunmer, Indoril always stood firm for many centuries, so it is only due to an ignoble attack of a new fiend, who emerged only recently, that wardens of the truth have been momentraily caught of guard. I speak, naturally, of a so-called Imperial Cult.

Handful of noticeable absurdities and outright falsities are spread by followers of false Imperial Gods. These deviations, althoughe numerous, are fortunately quite shallow and so transparently misguided, that any devout follower of holy Tribunal should be able to see through them
quite easily and without any effort.

It is therefore a less educated and knowledgable Dunmer, member of house other than house Indoril, that this handbook is intended for. Let me therefore tackle only the most obvious confusion, caused by contemptible propaganda of wicked imperial cultists, that is what is a true purpose of charity.

While it may be the easiest nonsense to clarify, it is also the most dangerous ones. It is because the sordid imperial idolaters misuse it to baffle the poor, that is the least educated and therefore most vulnerable of Dunmer, bewildering them with such misconceptions as 'compassion', 'solidarity' and so called 'social justice'.

Let me deal with these confused notions one by one.

While it is natural for any mer to feel a compassion with poor, sick and cripples time to time, it is unworthy of a true Dunmer to act on such a shallow motions.

The true purpose of such emotions is to remind us of our history and of our Altmer origins, so that we were humbled by those memories and remained grateful to the Almsivi, that we have been transformed to their greater glory. Only through such divine transformation we became who we are - the most advanced and civilized of races, superior to any other in every aspect.

Remember, our ancestors could have never reached Resdayn, had they carry the weak, care for the wounded, or cater to the starving all the way from the islands of the ancient ways.It is by misfortune that gods separate husk from the seed.

Diseases, suffering and death are evidently as much a part of natural order, as is well-being, wealth and life and it is in the light of this truth we should understand our archaic motives.

Embrace the your past and do not let the primitive instincts blind you from true purpose of almsgiving, which I will explain later in this treatise.

The second concept of 'solidarity' implies that there is some guilt to be felt for being a highborn, healthy and prosperous, while others are lowborn, sickly and destituted. Moreover it seems to suggest (and this is quite peculiar contradiction) that the privileged are somehow responsible for their well-being, while on the other hand the misery of the poor is unrightful and undeserved.

Absurdity of such a foreign bunk is so apparent that it would be a waste of time to even entertain it, so let me deal in detail with the most perplexed of the lies that the Imperial fibsters advocate instead, that is of 'justice'.

The most dangerous lies, as Seht teaches us, are those most reminiscent of truth. Yes, the purpose of charity truly is a social justice. But do not let the Imperials trick you by
twisting the actual meaning of this idea with their disconcerted interpretations. In their feeble minds Imperials substitute justice with equality of status, or (if employing a more sophisticated eristics) with an equality of opportunity.

This is patently and blatantly wrong, yet it still manages to bedevil the most desperate and weak in faith. To grasp the outward falsity of such an extraneous claim, you must be well-educated and acquainted with the metaphysics, however.
Only one familiar with sum of philosophy would already know the correct answer to this strange proposition. That is that Inequality is one of seventeen causes of being and therefore cannot be eliminated.

For there being two things, the two things must be unequal to each other or else there could not be two things but only one. For one thing to be to the right of the another, the latter one must be on the left for the former. For one to be rich, other must be poor, for one to be a male, other has to be female so that the final cause of procretion was met.

That is why a true purpose of almsgiving is not to overcome this eternal duality and balance of opposites, but to sustain it and endorse it. For each disbalance and divergence from a law noticeably leads to extremes,
such us riots, uprising, epidemies and clan wars.

A noticeable example of such an aberration was the great epidemy of yellow tick, when beggars were allowed in public spa during reign of Alma Rula Theris Daryn, the foolish.
Or from more recent history, the granary raid by farmer mob in Roa Dyr due to the famine caused by the great drought. Did the local lords follow their religious duties and paid their tithes to the Temple in ALmas Thirr, such deviation could not have occured. The drought is in a nature an opposite to flooding and so there are thick years to balance for the thin ones.

You do not need to grasp the finer points of the teachings however, dear reader. There is fortunately one virtue that makes even a simplest Indoril serf infinitely more wiser than the proudest Telvanni wizard. Namely he knows that the doubts are virtues for a true scholar, but undoing for those lack wisdom and proper education. You should follow his example and no harm and injustice can ever occur to you in your life.

Do not burden yourself needlessly with questions you have no means to answer and be firm in your faith in the Tribunal. Open yourself to the word of sermons and soon the truth will become perceptible and clearly visible to you.

Do not defile your ears by listening to these false prohpets, else you will allow their poison in your soul. Keep an unsastained heart, pray to the Almsivi and you will become immune to all outlandish venom.

/some quotation here/

_________________
THEO
Post Wed May 14, 2014 10:57 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

I'll get around to pointing out grammar and orthography errors later. Understandably, there are quite a few.

Before that, though, I'm not quite sure whether I agree with your take on where Imperial and Tribunal charity diverge.

As you say, Tribunal charity does not aim to balance everyone's well-being and social status, but that is also not the aim of Imperial society.

I feel as though you are making the rather common error of equating Imperial society with our modern society. Imperial society is very different. It is feudal, hierarchical and essentially unfair.
My take on Imperial Cult charity is that it attempts to elevate the class system as a whole. So the nobles are just as rich, if not richer, and the middle class is just as rich, if not richer, but the lower class is not as poor. And that is at best.
The reality of the situation, though, is that a large part of Imperial charity is probably appeasement, which you seem to equate with Indoril society: trying to ensure that the lower class does not riot.
Another major part of Imperial Cult charity is essentially bribery: attempting to buy the faith and loyalty of locals.

My take on Indoril charity, on the other hand, is that it tries to maintain the current class differences as they are. The rich should stay as rich as they are, and the poor should stay as poor as they are. Anything else would suggest an imperfection in Indoril society, which is impossible, because Indoril society is perfect in every way.
The charity is there to ensure that the poor are able to stay that badly off. That in turn keeps them dependent on the nobility, because without that charity they would simply not be able to survive.
Compare the idea in the United States that tips supplement the wage of people in the service industry and as such justify a lowering of the minimum wage. I think that is a very Indoril approach, rather than an Imperial one.
On the other hand, I do not think that the Indoril would really give charity as a form of appeasement. If Indoril serfs riot, it is their fault. If their lord was not generous enough, that would certainly be a flaw, but that did not cause the riot. Had they been attentive in their faith, then the Tribunal would have seen to them. If they died of starvation, then that was the fate the Tribunal intended for them. There is no reason for them to rise up, and if they do it is because of a lack of faith and piety.

At the same time, an important aspect of charity is how it reflects on the giver.
In Indoril society, nobles are expected to be charitable, and by being charitable they are doing their due duty. Giving too generously, or not generously enough, would both likely be viewed undesirably.
In Imperial society, nobles are generally not expected to be charitable. Acts of charity are supposed to elevate them in the public eye, and the more they give the more generous they are.
So while in Indoril society charity is a duty, in Imperial society it is a virtue.
While in Indoril society serfs are expected to accept charity as a part of their due, and thank the Tribunal that they are able to receive it, in Imperial society they are expected to view charity as a gift and be grateful to their benefactors, which in the case of the Imperial Cult would generally be the Imperial Cult itself, the Empire which enables and supports the existence of the Imperial Cult as well as the various almsgivers who fund the Cult.
Post Wed May 14, 2014 5:10 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I largely agree with Gnomey's interpretation of the lore.

In general, however, this piece could also benefit from significant condensing. Start by cutting out the paragraphs that state the obvious. For example:

Quote:
Indoril noblemen have always been generous sponsors and supporters of the Tribunal faith and most of the notable patriarchs, saints, clergymen, teachers and lawman of the Tribunal Temple, living or dead, are of Indoril blood.


Although accurate and well-written, this reads more like in-game genearl information dialogue than something to put in a book. Morrowind's books are meant to provide additional layers of mystique to the world, not present factoids easily gleamed from playing the game. Furthermore, if an Indoril author is writing this for, what I assume to be, an Indoril audience, why does he need to explain what their House is like to them? Obviously the player needs context to understand the piece, but subtler ways exist for imparting this information.

You're also using a fair amount of "to be" verbs here. Eliminating and replacing them with stronger verb-driven sentences will improve the piece's readability. I'd also suggesting cutting down on some of the wordiness:

Quote:
It is therefore our foremost duty, as guardians of the holy doctrine, not only to endorse it vigorously in our everyday lives, but also to protect it from erroneous teachings that threaten to obfuscate it.


Code:
Our duty not only calls us to endorse the holy doctrines vigorously in our everyday lives, but also to protect them from the erroneous teachings that might obfuscate them.


To give an additional example:

Quote:
Handful of noticeable absurdities and outright falsities are spread by followers of false Imperial Gods. These deviations, althoughe numerous, are fortunately quite shallow and so transparently misguided, that any devout follower of holy Tribunal should be able to see through them quite easily and without any effort.


Could be parred down to:

Code:
The followers of the false Imperial Gods spread both noticeable absurdities and outright falsities. These deviations, although numerous, are fortunately quite shallow and so transparently misguided, that any devout follower of the holy Tribunal should see through them without effort.


Notice the repetition in the last sentence. "Easily" and "without effort" mean practically the same thing. The sentence needs only one for the meaning to come across.

I appreciate your attempts at fleshing out the Indoril concept of charity, Theo. I hope you take Gnomey and my suggestions into account when revising this. Smile

I certainly hope I didn't come across as too harsh here. Honestly, I'm the last person who should be giving out writing advice. Most of the above suggestions come from my experience writing under the hawkish eyes of strident Journalism and English professors.

_________________
-Head of NPCs: Skyrim: Home of the Nords
Post Wed May 14, 2014 7:10 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theo
Developer Emeritus
16 Dec 2004

Location: PRAGUE

I am by no means offended and must agree with your arguments. This is exactly the kind of discussion I wanted to raise: what is the purpose of Temple charity and how does it differ from the one of Imperial cult. I believe there is an agreement the Indoril seek to preserve the status quo, but the concept of social justice is probably too modern and inadequate for any culture of Morrowind.
Also I am qute unsure about my depiction of Dunmer notion of compassion. Is not Almalexia supposed to be compassionate deity? What role should such ethical sentiments, if any, play in strictly law oriented Indoril society?
Before starting to redo the text I hope to hear more opinions on the content and style.

_________________
THEO
Post Wed May 14, 2014 9:38 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Social justice is a fairly meaningless term, in and of itself, so it can be ascribed both to Indoril and Imperial society without any problem. All that social justice really is is a goal which a society sets for itself and tries to reach.
As the Indoril view themselves as possessing the ideal society, they have already reached that goal, and social justice reigns. Imperials, however, are likely still striving towards social justice, which in their case might be a utopia in which all are well-off but a clear hierarchy is maintained.

My interpretation of the Indoril is that they are incredibly conformist, as opposed to conservative. Traits like compassion are shared among all Indoril, for House Indoril is a compassionate House. As such, at least all well-off Indoril are expected to provide charity.
Again, it is similar to how it is pretty much expected in many places to tip people in the service industry, and not doing so can be seen as rude.
While Indoril might have especially charitable members, they would probably provide charity to a greater number of people as opposed to providing a greater amount of charity to the same number of people. Almalexia is especially compassionate because she cares for every single devout Dunmer, or something like that.
My interpretation of Indoril charity and compassion is however probably a little too simplistic and one-dimensional.

As for style, I rather liked the tone of the text, but sometimes it tends a little to redundancy. In the line "[...] Indoril always stood firm for many centuries, [...]", for instance, either 'always' or 'many centuries' should be left out. I'd also argue that 'millennia' is more accurate than 'many centuries'.
Other than that, the more common errors appear to be questionable or lacking articles, ("any devout follower of the holy Tribunal", "the so-called Imperial Cult"), inconsistent capitalization, ("House of Troubles", "inequality is one of seventeen causes"), and a lack of perfect tense. ("[...] Indoril has always stood firm, [...]"
From my experience the last error is incidentally quite common among native English speakers, but it is still very much an error as opposed to common usage, especially considering the scholarly tone of your text.
You also refer to Sotha Sil as Seht, which for all intents and purposes should not be done unless quoting from the 36 Lessons.
Post Wed May 14, 2014 11:54 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theo
Developer Emeritus
16 Dec 2004

Location: PRAGUE

Thanks for the tips. I will edit this text during the weekend and implement your suggestions.
_________________
THEO
Post Thu May 15, 2014 5:09 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

The topics raised here sound like prime material for the Master Planning section. I'll re-post some of the queries raised here in the appropriate master planning threads latter to stimulate further discussion.
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-Head of NPCs: Skyrim: Home of the Nords
Post Thu May 15, 2014 8:49 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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