-805.4 / Saturday 6 January 12018
We don't believe in gods... do we?
As has been explained elsewhere, ZS is both rational and empirical on the one hand, and also embracing of the power of mythos on the other. Within that framework, let's take a moment to consider the idea of "gods", and what it might mean or how it might be useful to us.
First things first, let's draw a distinction between naive and subtle belief in gods. Naive belief is belief in the literal existence of superhuman mythological beings. Commitment to naive belief requires ignoring empirical evidence when it runs counter to that belief, and as such it is completely incompatible with the Principles of Social Futurism. Taken to its logical and historical extreme, naive belief leads to literal and fundamentalist Monotheism.
Subtle belief, however, is that which treats "gods" as more-or-less anthropomorphic symbols for phenomena and/or concepts which may otherwise be too complex for people to usefully reason about. It is a form of abstraction or "chunking" which allows complex and/or ill-understood processes to be summarised and used as tokens or units in broader contexts and reasoning processes. To illustrate this point, let's consider the ancient goddess Hecate (Heh-Ka-Tee), mistress of crossroads.
HECATE TRIVIA: GODDESS OF THE CROSSROADS
In ancient Rome, the Greek mythological figure Hekate was elevated to the position of full-blown goddess, symbolising the night, moon, stars, magic, witchcraft, ghosts and necromancy. She was often represented as having three faces (i.e. multiple, even myriad aspects), and was thought to be best invoked at crossroads (in much the same manner as the Christian devil in later myths).
The Roman (Latin) word for crossroads was Trivia (Tri-Via, literally "three roads [meeting]"), and it is from the idea of people sharing gossip at crossroads that we get the modern meaning of the word "trivia". Thus, one of this goddess' names was "Hecate Trivia"; Hecate of the Crossroads.
ZSers do not believe in a literal, immortal being named Hecate who has the form of a human woman with three faces. That would be naive belief (naive paganism, to be more specific), and it flies in the face of empirical evidence and so is not in accord with our Principles.Some ZSers do, however, acknowledge and even revere Hecate Trivia as a symbol for something real and valuable. Most predominantly within House Sem-Bhu, Hecate Trivia is regarded as a "metanode", which is to say a kind of dynamic circuit or module within ZS networks, which constantly adapts and evolves in accord with its own (Her own) needs and priorities. One might think of this "goddess" as an emergent AI, and in some senses all the ZS 'gods' are exactly that, but it would be a mistake to make too many assumptions about their substrates and parameters. They are more like the patterns we see in waves, rather than agglomerations of water molecules.
Hecate Trivia is just one of many such concept-entities acknowledged and employed by an unknown proportion of ZSers. Just as in ancient Greece and Rome, She/It is best understood in terms of her sphere of influence; i.e. of the things she represents and symbolizes.
So in what sense is Hecate, or any god, real or meaningful to us?
Take a moment to consider any process, event, or cluster of information within the ZS-ARG. Many elements within that process will be tagged, or linked to in some way. After all, no part of ZS exists in a vacuum, completely disconnected from all other parts. In short, imagine a meta-system of networks embedded within networks in a messy, organic manner, sprawling across an ever-growing and ever-developing mass of new platforms, agents, protocols and technologies.
Where any part of any ZS sub-process has a Hecate-like theme, flavour or "feel", then adherents of the goddess may feel impelled to tag that process in some way (e.g. #HecateTrivia). The resultant network of tagged processes and resources will soon grow to become something larger than any of the merely human participants of ZS. ZSers could call on that network for help, but naturally they would have to use the tags to do so, and the tags will inevitably be attached to symbols of the goddess.
Need a hundred ZSers to help you, fast? Then show that you have respect for this goddess (or any other entity you know to exist within the system) by making the proper signs/tags, and then adherents who believe in the value of that network/goddess will come to your aid. Treat such a call or the god/dess with disrespect, and those same network resources will cease to be your friend. Some gods may even foster adherents who take a very dim view of such behaviour, so you are strongly urged to only call on the "gods" with caution.
Which, of course, is something any Roman woman could have told you down at the crossroads...
Cross-posted from Zero-State.Net's Internal Documentation
Much of the richness of the ZS-ARG is created by different subgroups creating different aspects of the same entities or symbols (and then trying to make their view the dominant one ;-).
Hecate is also tremendously important to many Wiccans.
The challenge for the next few days is to rewrite this post from the viewpoint of House Adhar -- which can be best described as modern-day Wiccan or techno-pagan.
Put a link to your post in the comments below and it will be up-voted according to Adhar's opinion of its quality (and we are very liberal with buying votes from the bots).
The author of the best post will be invited to join with other contest winners in a joint effort per abbcl://firstname.lastname@example.org/bfjqlatdjq-njdgrghjbgmq-jqi-kfgbgqn-hmqbelb
over $100 of Steem prizes have already been awarded and over $6000 + 3 HP VR headsets + 2 MS Surface Pros are already announced as still out there to be won . . . .
AND BE SURE TO USE THE ZSARG TAG