(hopefully) Constructive criticism

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Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
(hopefully) Constructive criticism

I bought the Eclipse Phase rulebook after skimming over the free PDF, which for me happens very rarely - that's how impressed I was with it.

However there are some issues I'd like to comment on and improvements to suggest.

Superficial stuff: First, the artwork in the core rulebook. Artwork has the important (although not vital to the overall enjoyment of the game) task of conveying the setting. While the chapter artwork with its sci-fi panoramas is quite evocative the "random" pictures scattered throughout the book are very generic in nature. I feel they don't convey anything in particular apart from the "Kubrick style" sterile sci-fi future married to certain trends seen in manga/anime. This visual style has: 1. been done to death 2. a very bland, impersonal appearance (something that Kubrick among others, used to convey the impersonal, detached relationship of man-man and man-environment in the future). Now point 2 seems to contradict the apparent lack of a tangible atmosphere, but in reality it does not. Bland is still bland, no matter how you put it and no matter what overall artistic impression you want to impart.

In my opinion Eclipse Phase needs more character, which means that humans in the artwork should look less like hi tech dolls (even if that's what they partly are) and more, well, human. The same goes for environments and gear really.

Setting issues:

Human reproduction. This issue seems to be almost ignored in the rulebook, and its unclear how reproduction functions (with the space constraints) if everyone is essentially immortal. People obviously reproduce somewhere (apart from certain factions) and the availability of food and medicine means that populations increase at least as much as during late 20th/21th century levels. If reproduction is forbidden (?) that means human society is essentially a bunch of jaded immortals looking for their next fix. Now while it makes sense that some parts of the universe look like this, its highly unlikely (actually impossible) that its the same everywhere.

Solution: expand on the variety and details of various lifestyles of people in the EP universe, in further supplements

Anti-religion (Christianity, Judaism but curiously not Islam or Budhhism), anti-nation state bias.

For a setting that takes itself as seriously as EP, for me this was for me the most disappointing aspect of the universe overall. The death of religion and nation states has been proclaimed many times in the last century (nation state) and several centuries (religion) and has proven to be absolute nonsense time and time again.
The reasons for it are beyond the scope of this post, but everything in the real world points that religion and nations are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Its quite unrealistic to assume that they would cease exist as promptly as EP puts it.
Especially in the case of religion, Christianity and Judaism in particular. The several passages that deal in this matter are borderline bigotry with a strange twist when Islam is concerned, which is arguably the most conservative and restrictive of the three yet somehow manages to "reform"?
Apart from the almost offensive tone of the several passages the point remains - they make absolutely no sense. Especially in the situation of tragedy that is the Fall, where people are very likely to cling to the familiar and comforting identities that religion/nations provide.

I think this entire chapter should be rewritten with a more realistic viewpoint that isn't burdened with liberal/secular bias.

Sorry for the /very/ long post.

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

some comments.

I don't feel that religion is at all important in the EP setting as written--with a couple of exceptions. Namely, Islam survived on Mars due to pre-Fall migration of islamst peoples. Hindu (hindi?) survived on Luna for the same reason. So there are dense realatively small pockets of those cultures extant AF10. In addition new cults of Singularity worship have arisen since the fall, and there are 'brinker' type communities that are often based on a specific religion.

Once writers established that due to pre Fall societal/political circumstances there are fairly large communities of muslims and hindi people out there they were bound to say a few words about how that worked out before the fall. If writers failed to give equal column inches to christians and jews I don't think it's an omission or intended slight. I think it's just not noteworthy enough to describe what might be assumed in the core book. Essentially; depiction of religions is up to the GM.
(Personally, I think thats a good way to do it. I really don't want to read a bunch flamewar spawning religious crap in my role play material.)

There are several threads on the subject of reproduction here with some interesting viewpoints. When wondering about these questions it's important to remember the timeline of the setting. It's only been 10 years since the greatest cataclysm human kind has ever faced. Before that time reproduction off earth wasn't an issue because the population of space was so small. So it's unlikely that broad social mores on the subject of reproduction have been developed at AF 10.

I think everyone here loves EP-esqe Art ideas. So if you have some examples of the type of art that represents EP to you it would be cool if you could post links. Also check the EP art thread.

And;
Welcome to the EP boards. Happy gameing :D

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

I wasn't too worried about the dangerous atheist and a-national (which apparently = liberal? How offensive. ;) ) 'bias', either. Certainly, religions of all kinds exist in EP, and so do secular movements of all kinds. Every different group can basically have a hab. :)

I've sought out and participated in several threads about the reproduction/children question. It's been interesting, but inconclusive. I recommended using the search function to check them out.

There are many issues in play: the 'overpopulation' of bodiless egos, the relegation of humanity to habs instead of planets, the ease of forking/psychosurgery, the question of morphs/copyright/artificial creation/etc., the abovementioned post-scarcity situation… it's all very fascinating, and possibly too complex to do justice in a quick blurb for the rulebook. You might drop in on the 'what do you want in future orojects/books' thread.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Arm1tage wrote:
Anti-religion (Christianity, Judaism but curiously not Islam or Budhhism), anti-nation state bias.

For a setting that takes itself as seriously as EP, for me this was for me the most disappointing aspect of the universe overall. The death of religion and nation states has been proclaimed many times in the last century (nation state) and several centuries (religion) and has proven to be absolute nonsense time and time again.

I would heartily disagree with this. While I could certainly not ever say that religion will ever completely die out, it is a falsehood to state that there has never been religious "extinction events". For example, there were hundreds of Christian sects in the its infancy, but those got whittled down to two by the 8th century AD/BCE (Catholicism and Orthodoxy). Greek, Roman, Nordic, Persian, Mesopotamian and a vast amount of American polytheism have all died out. Northern European animism is long gone. To say that the same fate could never happen to religions that exist today is silly at best, egotistical at worst.

I actually think that EP handled it fairly well, and had a rather pragmatic view of the events. 95% of the human population has died off, but I don't think that 95% of the remaining faiths died with it.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

double post

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

The other "bias (this one perhaps truly liberal :D)" I noticed but neglected to mention it, is the treatment of the Jovian Junta whose meme of Bioconservativism (and indeed the entire faction) is treated like a shallow US democrat would describe the republicans.
Looking at it from a rational perspective Jovian ideology makes quite a bit of sense, while some of the other factions have at least questionable ideas. To an extent this is a matter of individual choice, but the writing has a dose of unnecessary bias in favor of transhuman factions that is not necessary for the game to work.
Branding an entire faction as villains (perhaps because the author is a proponent of TH ideas, or at least fascinated by them, or just needed bad guys) is a fantasy RPG mindset that does nothing to improve the overall experience.

Thanks for the welcome.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Decivre wrote:

I would heartily disagree with this. While I could certainly not ever say that religion will ever completely die out, it is a falsehood to state that there has never been religious "extinction events". For example, there were hundreds of Christian sects in the its infancy, but those got whittled down to two by the 8th century AD/BCE (Catholicism and Orthodoxy). Greek, Roman, Nordic, Persian, Mesopotamian and a vast amount of American polytheism have all died out. Northern European animism is long gone. To say that the same fate could never happen to religions that exist today is silly at best, egotistical at worst.
I actually think that EP handled it fairly well, and had a rather pragmatic view of the events. 95% of the human population has died off, but I don't think that 95% of the remaining faiths died with it.

Certain religions have "died out" but religion of some sort (or rather a set of irrational core beliefs) has never died out because its intrinsic to human nature. Its conceivable that all of todays religions might one day disappear, but highly unlikely that something similar would not show up to replace them.

Even atheism as a supposed anti-thesis to religion arms itself with practically irrational faith in its ideas. It does after all, make a case of disproving what can't be proven in the first place. :D

The point is, in the dark between the stars, what do the people of Eclipse Phase believe?

Apart from the various 20th century with a sci-fi spin ideologies (some of which are quite clever I must say).

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Yerameyahu wrote:
I wasn't too worried about the dangerous atheist and a-national (which apparently = liberal? How offensive. ;) ) 'bias', either. Certainly, religions of all kinds exist in EP, and so do secular movements of all kinds. Every different group can basically have a hab. :)

Strictly speaking liberal ideology is neither atheist or a-national, but it does tend to come in a package these days. :D

I agree that its something that its not a real barrier to play, more a mild irritation on my part and that only because the rest of the setting is so well thought out.

The other issues are problematic though, especially with clever and inquisitive players, potentially putting the GM in a sticky situation.

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

what sticky situations do you predict to be problematic for the GM?

Maybe it's my own bias (wishflull thinking?) but i fail to see how religion is important to the setting at all?

The way I see it;
If one player says; "my character is [X] religion." the GM can just say; "Cool write down what that means in 10AF and give me the details about your church/congregation." then largely ignore it unless it suit's his fancy.
Religion's are only an issue to the extent that a GM wants to involve them in his plot.

Oh and BTW, 'Welcome' means "I'm fully prepared to argue with you until one of us gains something from it." :D LOL

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

OneTrikPony wrote:
what sticky situations do you predict to be problematic for the GM?

Maybe it's my own bias (wishflull thinking?) but i fail to see how religion is important to the setting at all?

The way I see it;
If one player says; "my character is [X] religion." the GM can just say; "Cool write down what that means in 10AF and give me the details about your church/congregation." then largely ignore it unless it suit's his fancy.
Religion's are only an issue to the extent that a GM wants to involve them in his plot.

Oh and BTW, 'Welcome' means "I'm fully prepared to argue with you until one of us gains something from it." :D LOL

You could run games where religion has no relevance (quite likely, in fact), but for the sake of a more cohesive and in depth setting, religion amongs other day to day issues that couldn't be covered in the core rulebook should be expanded upon. Its not that I need it to run my games, I just feel it wasn't treated in a manner that makes much sense.

The writers did a good job on topics of economy and politics, but non-political beliefs, day to day life and other (only apparently) mundane stuff Yerameyahu mentioned were ignored or skimmed over, which is inevitable in a core rulebook.

EP can work without it, but it would be much more fun to build a complete universe through a supplement that showcases what life is like in the future and in that what people hope for and dream about. In fact I'd say EP needs that quite a bit, because it can't casually drop into the medieval simplicity of most RPG settings. It features fully functioning but quite alien societies, which need to be explained further and fleshed out.

In short: more flavor. "Fading Suns", while space fantasy is a good example of a setting in which you could run anything and everything because it had good ideas stitching it all together and a clear presentation of how the universe functioned.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Others have indeed commented on the Jovian perspective, so be sure to Search for that. :)

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Ah. This is a quest for depth and detail (possibly official guidance). I fully support that. Although, I'd never considered religion as lacking in the setting and I'd like to know more about the things that might be missing by my tendency to ignore the subject.

Has anyone else considered that the setting does supply a vast number of alternatives to religion that will occupy peoples minds and hearts to a greater extent than traditional religions do, Pseudo-religions. I perceive this is a growing trend in the western world today. Anecdotally; I know three people who's devotion to PETA, The Sierra Club and the NRA is much greater and important than their devotion to Judiesm, Catholicism and Mormonism respectively. It's just my perspective but religion tends to deal less with what people "hope for and dream about." than what people fear and so does EP.

Just a note: Religion can be well represented on an individual character basis via the Motivations mechanics. One character I've played with has listed the (ambiguous) motivation of "neo-buddhism". Any particular dogma could be listed as a character motivation. Faction's can also be pseudo-religious, (Ultimates anyone?)

It's interesting that you mention Medieval Settings. I see so many parallels between the EP setting and Medieval times I can't think it's unintended. You've got the neo-feudalism of the inner system. You've got the economic analog of (Electronically enhanced) barter and trade systems of the frontier in the outer system, where actual (virtual) coinage is worthless due to distance and low population density. You've got the discovery, exploration, mapping and exploitation of new lands through the gates. The internecine politics between Lords (hypercorps) who control vast wealth with barely a nod to self governance or any type of democracy. And the wilds are filled with horrible monsters and demons that most people can barely understand. Crazy non-human races and beings. Magic weapons. Magic machines that create other magic machines out of dirt and thin air. Resurection, magical healing, teleportation, telekinesis...

From a certain perspective you could say that; compaired to real life EP is just DnD with laser guns.

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

Decivre Decivre's picture
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Arm1tage wrote:
Certain religions have "died out" but religion of some sort (or rather a set of irrational core beliefs) has never died out because its intrinsic to human nature. Its conceivable that all of todays religions might one day disappear, but highly unlikely that something similar would not show up to replace them.

Not totally true. Polytheistic faiths are still rather rare today, whereas they were once the standard for spiritual beliefs. The concept of hell is becoming increasingly rare among many faiths, with plenty of new Christian sects popping up that simply don't buy the idea (Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Unitarian Universalists already have no belief in hell... the East Orthodoxy is gradually shifting that way as well; the only groups that tend to cling to the idea are the fundamentalist faiths and the Catholic church). It's very possible that the faiths of the future with be dramatically different from today's faiths.

Personally, I hope the Unitarian Universalists come out on top of the Christian heap by the time of the singularity. :P

Arm1tage wrote:
Even atheism as a supposed anti-thesis to religion arms itself with practically irrational faith in its ideas. It does after all, make a case of disproving what can't be proven in the first place. :D

Depends on your definition of "irrational". Atheism isn't about disproving, but lacking belief. I'm an atheist, but I have zero intent for disproving god... in fact, I pay the topic attention only when it's brought up. Think about it this way... if you were to purchase a lottery ticket, and I were to believe that you aren't going to win the jackpot, is my belief that you won't win irrational, or simply founded on the basis that the event of your win being an extreme unlikelihood?

Arm1tage wrote:
The point is, in the dark between the stars, what do the people of Eclipse Phase believe?

Apart from the various 20th century with a sci-fi spin ideologies (some of which are quite clever I must say).

Probably concepts quite different from what we believe today. For instance, the soul might exist even then as a basis for what defines beings... but it would now have to justify why forking and backups work. Perhaps they believe that any version of them that actually does permanently die goes on to an afterlife where it awaits to be merged with all other versions of itself when they join it. Perhaps they believe that forking and backing up produces new souls. Perhaps, as some have mentioned on these threads, they believe that forks and backups have no souls, and a person dies upon first resleeve or the death of the original body.

In that same vein people's concept of god is going to be redefined as more of the world changes and technology advances. The common concept of god might transition from being that of a spiritual creator to something more akin to an advanced progenitor species or entity, for which people see the existence of alien tech and lack of other civilizations as proof that we are his last and finest creation. Some might believe that one of the races that are long gone is our god.

One thing I will say though is that the precept of the organized religion or faith may have largely died off by the time of Eclipse Phase. It's very possible that a good portion of the population is spiritual, but do not devote allegiance to any central religious authority. This is a very common concept today, and it is becoming far more common as time goes on. This might have become the norm for all spirituality, with churches and faith group becoming a rarity. If that is the case, then it would be very hard to quantify common beliefs in this world; people that are not constrained to a faith-based organization do not necessarily have a need to make their faith openly known.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Quote:
In that same vein people's concept of god is going to be redefined as more of the world changes and technology advances.

I definitely agree with this. Seems to me that god's responsibilities for the universe get reduced further and further as mankind progresses. From actually pulling the sun across the sky to simply keeping the planets in motion. From creating bodies out of clay to simply installing what ever a soul happens to be in bodies that are created by biology.

A god's role in dictating the fates is even diminished by our increasing ability to observe, account and calculate the variables that lead to any particular circumstance.

So while religions will always exist in the aspect of social organizations that promote memes (dogma) to sustain their own power, I have to wonder what issues those memes will be centered around.

It's easy to see how christianity and judaism failed to survive the advent of digital consciousness. Anyone have any ideas as to how islam did it? (other than its a comfortable idea to write that moslem nomads live on the red deserts of Mars.)

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

OneTrikPony wrote:

Has anyone else considered that the setting does supply a vast number of alternatives to religion that will occupy peoples minds and hearts to a greater extent than traditional religions do, Pseudo-religions. I perceive this is a growing trend in the western world today. Anecdotally; I know three people who's devotion to PETA, The Sierra Club and the NRA is much greater and important than their devotion to Judiesm, Catholicism and Mormonism respectively. It's just my perspective but religion tends to deal less with what people "hope for and dream about." than what people fear and so does EP.

It's interesting that you mention Medieval Settings. I see so many parallels between the EP setting and Medieval times I can't think it's unintended. You've got the neo-feudalism of the inner system. You've got the economic analog of (Electronically enhanced) barter and trade systems of the frontier in the outer system, where actual (virtual) coinage is worthless due to distance and low population density. You've got the discovery, exploration, mapping and exploitation of new lands through the gates. The internecine politics between Lords (hypercorps) who control vast wealth with barely a nod to self governance or any type of democracy. And the wilds are filled with horrible monsters and demons that most people can barely understand. Crazy non-human races and beings. Magic weapons. Magic machines that create other magic machines out of dirt and thin air. Resurection, magical healing, teleportation, telekinesis...

From a certain perspective you could say that; compaired to real life EP is just DnD with laser guns.

You're right about the trend, and it reinforces the notion that people need at least a sort of pseudo religious meaning to their life. Still, I can hardly see PETA fit to handle a person's spiritual crisis, especially in a type of setting as EP.
Consider it - you're immortal, you lack nothing, people you care about will always be around, your material self means nothing, for most goals you practically infinite time -no pressure to achieve, no specter of death to urge you on . Perfect breeding ground for complacency, ennui and a spiritual crisis.

Reminds me of Ann Rice's vampires.

Well, its a maxim among sci-fi writers that "sufficiently advanced technology is no different from magic". You could look at EP from a fantasy perspective but such settings are a dime a dozen - much better for it to be hard sci-fi through and though. And its doing a good job so far, in that regard.

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

I think the diminished presence of christianity & judaism in the setting is quite logical: internally logical because both religions are beginning a downward trajectory in terms of popularity and display an inverse relationship to a society's wealth, health and technological advancement, and externally logical in that it's just a giant headache for a writer to try and adapt the tenets of those faiths to a transhuman setting whilst keeping them remotely recognisable.

Buddhism and Hinduism on the other hand require basically no revision, and likely would be an attractive worldviews to persons living in a time of casual reincarnation and the trivial satiation of all material desires. As you say, transhuman existence is ''the perfect breeding ground for complacency, ennui and a spiritual crisis'' - a state of being both Buddhism and Hinduism have for millennia conceived to be humanity's lot.

With resleeving, death no longer shuts people up. Those who utilise the technology not only become immortal, but likely so do their offspring, and their offspring ad infinitum. It should go without saying that the ideas of such a group stand an exponentially higher chance of survival than do the ideas of people who reject resleeving (due to attachment to their birth body and belief in distinct souls, both of which are central tenets of modern day judeo-christianity).

Ergo, belief systems that explain and support transmigration of consciousness will win out over those that do not.


Time will perfect matter.

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Quote:
OneTrikPony wrote...It's easy to see how christianity and judaism failed to survive the advent of digital consciousness. Anyone have any ideas as to how islam did it? (other than its a comfortable idea to write that moslem nomads live on the red deserts of Mars.)

Certain sects of Islam such as the Druze and some Sufis have views which could be easily reconciled with reincarnation and switching bodies: they tend to be anti-materialistic, putting no inherent divinity in anything material. A metaphor would be matter as a mirror and God being the reflection within it; one should not mistake the mirror for the thing it reflects.


Time will perfect matter.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
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"Consider it - you're immortal, you lack nothing, people you care about will always be around, your material self means nothing, for most goals you practically infinite time -no pressure to achieve, no specter of death to urge you on . Perfect breeding ground for complacency, ennui and a spiritual crisis."

See, to me, this is the exact description of a situation where religion is *least* needed. I don't want to rile up any kind of religious debate, but it struck me as a very odd proclamation. :)

As for Islam in SPAAACE, just ask the Dune series.

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
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Quote:
I can hardly see PETA fit to handle a person's spiritual crisis, especially in a type of setting as EP.

As to my PETA person aquaintance I suspect that it fulfills the Need to provide Service part of her spirituality and the Part of displaying my faith is taking an extreme position that dictates everyone else in the world is a sinner part of her religion.
If I'm not mistaken Service is a big part of each of the 'big 3'. Service is part of the higher calling ne`? Maybe Judeism doesn't supply enough of that for her.

IDK about how it works for the people I used as examples. I'm just saying that their behavior in responce to these 'secular' orgs. looks a lot more like religion than their religious behavior does. I don't think you need to have a god to have a religion. In any case; Often people need a cause that is bigger than themselves and it helps if they have a large group of people who can affirm their position by agreeing with them without regard to evidence and another large group of people who disagree with the first group.

I'd also say that what my three freinds practice is religion because they all try to convert me to; PETA, the Sierra Club, and the NRA much more often and strenuously then they try to convert me to their respective religions.

Converting heathins is also a big part of religion right?

Quote:
a giant headache for a writer to try and adapt the tenets of those faiths to a transhuman setting whilst keeping them remotely recognisable.

Now I'm curious. (I agree that trying to define how the jews and christians, much less the moslems responded or 'adapted' to digital consciousness would be a dumb can of worms to open. Just Not Worth It.)

But now I'm having fun trying to immagine exactly how they do deal with it. I'm laughing over a parallel I just though up; transport a pre-protestant christian to 20th century christianity.

"WTF? This sucks, I used to be able to buy Indulgences. Now you're telling me I have to get absolution FIRST? That doesn't make any sense!"

And the 20th century christian in EP.

"Hmm. So what your saying is that I can live for EVAR??? So, on one hand, if I do that I'll never get into heaven. On the other hand if I do that I'll never have to face the judgment? SWEET! I've wanted to BANG my neighbor's wife for SOOOO long. I'm gonna shoot that fucker RIGHT IN THE FACE." :D

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
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The Green Slime wrote:
I think the diminished presence of christianity & judaism in the setting is quite logical: internally logical because both religions are beginning a downward trajectory in terms of popularity and display an inverse relationship to a society's wealth, health and technological advancement, and externally logical in that it's just a giant headache for a writer to try and adapt the tenets of those faiths to a transhuman setting whilst keeping them remotely recognisable.

Buddhism and Hinduism on the other hand require basically no revision, and likely would be an attractive worldviews to persons living in a time of casual reincarnation and the trivial satiation of all material desires. As you say, transhuman existence is ''the perfect breeding ground for complacency, ennui and a spiritual crisis'' - a state of being both Buddhism and Hinduism have for millennia conceived to be humanity's lot.

With resleeving, death no longer shuts people up. Those who utilise the technology not only become immortal, but likely so do their offspring, and their offspring ad infinitum. It should go without saying that the ideas of such a group stand an exponentially higher chance of survival than do the ideas of people who reject resleeving (due to attachment to their birth body and belief in distinct souls, both of which are central tenets of modern day judeo-christianity).

Ergo, belief systems that explain and support transmigration of consciousness will win out over those that do not.

I follow your (perfectly rational) logic, but you're applying it on an irrational matter - people do not enter or leave religion by pure reason. Besides even though most of humanity has been destroyed a substantial percentage of the survivors would still have religious/national ties. The logical outcome in my opinion is that heavily centralized churches would be dealt a devastating blow (like the catholic church, coupled with the impossibility of reorganizing a papacy). But orthodox Christians, for example, whose churches are nation based and deeply ingrained in the national identity would likely form communities based on their common language and the church would inevitably be represented to some degree.

Point being: it makes sense for all major religions to still be present to some degree. They wont be the driving force of the time, but they weren't that even before the Fall. Also, I can easily see certain factions, like the Jovians - embracing organized religion, in particular Christianity, Judaism etc.

Beyond that, small local churches/sects/spiritual movements of every sort are equally easy to imagine.

Also we're thinking in majorities here, which is actually pretty nonsensical for an extremely atomized and fragmented society like EP.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
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Yerameyahu wrote:

See, to me, this is the exact description of a situation where religion is *least* needed. I don't want to rile up any kind of religious debate, but it struck me as a very odd proclamation. :)
.

For a while, yes. That's exactly what it would look like. Then, as you'd grow a society of 80 year old Dorian Gray's staring at their twenty year old faces in the mirror, and they'd either pick up the knife and gut themselves (for the lack of a painting) or seek some sort of spiritual solution, for the fact that they seem to be stuck at the same point in time for all eternity.

Because having everything and being immortal does not answer the question "Why am I here? What is the point of this existence?", in fact it only exacerbates the problem by not allowing a person to go through all the cycles of maturity in life down to their logical conclusion.
There is no closure and no sense of completeness, and I find it hard to see how people could cope with that for an extended period of time without: becoming depraved or unhappy or insane.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

I can see that you have strong opinions about the necessity of religion ('some religion, any religion!') to humans. I personally doubt them, but I don't care enough to worry about it. I will say that the idea that we must deal with existential questions through self-delusion is depressing, but quite pragmatic *if* it accomplishes the desired effect. ;)

AFAIK, very few people in EP have really been alive long enough to suffer from immortality blues (yet), so it's not (yet) a factor in this question. Assuming we were willing to grant the premise that immortality leads people *to* religion, maybe the fact that no one is feeling immortal yet explains the lack of religion in the EP book. They're currently stuck between the old religiosity of fear and the new religiosity of angst. Hehe, logic!

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Arm1tage wrote:

I follow your (perfectly rational) logic, but you're applying it on an irrational matter - people do not enter or leave religion by pure reason.

Agreed - in fact I believe the overwhelmingly assertive factor in determining a person's religion is simple happenstance of birth. ~95% of people adopt whichever belief system their parents impose upon them.

And so I think this is where logic wins out, in the form of brutal Darwinism: Those whose belief systems prohibit resleeving will die sooner, and with fewer children, than those who condone it. An idea being popular with people who are immortal is a very good indicator of that idea's continued transmission. Conversely expressly prohibiting people from being immortal would indicate that idea's impending obsolescence.

Of course Christianity could easily become just as survivable in the transhuman era as the Eastern faiths by simply rolling back to a slightly earlier version which fully accepted transmigration of souls. Apparently a lot of Christians, even Catholics, still believe in this idea today. And accepting reincarnation kind of lessens the awkwardness of the whole 'eternity in heaven after you die' thing, and reintroduces the concept of karma, which is helpful for not breeding sociopaths and would be of particular appeal to the value systems of immortals.

I do fully agree that Judeo-Christian beliefs should be present in the setting, and I enjoy entertaining thoughts on the topic, but I wouldn't want the writers of EP spending inordinate amounts of time retrofitting them to EP when other existing faiths (which are incidentally more exotic to a western readership and therefore simply 'cooler') are a much more convenient fit.

As for nationalism... Every planet in the solar system is ruled by interstellar hypercorps. There are talking octopses and whales that live in the Sun. Cultures can be downloaded in nanoseconds and worn for fashionable effect. Political maps of Earth are somewhere between heartrending and hilarious. I think post-Fall humanity would care about as much for arbitrary national divisions as I care about Saxons vs Celts.


Time will perfect matter.

Arm1tage Arm1tage's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Yerameyahu wrote:
I can see that you have strong opinions about the necessity of religion ('some religion, any religion!') to humans. I personally doubt them, but I don't care enough to worry about it. I will say that the idea that we must deal with existential questions through self-delusion is depressing, but quite pragmatic *if* it accomplishes the desired effect. ;)
!

Not everyone needs it, but most people include it in their lives to some extent or other. Existential questions are beyond the grasp of humanity, which is why they never "go out of fashion". You could argue that all available theories are a delusion. The theory of evolution is no better in that regard. There was a pond, in which appeared a fish, which grew legs - turned into a monkey who turned into a man. Add the storybook concept of a million years in between the various stages and you have a story that requires quite a bit of faith to swallow - for the supposedly non-religious man :D

Now, believe it or not, I'm not even a religious person, but I'm saying that the greater number people in EP are likely to believe in something in such a time of crisis (probably a great many different things), and it can't really be bad to flesh it out. An RPG can never have enough flavor, you know.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Arm1tage wrote:
I follow your (perfectly rational) logic, but you're applying it on an irrational matter - people do not enter or leave religion by pure reason. Besides even though most of humanity has been destroyed a substantial percentage of the survivors would still have religious/national ties. The logical outcome in my opinion is that heavily centralized churches would be dealt a devastating blow (like the catholic church, coupled with the impossibility of reorganizing a papacy). But orthodox Christians, for example, whose churches are nation based and deeply ingrained in the national identity would likely form communities based on their common language and the church would inevitably be represented to some degree.

Only if we work under the impractical assumption that the political environment of those nations are completely static and incapable of change. If we work under the assumption that they are capable of change, then it's very possible that those churches can shift and transition in power. Remember that the Catholic church ceased to be the national religion of Britain became it once again, and ceased to be it once more over the course of about a 100-year span. Here in America, the ever-popular fundamentalist Christian movement only started about 150 years ago; today its the largest religious movement in the US. Today, Islam is growing ever-fast, while Christianity (especially Catholicism) is on a severe decline. Since Eclipse Phase takes place an indeterminate number of years in the future, we can't accurately say what the religious distribution of the world will look like by then.

Arm1tage wrote:
Point being: it makes sense for all major religions to still be present to some degree. They wont be the driving force of the time, but they weren't that even before the Fall. Also, I can easily see certain factions, like the Jovians - embracing organized religion, in particular Christianity, Judaism etc.

Beyond that, small local churches/sects/spiritual movements of every sort are equally easy to imagine.

Also we're thinking in majorities here, which is actually pretty nonsensical for an extremely atomized and fragmented society like EP.

Except if those religions were smaller elements of the overall population by the time the Fall occurred, then their elimination is a very real possibility. The fall killed off 95% of the population. There are a very large amount of cultural elements that may have completely died off with that 19/20ths of the human race. The complete extinction of many smaller ethnic groups has probably occurred (Amish, Inuit, conservative Native American, and Mongolian nomad tribes are probably all gone).

Really, think about it. I know that humanity is wonderfully diverse today, but imagine how it would be less diverse if only 1 out of every 20 people were to survive over the next year. Do you really think that all social groups and religions would be accounted for?

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: (hopefully) Constructive criticism

Arm1tage wrote:
Not everyone needs it, but most people include it in their lives to some extent or other. Existential questions are beyond the grasp of humanity, which is why they never "go out of fashion". You could argue that all available theories are a delusion. The theory of evolution is no better in that regard. There was a pond, in which appeared a fish, which grew legs - turned into a monkey who turned into a man. Add the storybook concept of a million years in between the various stages and you have a story that requires quite a bit of faith to swallow - for the supposedly non-religious man :D

I don't know... I've never considered the theory of gravitation (also known as gravity) an illusion. I assume that every single person who's ever died from a fall would agree with me. I'd also like to think that any person who has died of an electric shock (theory of electromagnetism), or those who have suffered the ravages of an earthquake (theory of plate tectonics) would feel that theories can be anything but illusions.

Unless we are confusing theories with hypotheses and conjectures.

Arm1tage wrote:
Now, believe it or not, I'm not even a religious person, but I'm saying that the greater number people in EP are likely to believe in something in such a time of crisis (probably a great many different things), and it can't really be bad to flesh it out. An RPG can never have enough flavor, you know.

Perhaps, but it also can hurt the setting. How can we possibly believe that the human race suffered the single greatest extinction event in its life when somehow every single minority and culture came out of its effects? How do we justify a 5% survival rate when our species still seems to have all the diversity it had before? Is this really the most destructive event in human history, or are we just making a sci-fi version of the Noah's Ark story?

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.