Ultimates Prophecy/philosophy

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Baalbamoth Baalbamoth's picture
Ultimates Prophecy/philosophy
Hey again, so I'm writing up a little "Ultimate unofficial guide to the Ultimates faction" I was working on breaking down or outlining the original philosophy of Manu Bhattacharya suggested in his book "Eternal Struggle, Eternal Growth" aka "a codified set of ideals and organization for a model society that would promote self-improvement and reward those that maximize their potential." his Philosophy was described as "His personal philosophy of relentless self-improvement, evolutionary fitness, and preparedness mixed with objectivist thinking, free-market capitalism, Confucian philosophy, and even the divine right of kings that he encountered in his research and business dealings. He argued that the most capable can and should rise to power and must exercise it as they see fit in order for humanity to advance, even if it means taking action that violated the freedom or sovereignty of less-fit others." and in reading this line "They model themselves to be philosopher-kings and warrior-ascetics that are accomplished in all areas." I decided to look up info about "warrior poets" and "warrior-ascetics" and ran head first into Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior is a book concerning the Shambhala Buddhist vision of founder Chögyam Trungpa. The book discusses addressing personal and societal problems through the application of secular concepts such as basic goodness, warriorship, bravery, and egolessness as a means toward the creation of what he calls "enlightened society". the book was written in 1976, and though I could see some of that entering into the Ultimate's philosophy most seemed like new agey compassionate warrior gish. but the idea of Shambhala drew a little more interest and I found this... "The Buddhist myth of Shambhala is an adaptation of the earlier Hindu myth of Kalki of Sambhala found in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. "Shambhala is ruled over by Lord Maitreya. The Kalachakra prophesies that when the world declines into war and greed, and all is lost, the 25th Kalki king will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish "Dark Forces" and usher in a worldwide Golden Age. Using calculations from the Kalachakra Tantra, scholars such as Alex Berzin put this date at 2424 AD" um.... wow... was just kind of blown away by this, and could easily see a sort of Ultimate brinker cult forming around this idea. any comments about this or maybe your thoughts on Ultimate's philosophy would be great to hear.
"what do I want? The usual — hundreds of grandchildren, complete dominion over the known worlds, and the pleasure of hearing that all my enemies have died in highly improbable accidents that cannot be connected to me."
Gantolandon Gantolandon's picture
They have always given me a
They have always given me a strong samurai vibe. A rigid moral.codex centered on self-development and simple, virtuous life, combined with little to no compassion towards anyone weaker than themselves. A good Western example of a similar society would be ancient Sparta. A somewhat hilarious irony is that these kind of societies don't usually fare very well. They either calcify and grow stagnant like Edo period Japan, or are wiped out by more "decadent" societies who usually have more resources and manpower. It invalidates their ideology a bit.
nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Firstly, note that different
Firstly, note that different Ultimate sub-factions and orders will be different. The skills they need to know to be effective where they are will be different, and their factional culture and philosophies will be different. I can fully believe there's a group that calls themselves Ultimates and Brinkers (however they may not be recognized by the other Ultimate groups). The ultimate goal of an Ultimate is to master every usable skill. It's like Heinlein said: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." Differences in understandings of what is a useful skill, as well as differences in backgrounds and philosophies, will ultimately result in deep fractures between Ultimates. As a group, it's only barely held together. Competition for the eye of the faction leadership, and to determine foreign policy, etc., will give rise to political games between and within Ultimate orders. In a previous discussion, I drafted up the following on Ultimate governing styles: >I imagine the solution to this is a mix of social conventions, lots of space for personal advancement, a small meritocracy government operating under a constitution that strictly limits the government's powers, and loyalty treatments for low and mid-range ultimates. By establishing channels for advancement within the current infrastructure in non-destructive methods and lots of space for people to go out and establish their own organizations, ambitions are directed safely and cohesion is maintained. The government isn't trapped, so it can be reinvented in favor of new, superior forms or as the situation dictates, but is limited against overcoming the independence of individuals. Loyalty treatments (similar to Reynold's ultras) are a necessary infringement, with the expectations that more experienced ultimates will have the strength and wisdom to overcome them without becoming dangerous to group effectiveness. Ultimate philosophy is well-represented by Heinlein, Nietzsche, and Ultras (by Alaistar Reynolds). While it's easy to bunch Ultimates in with Samurai, I wouldn't do so. The Samurai culture was heavily grounded in honor, social protocol, and obedience. For an Ultimate those concepts are tools to be used or discarded, as appropriate. An Ultimate won't commit seppuku because his master died, and won't forego tanning his own leather as something "beneath" him. A samurai is fundamentally an extension of the ancient social order, and the will of his superior. An ultimate is a revolution against the old social order, and answerable only to his own will.
Baalbamoth Baalbamoth's picture
loyalty treatments?
It seems that the Ultimates have a lot of influences, many of them conflicting. Classic virtues of Greeks and Romans, particularly the Spartans seem to stress victory at any cost with "wisdom" being praised more as treachery or deception than actual education or worldliness, which greatly conflicts with bushido, Nietzsche (who praised rigorous even self destructive honesty,) and Rand's objectivist dedication to absolute honesty/reason. It seems to me that an individual Ultimate has a lot of different directions he could go with his thinking, and that's not a bad thing, its backed up by the rabid individualistic drives of the objectivist and Neitzschian tenants. however, I cant possibly see required "loyalty treatments" or psychosurgery for Ultimates, that would go against way to many core principals. This is why I really want to get a feeling for Manu's doctrine, I think that would be the main driving force of the faction (even if outdated a bit) and would clear up these conflicts at least slightly (though there could be a very good argument that Manu didn't always follow the ideals of his own philosophy)
"what do I want? The usual — hundreds of grandchildren, complete dominion over the known worlds, and the pleasure of hearing that all my enemies have died in highly improbable accidents that cannot be connected to me."
Decivre Decivre's picture
Baalbamoth wrote:"Shambhala
Baalbamoth wrote:
"Shambhala is ruled over by Lord Maitreya. The Kalachakra prophesies that when the world declines into war and greed, and all is lost, the 25th Kalki king will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish "Dark Forces" and usher in a worldwide Golden Age. Using calculations from the Kalachakra Tantra, scholars such as Alex Berzin put this date at 2424 AD" um.... wow... was just kind of blown away by this, and could easily see a sort of Ultimate brinker cult forming around this idea. any comments about this or maybe your thoughts on Ultimate's philosophy would be great to hear.
Actually, I don't think it's a brinker group that has those plans. The Overhumanists are quite overt with their view that the rest of decadent humanity needs to be wiped from the system.
Gantolandon wrote:
They have always given me a strong samurai vibe. A rigid moral.codex centered on self-development and simple, virtuous life, combined with little to no compassion towards anyone weaker than themselves. A good Western example of a similar society would be ancient Sparta. A somewhat hilarious irony is that these kind of societies don't usually fare very well. They either calcify and grow stagnant like Edo period Japan, or are wiped out by more "decadent" societies who usually have more resources and manpower. It invalidates their ideology a bit.
Actually, I think the Ultimates are quite smart about how they handle their relations with other nations. The Ultimates stand as one of the biggest security players in the system, giving them the chance to dip their influence in a lot of pots. Furthermore, the Ultimates are not a cloistered xenophobic culture like Feudal Japan was... on the contrary, the organization takes on converts, much more like early Christianity. And we all know how successful that turned out to be. The Ultimates are first and foremost pragmatists. Whether they hold onto traditions and practices of ancient cultures is likely less about preserving history, and more about finding what works. I imagine that they subject the memes and philosophies of ancient cultures to the same sort of Darwinistic culling that they subject themselves to... keeping what works and discarding what doesn't. Personally, I think you can draw more parallels between the Ultimates and the Third Reich, than any other culture out there. Much like the Third Reich, they were big on cultural preservation, tried to make a big impact on the culture of the world (even before WWII started), and were social Darwinists. They even both had leaders that were charismatic enough to effectively achieve cult status. The biggest difference is that the Ultimates put an emphasis on physical and mental self-improvement rather than racial purity, and scapegoat the ills of the world on those who refuse to adapt and improve, rather than on other races, the handicapped, the gay, other religions, etc. And to be honest, that's probably its biggest advantage over Nazi Germany. The Nazis made themselves the enemy of every other race out there by making it an objective to eradicate them one way or another, while the Ultimates merely wage a war against weakness. And some of the Ultimates do not necessarily rely on violence in said war (such as the Iconists, who emphasize conversion over brutality). Both still radical in their views, but at least the Ultimates don't base their nationalistic ideology on blatant cultural discrimination.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Re-Laborat Re-Laborat's picture
One of the more interesting
One of the more interesting Ultimate characters I have seen played was Hindu Kshatriya. Fits right in with the Rimward updates and the Philosopher-king/warrior-ascetic established by Rimward, but this was a couple-three years ago. Amusingly, the character was an uplift raven who favored Ripwing morphs.
Baalbamoth Baalbamoth's picture
but theres a lot of problems on the horizon for the Ultimates
there are scores of hooks in the fluff for the Ultimates, and eventually I'll get through all of them in the guide but the biggest threats to the faction seems to be internal. 1) you've got three internal political factions ready to split. 2) recruiting is almost non-existent now (I think this is a good reason why they are buying tens of thousands of infogees, they are working on a way to turn them into re-born cannon fodder) 3) 80% of the original Ultimates died on earth, including the majority of the leadership, those who shaped and reinforced the philosophy. number 3 is probably the biggest threat, the Ultimates are loosing their way. That's why I really want to get a handle on these ideological issues... I'm planning an NPC that was one of Manu's command structure on earth, he was trapped in something big and metal just before the assaults against the TITANs, his stack was recovered and sleeved by crashers. Turns out he was with Manu and the leadership when they received their stacks and backed up in a buried faraday vault just before leading the attack. so how do the factions react when this hits the news (expect assassinations..) what happens when the PCs bring back Manu and his whole command structure from earth and Manu damns the existing Ultimate leadership for deviation from his grand vision (expect denials, and more assassinations) after the conflicts does this usher in the new age of the overman? Do the Ultimates turn against and kill their former leader? Does it turn out this is really the greatest Anon prank of all time?
"what do I want? The usual — hundreds of grandchildren, complete dominion over the known worlds, and the pleasure of hearing that all my enemies have died in highly improbable accidents that cannot be connected to me."
Decivre Decivre's picture
Baalbamoth wrote:1) you've
Baalbamoth wrote:
1) you've got three internal political factions ready to split.
The Ultimates are still unified in their overall views. The only thing that the three factions actually disagree upon is the method by which they should handle the rest of transhumanity. The Iconists still emphasize converting the masses, the Overhumanists want to go to war, and the Exceptionalists just want to ditch the rest of humanity and go elsewhere. The only way these groups will come to war is if the Overhumanists decide to go through with their plans, and even then the only faction they'll come to odds with is the Iconists... assuming the Iconists actually decide to stand in their way.
Baalbamoth wrote:
2) recruiting is almost non-existent now (I think this is a good reason why they are buying tens of thousands of infogees, they are working on a way to turn them into re-born cannon fodder)
I don't think it's non-existent, but it is certainly slowed. The standard the Ultimates set for new recruits is very high, and the only ones who join are those dedicated to the philosophy enough. If they aren't, they likely just end up as Extropians.
Baalbamoth wrote:
3) 80% of the original Ultimates died on earth, including the majority of the leadership, those who shaped and reinforced the philosophy.
The total loss of life for the human race during the fall was 95%. At 80%, the Ultimates did significantly better than many others that were left on Earth. Statistically, they were four times as likely to survive as any other person on the planet. And they made some significant victories. That says a lot.
Baalbamoth wrote:
number 3 is probably the biggest threat, the Ultimates are loosing their way. That's why I really want to get a handle on these ideological issues...
On the contrary: the problem with the Ultimates is that they have stayed the course. Before the Fall, they were an intimidating presence on the planet that nations were afraid of. They changed that during the Fall by becoming war heroes. And then, over the course of ten years, they proved those initials notions correct, leaving them largely feared once again.
Baalbamoth wrote:
I'm planning an NPC that was one of Manu's command structure on earth, he was trapped in something big and metal just before the assaults against the TITANs, his stack was recovered and sleeved by crashers. Turns out he was with Manu and the leadership when they received their stacks and backed up in a buried faraday vault just before leading the attack. so how do the factions react when this hits the news (expect assassinations..) what happens when the PCs bring back Manu and his whole command structure from earth and Manu damns the existing Ultimate leadership for deviation from his grand vision (expect denials, and more assassinations) after the conflicts does this usher in the new age of the overman? Do the Ultimates turn against and kill their former leader? Does it turn out this is really the greatest Anon prank of all time?
It can be an interesting concept, but it would leave a lot of questions. Is this newfound Manu a TITAN horror in disguise? If he isn't, then what could have changed over the course of 10 years to make his views become something he would have reviled a decade prior? What part of his current views are so hated?
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Baalbamoth Baalbamoth's picture
the problem isnt alien, its control
a dictator is gone for 10 years and shows up again, wants immediately to get into power, he must accuse the current leadership of every sin and tell the faction where they should have been by now, what gross errors were made, how they they are not to blame but have been uterly failed by those in power now. Anyone who does not sign on to this is a trator. He then tells them of his grand vision for the future, and what will happen once he takes the throne urm I mean um leadership once again. This has absolutely nothing to do with aliens or facts and this is a story as old as mankind. remember what happened when Napoleon returned from his exile in Eurba (sp?) same thing here.
"what do I want? The usual — hundreds of grandchildren, complete dominion over the known worlds, and the pleasure of hearing that all my enemies have died in highly improbable accidents that cannot be connected to me."
Decivre Decivre's picture
Baalbamoth wrote:a dictator
Baalbamoth wrote:
a dictator is gone for 10 years and shows up again, wants immediately to get into power, he must accuse the current leadership of every sin and tell the faction where they should have been by now, what gross errors were made, how they they are not to blame but have been uterly failed by those in power now. Anyone who does not sign on to this is a trator. He then tells them of his grand vision for the future, and what will happen once he takes the throne urm I mean um leadership once again. This has absolutely nothing to do with aliens or facts and this is a story as old as mankind. remember what happened when Napoleon returned from his exile in Eurba (sp?) same thing here.
Except I don't think that the Demiurge is gone. From what I read in Rimward, he makes an annual appearance at their Olympics on Xiphos... and that's just the appearances we know of. It would be more like Napoleon returning from exile a month after he had already returned from exile, claiming that the other Napoleon is a liar.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Baalbamoth Baalbamoth's picture
Ya
Just re-read those, also discusses his actions after the fall, so if I do this it would have to be the imposter scenario.
"what do I want? The usual — hundreds of grandchildren, complete dominion over the known worlds, and the pleasure of hearing that all my enemies have died in highly improbable accidents that cannot be connected to me."
Decivre Decivre's picture
Baalbamoth wrote:Just re-read
Baalbamoth wrote:
Just re-read those, also discusses his actions after the fall, so if I do this it would have to be the imposter scenario.
Not necessarily. In your game, you can make it so that the upper echelon of the Ultimates has been faking his appearances and actions through AR, holographics and falsified video. Maybe the Manu the Ultimates have been worshipping up to this point has been a facade made by his "underlings", for a new Ultimates organization that doesn't have him present, but wishes to still use his charisma. If you've ever seen the movie Equilibrium, you'll see what I mean.
Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age. [url=http://bit.ly/2p3wk7c]Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.[/url]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
You might also want to look
You might also want to look at some of the sources for http://www.aleph.se/EclipsePhase/Thermopylae.pdf - this brinker culture can be seen as a bioconservative offshoot of the Ultimates or coming from the same memetic breeding ground (I wrote it long before Rimwards, hence the somewhat different past of the Ultimates). Ernst Jünger and Mishima make *great* sources for Ultimate ideas and quotes.
Extropian
Panoptic Panoptic's picture
I see the Ultimates as the ur
I see the Ultimates as the ur-pragmatists. They have adopted a common goal of becoming the "perfect" transhumans and each member uses a variety of tools to further their own progress towards their take on that goal. Some tools are going to be more useful than others (e.g. discipline, focus, morphs with increased physical and mental capabilities) so those will be selected for. "If it works, it is good. If it makes you stronger, it is good." is how it comes across.
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