Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Mar 29 Sep - 23:20 (2009)
The Rationalist League
The Rationalist League began as a social experiment in the latter days of industrialized Earth. What would a society without emotion be like? Would it function more efficiently? Would the people appreciate their state? With genetic scalpels, a group of sociologists and geneticists carefully removed all of the emotion-inducing glands from a generation of children, suppressed the emotional parts of their mind and heightened the rational, and then secluded them with little knowledge of the outside world. About a thousand embryos were genetically altered before birth, and further surgical adjustments were made to the children throughout their early lives, all with the goal of eradicating emotion from the human mind. In later generations the process was improved, made safer, more efficient, less dependent on surgery. Youngsters were now aided by the hundreds upon hundreds of those who had already seen the benefits of the procedure.
All of this was before the advent of the Transcendentals, so naturally there were some drawbacks and difficulties, and not every child made it to adulthood. Nevertheless, the early League persevered. Some hundred years later, when the Transcendentals appeared and wormhole travel became possible the Rationalist League was one of the first groups to request passage off-world. Over ten thousand of them were ready to leave, and in fact, they’d been planning on leaving for quite a while — the Ts appearance simply meant they didn’t have to build their own starships.
Expanding quickly but not aggressively, the Rationalist League built a literal interstellar empire on inhabitable planets throughout the Milky Way. The other civilizations quickly nicknamed them the Logicians.
There is no internal struggle in the League, no divisive emotional conflict, and no crime. They also have little art, wear purely utilitarian clothing, and form no real family structures. Children are disciplined and raised by whomever nearby is capable of doing so. Needless to say, the Logicians have serious trouble understanding anyone from outside the League, and vice versa. Improvements in genetic engineering have allowed them to remove emotion from themselves entirely.
The Logicians are organized as a constitutional monarchy, for the sake of sheer efficiency. Those with a loftier position in the hierarchy have more effective mental enhancements, and those of lower position know it, thus making them more likely to trust their superiors. Citizens have little voice, but since everyone can agree with the leader’s logical stance, most people don’t see a need for one. The “rank and file” of the Logicians have a good standard of living, but work much as the serfs of feudal Europe did: without reward, without recognition, and without much concern for these things. While to others the Logicians’ way of life seems stifling and heartless, to them it is the epitome of how life should be lived: in service to those who know better.
Describing the lifestyle of the Rationalist League is difficult. One cannot say that the people are grateful for how they live, though one could say they are thankful for the peace and unity of their people. You cannot describe them as hostile to other cultures, or pitious of them, though they do think that others might be more understandable (and more able to understand each other) if everyone were a Logician. Saying that a Logician “feels” or “believes” or “hopes” anything isn’t quite right, and it’s hard to avoid because such phrases are ingrained in our language. If all Logicians seem to think alike, that’s because they do — more so even than the Union, the Rationalists can agree as to what they think, because logic is the only thing that dictates their actions.
The Logicians are emotionless, but not entirely without feeling. They can feel pain, pleasure, discomfort, and distraction. They can feel mentally fatigued or refreshed. They can be overwhelmed with sensation. Though they cannot truly feel fear, they can be fooled into thinking that the odds against them are overwhelming, and that they should retreat or surrender. They occasionally have holidays to remind themselves of past events, because not all of them have perfect memories yet, but they do not celebrate or mourn. Logicians do still have a survival instinct, or they would not survive their first few years (nor, in all likelihood, their later ones). They are not as coordinated or socially well-adapted as the Cognitive Union, but they share its ability to work together towards a single goal.
The Rationalist League’s long-term objective and their Efficiency Core Value come from a synthesis of their survival instinct and an understanding of reciprocation. The goal of the Logicians is to eradicate all emotion, or, failing that, to make it controllable and subservient to rational thought.
Their rationale for all this is that logical thought, properly carried out, reduces conflict and encourages efficiency. Psychohistorical calculations verify this. Efficient processes minimize increases in entropy, allowing the League and its allies to exist farther and farther into the future. By respecting their descendents’ survival rights, they encourage those future generations to respect the survival rights of those alive now. After all, information transfer to the past is a fact in this universe, and no one wants to be sabotaged by one’s descendents for a foolish mistake.
The League has considered adopting the practices of its allies — the Replicants’ attitude towards scanning and replication of humans, and the Union’s pervasive neural meshes. They consider wholesale replication to be too inefficient at the current time, as replicating a whole human being is not an easy task, and requires great amounts of data storage and energy when one allows an entire civilization to benefit. The Logicians are loathe to admit that their survival instinct has something to do with it as well — they cannot logically refute that those who are replicated die in the process. As for neural meshes, Logician cognitech has moved in a different direction, preferring genetic enhancements to intelligence, supplemented by neural meshes when necessary. If the League was wealthier, they might be able to afford a mesh-heavy populace, but for now, they keep to their own methods.
One of the League’s secret weapons is an offshoot theory of psychohistory that allows near-perfect predictions within the League, as part of psychohistory’s probabilistic nature comes from the presence of emotional factors. This theory effectively acts as a metatech “sensor,” letting the monarchy know about even the slightest disturbance in their plans, the day it happens. The Logicians’ metatech offense may be pathetic, but their defenses are effective and efficient.
The Rationalist League has recently been forced to admit that the emotions they left behind long ago had some value. The intuition and drive of others has let them exceed the Logicians technologically, and the League’s inability to relate to others has left them with few allies. There have been many whispered debates in the royal palace as to the effectiveness of emotion and a possible return to it. Another possibility, one that has been gaining support recently, is that of isolating the League and returning once logic and reason have allowed them to exceed the advances of their enemies. Secretly encouraging the downfall of other civilizations is a possible part of this plan, but nothing is set in stone. As they learned from the appearance of the Transcendentals, anything can happen.
The Rationalist League is a civilization in flux, considering its options for the future. Unlike both of its allies, it is not psychohistorically stagnant, and both its own models and those of outsiders show changes coming for this civilization. The Rationalist League’s Core Values are Logic and Efficiency.
The Logicians are allied with the Replicants and the Cognitive Union, and appreciates both of them for their eminently logical stances. They are opposed to the overly emotional Tao and the bizarre ethics of the Stardwellers, Mechanists, and Masquerade.
Common Name: The Logicians
Emblem: A flag, one half black, the other white.
The story that is told about this is that the Patent Office required each civilization to register a symbol, and the Logicians had none when they signed the treaty. After a moment of consideration the ambassador drew this figure, and it has been used ever since.
Inspector Status: Advisor to local authorities.
Benefit: Logicians are immune to emotional appeals, and to any use of the Romance plot score.
Core Values: Logic and Efficiency
Logic allows citizens of the Rationalist League to avoid any attempts to persuade them which rely on intuition, illogical arguments, or emotion.
Efficiency helps the Logicians design less wasteful processes and devices, and also lets them resist metatech coercion that would push them towards using such things.
Earth and the Logicians
Devika found Jaya staring out the window, looking towards Earth. Jaya’s face was reflected slightly in the diamond-faced, triple-insulated windows of the space station, and Devika could see that her daughter was thinking.
“Jaya, why are you here?”
Jaya did not turn, and the look of concentration on her face deepened. “I don’t understand why we’re here.”
Devika thought, briefly. "Can you be more specific?”
“I’m talking about the Rationalist League’s presence in this system.”
“And our interest in Earth?”
“Yes. I understand that this is a political bargaining chip for us, but I think I must be missing some crucial piece of information. I’ve been trying to induce the missing information from the shape of things around it. As you may be able to guess, I’ve had little success.”
Devika nodded. “I have some familiarity with this, and may be able to help explain.” In fact, she was the only psychohistorian in all of the Sol system, and one of the few Logicians who really understood emotions — as much as they could be understood. “Tell me what you already know.”
Jaya turned from the window and began reciting what she had learned, as if for an oral exam. “Earth was the birthplace of humanity, before the Diaspora. All the civilizations in the universe come from there, as did the Transcendentals. Now the only humans living there live in archaic dwellings, in poverty and disease, and refuse the help of others. There are no significant works of technology available there, no records that were not uncovered centuries ago. I don’t understand why we’re here.” Jaya turned back towards the window. “It seems inefficient.”
“I think that you greatly underestimate the emotional pull that Earth holds for the other civilizations. We know that there is nothing to be gained by remaining here, but they... feel... differently. This alone makes our presence worthwhile. In fact, it is my opinion that settling near Earth was the smartest thing that the founders of the Rationalist League ever did.”
“Allow me to use a comparison. Long ago it seemed that the Association of Eternal Life — the Replicants?” Jaya nodded. “— would be marginalized by their peers because of their practices. It was only through significant effort on their part that they were able to remain a major part of the civilized universe. They put an immense number of worker-hours into improving their political ties. We Logicians, on the other hand, have never needed to do this. None of the other civilizations dare to break ties with us, lest they abandon their homeworld.”
“It still doesn’t make sense to me.”
“And there you have the very essence of the other civilizations. They don’t make sense. But they are sometimes predictable, and their emotions give us a lever this time. If we are peaceful towards them, and allow access to Earth, they must deal with us, because any alternative is unthinkable to them.”
The station chimes sounded, and the two walked home towards dinner.
“And they won’t go to war?”
“No, not against us. But we’ll talk about their other emotions some other time. Go clean your hands for dinner.”
Sunrise Over Earth, NASA, public domain