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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:14 pm 
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I did some searching through the forum, and stumbled across references to a couple of groups that existed in the past that might have studied this, (like Students of D'ni Knowledge and DPWR's Society of Anthropologists, Psychologists and Sociologists,) but I couldn't find much specific information.

How much do we know about D'ni moral philosophy? It seems pretty clear that most D'ni were religious throughout D'ni history, and that the religion involving Yahvo was dominant throughout their history, (while if I remember right they did have a number of cults at various points in time which may have diverged from this norm,) but do we have any theological writings actually giving a clear picture of D'ni conceptions of right and wrong?

We could use Yeesha's speeches and words in various places, but it seems like anything coming from her, Atrus, or Ti'ana would not have been pure D'ni. Gehn doesn't seem like a reliable source either. But that seems to leave us with the books about the D'ni kings, the Words of the Watcher, a little bit of information from the three Myst novels, and a few other scattered documents the DRC have released. But while those give us a fair glimpse into, for example, different prophecies, they don't seem to delve into morality all that directly.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:22 am 
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I think some basics of D'ni morality can be gleaned from what we do know...in particular the Marriage journal.

Quote:
It was considered a lifetime commitment and, for a D'ni who could live to be 300 years old, it obviously was not a decision the D'ni felt should be rushed into and it seems as though it rarely was.

Fidelity and honesty.

Quote:
The First Day was meant for the bride and groom to spend time with their families. As they were starting their own family, their old family would no longer be the highest priority. Thus, the day was set aside to spend time with that original family. Traditionally, the day ended with a large meal as well as speeches and blessings from the parents to the child.

Strong family ties.

Quote:
The Fourth Day was meant for the couple to spend time alone with Yahvo individually...It was also considered a time to purify themselves before Yahvo.

A desire for purification means there was something to be purified from. There was obviously a concept of (at the very least) "things that Yahvo wouldn't approve of".

Quote:
During the commitments, the couple made promises to one another followed by promises to Yahvo. All were recited aloud to the priestess.

Trustworthiness, honoring commitments and public accountability.

We also know that Atrus had a sense of justice and an impressive one at that. To imprison one's own children (to my mind) shows either an extreme conviction or something less palatable. I go with the former considering the other things we know about Atrus.

So, I don't think its a stretch to say that the D'ni strived for things like honesty, trust, fidelity, responsibility, justice, solid family, and friendship.

It's not quite a theological dissertation, but it's a start :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:30 am 
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I wonder which society doesn’t strive for those qualities, at least in words ;)

On the downside, according to The Book of Ti’ana, they believed that non-D’ni should not (or could not) practice the Art, which imply some form of supremacism, though not as strong as in the Tehrahnee case.

Also, women could only join minor guilds. Most spiritual leaders (and king’s advisors) were women, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:00 pm 
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I think korovev has hit the nail on the head. It seems to me that the D'ni were just like any other society that we're familiar with, knowing right from wrong and striving to be righteous. And, although they have only one Yahvo, multiple factions form and worship in their own way.

In the book, Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds by Celia Pearce, Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie A. Nardi, on pgs 73 & 74, they write, "Rand and Robyn Miller, embedded implicit Christian spiritual themes in the game and its narrative" and "the designers spoke openly in interviews of its Christian subtext."

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:43 pm 
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The teachings of Gish sparked a debate over the relative importance of close love for Yahvo and obedience of his commands. I don't think we know a lot about how these commands were supposed to be mediated to the D'ni. Prophets and prophetesses with divine insight? The interpretation of sacred texts and traditions? Individual prayer and conscience? (Note that before marriage, "some chose to spend time with the priests or prophets, while others read the Holy Books and talked to Yahvo himself." Also, by the time of Veovis, it was believed that the D'ni had an innate sense of morality.)

The idea that D'ni shouldn't engage much with outsiders has an interesting history. It doesn't seem to have been mainstream until Gish, but small groups kept popping up with isolationism as a main tenet.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:31 pm 
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They kept slaves, hid that fact from themselves, and hid the slaves from everyone else. Their morals were evidently based upon themselves to the exclusion and use of anyone not-D'ni. So... they were like us.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:10 pm 
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Lord Chaos wrote:
They kept slaves, hid that fact from themselves, and hid the slaves from everyone else. Their morals were evidently based upon themselves to the exclusion and use of anyone not-D'ni. So... they were like us.
You're right, LC, and everyone interested can read about the different races and their treatment here ... :P

On the D'niPedia Information Archive (DPWR.Net), which you've mentioned already in the OP, Imp, one can find almost anything one might be interested in to know about the D'ni culture, religion, prophecies, class structure etc. ...

This is the link to all available tags in the archive ...

Find here everything as for the D'ni culture ... Here's the direct link (linked from the culture index) to everything D'ni Religion ...

I'd say you'll find everything there you might want to explore and to indulge yourself in, I mean all the information should tell you a lot about their different 'moral/religious/philosophical' points of view of everything, and of course, those were as varied as ours, the surface humans ... :D

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:08 am 
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Lord Chaos wrote:
They kept slaves, hid that fact from themselves, and hid the slaves from everyone else. Their morals were evidently based upon themselves to the exclusion and use of anyone not-D'ni. So... they were like us.


Exclusion certainly, but outright slavery and taking advantage of the outsiders were generally considered immoral. Of course, the D'ni didn't always live up to those morals. The same man who wrote, concerning the power of the Art, "it is our own hearts that must be watched" would go on to massacre the Pento.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:42 am 
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Slavery was in fact illegal, at least by the time of the fall.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:12 pm 
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Perhaps this is relevant: a Creation Myth. I’m not sure how canonical it is.

Also: a compendium of D’ni religion.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:40 pm 
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korovev wrote:
Creation Myth. I’m not sure how canonical it is.
The Creation Myth... isn't that the one that we're not supposed to share outside of the cavern? :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:08 pm 
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Thanks everyone for the replies and resources! :D

I'd add humility to OHB's list of things the D'ni seemed to strive for. The fact that they originally decided to settle in a cavern, and a lot of stuff Yeesha says in her speeches and stuff from the books the Watcher wrote seem to echo that theme. On the other hand, Escher's performance in Myst 5 seems to indicate that the D'ni were quite proud of themselves. So, which virtue is really the virtue Yahvo would have condoned, humility or pride?

How much do we know about the slaves the D'ni kept? Does the phrase "the least" used in the DRC book on class structure refer to the bahro, or did it also refer to other groups?

How canonical is the Book of Ti'ana? Is that a good source for drawing inferences on D'ni culture near the end of D'ni?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:27 pm 
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The creation myth points towards the importance of moral choice in D'ni philosophy. It shows up in the Words of the Watcher too: "The path to the left or right? That is the only power of man."

Jmp12 wrote:
How much do we know about the slaves the D'ni kept? Does the phrase "the least" used in the DRC book on class structure refer to the bahro, or did it also refer to other groups?


We have little more idea than the DRC did concerning what the D'ni meant by the Least. Yeesha uses the word to refer to the Bahro, but confusingly she also seems to use it for other victims of the D'ni, such as the Teledahn slaves.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:50 pm 
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Talashar wrote:
The creation myth points towards the importance of moral choice in D'ni philosophy. It shows up in the Words of the Watcher too: "The path to the left or right? That is the only power of man."

Jmp12 wrote:
How much do we know about the slaves the D'ni kept? Does the phrase "the least" used in the DRC book on class structure refer to the bahro, or did it also refer to other groups?


We have little more idea than the DRC did concerning what the D'ni meant by the Least. Yeesha uses the word to refer to the Bahro, but confusingly she also seems to use it for other victims of the D'ni, such as the Teledahn slaves.



Wait a minute, here. I thought the Bahro were the Teledahn slaves?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:52 pm 
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It's really hard to nail down timelines, but Bahro were certainly trafficked through the Teledahn "underground slave route", since we see their remains in the cells. But it is also certain that the slave trade was not exclusively Bahro, and that the slavers had other species as captives. From the remains, for a start...

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