As I teach the new generation about history, inside I weep for the lack of imagination and interest in nearly everything historical. Many students do get into sports history, but they do not see it as such. This is sad, really, as there is so much to our history to draw inspiration and passion from.
In the here and now, I receive inspiration from a great many influences, none of which cause my brain to be ill-affected or vulnerable to chemical influence-ers (you have permission to borrow my new word). Many of these worthy influences are based on historical groups or events, others are religious or political. Few are or will ever be social. If anything, I consider myself an anti-socialist.
I am intrigued by history, how accidents of history have resulted in the creation or destruction of burgeoning empires or peoples. Often, I reflect on the opposite of what occurred.
If you are still reading, see below.
The religions of my world are not fully known as yet. Seafaring is about two hundred years or so behind what it was in our own history. Thus, the globe has not been fully mapped and most of the interiors are unexplored.
Of the known religions, three figure centrally in the histories of the four major and three minor powers:
YahooismSome declare this religion a splinter group of another major religion, which may or not be an accurate claim. Yahooists believe in the human necessity of accumulating knowledge and then disseminating this knowledge through its many libraries, collectively known as the Church of Yahoo. The Great Library of Yahoo is actually located in a Free City within Khornwallistein. This Free City of Yahoo supports those who work in the Great Library, including by having an independent military force to defend their information vaults.
Yahooism is based on the teachings of Yahoo, a priest of Yarweg, whose visions of Heaven resulted in his defrocking and excommunication. That he liked playing with little girls and boys is merely salacious rumor, spread by his enemies.
Priests and Wives (Nuns) of Yahoo are responsible for the collection of information, which is copied and then sent to the Great Library in large caravans, twice a year. Yahooists have built improved roads, which they call Great Information Highways, between their libraries and the Great Library of Yahoo. These highways are constructed, at the cost of the Church of Yahoo, whose members support the effort with money and labor. The Yahooians especially, for that is the name by those in the Free City of Yahoo call themselves, strive to be seen as the most pious and are often working on a highway in distant areas.
About ten centuries ago, a schism arose between two large groups of Yahooists, the "Centralizers" and the "Diversifiers." This disagreement was over where the gathered information should properly reside within the church; Centralizers felt it should go first to the Great Library, from thence it would be dispersed to the other libraries, Diversiviers thought otherwise, that the information should be copied first and then sent to all libraries from its origin. The Diversifiers apparently won out, as their methods are in current use by the Church.
The symbol for Yahooism is the "Y", but it actually looks very much like a cross, because the original version broke and the wooden bar fell in such a way as to fall horizontal, with the vertical bar appearing to split it in half. It's a rather long story, but it makes a sort of sense.
Variations in the symbol have been grudgingly accepted over the centuries, with regional differences being the primary motivator or causality of such changes.
YarwegianismPerhaps the oldest known religion, Yarwegians are somewhat bi-polar in that moderate Yarwegians are honest, peaceful, and hardworking members of whatever society they happen to live. However, fundamentalist Yarwegians are rabidly fanatical and reject nearly everything that did not come from another Yarwegian.
Interestingly, Yarwegians are very missionary-minded, and their missionaries, called Routers, are also great accumulators of knowledge, but only through Yarwegian priests can such knowledge be shared.
Yarwegianism does have a characteristic that the other two religions do not, in that it is both an ethnicity and an independent religion. Yarwegians, as an ethnic group, originally come from Yarweg, a quite distant land which is mostly unknown in the civilized world, but many chose to leave their homeland under murky circumstances. At least, no known Yarwegians ever talk about it with strangers, even with converts.
The symbol for Yarwegianism is a circle, with two "blobs" in contrasting colors, usually black and white, but can be red and blue, green and yellow, etc. These represent the exchange of information between "Routers."
GooglianismGooglians date the founding of their religion from the moment The Great Googly Moogly appeared to an librarian-acolyte, H.R. Puffinstuff, at the Great Temple of Yahoo, in the year 1540. This Yahooist quickly quit the religion, as he felt he was not paid enough and that the story of his visitation would be a great source of income.
Unfortunately for him, Yahooists have little stomach for heresy and he fled west with threats of death and worse posted on the door of his house.
Like Yahooism, Googlianism requires its believers to acquire knowledge, even at great cost to others, but especially never to themselves. This has resulted in attacks on Yahooist great information highways and caravans. Googlians have also infiltrated Yahooist groups and libraries and stolen batches of information. Googlians almost never share their information, except through specific sites where patrons must be accompanied by a Googler.
Googlian temples dot the land, but only in those regions which tolerate it. This is completely fair as Googlianism is quite intolerant of other religions, largely due to their withholding of knowledge from Googlian seekers. Local worship centers, known as "conversation rooms", are more common, especially in the less densely populated areas.
Much of what Googlians do in their worship rites is unknown, with disgrunteled ex-followers being the sources of what is "known," likely their words must be taken with large doses of salt.
Note, that it is taken as a very offensive insult to refer to Googlians as "googs." Naturally, almost everyone who isn't a Googlian refers to them in that way.
The symbol for Googlianism is the dotted teardrop, often seen inside a solid colored circle, but nearly as frequently by itself. This symbol represents the accumulation of knowledge.
This competition for information and followers, often called subscribers, has resulted in a significant rise in religious and political tensions in the region.
As with most any religion, smaller schisms or revelations have resulted in offshoot breakaway groups. Here, the story is very much the same.
Small religions, cults, and societies.
The Society of the Book
This religious group, made up of heretics from each of the other major religions, believe that befriending humanity is the means to salvation. They do not reject the accumulation of knowledge, but rather limit what they accumulate by passing along bits of information to each other in the form of messages.
Worshipers value the Book, one copy of which is enshrined in each church. On worship days, members take turns writing messages or even drawing images by hand, into the book, as a means to share moments and events in their personal lives.
Adherents to this faith call each other and (to great dismay) everyone else they meet, "Friend." They then expect to be called friend in return, and they take it as an insult when they are not.
Too often, members overshare information, frequently making mention of things best kept to themselves, such as committing adultery or planning to do so, revealing intimate details that no one else ever wants to know, and some even write in timelines of events during their week between meetings.
The ultimate form of acceptance in the faith is when someone else reads your message and writes " I like" in the margin. Unfortunately, this leads to trouble within the membership as the less pious make hay out of comparing numbers of "likes" with the other members.
Members do tend to annoy other religionists and non-religionists alike, as they stand on street corners and crossroads chanting "friend me, friend me, friend me" over and over again.
This is more of a cult or secret society than religion. The members, through means known only to them, "connect" with other members, who are generally people in positions of power and influence. Often, outsiders see this as a conspiracy of elites, but this is obviously the result of jealousy and envy, because those who know members of the organization aren't talking.
It has been hinted that members are recruited by some secret message whereby they are invited to join. However, this has yet to be verified.
This one is definately a cult, possibly subversive. Its adherents communicate through short and cryptic messages that can only be deciphered by those "in the know."
Observers have witnessed Twaddlers greeting each other with a distinctive hand gesture; the hand, open palm facing the other person, is placed below and slightly in front of the nose. Then, the persons each wave their hand upward and to the right, in what some have called a "swipe." They then pass along to each other messages written on very small pieces of paper, where writing space is at a premium. Some think this is an effort to save money due to the costs of paper.
Since numerous Twaddlers have been caught in rather compromising positions, many think of its members as deviants and n'er do wells.