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Eleusian Harmony

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Apr 5th, 2021
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  1.  
  2. With a birch-bark scroll grasped in his thick dwarven fist, Aiwendil takes position atop the podium, barely able to peak above the lectern.
  3.  
  4. Aiwendil unrolls his birch-bark scroll across the lectern. After a nod at the notes jotted there, he greats all those gathered with a broad, freckle-cheeked smile.
  5.  
  6. Aiwendil smiles broadly and says with a rustic, woodland accent, "We begin!"
  7.  
  8. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "The essence of Eleusian Harmony is, I argue, liberatory. Why? Because of its inherent renunciation of conventional civilized ideals of 'hierarchy'."
  9.  
  10. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "I hear you ask, what does this have to do with harmony? Does not Eleusis have a ruling government?"
  11.  
  12. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "In answer, I say, yes, we have leadership positions. But I am using the word 'hierarchy' here in a specific way."
  13.  
  14. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "By hierarchy, I mean the processes of subjugation that proliferate within civilisation. Nay, not only proliferate, but act as civilisation's bedrock."
  15.  
  16. Aiwendil frowns and says with a rustic, woodland accent, "The civilised hierarchy I speak of isn't a simple social condition. It not only exists between civilised mortals, but between civilisations and Nature. Civilised societies subjugate Nature, as they also subjugate their own citizenry."
  17.  
  18. Smashy tilts his head and listens intently to Aiwendil.
  19.  
  20. Eiat nods slowly.
  21.  
  22. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Eleusis challenges this false ideal of a hierarchical power-relationship with Nature. In doing so, we also challenge the injustices civilised hierarchies inflict upon their populaces. For these two tragedies are two sides of the same crime."
  23.  
  24. Glancing at his birch-bark scroll, Aiwendil wets his lips and continues.
  25.  
  26. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "The Hartwood Roots say the following of Harmony..."
  27.  
  28. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "'We are the Heartwood Kin and under Nature's influence, we shall live in harmony with Nature and our forestal brethren. We will always respect the members of our House, our village and our Patrons, even when we meet with disagreement or disrespect towards us. The balance of Nature shall be tended by our hands in harmony with our House and its charges.'"
  29.  
  30. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Within the Kin's house hall is a manuscript of Sapling essays on our Roots. In it, is a work by Marlo S. Celes'Ciel. Her essay relays the following about our Harmony Root, 'In musical terms, Harmony refers to the combination of sounds to produce a pleasing effect'."
  31.  
  32. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "This is one of the most poetic, yet succinct, definitions of harmony my research has come across. Notes struck by instruments or sung with voice. All different. All unique. All creating a cooperative unification greater in profundity than its individual parts."
  33.  
  34. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Marlo does not isolate the action of harmony within itself. Rather, she presents it as part of a wider sphere of experiences. Portrayed within her metaphor, there are those who create the music, but also those who hear it."
  35.  
  36. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Marlo, in essence, places Harmony within a web of collective experience. She does not present it as a hyper-individualised expression of petty ego."
  37.  
  38. Annoyed at his inability to see over the lectern, Aiwendil rolls up the birch-bark scroll. His squat bulk hops off the podium and moves to stand before it.
  39.  
  40. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "What the Harmony Root speaks of, is a praxis-based embodiment of musical harmony. It is a concept and teaching founded upon real world communal action and daily practice."
  41.  
  42. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "This Root presents harmony as cooperation practiced through freely given respect. Mutual aid. Not only with each other, but Nature as a whole."
  43.  
  44. Low, rhythmic humming resonates throughout the village, the rising of the sun celebrated in dryadic prayer.
  45.  
  46. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "This conception of harmony is not an anthropocentric practice. Indeed, it positions mortal experience within the immanent web of Nature's physical reality. It understands that we are not separate from Nature, for no life is, but are part of it."
  47.  
  48. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "In essence, we cannot ignore the link between how we treat each other and how we treat Nature."
  49.  
  50. Aiwendil punctuates each word with deft jabs of his birch-bark scroll.
  51.  
  52. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "A single phrase summarises civilisation's misreading of Nature. 'The King of the Beasts'."
  53.  
  54. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Who here is not familiar with this phrase? Who here, however, has considered what the existence of such a phrase means?"
  55.  
  56. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "The idea there is a 'King of the Beasts' is a manifestation of civilised hierarchical thinking. It presents ecosystems as a pyramid of power with a predatory ruler throned atop it."
  57.  
  58. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "This concept serves a sweeping purpose. Firstly, it projects civilisation's own internal power structures outwards onto Nature. The reason behind doing so? To justify civilisation's greed driven subjugation of the natural world."
  59.  
  60. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "If Nature is hierarchical, it claims, then oppressing Nature is as natural to mortals as swimming is to fish, or flying is to birds."
  61.  
  62. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Secondly, it depicts Nature as a hierarchy to entrench the subjugation of its own 'inferiors'. The slaves. The poor. The outcasts. Their suffering is falsely painted as part of a wider natural order, thus making it easier to rationalize and sustain."
  63.  
  64. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "This, then, engraves oppression into the mortal experience as an immutable truth. When in reality, it is the product of ideological choice."
  65.  
  66. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "For Nature is not a pyramid. It is a web. Nature is circular, not vertical. It is a woven nexus of interdependent animal-plant-land relations. A dynamic movement of symbiotic mutualism."
  67.  
  68. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Take bees, for example. Is the 'Queen' truly a queen? Or is that a name given to her by mortals? A name extrapolated onto her from a civilised, hierarchical world view?"
  69.  
  70. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "A hive's major aim is reproduction. The queen bee's role is not to rule, but to function as a key part of a wider sexual organ. Symbiotic mutualism in practice. She does not know she is a 'queen'. Nay, she does not know what a 'queen' is."
  71.  
  72. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Instinctual drives are what guide the hive's complex behavioural patterns, not fear or admiration of an elite political cast."
  73.  
  74. Aiwendil begins to pace back and forth, lost in his own words. He now talks as much to himself as he does to his audience.
  75.  
  76. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Wolves are another of my favoured illustrations of this point. The idea of a strong 'alpha male' ruling the pack is, in fact, only an idea."
  77.  
  78. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "In the wilds, wolf pack relations are complex. Often it is not the strongest male 'alpha' wolf which inhabits a 'leadership' position. Rather, it is the mother or father of the pack which does so. Familial ties are far more important within a wolf pack than brute strength."
  79.  
  80. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Even if we accept certain acts of a wolf or bee as being coercive in nature, can we say said acts are akin to a king's? Or an Imperiate's? Or a Tyrannus's?"
  81.  
  82. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "There is an organisational stratification that comprises civilization's hierarchical institutions. In Nature, there is no such institutionality.
  83.  
  84. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "A wolf may occupy a respected pack position because of family relations to those around her or him. A king, however, does not get his power the same way."
  85.  
  86. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "The peasant has no personable relationship with the king who rules him. A king's power comes from the institution of feudalism. A wolf's power, in contrast, comes from an organic relationship with her or his immediate kin."
  87.  
  88. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Convenient, though, don't you think? For a king to paint a wolf-pack as a microcosm of his kingdom?"
  89.  
  90. Pausing for breath, Aiwendil wrests his birch-bark scroll against his bearded chin.
  91.  
  92. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "There are no upper and lower classes within Nature. Eleusis is the same."
  93.  
  94. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Eleusian society is not formed through the hierarchical violence of civilisation. Our internal structure is, like Nature, one of dynamic symbiotic mutualism. It reflects our understanding of Nature."
  95.  
  96. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Like Nature, we are a unity of differences. The greater whole gifts positions of respect. It does this based upon an individual's unique links to said greater whole. We are, as with a wolf pack, formed by a web of direct relationships."
  97.  
  98. Aiwendil frowns and says with a rustic, woodland accent, "We are different to, say, Mhaldor, who keep a permanent slave class in chains. Or, indeed, Ashtan. The poverty of Martin's Sorrow is a direct product of a civilised, economic hierarchy. Cyrene should also be considered; a city embroiled in turmoil because of a despotic Imperiate."
  99.  
  100. Aiwendil smiles and says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Harmony is a concept of wholeness. By wholeness, I don't mean a singularity. The harmony which the Kin's Root speaks of, is the harmony of a union of differences. Unity grown through diversity. Symbiotic mutualism."
  101.  
  102. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "I hope all I have said up to this point, shows that such a statement is more than some whimsical metaphor. It is the method Eleusis nurtures and sustains our harmony."
  103.  
  104. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "This is why Eleusian Harmony is as much a practice as it is theological poetry. Symbiotic mutualism frees us from civilisation's hierarchical chains. It grants us, as a collective, the ability to explore mortal potentiality to its fullest."
  105.  
  106. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "The legacy of civilised hierarchical thinking still exists within Eleusis. It may not be as prevalent as in the civilised quarters of Sapience. Here, it often persists on an unconscious level."
  107.  
  108. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "How many of you have ever viewed Nature as a manifestation of civilised hierarchy? How many have imagined a queen bee as an insectoid version of a mortal queen?"
  109.  
  110. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "These ghosts of civilised thought are a subconscious presence in our humble community. To practice Harmony is to also make these ghosts conscious. We must examine ourselves for where civilised falsehoods have taken seed. If we are to be honest with Nature as a whole, we must be honest with ourselves and with each other."
  111.  
  112. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "Nature's immortal actualization, spinning with symbiotic mutualism's infinite interactions, beats brightly towards the future's verdant horizons."
  113.  
  114. Aiwendil says with a rustic, woodland accent, "And the path Eleusis flies with it there, is a path named Harmony."
  115.  
  116. Aiwendil bows his head, birch-bark scroll pinned under one arm, indicating his talk is at an end.
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