B3 — 7. Introduction To Ethics

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Sora straightened as Inari continued.  “When you think of myths, the stories that are told throughout your history, what are they representing?”

Ashley cupped her chin.  “Hmm, in connection to your previous statement, I assume it has to do with ethics.  So, my guess would depend on the tale, but they are all meant to represent something.”

“Right,” Mary muttered.  “It could be modeling a virtue to emulate or teach the listener about a vice to abstain from.”

Nathan examined the floor, brow furrowed.  “So, you’re going to talk about ethics within myths?”

“Like the Egyptian myths?”  Wendy scooted a little forward.  “I love the Egyptian myths!”

Inari giggled at Wendy’s statement.  “That is an excellent example, Wendy.  Okay, let’s dig a little deeper. Let’s pose the thought that myths, such as Egyptian mythos, are a map to human behavior; a map that has been refined and molded throughout history by the subconscious reflecting on the state of man.”

“Oh,” Mary’s eyes widened.  “That’s—huh … an interesting thought to propose.”

“Indeed,” Inari nodded.  “We will come back to Egyptian mythology in a moment.  Ashley, you used to play House as a girl.”

“Umm, yeah.  I had a lot of fun with some kids in the neighborhood where I grew up.  We used to play a lot of different games, but House was a common one.”

“And, Nathan, your grandfather taught you about marbles, correct?”

He licked his lips, leaning back while folding his arms.  “Huh, yeah, when I was a little kid. I didn’t remember it all that well, but I remember picking it back up when I was nine or so and playing with a few friends.”

“Wonderful,” Inari’s vision shifted back to Ashley.  “How many different things could you do while playing House?”

Ashley looked down, clicking her tongue.  “Ack, I mean, endless, I guess—there’s so many things you could do—more than I can count off the top of my head.”  Mary was silent as she listened to Inari guide the conversation.

“You might say that,” Inari chuckled.  “An infinite amount of games that could be played within House; however, not an infinite amount of sustainable games.”

“Sustainable games…”  Mary muttered. “Wow, so—connecting House with ethics and myths being a map to human behavior…”

Inari smiled patiently.  “If you gather a bunch of children together they will create and adapt games; they are a bunch of different games—that is the moral relativist element.  Combine that with the moral absolutist element; they are all different games, but the games must be playable, which means they must continue in a repeatable way.  Ethics are moral values in action and must follow this same concept as a foundation in games, organizations, and civilizations. That is a massive constraint for these game-playing children.  Why is that, Mary?”

“That’s—brilliant…”  Mary muttered, she took a moment to phrase her words.  “The children must want to play the game; people must want to be in that society—not only do the rules have to be comprehensible to the group, but they must be enjoyable and self-maintaining or else the kids will leave … a nation will fall apart.  It’s so simple, but I haven’t heard it voiced like that before.”

Inari nodded.  “This is the process of developing the dominance hierarchy.  Consider you have a number of motivated, emotional, and limited people occupying the same space, families, communities, nations.  They are all competing and cooperating for the same resources, including the resource of cooperation that can generate more resources—this is not a zero-sum game.  There are going to be patterns of adaptation that will emerge from this that are similar across all hierarchies. You have a great many ethics that can be established, but specific ones will dominate across history and will stand longer than others; the ethic must be enjoyable, comprehensible, and self-maintaining.  This applies with House and Marbles. So, let’s continue to a mythological examination that exemplifies this, such as the Egyptian mythos.”

She nodded at Wendy with a smile.  “This is the story of the Egyptians and on what they based their society. These characters were gods, now there is a reason for all this with actual beings that developed this system—not Founders, but humans with their Cores unlocked.  Four major characters; there were other minor figures, but they were nowhere near as influential. Wendy, why are there Central Gods?”

Wendy shook her head.  “I—I couldn’t even guess.”

Inari smiled.  “Questioning something spurs the brain; you don’t need to have an answer, but the simple question can spark the imagination.  The answer is quite simple; imagine that gods compete for dominance across time, in people’s imaginations, and some gods win. These gods occupy the position in the dominance hierarchy of gods—these gods also represent ideals, and ideals compete across time for dominance, embodied by the figures in the hierarchy.  So, what happens when a group of people comes together?”

Sora frowned.  “They usually fight or try to establish peace, right?”

“They take each other’s gods, their embodiment of ideals, and they throw them in the ring together until something emerges as the victor,”  Inari said with a smile.

“That’s quite the imagery,” Ashley muttered.

“You’re talking about the emergence of Monotheism out of Polytheism?”  Mary asked.

“That has to do with it,” Inari nodded.  “Each of these gods represents a set of ideals, and the ancients followed those deities.  Not all civilizations had gods to learn from; only many of the early ones. However, throughout history, many of those ideals have consolidated into the ethical stories of the past—that developed a set of unified morality within humanity across the ages.  When you have a set of ideals from two different societies that are vastly similar it is because of the ethical embodied deity was victorious across multiple hierarchies. So, who is one of the four central Egyptian gods, Wendy?”

“Umm—Osiris?”

“Good,” Inari praised.  “Osiris, in his youth, was a great hero that established the Egyptian state, but now he’s old, archaic, and willfully blind.  Who’s next Wendy?”

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“Seth!”  She said with a broad smile.

“Seth is Set—Seth is Satan via the Coptic Christians; Seth was the precursor to your ideas of Satan or Enemy.  Next?”

“Isis.”

“Isis is the queen of the underworld—the actual being Isis is an interesting girl … of course, she’s an infant compared to me, but she was part of a religious structure that prevailed across thousands of years.  And the last one, Wendy?”

“It starts with an h … umm—Horus?”

“Yes, dear.  Horus is represented as a Falcon, painted as the Egyptian eye because Falcons can see.  If this tale was to be represented in a modern depiction it could be seen as Lion King; Zazu as Horus, Mufasa as Osiris, Scar as Seth, and Isis could be seen as the queen of the hyenas.  This is how the story goes:

“Osiris was a great king, the embodiment of customs, culture, the thing the pyramids represent; he used to be a hero, but now he’s old and willfully blind.  What does that mean, Mary?”

Mary shifted to lean against her chair’s right arm.  “Hmm—my guess, because that’s what culture is; it’s a paternal spirit that’s old and willfully blind—a construction of the dead, they’re archaic.”

Inari looked to the left for a moment, a reminiscent smile in place.  “Exactly right, Mary—you reminded me of the early Mesopotamian gods; they inhabited the corpse of their father … I’m getting off topic.  Osiris is archaic and refuses to see the problems around him; his brother Seth is not a good person, and Osiris knows this, but willfully underestimates his malevolence and the power he has gained.  What’s the problem?”

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Wendy’s hand shot into the air.  “Seth wants to rule the kingdom! Right?”

“Every stable society, at every level, is threatened by willful blindness and malevolence.  This is also true with your individual Cores. Every bureaucracy has that proclivity, to stagnate and become blind; that’s why all your Fortune Five-Hundred Companies only last thirty years, why you have elections, to stop the dead from staying in control for too long.  This happens in the Lion King; Mufasa turns a blind eye to Scar—he knows his ambition, but willfully stays ignorant of his nature and power. So, what does Seth do, Wendy?”

“Scar kills Mufasa, and Seth cuts up Osiris into pieces!”

“Correct.  Seth waits for Osiris to make a mistake and become weakened before cutting him into pieces and separating them across Egypt.  Because Osiris’ Core was unlocked to a great extent, it takes much more than simply dismembering his body to kill him. The Egyptians regarded their provinces as pieces of Osiris’ body; there’s a meaning behind that as well.  That’s the historical account, but the mythological account adds an undertone to that; Osiris represents the structure, order, and there is always a structure. Order cannot be destroyed; it always reconstitutes itself—things fall apart; why?”

Ashley nodded.  “Things get old, and malevolence undermines them.”

“That is what the Egyptians were trying to sort out.  Osiris or order is broken into pieces; what is brought forth?”

“Chaos, Isis, the underworld?”  Mary muttered.

Wendy frowned.  “Isis is chaos? She’s Osiris’ wife though.”

“The Yin and the Yang…”  Ashley pursed her lips.

Inari smiled.  “Historically, Osiris’ body was destroyed, but his Core remains.  She’s looking for order, her husband, chaos cries out for order; she goes all around Egypt trying to put her husband, order, back together.  The substance of order is still alive; it can be brought back by uniting with the chaos and producing something new. Thus, we have mapped the dissolution of structure into chaos and its revivification—something The Herald of Sakura is quite fond of.  Isis goes back into the underworld and gives birth to Horus, a savior, a new structure—he’s a combination of the father and the mother, a messianic figure, it’s the human basic heroic motif. Horus grows up outside the kingdom. Why?”

Mary nodded.  “He grew up in the underworld; he was alienated from his culture because it was old, dead, and corrupt.  He grew up in chaos, Isis, the mother figure—it’s a representation of adolescence, isn’t it?”

Inari laughed.  “Horus grew up, the falcon’s eye he represents, he could see; that’s what separates him from his father.  He goes and fights Seth or corruption and maleficence; he does not underestimate him, the hero’s wariness of the dragon, he can see what it is.”

“That happened in the Lion King too…” Nathan muttered.

“Yes, now Horus and Seth are fighting and Seth tears out one of Horus’ eyes.  What does that represent?”

Everyone was silent for a moment as they thought; Mary was the first to pose an answer.  “Seth is representing the embodiment of evil and destruction—he destroyed the old order to set up his own corrupt kingdom.  No hero can fight the beast or dragon without sustaining some kind of injury—no matter how conscious or careful you are … if you encounter that evil, even voluntarily, then it will likely damage your consciousness.  When reading and studying sociopaths—I experienced something similar.”

“Excellent identification,” Inari tilted her head to look at Nathan.  “That’s why most people do not do it; when tested, many fail the heroes’ trial.  You know this very well, Nathan. Everything’s fun and games until the shooting starts; that’s when you find out who the real men are.”

Nathan’s complexion darkened.  “I understand that.”

“So,” Inari continued, “Horus’ eye is torn out, but Seth is defeated—banished to the nether regions of the underworld.  Horus couldn’t kill him historically or ethically—his Core was still intact, weakened, but guarded; ethically, because the malevolent force that threatens states or order never dies.  Malevolence is always there; you can only remove it temporarily from the walled garden of order. What happens next in the story?”

Wendy’s brow creased.  “Let’s see—Horus becomes the pharaoh, but he returns to the underworld to give Osiris his eye that Seth tore out … that always confused me.”

“Wait,” Nathan frowned.  “So, Horus, the real-life awakened human god Horus, gave some of his power to his father in the underworld?  Why give power to the fool that caused everything? You said they’re competing in a dominance hierarchy, so that means Horus would be the ruler, reigning supreme now; wouldn’t he put his eye back in or reabsorb the power or something?  Why would a hero give power to his father that caused the mess in the first place?”

“Sight,” Ashley muttered.

“What?”  Nathan turned to look at her.  “What do you mean, sight?”

Inari’s vision shifted to Ashley.  “She is correct. Osiris is a shell of his former self; his Core is degrading after helping to create Horus—a half-dead ghost.  Horus goes down and gives him his eye, and now his once blinded father can now see. What does that mean?”

Wendy’s eyes popped.  “Oh! His father was blind to Scar and his evil ways, but since Horus gave him his eye, he now sees all the bad stuff he saw before he became old.”

Mary smiled.  “I think I understand what you’re saying, Inari.”  She paused as everyone turned to her; she looked to the side, deep in thought about how to phrase her response.  “When—threatened by malevolence, even to the point of damaging your consciousness, you go down into the chaos to find the dead spirit of your tradition and give it vision.  It’s a fascinating representation of the mind and one’s ethical vision.”

Inari shifted slightly in her chair to view the group.  “Osiris and Horus rise from the underworld, combine into one, and rule jointly; the Egyptians believed that the Pharaoh, who had an immortal spirit, signifying the Awakened Core, was the embodiment of the Horus and Osiris … the representations of the highest order of the dominance hierarchy for them.  Therefore, the Pharaoh must be awake to malevolence and chaos, and embody their tradition—accomplish that and you’re at the highest level of your dominance structure. This is the start of unlocking your Cores.”

“Huh,” Mary studied the floor.  “So, the battle across time, competing gods that embodied ethical structure, and the emergence of the highest possible virtue as a consequence of that competition—the eye on top of the pyramid.”

“For instance, Ashley has an interesting memory that drew my attention.”  Ashley straightened as Inari spoke her name. “When they made The Washington Monument they made the cap out of aluminum, why?”

Ashley sucked on her lower lip for a moment before answering.  “Because it was the most valuable metal at the time, the most important.”

Inari’s tail’s shifted around each other.  “It means there is a pyramid, and there is something at the top of the pyramid—however, the thing at the top of the pyramid is not the same as the rest of the pyramid, it’s distinct.”  She began making gestures. “The pyramid exists, there’s a dominance hierarchy, something climbs up to the top; however, it’s not just at the top of one pyramid, it’s at the top of all pyramids—the thing that can rise to the top of a pyramid is the same thing that can dominate all pyramids.  It isn’t good enough to be the best at a dominance hierarchy; you must be the best at all possible sets of dominance hierarchies. That’s the thing that’s gold at the top of the pyramid—what is it?”

Sora was a little surprised to feel Nathan catch on first and speak up.  “The eye—attention—pay attention, keep your eyes open … I don’t know how to express it.”

Inari nodded.  “Keep your eyes open—it’s not the same thing as merely thinking.  Did you know, human beings can see better than any other creature besides birds of prey?  Your brains are organized around vision while most animal brains are organized around smell.  What you can see, saves you and saves your communities—in other words, the watchman on top of the tower … the hero.

“If you put enough people together in enough different places, because of the grounding in common motivation, emotion, and embodiment, means they are going to generate broadly similar hierarchies.  For Nathan’s understanding; a problem and solution, there are strategies of success in those broadly similar hierarchies and the descriptions of those strategies will be broadly similar in each tale; communication, providing of needs, and so forth.  Therefore, the ethics that gave rise to this enlightenment of heroic characteristics are in place more or less everywhere.

“This embodies the heroic tales of your past; think about the myths and legends.  Why are they so similar and common? It comes down to keeping a watchful eye for malevolence and chaos while being an active agent in the world to overcome threats, including corruption within your own society.  And that is the introduction to the rise of the embodiment of ethical value that I am going to teach you.”

“That—was just the introduction?”  Ashley sighed.

“Yes, now, with Sora’s aid, I will help teach you these important ethical lessons through action—this will be imperative to unlock your Cores to become like Horus and not Seth.”

Sora stiffened.  “Say what?”

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