Sophism (Sophic League)

The religion/philosophy/memeticity of the Sophic League

Sophism
Image from Bernd Helfert

Sophism as practiced in the Sophic League developed from Lucidian Sophism, but appropriated concepts and approaches from a number of mystic paths, including the Sufism and cybersufism of the Stella Umma, the Neotaoism of the old Penglai Empire, the Vedanta of the ethnic Hindu habitats, various Buddhist themes, the Questionings of the Universal Church, Genetekker biotantra, Hermeticism, Etodism, Cosmism, Nuagism, and more. In fact there was not a single mystical or esoteric path that was not considered, and from which much of value was not derived.

Out of all this developed a mystic path that was as free and open in its interpretations as Lucidian Sophism, Cosmism, or New Zen, yet with a dedication and one-pointed desire for enlightenment that none of the so-called "new religions" seemed to have. As such, Sophism exerted an enormous appeal to those of mystical bent who were looking for an intelligent, non-dogmatic, practical path of spiritual transcendence that was free of the dogmas and superstitions of the old Earth religions; a path that was both logical and transrational, and centered around the practice of meditation, contemplation, and the aspiring for enlightenment in a monastic community of like-minded souls. Most important, sophism is non-centralised and non-authoritarian; the only authority is oneself and one's own inner light, although in practice the abbots of the various monastery habitats did impose certain pragmatic regulations. Often also, Sophism will combine or syncratise with local forms of spirituality, so that each monastery has its own unique flavour.

Sophic League Symbol
Image from Anders Sandberg

From the Empires period on, Sophism joined the other archailect religions as a major memeticity. Yet, appart from the unavoidable heterodox offshoots, Sophism was never and is not a missionary religion. And because of this, Sophism does not make the obvious impact on daily like that the other religions and philosophies do. Even within the Sophic League itself, Sophism keeps a low profile, being centered on the great monastery habitats that are scattered through the far flung empire, and one can spend a life time on any of the three capitals of the league without seeing a single aspirant. Occasionally sophic monks travel the Nexus on obscure pilgrimages, and they are a distinctive sight in their flowing robes. More often they will do the monastery tour, as outsiders refer to it, visiting other monastic habitats to savour the unique paths spirituality has developed in each region and among each clade and phyle of the league. But for most aspirants, there is no need to venture beyond the safe diamondoid walls of their own habitat, and a few monks are known to never leave their cell for centuries. Thus, for the outsider to truly understand and experience Sophism, e has to seek out a monastery which encourages guests and visitors, and contrary to popular opinion there are just as many visitor- and tourist-friendly monasteries as there are habitats that are hostile to - or at best aloof regarding - outsiders.

 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 31 December 2001.