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.
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.
Archaitheocracy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev with some additional notes by Anders Sandberg Government by religious leadership or priesthood, usually in the service of a high level transapient or minor archailect. The actual form the government takes can be astonishingly diverse. One of the most common government types in the galaxy today.
Hermeticism, Hermeticist - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Esotericist phyle or group of phyles that in their present form date to the middle first Federation (although their antecedents go back much further, even to Old Earth). Teach techniques of magick and an emanationist cosmology involving zones of thought (also called sephirot); in Cyberhermeticism each pertains to a toposophic or singularity grade; in Neohermeticism each of the Archailects is considered the manifestation of one of these sephirah
Nuage, Nuagism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Tolerant pop-esotericist religion and memeticity-complex dating back to the Atomic Age of Old Earth, based on principles of love and fellowship with all beings, meditation, alignment with nature and cosmic forces, and uncritical spirituality.
Sophic Materialism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Pantheistic or spiritual-materialist mystical, religious, or esoteric path common in the Sophic League, the TRHN, and elsewhere, involving modification of individual consciousness through gnostic drugs. Unlike traditional mysticism, there is little or no emphasis on transcendence of phenomena; indeed a deeper apperception of phenomena is considered the optimal outcome. Some spiritual groups see this as a positive option, others adopt a more neutral or even a negative view of it.