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SIX INHUMANITIES

Ariel Montréal 2013


TRANSREAL OTHERS & AHUMAN CULTURES

Each of these six entries is a cluster of axioms that no


human culture has; they are the inverse of a group of
universals that all human cultures share. This idea was
originally conceived by one 'noisms' on his blog,
Monsters and Manuals. Thanks for that. Sorry that I
don't have a better name to cite you with. These may
been used in any game, for any purpose. Instead of
colouring your next alien contact or exotic character
with colonial metaphors, you can use these instead.

Your job is not to make them seem monstrous, but to


inhabit their lives with the same ethnocentric
normalcy as they do.

Never say: this is impossible, inconceivable.

Rather ask: What would have to be true for this to be


possible, conceivable?

Give them their own reality: if you cut them, they


bleed as surely as you or I do.
IMMEDIACY

“When they speak they do hear the soul in each voice.


That’s how the meaning lives there. The words have
got . . .” He shook his head, hesitating, then just using
that religiose term. “Got the soul in them. And it has
to be there, the meaning. Has to be true to be
Language.”

China Miéville in Embassytown

The Hosts lack abstraction in speech and thought.


They cannot comprehend speculation, hypotheticals
or information beyond direct experience and
memory.

They're extremely spontaneous; they have a unity of


speech, thought and action. Their practice of direct
apprehension and empathy is unparalleled.

They lack music and mathematics.

Metaphor is puzzling for them.

They cannot lie.


VOLITION

The news never tells us that our universe is


contingent, that our fates hinge on changes too huge
for us to comprehend, or too small for us too see. We
can never accept the black swan's arbitrary
carelessness. So our news is never about that the news
can make no sense to human beings. Our news is
always about how well we understand.

Bruce Sterling in Black Swan

The Animate lack distinction between personal


actions taken under self-control and those that are
not.

They cannot understand the notion that one


personally makes choices. They are fatalistic in the
extreme and find notions of personal volition and
responsibility confusing or naïve. They see people as
animated by large and impersonal forces, not directed
by freewill.

Moreover, many of their decisions are disclaimed to


codified chance or rigid social roles.
PREDATION

What is most dangerous in violence is its rationality.

Michel Foucault in Truth is in the Future

The Drones lack proscriptions against murder.

They view the world as entirely immaterial.

They do not mourn.


AUTONOMY

Only then when you are single can you have


intercourse with each other as what you are.

Max Stirner in The Ego and Its Own

The Atemporal lack collective identity. Traits that


might signify group membership are seen as
accidental or trivial.

They lack oligarchy. They see governing others as


unnatural and harmful. They practice a radical self-
determination.

They can be prone to being contrary or egoistical.

They lack diuranlity. They sleep when they are tired


and eat when they are hungry.

They seem distracted and unaware of the passage of


chronological time.
COLLECTIVITY

The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.


They have a world to win.

Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto

The Labyrinth lack personal names, property, trade,


privacy and a concept of reciprocal exchange.

Their identity is that of the group; they view


individual bodies like a hand, heart or particularly
beloved tool.

Every object is simply being used for its intended


purpose in accordance with its nature.

Their grammar lacks the possessive case.


ITINERANCE

Don't wait to be hunted to hide.

Samuel Beckett in Molloy

The Feral lack a need for shelter, cooked food,


territoriality and sexual mores.