[Naked] Human reason can neither predict nor deliberately shape its own future. Its advances consist in finding out where it has been wrong.
Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992) Austrian economist.
Which is why state planning does not work, and is inferior to the free market. The market is simply an empirical trial and error laboratory; one that receives input from millions of individuals. It then weeds out what works and what improves lives..
Jyn Erso is the elder daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia socialite family, her mostly absent father, Galen, being the founder and president of Empire Dynamics Engineering. Two years ago she was married to Cassian Jeron Andor, a ship designer and a member of her social and political set. But he failed to meet her exacting standards of a husband: he was too focused on his anti-fascist activism to the point of also being an absent part of her life, and after her childhood, she refuses to settle for a life where she has a house but not a home. Now she is set to marry Orson Krennic, a nouveau riche “man of the people” and rising star at Empire Dynamics.
On the weekend of her wedding, Holo-wood Magazine, a celebrity tabloid, sends reporter Bodhi Rook to cover the wedding. They have the help of Cassian Andor, who has been working for Holo-wood in Mexico, and introduces Bodhi as a friend of Jyn’s cousin, Chirrut, and his husband, Baze. Jyn is not fooled though, and calls out Cassian, but he tells her that if she doesn’t give Holo-wood the scoop they want on her wedding, they will publish an article about her father’s work on a weapon of mass destruction. This in itself is not true, but the technology he is working on has the potential to be misread this way. To protect her family, she allows Bodhi to cover her nuptials.
While Cassian’s outward motives seem mercenary or vengeful, he knows that if Holo-wood publishes the story on Galen, it could not only ruin the family and their reputation, it may also drive Galen further away from his family because he will attempt to distance himself to protect them. Cassian knows that this is the last thing Jyn wants. He still loves her, and in the years since their divorce, he has found that the cause is not enough, and there’s an emptiness in his life that keeps him up at night.
The night before her wedding, Jyn gets drunk with Bodhi and goes for an innocent swim. Orson catches them and is appalled and threatens to call off the wedding. He doesn’t like seeing “his woman” consorting with people outside their social set, and in his anger, he also tells her that he expects her to be more demure once they are married. Realizing that Orson doesn’t know her at all and she him, Jyn breaks off the engagement.
But it’s morning already, and the wedding guests have all started to arrive. Bodhi offers to marry her to save face because whatever happens it will be news, but she declines politely in front of a melancholic Cassian who has witnessed this all.
As the wedding march begins to play, Jyn throws on a dress over her swimsuit to go in and tell the guests that the wedding is off, but as Cassian hands her a dress, they look at each other and realize that they still love one another, and that there is no one else in the galaxy who understands them in the way the other does. In a fit of inspiration, Jyn proposes and Cassian accepts. They remarry and spend their second honeymoon the same way they did their first—sailing away for two weeks on the ship Cassian had built for her two years before: The Welcome Home.
Pssst, Bodhi Rook loves looking at stars. Loves them in general. If you get him going, he will spend hours telling you about the wonder of stars and the infinite number of galaxies. Bodhi loves space. He loves learning about it, moving in it, attempting to understand it. It’s one of his passions (aside from mechanical engineering and piloting).
The Empire dampened some of his excitement for it, made him think he could never love space again. It takes him a long time following Scarif to actually look up and admire the sky above him. The first time he does is after a particularly violent nightmare that causes him to shoot upright in his bed and make his way to the fresher before vomiting. He makes his way outside, past the barracks and into the open hangar. Only when he can make out the faint outline of his ship is he able to breathe again. That’s when he looks up and sees the night sky shimmering above him. Stars shine above him, constellations littering the sky. The moon stands proud, glimmering and haunting in its beauty. It takes his breath away. He stands there and stares for a long while, his eyes flickering from constellation to constellation. He sits on the floor, mind too overwhelmed to really process the chill. He stays like that for hours, admiring the scene before him and rekindling a passion he thought had long since been put out. He sits there for the longest while, his smile slowly transforming into a grin.
Bodhi Rook loves space; loves its unchartered and empty areas. He admires the stars and planets that flicker with fire and life, admires the way they burst into those empty spaces and force brightness into them. He adores piloting through it, adores getting a front row seat to its beauty.
Bodhi Rook loves space. And no one and nothing could ever take that away from him.
(1/2)WRT the Chantry: A lot of DA fans seem to think that the Chantry is a bad thing, which aught to lose its army, or be otherwise diminished. But this, to me, seems a risky proposition. Thedas lacks any real formalisation for international relations. The factions of Thedas are largely relegated to reasonably polite interactions due to Chantry oversight, and no other organization seems ready to fill that gap (given the fates of the Inquisition). Without some bureaucracy for war, trade and such.
Oh, Anonymous person. What did I say? ‘Please not another ask about how the Chantry should absolutely have an army’. And what do I get?
Anyway, I’m still missing your part 2, but this was a week and about 14 boxes of tissues ago, and besides, unless the part 2 is a ‘Belated April Fools!’ I’m not sure I’d survive it. So. I’ll just work with this.
But why do people keep asking stuff like this? I mean – we have real-world examples, both historical and current, of why giving a religious organisation a) weapons, and b) political power is a really fucking awful idea. How many corpses do we have to scatter across history before people work this out?
1) The Chantry as somehow the only people who are capable of handling international relations.
I have no idea where this idea would even come from. I realise that pre-First Blight history gets a bit murky, but it’s not as though humans, Andrastianism, Orlais or the Chantry somehow invented diplomacy.
Groups of ancient elves seem to have traded and worked with humans:
What’s more, those elves who spent time bartering and negotiating with humans found themselves aging, tainted by the humans’ brash and impatient lives.
and the dwarves had trade deals with the Tevinter Imperium before the Chantry ever existed:
It was with the Tevinter Imperium that things changed. Paragon Garal moved the seat of power to Orzammar to more closely oversee the trade that began with the surface. It seemed that our people were entering a new age of prosperity.
Moreover, consider this, from a Chantry source, no less:
The queen spent decades making alliances in the ancient Rivaini way: marriage. She wed her many children and grandchildren strategically into nobles houses across the continent. Within thirty years, Antiva was so well-connected that any hostile action against it would force half the nations of Thedas into war.
Two obviously noteworthy things here: one being that Antiva is in no way relying on the Chantry even slightly to keep things civilised; two being that Asha is doing things ‘the ancient Rivaini way’, which is to say that nations have been handling international relations through mutual defence pacts and intermarriage since well before the Chantry was even thought of. And just to follow up, note the specific reference to Rivain, a specifically multicultural and largely non-Chantry society:
The influence of the Qun, if not absolute adherence to its teachings, is present throughout Rivain, getting stronger as one heads north toward Kont-aar … The Rivaini people trace their roots to pantheist ancestors, and many in Rivain still believe that their god and the universe are one and the same … Nowhere in Rivain is the Chantry influence stronger than in Dairsmuid, the capital. Rivaini royalty are Chantry faithful, but also progressive in their beliefs, if only out of necessity. The nation, with its patchwork of cultures, remains one entity through consensus and compromise.
– World of Thedas I
Does any of that make it sound as though the Chantry is somehow essential to maintaining international relations? In fact, one might say it looks as though diplomacy is strongest where the Chantry is weakest.
2) The Chantry as somehow morally capable of handling international relations.
I mean, that’s pretty laughable. ‘Reasonably polite’? Polite? Try rampant bigotry and racism:
The Chantry began and has continued to be a predominately human organisation. Other races are seen to be further from the Maker. The elves have their pantheon of false idols. The dwarves worship themselves. The Qunari are worst of all, actively crushing the worship of the Maker and desecrating Chantry values in the name of the Qun. For these reasons, other races are considered all the more worthy of saving. The Chantry believes the Maker won’t return until even the Qunari sing his name
– World of Thedas I
Look at all that lovely prejudice the Chantry rolls around in every morning. Again, two things of note:
1) Despite the claim that all of this is because these peoples follow different religions, the simple fact that the Chantry is just outright fucking racist. There are countless Andrastian elves. Now try to imagine an elven Divine … or Grand Cleric … or Revered Mother … or anything.
2) The Chantry’s ideals are toxic to diplomacy. They not only believe that their religion is the right one, but that any non-believer is actively preventing the return of their god. Their whole philosophy is ‘If you’re not with us, you’re against us … and the Maker’.
Conversion is their primary mission. They will do it by persuasion, politics or outright violence – and have done all three. This means that the Chantry is hostile, not only to elves, dwarves and Qunari, but even to non-Chantry humans. Those Rivaini pantheists? Evil. The Chasind? Evil. The Avaar? Evil. Other Andrastians who don’t follow the Chantry? Evil. Remember that the Annulment at Dairsmuid happened because these people were practising non-Chantry traditions. They weren’t hurting anyone. They were following their own faith. And they were murdered for it.
Note that this is also a problem that, as bad as it is now, is only likely to get worse. Thedas is only one continent on the world Dragon Age inhabits. Traders trade and explorers explore; there has been some contact already. There’s a whole world out there that has never heard of the Chantry. How do you think it’s going to go when long-term contact is established?
I don’t know what you mean about polite interactions. At best, it sounds like you mean that two Chantry faithful humans might be able to bond over how superior they are to everyone else. And guess what? That’s not what functional diplomacy looks like.
3) The Chantry as some kind of neutral organisation with the right to manage international relations.
Um. You do know that the Chantry isn’t some lovey-dovey politically neutral faith that sprang out of the ether, right? You know it’s the official religion of the Orlesian Empire, right? You know – one of the most aggressive, intolerant, I’m-taking-your-land-because-it-is-the-Maker’s-will countries in Thedas?
It was founded by Kordillus Drakon, as part of his campaign of conquest:
At the time, the ‘nation’ his mother ruled over was not even half the size of modern-day Orlais, and unified only in their love of Andraste and shared hatred of everyone else. Prince Drakon believed it could be much more. For he had a vision. He believed Andraste had appeared to him in a dream when he was a child and and charged him with redeeming the world in the eyes of the Maker.
He began his holy quest at the ripe old age of sixteen by taking to the battlefield. At the time, each clan had its own variety of the cult of Andraste, its own rituals, traditions and versions of Andraste’s words. Young Drakon unified them by the sword.
Their campaign of expansion stalled as they met heavier resistance in the North. Drakon, fearing that his cause was failing because the Maker questioned his devotion, refocused his attention on glorifying his god. He began by demolishing the ancient Ciriane fortress that was once home to Jeshavis herself and using its foundations to build, he said ‘a chantry where the one true song of Andraste shall forever after be heard.’
– World of Thedas II
Its first Divine was military leader:
According to Chantry writings, Justinia I was, before her coronation, the only female general in Emperor Drakon’s armies and a devout missionary of Andraste … Divine Justinia I is most well known for compiling the Orlesian Chantry’s interpretation of the Chant of Light. Her version of the Chant has survived with few changes to this day and is still recognised as part of the canon.
– World of Thedas II
This is a religion that was designed, on purpose, to be part of the Orlesian war machine. It may seem logical to talk about ‘Andrastianism’ and ‘the Chantry’ as though they’re synonymous, but that’s only because the Orlesians murdered the fuck out of anyone who disagreed with them, then proceeded to slander their memory.
The Chantry declared an Exalted March on the Dales, giving a blatant Orlesian land grab the holy seal of approval. This has resulted in the destruction of a nation, the dispersal of a people and the near destruction of a rival faith. It did bugger all to intervene when Orlais occupied Nevarra, and the Orlesian occupation of Kirkwall is framed as a religious liberation. Later, explicitly to please the Orlesian empire, it engineered the downfall of the viscount of Kirkwall in order to undertake a covert Chantry take over of the city. Meghren, the Orlesian ruler of Ferelden during the occupation, has a Grand Cleric as an advisor – she does eventually turn on him, yes, but throughout much of The Stolen Throne you will see her attempting to legitimise his rule, which is hardly the act of an organisation attempting to protect a weaker nation from the depredations of a strong one.
On other fronts, multiple Exalted Marches have been conducted against Tevinter, which of course is in no way about two imperial powers butting heads for fun and profit, to the detriment of everyone else. And when the Chantry warred with the Qunari, it was the Qunari who came to the table. Why? Because Chantry diplomacy is always ‘murder everyone who disagrees with us’, and the Qunari, for all their other flaws, recoiled in horror from Chantry barbarity.
International relations. Right.
4) The Chantry as somehow disinterested even in its own right.
Never mind Orlais for a moment. The Chantry, in and of itself, is hardly some kind of disinterested international watchdog.
Consider lyrium. It is in Chantry interests to retain a stranglehold on the lyrium trade – they are able to use it to control their templars, to bolster the powers of their mages when approved, and to earn a tonne of money by handing it off to the Tranquil. Probably the fact that lyrium can only be safely mined by dwarves is the only thing keeping them safe. Also note another motive for repeated conflict with Tevinter: that’s the other big lyrium consumer.
So … what exactly is it that you think the Chantry is doing that makes life better for anyone? Why do you think that it is somehow managing international relations in a fair and just manner? Because people like Cassandra and Josephine think so? But they are Chantry devout humans – in many ways the beneficiaries of Chantry crimes, whether they intend to be or not.
What you think is risky, I think is a basic step toward a functional civilisation. I want to take away everything the Chantry has: its armies, its political power, its obscene wealth. All of it. You know what I think it can still have, at the end of all that? Freedom of religion. They don’t want to leave anyone with that.
For sublight propulsion, the Imperial-class relied on an array of three primary Destroyer-I ion engines produced by KDY specifically for the vessels. For emergency situations requiring additional thrust, the Imperial-class could use its four Gemon-4 ion engines. The engines were capable of accelerating the ship with a force of several thousand g.
A Finnish wood products company says New York City’s Empire State Building could be remade almost entirely out of trees.
In a bold attempt to illustrate wood’s usefulness in modern commercial construction, Metsä Wood teamed up with Canadian architect and timber engineering proponent Michael Green to redesign the iconic skyscraper.
“I believe that the future belongs to tall wooden buildings,” Green said in a project announcement. “Significant advancements in engineered wood and mass timber products have created a new vision for what is possible for safe, tall, urban wood buildings. The challenge now is to change society’s perception of what’s possible.” Learn more and see Green’s TED Talk on wooden construction below.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s engraving of the Ponte Salario over the Aniene river, circa 1750s. The Ponte Salario was initially constructed in the first century BC, and destroyed in the Gothic War of 535-554. Rebuilt in 565 with the bridge tower added in the eighth century, the bridge as pictured stood until the mid-1800s when it was destroyed by soldiers. The current bridge spanning this location was constructed in 1874.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s 1758 engraving of the Ponte dei Quattro Capi bridge, which spans the portion of the Tiber River north of the Isola Tiberina in Rome. Constructed in 62 BC, the bridge is completely intact and remains in use today.
Three months, it had been three months since everything fell out of place. Baatar had not seen her since the time he had said goodbye. He was so angry with her that he did not visit until her letters became more frequent. The former engineer for the earth empire sat waiting for the guards to bring her in.
Because of her cooperation in the last three months, Kuvira was granted some leniency when Baatar finally came to see her. She was flanked by two guards, but they left her in the platinum room with him. He had been checked for any metal, and her hands were clasped together with platinum cuffs. They were held over her stomach, over the barely noticeable swell where their child was growing. “Baatar. Thank you for coming.”
I know however Klaus is influencing Gil’s mind probably doesn’t work this way, but every time I think about those dumb giant Agatha statues outside Mechanicsburg I can’t help but imagine this is how it went down:
Gil: *putting final touches on blueprints for Mechanicsburg wall, to be sent to empire engineers shortly* Gil: *as a last note, adds plans for a single small statue of Agatha to be stand over the main gate to Mechanicsburg, maybe 1.5 meters tall* Head!Klaus: no. she is bad and dangerous. get rid of it Gil: *crosses out 1.5 meters and writes 150 instead* Head!Klaus: what did I just fucking say Gil: *starts furiously adding zeroes to everything having to do with the size and quantity of the Agatha statues* Head!Klaus: STOP Gil: *rolls up blueprints and puts into mail chute, slams send button* Head!Klaus: oh my god