And A Possible One

This post is, in a way, a sequel to my previous one (“Story Without a Moral“). In that post I said that Orbivm is not meant to have any preset philosophical interpretation; still, I thought it might be interesting to examine one “theory” of Orbis Terrarvm philosophy.

This idea is, one might say, that of “anti-Pelagianism”. Now, Pelagianism was an ancient Christian heresy that said humans could save themselves – they did not need God’s grace or the Resurrection (Christ was just setting a good example for the rest of us). How does this apply to Orbivm? Well, since there is no Christ and no Resurrection in Orbivm, then if Pelagianism is not true then mankind cannot be saved, since he cannot save himself. And I think this is backed up by examples from the history of Orbivm (is that a result of my skewing the history to support this interpretation? maybe).

Basically, it’s clear that the residents of Orbivm can be virtuous in different ways. But they cannot save themselves; this is why all heroes of campaigns are in the end flawed. Caius Regilius goes back to the front to fight a battle he knows is hopeless; Alfhelm lets his wife get killed and loses his kingdom; Vaniyera is consumed by his hatred for humanity in a way that eventually leads to his death; Sparxus thinks that he found freedom, but his “freedom” consists of the ability to kill who he wants to. And it goes on.

Basically, in the end, I don’t think any of the heroes of Orbivm campaigns has reached happiness or salvation or anything like that. And if none of the heroes of the campaigns manage it, how could anyone?

Of course, this poses a problem for those who would like to interpret Orbivm in light of Christianity (which of course is the only reason you would be talking in terms of Pelagianism at all)… namely, if the menn of Orbivm cannot save themselves, how are they to be saved? It seems to me there are two possibilities. One, that there is some sort of salvific event late in the history of Orbivm, after all events outlined in the histories. The problem with this is, what could such an event possibly be? Two, that, even if the menn are fallen and there is no salvific event in history, God could still redeem them without any informed consent on their part (their desire to do good being enough). This latter possibility is of course not really Christian, but it might be that a constructed world can’t really be Christian, since it seems stupid to try to write your own version of the Resurrection story (you couldn’t possibly do it justice – I don’t think Aslan really succeeds in Chronicles of Narnia, if you couldn’t tell), and without some form of Crucifixion and Resurrection it’s not really a Christian universe.

Which means, I suppose, that it’s not really a possible universe. Oh well. I guess the best we can do is to stay somewhat vague on the idea to make sure it’s not explicitly non-Christian, even if it’s not explicitly Christian. Which is what we’re doing so far.

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One Response to And A Possible One

  1. Mars says:

    Another possible conclusion, for those who aren’t Christians, is that this is pretty good description of the human condition in our universe. Setting aside the question of truth (“Leave the ultimate to the ultimate” – Spinoza), your view on Orbium’s metanarrative coincides with mine. For poetical reasons mostly, I favor the pessimistic view of the hero’s chance of success, or rather: the tragic view. Invented by pagan Greeks (and perhaps independently in other countries, I don’t know), tragedy has been appreciated by Christians, religious people of all creeds, agnostics and atheists.

    There’s a good anecdote on Pelagianism in one of Gore Vidal’s books (I can’t remember which one, so this is from memory). It takes place in a club, one of the posh ones with leather seats and butlers. Vidal is sitting with an Anglican bishop when a well-known socialist MP passes by. Calmly, the bishop extends his leg, tripping up the MP, who turns around angrily: “Why did you do THAT?” Still calm, the bishop answers: “Filthy Pelagian!”

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