Wednesday, February 23, 2022

deities as stories

The stories about gods are the stories of cultures. 

When ancient Romans prayed to the goddess of sewers, Cloacina, they might have been praying to a woman to unclog their toilet, but they were only praying because they had invented toilets to make their lives easier, and having the toilets meant that some higher power also needed to represent them. In the same way that modern people complain about, praise, or invoke the names of Apple, Tesla, Disney, China, or the Green Bay Packers. I think that we place a lot of stock into the relationships of corporations, without ever knowing the names of the people who make decisions or come to agreements that lead to corporations merging, cooperating, or becoming rivals. Huge faceless powers, governed in alien corners, whose methods and drives are seemingly inscrutable. In this way the modern companies are to us what the misunderstood motivations of the universe were to the ancients, deities.

Thus, I have taken a history of several companies and applied random themes to them, and over the course of their histories I make associations with their movements that could be considered narratives:

The Mountain god was uncle to the Snake god and father to the Forest god.
Both the Sky god and the Sea god were children of the Snake god.
The Mountain god raised the Sea god, the Forest god, and the Blind god as his own.
It appeared as if the Sea god had killed the Mountain god, but really the Sky god killed the Mountain god.
The Snake god kidnapped the Forest god.
The Blind god went to rescue the Forest god and both fought the Sea god in their escape.
The Sea god hunted the Blind god and they fought in a city where many people witnessed them fight to a draw.
The Blind god saved the Sea god from death, and the Sea god revealed the truth about the Sky god to the Blind god.
Both the Blind god and the Sea god adopted each other as brothers and ventured out to hunt after and kill the Sky god.

With this vague history, I have a litany of things to draw upon and create culturally for my fictional world. I can extrapolate modern motivations and transform them into a fantastical setting.

The Sky god is worshiped by the expansionist empire that subjugates all of its neighbors.
The Mountain god is dead, his worshipers have been fully assimilated by the imperial culture.
The Blind god is revered by desert-dwelling nomads.
The Sea god is revered by traders, merchants, and pirates who sail along the rivers and coasts, the primary link between the nomads and the empire.
The Forest god is revered by empire-subjugated hunters and farmers, the nomads and the merchants think of the farmers as a misguided people, much like their deity of choice.
The Snake god is worshiped in secret.

And with that I have a vague history of the world, places that have clung to holy names for their cultures draw upon these deities' representations, yet they are all connected because these people are all connected. It doesn't matter if I draw these deities up as beings in some version of D&D, or just let the idea of this culture fester in my mind as a world ready to explore. All it took was looking at my own current culture and it's history to create a wholly new one.

(special thanks to wikipedia for having really detailed histories of companies)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.