Herlucc (also: Hèrulucc) is one of Pavala's longest continuous religions, it was the religion of Succlythia and continues to have a strong legacy in its descendant nations and cultures, and those that were affected by them. As it formed as a religion, it was deeply philosophical and many religious leaders led fierce and long debates - oftentimes spanning generations. Some claim that it spurred the creation and development of Hsuqliht geometry and mathematics, and was part of the reason such fine engineering could propagate throughout the empire in the absence of a native writing system.
Herlucc is the idea that humans are the only creatures that can discriminate good from bad, and that they have a responsibility to balance their life so that they can re-enter kanea. Kanea is the natural state of existence; it is the consciousness and fabric of reality that permeates the universe. Human consciousness is a disturbance in the kanea. When a human lives their life, they are trying to achieve a balance between good and bad. When humans die, their spirit attempts to re-enter the kanea. If the spirit is close enough to being neutral in morals (e.g. not too good nor bad), then the spirit merges once more with the kanea. If the spirit is too good, or too bad, then it is rejected from the kanea and must live another life on Pavala.
- 1 Beliefs
- 2 What is Good and What is Bad
- 3 Core Actions
- 4 The Fundamental Duality of the Universe
- 5 Divine Numbers
- 6 Justice
- 7 Dietary Laws
- 8 Ritual Bloodletting & Balance of the <Humours>
Kanea is the natural fabric of the universe, the unaltered state of existence that has existed since time immemorial - it is the very consciousness and substantiality of the universe itself, permeated infinitely throughout temporal and spatial dimensions and onto itself. It has no beginning, and it will have no end - not in time nor space nor any other conceivable dimension. It is eternally neutral but not unchanging, it is forever in equilibrium with itself. It is the driving force behind everything in nature, from the way the clouds rain to the way one breathes. Traditionally, it is believed that Haki, Pavala's sister planet, created the Kanea. Haki does not directly control the Kanea, but it (and the animals of Haki) is responsible for maintaining the balance of good and bad. Meteors falling onto Pavala are believed to be Haki disposing of excess bad, while monsoons are it disposing of excess good.
The Human: A Rift in the Kanea
When there was an imbalance of good and bad within the Kanea - resulting in an surplus of bad, Haki gathered this evil material and hurled a lump of said material at Pavala. On Haki, the imbalance of good and bad was a regular occurence, and Haki would thus put this material into the animals on Haki, and they would then expel the energy to the cosmic winds. Haki sent this particular surplus of bad energy into a Kiya, causing it to cry tears of salt that rained down onto Haki. The Kiya too, gained a conscious and was delegated the task of watching and judging humans. After the Kiya and the Human both had gained consciousness, the Kanea made other animals on Haki conscious, and allowed them to help maintain the balance of good and bad, as well as balance over other binaries within life. All of these animals come in pairs, each of the pair representing the opposite of each other. The only exception is the Grand Kiya, who has no pair, and whose pair is sometimes believed to be the Human of Pavala.
The salt of the Kiya's tears sprung into the first two humans. Curious to see what happened, this Kiya kept a keen eye towards them. This is why Haki is always watching. Curiously, this material behaved in an unexpected way. Unlike Haki had thought, it was not purely bad - it had a mix of good within it. This mix could shift and change often, and could do so outside of the Kanea's will. The material was capable of consciousness and learning, and they learnt that they could have descendants, so the first two humans had 73 children (ııı in Hsuqliht Numerals).
When the Human emerged, their very existence was a disturbance within the Kanea - their own consciousness had the ability to be detached and in opposition to the cosmic consciousness of the Kanea. Bestowed with the ability to forge their own path aware of the consequences of the decisions they make, assessing whether their outcome is 'good' or 'bad', the eternal equilibrium of the Kanea could no longer permeate into the Human body and mind. Thus, the development of the Human's free will and moral judgment divorced themselves from the very universe whose dust they were made of. This burdened them to have to live their life eternally seeking balance, so their mind and spirit can achieve a status as close as possible to the Kanea, and that they may become part of the Kanea once again when they die. Once a human dies, their spirit passes the judgment of the Grand Kiya of Haki and they are categorised as having lead either a bad, good, or neutral life and are treated accordingly. The Kiya is the creator god of the humans.
In a way, the Grand Kiya of Haki is a judgment god of the Humans, as well as the creator of Humans. Those who lived lives wherein they did much harm are reincarnated and sent to live a life of suffering, while those that lived lives that were good were reincarnated as a non-human lifeform, and those with a neutral life could once again rejoin the Kanea.
What is Good and What is Bad
A large amount of things within the religion are canonically considered 'bad' or even 'sinful'. These are often even simple everyday things. This makes it hard to be good. The reasons for this stem from desire for social harmony, and the strive for a more realistic 'neutrality', recognising that not every single person could be good, as then no one would be.
Despite most actions being 'bad', it is wrong to think of this as binary, as context is extremely important within the religion. Almost all actions reside somewhere on a spectrum of 'good' to 'bad', and views differ widely. Such differing views resulted in the early establishment of the Hsuqliht's justice system. Additionally, because the same action can be either 'good' or 'bad', it is believed that though they are opposites, the concepts are inseparable and fundamentally contain each other in oneself, and lead to the equilibrium of the Kanea
Concepts of Good and Bad
Good and Bad within a person is not a zero sum game. That is to say, one can not get away with murder because they do much charity. There are certain acts towards other beings (mostly humans) that are explicitly forbidden within the religion, and if performed permanently render that person evil and incapable of joining the Kanea at the end of this lifetime. Most 'bads' and 'goods' largely consist of relatively trivial everyday actions.
The concept of being 'too bad' are generally easier to define than 'too good', common themes are that of harm to others and social disunity, as well as selfishness and extreme decadence.
The concept of being 'too good' has been hard to define and the subject of immense debate and conflict within the Herlucc religion since the time it started. Generally what is defined as someone who is 'too good' involves some form of Asceticism, abstinence from the pleasures of life, active willing (unnecessary) suffering for other's benefit, fasting, abstinence. These behaviours are defined as 'too good' as they are behaviours that humans often do with means of attaining religious/spiritual enlightenment, and are all behaviours that cannot be found in animals. To deny the pleasures of life and to attain what one deserves is considered strange and unnatural within the Herlucc religion. Taking good things to the utmost extremes is usually what constitutes a good action as 'too good'
Other issues with being 'too good' largely stem from fears of unintended consequences, non-interference is usually preferred when applicable, so that the Kanea may deliver the fate itself.
They come in bad/good pairs. Except for the Only Bads. The 7 pairs, and Murder, and Rape.
Murder is generally thought to be bad, and in almost all cases renders a person incapable of rejoining Kanea at the end of this lifetime. As well as disturbing the social fabric, the human choice to murder inherently upsets the predestined path of which one were to die. Human murder is considered acceptable in limited circumstances, such as in some cases of manslaughter or defence against sexual assault. Murder to non-human organisms has been highly debated, and a key reason for vegetarianism's large presence within adherents. Murdering an animal has no effect on whether the animal (re)enters Kanea, as all non-human organisms are believed to, regardless of their lives. Animal slaughter does, however, affect the balance of good and bad within the human, generally shifting it towards the bad. It is considered good, however, if it relieves the suffering of the animal or the benefit provided by its slaughter is sufficient to neutralise the 'badness'. Additionally, hunting is seen as more neutral than farming, as hunting animals is believed to be closer to the natural order of an ecosystem.
Assault & Defence
Assault is a complicated and oftentimes controversial field within Herlucc. For the most part, it is not encouraged and considered bad, except in cases of defence.
Defence for the self and others is good, but pushed too far can be overbearing on oneself and others.
Sexual Assault and Rape
The Herlucc religion is traditionally tough on rape and sexual assault. Sexual assault is universally considered bad within the religion, with very few exceptions. Like with murder, the perpetrator becomes permanently bad and unable to reenter Kanea at the end of this life. If the assault is severe and the perpetrator consider bad enough, after trial in the Hsuqliht justice system, they may be executed - often publicly. The executioner does not generally disturb their own internal balance of good and bad, as the execution of someone tried in the justice system is commonly considered a neutral action - this belief, however, varies widely. Though rape has been observed amongst animals and may therefore be viewed as natural, Herlucc belief justifies it as bad due to the fact that the Human has a conscious, and is able to know that the action is detrimental for the victim.
Intimidation for the most part is viewed as not only bad, but cowardly too. The reasoning is that with human's consciousness it is unnecessary as the more neutral route of diplomacy and discussion can be taken instead.
Treachery/Lying & Honesty
Outright betraying trust and lying is bad, with the exceptions of self-preservation or when the ends ultimately justify the means.
On the other hand, outright honesty to the point of self-sabotage is viewed as too good. To always be honest is 'good' but that does not mean it does not come at costs.
Greed & Charity
Greed is to keep something from others, or to keep it simply for the sake of possession.
Charity is sometimes thought of as insulting. However, it is more often thought as a way to repent for badness. As a wide variety of everyday actions within Herlucc are categorised by the religion as more 'bad' than 'good', charity can generally be seen as a way to achieve neutrality. There is much nuance to it, however, as intent matters just as much, if not more, than impact with charity within the religion. If one's intent when doing charity is simply to repent for themselves, rather than bring balance, their actions are rendered null, or even negative, and do not improve one's stride to neutrality.
Waste & Conservation
As they are a disturbance to the Kanea, the Human should seek to produce as little waste as possible as this is a disturbance. Bad.
Conservation and reuse is important, and good. It can be pushed too far unnecessarily though.
Hedonism & Restraint
Outright pleasure simply for the sake of pleasure is bad.
Some degree of restraint is good, but too much is unnatural.
Yielding & Resisting
Yielding is the concept of not standing up for others when in the position to do so. It is viewed as bad.
Resisting is standing up, and is good but too much resistance is not good and creates a disagreeable person.
Ambition & Apathy
Pride & drive is good, allows one to achieve actions. Too much leads to pride and misguidance.
Apathy is bad as it lacks guidance.
The Fundamental Duality of the Universe
The Fundamental Duality of the Universe states that not only does the Kanea manifests itself as a duality of good and bad, but that all phenomena within the universe exhibit a degree of classifiable duality. There are a wide number of such dualities, but many are subsumed under broader categories. Searching for the simplest and most universal set of such dualities ('Serpa') has been one of the great philosophical debates of the Herlucc religion for centuries. The individual component of a Serpa is a 'Diapa', and its opposite is its 'Kodiapa'. Many symbols, called <name> were constructed to represent these Serpa, and they functioned as a form of proto-writing for many, being used as mnemonic devices. Examples include:
- Clean, Dirty
- Healthy, Sick
- Poison/Spoiled Food, Medicine/Good Food
- Danger, Safety
- Big, Small
- High, Low
- Line, Rift
- House, Public Building
- Place, Void
- Night/Dark, Day/Bright
- Go, Come
- Use/Attack, Avoid/Defend
- Right, Left
- Odd, Even
- Male, Female
- Human Consciousness, Kanea
- (green) toads, (purple) crabs
The Paradigm of Serklet
Though the Serpa are dual in nature, this does not mean that a phenomenon is restricted solely to just one category, it may be part of two or more Serpa. This is referred to as 'The Paradigm of Serklet', Serklet literally translating as two-four. It is through this process that fewer individual Serpa may exist and still cover all phenomena. A phenomenon may exist under the Line-Rift Serpa and Big-Small Serpa, as Line-Big, Line-Small, Rift-Big, Rift-Small, thus giving four meanings from two Serpa. These can theoretically be infinitely chained.
Many numbers have immense spiritual significance within Herlucc.
One (Dia) is considered a spiritual number as it is whole, yet still further divisible. It is considered representative of Kanea itself, and within itself contains the question of one or many?
Two (Ser) is a very important number as it is central to the concepts of duality of the entire religion.
Three (Pok) is considered representative of the Human - inherently unnatural and the only able to distinguish between the dualities.
Four (Klet) is important for 2 x 2 = 4, 2^2 = 4, 2 + 2 = 4, And the Paradigm of Serklet
Eight (Yok) is considered important as the Hsuqlihts used a Base-8 system. It is further considered sacred as it is 2^3.
Considered a "constellation of numbers" the Fibonacci sequence links together several of Herlucc's sacred numbers elegantly, so this further pattern was extended and considered divine as well - representative of the Human place within the universe itself, with the 5 representing the 5 fingers of the Human hand.
1 - there was one universe
2 - within it existed a cosmic duality
3 - the Human was a disturbance on this reality
5 - with their five fingers, the Human could alter their fate
8 - with their eight numerals, they created a number system and civilisation
The numbers past this have less specific significance, although they are widely considered auspicious and the birthday you turn that age is considered blessed, as are anniversaries of most kinds. Additionally, further folk or region specific significances are often assigned to the continuing numbers, although none have as much presence as the first 5.
The remarkably early invention/discovery of 0 by the Hsuqlihts in <year> is widely celebrated within both the Herlucc religion and broader Hsuqliht society.
The Divinity of the Circle
Similarly to the numeral one, the circle is considered divine as it has one side yet infinite, it is a whole contained within itself, and forever continuous - no end, no beginning; just as Kanea. For this reason, it is taken as the representative of the concept of Kanea, and features heavily in iconography of the religion. The practice of circle geometry is considered holy, and is taught from a young age.
The religion's doctrine of Good versus Bad led to the early establishment of the Hsuqliht Justice System, first originating in the Herlucc temples. Many temples had additional wings built for a court, and new temples were often built around them.
Vegetarianism is somewhat common, and consumption of meat overall is often sparse.
Ritual Bloodletting & Balance of the <Humours>
A method to balance good and bad. Somewhat controversial. Related to medicine practice