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4/21/2020 3:39 pm  #1


Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Posted: 1:53 AM - Sep 20, 2011   bmills

Hi, I lurk here occasionally but have never posted anything before, in part because the members seem more on top of details than I am, and I didn't want to embarrass myself. But there is something I haven't seen discussed, which I think might be interesting to examine. 
The Foreigner stories are told from Bren's point of view, but he isn't an omniscient narrator and sometimes gets things wrong. Not just facts or an atevi character's motivations, but I mean more subtle things such as his interpretation of the world around him. One of the more common examples is the way he's always sure that Tabini or Ilisidi will be angry with him when they learn what he's done in their names, even though they always turn out to be appreciative of his efforts. Notice how his aishid all kind of politely roll their eyes at him when he does that? They understand that it's just one of this hyper-responsible person's attacks of self-doubt, and have more confidence in him than he does in himself. Also, there's the way Jago had to practically hit him over the head before he finally understood that her feelings for him were not just professional but personal, even though it was already clear to Banichi and the reader. My point is that there are times when Cherryh intends the reader to understand that just because Bren believes something doesn't mean that it's actually true. So that got me to thinking, what else does Bren *know* that isn't really true? 
For one thing, I wonder how much of atevi behavior is due to innate psychological differences and how much is simply changeable cultural expectations? Whenever Bren encounters a difference in behavior, he interprets it as a racial trait that he must make a mental note never to violate, but it's important to remember that he comes from a traumatized culture, and he's trying desperately not to make assumptions that might result in another War of the Landing. He's conditioned to err on the side of caution and assume that if it isn't human, he's incapable of fully understanding it. But are atevi really intended to be as different from humans as Bren thinks they are? 
In particular, the atevi Bren talks to all describe man'chi as this biological imperative that rules their lives, and they're helpless to fight it. And then the atevi characters around Bren switch sides, betray each other, cause scandals when they fail to fulfill their obligations to their underlings and supposed lords, and so on, failing to abide by man'chi in all kinds of ways. It seems that there's a whole art form, machimi, devoted to just such breakdowns in how man'chi is ostensibly supposed to work. So finally getting to the question that I want to ask, is man'chi really the all-overriding instinctive drive that Bren believes it to be, or might it be that the atevi are describing to him what their current culture makes them want to believe about themselves? Is man'chi irresistable instinct, or something like a chivalrous code which some individuals live up to more than others? 
My own feeling is that man'chi is an instinct (even the animals on this planet feel it), but not as irresistable as it's made out to be. The intelligent creatures on this planet also feel it, but can resist the urges the instinct imposes upon them. It's more comfortable for atevi to act in accordance with man'chi, but they're not actually bound by it. After all, if an aiji truly felt no bond to anyone but himself or herself, how could atevi society form feudal hierarchies?

Posted: 8:21 AM - Sep 20, 2011SerendipityExcellent and thought-provoking. (Like you, I'm not as fully on-top-of things as others, and have never gone to one of the cons; it makes me cautious about my postings too, although sometimes I just jump in with both feet. So far no one's kicked me off the site yet, or even told me off, so I think you're safe.)

As far as everything being from Bren's POV, I think you've hit it dead on. My take on man'chi is like yours: it is inbred, but can change with circumstances. Bren has the man'chi of his aishid because they know he regards them highly and looks out for them, valuing both them and their welfare. They may not quite understand "trust" as a human does, but they do understand being appreciated -- which Bren most definitely does. Man'chi is a two-way street: you must accept their service, but you must also look after their well-being. Noblesse oblige, in essence.

Right again, on Bren being so traumatized he's terrified of taking a wrong step. I do think that his agonizing over people being angry at him is part and parcel of this "I can't start a war" mindset, and he's overly cautious. Still, though, I'd rather have him always second-guessing his decisions rather than blithely saying "Oh they'll get over it" because that would be the likeliest way to start a war.

Posted: 9:48 AM - Sep 20, 2011BlueCatShipVery welcome post, bmills! Very good questions. Hoping that after errands today, and a little mulling over, I can reply.

Posted: 3:22 PM - Sep 20, 2011spiderdavonI think you've articulated something that has always nagged me. If manchi is wired in at a very basic level, then atevi would surely be far more predictable than they actually are.
Your average atevi in the street is probably quite happy to live his life within the comfort zone that manchi provides, but they are after all intelligent beings, and the movers and shakers of atevi society are certainly able to think their way around it.
I'm not sure if manchi runs both ways however. I got the impression that manchi upwards (to your lord) is far stronger.

Posted: 11:11 PM - Sep 20, 2011agricolaAtevi are intelligent enough to overcome 'what's natural', just like humans are. And Bren is definitely an unreliable narrator (not deliberately). He is not reliable, for instance, when describing Mospheira - sure, a lot of what he says about it is 'true' but it is a very narrow AND an increasingly out of date viewpoint. Remember, he left as a young adult, and his interest prior to that, for years, was focused on atevi culture and language, not learning the ropes of 'home'. He thinks he understands it because he is human, but there is no way he understands it the way another human his age and intelligence level - and political leanings - would understand it if he were immersed in that culture.

The people he sees infrequently change 'out of sight' and he isn't realizing that - it's normal, I think. My DH and I each live very far from our families, and they are always 'surprising' us, not least because those children persist in growing UP! It is very annoying. Why don't they remain the way we remember them? And other people suddenly become very old, in between visits.

Bren has gained perspective, but at the expense of depth understanding, of Mospheira and Mospheiran culture.

It seems to me, to some extent, that the atevi that know and work with Bren have worked him and his nature into their own cultural terms, and he does what they 'expect' of a person in his position quite often - we are told that he is 'transparent' and 'predictable' to a degree to them in quite a few places - and it's only BREN who isn't sure what is expected. It's correct of him to keep that 'separation' in mind, but in some ways it is a false separation. He has acclimatized remarkably - remember on the ship, how he felt 'unreal' to an extent, when his aishid was not nearby? And how full of relief he was when Tabini arrived at the Ataseigi house during the battle? And how uncomfortable he often is with 'human behavior'?

Posted: 7:51 AM - Sep 21, 2011SerendipityPoor Bren. He's gained so much, but he's lost something too.

Posted: 12:54 AM - Sep 22, 2011bmills
wrote:Atevi are intelligent enough to overcome 'what's natural', just like humans are. 
But my question is, are they aware they're doing it? Are they telling him they can't violate man'chi because it's an instinct, or because that's what they're current culture tells them they should believe about themselves? By the way, I'm aware that I'm splitting hairs and my whole question is kind of a fanwank anyway. In truth, I think Cherryh intended man'chi to be an inviolable instinct, but she had to back it off a bit to create conflicts for her characters to resolve. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593494.8662-smiley.gif
 

Anyway, Bren has definitely "gone native," just as some of his detractors claim. I notice it most particularly when he guiltily catches himself disapproving of Barb and Tobey for acting like effusive humans. But I'm not so sure that he's lost anything, and it may be that he's simply found his place in the world. Every individual varies from the norm to one degree or another, and Bren is just so far to one side of the spectrum that he's actually more comfortable among another race altogether.

Posted: 7:40 AM - Sep 22, 2011Serendipity That's what I meant by "losing something" -- he isn't (psychologically, anyway) human any more. He would never be able to live on the Island again; think of Wilson, who didn't enter the atevi world as completely as Bren has, and even then how isolated from the rest of his fellow humans he was.

I too have wondered just how much hold man'chi has on atevi. I've come to my own conclusion: the idea of man'chi is an ingrained response, but the focus to a particular individual can change if the circumstances do. This would explain why the machimi plays deal with the sudden knowledge of one's "real" man'chi and the devastation that occurs when it's revealed. I dt know if that's right or not, but that's the way I've interpreted it.

Posted: 7:56 PM - Sep 22, 2011Xheralt  A lot of the machimi ostensibly involve characters who don't know where their man'chi truly lies -- or has it abruptly changed by death or other revelations. (Leia's my sister?) Or perhaps they added their numbers wrong. Bren makes much about what he doesn't know, but he seems to be more right than any other human since Landing. Just exactly how many other humans have been granted Lordships by the aiji? And have managed to live in entirely atevi households? Bren does it right, Toby and Barb (and by extension most Mospheirans) are scandal upon scandal. Shipfolk might do better, by their more hierarchical bent.

Where Bren made his biggest mistake was not in word choices, by by obtaining human-style clemency in the atevi court. Murini and his cousins have demonstrated why atevi methods work best for atevi ("mercy is its own reward", 'Sidi-ma observes with dark irony), unpalatable as they may be to humans.

Posted: 9:17 PM - Sep 22, 2011BlueCatShipCherryh likes, I think, turning a mirror on human behavior by showing the humans as alien and out of place as the aliens. Thereby, just who and what is alien or human, and what, then, is possible for us? Humans can do some odd things, and animals or aliens, odder still. But that's why it's interesting. 

Instinct and emotion versus intelligent, reasoned actions. That has always plagued us humans from both sides of the equation. I'd expect it would be just as vexing for atevi and whoever else are out there.

So...not so much a fanwank as a very good question. 

The atevi are just as prone to fool themselves over constructed cultural ideologies as we are, but from a different angle. (Oh no, alien death rays from space! Infelicitous numbers!)

Bren follows a tendency to be transformed and alienated by absorbing, understanding, a foreign culture. His tendency to over-analyze and to doubt himself...oh boy, all too familiar, I can relate. Bren has emotional blind spots. He doesn't know it all. He needs (and underestimates) connection with others. And he is living immersed in his field of study, for which he's best suited.

Has he lost something? Maybe. But he's already an outsider, alienated from other people (humans) who have to some degree excluded him...and at times, he's excluded himself from them. But if he's lost those human relationships, he's gained too. He has trouble fitting in and feeling connected or included, yet he's more and more part of atevi relationships.

What about those other humans, though? They will have to change, if they are to deal with the reality of atevi neighbors on world and in space. Some humans will, like Bren, be able to wrap their heads around atevi concepts. We just haven't seen much of them.

Likewise, the atevi have to adjust to human realities, as strange and perilous as they find humans. -- And that seems to me one of the points of the story: We humans tend to view the "foreigners" among us...or in "alien" territories as somehow dangerous, while they find us equally foreign and risky. The persons or groups who find the "foreign" people and ways to be alluring, curious, fascinating, worth understanding and experiencing, and worth dealing with, are in a better, if rarer, position to adapt and grow and improve. The other lesson, I think, is that everyone carries both tendencies in them, and everyone is prone to mistake things, to...misinterpret. Like Bren and the atevi and the Mospheiran and Phoenix humans, we all screw up, we all need to figure things out, and we all need connections in a time when technology and mobility are running away with themselves, displacing and isolating people.

Well, I really got going once I got started!

Hmm, but how far off course was I? Or was I?All times are UTC-04:00
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4/21/2020 3:42 pm  #2


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 2 of 10

Posted: 12:47 AM - Sep 23, 2011bmills
wrote:That's what I meant by "losing something"
I see. Yes, he's definitely lost it, and he laments it, but I don't think he's lost something truly important to him. His train of thought goes something like, "I wonder, am I still human enough-- Oh hey! An ateva just did something interesting!" I think he's so in his element where he is that any regret he may feel is kind of an abstract thing. 
wrote:Where Bren made his biggest mistake was not in word choices, by by obtaining human-style clemency 
I've been wondering about that. He now worries that it might have been a mistake, but Bren's always terrified that he's made mistakes, and would ever-shrewd Tabini have gone along with Bren's suggestion if it was really so off the wall? Is it possible that atevi culture is moving toward a less-medieval paradigm, and Tabini merely moved a little too fast for some entrenched interests? Atevi certainly seem to be taking to cross-faction cooperative behavior in situations such as joint enterprises on the shuttle and station, and the usurper who tried to return to the old ways was really did not seem to win the affections of the common people. (By the way, I known you meant is as a joke, but now I can't stop thinking about how one would try to explain Star Wars to atevi! "Well, the 'dark side' is evil, see? And evil is like having man'chi to, uh, harmful principles. Or something.") 
wrote:turning a mirror on human behavior by showing the humans as alien
Oh yes, I love that, and it's perhaps most evident in the Chanur stories, where the lone human character only says a couple of sentences throughout 5 fairly long novels. But the Foreigners are my favorites because the characters are so rich and fun. 
wrote:he's already an outsider
That's probably a better way of making my previous point. From what we've seen, Bren's childhood was a rather dysfunctional one which taught him to negotiate and not to trust. So when he moved into that other world he was giving up something he'd already lost, and found something new to put in its place that wasn't quite the same, but which he was primed to find satisfying. I also liked your other point that Bren is an oddball in his world, but he's not so strange by our standards. Mospheirans tend to think of Atevi as scarey and dangerous, while Phoenix inhabitants find any outsiders offputting, so Bren's decision to live among aliens baffles them. But we readers come from a more pluralistic background, and I suspect many at this website share my envy of the paidhi's job and experiencs.

Posted: 11:03 PM - Sep 23, 2011agricola  But oh, the RESPONSIBILITY! no thanks.

Posted: 7:14 PM - Sep 26, 2011BarbaraA  Coming out of lurk mode.

We don't just see Bren's POV. Remember, we see Cajeiri's POV as well. Of course, he's been raised around human children for a few years, so his Atevi-ness is tainted. He doesn't feel manchi in the sense the adults do either because it's something that develops with age (like when your sweet 12 year old daughter becomes a hormonal stranger), or its development is retarded due to his interupted Atevi upbringing. 

We do get to see it begin to blossom with his expanded aishid. His discription of everything suddenly feeling right at one point confirms there is a biological aspect present. But does that mean man'chi can't be worked around? I have the feeling that Cajeiri, if anyone, could and would find a way to do so. On the other hand, he's probably going to be aiji some day, so man'chi flows up to him and he basically has no one he would feel that same upward flow toward. Would/could a non-aiji type Ateva be able to work around the man'chi they have for one individual, such as one of Bren's aishid?

https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593452.8325-smiley.gif


Posted: 9:31 PM - Sep 26, 2011bmillsI did forget Cajieri, mostly because I don't care for child characters and wish Cherryh would go back to concentrating on Bren's charming relationships with Banichi, Jago, and Ilisidi. But now that you remind me, that's another thing I've been wondering about. If aijis are individuals who happen to have certain unusual traits, how come so many lordships pass hereditarily to the child of the previous lord? If the principle was strictly applied, shouldn't the next aiji be whoever from the next generation is born with the strongest endowment of those traits, regardless of kinship with the previous lord? What's the nature vs. nurture breakdown on determining who ends up with an aiji personality? Is Cajieri developing those traits because he inherited them from his parents, or because he's grown up around Tabini and Ilisidi? Cherry's storytelling is engrossing enough that I actually ponder such questions at length, even though I know it's all made up. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593494.8662-smiley.gif


Posted: 11:17 PM - Sep 26, 2011weebleI think Cajeiri's ... aiji-ness (for lack of a better word) is the result of a combination of things. Training and genetics seem to both contribute. He has not been raised as a typical Atevi child, having been fostered out and trained so the typical parental-man'chi isn't very strong. Because of this, his genetic predisposition to aiji-ness (from both parents) has a chance to flourish. 

Cajeiri's relationships with his aishid really do give us an important view of man'chi, and I think in a lot of ways they confirm that Bren's POV (on man'chi, at least!) aren't that far off. BUT... Bren still has blind spots (for example, his uncertainty about how his aishid are dealing with the whole expedition to deal with Machigi) that he needs clarified from time to time, so he has to ask. I think he has internalized man'chi very successfully but sometimes overthinks it, adding his humanity to the mix, and he needs to step back and take a look to figure out what his subconscious is arguing about.

As far as the inheritance of the lordship, remember Tabini wasn't automatically aiji, he was elected from a pool of candidates that also included Ilisidi. Other lordships seem to pass to the most appropriate child, or possibly another relative, except when there are no other choices and a fool is left holding the bag. Remember Geigi's predicament?

Posted: 8:12 AM - Sep 27, 2011Serendipity  My guess would be that the lordship is kept in the family whenever possible. Otherwise it would be like Dickens' Bleak House (I think that's the one), with the estate being whittled away by many claimants and the villages depending on the lordship completely ruined.

I think we're seeing more of Cajeiri because he's going to move -- not exactly front and center, not to replace Bren, but take a more active part. I still see him as eventually replacing Geigi on the space station, with his younger sibling taking over the responsibilities on the planet.

I wish she'd go back to Tristen (I do agree, though, that the lengthy interludes dealing with teenage angst are quite tiresome)

Posted: 11:11 AM - Sep 29, 2011agricolaThey were pretty lengthy and tiresome to live through, too - but important, anyway.

Not that you could pay me to do it over.

Posted: 11:49 PM - Oct 01, 2011nekokamiI think Bren never had comfortable human relationships-- possibly until he got Jase over his initial hurdles as a paidhi-in-training and had another outsider to bond with. He's done much better later in his life. He seems to have worked things out well with the human crew of Phoenix-- they react very well to him during the dispute with Reunion, from security to galley crew.

I happen to like Cajeri a lot, I think because of his between-worlds character. Bren was becoming too atevi to be able to provide an outsider's perspective for the readers, so now we have Cajeri, who often doesn't feel quite atevi enough, poor kid. And Cajeri is something new-- an ateva exposed to humans from an early age, able to see more of their point of view than possibly any other ateva. In a real sense, he's the first ateva-paidhi.

As for whether Cajeri has been raised to be aiji, and by whom... by the beginning of Conspirator, everybody seems to be acknowledging that Cajeri is best left with Illisidi... and Bren. Bren worries that he has no business teaching Cajeri, but Deliverer has a fascinating overview of what Cajeri believes he has been learning from Bren (among other people), and through his eyes we can see even more clearly what has been hinted at since the first book.

Bren is a born aiji. A Stability of One. He's not an Aggressor, like Illisidi, but that's not the only kind of aiji, as Cajeri notes. If Bren were an ateva, Tabini probably would not feel comfortable having him around. He meets ateva, and no matter whose man'chi they were in before, they quickly become attached to him. From Djinanna at Malguri to the factory workers in Kajiminda to Bindanda on the station to Vejico and Lucasi once they are specifically in his presence for any amount of time, atevi just latch onto him. I think even Machigi falls into this category. He's the one who talks the Edi out of fighting in Betrayer (And let's not forget Algini's little private address in Pretender.) I wouldn't say Illisidi owes him man'chi, but she listens to him and does what he asks more than with just about anyone. He asked her to help hold the aishidi'tat together in Invader. She'd been out of mainstream politics for years before that. Now where is she? Tabini's most trusted representative (other than Bren), sent out to negotiate with stray humans and new aliens on the part of Tabini and the aishidi'tat.

Humans see it, too. Jenrette thinks Jase is following Bren's orders. Jase isn't, but he still regards Bren as his teacher. Sabin doesn't quite hold him in such high regard, but Sabin and Illisidi are twins separated at birth or something. ;)

Bren can't see this about himself. That's part of his charm. He thinks he's the humblest of men, when actually, he walks into a room and takes hold of a situation, and pretty soon everyone is doing whatever he wants. (Fortunately, he's a very ethical person, and aims for the stability and prosperity of the largest community he can possibly identify with. Now he's planning to teach the Kyo diplomacy!)

So back to the original question-- is man'chi inborn, or learned? I'd say both. It differs from many human emotions in that it is directional, rather than reciprocal. It has provided a more solid basis for atevi culture than feudalism ever did for human culture. It affects marriages, child-rearing, politics, and how people react in a crisis. But, like airplane wings, the instinct has to provide much the same function that the human version does, in order to make a large, complex civilization possible.

What we know about "gut reactions," at this point, is that they are informed by the body of our experiences, and only adding new experiences changes them... slowly. There are also various brain hormones that react to specific stimuli in healthy humans. I would suppose that the triggers and hormones in atevi brains are different than those in human brains, and then the lived experience of growing up atevi develops the behavioral patterns that help atevi feel comfortable with their emotions. Bren doesn't have atevi hormones, but he's been living among atevi so long that he's picked up many of their "gut reactions" out of long exposure. Humans wouldn't have developed those particular behaviors, because their hormones and emotions don't push them quite that way, but they are learnable.

Wow, this has gotten much longer than I intended. Sorry about that! I've been reading a lot of psych research lately (studying for my comprehensive exams in Education) so this stuff is much on my mind at the moment. Plus, I often feel as much an outsider as Bren does, and I spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out why. I imagine I'm not alone in that regard on this board. ;)

Posted: 12:46 AM - Oct 02, 2011weeble
wrotelus, I often feel as much an outsider as Bren does, and I spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out why. I imagine I'm not alone in that regard on this board. ;) 
Now, what ever gave you THAT idea?

Posted: 2:39 AM - Oct 02, 2011bmillsThose are some very interesting points, nekokami. I never thought about it in those terms, but Bren really is a man'chi magnet, isn't he? He shows up and Tabini loses Banichi and Jago, then Tano and Algini seem to shift to him from the Guild. The servants of the households where he guests seem to wistfully want to leave with him. And have you noticed how many of Bren's staunchest allies started off as enemies? Ilisidi, Cenedi, Geigi, Sabin was openly hostile, and even Tatiseigi seems to be reluctantly coming around. Tabini would indeed have to worry about Bren as a rival aiji, except that, as Ilisidi likes to tease him, Bren is such a paragon of virtue that it's clear he has no personal ambition for power. 

I think the reason that he's not perceived as a rival and a threat to other aiji is that Bren's own man'chi is not to any individual, or faction, but to the treaty that allows both races to prosper in a shared world. It seems that Bren would even sacrifice Tabini for that greater good, as he was reluctantly ready to attach himself to another leader during that period when it wasn't clear whether Tabini would be able to regain control after the usurpation. 
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4/21/2020 3:45 pm  #3


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 3 of 10

Posted: 2:37 PM - Oct 02, 2011agricolaI  ts been noted - Bren is a point of stability - many atevi may not understand WHY he is like that, but it is clear that Bren does not 'move'. They may never quite get why he does what he does, but it seems to be quite clear that, whatever he does to surprise them, it is always aimed toward 'stability'.

Of course, a lot of people see opportunity in DEstablizing things, so he's unlikely to be completely popular.

Tabini keeps Bren off balance because he moves things. But he moves toward 'greater stability' because he sees the chances. Then Bren scrambles to push the probabilities to support that as fast and as firmly as he can.
 
Posted: 12:14 PM - Oct 03, 2011nekokami
Serendipity,Sep 27 2011 wrote:My guess would be that the lordship is kept in the family whenever possible. Otherwise it would be like Dickens' Bleak House (I think that's the one), with the estate being whittled away by many claimants and the villages depending on the lordship completely ruined. 
I don't think so-- that's not how man'chi seems to work. It seems that the most likely candidate to collect man'chi would be a member of the family, and we don't have clear reasons why-- we don't have reasons why man'chi gets directed where it does at all, really, except something vague about fitness to lead. But when someone comes on the scene who can collect man'chi, they seem to do so very rapidly, and everyone else seems to follow along. Splits in man'chi seem to be resolved very quickly (and generally with bloodshed), as they create an unbearable tension within the association. Atevi seem to have no tolerance for a power vacuum.

I think the only reason the situation with Baiji went on as long as it did was because he was the only Maschi in the area, and the Edi, with their own power structure, were willing to simply ignore him. Note how quickly they flocked to Bren and Ilisidi when they showed up.

Posted: 10:57 AM - Oct 05, 2011Xheralt
bmills,Oct 2 2011 wrote:Those are some very interesting points, nekokami. I never thought about it in those terms, but Bren really is a man'chi magnet, isn't he? He shows up and Tabini loses Banichi and Jago, then Tano and Algini seem to shift to him from the Guild. The servants of the households where he guests seem to wistfully want to leave with him. And have you noticed how many of Bren's staunchest allies started off as enemies? Ilisidi, Cenedi, Geigi, Sabin was openly hostile, and even Tatiseigi seems to be reluctantly coming around. Tabini would indeed have to worry about Bren as a rival aiji, except that, as Ilisidi likes to tease him, Bren is such a paragon of virtue that it's clear he has no personal ambition for power. 
And we'll see if Bren adds Machigi to this collection.

Posted: 3:27 AM - Oct 06, 2011Ann-jiI wouldn't bet against it. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.345-smiley.gif


Posted: 10:15 PM - Oct 06, 2011agricolaAnn-ji -

you read the same books I do!
 
Posted: 12:03 AM - Oct 07, 2011bmillsMachigi did encounter Bren as an enemy agent, but then is coming to see him as someone it would be advantageous to cooperate with, so yeah, he's probably the next enemy-turned-ally. 

While we're on the subject, I have to say that I was confused by the passage in which Bren starts using the linguistic cues to indicate that he has man'chi towards Machigi. Was he trying to indicate that he was taking on Machigi as one of the clients for whom he negotiates? If so, why was that degree of loyalty needed to make the point? And if he was expressing that kind of loyalty, why wasn't this of concern to his aishid, who also link their man'chi to Tabini through Bren? Bren was afraid this would create a conflict for them, and it's not clear to me why it didn't.

Posted: 1:32 AM - Oct 07, 2011weeble  If their primary man'chi is to Bren, then on an emotional level its up to Bren to find a the proper superior. Intellectually, his aishid understand what he is doing, and that it is ultimately going to be to Tabini's benefit. Even if Bren is calling Machigi aiji, apparently throwing the normal chain of man'chi out the window, its temporary because of the situation. I think the conflict causing Bren to worry about his aishid is that he doesn't quite believe he actually HAS their primary man'chi. But, if Bren didn't have their primary man'chi, Banichi and possibly even Jago would have gone back to Tabini's service after he lost HIS aishid. Tano and Algini have clearly told Bren he IS their aiji, but Bren still has blind spots. Personally, I think his aishid know Bren better than he knows himself! They trust him, they understand the idea of the paidhi working for both sides to get an agreement, so they're not going to let that distract them from protecting him.

Posted: 2:28 AM - Oct 07, 2011Ann-ji
wrote:Ann-ji -

you read the same books I do!
Yes! We have excellent taste, don't we? https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif


Posted: 11:35 AM - Oct 07, 2011agricolaVery true. Have you read Ghost Story yet?

But we digress - enjoyably, but still...

Aiji-dom being hereditary - there is CLEARLY evidence from the text (especially in incidents set in the East) that heredity is a major factor in becoming 'aiji'. Also see that the 'only rulers of the entire aishiditat have always come from' the same few families in the same small area. There is a cultural presupposition that The Aiji would be produced from a single related set of families.

I would suggest a couple of points:

that kind of 'attitude' or characteristic which produces an aiji tends to be heritable and the ELDEST child of a family is likely to be 'dominant' merely due to 'age' - unless the particular personality is totally unfit. Plus there is sure to be a degree of 'learning' involved as well.

See Cajeiri's immediate response to becoming a big brother!
 
Posted: 4:55 PM - Oct 07, 2011bmillsCan man'chi be consciously temporary? Isn't it an all-or-nothing proposition? Sure, it can shift in response to circumstances, but can an ateva, on a gut level, conceive of the proposition that "I feel man'chi toward you now but I might not later"? 

The discussion at that point in the story is rather indirect, but Machigi seems to be sarcastically questioning whether Bren has any real loyalty to him or is just pretending as a negotiating ploy. And since if it was a ploy and it was discovered, that would ruin everything and make a certain enemy out of Machigi, Bren is replying that his expression of loyalty is a genuine commitment even if it isn't the same as an ateva's instinctive form of man'chi. So how could Bren have a genuine commitment to both Machigi and Tabini while they are enemies? (True, he's been negotiator for conflicting parties before, but this time it's reached the point of shots fired, which is much more serious.) And while Bren's aishid does have genuine man'chi toward him, they do so in part because they agree that Tabini is the best leader the planet could have right now, so it seems to me it would still create a conflict for them if he seemed to be making a commitment that might hinder his ability to serve Tabini. 

So not saying you're wrong, just that there's an awful lot going on in that conversation, and the ramifications of it all are not clear to me. But then, this kind of richness and complexity is why I keep reading the Foreigner series over and over again. I think I'm up to 6 times now, and there are still times when I'm not sure I'm getting everything out of those first-book conversations between Bren and Ilisidi.All times are UTC-04:00
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4/21/2020 3:52 pm  #4


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

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***********Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 4 of 10Posted: 10:24 PM - Oct 07, 2011agricolaI'm fairly sure that Bren wasn't getting everything out of those first conversations with Ilisidi either - and that she was finding herself unexpectedly at a loss occasionally as well - when she would 'push' and find no resistance, or take a step and find the conversational ground to be elsewhere than where she expected - she was just a lot older and hid it better than Bren.

____________________

It seems to me, that when Bren met Machigi (darn, forgot the name, is that right?) in the South and offered to be 'paidhi', we are seeing a very atevi idea of a paidhi - the man who stands between. The real deal paidhi, old style.



Maybe that's the real meaning of the white ribbon - the 'go-between' with some kind of independent man'chi, or man-chi toward the process of negotiation, rather than toward any aiji alone. Am I reaching here? I think I am reaching.

But it gave Bren a headache, yet both M. and Tabini seem to have taken that kind of on/off loyalty as a given for a paidhi. Or maybe just for this particular one!Posted: 11:05 PM - Oct 07, 2011weebleI think you're right on about the old-style paidhi, agricola-ji. At least that's the same way I read that whole situation. They used to use 'disposable' relatives, remember! Individuals slightly outside the center of the man'chi chain, who could conceivably see the process was the important thing, not the personalities involved, and could tell the personages things they might not want to hear. Bren certainly fits that description! Machigi calls him on the fact that he's probably NOT actually feeling man'chi to Machigi, but lets him work the process anyway.Posted: 11:15 PM - Oct 07, 2011bmills
wrote:Am I reaching here? 
I don't think so, because while my recollection of another passage is vague, I recall a discussion of old-time paidhis who were chosen from peripheral relations because they would be expendible if negotiations turned into hostilities or ambush. If so, such a person would be unlikely to feel much loyalty toward anything other than a successful resolution, since that would be the greatest prospect for personal survival as well. 
wrote:that kind of on/off loyalty as a given for a paidhi 
As we were discussing before, man'chi may be an instinct, but that doesn't mean atevi are robotic and can't modulate their feelings consciously. Perhaps I'm reading too much into Bren's intent simply because I was having a hard time following that section. 

As for succession, the more I think about it the less I understand it. There is a lot of evidence for heredity playing a large part, because why else would anyone have stuck with Geigi's nephew? Nobody seemed to see him as very competent, and yet he was considered the legitimate lord and obeyed, even unto the near-doom of the house. 

Ah, I see my post leap-frogged one from Weeble, who remembers the same paidhi history.Posted: 12:21 AM - Oct 08, 2011XheraltBren (necessarily or not) felt he had to reassure his aishid after consciously addressing Machigi with the UNFELT title of "aiji-ma". On the one hand, atevi seem to feel that human emoting is an open book to them, so I'm SURE his https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593456.5039-smiley.gif
 's picked up the disconnect between his feelings and his words; on the other hand, they can misinterpret what they are detecting, so maybe it was better that he explained, as secretly as he could in the presence of surveillance. And while Guild reviewers of security footage may have been nervous about a conversation that they could not intercept, with what they could pick up from the visuals, the splayed five-finger handsign of unity, that would have paradoxically been reassuring to them!Posted: 10:33 AM - Oct 08, 2011Tuuli
bmills,Oct 7 2011 wrote:Can man'chi be consciously temporary? Isn't it an all-or-nothing proposition? Sure, it can shift in response to circumstances, but can an ateva, on a gut level, conceive of the proposition that "I feel man'chi toward you now but I might not later"? 
Certainly atevi must know (from machimi at least) that at times manchi can shift - whether they would believe it could happen in their own case... well, I guess that depends on the person (just like among humans someone who's deeply in love might believe nothing could ever change it.) I've sometimes wondered how far atevi feelings are similar to human feelings... that is, for example, how things work out in the case of death (could one keep on feeling manchi toward someone who's dead), or can there be such a thing as unrequited manchi...Posted: 11:17 AM - Oct 08, 2011bmills
wrote:could one keep on feeling manchi toward someone who's dead
I believe that came up in, uh, one of the middle-ish volumes, and the answer was that man'chi dies with the aiji, except in fiction where the aiji is still around in ghost form. But if so, that brings up the succession issue again, because how does loyalty to a clan persist after the aiji dies? Is there somebody here who remembers this better than I do? 
wrote:addressing Machigi with the UNFELT title of "aiji-ma". 
Yes, I'm coming around to the belief that I was reading too much into that conversation because I was having trouble understanding it.Posted: 12:52 PM - Oct 08, 2011Xheralt
bmills,Oct 8 2011 wrote:I believe that came up in, uh, one of the middle-ish volumes, and the answer was that man'chi dies with the aiji, except in fiction where the aiji is still around in ghost form. But if so, that brings up the succession issue again, because how does loyalty to a clan persist after the aiji dies? Is there somebody here who remembers this better than I do? 


Yes, I'm coming around to the belief that I was reading too much into that conversation because I was having trouble understanding it. 
Actually the answer was more like "manchi remains only if one holds to superstitions", and that this tidbit of info helped certain machimi make more sense to Bren. So, atevi can feel this way, its just very rare, maybe an old-fashioned belief style, preserved in machimi.Posted: 2:27 PM - Oct 09, 2011nekokamiWhile Bren thought he was just using the term "aiji-ma" as a negotiating tactic with Machigi, he found himself very uncomfortable using it. Part of the reason was the effect he was worried it would have on his aishid, but I think part of it was that he has internalized atevi ways for so long that using that term does trigger certain reactions in him-- his own "substitute" feelings for man'chi. It feels very wrong to him to use that form of address with anyone other than Tabini or Ilisidi (or eventually, Cajeri).

But I think in the long run, Bren comes to feel that he does care about Machigi (with the human emotion), not just because of Machigi's place in trying to arrange a lasting peace. He doesn't respect Machigi as much as he respects Tabini or Ilisidi (or Geigi, even though he doesn't refer to Geigi as "aiji-ma"), but he sees Machigi as a person, not a faceless opponent, and he sees Machigi in the context of being a true aiji of his own people, particularly when Machigi starts pointing out shipping traffic and asking how any plan Bren can come up with could possibly be to the benefit of his people. Machigi acts like someone deserving of man'chi, and Bren responds.

Which is especially poignant because in the previous book, Bren had described Machigi as his only true enemy, when he proposed to add Baiji to the list.

I think the interpretation of the word "paidhi" (or at least the white ribbon office, which might not be called "paidhi") as someone with man'chi to the process of peace is a good one. It's very heartening that atevi have such a tradition, and it makes a lot of sense that Bren is called on to act that way, being an outsider in a very visible sense. His virtue is such that he can be an honest broker for multiple parties-- "dual man'chi, not divided man'chi" and they can all trust him. Perhaps somewhere in history, the Messenger's Guild was supposed to serve this function.

Ooh, there's a thought. Let's see Bren take over the Messenger's Guild (since they will end up being made redundant by Cajeri's email plans) and make them into a Guild of Paidhi! :DPosted: 6:15 PM - Oct 27, 2011bmillsI'm catching up on discussions from before I joined Shejidan, and was reminded of some aspects of this subject that I find interesting. 

I get the impression that man'chi is a two-way bond, but not in a reciprocal way. Individuals have man'chi toward a single aiji, but the aiji's commitment is to the collective welfare of his followers. No individual would ever be willing to sacrifice an aiji, but no aiji could function if she was not willing to sacrifice some followers to save others. (Ilisidi is hurt but not devestated by casualties during the firefight with the Heritage party's invasion force.) However, while there's no such thing as an individual who has provisional man'chi (it's either there or it's not) to the aiji, not all aijis are equally committed to the welfare of their charges, and some can actually be rather self-serving about requiring others to suffer and sacrifice for the aiji's benefit. 

Man'chi is not always to a person, as we see from the groundskeeper/historian of Maguri, whose name escapes me. While he respects Ilisidi, his feelings are for the place, and my impression was that he would side with it against her if she tried to, for example, renovate the place in a way that would diminish its historical value. Oh, and the old astronomer (I'm having a real problem with names today), whose commitment seems to be toward knowledge and learning. 

It seems to me that part of the reason Bren is able to earn respect from both friends and enemies is that in some respects he out-atevis the Atevi. While they are just being themslves and may lapse from ideal manners while distracted or provoked, Bren's conduct is almost entirely a conscious performance, and one which he never entirely drops, even when alone with his aishid. The only time he ever really lost control was that fight with Jase while they were holed up in the old fort, and I think the only reason he flipped out then was because another human was pushing his buttons in a way that only another human could. (By the way, I'm not sure about Cherryh's intent there, but I've always viewed that incident as delightful comedy, watching two adults drive each other into complete idiocy.) 

My first couple of times through the books, I was deeply disturbed by that time in Foreigner when Jago smacks Bren for running the wrong way during the fighting. I had a hard time understanding her motive for being violent toward her semi-aiji/professional charge. How I finally resolved this is comparing man'chi to a human mother's feelings toward her child. Imagine a human mother who couldn't stop a toddler from running into traffic. Upon catching him, she might be so overwhelmed by fear and anger as to give him a smack. Not that I'm advocating corporal punishment, mind you, but rather I'm using a human parallel to understand why Jago might have been so frantic with concern at that moment that she was motivated to swat someone she actually cared about in a positive way. To her mind, he was being off-the-charts crazy, and her composure may have snapped for a moment. Later she still might not want to apologize or mollify his feelings, seeing as there was an important point about Atevi customs that he needed to absorb. 

Anyway, I don't have much to do right now, so I thought I'd throw these points out for illumination or discussion, if anyone's inclined.Posted: 8:20 AM - Oct 28, 2011SerendipityThey all sound good to me. I think Bren forces himself to "out-atevi the Atevi" (excellent idea, by the way) is because he's terrified he'll lapse back into human reactions. He's still very conscious of walking a tightrope, and his worst fear is of doing something wrong and starting a war.All times are UTC-04:00
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4/21/2020 3:52 pm  #5


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 5 of 10Posted: 7:49 PM - Oct 28, 2011XheraltTrying to out-atevi the atevi is something that paidhiin have probably striven for; look at Wilson. Problem is, he lost his human vitality and became a burned-out curmudgeon when 'his' aiji was taken out. Something I was going to explore more in my never-finished fanfic. Valasi's Ghost -- cripes, was that really four years ago?! I really need to get back on that. I remember now, I had more of it written, but lost it to an accidental laptop hard-drive wipe. Between that and some other RL things, I was too disheartened to rewrite it, then it got buried by passing time.

One nitpick: the (other) white-ribbon office that Bren has acted as, mediator, is NOT the same office as paidhi (translator). Although, if one is mediating between to factions that don't have a common language (for example, many of the Edi appear to have no Ragi) one would have to be a translator to accomplish the mediation. But if there is a common language, a mediator need not be a translator (paidhi)Posted: 9:46 PM - Oct 28, 2011nekokami
Xheralt,Oct 28 2011 wrote:One nitpick: the (other) white-ribbon office that Bren has acted as, mediator, is NOT the same office as paidhi (translator). Although, if one is mediating between to factions that don't have a common language (for example, many of the Edi appear to have no Ragi) one would have to be a translator to accomplish the mediation. But if there is a common language, a mediator need not be a translator (paidhi
I know, but I have a feeling that Bren's activities might end up impacting the definition of the term going forward. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
 And since we were never given the Ragi word for "mediator" (or even "speaker" from the prologue of Foreigner), my mind just keeps substituting paidhi in that slot.

It's interesting that we never see any other translators in action, even between Ragi and Edi. No one else is called "paidhi."

Actually, if the equivalent English word is "interpreter," rather than "translator," I think that might historically relate to the function of mediator or negotiator. So the right word might not be paidhi, but might be a similar, etymologically related word, like the various derivatives of aishi.Posted: 10:42 PM - Oct 28, 2011weebleI can't point to an actual source, but my impression is that original use of 'Paidhi' referred to the negotiator or interpreter acting as an intermediary between the two sides of a dispute, NOT a translator. Over time, the MOSPHEIRAN usage became the equivalent of 'Translator who also regulates the exchange of technology'. This does not mean the original usage on the continent even includes the whole concept of translator, so Machigi is really just asking Bren to DO the job of Paidhi, instead of filling the roll Mospheira has labeled 'Paidhi'.Posted: 8:16 AM - Oct 29, 2011SerendipityI would think that there would be an element of "I don't have a side in this" to any kind of translator/interpretor. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to trust what was being translated or interpreted. Maybe that's one of the distinguishing characteristics: not just the translating, but the neutrality.Posted: 10:50 AM - Oct 29, 2011agricolaBetween some factions, you need a 'translator' even when they ARE speaking the same language!

I think 'paidhi' is 'the neutral mediator' which includes 'translation' in all it's senses. Hence the 'white ribbon' which indicates NO allegiance to any party.


One thing: is the extreme 'number' sense of Ragi present in EVERY atevi language to the same degree? The east speaks a different language, apparently - yet Ilisidi and her aristocratic cousin converse in Ragi - surely not for the benefit of Bren. Yet the alliance between the East and the Ragi central area dates back no further than Ilisidi's marriage - barely two or three generations.
 Posted: 12:17 PM - Oct 29, 2011magicdominoMy impression is that atevi are drawn to the most powerful association/aiji. In the second book, Bren has trouble explaining that Mospheirans will not automatically associate with Phoenix, even though advanced technology high in the sky looks very impressive. When atevi join a larger association, they absorb the main language and many of the customs, at least for dealing with other members of the larger association. One of the things that started the War of the Landing, was that atevi expected humans to adapt atevi ways. After all, the humans were on atevi land by grace of the aiji-major. Instead, humans kept their own customs and dress, and thought atevi would prefer some human customs.

So, all members of the Western Association speak Ragi, wear their long hair in a single braid, and wear similar clothing, at least when other members of the Western Association are around. The Eastern and Southern associations are close enough to adapt on the surface to the more powerful association's customs, although they probably resent it.Posted: 3:47 PM - Oct 29, 2011bmillsI think the Atevi also assumed Mospheirans would submit to Phoenix authority because, by the humans' own accounts, the officers of the ship are an aristocracy to which they used to be subject. I think to Atevi minds, aijiin are either enemies or hierarchically aligned with each other as non-equals. They're not unaware of the concept of alliances of equals, and ally when needed, but to them that would be an inherently unstable arrangement that's likely to collapse into the clarity and stability of enmity or fealty over time. Furthermore, not all Atevi are convinced that accounts of a human factional split are not part of some conspiracy tale. So the ship's return could mean to them something like, "Uh oh, daddy's home," and whatever he says goes. 

Also, it's difficult for the reader to remember that most Atevi are not very familiar with humans except through folklore and hearsay. Aliens of whatever degree always appear more homogeneous to outsiders than they do to each other, so the profound disagreements between ship and planet would not be evident to Atevi. They'd just see humans and more humans.Posted: 3:56 AM - Oct 30, 2011Xheraltmagicdomino: excellent points

edit: bmills, still cogitating on your pointsPosted: 9:09 AM - Oct 30, 2011Serendipitybmills, I think you've hit on the atevi problem with "seeing" humans. They could only view humans through their own experiences. The fact that they were woefully mistaken only adds to the ultimate tragedy, which explains Bren's very cautious, second-guessing steps.Posted: 10:05 PM - Oct 30, 2011bmillsIt occurs to me that humans have another advantage when attempting to understand Atevi, which is cultural experience. Do we know if humans had encountered any other aliens before Phoenix got lost? Either way, Phoenix humans came from a history of vastly different human cultures meeting (Spanish vs. Aztecs, Americans vs. Japanese, etc.), and if nothing else, they would have been exposed to the idea of aliens through centuries of science fiction. By contrast, Atevi cultures seem to be much more similar to each other (East vs. West being the one culture clash we know about) and were about equivalent to the mid-18th century (railroads were new) at the time of contact, indicating that they probably had little or no science fiction. I'm never clear on just how long Phoenix humans were confined to a monolithic and insular existence between the accident and finding the Atevi planet (decades? generations?), but even so, encountering true aliens would not be as exotic a concept to the humans as it was to the Atevi. I wonder if for Atevi, the very concept of "alien" may only have arisen when they encountered humans. Oh, and I bring this up with regard to the question of why they would assume Mospheirans and Phoenix would unite; the average Atevi's conception of the idea of foreignness is probably less sophisticated than that of humans. Or then again, Phoenix crew do seem to be awfully naive and insular. I'm not sure whether to agree with myself on this point. 

As for my impression that some aiji are more concerned with the welfare of their charges than others, I think the turning point in Bren's negotiations with Machigi came when Bren noticed how concerned Machigi was with seagoing commerce. All the rumors about Machigi's ambition and impulsive lethality seem to have been true, but he also really does seem to care about his people, which is when Bren realized he could work with this person. I think the common thread in Bren's success as a negotiator is to figure out what is most important to the other party, and create a way to link that to something it's within his power to provide, so the way to work with Machigi was to play upon his enthusiasm for prosperity through trade for the benefit of his people.All times are UTC-04:00
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4/21/2020 3:53 pm  #6


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

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********************Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 5 of 10Posted: 7:49 PM - Oct 28, 2011XheraltTrying to out-atevi the atevi is something that paidhiin have probably striven for; look at Wilson. Problem is, he lost his human vitality and became a burned-out curmudgeon when 'his' aiji was taken out. Something I was going to explore more in my never-finished fanfic. Valasi's Ghost -- cripes, was that really four years ago?! I really need to get back on that. I remember now, I had more of it written, but lost it to an accidental laptop hard-drive wipe. Between that and some other RL things, I was too disheartened to rewrite it, then it got buried by passing time.

One nitpick: the (other) white-ribbon office that Bren has acted as, mediator, is NOT the same office as paidhi (translator). Although, if one is mediating between to factions that don't have a common language (for example, many of the Edi appear to have no Ragi) one would have to be a translator to accomplish the mediation. But if there is a common language, a mediator need not be a translator (paidhi)Posted: 9:46 PM - Oct 28, 2011nekokami
Xheralt,Oct 28 2011 wrote:One nitpick: the (other) white-ribbon office that Bren has acted as, mediator, is NOT the same office as paidhi (translator). Although, if one is mediating between to factions that don't have a common language (for example, many of the Edi appear to have no Ragi) one would have to be a translator to accomplish the mediation. But if there is a common language, a mediator need not be a translator (paidhi
I know, but I have a feeling that Bren's activities might end up impacting the definition of the term going forward. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
 And since we were never given the Ragi word for "mediator" (or even "speaker" from the prologue of Foreigner), my mind just keeps substituting paidhi in that slot.

It's interesting that we never see any other translators in action, even between Ragi and Edi. No one else is called "paidhi."

Actually, if the equivalent English word is "interpreter," rather than "translator," I think that might historically relate to the function of mediator or negotiator. So the right word might not be paidhi, but might be a similar, etymologically related word, like the various derivatives of aishi.Posted: 10:42 PM - Oct 28, 2011weebleI can't point to an actual source, but my impression is that original use of 'Paidhi' referred to the negotiator or interpreter acting as an intermediary between the two sides of a dispute, NOT a translator. Over time, the MOSPHEIRAN usage became the equivalent of 'Translator who also regulates the exchange of technology'. This does not mean the original usage on the continent even includes the whole concept of translator, so Machigi is really just asking Bren to DO the job of Paidhi, instead of filling the roll Mospheira has labeled 'Paidhi'.Posted: 8:16 AM - Oct 29, 2011SerendipityI would think that there would be an element of "I don't have a side in this" to any kind of translator/interpretor. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to trust what was being translated or interpreted. Maybe that's one of the distinguishing characteristics: not just the translating, but the neutrality.Posted: 10:50 AM - Oct 29, 2011agricolaBetween some factions, you need a 'translator' even when they ARE speaking the same language!

I think 'paidhi' is 'the neutral mediator' which includes 'translation' in all it's senses. Hence the 'white ribbon' which indicates NO allegiance to any party.


One thing: is the extreme 'number' sense of Ragi present in EVERY atevi language to the same degree? The east speaks a different language, apparently - yet Ilisidi and her aristocratic cousin converse in Ragi - surely not for the benefit of Bren. Yet the alliance between the East and the Ragi central area dates back no further than Ilisidi's marriage - barely two or three generations.
 Posted: 12:17 PM - Oct 29, 2011magicdominoMy impression is that atevi are drawn to the most powerful association/aiji. In the second book, Bren has trouble explaining that Mospheirans will not automatically associate with Phoenix, even though advanced technology high in the sky looks very impressive. When atevi join a larger association, they absorb the main language and many of the customs, at least for dealing with other members of the larger association. One of the things that started the War of the Landing, was that atevi expected humans to adapt atevi ways. After all, the humans were on atevi land by grace of the aiji-major. Instead, humans kept their own customs and dress, and thought atevi would prefer some human customs.

So, all members of the Western Association speak Ragi, wear their long hair in a single braid, and wear similar clothing, at least when other members of the Western Association are around. The Eastern and Southern associations are close enough to adapt on the surface to the more powerful association's customs, although they probably resent it.Posted: 3:47 PM - Oct 29, 2011bmillsI think the Atevi also assumed Mospheirans would submit to Phoenix authority because, by the humans' own accounts, the officers of the ship are an aristocracy to which they used to be subject. I think to Atevi minds, aijiin are either enemies or hierarchically aligned with each other as non-equals. They're not unaware of the concept of alliances of equals, and ally when needed, but to them that would be an inherently unstable arrangement that's likely to collapse into the clarity and stability of enmity or fealty over time. Furthermore, not all Atevi are convinced that accounts of a human factional split are not part of some conspiracy tale. So the ship's return could mean to them something like, "Uh oh, daddy's home," and whatever he says goes. 

Also, it's difficult for the reader to remember that most Atevi are not very familiar with humans except through folklore and hearsay. Aliens of whatever degree always appear more homogeneous to outsiders than they do to each other, so the profound disagreements between ship and planet would not be evident to Atevi. They'd just see humans and more humans.Posted: 3:56 AM - Oct 30, 2011Xheraltmagicdomino: excellent points

edit: bmills, still cogitating on your pointsPosted: 9:09 AM - Oct 30, 2011Serendipitybmills, I think you've hit on the atevi problem with "seeing" humans. They could only view humans through their own experiences. The fact that they were woefully mistaken only adds to the ultimate tragedy, which explains Bren's very cautious, second-guessing steps.Posted: 10:05 PM - Oct 30, 2011bmillsIt occurs to me that humans have another advantage when attempting to understand Atevi, which is cultural experience. Do we know if humans had encountered any other aliens before Phoenix got lost? Either way, Phoenix humans came from a history of vastly different human cultures meeting (Spanish vs. Aztecs, Americans vs. Japanese, etc.), and if nothing else, they would have been exposed to the idea of aliens through centuries of science fiction. By contrast, Atevi cultures seem to be much more similar to each other (East vs. West being the one culture clash we know about) and were about equivalent to the mid-18th century (railroads were new) at the time of contact, indicating that they probably had little or no science fiction. I'm never clear on just how long Phoenix humans were confined to a monolithic and insular existence between the accident and finding the Atevi planet (decades? generations?), but even so, encountering true aliens would not be as exotic a concept to the humans as it was to the Atevi. I wonder if for Atevi, the very concept of "alien" may only have arisen when they encountered humans. Oh, and I bring this up with regard to the question of why they would assume Mospheirans and Phoenix would unite; the average Atevi's conception of the idea of foreignness is probably less sophisticated than that of humans. Or then again, Phoenix crew do seem to be awfully naive and insular. I'm not sure whether to agree with myself on this point. 

As for my impression that some aiji are more concerned with the welfare of their charges than others, I think the turning point in Bren's negotiations with Machigi came when Bren noticed how concerned Machigi was with seagoing commerce. All the rumors about Machigi's ambition and impulsive lethality seem to have been true, but he also really does seem to care about his people, which is when Bren realized he could work with this person. I think the common thread in Bren's success as a negotiator is to figure out what is most important to the other party, and create a way to link that to something it's within his power to provide, so the way to work with Machigi was to play upon his enthusiasm for prosperity through trade for the benefit of his people.All times are UTC-04:00
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4/21/2020 3:53 pm  #7


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 6 of 10Posted: 8:23 AM - Oct 31, 2011SerendipityYour comment about science fiction made me wonder -- do atevi have active imaginations? I mean, do their books/plays include works of fiction?Posted: 12:11 PM - Oct 31, 2011Eupathic ImpulseYes. Very early on, it's mentioned that they have sci-fi shows with humans wielding death rays.Posted: 3:01 PM - Oct 31, 2011SerendipityYes, but did they have that sort of thing before humans arrived? I had the impression that their entertainments consisted of machimi plays, although there must have been other things. I suppose a plethora of such things must have been necessary to teach the young if for no other reason. But did they have love stories (the book referenced in Chanur's Legacy -- Love in the Outback -- comes immediately to mind), or scary stories (although there was that bit about the haunt in the lake at Malguri)?Posted: 4:51 PM - Oct 31, 2011nekokamiI don't know how much fiction they had before the humans got there, but atevi seem to like a good story. For example, there's that history/journal that Bren reads when he first goes to Malguri. It has a love story in it (among other things).

I had the impression that the crew of Phoenix were several generations away from Earth by the time they made the decision to land on the atevi world, but they might still have had at least some recollection of ethnic differences. I can't remember if they'd run into other non-human intelligent species before. I have a vague recollection that they might have had an encounter in some direction other than the route Phoenix planned to take. Certainly it's mentioned that the robot probes that scouted the system they were headed for had checked for prior inhabitants.

As for assuming humans would all bond together, maybe the ethnic majority Ragi would think so, but I would think atevi from the Marid, or the East, or even the Edi would have a different point of view about one group automatically going along with another. Atevi don't seem to follow the strongest leader automatically, or they disagree about who's the strongest.

Then again, the Marid apparently had an older civilization before the Ragi formed the aishidi'tat. Ms. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593457.1276-smiley.gif
 mentioned on her own website that the center of culture was actually on a land mass south of the main continent, but that the major cities were destroyed in natural disasters, weakening the Marid culture enough that the Ragi became dominant. This is part of the resentment of the Marid against the Ragi, I suspect.Posted: 8:58 PM - Oct 31, 2011bmillsI can recall no specific evidence, but I'm pretty sure machimi is just the fancy entertainment for the ritzy folks, and there are many less formal kinds of popular entertainment that the aristocrats Bren hobnobs with wouldn't care about, so he's less concerned with them and they aren't mentioned in the books much. The class division sounds like the way fancy Europeans would concern themselves with opera and despise lesser diversions, or the way Japanese nobles were enthusiasts of noh while disdaining kabuki. And as nekokami observed, the library at Malguri was not all non-fiction, and yet it was quite full of books. But isn't literacy still a fairly new thing for Atevi? I suspect much of their fiction still exists as oral tradition.Posted: 4:21 PM - Nov 03, 2011leafJust a thought but is Bren's childlike stature part of the reason he is so successful in getting cooperation? A bit of a muddled thought but - leaving aside his abilities/personality etc which are the reasons for his success once the discussions start - could it be why Machigi listened to him more tolerantly than he would have listened to an emissary from Ilisidi or Tabini if that emissary were another Ateva? The basis for this is that by and large people are more patient with children than other adults especially very well mannered children so that it sort of mitigates the exotic appearance Bren presents - apart from which of course his size means he is less of an apparent physical threat. This being so, and in combination with his neutrality of house making him an ideal candidate to mediate discussions. Well perhaps not to Tatiseigi though.Posted: 10:29 AM - Nov 04, 2011SerendipityI'm sure his smaller size does have an impact, even unconsciously. I remember in one of the earlier books that the bad guy was startled: "He's just a kid." Of course, Bren's natural advantages and personality play on that (again, I'm not sure how aware of that he is).

As far as Tatiseigi goes, the old man would be a valuable ally, but a very tricky one. I have a suspicion that one thing keeping Bren still alive is that Cajeiri has made it very clear he would take great offense at anyone harming "his" Bren.

(I think one of my favorite scenes in the series is Bren at Malguri, visualizing his ghost wandering the halls in search of a cup of tea.)Posted: 10:41 AM - Nov 04, 2011agricolaanother favorite - in Betrayer, Ilisidi challenges Cajeiri about his view of Bren, and Cajeiri has one of those 'manchi reorganization of thoughts' and declares quite firmly:

"nand-Bren is MINE!"

Ilisidi was amused, I think at the thought of how many of them tended to co-opt ownership of poor Bren. Pity they can't just clone him (three or four times) and let everybody have one of their own.



I just re-read Betrayer - which is really quite politically complex, although the 'story' itself is simple enough: 
Escape from the Marid!
 Posted: 10:47 AM - Nov 04, 2011agricolaI am very much enjoying the view of Bren from outside his own head, that we are getting lately, from Cajeiri, and from things said to him by others - Machigi especially.

I do think his childlike stature 'helps' him more than he realizes - and maybe more than the atevi who deal with him realize.

From what was said in Betrayer - Bren appears youthful, exotic, and speaks 'like a young child' with a beautiful 'southern' Ragi accent, wholly polite and completely controlled - sounding 'childlike' but talking about complex adult matters with calm and clarity and great insight. A contradiction of voice and subject matter that can't help but garner attentive listening.


 Posted: 11:12 AM - Nov 04, 2011nekokamiInterestingly, although Bren sometimes has trouble remembering just how young Cajeri is, Cajeri doesn't seem to have any trouble remembering that Bren is an adult, even though they're nearly the same height. Then again, I'm not sure Cajeri remembers that he's not an adult. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
 

Some of my favorite bits are when Cajeri is thinking to himself how this person or that one has taught him different things. In particular, noticing how much power Bren seems to have, despite his size and being a Stability, not an Aggressor. I think it's a good thing Bren is in the picture, not just Tabini, Illisidi, Tatiseigi, and the Guild! Human or not, Bren is a good example of a negotiator. Cajeri seems to have gotten past the "shoot the bad guys" phase of his childhood (possibly when he had to actually shoot a bad guy). I also like Cajeri learning from Geigi about the idea of different people at the same table (and not just to try to poison one another). https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
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4/21/2020 3:54 pm  #8


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 7 of 10Posted: 11:21 AM - Nov 04, 2011agricolaCajeiri is turning into quite the political animal, isn't he? Notice how he's thinking long term, and making alliances in as many useful directions as he can - understanding (at EIGHT!) that his ancestry is an advantage, his connections are an advantage, and actively pursuing connections in the WEST (and in 'the heavens'), where he doesn't have so many built in, ancestral ties - that kid will out maneuver great gran one of these days, if she doesn't watch out. He's already almost right behind her in her thinking and plots. Understanding what she's doing and why, and doing it himself, can't be far behind.

I liked how he analyzed the problem with Veijico, and figured out how to solve it on his own.

Now let's see what he can do about Uncle Tatiseigi....Posted: 8:46 AM - Nov 05, 2011SerendipityI think Uncle Tats (and wouldn't that abbreviation infuriate him!) is pretty much a lost cause. He'll only support you if it's in his best interests, although I admit that's true for most people, not just atevi. On the other hand, that trait makes him easy to deal with. At least he's not deceptive or sly.

I visualize Cajeiri as a sponge, soaking up everything around him, and with the smarts (and training) to put everything together. He will indeed be a most formidable individual: at eight, we're already seeing signs of a great intellect harnessed to experience. He's learning all the time, and growing, and I wonder what he'll be able to accomplish once he's in power (I really do think he'll take over Geigi's place on the space station).Posted: 10:08 AM - Nov 05, 2011agricolaMaybe as a training apprenticeship thing - but no, he's going to be Aiji. And he's going to expand that even further than his father ever did. Maybe the kyo!
 Posted: 1:57 PM - Nov 05, 2011SerendipityI think he'll be "ship aiji" and his baby sibling (did we ever find out if it's a boy or girl?) will take over as "planet aiji" -- since that child will never have been "contaminated" by being so closely-allied with the humans, it will be more acceptable to the more hidebound like Uncle. Besides, with Cajeiri's fascination about the space station and computers, he doesn't seem to fit any more with the planet and would be much happier up there.

But that's just my reading of the situation.Posted: 6:49 PM - Nov 05, 2011agricolaDon't think Baby was born yet. But I also don't think that Cajeiri has any intention of letting go of anything he has 'power' over, and that includes the aishiditat, planet AND space.
 Posted: 8:25 AM - Nov 06, 2011SerendipityYou're right on that one, I'm sure -- I was just thinking that Cajeiri is really more suited to handle aliens and the space station, and he'd be happier there. He and the sibling might well work out a partnership, with him above and the younger one on the planet. Tabini may well gently nudge things that way, being a wise man.Posted: 10:02 AM - Nov 06, 2011XheraltI'm just waiting for slingshota to become part of the Assassin Guild's permanent armory...Posted: 11:08 AM - Nov 06, 2011agricolaNo argument there! Guild was interested when Cajeiri and Geigi were breaking pots in the garden. Now that Cajeiri used one to take out one (minimum) or three professional Guild assassins....of course such a thing as the slingshota goes into the Guild arsenal!

Odd to think the atevi never invented such a thing. It's basically just a lever after all. First you are a primate and you throw rocks. Next you are an early human and you use a tool to throw rocks FASTER. Atlatl and slings are the very first hand weapons in human culture. David used a sling to propel a rock to kill a giant before people were working iron. 

Don't atevi have sling weapons? Slingshot precursors? They certainly have bows and arrows, and crossbows, which are very similar. How can you have crossbows but not slingshots? Is it just the rubber/stretchy part that is 'new'?

Safe weapon onship, too, probably, since the 'range' is relatively short.

But really, I can't understand that atevi didn't have slingshots previously - slingshots lead to crossbows and bows, and those lead to things like catapults - which lead to cannon - atevi certainly have bows and cannon. I suppose the small, single-person early versions might have fallen out of USE. But slingshots are so helpful for the rural casual hunter of small game - what would they use INSTEAD? 

Basically - not being a male person with a hangup on engineering details - I'm not particularly bothered. But I could see how some readers would be bothered!

The 'stretch' aspect has to be the 'new', though. Regular slings, crossbows and catapults use twists of fabric and rope to store energy, not elastics. 
 Posted: 1:28 PM - Nov 06, 2011SerendipityIt seems that they did have something similar, but Toby's "slingshota" was different in some way -- was it the stick part? And after all, what's a catapult but a huge slingshot?Posted: 4:50 PM - Nov 06, 2011agricolaCatapults use twisted ropes for propulsion - not elastic stuff. I vote for the 'elastic' part of a slingshot. Is there a local rubber equivalent? Maybe not. Maybe 'elastic things' are rare, or expensive, or used only in such applications (tires?) that the idea of using their qualities for propelling small projectiles just hasn't occurred to anybody yet.
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4/21/2020 3:54 pm  #9


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 8 of 10Posted: 5:56 PM - Nov 06, 2011hrhspenceOn earth we didn't have elastics until we discovered natural latex from the tropics and it seems to me that the ateva home world is rather poverty stricken when it comes to rainforests. So, perhaps, humans introduced elastics?Posted: 7:46 PM - Nov 06, 2011agricolaThey have petroleum products - that means plastics - tires, engine belts and such (apparently). But we never hear of - for instance - chewing gum (can you imagine any ateva with gum??)

I bet that's it - no 'rubber' equivalent.Posted: 8:23 AM - Nov 09, 2011SerendipityWhat about rubber? Although if such sources were there, I doubt it would have taken the Guild long to come up with a virtually identical version of Toby's slingshota. Especially since they were impressed by its capabilities.Posted: 10:35 AM - Nov 09, 2011nekokamiBanichi said specifically that they had the cloth sling (the kind David used against Goliath), but not the stick with elastic. I think the introduction of elastic materials is probably the key. If atevi had discovered elastics themselves over time, atevi kids would have played with scraps and worked it out, but the whole petrochemical industry is very new, and as someone else mentioned, they don't seem to have a natural source of latex.

As for where Cajeiri ends up... there are too many events to play out first. Illisidi may not even know. She's just training him to be ready to run anythinghttps://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
Posted: 11:33 AM - Nov 09, 2011SerendipityI just was wondering how they lubricated machine parts. To me, that means oil but clearly there must be some other thing. And for the sling part, maybe not rubber as we know it, but something stretchy ... maybe?

Ah, well. It's a "furrin" world, after all ...Posted: 11:39 AM - Nov 09, 2011bmillsBefore petroleum ("rock oil") on this world, whale oil was used for lubrication as well as feul. Anybody know what was used before that? Of course, before the industrial revolution there wouldn't have been much to lubricate. But even if there are whale-equivalents on the Atevi world, I doubt it would be kabiu to kill an animal just to boil down its fat. I wonder what ancient Atevi felt about killing animals for their pelts?Posted: 1:02 PM - Nov 09, 2011hrhspenceI am quite sure that the atevi would have used the entire animal as the Inuit do. I am sure they'd have no problem using the hide or pelt so long as they used the meat (bones, intestines, hooves, etc) too.Posted: 5:29 PM - Nov 09, 2011magicdomino
bmills,Nov 9 2011 wrote:Before petroleum ("rock oil") on this world, whale oil was used for lubrication as well as feul. Anybody know what was used before that? Of course, before the industrial revolution there wouldn't have been much to lubricate. But even if there are whale-equivalents on the Atevi world, I doubt it would be kabiu to kill an animal just to boil down its fat. I wonder what ancient Atevi felt about killing animals for their pelts? 
Low quality olive oil and animal fat (tallow) were used for lamps. They smell funny and probably smoke, but they work. I know tallow was used for axle grease on wagons. Crude petroleum from surface seeps may have been used as well. I've read that petroleum from seeps in the Middle East was sold for medical use, so it wasn't unknown. Linseed oil is a by-product of linen production, but it hardens upon exposure to air. Much better for painting classic masterpieces than axle grease. 

Atevi historically probably weren't bothered by predator fur. Like early humans, early atevi would see predators as competition for game and a potential danger. I'd like to think that modern atevi would find hunting an animal species to extinction to be un-kabiu, but Malguri has a number of mounted heads from extinct species.Posted: 11:09 PM - Nov 09, 2011weebleIts also possible they have some sort of honey-bee equivalent that would produce wax to act as lubricant and a source of light without anything like rubber or plastic byproducts. Also graphite is a common machine lubricant. 

We know they had some sort of petroleum or natural gas, probably pre-humans, or Malguri would have wiring instead of the historic risky piping running all over the place. I think though that the plastics industry is fairly recent, probably something from Wilson's tenure. Wiki says the slingshot as we know it actually only dates back to 1840s and the invention of vulcanized rubber, so its entirely possible Atevi never did develop it.Posted: 12:22 PM - Nov 15, 2011Eupathic ImpulseBut do they have a honey badger equivalent? Honey badger-ma don't man'chi.All times are UTC-04:00
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4/21/2020 3:54 pm  #10


Re: Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's Pov

Shejidan Atevi Psychology And Bren's PovPage 9 of 10Posted: 1:37 PM - Nov 15, 2011griffinmoonAny sort of stiff fat/oil combo or even coarse soap manufactured from same would provide descent lubrication for wood-on-wood applications.Posted: 5:04 PM - Nov 15, 2011nekokamiThere is one mention of honey in the series that I know of-- a memory of Bren's regarding breakfast at his mother's. I'm guessing that honey, like eggs, comes from some critter that is analogous to bees, but not that similar.

Atevi certainly have a petroleum industry now. Geigi gets in trouble over oil investments early on. But I doubt they were using petroleum before the arrival of humans. I seem to recall that they were working out the steam engine, which could have been wood fired or coal fired. I think the train up to the observatory was coal fired, but probably post-dated human arrival. I don't remember any description of natural latex-like substances, so probably elastic compounds had to wait for petroleum developments.

I agree with hrhspence that atevi would use the entire animal, including pelt and fat. The bed at Malguri is covered with animal pelts. Tallow is too useful a by-product to waste.Posted: 8:36 PM - Mar 15, 2012bmillsDiscussions of Intruder have brought up some matters that have been puzzling me for a while, mostly about how the Assassins Guild works. 

Imagine you're an Ateva who has grown up in Clan A, then join the assassins' guild, which has it's own hierarchy, rules, codes of conduct, and so on, and provides a service in the form of trained bodyguards and agents. You graduate from Guild training and are sent to inflitrate Clan B on behalf of Clan A, where you present yourself as a bodyguard/assassin. At that point, the Guild would have to have vouched to Lord B that you've been trained and will follow his orders, or else Lord B wouldn't trust you in his house. But what happens if you run into a Guild acquaintance in B's household who knows you came from Clan A? Would the acquaintance report to his aiji that you were a threat? Would he be honor-bound by Guild rules to keep your secret? It seems to me that this system could only work if a great many of the Guild members themselves did not know each other, otherwise every infiltrator would be spotted right away. But how could a trade organization exist and function if the organization itself didn't know who most of its members were? 

It gets worse. Suppose Clan B decides to employ your Guild services by sending you to take some action against Clan A. As an Ateva, you would be psychologically incapable of acting against your own aiji. But what happens then? You can't recuse yourself without revealing that you are not loyal to Lord B. You could choose to warn Lord A, or deliberately bollix the mission, or not try at all, while pretending to attempt the mission. But then Lord B would eventually realize that he can't rely on the agents he's contracted for with the Guild (whether they're incompetent or failing on purpose), so why would he continue to deal with the Guild? So would the Guild consider you honor-bound to try to harm Clan A so that the Guild itself isn't deemed to be hiring out unreliable agents? 

I just don't see any way that the Guild could be seen to provide a service worth patronizing if patrons could never know who their own Guild-supplied agents were really working for, and how an individual could be loyal to a clan and the Guild at the same time. 

Or is it just that Atevi spies and assassins just give up their assumed identities and flee when conflicts arise? And if so, wouldn't that also make the Guild into an unreliable provider of services? Or perhaps we just see the exceptional skullduggery that goes on around the highest and mightiest, and the vast majority of Guild agents are who they say they are and spend their working lives standing guard watches, never being called upon to assume an identity or even draw their guns?Posted: 9:21 PM - Mar 15, 2012magicdominoWe already know that there are specialists among assassins. Some assassins may specialize in undercover spying, particularly when they get too old to hang around on rooftops. They would be giving information about Lord B, but are unlikely to carry out a contract. Other Guild in the household may be aware that So-and-so is an undercover agent for Lord A, but tolerate him as long as So-and-so isn't in a position to do any harm if all hell breaks loose. So-and-so may even be useful if Lady C files Intent on Lord B.

In theory at least, filing Intent should give enough warning for a lord's aishid to chase out any potential threats who would otherwise be tolerated. If I remember correctly from way back in Foreigner, when Intent is filed, it even gives the name or names of the Assassins who will be taking the contract. 

The tricky part is when all of the household Guild are dead and the Guild in Shejidan assigns security. Lord B is just going to have to hope that he is in sufficient favor with the Assassins Guild that his new bodyguards are more interested in preserving his life than ending it. 
 Posted: 10:06 PM - Mar 15, 2012InqueI think individuals experience some kind of calling that leads them to join the assassins Guild. When we first meet Tano he tells Bren that his father wanted him to become an engineer. Instead he joined the Guild. His man’chi drew him to the Guild. He had lots of assignments but not to one lord until Bren.

Later when we meet Lucasi and Viegico we are told that they came from a small clan in the mountains. They left their clan and presumably clan loyalties to join the Guild. When they are assigned to Cajeiri they become confused because they have no man’chi towards him and find the flow of man ‘chi in Bren’s household confusing. Cajeiri also expresses distress when he is around them because they don’t feel right. He cannot feel their man’chi. 

I think an Ateva would know if a Guild guard assigned to them was not truly theirs because like Cajeiri, they would feel the man’chi. We don’t know a lot about this feeling because Bren doesn’t have it. His relationship with his aishid is human. He https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593456.5039-smiley.gif
 them. And for much of that interface we have only his POV.

In terms of a Guild member having to act against someone they previously had man’chi towards, I think that is entirely possible. When we start to get to know Algini, there is a hint that he has been part of some operation in which he had to do things that were emotionally disturbing to the point that he dropped off the grid for nearly 2 years and now had no family or associates. Bren remarks several times that an Ateva alone is an anomaly. Yet Algini is completely alone. I always imagined this to mean that Algini had to take some kind of Guild action against his own family. Scary thought.

But I must admit with recent developments in Intruder, I too am a little confused about the Guild.Posted: 12:21 AM - Mar 16, 2012weebleI think at one point there was a comparison that an individual's first experience with man'chi was like falling in love for the first time, overpowering and all encompassing. But with experience, they learned to handle the intensity and even prioritize so they can serve another man'chi on a day to day basis as long as it doesn't actually come in conflict with the primary man'chi. They can even feel man'chi to the second party or totally switch man'chi, so even if others know what an individual's primary man'chi WAS, they may not know what it currently IS. Even so, a smart lord wouldn't ask anyone they know has attachments to Party A to go after Party A.

SO... (digs out flowchart) Veijico and Lucasi are very dangerous before they have a primary man'chi because nobody knows which direction they will jump in a scramble. Once they have a primary man'chi to Bren, they become much more predictable and can serve Cajeiri comfortably because of the relationship between Cajeiri and Bren. Everyone (with the possible exception of Bren) recognizes they've attached, and can relax around them. 

I think the revelation of Bindanda's ultimate man'chi was quite interesting. Didn't see THAT one coming, but it does make it a lot easier for Bren.

I expect its very likely that individuals get dragged into conflicts because of man'chi, it IS after all a favorite topic of the machimi! Lords don't have the same hard-wiring, so they can switch alliance and decide to put out a Contract on the person they were sleeping with last week. Pity the poor servants and guild stuck in the middle!

Family man'chi isn't necessarily the primary man'chi in an adult. Anybody ever pin down where Banichi is actually from? He very obviously isn't tied by man'chi to the Marid, where his accent seems to indicate he's from.Posted: 2:48 AM - Mar 16, 2012bmillsYeah, what the blizzard is Bindanda's story? I presume he was originally an assassin who likes to cook, and Tabini takes him on as an agent. Tabini then sends him to infiltrate the Atageini, but in the guise of a cook or an assassin? It must be assassin, because Tatiseigi uses him as a spy (not realizing he's already a spy), so Tatiseigi must have known he was a Guild member. So Tatiseigi sends Bindanda to spy on Bren, in the guise of a cook. But somebody in Bren's group recognizes him as an assassin, but they leave him in place because it's handy to have an informal conduit to the Atageini. But even the Guild members in Bren's company don't know that Bindanda originally came from Tabini. 

So. If even these high level intriguers can be fooled, nobody can be entirely sure who anybody works for, and if a Guild-vouched agent is as likely to be an enemy as any schmuck hired off the street, again I must ask, why does anybody rely on the Guild?
wrote:Algini had to take some kind of Guild action against his own family
Or perhaps against old friends within the Guild who turned out to be on other sides of the in-fighting revealed in Intruder?Posted: 4:25 AM - Mar 16, 2012weebleI think they rely on the guild because its the best option out there. They have a set of rules, they follow the rules (except for the rebels, who are now on the Better Dead list for every guild member in good standing) and the Guild acts as a pressure valve. Everyone knows individuals can have mixed man'chi, if one is smart, one makes sure the conflicting man'chi is controlled, so to the Atevi way of thinking it all makes sense. The mechanism for filing slows down the gunplay, keeping things from going ballistic before all the angles are thought out. 

I've got an even bigger spanner to throw in the works regarding Bindanda. He obviously still has connections into Tatiseigi's household, but what if Tatiseigi sent Bindanda to Bren BECAUSE he was an agent for Tabini and Tatiseigi wanted him out? The lords use anybody as a spy, not just the guild people, so its very possible Bindanda's cover as a plain old servant held, but... what if?Posted: 11:47 AM - Mar 16, 2012magicdominoBefore Intruder, I would have used Bindanda as a perfect example of a Guild Assassin in the household of another man-chi. Everyone knew he was Tatiseigi's spy. Bren's security knew Bindanda was assassin-trained. Yet, they were content to let Bindanda cook Bren's food, because Tatiseigi had never filed Intent on Bren. If Bren was poisoned, even accidently, the event would have reflected very badly on both Bindanda and Tatiseigi, quite possibly with fatal consequences.

And now the people who haven't read Intruder yet are wondering, "What the heck?" Don't worry, it isn't a major plot point. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
Posted: 2:01 PM - Mar 16, 2012nekokami
Inque,Mar 15 2012 wrote:I think individuals experience some kind of calling that leads them to join the assassins Guild. 
I believe Jago says as much in Foreigner. "One elects. One chooses." Banichi is from Talidi province, as I recall, and this has never been presented as an issue of man'chi. I seem to recall that Cajeiri speculates that Lucasi and Vejico must not have man'chi to their home village after joining the Guild (or maybe even before they joined up).

On the other hand, Tano is still interested in sending his father a card from Bren to convince him he made a good career choice. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
 

I don't think what happened with Algini involved the renegade Guild. I think that split started to happen after the ship came back and the accelerated space program started to affect the economy.

As for Bindanda, Tatiseigi may or may not have known he was Guild (placing servants in another household is also a legitimate way of spying), but he probably didn't know Bindanda reported to Tabini, or he probably wouldn't have trusted him to report reliably on Bren. https://groups.tapatalk-cdn.com/smilies/62160/1536593453.5703-smiley.gif
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