Virtual Societies

I discovered the Aristasians yesterday, via a friend who is far more knowledgeable about things esoteric than me. Even they were surprised to never have heard of them before.

According to the History of Aristasia in Telluria, the Aristasians originally were:

“A group of Sapphically inclined female students who sensibly disliked the modern world and admired the philosophical works of René Guenon found each other.”

I was once fascinated by secretive societies, drawn by the lure of the apparently hermetic lore they possessed. I grew unconvinced, I’m even less convinced now. Although I was reading books as opposed to web sites (this was back in the days before the internet) that History is a good example of the writings I came across, with broken links, deeply obscure references, anonymous or pseudonymous quotes, unexplained unique words, and a slow slide into what seems to me, an increasingly incoherent narrative.

Like so many small organisations the Aristasians appear to have broken apart and reconstructed themselves more than once and then, apparently, faded from existence.

I ended up feeling a little sad. Here were a small group of people dissatisfied with the world they found who tried to create an ideal place to live that could accommodate their own needs and desires. I have much sympathy with that.

I don’t want to dwell on the wider diaspora of this group because I’m more interested in leaping into quantum physics, and virtual particles (of course).

Virtual particles are transient things but they are real (for a certain value of real). Various field effects and forces operate via the exchange of virtual particles and there’s one thing that struck me about them– the longer a virtual particle exists, the closer its characteristics come to those of actual particles.

I wondered if the Aristasians were a cultural equivalent of virtual particles, and that they were just one of hundreds, thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of small groups that have bubbled up into existence out of the quantum foam of human nature, called by some need, but then fade away.

These little groups are odd and idealistic, a mixture of practicality, quirks, and ideas, but then aren’t all societies and cultures like that? They might look a little strange from the outside, but then again so do all unfamiliar cultures.

If only they could have hung around long enough they might have become real[1].

~

[1] A possible Aristasian successor exists in The Daughters of Shining Harmony, though one part of this site is little more than ‘Buy My Book.’ A hoax, a dream, or am I just a cynical Tellurian curmudgeon? They do have a (virtual) tea room.


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