The Ongoing Problem
Briefly I have touched on the idea that this attitude of “Ancient Lore is Forbidden!” is just as damaging to MD, and I have also mentioned the topic of researching MD’s mysteries.
The attitude that we have about Ancient Lore, and most people’s tendency to go straight for that quote, doesn’t actual help the situation. Yes, Ancient Lore grew out of control and stopped serving its role – but it was still originally created for a role, and without anything else to perform that job the lessons are simply… lost.
When learning any skill, any new way of thinking about a problem, we are often told to “build on the basics”. There is a reason stories like Marind, or the Carnival, are the first stories most of us were exposed to in MD. These are our basics. When used properly, and not allowed to run out of control as they had in the past, they give us the tools we need to scratch at MD’s surface.
But Ancient Lore is not the only tool that we have to uncover MD’s mysteries. From it’s earliest days, research has always played a major role in MD, and MD’s growth. Unfortunately, at times research can become just as damaging as Ancient Lore.
I am often asked why I don’t share information freely, or why I don’t answer questions plainly. I am asked why the Archivists rarely work together on a single research project, or even discuss our research with each other. The reason is very simple – I have answered my questions, but I cannot answer yours. Your questions, or the questions of one Archivist to another, are never the same as my questions. If I answered a question for you, my answer might make sense. It might even be the same answer you yourself have reached. But that does not make it the only answer, nor does it necessarily make it right.
It is our questions that drive us to new understanding, not our answers. When we stop questioning the answers we already have, we cease to grow. And it is here that the potential danger in research lies.
Researching things in and of itself is something to be encouraged. Sharing the results of your research as well, is healthy – new information leads to new questions, new understandings and new discoveries. But when we decide our answer is correct, we often find it hard to accept that someone else can be correct, especially if their answer contradicts our own. When we try to force people to accept our answers, we stop them from asking questions of their own. We stop MD from continuing to grow, both as a community and as individuals.
Ancient Lore is banned because it stops us from seeing the mysteries it was designed to show us. It was banned because it gives us false answers that stop us from ever asking the questions. And yet still, so often, we tell each other that things are a certain way and only one way. We force our own context onto someone else, and try to make them “see things from our perspective”.
Value the question. Let other people find their own answers – right or wrong, their answers are their own. And always, when having a discussion with a new and curious player, remember that even though it was eventually banned, much of the Ancient Lore was created with good reason.