The Uranian Mentality

Teleology - acceptance of mystery - the problem of evil - context vision: "not taking things for granted" - renl


Uranians possess a teleological mentality.  That is, the sort of question they ask of a thing is likely to be, not "How did this originate?" but instead, "Where is it headed?  Where is destiny taking this thing?"  (Not surprisingly, Uranians are less good at geology than we are.  Land formations are interesting to them for what part they are capable of playing in human affairs, rather than for how they arose.)

All this is not to say that Uranians lack a proper sense of the past; on the contrary, they are proud of their heritage.  Due partly to the dreamlike memories of limited reincarnation, but also due to their patriotism and public spirit, the incomparable epic story of their world is part of the everyday thoughts of ordinary people, not just of historians.  But, by our academic standards, Uranians are scandalously prone to hindsight.  They don't scruple to apply the weightings of hindsight to historical judgements and scientific assessments.  We do it, but we try not to.  They see nothing wrong in it.

Linked with this, they claim that some aspects of life which we of Earth had believed to be purely cultural phenonema are actually rooted in nature's beckoning destiny.  One dramatic and disconcerting example that shows they may be right and we may be wrong: they can prove that they themselves have been using hours and miles as units, as long as a million of our years before we "invented" them.  Ordinarily we would assume that this proves there must have been contact between us in the past, and that our hours and miles must have been borrowed from them.  They deny this, and indeed, there is no record of past Uranian space travel.

As far as the future is concerned, they actually seem to have some vague knowledge of where they are headed as a species.  They always knew "in their bones" that there would be 92 eras of Uranian history.  They also knew that the 92nd would involve some great transformation.  And lo and behold, they are now in this 92nd era, and the great transformatin has indeed occurred: for they are erupting from their world at long last and exploring the Solar System.

Perhaps the most remarkable instance of Uranian "precognition" is that during the Zinc Era - which was the second longest era, lasting an equivalent of over 100,000 Earth years - people knew how long it was going to last.  They knew this with an unusual clarity; they were so sure of the length of this era that the knowledge gave them confidence to undertake the monumental construction of the rail network linking the cities of Syoom, and to do so in the most long-lasting and expensive manner.  The monorails were raised on embankments of close-packed gralm, to a height of seven yards above the plains, and these embankments - stretching in a network whose strands are thousands of miles long - will probably last till the end of that world.

As for the reason why Uranians differ so markedly from Earthmen in their habits of thought, in this area of teleology versus causation, it may well have something to do with the fact that some of the substance of their world originates in the universe prior to our own - a universe in many ways the opposite or "negative" of ours.

Acceptance of mystery

Another distinctive trait of the Uranian mind is its acceptance of mystery as a thing to be experienced, enjoyed or endured, rather than "solved".  This is obviously a corollary to the "teleological mentality" described above.  Because they are not so cause-obsessed, Uranians do not need or expect to understand things as much as we Terrestrials do.  This is just as well, as their world is not adapted to human understanding; they share it with too many other intelligences whose thought-processes are at variance with those of humanity, and too many other powers which are basically un-knowable.

This is not to say that Uranians are un-intellectual or incapable of philosophy.  Far from it.  But they never confuse the question "why is this so?" with the question "is this so?"  In the last analysis they are a practical people who believe in what they bump into, whether it accords with theory or not.  They cannot afford skepticism.  If they had the blinkered attitude of many Earth scientists to the "paranormal", they would not survive.

The problem of evil

It seems that on Ooranye there exists an aspect to this problem which - as far as we know - does not exist on Earth.

The world spirit, or planetary id - which is an intelligence emanating from the globe itself, or at least some kind of regulatory mechanism that uses intelligence as one of its modes - is widely believed to encourage evil among humans to some extent.  The world spirit, so the theory goes, does not wish mankind to be either very bad or very good.  The world does not wish to be damaged by evil havoc, but nor does it wish its inhabitants to gain that huge extra strength which would come from universal co-operative altruism, and which might allow mankind to undertake ambitious planetary engineering programs.

Humans on Ooranye like to believe that they have thwarted the world spirit to some degree, by achieving a great measure of peace and stability over many eras in Syoom, and increasing in strength to the point that they have finally managed to penetrate to the Starward Pole.

In fairness it must be said that the world spirit has done humanity some good turns, notably in the Rhenium Moment and in the advice given to Capfaym Duuv (see The Era of Psi).

Context Vision - "not taking things for granted"

It is an everyday experience for Uranians, whereas it is rare for Terrestrials except those of exceptionally philosophic mind: the capacity for a fresh look, the capacity to be surprised at the familiar, the ability not to get completely used to your own environment and your own life.

Light is a good example.  By Earth standards the skies and landscapes of Ooranye are dim; at their brightest, at ayshine, when the throom is glowing at maximum, it is still only as bright as a summer's dusk on Earth - light enough to read by, but not brilliant.  Yet since Uranians have never known any other world (until very recently), you would expect them to be so used to it that it would seem bright to them.  But this is not the case.  They have always sensed "dimness" out on the plains, and, though appreciating the beauty and grandeur of Ooranye, they have always made their cities brighter than ordinary Uranian day, as though seeking something to add to their world.


Uranians set great value upon this quality.  It is a key difference between them and us.  Renl (noun) is what you have when you're lremd (adjective)When you're lremd you're naturally good at being at the right place at the right time; at juggling competing demands; at weaving your way efficiently through complex situations without resort to rules, paperwork or beaurocratic structures.  The strength of renl in the Uranian psyche must be some kind of adaptation to that world, whose immense mysteries would otherwise overwhelm humanity.  Those Nenns who are outstandingly lremd are apt to get elected as Noads.  The quality first became necessary and evident in the city of Contahl in the Lithium Era, when social and political life became sufficiently complex to require it. 

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