Pugsfor ga Pugbendor Lefra: Ceoz'iisuuzhtboz raaghaifa Avii-Patraaghai-Khakhuunuora


Before Plenum and Vacuum: Pre-Cacuno-Patrachian Philosophy of Structure

The concepts of pugsfu (plenum) and pugbendu (vacuum) go back a long way in Vaangeend thought, though they were only first presented in their mature form by Patraaghaioz (Patrichius) and Khakhuunuoz (Cacunus). This is a story perhaps equal in stature to all the philosophy that came before it, and it is a crude oversimplification to say that the  pugsfu theory of egnacu (φυσις) is that "everything exists" and pugbendu that "nothing exists"and so to gain a proper appreciation, it is necessary to understand the egnacu that came before and to trace the heritage of Patraaghaioz and Khakhuunuoz.


The egnacu of pugsfu has its ultimate origin, in the thought of Òfibimè who held that everything existed, but not everything that existed was iduxas (correct); for example, unities exist: a divisible unity and an indivisible unity both exist, but only the first is iduxas. Now, as a general rule, the Èp (all) does not abide conflict, any parts of it that are in conflict become smoothed out but larger conflicts take a long time to work out, this is why problems that could be solved by individuals become bigger problems when war is waged over them, and how even petty troubles lead to great strife among the gods. In the case of iduxas, the issues are triflingly small, since things lie at the very base of the Èp, and so these conflicts are solved almost before they even begin.

Òfibimè declared that this conflict over iduxas was the reason for the existence of change at all levels, and the change of things on this small level led to greater conflicts, not so easily soluble. The idea is universal, however, as Òfibime compares the motion of a thrown body, like a spear or a ball, to two wrestlers. If the spear is resting on the table, it is like the wrestlers stood back to back, waiting for the fight to commence. There is conflict, but it is not apparent. A spear lying on the table exists and a spear flying on the table exists, but only the first is iduxas, and so the Èd brushes it out of the way.

It is in the nature of conflicting positions that they can return long after it was thought by everyone that they had been vanquished forever, and this is equally true at the level of things.  Once again the rapidity is astounding -- all things wish to prevail in this conflict, and so all things strive constantly to be. Òfibimè introduced a new idea when he described what happened when the spear is taken and thrown into the air -- something has changed the rules, and the still spear is no longer iduxas, or at least not as iduxas as it once was, just as the flying spear is now more iduxas. This situation is described as being one that is full of apèbesut (ενεργεια) and it is characteristic of situations that are full of it to have more than one situation that is iduxas. In the case of the flying spear and at any one point in time, one can consider the spear as being either lying or flying because of the apèbesut it has. A spear that is either entirely still or moving infinitely fast has the lowest apèbesut. The analogy of the wrestlers remains useful -- a wrestler has the least apèbesut both before the match begins and when he is in a hold, if he is in neither then he is fighting and full of apèbesut. The strength of Òfibime's theory, or at least novelty to the ancient mind, was this ability to describe not only the motion of inert bodies, but also the things that people experienced, like the wrestler in the fight. To describe things better classifiable as being part of the ènot (will), uebeb (mind) or iighaasim (heart) in the same way as rocks and spears was an exciting idea.

Apadazu took up the idea of apèbesut and built a more detailed egnacu around it. He considered it a fine idea, but hardly sufficient to explain the world. Take the seasons: Why are leafless trees iduxas in the winter, but fruiting trees are iduxas in the summer? What is it that decides iduxas? An answer strictly after Òfibimè would read something like:

When a wrestler is in a hold, and so has little apèbesut, his opponent likewise has little, and this is the state that a match ends in, which is also the state it began in. Here we see how the Èp solves all conflicts eventually. When the spear is thrown, although the spear begins with apèbesut that gives the flying spear the upper hand in the conflict, eventually the spear falls to the ground and is freed of apèbesut. In both cases, there is a clear restoration to the primal state, and all apèbesut does is take things away from it a little.

So it is with the Sun! What is a less possible and more absurd idea than that a cold sun rises above the earth? Can you conceive a world with such a thing in the sky? Every Autumn the Sun is “thrown” and the cold sun gains a brief ascendancy in Winter, but surely by the Spring, the Sun loses its apèbesut. As the apèbesut of the two wrestlers is about the same in each, so it is with the Èp -- in the Winter, when the absurdly cold Sun is in the sky, other absurdities become possible: animals such as bears live a death-in-life, trees become dead wood and even the flowing water turns into a stone.

Apadazu did not find such arguments convincing -- he did not find it philosophically satisfying to accept that a cold sun is any more an absurd idea than a tree full of fruit. He anticipated the later monotheists in coming up with the idea of the axogop (judge). In some ways it is a refinement of some of the ideas that Òfibimè ascribed to the Èp, but was chiefly intended to solve one problem that vexed Apadazu; if apèbesut is the tendency of things to change, why is it that if one has a group of things, all low in apèbesut, that one in particular of the things is overwhelmingly iduxas? The example considered by Apadazu is a cup on a table. It is implicit in all post-Òfibimè thought that location and duration are as much aspects of things as any more accidental features such as colour and size, thus can one really say that a cup at, say, the centre of the table is more iduxas than one on the edge? Yet one could leave a cup there for years and, when one returned, none of the other cups would have prevailed in the Èp. What is the reason for this?

He did not believe that one could reach the answer by considering apèbesut by itself. The example he took was that if one filled the cup with beer and poured the beer over the table, then the beer would indeed fall into drops, each of which w0uld be in conflict over the many possible drops it could be. What was it about the beer that the cup lacked?

Apadazu reasoned, in a style that is immediately recognisable as Òfibimèan in how it uses the material to explain the mental and vice versa, that the situation was similar to the issue of morality. In his old age, Òfibimè found comfort from his philosophy that death was not the end -- the Èp never destroys anything entirely, and so he would always exist, if only briefly and in a form full of apèbesut. Apadazu considered this an abuse of philosophy and called it enafiricot (pragmatism). Enafiricot is a sin not only of philosophers being softhearted in philosophy, but also in being hardhearted. Òfibimè did not feel it was right to bring morality into it, considering it a distraction towards understanding egnacu and it took Apadazu to bring it in.

Among the many things that take part in the conflict are those that are wrong, bad or evil. Every different meeting of a son and his father was between two different sons and fathers. In most of those meetings, the son and the father are loving to one another, but in a very few cases the son may be murderous and kill his father. These situations are horrifying, and surely to be avoided. It is part of the conflict-reducing nature of the Èp that these cases were rare, but Apadazu did not believe apèbesut could explain why. A dead father is iduxas. All men die, and it is enafiricot to think otherwise. It is iduxas for sons to be murderous -- it is even encouraged in warfare and to believe otherwise is enafiricot. He sensed that there was another force at work, and this was his axogop.

Armed with this moral argument, he returned to the Òfibimèan example of the spear in flight and answered the question of why, given that the Èp could destroy either the lying or the flying spear, it invariably chose the latter and found himself with a solution -- it was wrong for spears to be in motion just as it was wrong for men to kill their fathers, and this rule was present in the axogop. The axogop was the more powerful of the two forces -- the conflict of axogop and apèbesut had the same winner every time, explaining why conflicts were always resolved eventually. The resolution was prolonged by the presence of apèbesut, which distracted the axogop from preventing evil.

Certain conclusions result from following this train of thought, not all of which Apadazu was ready to accept, but his successors were happy to. Once one begins to construct forces like this, the number of things needed for everything to exist decreased. An early example concerned gradations: What makes one object heavier than another? The question was considered to be analogous to asking why some men were more wicked than others, and a solution was found by taking the radical step of considering the axogop to be a thing in its own right. If the axogop is a thing, then it is subject to all the same rules of apèbesut. When a heavy spear is thrown, the axogop has less apèbesut, and so it is more able to restore the spear to stillness -- because the axogop is in a particularly fine state -- and so the spear spends more time being still. Apadazu considered this, and so many other things he disagreed with, enafiricot, because it meant that morality came about, ultimately, from the iduxas of the axogop, an idea abhorrent to the man who believed that philosophy would always be below this.

The other issue was that of multiple axogops. The idea was appealing and fell naturally from the Argument From Gradations: a lighter spear had a different axogop than a heavier one, and so did men. The orthodox Apadazutecam and the anaxogopetecam (multiple-axogop-ists) schismed on this issue, and as often happens in this situation, the orthodox emerged strengthened as the anaxogopetecam fissiparated into a dozen squabbling schools. Their stories are interesting, but as the focus in this essay is on the thought that had the most influence on Patraaghaioz and Khakhuunuoz, the remainder of this section will tell about the largest of the anaxogopetecam groups, the Arèvognid.

Before describing them, we will pause to describe the Apadazutecam worldview, as it eventually reacted itself into existence: Since the Axogop is a thing, there are many of them. The Axogop is a very special thing in that it has very little apèbesut and so in the conflict of the Èp, it is one of a small number of axogops that can exist. The result of this is that the nature of the Axogop as a thing can be mostly ignored, and special powers can be ascribed to it. The Axogop is further considered to have a very large capacity for apèbesut and has a special raaghai (structure). This  raaghai is like a long epigram on the Axogop, where the best things are written. In some parts of the raaghai, apèbesut is covering the writing, and so the restoration of the Èp to these best things is slower -- these parts are the fast bodies and the evil men.

Ugè was a later Apadazutecam who thought that their description of things was faulty. Since he was an Apadazutecam he believed that the Axogop was singular and powerful enough to sustain the Èp by itself. Thus, no thing had any existence outside of the AxogopUgè's thought is the precursor to what would become the pugbendu schools, and so of him and his offspring, we will hear in the second section of this essay.

The Arèvognid were anaxogopetecam, and believed in a vast multitude of axogops -- one for each non-axogop thing. What united them into one group most was not so much this as their peculiar institution -- a sort of mystery cult, loosely organised around a woman whose historicity is somewhat doubtable who rejoiced in the name of Agnagnagnagn. This type of name, a peculiar mixture of baby talk and unbabylike sounds, is all too typical of the Arèvognid and scholars of a later age simply refer to her as Agn. Annoying names like these are part of Arèvognid, but they are  fortunately transparent enough for better names to be used -- Agn's name, for example, is interpreted as meaning "four-times built" or, more literally, "placedplacedplacedplaced"; a reference to a sacramental ceremony in which the participant is "rebuilt". As to why anyone would name things so perversely, it is believed to be linked to the (now stereotypical) Arèvognid practice of speaking in tongues and a certain practiced amateurism in philosophy.

Of Agn little is known. She trained in the seminary of those wishing to become servants of the god Opeziz, but left in disgrace for unclear reasons. Discouraged by the practice of religion, but still full of the essential desire to promote it, she fell in with the crowd of philosophers who called themselves the Arèvognid (school of names). It would appear she almost single-handedly raised them from a small group of obscure philosophers into a controversial and radical quasi-religion. The Arèvognid lived communally, much in the same way as seminarians, though with a few important differences. Although seminarians were expected to give up this mode of life once they were assigned to a temple, for the Arèvognid it was to be a permanent condition.

The ecstatic glossolalia that the group eventually gave their name to has been mentioned already, but this kind of toying with language extended beyond this. The peculiar naming practices, collectively termed idididibibibed, or idibed (name-bubbling) were applied to almost all things. The approved name for a meal could change from day to day and to eat, one had somehow learn today's name. Personal names underwent a similar process, further confounding everyday intercourse. People seem to have been forbidden to directly say "Oh, so-and-so is called this today", but instead one had to accidentally happen across the correct combination of elements for that day.

The social and mystical purposes of this are apparent to anyone who studies religious movements of this kind, but the Arèvognid marshalled powerful philosophical arguments behind it. They believed that through idibed -- and only through idibed -- could philosophers gain knowledge about the axogop of things. The primitive notion that power over a thing lay in knowing its "true name" plays a large part in this, and appears to have been a major element in pre-Agn Arèvognid thought, but although many of the òsuròs (aphorisms) of Agn admit a reading on this level, it is not fair to stop there. It was not so much things that the Arèvognid wished to understand -- all things exist, and why should the philosopher care to have power over one in particular? -- but the general rules that the Èp used in avoiding conflict. The Èp acts through the axogop only and it was therefore a fact, sad or otherwise, that in order to discover these general rules one had to study things deeply.

The deeper they studied, the more apparent that there were many different rules acting at many different levels, a fact that disturbed the inner-circle Arèvognid. It is not fair to describe them as shamefully covering up that their methods were ineffective, this was not the point, and certainly no Arèvognid felt that way. Instead the situation was treated more a marvellous series of secrets that were revealed to philosophers as they got deeper and deeper. It was a hope that these general rules would emerge eventually, and indeed the Arèvognid frequently experienced a thing they called something like treegeetreetreegee, or treegee (awake-vision), considered a kind of prefiguration of the rules.

It is clear to the modern reader that the Arèvognid were hoping that if they meditated enough, a true physics would just appear to them from nowhere, and there is some justification to this view. The first Arèvognid appeared to have a great belief that such a thing was possible, but later this desire appears to have been hijacked towards a more mystical understanding of "rule" which, because of this, is doomed never to succeed. As if to back this up, the egnacu they developed helped hamstring them further: They believed that every man and every woman could and should determine the exact, precise nature of their own, personal axogop and that introverted study of this kind was "ten trillion times more important" than the more extroverted study of other things. They believed that to talk about, say, "blue things" did violence to the idea of things and axogops -- it implied that "blue things" had an axogop, which was a clear absurdity. The Èp was made of things, some of which were blue, and some of which weren't. Some things were less blue than others and some things were not very blue at all. Anyone arguing that one could get anywhere with such a poor footing was mocked. Loudly. At length. Perhaps the most crippling doctrine was the belief that it was eminently possible to discover absolutely everything about a thing and that the discovery of anything less than this was a failure needing more work. This totalism made for fine religion, but poor science.

The use of such huge numbers as ten trillion above was a common trait of the Arèvognid, who made a special study of such things and developed much of the vocabulary used to this day. One of the òsuròs of Agn shows how aware they were of some of the peculiarities of large numbers:

A king great beyond measure requested a gift from a brother king, who ruled over only a very small kingdom. The two had only just opened diplomacy with each other and the king was curious about his brother's kingdom. Playing it easy he requested something so mean that his brother would surely agree -- a single pair of mated slaves. In due course the slave pair arrived but the king was not pleased. Both the slaves were quite short and the king felt affronted; he knew not all the slaves of that kingdom were so short, and so he asked his brother king if he did not have any taller slaves, as he had a large orchard and the ones he was sent could not reach all the fruit.

Because this epistle was sent in so pleasant a humour, the brother king responded rapidly with another pair of slaves. At this point the king grew greedy and started to seize on another detail: "My dear brother, I have heard that your campaigns in Efaziland went well and you have won much booty -- truly I am proud to call you brother, but all the slaves you have given to me are Òmònese! Do you not agree that they would look so much finer if arranged with Efazi slaves?". This time, the brother king sent another four slaves, and the king was seized. He sent 10 more such demands, each pickier and pickier than the last and each time there was no complaint -- until the very last when the king recieved an unexpected message: his brother king was dead, and a Tanand warlord had usurped his throne! The king was astounded -- his brother had a great household, what could have gone wrong? The king's fool was the only one of his courtiers who could tell him the terrible truth -- that the king himself had stolen his brother's kingdom for his own.

The Arèvognid imitated this story somewhat in that their own fate crept up on them unawares. They grew more popular and threatened the power of the priests of Gaaza. Unfortunately for the Arèvognid, who spent too much time meditating upon the Èp and not enough for the politics of the world around them, a series of arrests, intimidation and assassinations broke them and forced the Arèvognid to go underground and wait for a certain Patraaghaioz to come to them...


The pugbendu school, as has been said, goes back to Ugè and so those who followed it had something of a heretical or schismatic reputation whereas the Arèvognid could claim to be the original and best; their less-hardline and un-Agn forms even had a decent claim to it. Out of these groups came dissenters who became some disgusted at the absurdity that the Arèvognid were making of philosophy and their superior dismissive attitude towards the gods, rallied around the figure of Ugè, although he had been dead a century before anyone cared to notice that he had developed a basis for an independent philosophy.

This gap between promulgation and audience is peculiar for such ancient times. In the modern world once expects a lapse of this kind owing to the increased calcification of philosophy and the increased number of Big Ideas clamouring for attention. Perhaps the major factor making it possible is that texts considered minor by the present age have more chance to survive to a more appreciative futurity. In the hostile environment produced by the Arèvognid, it is difficult to see how any authentic text could survive and so the solution appears to be that the Ugè the pugbendu school rallied around was, more accurately, a recreation rather than a rediscovery.

Most of the ideas attributed to Ugè come from one of two sources. The oldest are found in the Ubòdosu (interpretations) of Ugè. These truly are interpretations, and of actual Arèvognid doctrines. The Arèvognid did not attribute them to any author, and considered them of minor importance, but pugbendu tradition claims that the proto-pugbendu ascribed them to Ugè all along; in some cases they are attributed not to Ugè, but rather to one of his students. This is a neat point as Ugè was certainly dead before the Arèvognid had found their feet with Agn. Seeing as so little is known about him, it is possible that Ugè was indeed an elderly and respected founder member of the Arèvognid who was expelled for holding views odious to Agn's ascendant faction and so he died shortly after, no doubt embittered by his experience. If this is true, it is likely he had students and it is not beyond belief that some of them either felt bound to win the Arèvognid back to Ugè's cause or were simply recaptured by the charismatic Agn.

The other source is the Itifum (sayings), discovered in mediaeval times to have been written by a Pseudougè and via modern textual analysis to be a later forgery, dated to some time well after the Pugbendu had fallen away from the Arèvognid. Although it is useless as a source on the historical Ugè, it is nonetheless interesting as a record of the later innovations, consequently before describing the Itifum, it is vital to consider the content of the Ubòdosu:

Despite the name which suggests that it is more or less a commentary on a central text, or an explanation of some core features of the Arèvognid philosophy, the Ubòdosu is, in fact, a discussion on topics considered peripheral in the Arèvognid worldview but that, nevertheless, are to do with the project of knowing everything about a thing. The biggest concern of the Ubòdosu is that of preparation of questions to be asked once everything is known about something. It is perhaps clear why such questions were not popular ones among the Arèvognid who appear to have valued the journey far more than the destination and perhaps the Ubòdosu reflects an older tradition that felt its aims were actually achievable in quite a mundane sense. The questions asked are those such as: How will we tell when we have discovered the final thing about it? Will we be sure about having discovered it? How will we check everything we think we know? What will the fruits of our knowledge be? To what extent will this knowledge of a thing teach us about other things, and things in general?

Time was an issue that weighed heavy on Ugè's mind. In the beginning, Òfibime was acutely aware of the fact that all change resulted in the bringing of new and different things to the front in the conflict in the Èp and Ugè reminds the Arèvognid of this time and again. His message is one of hope, however, since in his view the philosopher of his age has two great aids that Òfibime lacked: the Arèvognid practice of idibed, which he likened to a great aacogn (trireme) and the doctrine of Apadazutecam which even Apadazu had only an inkling of. In naming this latter aid, he puns on the Apadazutecam idea of raaghai by calling it a zheeraaghai (lighthouse). Thus, in their sturdy aacogn of idibed and with the bearing provided by the zheeraaghai of the axogop, the philosopher can be sure that the thing they are meditating upon today is built into the axogop and so will be there tomorrow, next year and for all eternity.

In his  supposition - and he makes it clear that that is all it is - of what it will be like when everything about a thing is known, Ugè suggests that as philosophers who have all meditated upon different things come together exultantly with their results, that their raaghai on the axogop (or in orthodox Arèvognid parlance, their many axogops) will form an ikhuu (city). This axogopic city will place many of the ideas that are commonly held -  that gold is a finer metal than bronze or that kings should rule over subjects - on a firm philosophical basis. Ugè does not dare to give these reasons, but it is clear that he does wish to make the Arèvognid students inspired by a glimpse of the possibility of solving great riddles by a method that can seem distant from things. In a similar way, his writings about time are presented in a cautionary and didactic way -- he warns the student that apèbesut can be misleading if the philosopher does not allow for its ebb and flow and that time is - he hints - a trap that most - he uses a snobbish Vanggeend word implying "inferior" - philosophers fall into.

When the Arèvognid were driven underground, a significant number of the refugees realised that there was something in the Ugèan strand of thought after all and worked towards rehabilitating it. The most notable of these crypto-Arèvognid was the merchant Epuogi who, while not a terribly active philosopher himself, provided the patronage to which we owe the "discovery" of the Itifum, and sadly also the demonisation of the Arèvognid. Those who did not toe the line were outed and punished severely; several leaders were assassinated and the remnants exiled to an offshore island, where Patrachius would find them centuries later.

Boosted by their new Itifum and the elimination of any competitors, Epuogi and his followers used their new political capital to bring some philosophical ideas back into the open. The contents of the Itifum come mainly from three sources: rehabilitated mainstream Arèvognid ideas, Ugèan Arèvognid ideas brought to a new fame and modern ideas. In some ways, this last contribution is the greatest of the three.

And so Ugè is recorded to have said some quite startling things. Concerning the axogop he says relatively little except to declare that it is indeed one. His axogop, instead of being something understandable, becomes quite mysterious and slightly terrifying. The idea that the individual, the island of Gaaza and the whole world are only tiny parts of it took on a whole new meaning when taken away from its shell of Arèvognid doctrine -- understanding was only possible for the smallest of parts -- perhaps the individual could understand himself, but any higher understanding was beyond one.

In a disturbing parable, Ugè describes this by telling about a rat who comes across a dead bear. The rat is thrilled because he is a very hungry rat and leaps onto the bear's face and gnows at it. The rat becomes possessed by the delicious taste of the bear and gnaws harder and deeper into the bear, crawling right down through the bear's gullet. Once the rat is deep inside, he is a truly happy rat for all around him is tasty meat. The rat settles down and starts to eat his fill, becoming fatter and fatter until at some point the rat has grown so large that all the food inside his belly breaks open and there is no longer a rat, just the bear, just as it was before.

With the axogop taken away, what does the philosopher have left?  What good is the axogop, a second-rate kind of thing? Isn't the proper work of the philosopher with real things, just like all other men? This was good news to the common people, because the new philosophers preached the converse -- the carpenter could philosophise with the hammer and the fisherman with the net, but the tool of the philosopher's trade was no longer immediately apparent.

Ugè reminded philosophers that the answer was right there and had been all along -- it was apèbesut. The Arèvognid dealt with apèbesut all the time, but were never conscious that it was all they could manipulate, since the axogop lay out of reach all the time. But it is not like an an anvil or a spear or a plough, so how can one describe it? Ugè has much to say about it, and he describes it in peculiarly moral terms. Apèbesut is a strange tool in another way -- the philosopher must try to decrease it! The blacksmith makes more tools in his work, and the fisherman has to weave his nets, but the work of the philosopher is an unforging or an unweaving which he does by finding apèbesut in himself and working to remove it.

The axogop, by necessity, has little of it -- if it had any the Èp would swing radically from one thing to another, which is clearly not the case. What little apèbesut it has is also of a particularly uba (sweet) quality -- the change it undergoes is slow and cyclical. The only place where one finds radical change is in small things, and it is here that most of the apèbesut in the Èp is found.

Two questions may be raised at this point: Why? and How? To the former there are several reasons given by Ugè: the greatest part of the axogop,  ewèrix (the heavens) and the gods especially, have very little apèbesut. If one wished to understand how these superior things work, then it was necessary to sit still and remove as much of ones own apèbesut as possible, so as to be able to "hear" their uba apèbesut over the "noise". As a benefit, the philosopher would be so small in comparison to these great things that, if he ever managed to free himself of his apèbesut, he would experience his freedom with a peculiar potency just as the passengers on a small boat feels the ocean waves more than one in a great ship.

The divine element is important -- not that the gods were always empty of apèbesut, but when they were, then those were the times of great peace and happiness in the Èp. The philosopher, then, was to take careful account of the times and places when each of the gods were lowest in apèbesut. Astrology provided a means by which she might discover this in the present, and mythology one in which she could discover those elsewhere in space and time.

Before giving an answer to the second question, it will be profitable to give a brief summary of the Vanggeend philosophical attitude to the gods. The Vanggeend idea that Everything Exists extended to the gods as well -- Asamot, Iri, Otòdocugn, Òwòwad, Agnionèsogn and Oxir, were the six great gods, where by "great", the Vanggeend understanding was such that of all the things that won in the conflict of the Èp, these six won in the fewest ways. Asamot and Iri, in particular, seldom won in any form except one particular to themselves, though they often switched places. Because of this, Asamot and Iri were considered the greatest, and particular models by Ugè, if not in popular religion. Of the remaining greats, Otòdocugn, Òwòwad and Agnionèsogn were taken as patrons of the three later Ugèan schools (see later). Oxir, at least in his present form, was shunned for being so full of apèbesut. This philosophical ranking is practically the opposite of the popular one, since the common people preferred those gods, like Oxir and Agnionèsogn who took more active roles in their everyday lives. The worship of Asamot and Iri, in particular, was restricted almost entirely to priesthood and palace.

And so the philosopher was supposed to imitate the favoured gods in his life; consequently passions of all kinds were denied him. He was permitted to eat only those foods that contained little apèbesut: no baked food and mostly vegetables. Eggs were strictly forbidden, though milk was permissible if drunk raw. Root vegetables were also forbidden, on account of their propensity to sprout into a whole new plant, and so the main part of the philosophical diet was cereal with leafy and stalked vegetables. Any non-cereal seeds and beans were forbidden, but meat was occasionally permitted, provided it was taken from an animal castrated at birth. Meat from a female animal was not forbidden, but the practice of neutering them was unheard of at the time. In conduct, philosophers were to be unflappable and to take all insults, from their fellow men or from the world, equitably. If the weather permitted, though in northern Gaaza it seldom did, or among their own kind indoors, they were no clothing, and otherwise only a simple robe.

The new breed of philosophers proved to be a tamer group than the Arèvognid. The same insane persons and those disaffected by the common Vanggeend society were attracted to it, but once they arrived found a less bizarre and more open sodality to welcome them. A result of this openness is that the new philosophers were able to live more happily with the Vanggeend powers and were even co-opted a little into their service. The Arèvognid, through their mysteriousness, provoked only fear and loathing in the hierarchies of their era, but through Epuogi and his companions, philosophy became a quite acceptable counterculture. Thus by being a viable alternative, the philosophers attracted many new members and followers from all walks of life, from the underclass to the bored children of the aristocracy.

All this settled into a kind of stability decades before Patraaghaioz and Khakhuunuoz were born and, in an irony lost upon them, the philosophers flowered into several schools in their indolence. There were unquestionably dozens of schools, but it is an accident of history that we know of only three in any great detail, and to this we owe the careers of Patraaghaioz and Khakhuunuoz:

The Apèbesutecam (Energists) were despised by both the brothers, though for different reasons. The Apèbesutecam developed a pathological view of apèbesut and considered it a kind of contagion. While most other schools fell away from their ascetic origins, the Apèbesutecam became more and more obsessed by it.

Initiates of the Apèbesutecam -- who were all male, women being considered dangerously full of apèbesut -- shaved their heads and wore nothing but a loincloth. Once accepted into the inner circle they were ritually circumcised and, for career-minded types, castrated. Once in, the removal of all bodily hair became one of their many daily rituals. They survived on very little sleep, a couple of hours a night, and spent most of their time sitting or standing in awkward poses, attempting to become as still as possible in mind and body. in between these marathon meditation sessions, the Apèbesutecam engaged in the most absurd energetic fits: running around and around in circles; striking themselves, each other and inanimate objects with heavy rods; shouting all together at their tops of their voices and, most stereotypically, running around with arms out wide believing they were flying.

The Apèbesutecam diet was, with a little exaggeration, milk and coca. The arrival of that leaf to Gaaza through the first trade routes to Òicoba acted as a magnet to the early Apèbesutecam. Encouraged by the ancient Ugèan injunction to eat heartily of leafy vegetables and enamoured of its effects on mind and body, coca became a firm favourite of philosophers, and by the Apèbesutecam especially. Many stories and powers were ascribed to coca, especially among those who learnt to cultivate it in Gaaza. It was an Apèbesutecam named Icapic who first grew it in central Gaaza and for his pioneering efforts was apotheosised into an awagap (avatar) of Otòdocugn, the god who keeps an endless watch over the rest of the pantheon to guard them from harm.

It was partly this desire to find places in the wilderness where they could cultivate both tranquility and coca, as well as their fear that apèbesut could spread from one person to another, that the Apèbesutecam were the most represented of the Gaazan philosophical schools outside of the island proper.

The Upoxecam (Atomists) believed apèbesut was more than a property of things, but was the only thing to exist -- the Èp was made entirely out of upox (atoms). This was considered the culmination of the Arèvognid project to know everything about a thing, as well as a faithful answer to Ugè's questions in the Ubòdosu.

Their detractors pointed out that this was a cheap trick -- to decide that the problem of knowing everything about a thing could be solved by saying "actually, when you get down to it, all you reach is a level of things about which one can know nothing else but that they exist and so cannot be divided by any further questions" was giving up. Atomism in all its forms is a powerful idea and those convinced of its applicability, rightly or wrongly, are not easily unconvinced.

The Upoxecam considered the upox to be all that exists, albeit in many different places and times. As a consequence, it followed naturally to the Vanggeend mind that not all atoms were identical, but the Upoxecam also had sauce to appeal to the argument from gradations. A scale of twelve ifèwapèbesut (energy-steps) was developed, subdividing the upox by quality as well as location and duration. of these twelve ifewapèbesut, the vast majority of upox are at the first step, but these upoxuba (sweet atoms) are seldom found in the world. The gods are made largely of upoxuba, but also of upox of the second and third steps. The world around us is made of upox of steps three to eleven, but philosophers (and sometimes priests) were capable of drawing second- and first- grade upoxuba into their bodies with practice. The twelvth grade of atoms, the upoxèba (fatal atoms) exist only in the most chaotic parts of the Èp and feature prominently in the Èpòrigem (cosmology) of Atataricis.

In this, Atataricis describes how in the beginning there was only one thing - a single upoxèba. The upoxèba had a counterpart that was not really a thing, called the Òwòweb (faithful-friend). However, at some time in that changeless world of apèbesut, an asaw (cooling) happened and the upoxèba froze into many different upox. A colourful description of the evolution of the world through several ages of inhabitation by increasingly lower apèbesut beings. Humanity -- or Vanggeend humanity at least -- was the penultimate inhabitants of the Èp, the gods being the last to congeal. The details of this cosmology is a masterful synthesis of Vanggeend mythical ideas, places and beings, but most relevant in this discussion is the fate of the Òwòweb.

The Òwòweb could not stand as a counterpart to an uncountable number of atoms. In the beginning it was there to counter an indivisible, unanlysable unity and the asaw spoilt all that. In a terrifying attempt to regain some balance, the Òwòweb turned on itself in a great fit of self-destruction. In doing so, it destroyed atoms by the trillion and hoped to return to the original unity. Before this assault, the many inhabitants of the Èp lived together, albeit with a tremendous separation of scales and powers, but when the Òwòweb began, it was the more powerful atoms that suffered first and so the greater inhabitants were the first to vanish. The Òwòweb would have succeeded in destroying everything, except for one thing it had not considered -- by splitting into many atoms, the Èp had reached a better state than it was in the beginning and so when the Òwòweb ate the last of itself, a few upox survived.

The Èp, however, had changed forever. Without the Òwòweb, there was a gaping emptiness in the Èp, which Atataricis called pugbendu (flatness, or vacuum). This is the Èp of the Upoxecam and their shocking secret -- there is no Axogop, just pugbendu and uxop appearing and disappearing. Òwòwad (divine calm), the last created of the gods was filled with a terrible, divine sorrow for the despoiled world and declared himself Òwòwaxogop (divine judge), the name under which the Upoxecam worshipped him. It was the Upoxecam that Khakhuunuoz began as an initiate of, before being reunited with his brother.

The Adocecam (Verbalists) school was related to the Upoxecam. In early times, they both represented the less ascetic faction of the Ugèan philosophers and they both share the basic idea of upox. The Adocecam ran with the idea in an entirely different direction, however -- one far more practical and less mystical. They gave some lip-service to what the Upoxecam had to say on the Èp at large, but did not generally go along with it uncritically. The focus of the Adocecam was on, as their name would suggest, the other atomic field of language and linguistics.

It was the Adocecam who refined and put onto a logical basis, the Vanggeend alphabet and the Adocecam who wrote the first grammar of the Vanggeend language. In some respects, the Adocecam were the most sane and best-adjusted of all the Ugèan schools and the later Patraaghaioz came to sympathise with the Adocecam position and so was adopted with great love by them. This was one of the self-effecting causes that tore the two brothers apart -- Khakhuunuoz could never fit into any of the existing schools and so grew jealous of his brother.

The Adocecam were past masters at this kind of appropriation, however. They were most certainly the richest and most influential of schools. Adocecam philosophers held positions of high rank in all manner of institutions, imperial, royal, aristocratic and mercantile. The Adocecam ran most of the educational establishments of Gaaza, and so educated the children of the rich in all the kinds of knowledge known at the time. In Gaaza city proper, the Adocecam even sent amewat (missionaries) to the poor, both out of charity and also a slightly more selfish desire to save promising philosophers of the common people from poverty.

This kind of egalitarianism is admirable, and they worked with wealthy organisations, private and public, in many projects of this kind. The first public library was built in Gaaza city and most of the manuscripts of that period surviving to modern times show the signature of an Adocecam and the potentate who patronised it. Naturally, however, winnowing processes since have led to a bias in survival of those manuscripts that were most sympathetic to the position of Patraaghaioz and, to some degree, of Khakhuunuoz, a bias to which the modern scholar should be careful to remember, lest he lose sight of the great shift in philosophy that those two admirable brothers engendered.

There were other minor schools, some of which we know a little, others of which we know only their names. The Ese (snakes) appear to have been like Apèbesutecam with fewer scruples about nonviolence. The Zdaisuuzht (game-studiers) were early mathematicians, of course [The Satorioz name for mathematics is zdaisuuzhtboz and is a direct borrowing from the name of this group - L.], but of the Zhai (elder sisters), Agedecam (wakeful-ists) and Ifan (etymology unknown) all we know are their names, though they were powerful schools in their place and time.

In this respect, these schools deserve our attention if only for the moral lesson they teach us: that the great will one day surely fall. For the converse: that the small will some day reach greatness, you will have to wait for the next chapter on the great philosophical brothers.