Adhara Trade Treaty

Polity in the middle sphere, centered roughly on the bright giant star Adhara

Verifex Nebula
Image from Steve Bowers
The Verifex Nebula as seen from the Adhara Trade Treaty volume

Principal Star: Epsilon Canis Majoris, Adhara.
Type: B2
Luminosity: 20,000 X Sol
Distance from Sol: 405 ly

During the period 6000-6120 AT a wave of discontent swept through the subordinate alphas and to some extent other parts of the population of the interconnected Sophic worlds in the region. The value of spirituality was questioned, and many discontents instead saw crass materialism as the way to true happiness. They argued that the spiritual aims of the League were fundamentally misguided: regardless of whether dualism is true or not, happiness is demonstrably of a biological/material origin, and seeking it beyond physical reality is just an elaborate ploy to achieve more happiness by stimulating the mind. Not only that, it is a diluted form of the primary happiness that physical pleasures and drives can produce. "Higher" pleasures are at best just different qualities of pleasure.

The origins of this radical hedonism remain unclear, although Sophic missionaries ascribe it to a virtual AI discussion team calling themselves the Readers of Dave during the period. There has also been blame of NoCoZo influences, although it is hard to say whether it was the local alphas who sought out materialist literature or whether there was any active promotion from the NoCoZo side.

In 6120 the Adhara Trade Treaty was formed, breaking with the previous Sophic league structure. It was a revolution solely among the alphas, leaving the vast majority of mystic inhabitants totally indifferent. However, concerns in the rest of the League about their welfare and religious freedom (as well as the spread of radical materialism) made many eager to deal with the situation, and large numbers of missionaries and emissaries were sent to the region. Lengthy and often heated negotiations between the Adhara alphas and the League ensued, culminating in the 6156 Adhara Accords. The Trade Treaty remained a part of the League, but was granted extensive independence. It acknowledged religious freedom and the continued welfare of the mystic (the already extensive autotopias were quite up to it), as well as the right of the Adharans as the materialists now called themselves, to pursue their own non-spiritual goals.

The Trade Treaty developed into a vital region, attracting many alphas from other parts of the League. Although a sizeable contingent of the Adharans had decided on using autotopias for maximal physical pleasures, many agreed with the Algieba School that retreating into personal pleasure was not totally in accordance with evolutionary hedonism. There also existed a social need to strengthen and promote one's descendants. Together they form the vital "will to power" that provide true happiness. This became the basis of the doctrine of Adharan Extension, seeking not to strictly convert other systems but to make them tools for the happiness of the believers in evolutionary hedonism.

Throughout its history the Adharan Trade Treaty has been expansive, eager to get involved in the politics of neighboring systems and groups. The Puppis Democracy, the Ololiuqui culture, the Auslig Empirette and the Technocracy of the 4th Undecember have all had to deal with Adharan influence, with varying results. The Sophic League has consistently tried to thwart excursions into Sophic volumes, creating a long-running and very complex game of diplomacy, memetic infiltration, agents, subversion and counter-subversion in the region.

Economically the Adhara Trade Treaty is a strong force in the middle regions, with heavy ties with both the NoCoZo and the larger trade sects of the Sophic League. It is also an academic center for studies in evolutionary hedonism and philosophical materialisms, as well as the most extensive autotopia outside the Utopia Sphere.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 24 December 2000.

Additional Information