Offering service as a sensayer for simulationist-adjacent spiritualities.

post by mako yass (MakoYass) · 2024-05-22T18:52:05.576Z · LW · GW · 0 comments

A Sensayer is a specialist in the private discussion of religion[1] in small groups, or one on one, a bit like a councilor with theological acumen. Many of us, believe it or not, harbor private beliefs. Sometimes those beliefs get heavy, and they can often benefit a lot from a second pair of eyes.

Most religions, in our world, do not need sensayers, as they can meet in groups and discuss their beliefs openly and there are usually healthy inter-faith dialogs, simulationism is different. It's rougher. It has no churches. It's not immediately obvious that it instructs any actions, given that it claims non-intervention, so its adherents are naturalists, and most think of themselves as atheists. It has no relationship with other faiths and when it confesses publicly it only receives chides from within and without ("clearly you're just trying to fill a void.") Some simulationist concepts, I've found, are easily misused, cynical, troubling or depersonalizing, the believer would not wish them upon anyone else. Nowhere in simulationist thought is there an obligation to proselytize (in some cases it demands the opposite), so I don't expect these things to change. So, a simulationist sometimes needs a sensayer. Myself included.

I've kind of had this role before. I approached a troubled friend and came to understand their ideas. Many of the ideas we found were beautiful, and a bit healing. There was never a reason to publish any of it and I mostly haven't. So it goes. I continue to stare into the abyss. And I often need someone to talk to, about that. At least twice I've been visited with thoughts I couldn't carry alone and also couldn't share with anyone around me, I was extremely grateful to have distant philosophically inclined intimates who I could summon into my cave and ask them to help untangling the thoughts.
Not everyone has that.

So I'm offering an open ear. You can DM me about this kind of thing. I can hold it all. I've seen the worst of it. And it stops with me, no exceptions.
I'll alter this paragraph if I ever feel that I can't do this any more. So if you've found it, I'm still here.

  1. ^

    The term comes from Terra Ignota, a science fiction series of four books, set in a mostly okay future where, among other things, religion has become taboo. The author is a historian, and a lot of it is about geopolitical posturing, but she is also a historian who watches anime.

    I kind of believe it was written for us. The first book, Too Like The Lightening, is mostly just setup, but every book beyond that one is consistently very juicy.


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