Existence is a Choice
Concepts and Ideological Guidelines
On the Question of Rank
In Qunari society rank describes an individual's purpose in life and is thus synonymous with their identity. Rank is therefore used to refer to oneself in place of one's personal name.
The Qunari are bred, born and trained to fill the lifelong role assigned to them by the Tamassrans and roles are thus clearly defined and formalized. Within the confines of each role, however, the Qunari's practices are meritocratic in nature; a Karashok may become a Karasten, but such an 'advance' is merely seen as the realization of what he has always been and thus never envied or lauded. There is no hierarchy in Qunari society, just a clearly defined set of roles and an acceptance of the duties of those roles: just as the ribcage may break to protect the lungs, but neither is superior to the other.
Duty is paramount in Qunari culture and their society is seen as a living entity, whose well-being is the responsibility of all. Each person is like a drop of blood in the veins of the being and they must do not what is best for them, but what is best for the creature.
The Qunari do not have a concept of personal identity and use titles rather than names to identify and present themselves. Their ‘names’ are in fact strings of genealogical information used by the Tamassrans for record-keeping and marque-creation.
A Qunari's personal name is not what we think of as a name. It is more like a social security number, information which the Tamassrans use to keep track of breeding and is thus not something the Qunari use to refer to one another. What a Qunari instead thinks of as their name is, in fact, their job title, which is differentiated by rank and task.
Trueborn Qunari have no ‘family units’: they do not marry, choose partners, or even know to whom they are related. A Qunari's ‘family’ consists of his or her co-workers.
Qunari generally do not associate mating with love. They feel love, they have friends, they form emotional bonds with one another. However, they simply do not sleep with each other to express it. If they do they are sent to be reeducated by the Ben-Hassrath. If a child is produced the same thing happens as with all other Qunari children; it is sent to be raised by the Tamassrans, evaluated, and assigned a path. Qunari do not waste resources unnecessarily, people included.
A corpse is considered an insignificant husk that is no longer the individual that it once was and thus is afforded no special treatment, rather disposed of whatever manner is most practical.
Clothing & Identification
The Qun dictates that wasting resources is an abominable act, thus beyond wearing clothes to keep themselves warm and armor to keep themselves alive the Qunari view clothes as an unnecessary, cumbersome burden that Bas wear in disgust of their own bodies. Likewise, luxury goods like make-up and perfume are abhorred as symbols of Bas lavishness and thus never used by the Qunari.
To differentiate between true Qunari and imposters the Qun advocates marques
as the primary means of identification. The marque is the Qunari’s elaborate version of a social security number, consisting of a set of lines and patterns tattooed on every Qunari’s back. The marque describes one’s sexual information (whether one is fertile or not), purpose (education, specializations, experience) and health (medical history, blood type, hereditary traits). With the information constantly changing new lines and patterns are constantly added to the marque, making it a symbol of one’s dedication to the Qun.
Qunari are bred for specific roles. Parentage is no longer the issue, more like pedigree. However, breeding does not determine a Qunari's assigned task.
Qunari strongly believe that the genders are inherently and intuitively better at certain tasks. No matter how much aptitude and promise a male shows for management, he will never be considered as good at it as a female, therefore it would be considered inefficient and a waste of resources to place him in a role where a woman might serve better. Instead, the Tamassrans find another role that he shows aptitude for and will place him there instead. The same goes for females; most Qunari will find it odd if a female becomes a warrior. The odd, very rare exception is made however. A male Qunari will farm if he must, just as a female will fight, depending on the circumstance. If a female shows sincere interest in - and outstanding talent at - fighting she will be considered male, regardless of her biological gender. The phenomenon is called Aqun-Athlok. For the Qunari gender is a secondary trait compared to their duty to the Qun.
There are fields like philosophy or sciences that make use of both genders, but even then there is division by discipline. Men will do one kind of research and women another. The Ben-Hassrath also count both genders among their ranks, but they too are separated by specialization.
The Qunari reject private property. They do not have currency, nor do they engage in direct bartering: they do not buy and sell things amongst one another. ‘Merchants’ in Qunari cities have the job of making sure goods are distributed appropriately. Basra can be issued tokens that can be exchanged for goods in Qunari settlements, but these are not used internally.
Efficiency is the primary concern in the economy. The Qunari actively work to improve methods of production via research and borrowing from conquered people and neighboring cultures. On the other hand, demands of the individuals are quite limited, as having ‘more houses and clothes’ would mean more work to maintain them.
Outsiders and Converts
The Qunari view other nations as inferiors, Bas (things) who are to be conquered and converted to the Qun. In the newly subdued areas they dismantle families: children are torn away from their parents and raised as Qunari while adults are sent to camps for re-education performed by a branch of the Ben-Hassrath. If an individual does not resist the re-education a new convert, or Viddathari, may be assigned a position in the Qunari society. Refusal to cooperate, however, is seen as illness to be cured and those who resist are taken to the viddathlok, institutions dedicated to healing.
The Qunari consider outsiders unfortunate beings that have a potential to grow if the Qun's wisdom is imparted upon them. The best an outsider can hope for among the Qunari is to be considered a basalit-an, ‘an honorable thing’. A basalit-an is a worthy foe and one that can be negotiated with to an extent, but is still Bas regardless.
Qunari society is based upon learning as well as military might. The Tamassrans wield a great deal of influence in Qunari society. As it is primarily a female gender role - as all administrative tasks are - this might lead an outsider to believe that their society is female-dominated. Qunari do not, however, look upon government in quite the same way. The brain could be said to rule the body, but so too does the heart, the lungs, the stomach. All are part of the greater whole.
The Tamassrans raise all the children, give them their general education and evaluate them. Qunari are officially assigned their roles when they are twelve years old. The Tamassrans do conduct some tests, but nothing that requires a pencil. They also have something of a head start on the process, as they are the ones who control the Qunari selective breeding program.
The Triumvirate, or ’Salasari’ in Qunlat, is the guiding body of the Qunari. The three members of the Triumvirate are each considered the ideal representative of one of the three paths of Qunari society, but they are not technically ranked as commanders of their respective paths since their every decision must be in accordance with the Qun, which acts as the final authority on any and all decisions. Being a member of the Triumvirate is not a proof of excellence, but one of proficiency in mediating solutions between the roles belonging to their path and in making difficult choices.
The body is represented by the Arishok, who guides the army.
The mind is represented by the Arigena, who guides the craftsmen.
The soul is represented by the Ariqun, who guides the educators.
One of the three members of the Triumvirate; the Arishok is considered the primary guide of the antaam (armed forces) and has practical authority over the army on the level of a Commander-in-Chief. As dictated by the Qun the Arishok is just a single voice and of the same worth as any other Qunari, but anyone who carries the title of Arishok is more than qualified to steer the ‘body’ of Qunari society along the right path and insubordination of any kind is extremely rare.
One of the three members of the Triumvirate; the Arigena is considered the primary guide of all matters pertaining to industrial, agricultural and mercantile aspects of Qunari society and has practical authority over these elements on the level of a Commander-in-Chief. As dictated by the Qun; the Arigena is just a single voice and of the same worth as any other Qunari, but anyone who carries the title of Arigena is more than qualified to handle all matters of distribution and construction associated with the ‘mind’ of Qunari society.
One of the three members of the Triumvirate; the Ariqun is considered the Primary Guide of the Ben-Hassrath and has practical authority over it on the level of a Commander-in-Chief. As dictated by the Qun; the Ariqun is just a single voice and of the same worth as any other Qunari, but anyone who carries the title of Ariqun is more than qualified to oversee the ‘soul’ of Qunari society and handle all matters of breeding, education and law enforcement.