Long time readers may not be surprised to learn that I’m not much of a religious man. I hold little regard for the Amarr faith, and despite the best efforts of my parents and my community, Ida has held little sway over my life. That is especially true since becoming a capsuleer, when the concept of reincarnation has become a much less metaphysical concept for me. Despite my lack of faith, I respect the societal power of religion enough to not actively argue against it in public. Over the millennia, religion has of course caused more than it’s fair share of great suffering, but a deep and abiding faith has also created some of the greatest humanitarian organizations and activities the Cluster has ever known. As with all things in life, faith appears to do its greatest good when used in moderation. Though, now that I think about it, that is precisely what Ida teaches us. That thought’s gonna fester…
Anyway, I bring up faith today because it’s also been my experience that even those who proclaim to have no faith often have one, even if it’s not exactly a traditional one. I use faith not as a precise synonym for religion (i.e. a belief in some higher power/powers or abstract guiding force in the universe), but rather as a concept or belief that forms the foundation for one’s entire view of the universe and one’s place in that universe. Some find their anchor, so to speak, in their patriotic love for their country. Others find it in their love of the arts. Still others, and I mean this unironically, find their faith in science and the good it can do for humanity. I actually have no problem with any of these kinds of faiths as long as they’re respectful and willing to take ‘no’ for an answer. But just as among the religious, you can always find those willing to take their beliefs to (and past) the limit. A patriot could want to declare war for a mere slight against their nation, while the artistically inclined may find their overt passion in bringing art to the masses, whether they want it or not. Today’s site, though, is dedicated to a fanatic of a different kind: the environmentalist. The Friends of Nature, a quasi-legal group at best, easily falls into my view of a fanatical organization. They’ve taken their faith that the environment must be protected to the extreme. Of course, it also helps my analogy that they were kind enough to call their main training ground the Natura Seminary. As Aura explains,
Built on the ruins of an abandoned asteroid colony, the Natura Seminary is the place where prospective anti-corporate activists are brought into the Friends of Nature’s fold. Lessons on corporate greed, the inhumanity of the capitalist system and ways to bring down the Man, along with tasty syntho-organic snacks. What more could you want?
Apparently even Aura was feeling a bit snarky when it came to FoN, which, given that Aura wasn’t really programmed to have a sense of humor, I suspect was saying something.
The Friends strongly believed that the natural beauty found in the Algintal constellation is being ruined by corporate greed and environmental malpractice. I’m personally rather sympathetic to the view, but would rather see more legal means used to accomplish their goals. To further their goals, however, they have set up their main base of operations in a corner of the Audaerne system, near the rather unassuming first moon of Audaerne III. Here, the Friends have the opportunity and ability to teach anyone who was willing (and, if the stories are true, a number of those who aren’t) the history and views of the group, as well as their more recent efforts in the Algintal constellation. Between team building exercises, holo presentations, and snacks, the Friends attempt to convert some and reinforce others to the fact that the environment must be protected at all costs.
The complex itself was fairly impressive. On the outskirts, the remains of an asteroid colony and refining complex could be found. Long abandoned, they were no doubt forced out by the Friends when they first seized the area as their own. The main attraction, however, was the main seminary itself and its environs. The Seminary itself was a standard Gallente tactical outpost, of civilian design of course. However, it was surrounded by an impressive and imposing double squares of asteroids. The asteroid squares, one just above and one just below the Seminary, appeared to be composed of smaller asteroids that were completely fused together in painstaking fashion. Rather than merely floating near each other, the asteroids appeared to be partially melted and then fused to its neighbors.
From there, the asteroids were then hollowed out in order to attach metallic pylons as a kind of sentinel around the Seminary. The overall effect was incredibly impressive; a perfect example of the Friends’ views on fusing man with the nature around him, and using what nature provides to create pieces of beauty without destroying the natural feel. But there was also another (I assume unintentional) feeling to the structure. Surrounded by the guards of the asteroids, I couldn’t help but feel it was appropriate that the Friends’ Seminary was imprisoned in its own design. One of those nice ironic touches to life, I suppose. But whichever view someone chooses to take of the Seminary, I would hope that we can all agree that it was an architecturally impressive creation, and a representation, for better or for worse, of the faith that the Friends have in themselves and their cause.
As I’ve already stated, faith is not necessarily a good or a bad thing. It’s how that faith is used, and what it’s used to justify. The problem is that it can be incredibly difficult to tell when the foundations of your own moral beliefs goes too far. You know its right and you want to show everyone else that its right. It ‘s easy to slip into an “all means justify the ends” mindset. But moderation has to be used (that festering thought again). As I prepared to leave the site, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own faith. And, to very much my surprise as both a capsuleer and a citizen of the Cluster, I found that my faith revolved around the good that humanity does. To every hulkageddon, there are those willing to defend. To every Sansha invasion, there are those willing to give their lives to save civilians. For every fanatic (of any kind), there are those willing and reason with them. There was a chance to do that here. The ends the Friends are trying to create are good ones. They just need faith. Not in nature, but in mankind.
- Attraction: Natura Seminary
- System: Audaerne
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Sinq Laison
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Gallente, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: This also serves as an Gallente COSMOS site.