Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Mindsmiths

A mindsmith is someone whose job it is to forge a mind into something less raw. The smiths themselves often laugh at that description, but the name stuck with folks. They are a proper profession - unlike voices, who have a calling - and are taught in small schools. Their methods range from philosophical debate, to torture-like practices best described as brainwashing, to meticulous mental exercises, and each only takes on one pupil at a time. Former voices may take this profession, and all plasmats are seen as mindsmiths.

"It's true that Lady Etto was one of the rebel leaders - she had started the capital's fires. When the mindsmiths returned her some years after her capture, they advised us to not waste her skills. She's been invaluable in the city's protection, and the murder attempts on her become fewer every year."
— Djigferra Solmor, citizen
Mindsmiths are often called upon to educate someone for a difficult position. They are found in royal households, teach diplomats or lunatics, but are also employed to "fix" criminals who seem utterly unwilling to behave. No pupil of theirs ever complained about the treatment, and all agree that it was a strenuous but worthwhile experience. Nobody taught by a mindsmith has not risen to greatness.
Known pupils are the Crowned Aslahenead of Brighthold, or Diga├źner from the Summerstar Isles. Among the most famous mindsmiths are the plasmat Kortife of Echamien, and Avaqui Der, who teaches in Gdera.
"I can't complain about the captain's ways, but she sure doesn't seem human - she's nigh-infallible, barely rests, always has an answer, and iron-clad principles. As long as we're on the same side, I feel invincible beside her."
— Quahna, dust sailor


Artists' notes
The danger of brainwashing cannot be overestimated. And it is so easily done. In fantasy however, I can downplay dangers, and reap the benefits of one-on-one teaching with no other goal than perfection of a person. Mindsmiths are the legendary teachers one finds so delightfully often in Asian tales. I don't even want to know what they do with fake mindsmiths, but it can't be good.

2 comments:

  1. This is a really fascinating addition to the world, and definitely brings up some unique ethical and philosophical questions, I think. Cool!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I find the teacher/pupil concept rather fascinating (I think first read about in Zen Buddhism), that the teacher needs to tune in to understand how the pupil learns best, and the pupil to trust the teacher enough to not second-guess everything and waste effort on figuring things by themselves. If that could work, it would make for astonishing educational success, I'm sure.

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