The City of Lives
They are philosophers, both in the modern sense of the word and in the City’s meaning of “scientist.” But there is an element of faith in all great endeavors, and practical theosophy is no exception.
Theosophers are devoted to finding knowledge above all other concerns, whether ordinary concerns like food and family or ethical concerns like not decimating the Kipman population as unwilling test subjects. This “ends justify the means” mindset is similar to many cults.
The theosophers believe they can find an answer – the answer – through careful tests and rigorous experimentation… but they don’t know what they’re doing. Their understanding of the field is so limited, the field itself so vast, that they are almost grasping in the dark.
The theme here is two-edged — it is both “noble exploration” and “things man was not meant to know.” The gods are mysterious and need to be understood — but they are also mysterious, complex, and dangerous. Trying to study miracles — as infrequent and unexpected as they are in the City — is nearly impossible to do with any rate of success, let alone repeatability. On the other hand, trying to persuade a god to come into the laboratory for some tests, to submit to questioning — these are requests likely to get one’s ass smote.
Secret: The entire movement was started by a small-time god who didn’t want the world to know that he is a physical being (albeit one from the Far Realms). Imagine if Flynn of Tron hadn’t admitted that the Users were imperfect, but had instead started a cargo cult worshiping and dedicated to studying Users… while simultaneously feeding them bad data and constantly leading them down the wrong path. Should this trickster deity be exposed, what will happen? Would practical theosophy shut down completely, or would they regroup, now knowing what missteps to avoid? An interesting question…