Medieval America Mark III

What do you guys think makes the most sense for the Free Zone's Presidential palace - the Celebrity Center, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Gold Base (some way outside of LA), or some other non-Scientologist locale in LA or elsewhere in Socal?
 
What do you guys think makes the most sense for the Free Zone's Presidential palace - the Celebrity Center, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Gold Base (some way outside of LA), or some other non-Scientologist locale in LA or elsewhere in Socal?
The second I saw a picture of the LA Celebrity Center I had to go for it as the residence of the Free Zone President. Though LA City Hall is definitely a contender.
 
The second I saw a picture of the LA Celebrity Center I had to go for it as the residence of the Free Zone President. Though LA City Hall is definitely a contender.
Keep in mind of course that the it wouldn't be the same building - even if some remnant remains of the original building (unlikely), it would have been totally rebuilt in new style a thousand years hence
 
Keep in mind of course that the it wouldn't be the same building - even if some remnant remains of the original building (unlikely), it would have been totally rebuilt in new style a thousand years hence
I'm thinking that they'd attempt to rebuild a replica of the old Celebrity Center but that the new building only really has a passing resemblance to it. Since the so-called Free Zone is held in the President's tight grip, I'd say it's very likely that they salvaged what remains of the city hall to build his Presidential Palace. Along with anything of value still in LA. The building would likely resemble a medieval palace.
 
What do you guys think makes the most sense for the Free Zone's Presidential palace - the Celebrity Center, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Gold Base (some way outside of LA), or some other non-Scientologist locale in LA or elsewhere in Socal?
Gold Base is surprisingly not terrible on water supplies, close to the Santa Ana and San Jacinto courses. One could have it be a monastic complex or a shrine city like Qom or Mashhad. Then again, Qom and Mashhad are really quite big and economically important (to say nothing of Karbala and Najaf), so whether it's the capital or not I'd say depends on how favored/important the coast-folk are to the state. Maybe if inland ranchers are more important for the state, providing the ruling dynasty or military elite, then Gold Base eats the remains of San Jacinto and takes LA's place as well.

Personally I think Gold Base could inherit some of the imagery of Old Testament Jerusalem, while the coastal LA remains are easier to cast as barbarous Philistines (I get that the Scientologists aren't Christian but replacing the previously dominant religion may require assimilating some of its more potent images, including that of a righteous few with HQ in a location of timeless importance, crowned by an eternal temple that nonetheless goes through phases, seizing a promised territory against a seemingly superior unbelieving foe).

Another thing is that even for medieval states that didn't have a coastal city as their capital, it was at least on an easy river to reach from the coast (Paris on the Seine, London on the Thames); you'd probably need a man-made canal to make a similar connection between Gold Base/San Jacinto and LA, although I don't know if the rivers are even big enough for, say, transport-barges without significant dredging anyways. The whole thing might constitute a big dynasty-defining project and the Free Zone may have more robust local institutions relative to neighbors for decades more because of it (center provides resources but locals are better at tracking data on geography and available labor).

EDIT: Another thing to consider is that as Gold Base as we know it is a hierarchical place, Scientologist governance could evolve in the style of the Mesopotamian city-states: as temple bureaucracies. Doesn't mean the capital has to stay there but even reduced to ruins it might keep some significance.
 
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Gold Base is surprisingly not terrible on water supplies, close to the Santa Ana and San Jacinto courses. One could have it be a monastic complex or a shrine city like Qom or Mashhad. Then again, Qom and Mashhad are really quite big and economically important (to say nothing of Karbala and Najaf), so whether it's the capital or not I'd say depends on how favored/important the coast-folk are to the state. Maybe if inland ranchers are more important for the state, providing the ruling dynasty or military elite, then Gold Base eats the remains of San Jacinto and takes LA's place as well.

Personally I think Gold Base could inherit some of the imagery of Old Testament Jerusalem, while the coastal LA remains are easier to cast as barbarous Philistines (I get that the Scientologists aren't Christian but replacing the previously dominant religion may require assimilating some of its more potent images, including that of a righteous few with HQ in a location of timeless importance, crowned by an eternal temple that nonetheless goes through phases, seizing a promised territory against a seemingly superior unbelieving foe).

Another thing is that even for medieval states that didn't have a coastal city as their capital, it was at least on an easy river to reach from the coast (Paris on the Seine, London on the Thames); you'd probably need a man-made canal to make a similar connection between Gold Base/San Jacinto and LA, although I don't know if the rivers are even big enough for, say, transport-barges without significant dredging anyways. The whole thing might constitute a big dynasty-defining project and the Free Zone may have more robust local institutions relative to neighbors for decades more because of it (center provides resources but locals are better at tracking data on geography and available labor).

EDIT: Another thing to consider is that as Gold Base as we know it is a hierarchical place, Scientologist governance could evolve in the style of the Mesopotamian city-states: as temple bureaucracies. Doesn't mean the capital has to stay there but even reduced to ruins it might keep some significance.
Here's a thought, since I was initially got on this subject because I was thinking about the subject of Californian labyrinths. My essential thought is that they were supposed to be cultic representations of the passage through the OT levels, both through the course of millions of years and in this lifetime, proceeding towards the highest OT levels. At the outer ring of the labyrinth are entombed more distant and less powerful officials (but of course still significant or influential enough to earn some place in the complex), and at the center the sovereign himself is entombed. I was trying to think of a location for the Great Labyrinth of LA, and assumed that it would be tied directly to the palace complex.

Here's an idea: in the decades and first few centuries following the Regression, Gold Base was the center of Scientology, Elay itself and immediate environs being divided between warring barbarian gangs, scientologists only a small part of the whole thing. It is from Gold Base that the Etrabolta dynasty emerged (or possibly some other early Scientologist dynasty) and conquered Socal before turning north and conquering California.

Gold Base remained the main place of burial for the early Scientologists of LA and spiritually significant, but the capital moved to LA proper, and then of course to Sacramento.
 
My essential thought is that they were supposed to be cultic representations of the passage through the OT levels, both through the course of millions of years and in this lifetime, proceeding towards the highest OT levels. At the outer ring of the labyrinth are entombed more distant and less powerful officials (but of course still significant or influential enough to earn some place in the complex), and at the center the sovereign himself is entombed. I was trying to think of a location for the Great Labyrinth of LA, and assumed that it would be tied directly to the palace complex.
Ooh, I like this. Maybe if building upward is easier than digging down (or if you need something to do with the excess dirt) parts of the labyrinth could form these kinds of exposed ridges on the land, made of rammed earth and maybe topped with brick. There's Chinese walls from the Neolithic that survive today-- burying people under or inside the walls could (if the coffin's strong enough) give a person an everlasting gravesite at a relatively cheap cost, compared to something like the New Mexican pyramids. And maybe the floor plans of the structure actually mirror the street plan of LA or some section of it, so you get this City-of-the-Dead effect where the deserving get to live in an even better version of the best place on earth.

Gold Base could always be kept significant by setting up monastic educational institutions and astronomical observatories on nearby Mt. San Jacinto, and these could support each other pretty easily (plus Scientology's love for astronomy might go beyond mere calendar-making). Both of these will draw pilgrims and donations, to put up nice buildings and such. Even if it's not the capital I wouldn't be too worried about it, I think a thriving city could still be set up there.

EDIT: It's actually an open question as to whether Scientologists would prefer burial or cremation-- looking it up seems to indicate that there's arguments for cremation since the body is a prison, but it's not an explicit rule. It might become a rule in Medieval America as the communities around Gold Base look for a way to set themselves apart from/look down on their neighbors. In that case, I'm thinking cremation on a mountaintop, the closest possible place to the stars (or at least an artificial mountaintop like the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence) might be seen as a good way to go-- and the challenge of bringing piles of fragrant wood to mountain tops, and keeping the fire going on a cold windy peak, picking a day when it won't snow or rain, etc. makes sure only a few get to enjoy the best version of the experience. In that way the San Gabriel Mountains kind of become the Ganges of Scientologist California, just a mountain range instead of a river with several massive cities on it (and therefore way more isolated and exclusive, as befits Scientology). Meanwhile the labyrinths store lead urns of the ashes and/or stone statues of the departed-- even if the body's a prison Scientology values the idea of power over the physical earth, so reshaping the earth and placing something of yours as a tag of ownership could play into that.

Furthermore, Northern California can also play with this holy-mountain idea-- almost every Indian religion puts special attention on Mount Kailash in Tibet, and for Hindus it's specifically Shiva's earthly residence (so no human is allowed to climb it). The Sierra Nevada has Mount Whitney, which could be portrayed as so tall that it actually constitutes a lower extreme of heaven (so humans that try to climb it with their stinky no-good physical bodies are cursed to fall down its slopes as dead, frozen husks). Northern California gets to have its own geographical pair of (lowland capital) - (highland spiritual center), and even after the loss of LA/Gold Base/the San Gabriels to the Free Zone they could build up a separate image of legitimacy as the "guardians of Heaven's [Mt. Whitney's] Foothills."
 
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And maybe the floor plans of the structure actually mirror the street plan of LA or some section of it, so you get this City-of-the-Dead effect where the deserving get to live in an even better version of the best place on earth.
I like this idea, though technically wouldn't it violate the traditional concept of a labyrinth since technically they're meant to be pretty regular and repetitious routes, with only one way inn and only one direction to follow? Wandering through a maze isn't particuarly meditative afterall, and doesn't give the impression of a clear procession towards some kind of spiritual center/point of ascension.
Gold Base could always be kept significant by setting up monastic educational institutions and astronomical observatories on nearby Mt. San Jacinto, and these could support each other pretty easily (plus Scientology's love for astronomy might go beyond mere calendar-making). Both of these will draw pilgrims and donations, to put up nice buildings and such. Even if it's not the capital I wouldn't be too worried about it, I think a thriving city could still be set up there.
I agree, one of the more important spiritual sites in a country filled to overflowing with holy sites.

EDIT: It's actually an open question as to whether Scientologists would prefer burial or cremation-- looking it up seems to indicate that there's arguments for cremation since the body is a prison, but it's not an explicit rule. It might become a rule in Medieval America as the communities around Gold Base look for a way to set themselves apart from/look down on their neighbors. In that case, I'm thinking cremation on a mountaintop, the closest possible place to the stars (or at least an artificial mountaintop like the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence) might be seen as a good way to go-- and the challenge of bringing piles of fragrant wood to mountain tops, and keeping the fire going on a cold windy peak, picking a day when it won't snow or rain, etc. makes sure only a few get to enjoy the best version of the experience. In that way the San Gabriel Mountains kind of become the Ganges of Scientologist California, just a mountain range instead of a river with several massive cities on it (and therefore way more isolated and exclusive, as befits Scientology). Meanwhile the labyrinths store lead urns of the ashes and/or stone statues of the departed-- even if the body's a prison Scientology values the idea of power over the physical earth, so reshaping the earth and placing something of yours as a tag of ownership could play into that.
Possible alternative - labyrinths serve the same function as towers of silence, being semi-elevated positions. Though I do like the idea of mountains, and I don't see any way to preserve both ideas simultaneously. On the one hand, labyrinths would be more prestigious since they would be the tombs of the rich and powerful so you could have a divide where the rich are cremated on labyrinths and the poor go to the mountains, but the mountains are obviously closer to the stars and logistically the greater cost of getting someone up there and moving the ashes down would be inherently pretigious.

So yeah, probably just stick with the mountain idea.

Furthermore, Northern California can also play with this holy-mountain idea-- almost every Indian religion puts special attention on Mount Kailash in Tibet, and for Hindus it's specifically Shiva's earthly residence (so no human is allowed to climb it). The Sierra Nevada has Mount Whitney, which could be portrayed as so tall that it actually constitutes a lower extreme of heaven (so humans that try to climb it with their stinky no-good physical bodies are cursed to fall down its slopes as dead, frozen husks). Northern California gets to have its own geographical pair of (lowland capital) - (highland spiritual center), and even after the loss of LA/Gold Base/the San Gabriels to the Free Zone they could build up a separate image of legitimacy as the "guardians of Heaven's [Mt. Whitney's] Foothills."
Great. Scientologists and Eco-Buddhists would probably take note of their mutual reverence for high mountains.
 
Here's a thought, since I was initially got on this subject because I was thinking about the subject of Californian labyrinths. My essential thought is that they were supposed to be cultic representations of the passage through the OT levels, both through the course of millions of years and in this lifetime, proceeding towards the highest OT levels. At the outer ring of the labyrinth are entombed more distant and less powerful officials (but of course still significant or influential enough to earn some place in the complex), and at the center the sovereign himself is entombed. I was trying to think of a location for the Great Labyrinth of LA, and assumed that it would be tied directly to the palace complex.
On the one hand, labyrinths would be more prestigious since they would be the tombs of the rich and powerful so you could have a divide where the rich are cremated on labyrinths and the poor go to the mountains, but the mountains are obviously closer to the stars and logistically the greater cost of getting someone up there and moving the ashes down would be inherently pretigious.
I actually haven't seen pictures of the labyrinths you mean until now-- I was thinking they'd be something more mazelike but I guess that's only the Greek-myth one, the LA ones are more meditative.

I like the idea of them as necessary sections of large palaces and villas, with less prestigious versions made of hedges or stones instead of rammed-earth. There could be communal/public ones attached to temples. I still think they could be associated with a practice of entombing ash-urns-- after cremation most people might just be dissolved in a body of water, but more prominent people get their urns turned into the treasured relics of these labyrinths, and organized on this OT scheme (a temple might turn its founding minister into a relic in this way, and put them at the center of its labyrinth). I don't think the labyrinths could themselves be the site of cremation unless their elevated sections are as wide as a Chinese city wall, which seems impractical unless the labyrinth is practically a city on its own.
 
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So is the Printing Press still around or did it go the way of gunpowder? Funnily enough I can still see people reading The Hobbit and A Song of Ice and Fire.
 
I actually haven't seen pictures of the labyrinths you mean until now-- I was thinking they'd be something more mazelike but I guess that's only the Greek-myth one, the LA ones are more meditative.
Actually, doing a little cursory research, it seems like you're more in the right - my impression was that the original Minoan religious symbol was the single-path labyrinth, which was later reinterpreted by the Greeks to be a confusing maze, but it seems like the single-path depiction of the Labyrinth is actually fairly late and the maze depiction may have been the original intention.

It's more interesting if it's a confusing maze and that's probably what White had in mind when he referred to a labyrinth. And the case can be made that a maze is still meditative - it's only that it's a case of priests and monks memorizing the correct path and repeating it, being careful and attentive so as not to stray from the prescribed path. Aside from being more mentally rigorous and requiring more dedication, this could be argued to be a closer reflection of life - there is a singular straight and narrow path within our lifetime and our cycles of rebirth, but it is easy to stray from, to be distracted.

So is the Printing Press still around or did it go the way of gunpowder? Funnily enough I can still see people reading The Hobbit and A Song of Ice and Fire.
Way of the dodo. All books are painstakingly copied by hand, the two largest centers of book making are the Willamette valley and Buffalo.
 
Here There Be Monsters: The Giant Gila Monster

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In the courts of the East, many tales are told of great dragons. There are the lake monsters, prime among them the dread Champy, and horrors like the Ogopogo are taken as a simple fact of life in the ten thousand lakes of the Old Northwest and the Canadian Prairies. Troubadors sing of the great beasts of the Gulf Coast, alligators who eat devour whole ships and the snakes that constrict and crush great fortresses, though these stories are likely metaphors for the pagans of that region. It is commonly believed in the East that the Californians worship and are lead by a great dragon who lives in the lost city of Disney. Some of these stories possess a grain of truth, others are merely tall tales to astounish and delight. One legend that fits into the former category is that of the Giant Gila Monsters.

The account of Obadiah Olmstead's encounter with this creature is perhaps the most famous. Olmstead wrote of his travels in Arizona. Following the conclusion of his tour of Albquerque, the President of New Mexico offered him the chance to see the fort of Flagstaff by way of the wild country of Dinetah. Flagstaff theoretically being a Nondenominational Supervisory, Olmstead accepted the opportunity. Enroute, they stopped at the temple complex of Barringer Crater. Here, Olmstead claim that he witnessed first hand "terrible beasts, to whom I saw with mine own eyes human beings fed." He went on to explain that the Arizonans see these creatures as living gods, the human sacrifices sating their hunger and earning their favor. He further claimed that they were created by the terrible atomic weapons of the ancients.

Though some in the East are skeptical of this claim (as they are to many of Olmstead's more outlandish claims) but it is in fact largely true. The worship of nature spirits and animals was a major component of early New Age. Also a part of it was a vague tradition of a race of lizard-men, alternately wise or demonic, which was later connected with the eastern tales of Roswell and The Grey.

In an attempt to gain the favor of these entities, communities began adopting gila monsters as something like town mascots, but really patron gods. These creatures would be paraded as symbols of pride, placed in the holy of holies in the community temple, and even taken into battle to inspire the men and cow the enemy. These patron gila monsters were bred for size and ferocious appearance, leading to an arms race between the various communities that adopted the practice. Some reach sizes as large as six feet, or so rumor has it. To capture one town's gila monster is the ultimate insult. Generally these gila monsters are added to the victor's breeding stock, but occasionally the enemy's lizard is killed and fed to the conqueror's prime gila monster.

Gila cults exist as one of many of the temple complexes across the Confederacy, though they are most popular in Arizona. The practice even spread to Bajo Colorado, though it is coming under assault with that region's christianization.
 
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