The original of Dr. Zahar's questionnaire will be found in the "Files" section of Conculture at yahoogroups. The answers are given from the Kash point of view, with only occasional mention of the Gwr, whose answers would be quite different in most cases.
Dr. Zahar's Ethnographical Questionnaire
(a) Describe the geography of where your society calls home.
--Very earthlike, though a bit larger. 3 large continents, 1 (antarctic) practically uninhabited--most land in N.Hemisphere, 2 largish equatorial islands, many smaller ones. Low population-- barely 1 billion (1000 million) ~65% Kash, 35% Gwr
(b) Describe the climate your society deals with. How severe are their seasons?
--Slightly greater tilt (~28º) than earth; larger tropic/semitropic zone with wet/dry seasons, larger arctic-- long and severe winters there, but those are Gwr lands
(c) What kinds of natural disasters has this society gotten used to?
--Some volcanoes; earthquakes; typhoon/hurricane storms; heavy rains resulting in floods, landslides
(d) What are the most commonly-grown foods?
--Several grains, rice/wheat analogues; fruits and vegetables
(e) What are the most commonly-eaten meats?
--Lopa (sheep/goat analogue); popo (lizard=chicken); lots of fish
(f) What foods are considered exotic or expensive?
--Kawu (beef analogue); some fruits (depending on area); some fish
(g) What forms of alcohol are common? Rare?
--Common: wines and slightly fermented fruit juices; a sort of beer/ale beverage; fruit-based liqueurs. Distilled spirits exist, but aren't popular in hot areas.
--Rare: vintage or fancy special wines (like our Eiswein or Sauternes).
(h) Is there usually enough food and water for the population?
(i) What is this place's most abundant resource?
--not really sure-- water? forests?
(j) What is its most valuable resource?
--certain precious stones; gold; petroleum
(k) What resource is it most lacking?
--petroleum: used profligately Pre-Destruction, mostly by the Gwr; whatever remains (probably more than they think) has been developed/exploited very slowly and carefully since, mainly for petrochemicals, much less for fuel
(l) How do people travel from one place to another?
--walk; bus/jitney, train (private autos are rare); sailing ships; airships, motorized ships/airplanes are luxuries
(m) Are the borders secure? In what way?
--yes. There have been no wars, and only minor negotiable border disputes in 750 (local) years
(n) How many people live here?
--approx. 1 billion-- approx. 65% Kash, 35% Gwr
(o) Where in this place do they congregate?
--Kash: mostly coastal and tropical/temperate areas; Gwr: mostly above 30ºN, mainly inland, a few port towns
(p) What part of this place do they avoid? Why?
--Each others' areas due to long standing mutual dislike; also the Gwr cannot tolerate extended periods of hot weather due to blood chemistry. Kash tend to avoid the deep forest/jungle (scary); Gwr avoid the water (way too cold)
(q) What are the most common domesticated animals here? And what are they domesticated for?
--lopa, popo, kawu-- for food; kawu can be used as draft animals, as can some semi-wild lopa spp.; there is limited aquaculture, but one would not consider such fish domesticated
(r) What are the most common wild animals?
--various cat-like spp. the "cousins", great and small; "lizards" great and small, some can fly/glide; various smallish mammals, some can fly/glide; several amphibious mammals on the order of walrus/sea lion; 2 or 3 large marine mammals, and several large fish spp., some dangerous
(s) Which animals are likely to be pets? Which ones won't be?
--None. The "cat" species are friendly to Kash (due to telepathy), but only 1 small sp. chooses to live around people (they remain semi-wild and don't behave well indoors); otherwise the Kash consider it wrong to remove any animal from its environment. The exception is the big Cousins who live around the major temples-- these are generally old, often infirm types who are guaranteed love, care and food for the remainder of their lives, in exchange for putting up with "talking" to visitors, licking babies, constant touching, sharing their knowledge, and sitting around looking regal and roaring occasionally during various ceremonies. They are not considered pets.
(a) How far back does this society's written history go?
--approx. 5000 years
(b) How far back do its people believe it goes?
--slightly longer, up to 7000 years, but much of that is undecipherable
(c) What is the worst disaster they believe they've faced?
--In historic times, The Destruction (Gwr nuclear war of approx. 750 years ago). Although the most serious physical (and genetic) damage affected the Gwr lands in the north, some of it touched Kash areas; but the subsequent long period of relief and reconstruction caused considerable disruptions in the less-affected Kash nations.
(d) What was the best thing that every happened to them?
--Many Kash would say, ironically, The Destruction, since it reduced the Gwr to a minority, and control effectively passed to the Kash. Actually, the benefit came more from the mobilization of most Kash societies in the aftermath, to increase food and industrial production in order to keep the Gwr alive and ultimately help to rebuild their infrastructure. Many nobles had their under-utilized land expropriated, and they lost a lot of power; central governments became more organized and serious about their responsibilities to the population at large.
(e) What in their past makes them feel ashamed?
--A brief (100 yr) attempt at chattel-slavery; more recently, during the Gwr colonial experiment, the "insurgency" against same which mainly involved kidnapping and holding Gwr officials during the hot season, which led to their getting incurably ill, suffering brain damage and sometimes death.
(f) What in their past makes them proud?
--Elimination of that slavery; otherwise, their great societal and cultural cohesion/community spirit (both due to telepathic ability); their sea-faring and exploration
(g) What are they afraid of happening again?
--That the Gwr will achieve majority status and try to run things again in their usual thoughtless way
(h) What are they hoping will happen? Do they think it likely?
--That Kash, with the aid of the Aliens, will stay in control-- yes, they think it likely
(i) What do they assume the future will hold?
--greater progress, carefully controlled; more contact with extraterrestrial societies
(j) How has this society changed? Do its current members realize this?
--Principally from absolute to mostly constitutional monarchies; yes, as there is much more social mobility.
(k) What are the most popular stories about the past?
--Folk tales and legends; tales of exploration; in some cases, tales of wars against the Gwr
(l) Who in the past is the greatest hero? The worst villain?
(m) Do people think the present better or worse than the past?
--Some do, some don't
(n) Do people believe the future will be better or worse than the present or past?
--by and large, better
(a) How many spouses may a man or woman have?
--legally, up to two (MMF, FFM in civil unions, in addition to MF and same-sex; preferably MM, FF, or MF in religious marriages); but nothing prevents several couples/groups from living together in a sort of "commune"
(b) Who decides on a marriage?
--generally, the couple involved; the nobility and wealthy try to arrange things to advantage, and become really concerned if their children (esp. the first-born) "marry down"
(c) Can a marriage end in divorce? How?
--Yes: civil-- a visit to the town clerk with a proper declaration of settlement; religious marriages are supposed to be life-long and are rather complicated to dissolve; it is possible, but in many cases, the parties simply separate.
(d) Who usually takes custody of children if a marriage ends for some reason?
--Some kind of joint custody is preferred; sometimes the parents, a sibling, or other relative (of either spouse)-- this is one of the things that has to be established in the declaration of settlement
(e) How is adultery defined? What (if any) is the punishment? Who decides?
--Except among the nobility and the wealthy (with possible succession or inheritance problems), it's of no real concern; same-sex playing around is assumed; M-F playing around is uncommon and socially stigmatized-- both can be grounds for divorce if chronic.
(f) How are families named?
--civil/religious MF-- the wife may take the husband's name, or not, or add "spouse of..." after her own name; same sex-- they usually keep their own names (civil), or both may add "spouse of..." if religiously wed.
(g) What happens to orphans?
--Usually taken in by parents, siblings or other relatives (this applies also to children born to unmarried young girls); but religious-, civil- and privately-endowed orphanages do exist.
(h) How are boy and girl children treated differently?
--In childhood? not sure. At puberty-- lots of counselling to both on how to avoid pregnancy
(i) Are premarital relations allowed?
--yes; in fact, assumed, esp. same-sex
(j) How does your society define incest? Rape? How do people react to these?
--Incest: adult on own or adopted child; brother/sister; rare but very reprehensible; treated psychiatrically
--Rape: if the victim says "no" (that includes marital rape); but MF rape is rare; MM rape will lead to social opprobrium as well as psychiatric treatment-- or prison if repeated or especially violent.
(k) What, if anything, is considered a good marriage gift?
--From friends/guests, money!!! The parents usually take care of household needs. Amongst the wealthy, luxury items (silver/gold, art, fine china/ceramics)
(l) What secret vice is believed to be widely practiced?
--Hmmm-- men think women in FF relationships use drugs/herbs to stimulate sexual receptivity (not fertility); many women simply don't like to think about what men do together, even though they are well aware of the basics
(m) What secret vice actually is practiced?
--Women do use drugs/herbs-- but not as much as men believe....
(n) What sexual habits are widely believed common among foriegners?
--They prefer not to speculate about this.
(o) How do people react to homosexuality?
--The majority, not at all. However, the 10% who are irredeemably "straight" consider it nasty, unhealthy, improper, and/or a waste of good genes-- the other 90% consider them neurotic
(p) How do the genders dress?
--Basically, alike-- everyone wears an ankle-length sarong; a sort of short culotte for heavy work or exercise, where the sarong would be in the way.. Men tend to wear darker colors, women lighter, with more patterns. Some noble families have their own colors, likewise the religious and the police. Women sometimes wear a loose smock to cover their chest, esp. if their breasts swell during pregnancy, or when they're lactating. Festive/formal wear involves wearing a finer sarong and fancy embroidered vest (M) or smock (F), for officials, a sash over the shoulder
(q) Is prostitution legal? How are prostitutes viewed? Is this accurate?
--Neither legal nor illegal, and rather rare-- too many acceptable same-sex opportunities. Male p's are more common than female; they will generally do the more bizarre/outré practices and must be paid accordingly. Female p's are more properly courtesans-- women who are known to be available for a price; they are often called upon to initiate young nobles, so they know what's expected of them when they marry-- though it's often an unnecessary lesson. There are no real bordellos, though a group of women so inclined may live together. Both M and F are expected to visit the clinic regularly and stay healthy.
(r) What professions or activities are considered masculine?
(s) What professions or activities are viewed as feminine?
--None, really; though jobs requiring great strength-- police, fire, heavy construction-- are more male dominated than others. Men are nurses, women are doctors; men are shop and file clerks, women work the assembly line, and vice-versa, etc.
(t) What inanimate or sexless things are considered male or female?
(u) What is the biggest sexual taboo?
--The very idea of having sex with a Gwr; sex with an alien is an intriguing thought, but by and large their lack of fur is a turn-off...
(v) Does this society connect the ideas of marriage with love?
(w) What does this society mean by the word "virgin" and how important it it?
--It is rarely applied to young men/women; a young woman's main concern is not to get pregnant.
(a) Who speaks first at a formal gathering?
--The chair; or the highest ranking or oldest person
(b) What kinds of gifts are considered in extremely bad taste?
--Knives of all sorts (though an heirloom dagger/sword may be given to one's oldest child); to an acquaintance, clothing; to a superior, anything cheap or shoddy, or sexually suggestive
(c) How do younger adults address their elders?
--Family: kin terms or affectionate derivatives of same; strangers, "sir, ma'am" or "brother/sister"; the elderly: "sir, ma'am" or respectful terms for grandfather/mother, uncle/aunt etc.; professionals/religious/nobility: the title if known, or else "sir, ma'am"
(d) What colors are associated with power? With virtue? With death?
--Power: black. Virtue: gold. Death: grey
(e) If two men get into a fight, how is this supposed to be resolved?
(f) If two women get into a fight, how should that be resolved?
--Hopefully, before it goes too far, someone will try to stop it telepathically; or friends or bystanders should intervene physically; worst case, the police are called.
(g) When is it rude to laugh at something funny?
--If it will cause embarrassment, or imply that someone is stupid
(h) What kinds of questions cannot be asked in public? In private? At all?
--At all (except for financial advisers): how much money do you have? In public: of married MF couples, why don't you have any children? Of same-sex, what do you like to do in bed?
(i) How do people demonstrate grief?
--Weeping and wailing; psychological withdrawl
(j) What does this society do with their corpses?
--Cremation; most of the ashes are scattered, a small quantity is kept in the ancestral shrine at home
(k) What kinds of jewelry do people wear? And when?
--MF: (pierced) earrings of plain metal or precious stone, one or more; neck chains, wrist/ankle chains (not gold, and of quite plain design--these are sometimes worn by civilly-wed couples; religiously wed couples wear a gold neck-chain); men don't typically wear anything else; women-- fancier chains, necklaces, bracelets often jewelled. (But little jewelry is worn in the workplace.) Some wealthy women wear rings, with really big stones (since otherwise they'd be almost invisible in the fur)
(l) Who inheirits property? Titles? Position?
--Nobility: the first-born (MF) inherits the property (generally all in perpetual trust) and title; Wealthy: usually a trust fund is set up covering all generations living at time of death: Ordinary people: according to their Will. You cannot disinherit a spouse or child, though you can leave them a mere token. Some of the nobles' trusts don't provide much income to younger siblings; the heir is expected to help them, but they're often on the road to downward mobility.
(m) What happens to those suffering from extreme mental illness?
--They are treated by priest-psychiatrists (who intervene telepathically); incurables are placed in asylums run by that religious order. There are no psychotropic drugs yet-- though the Gwr have developed some, the Kash don't quite trust them
(n) What are the most popular games? How important are they?
--Probably something like soccer; maybe volley-ball at the beach. Not terribly important; mostly amateur
(o) What parts of the body are routinely covered?
--The privates, even though they aren't particularly noticeable; during nasty or very hot weather, heavy labor may be performed nude, or with just a loincloth for protection against flying objects. At the beach/swimming, no one wears anything.
(p) How private are bodily functions like bathing or defecating?
--Defecating: definitely. Bathing: can be a social occasion if one's shower room is large enough, or if there's a pool in the courtyard; in the country at the river/pool/water tub, it's still a social occasion.
(q) How do people react to physical deformity?
--With sympathy, as there is long term memory of the deformities that occured after The Destruction. However, ultrasound tech. exists, and severely deformed foetuses are likely to be aborted (tech. to keep them alive does not exist, and they would die anyway, in all likelihood)
(r) When and how does someone go from child to adult?
--Officially at 13 (~17.5 terran), generally coincident with finishing high-school. But they may not marry, vote in national elections, nor join the Intl. Defense Force until age 15 (~20 terran).
(a) Is there a formal clergy? How are they organized?
--More or less. The priests who serve in temples mainly conduct ceremonies; there is a hierarchy of sorts, based mainly on seniority; no real centralized authority, but the various Senior Priests meet occasionally.
(b) What do people believe happens to them after death? How, if at all, can they influence this?
--Death is the end. You hope those who knew/loved you will remember you with respect.
(c) What happens to those who disagree with the majority on questions of religion?
--There are no such disagreements, merely people who take religion more, less, or not at all seriously. Kash religion was always more concerned with the Spirit world (Nature) and the Cousins than with regulating human behavior, which is better regulated by societal pressure ([dis]approval communicated by telepathy). Some people feel a particular affinity for one or another Spirit; craftsmen, sailors and farmers in particular worship/call on/appease their various spirits in private rituals. Prayer, ritual, etc. is increasingly irrelevant to most of the population nowadays. Practices that we might consider religiously prescribed-- almsgiving, the Golden Rule, etc.-- are done simply because they are The Right Thing to Do.
(d) Are there any particular places considered special or holy? What are they like?
--Some of the major temples are architecturally spectacular, with a lingering holiness that no-one would think of desecrating. Some areas have very old circular clearings in the forest, which were and sometimes still are used for ceremonies.
(e) What are the most popular rituals or festivals?
--Presentation of new-borns; religious marriages; funerals (esp., of nobles and other notables); the equinoxes and solstices; at the New Year, one is supposed to make amends for one's offenses against one's neighbors, discharge or forgive debts, etc.-- rather like Yom Kippur, but not religiously dictated; again, it is simply What One Does.
(f) What do people want from the god or gods? How do they try and get it?
--Since the Supreme Creator is distant and uninvolved with humanity, it's the Spirits in Nature that get the appeals for one's work/ventures/trips etc. to go well. But in a modern, rather secular society, what Spirit is, say, a stock-broker supposed to worship?
(g) How do their religious practices differ from their neighbours?
--They don't. All Kash, basically, believe the same things. Some Gwr areas have religions that would be more familiar to our view-- concerned with sin and redemption, the afterlife-- which the Kash view with curiosity and skepticism
(h) What is the most commonly broken religious rule?
(i) What is the least-violated religious rule?
--It's hard to think of any.....
(j) What factions exist within the dominant religious institutions? How do they compete?
--Factions based on dogmatic differences don't exist; in all the groups there is the usual politicking and jockeying for position.
(k) Are there monastic groups? What do they do and how are they organized? How do you join one?
--Yes, of several sorts. Most important, the Legal Order (judges and lawyers esp. involved with criminal cases), and the Medical Order (psycologists, psychotherapists)-- open to both men and women; one must be a very good telepath to join, and they are religious only because of their history; there are also Teaching and Nursing Orders side by side with secular teachers/nurses-- in all these the members are free to live perfectly ordinary lives, marry, have lovers etc. Nobody gets rich in these Orders, though they live comfortably and securely since Orders are well-endowed, often owning much land, and also receive support from the government. More purely religious orders include those (again MF, good telepaths) who go to wilderness areas to maintain contact with the Cousins; and one or two old, somewhat shamanistic Orders that purport to be in contact with the Spirit World. These are considered very curious and mysterious, with some odd practices; some require celibacy. Some members of the Cousin orders become so accustomed to their imagistic telepathy that their ability to speak is somwhat impaired.
(l) How are those who follow different faiths treated?
--In those border areas where Kash and Gwr are in contact, the Kash view the Gwr religions with bemused tolerance; the Gwr really don't know what to make of Kash religion. The Aliens discuss their various belief systems only if asked; in any case their policies forbid proselytizing.
(m) What relationship do religious and political leaders have?
--Fairly strong, esp. in the legal area. Noble families are expected to give reasonably sincere reverence to religious matters-- at least outwardly
(n) What superstitions are common? What kinds of supernatural events/beings do people fear?
--Some believe, at least semi-seriously, that all manner of mishaps are the work of "sprites", the malicious manifestations of certain Spirits. Some believe that dreams are revealing, and seek out the "shamans" for interpretation; some believe in a sort of astrology; some believe in, and claim to have seen, ghosts and other apparitions. As a general rule, most people fear the deep forest/jungle, mountains and caves-- anyplace where one is isolated
(a) Who decides whether someone has broken a law? How?
--Bear in mind that in a society of telepaths, it very difficult to keep a secret... (1)non-violent interpersonal disputes/violations of societal norms are expected to be resolved by the parties involved, with the aid of family, neighbors, and in difficult cases a priest/psychologist/arbiter is called on to do telepathic probes to get at the truth and motives. If this doesn't work, the offender may be hauled into a Civil Court, which can impose fines, a sort of probation, or in extreme cases jail time, during which the offender will be subject to a lot of psych. probing and counseling. (2)Civil (e.g. property, contract, fraud, embezzlement) disputes are taken to a civil court where the judges, again, are authorized to probe. Typical punishment is a fine/restitution; jail in egregious cases. (3)Violent crimes against property/person are handled by Criminal Court, which is a much stricter version of Civil Court. Because investigation is carried out by telepathic probing, the guilty party is almost always uncovered, and the job of the Court is mainly to impose sentence; mitigating circumstances are considered. Criminal Courts almost always hand out at least some jail time.
(b) What kinds of punishments are meted out? By whom? Why?
--Answered in the above, I think. In the case of (1), if a persistently obnoxious person doesn't reform after the initial process, the community may ostracize him/her with a strong injunction to seek counselling; if that doesn't work, they may be hauled into civil court, which may require counselling, perhaps in conjunction with jail time or house arrest.
(c) How are new laws created or old ones changed?
--Neighborhood, town and provincial councils; the national legislature on their own or at the suggestion of the ruler and/or legal community.
(d) Is there some form of clemency or pardon? What is involved?
--Not really, since no-one is "wrongly convicted"; if the psychs. determine that a prisoner has been truly rehabilitated, they may suggest release on parole. Assuming good behavior for a prescribed period of time, the Court will restore civil rights.
(e) Who has the right to give orders, and why?
--The police, of course; the psychs/judges in their official capacities; neighborhood/town councils may order someone to eliminate an eyesore-- if by age or infirmity they're unable to do so, the council can appoint "volunteers" to do the job; these councils routinely call up "volunteer" work-squads for things like picking up litter, raking leaves in the park etc. The days are long gone when the Karun (Duke) or other titled persons had any power to give orders to individuals.
(f) What titles do various officials have?
--Karun (Duke, head of state); minjer (deputy, legislator); governors, cabinet members etc. may also have a personal (noble) title; officers and enlisted in the Intl. Defense Force; Priests, judges, counsellors; doctors, professors...etc.
(g) How are the rules different for officials as opposed to the common person?
(h) How do government officials dress?
--Like everyone else, maybe in better materials, for everyday; noble/professional colors formally, sashes of office
(i) Is the law written down? Who interprets it?
--Yes. Priest-lawyers/judges; there is a system of Appeals Courts and a Supreme Legal Council similar to our Supreme Court.
(j) Once accused, what recourse does someone have?
--If you are wrongly, or maliciously, accused, the psychs will find out. Otherwise, psych. probing amounts to testifying against oneself
(k) Is torture allowed? What kinds?
(l) How are people executed?
--They aren't, anymore. Life in prison is the maximum punishment. Long, long ago, by being set adrift in the open sea; until a few centuries ago, by hanging or firing squad.
(m) Who cannot rise to positions of leadership?
--Theoretically, anyone can.
(n) Is bribery allowed? Under what circumstances?
--Apparently it is, since there are words for it.... A little sop to the traffic cop or the building inspector is usually overlooked, but major abuses are not tolerated.
(o) What makes someone a bad ruler in this society? What can be done about it?
--An incompetent ruler may be told to go away by his Council of Ministers and/or the Supreme Legal Council; his child or younger sibling ~a relative, or (in the past, sometimes by coup) another family altogether may be installed in his place; insanity-- harmless eccentricities may be overlooked, but the Legislature and Council will keep close watch on things, or quietly take over de facto; raving lunatics will be replaced.
(p) What are the most common or dangerous forms of criminal?
--Most common-- thieves (including the white-collar variety); most dangerous-- muggers armed with knives or clubs (firearms are very difficult to come by); non-professional telepaths with great ability, who may be able to control others; murderers.
***NB All these answers refer to times before The Destruction.***
(a) Who declares war?
--Nations, either through their Legislatures or rulers. In the far past, individual nobles, against each other
(b) Who has the power to declare conditions of peace?
--Whoever won, I suppose... At the conference following The Destruction, all nations forswore war and national armies; borders were fixed at the status quo ante.
(c) What happens to prisoners taken in battle?
--Kash tended to kill Gwrs, but treated their own kind humanely; likewise the Gwr, mutatis mutandis
(d) What form of warfare does this society use?
--Far past-- infantry with swords, knives, pikes, lances; later, firearms; pre-Destruction, motorized, planes and bombs, poison gasses on a few occasions, navies etc. etc.-- the usual dreary inventory. Nowadays, police have stun-guns, the IDF has stun-guns and large-scale stun weapons compliments of the Aliens
(e) Who are the Elite warriors? What distinguishes them?
--Anciently, individual/groups comparable to the samurai; in later times, the motorized forces
(f) How does someone get command of troops?
--Usually by virtue of having a noble title... though it was always possible to rise a good ways through the ranks. In the IDF, by seniority or merit-- it's a pretty bureaucratic institution
(g) Where do the loyalties of military units lie?
--Past: to their ruler or nation. IDF: to the World Council
(h) Are there professional soldiers? Do they make up the bulk of the military?
--Generally, they were all professional; only a few wars were large enough to require conscription. IDF is entirely professional/voluntary
(i) Has this society ever attacked another? Do they want to? What would make them do so?
--Not every often; Kash in genl. tend to be very respectful of one another; during their colonial era on Yanatros, the Gwr encouraged Oroson to extend its borders by attacking Kavatu and Holunda, but the land they took was useless mountainous areas and it was never taken back
(j) Who are their enemies? Who's winning?
--Holunda/Kavatu now have a sort of scornful coexistence with Oroson; they assume they will "win" when the keyoroson get tired of living in such a regimented society...
(k) What do soldiers do when there's no war?
--See the preface..........
(a) Does this society have its own language? Its own writing?
(b) How common is literacy? How is literacy viewed?
--Nearly 100%; it's a matter of course
(c) What form and value are books?
--Bound, like ours; mostly paperback-- hardbound in libraries and for presentation. Of great value.
(d) Who teaches others? How do they teach?
--Professional teachers, both lay and religious. In schools and classrooms.
(e) Who decides who learns to read or write?
--Society, I guess-- almost everyone learns...
(f) Who teaches professions, like carpenter or scribe?
--Colleges/research universities turn out doctors, lawyers, scholars. Crafts and trades are taught partly in high-school, later and more seriously by the various guilds (equiv. to unions, I suppose); no Business Schools-- one learns that by doing.
(g) Are foreigners ever brought in to teach new skills? Who does that?
--Yes, esp. Gwr chemists and physicists; Kash scholars also visit Gwr universities. The Aliens sometimes teach (esp. advanced telepathic techniques), but are very careful about sharing advanced technologies.
(h) How do this society's doctors try to treat wounds and sickness?
--Pretty much like ours; this is a quite advanced society, after all. Perhaps less reliance on fancy drugs; herbals are widely used.
(i) Which medical assumtions of this society are wrong?
--I don't know.
(a) What are the favorite artforms?
--Music of all sorts; painting; ceramics; literature
(b) What are the least-favorite?
--Sculpture (realistic, of humans, at least-- they're considered to look a little pompous and ridiculous)
(c) How respected are artists?
(d) Do artists require official or unofficial protection?
--No, but lucky ones find patrons
(e) What kinds of trouble are artists in particular likely to find themselves in?
--None, though if one depicts sexual acts it doesn't help one's reputation; suggestive is OK however
(f) How might a very successful artist live?
--Quite comfortably, thank you
(g) What forms of theatre does your society have?
--Spoken and musical comedies and dramas; a sort of Singspiel, not quite operatic; a growing interest in serious "opera" style since the Aliens brought some recordings of Mozart...; movies too, and at the bottom of the scale, TV
(h) How naturalistic or stylized is your society's art?
--Classical/archaic genres are quite stylized; otherwise, all schools exist-- representational, abstract, surreal/fantastic etc. etc. (nothing quite like Pop Art however-- canned goods aren't popular)
(j) What shapes are most common in your society's arts, like embroidery or architecture?
--Architecture is highly esteemed, though mainly the province of officialdom and the wealthy; temples are always circular; embroidered vests, in particular, are admired; currently fashionable are sort-of "Art Nouveau-y" designs.
(k) Which artforms get the most and least respect?
--Most: music of all varieties, even Gwr pop; poetry, serious novels/stories/movies
--Least: realistic sculpture of humans; outright sexual depictions (though there is a market for them)-- such pornography as exists is more on the order of Sade, Henry Miller etc-- "well written/depicted", perhaps in fantastic settings, with some point to it... simple sex-a-thons like "Debby Does Dallas" or "Leather Boys Go Wild" would probably bore most Kash (men, in particular-- they've probably seen it all, at least once...)
(l) What form does censorship take?
--None, except social opprobrium
(m) Who may not be an artist?
--Anyone can, if they have some talent; but many are called, few are chosen
(n) What qualities equal "beauty" in this society?
--Classical genres-- adherence to conventions, although inventive departures are admired. Otherwise, attractive ~interesting/inventive ~amusing forms/designs; design+utility
(o) What makes a man or woman especially beautiful?
--Both: proportional height/weight; decent muscle tone; attention to personal appearance/dress/hygiene. The few who have very dark brown fur, or noticeably striped black/lighter black fur, are considered special. But being rather uniform in appearance, Kash determine who's simpatico/who's not by telepathic inquiry far more than by external appearance.
(p) How do people react to tattoos? Piercings? Facial hair? Make-up?
--Because of their dense fur, tattoos are pointless; they'd be invisible (The furry Gwr do tattoos, but they're a sign of organized crime membership. In the olden days, Kash sailors sometimes got tattoos in Gwr port towns, but they ended up being ashamed of them, and seldom showed them off to civilians.) Ear piercings (often multiple) are common, both MF; some groups-- e.g. police-- affect an earring that somehow indicates their profession. Nothing else is pierced, and would be considered outré if it were done. Facial hair-- well, yes. It's the lack of hair (because of disease, or because one has had surgery) that they find embarrassing. There are some few-- crazy artist types, circus performers-- who use clippers to carve textured designs in their fur (rarely down to bare skin, which is greyish), strictly for fun and pour épater les bougeoises. Idle rich women, and transvestites, paint their nails and may use (colorless) gloss on their lips and nose-tip.
(a) Is sex confined to marriage?
(b) Or, is it supposed to be? What constitutes aberrant behavior?
--No. Although monogamy/faithfulness is a desideratum, no woman expects a male partner to be abstinent during the 3 months between her receptive periods-- after all, men are always horny, and that's where their buddies come in handy. Religiously married couples, since they tend to be more mature, handle monogamy much better.
--Aberrant behavior? Hmm, extreme S&M, some fetishes, extreme promiscuity or sexual addiction
(c) Is there anything about this culture or religion in that culture that specifically addresses sexual conduct?
(d) Are there laws about it? What about prostitution?
--No. Prostitution of a sort exists (see also the discussion at III above)
(e) How old should someone be in your culture to be having sex?
--It's assumed that once the kids hit puberty (around age 10) they'll be doing it in some form or other
(f) What is considered too great a difference in age for a couple?
--None, really; though a 50-l7 (cf. terran 65-20s) match-up might raise amused eyebrows and cause speculation about the younger person's mercenary motives-- which is, indeed, often the case
(g) Do relationships allow multiple partners?
--Yes; a MMF or MFF trio can form a civil union; less often a religious one. Actually same-sex couples tend to be more monogamous than MF, though it's always a matter of choice.
(h) Should sex be a one-to-one experience? Or are groups allowed?
--Most of the time, one-to-one; but groups and outright orgies aren't unheard of
(i) And, of course, what about homosexuality? Is it frowned on? Encouraged?
--Isn't it clear by now? Kash society is 80% bisexual, 10% exclusive homo (not a problem unless you're in line for a throne, title, or great wealth, in which case you will marry, and produce an heir by whatever means), and 10% exclusive hetero (both 10%'s are considered a bit neurotic).
(a) What is their understanding of death and dying?
--Death is the end of the body; whether of the soul is open to debate, as many believe the soul may hang around in a favorite place or possession. Most believe, however, that the soul merges with the Spirit World; some believe that souls (both good and bad) may return in a later generation
(b) Do they cremate their dead? Or, how are dead bodies disposed of?
--Cremation is near-universal amongst the Kash, except for those who die at sea-- they are consigned to the deep; a lifelong sailor may choose that, too. There are crematoria; but in isolated areas, the body will be cremated on a pyre. Kings and karuns are also cremated publicly, on a pyre. In all cases, most of the ashes are scattered, perhaps in the forest or on one's ancestral lands, in one's garden, at sea, etc. A small portion are kept in an urn in the family/ancestral shrine.
(c) Is the family responsible for the body?
--Yes; cremation typically takes place within a day; a longer delay entails cold storage-- there is no embalming.
(d) What part do the priests play?
--They chant, burn a lot of incense, console the survivors and wish the soul happiness on its journey and repose at the end
(e) Are there cemeteries at all?
--Not anymore. There are a few (on the continents), from very early times, mostly for noble families-- long ago, the corpse was burned only until most or all the soft tissues were consumed; the bones were collected and placed in a large urn which was either buried, or kept in a family mausoleum. (This is still an option, but considered rather bizarre, and only a few kings/karuns and heads of monastic orders do it.)
(f) Or, does everyone have a crypt in back with all the relatives in it?
--Not anymore (see the previous answer). But every home has a niche set aside as a family/ancestral shrine.
(g) Do people visit the dead? If so, how often and why?
--On important family occasions (birth, marriage, death) they will gather at the family shrine to make the announcement; some visit it more often, to meditate on mortality, and perhaps handle Uncle John's favorite spoon and hopefully connect with him in memory.
(a) What do people in this culture think about suicide?
--It is acceptable, esp. if one feels one has been terribly dishonored; or is terminally ill, or even just elderly, alone and depressed. In this last case, one should go through a certain amount of counselling, but the option remains. Doctors and certain priests are authorized to assist with a lethal injection; there is a religious ceremony, often with family members or friends present. Otherwise, the most common way is to go to some private place and open one veins (remember, firearms are rare) . Violent public acts, like jumping off a building, are considered vulgar and probably due to derangement.
(b) Is it the greatest sin one can commit? Or is it a sin at all?
--Not a sin at all. But the suicide (indeed, any death) of a young person is considered a tragedy and a failure of family, friends and society.
(c) Is it the great and last comfort of a tormented soul?
(d) Is it worse than murder?
--Not at all.