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Serra K

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Apr 2, 2022
Sydney, Australia
Within the frame of the fantasy genre, what is your opinion on the following?

How realistic do you think it would be for a society to pass down barbaric practices, designed to prove a specific fact, if a less barbaric process is available and equally efficacious?

What if that barbaric practice was modeled on an important historic event which shaped the society and its culture?

Do you know of any practices, past or present, that fit this description in the real world?
 
This is too vague for me; I'd need more info.
There are so many barbaric practices in history, all over the world. Some to prove the existence of god or deity, some to ensure power over the minds of the uneducated, some to enforce a ritual ownership [I would include marriage in this].
An example of barbarism [I used to be a horse person] would be the bits used on war-horses in Britain [there are statues in some museum showing them] which prove that a man can overpower a large beast. It's barbaric, but men won wars using these barbarisms [isn't war a barbaric act?].
Boxing, MMA, etc. are barbaric acts, but not banned because of the huge money made from gambling - which is the barbarism: allowing it, or enabling it so the gambling can continue [taxes, to improve the life of all, they say]? These are modern forms, but they come from the history of physical sports that can maim, kill, disfigure.

So, an idea of the practice, or something around a practice, might help home in on specifics.
 
Sounds like you're doing some worldbuilding. Have you read/seen The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood? There are some pretty barbaric concepts in that, which she had thoroughly researched before writing because, at some point in history, those practices happened. IMHO, as long as you proportionately justify why a barbaric practice exists, then a reader will follow you. Just look at The Hunger Games.
 
@RK Capps Yes, The Handmaid's Tale is a good example of this. I'm trying to look at the inner workings of the human psyche and figure out how groups of people can collectively accept or excuse a barbaric practice, even if these acts are questioned at the individual level.
Proportionate justification seems like the solution to this, I just need to figure out if I can pull that off!
 
@RK Capps Yes, The Handmaid's Tale is a good example of this. I'm trying to look at the inner workings of the human psyche and figure out how groups of people can collectively accept or excuse a barbaric practice, even if these acts are questioned at the individual level.
Proportionate justification seems like the solution to this, I just need to figure out if I can pull that off!

Getting the right proportionate right takes lots of trial and error. I can only recommend consuming some documentaries and studying history to see how much life can change people.
 
Within the frame of the fantasy genre, what is your opinion on the following?

How realistic do you think it would be for a society to pass down barbaric practices, designed to prove a specific fact, if a less barbaric process is available and equally efficacious?

What if that barbaric practice was modeled on an important historic event which shaped the society and its culture?

Do you know of any practices, past or present, that fit this description in the real world?
Abstinence over birth control.

Edit: not sure if this fits in the frame of fantasy.
 
Something that might be worth considering is who thinks the practice is barbaric – the reader, another society in your fantasy world, a specific character?

Many things in the real world come to mind: worshipping idols, wearing veils, genital mutilation, ritual scarification, child labour, bullfighting, eating dogs, absence of public healthcare, CEO salaries and... the... list... goes... on. For each of those things, there are people who think them valid practices while others think they are barbaric.
 
@RK Capps Yes, The Handmaid's Tale is a good example of this. I'm trying to look at the inner workings of the human psyche and figure out how groups of people can collectively accept or excuse a barbaric practice, even if these acts are questioned at the individual level.
Proportionate justification seems like the solution to this, I just need to figure out if I can pull that off!
Research the psychological phenomenon of "Group think" and "the bystander effect". Idolisation of a leadership figure can also have a strong effect on a person's beliefs or even just conformity.
 
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