(I’m cheating, a little, because the title of this post refers to a specific person…and this post is actually about a culture. Nevertheless, the person is a member of that culture, and I needed another X post.)
I’m not as drawn to quarian culture as I am to specific individuals who happen to be quarian (anyone else have rage over the lack of fem!Shep/Tali in ME2 and 3???), but the central tenet of quarian religion is very present in my own practices – ancestor veneration.
From the Wiki:
“…The quarians used to practice a form of ancestor worship. This involved taking a personality imprint from the individual and developing it into an interface similar to a VI. The quarians began experimenting with making these imprints more and more sophisticated, hopefully leading to the wisdom of their ancestors being preserved in an imprint that could be truly intelligent. However, the geth destroyed the quarians’ ancestor databanks when they rebelled. Some quarians saw their subsequent exile as punishment for their hubris, but most accept that the geth rebellion was a mistake, not a punishment.
However, respect for their ancestors is still prevalent in quarian society…”
I venerate my ancestors; I don’t usually call it worship, but there are aspects of what I do for them that might deserve that appellation. I take a moment to think of them when I pass the shrine I’ve set up in the living room. I offer water and beer to them when I remember to do so (not regularly, but often enough that I think I can count it). I remember, with intent, the ones I knew, and muse on the ones I didn’t, and pray for them, and once or twice I’ve asked for intervention from them.
I’ve also been known, on occasion, to meditate on the larger…conglomeration that is Ancestors with a capital A…which I think may be more in line with how modern (future?) quarians invoke their ancestors:
“Blessed are the ancestors who kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season. Keelah se’lai.” – Mass Effect 2, Tali’s Loyalty Mission
Here, in this invocation, I can see gratitude to both individual ancestors (some known, some not) but also to Ancestors – the quarians who grew a culture and civilization on Rannoch; the quarians who were driven from their homeworld by the geth and thus formed a nomadic society to wander space; the quarians who kept the flotilla in repair and able to maintain and sustain life. All of these groups had a hand in ensuring the survival of those who came after, and thus all of these groups can claim the gratitude that is offered.
The same is true for those that came before me; there are many groups of people that contributed something toward my existence today, and even if individuals can be condemned (and some are, believe me!) the larger community of Ancestors deserves my recognition and my thanks. And so, in this, I find yet another religious practice from the video game realm that has useful real-world application…which seems to go against the pronouncements of many about the triviality of gaming.
(What usefulness will I find in Tamriel, I wonder?)