Are you saying that in a population of trillions, there isn't room for an enlightened philosopher? The Aslan have had to battle their destructive instincts throughout history, otherwise they would have consumed each other in a barrage of mushroom clouds long before they ever developed
the jump drive (never mind whether they invented or stole it).
The Aslan had to invent an artifice—fteir
—to keep from killing each other. That invention has made them perhaps the most
sophontarian of all the major races, save humans. If you adopt fteir
, then you are accepted into the Hierate. Sure, the best you can hope for is to rise to awkhea
, but this differs from abject slavery. If you sweep in and enslave other species without giving them the chance to come to fteir
, then you truly deprive them of the opportunity to see the merits of honor. There's a reason slavery is outlawed in the Hierate. The Aslan tendency, their path of least resistance, might be to kill or enslave every "weak" herbivore/omnivore they find and fight every opposing predator to the death for their land. But that isn't what they do. Why? Fteir
. It is honorable to give other sophonts the right to come to the light; otherwise, as that old softy Yuleihehar says, you denigrate both the subjugated and his fteirle
master. Clans who practiced slavery were considered to be part of the tsekho
, the "progressive" faction, and were purged during the Uwaralyekose
Fteir has guided the Aslan to some of their greatest accomplishments and enabled them to do some things that are highly contrary to their instincts. To wit:
- The Aslan learned that to battle to annihilation was fruitless and signed the Peace of Ftahalr.
- They have learned to sublimate their desire for land into other pursuits such as trade (the Ahroay'if and Tlaiowaha), knowledge (the Darrian Aslan), glorious deeds (the Esuaheakhahryoyulr of Hradus), science and technology (the Wahtoi) the list goes on.
- The Aslan engaged in a Cultural Purge to rid themselves of those who would not adhere to the strict codes of fteir.
The quote you cited was taken out of context. "The Aslan have incorporated numerous minor races into the Hierate. These species, ranging from the avian descended Pol Nox to the reptilian Z’kr to the Ulane. Races encountered by the Aslan early
in their expansion were usually enslaved or annihilated, but modern
Aslan are more likely to incorporate other races into the Hierate or trade with them. Incorporated races are permitted to form clans and own territory, and may even be treated as the equals of Aslan if they behave properly, although few non-Aslan ever rise above the rank of awkhea (landless serf)."
The story of the Aslan is—in part—whether a predator-descended species can curb its instincts to create and maintain an interstellar civilization. There are multiple opposing forces among them and the jury is out whether or not they can learn to get along with others. But there is a place in Aslan society for sophontarianism, and old Yuleihehar is its patron saint. Now, those of us who follow canon know that another "philosopher" is about to come around the bend (Lakht Aorlakht
, anyone?) who sees things a bit differently, but that is a tale for another time.
Thanks for the lively debate, Baldo!