Table of Contents
Dark Arcadia is sovereign nation existing solely on artificial ground. The island is stationary in the Atlantic ocean to the west and slightly south of the Azores, but by design could move if it became a necessity (though certainly not easily, and largely by merit of not being attached to the sea-bed). It takes its stability in storms partly from its size - about 900km² (half the size of Maui) - and partly from a fairly elastic design, letting the structure absorb excess energy.
The demonym of Dark Arcadia, as well as its adjective form, is Arcan, though frequently rendered as d'Arcadian outside the nation.
The nation considers itself a meritocracy, currently run by its founder Francisco Ahlgren, but is internationally considered to be a glorified dictatorship.
Dark Arcadia's timezone is a year-round GMT-2. Its international calling code is +294.
Phoenisse is the heart of the nation, even situated accordingly - fairly far in the north, off to the east (its right on the map, the very approximate whereabouts of where one would expect the heart of a human to be from an onlooker's perspective). It's a largely residential district, as well as containing most of the nation's museums.
Colloquially, it is considered the government district, though there are few buildings designated as such in Dark Arcadia in general, and Phoenisse cannot lay claim to more than average.
Turule is a peripheral district bordered to the north by the Dark Arcadian airport (which is not assigned to any district, itself), and took most damage during Operation Tidefire - a strategic hit, seeing as that the district is the closest the import nation Dark Arcadia has to an industrial sector.
Dark Arcadia is a sliver removed from anarchy. The Archon's purpose, while constitutionally seemingly granted absolute power, is one of being a figurehead both within the nation and to give it a presence in international politics (really only so the nation isn't just nuked or invaded or considered stateless and thus welcome for the taking).
In practise, the nation is anarcho-monarchist and anarcho-capitalist, but this goes unnoticed from the outside world largely due to the nation having a constitution, not to mention the Arcan people largely do not like to call themselves either (see introductory paragraph).
Dark Arcadia is most famous for its constitution, seen by non-Dark Arcadians as philosophical, political and judicial target practise, e.g. in schools, criticised for several prominent points:
- It's considered as giving the nation's Archon far too much power and effectively be the 'constitution' of a dictatorship, due to the typical political separation of the executive, legislative and judicial being far less distinct and in parts even absent.
- While the subject of much pride within Dark Arcadia, the loose definition of 'an individual' and someone who could apply for Arcan Citizenship is also frequently under fire for being laughably vague.
- It's considered barbaric for defining someone's body as a possession of that individual, equating, constitutionally at least (laws certainly lay it out differently), the destruction of a piece of property the same as murder.
An Arcan themselves would chalk most of these points up to a fundamental misunderstanding of the nation. Dark Arcadia's constitution also requires citizens to be psychologically screened before entrance, making duds far less likely to destroy the otherwise fairly fragile system.
A far greater criticism from international sources is Dark Arcadia's unbudging stance toward human rights, having refused to sign any treaties. Given that Ahlgren's continued criticism is that the definitions outlined in these treaties are vague, the nation is often seen as hypocritical by outside observers (see point #2 of constitution criticism).
What is treason in the minds of men but the betrayal of one's nation? What is a nation but the collection of your neighbours and your neighbour's neighbours? What is a nation but that which we call society?
Dark Arcadia knows of the crime of treason as any other culture. Our treason is not persecuted but no less insidious. It is met with visceral ostracism. Our culture tolerates murderers and thieves more, for their crimes are transparent and their evil clear.
Treason is subtle.
Treason begins with inspiring fear of society in the minds of your neighbours. Treason begins with promising protection from evils that do not exist. Treason begins with nurturing distrust and paranoia between men.
It is to say: 'You are victims, do you not see? No one is looking out for you. What misery lies undiscovered in your life! Look here, open your eyes. These people do not give you your entitled share. These people do not treat you fairly. What have they done for you? They have always had their own interest in mind. You do not matter to them as they matter to you.'
It is an irrefutable scheme. You have no insight into the minds that are not your own. You know not their motivations. You know not what they base their judgements on. It is easy to see malice in the dark where no light reaches. It is easy to be afraid; afraid of the multitudes of tortures man can inflict on man. Like someone given a certain number only to be surprised at its fallaciously overwhelming prevalence, your mind will burn the mediocre from your life as if it did not exist and leave the bad deeds standing bare for display, dominating the landscape.
Our treason is to say:
Give me command of your life and I will protect you.” -Francisco Ahlgren
The nation was 'founded' in 2027 by Francisco Ahlgren at age 19, first existing as a serious micronation amongst the internet on a server physically based in India, rapidly adopting followers. Construction of the island began in 2029 after Ahlgren struck a deal with a company. The 'foundation work' gathered much international interest, and given its position in international waters much like the Principality of Sealand, was quickly recognised even by the uninformed as a micronation.
Unlike Sealand, a significant economic interest rolled toward Dark Arcadia, primarily due to its position in the ocean catering first to 'pit stops' between Europe and America, then to a pleasant means of being at better availability for both of those major timezones, crafting an overlap, and becoming a hub for several large upstart companies.
Growth has been rapid, though recently abating. Current construction is in the south-east of the island.
Politically, the dynamically designed nation has been grossly stagnant, in that Ahlgren has lead it for the entirety of its existence, which has not helped international perception any.
Dark Arcadia's culture has partly manifested itself by design. Being a freshly constructed nation founded in such radically different ways than other nations, Ahlgren has had much control over the philosophies applied.
The five most prominent aspects of Dark Arcadian cultures as far as outsiders are concerned are:
- reversed gender-acceptancy in regards to cosmetics (which is to say, male Arcans are more likely to wear make-up than female Arcans)
- the Arcan ability of choosing one's own full name when joining as a citizen (hatefully described either as attempts of losing international authorities or brutal severence of familial bonds, depending on whom you ask)
- the nation's nocturnal habits and/or the fact that most of the citizens seem to suffer some degree of workaholism, Ahlgren first and foremost.
- the perceivedly optional nature of Arcan laws - the nation has a polycentric legal system extending the constitution and there are spaces on Arcan soil where some 'fundamental' (from an outside perspective) laws can be violated. There's no means of accidentally ending up in such places, but this tends to be ignored by outsiders.
- the quirk of law of a fluid age at which one is considered an adult (defined in the constitution as an age between 8 and 26 at the parents' discretion)
Beyond these internationally recognised quirks, Dark Arcadia is rich with own culture, such as that public transport is the greatly preferred method of transport, and that most Arcan work is done from home.
With no state-funded social security, Arcans tend to form strong ties to their neighbours, and financial aid is readily given to those in need (providing, of course, that they're not arseholes).
Classically familial ties are as weak or strong as the individuals in them want them to be - clusters tend to form more by shared interests than by biological relation, such as a man born Samuel Delgado becoming the Arcan citizen Paul Greyhound to live with the emotionally adopted brother Justin Greyhound (originally Caine Ahlgren). Though as much as names are not indicative of familial ties, they are also not indicative of social bonds or the lack thereof; Justin very much looks up to and respects his father, despite opting out of a shared surname.
Education in Dark Arcadia is fundamentally decentralised, but a few sweeping generalisations can be made about the curriculum based on what Arcan culture at large seems to consider necessary and practical (roughly in order of importance):
- Language I
Reading and writing, with latter focussed entirely on 'how to' and not 'what to'. Then there are course(s) in international symbolism. And that's all.
Perception classes teach an Arcan child about how they and their fellow human beings perceive the world, what (or, more precisely, how) this perception tells one about fundamental realities, and how to increase one's own awareness. Subtopics include:
The basics and nuances of responsibility, and why it's crucial to survival (and society).
Topics typically covered by philosophy classes are deontology, consequentialism, solipsism (and why it doesn't matter), sentience and sapience, identity, the role of technology in philosophy (e.g. the Puppet progression toward autonomy and ethical considerations thereof) and transhumanism.
- Human Psychology
Classes here often contain information about human tribal tendencies and how to bypass their ill effects without causing cognitive dissonance. The fundamental nature of emotions as a heuristic versus logic as an algorithm and their respective strengths are also usually discussed.
This is a far cry from what non-Arcans would imagine it to be, as it completely forgoes art styles from a historic or political context and instead focusses on how art suffers the 'accurate reproduction' problem and how the different styles solve it (e.g. cubism, surrealism, versus classic art). It also does not teach any particular art style, but heavily focusses on training the Arcan eye for details and defining features of aspects of the world.
This is possibly the only Arcan class that universally gives homework. The learning class gives you learning and research tips. Tests are conducted by giving you subjects taught elsewhere in the world, e.g. geography, but are not (usually) part of Arcan curriculum, where you're asked to answer a complex question by yourself. Note: Asking people or copying from them (in mutual consent) is not discouraged.
- Internet Research
This focusses on how to successfully search on the internet or other digital media, and how to use information from open websites that anyone can edit (like Wikipedia) by making use of page histories and permalinks, as well as truly verifying the content by reading the references.
- Library Research
Such things as categories, indices and alphabetic order is mentioned here, but also tips about how to assess the credibility of a book in brief (heuristically).
- How to find and talk to experts
Pragmatism class pertains to common and uncommon (but not rare!) real life situations and how to handle them. Most of the example subtopics should be self-explanatory:
- First Aid
- Assessing danger in criminal situations (and how-to civil courage)
- Some real life help with:
- Motivation for chores in general
- Basic Cooking
- Time Management (how to take your time, and why this is important)
Amongst other things, often teaches how to gracefully deal with having your business fail, since it presupposes you don't need to be quite as prepared if it goes well.
Most likely Austrian, also conceivably Chicago. Arcans will consider economic theory important for everyday life, and lectures will be laid out as tangible and entertaining as possible so they stick. An economically badly informed Arcan is often considered no Arcan at all. Topics often grazed include: The labour theory of value (and why Arcans reject it), how the stock market Actually Works, what international trade is and what it isn't, …
This tends to give an overview of the elseworld political spectrum (i.e. 'classic' left and right), the problem of rational voter ignorance in democracies, the tendencies of states to grow over time even with best intentions (e.g. the problem of tax being a case of focused gain and diffused losses), and various political structures (monarchy/dictatorship, democracy, anarchy, etc).
- Language II
Language II class tends to have a strong emphasis on communication - not so much glyphs as Language I does.
- How to systematically learn foreign languages
This usually ties into Learning-classes. This tends to be preferred over teaching any one specific language, but implementation varies. It tends to include information about how languages reflect cultures and how to truly speak a language (if that's your goal) you need to understand more than grammar and vocabulary.
- Argumentation and true diplomacy
This tends to be the largest chunk of Language II and provides guidance to giving constructive criticism, how to spot and deal with logical fallacies (pro tip: accusing your opponent of using one is typically not the way), how to tell apart arguments meant as attacks rather than as discussion (fallacies alone aren't enough), what the benefit of honesty over dishonesty is (and what downsides are to either, and how to train oneself to be honest (but not an asshole :P) if one believes it to be superior (as Arcans tend to)), how to go about understanding people's motivations if they're foreign to you, and the perpetual greyscale (i.e. how things tend not to have black and white answers, for example the hot-button topic abortion).
- Hard Science
This tends to be thin since it goes against the general Arcan education philosophy of teaching methods rather than hard facts - however, even Arcans can't do without a bit of those! These are some of the subtopics covered by Hard Science:
- Scientific method
Covers things like peer-reviewing, double-blind experiments, etc.
Thought this would never get a mention? This is where you'd find basic mathematics, basic algebra and some higher geometry (e.g. dimensionality and topology, usually to promote abstract thinking).
Covers the basic forces such as gravity, electromagnetism and nuclear radiation.
Tends to cover basics and acids and how to treat chemical burns. The periodic table tends to be woefully neglected.
Tends to cover basic anatomy.
Dark Arcadia has no military, but is protected by Europe.
A strong political bond is presumed to exist between the two nations, but they're secretive about it, excepting Europe's undying loyalty to Dark Arcadia, militaristically. In other political topics (as represented on the Arcan side by Francisco), the nations vehemently disagree on many subjects.
Dark Arcadia currently grants citizenship to select dolphins, and political sanctuary for any others that wish it. Communication with these creatures is sub-optimal, currently, but the Dark Arcadian pet project, the Cetacean Communication Project, involves improving the archaic methods currently employed in favour of a more fluid/organic virtual reality interface.
To nutshell, killing a dolphin in Dark Arcadian waters is treated as murder.
- Francisco Ahlgren, Archon of Dark Arcadia, somewhat mercurial diplomat and completely deliberate adult child.