Society of the ethnic Gallente
The society of the ethnic Gallente is a term that is somewhat of a misnomer, given the fact there is no single ethnic Gallente society. Rather, it can be considered a 'society of societies', unique in the sense that conformity is not enforced or otherwise indirectly encouraged. An ethnic Gallente is free to define themselves however they desire and pursue whatever they like, so long as their pursuits do not violate the inalienable liberties of others. Indeed, many say that the only defining aspects of the ethnic Gallente is that there aren't any.
As the Federation is not a cultural or ethnic entity, its constituent societies do not hand down any sense of purpose to its citizens, leaving each individual to discover their own identity by themselves. Gallente education systems particularly emphasize finding one's own purpose, leaving some ethnic Gallente to pursue a leisure activity or religion, all in order to discover the meaning of what it is to be human. Believing humans should have as much free time as possible for these endeavors, a wide variety of social technology has been pioneered by the Gallente, which also contributes significantly to their democracy. The massive diversity (such as in language) and lack of any societal rigidity has created unique questions regarding identity, and has not held back from the ethnic Gallente forming a notable diaspora amongst the stars.
The hedonism spawned by such an individualistic society is sometimes dismissed as tasteless and crass by citizens of other empires, but only small parts of the ethnic Gallente cultures could be seen as lacking principle (or simply not having the same set of principles as those who ridicule them). It is often the case that meticulous moral and/or artistic standards are abided by, for no other reason than for its own sake.
The ethnic and non-ethnic Gallente societies exhibit an unrivalled level of diversity, but the only unifying factor for most of them is individuality, which is in turn considered a diverse topic with numerous differing (and often opposing) definitions. The individualistic culture manifests itself in many different ways.
Some societies amongst the Gallente, particularly those in harsher or poorer environments, are noted for exhibiting collectivist tendencies. However, the key difference from this form of collectivism to that of the Caldari (for example), is that the individual is putting the needs of others before their own by their own free will, and is not culturally enforced to doing so. Others are more selfish, where individuals are considered as the champions of their own personal universes. Competition is rife, with citizens attempting to outdo one another by purchasing the latest car or upgrading their house. Paranoia in these communities can thus be common. Residences will be spaced out considerably with complex but discreet security systems. Most of these individuals will stick to their own bubbles, and take unkindly to those who attempt to impose themselves, with good intentions or not.
The most common and popular image of a Gallente society, however, is where the individual is seen as a near-divine and precious entity, being the base unit of human civilization. These communities are noted for being home to friendly, open-minded, and welcoming people. Each individual will have their own unique lifestyles and beliefs, but this will not be a source of social segregation. Rather, it creates a vibrant and progressive community, where misfits can slot in, artists can find their venues, and champions of every cause can find their soapbox. These societies typically exist in major, well-connected and cosmopolitan cities or towns. Although it is the most frequent perception of the Federation (thus making it a big draw for immigrants), these particular cultures do not exist universally in the union, nor are in a full majority.
Ultimately, each and every Gallente has their own definition of individualism, what it entails and what it means. They will thus coalesce into communities that are attuned to one another's viewpoints on individuality and libertarianism, this socio-ideological grouping being one of the main contributing factors of the Federation's megadiversity. Those in Solitude would define individualism as being able to take care of oneself independent of any outside aid, whereas those in Caille might define it more as being able to tolerate and appreciate one another's uniqueness. It is said a thousand communities exist for each of the countless definitions of individualism (or combinations thereof), making the Federation appear as a much more larger place than it is physically.
The Gallente are the masters of pleasure and entertainment, and their rich trade empire has given the cluster many of its primary tourist destinations and sights. The lack of hardships on Gallente Prime compared to other homeworlds meant that there was a large amount of free time for various recreational pursuits. This made the pursuit of pleasure a key part of Gallente culture, philosophized as a human requirement and/or reward for hard work. The visual, performing and literary arts was one such avenue, and leisure activities was another.
The below are just a small selection of the countless leisure activities undertaken by the Gallente.
In the ancient world, countless sports were undertaken to pass the time, particularly water games and ball sports. These games varied between competitive to cooperative, or sometimes combining the two together, such as sports that would rely on individual initiative for an edge in team competition. They would very rarely be violent in nature, however. Cutting-edge technology has permitted many of these ancient games to ascend into the modern era, such as Skyball. Hologames (that emulate sports or otherwise) are physically demanding, and are commonly found as a key part of Gallente with fast-paced lifestyles, keeping them fit and healthy without having to leave the home.
Though new sports commonly sprout up, whether from the school playground or from a local culture, very few gain traction in the long-term. The only sports to be consistent in their popularity are zero-g games (a marriage of ancient ball and water sports). The commercialization means that large corporations are wary of taking risks in investing in new trends, though there is certainly money to be made in the short-term. Gallente zero-g games have taken their place alongside Caldari combat tournaments as New Eden's primary genres of sport.
The popular practice of leeching and unorthodox medicine originated from Gallente tribes, most of which have become extinct during modernization (excluding those individuals and groups who wish to cultivate the history). This is a continuing trend into the modern day, and has contributed to the Gallente medical authorities being adaptable and possessing an adept understanding of the human body.
Rather than using leeches nowadays, small discs with miniscule grapplers would traverse their occupants' backs until they sensed something beyond the skin (what this actually would be depends on who one asks). A little local anaesthetic would be injected before the metal leeches latch on. To ameliorate the visual discomfort caused by the sight of the discs, the bleeding causes their carapaces to change, unfurling petals reminiscent of iridescent flowers. The petals served as status indicators, and once their colours had changed from white to a darkened orange they would be removed, typically with great ceremony. A part of a subtle mental therapy was the idea that their blood had given life to another entity.
Recreational drug use
Though the Federation has fought a war with drug cartels for decades, the ethnic Gallente have continued to recreationally consume light narcotics throughout their history. When the Garouners began to explore other lands on the homeworld, they discovered exotic locations with new species of herbs and flora. The Garouners were already notorious wine drinkers and smokers of herbs found in their local marshlands.
These consumables would stimulate philosophical thought that would develop the culture and politics of the Garoun Empire. Thus, new substances in new lands were associated with new ideas, something the Gallente have always been hungry for. Only the wealthy, such as merchants and the intelligentsia, would be the primary consumers of these. At the end of the world wars and the start of the Information Age, recreational drug use became common amongst the everyday citizen. As entire societies were now becoming integrated and globalized, it was considered important that everyone was now on the same wavelength, and not just the elite.
Such a practice exploded again during interstellar exploration and colonization. In discovering new cultures, Gallente would often consume their local herbs alongside them to better understand their ways (with surprising levels of success). The idea that new planets with unique biologies that could potentially offer new ideas set the market wild, as the rapidly-expanding Federation was discovering new worlds by the week.
Unsurprisingly, there is no scientific correlation between the level of popular drug use and the ideological evolution of the Federation, no matter how much proponents state there is. Moreover, the social, cultural and political development of the Federation as it expanded is rarely associated with new drugs, but more with the fact that the expansion of territory brought the expansion of ideas. Opponents of drug use and citizens neutral on the issue simply point out that the concept of discovering new concepts through new substances is merely a convenient notion to justify the practice.
Pushing the boundaries in defining the human condition is common amongst many Gallente, and so-called bodymodders do so with the human physique. Many pursue body-modding for experimentation or wanting to attain what they consider the perfect figure. There is a niche, however, for more extreme mods.
Those within this niche consider the modification of the human body as a form of high art, in the same way one modifies a canvas. Bodies can be used to display slow-motion plays, their skin showing off colorful vistas with moving actors in the foreground. Simpler versions of this, usually covering some minor part of the body and frequently involving starships or the natural world, would have tattoos that moved jerkily, like stop-motion imagery not dissimilar to neon blinklights. The motion of these tattoos would get progressively smoother depending on their complexity and level of skin coverage.
Other mods can go deeper, using implants that bulge and writhe under the skin. Series of small metal spikes, aligned in a straight line, can poke out in rhythm through the flesh of a forearm, capable of tapping out lines of music. Variations of these types of mods could expand and extend very sharp feelers that can slowly rotate on their bearers' skin. Cutaneous alterations can turn the skin scaly and silver, or given a multihued, oily patina. Some turn the skin rough and coarse, often inset with tufts of shaggy hair. Sharp teeth is used to complement those with rough and hairy skin.
The most notorious bodymodding community, present on a handful of worlds, are the Replacers. The Replacers are known to remove parts of their bodies entirely, be it skin, hair, bits of muscle and so on. Despite the name, some forego replacement, leaving the remains either bound with transparent sealant or left in glass-like tubing. Similar to an open wound or a gaping maw, this leaves the insides visible to others. Those who are fans of anatomy appreciate being able to view the muscles pull and contract on skinless limbs.
Other Replacers frequently install mods that are considered bizarre and non-human by many. Insect wings instead of shoulder blades, or replacing the upper body's sinews with tree roots are two reported designs. Liquefied Replacers are known for replacing an inner body part or entire organ with a chemical soup that serves the same task, stored in an unbreakable glass-alloy display container that reaches all the way to the surface of the body.
The mindset of the more extreme bodymodders is not a widely accepted viewpoint, but tolerated nonetheless. It is spawned from the Gallente's love of futuristic technologies (detailed below), but many feel that such styles of body modification is taking this culture to the extreme.
The pleasure hub is a staple of Gallente leisure time. They can be found as planetary resorts or entire space stations, or just smaller centers in cities and starbases. The content of these pleasure hubs vary immensely. To more run-down markets, they are little more than glorified brothels. For the rich, many outsiders (and even Gallente citizens) are surprised at just how profligate upper class hubs can get.
The more common image of a pleasure hub in the popular mindset is one that offers nearly anything a patron can think of. Using the best in lifestyle technology, entire tropical paradises and tourist cities can be erected, or entertainment complexes that offer the best in virtual simulation. The pleasure hub has become so prolific in New Eden, that other empires (with the exception of the Amarr Empire) now operate their own brands, either to cater to their own cultural bracket or to keep Gallente companies at bay.
These pleasure hubs evolved from bathhouses used by the Garoun Empire. The bathhouses were open in both senses; they would welcome both genders within the same space, and their marble constructions were often built around the local flora. While this element of Gallente history is often ridiculed as decadent, such behavior was very rare in the bathhouses. Instead, individuals from both genders would come to discuss cultural and philosophical matters, typically over a glass of wine.
A popular legend is that some of the most prolific philosophical ideas of the Gallente (such as ending slavery) emerged from bathing cultural elite, a nod to the Gallente habit of combining luxury with liberal philosophy.
Although all civilizations pursue science, the ethnic Gallente have a unique interest in the advancement of technology for social purposes, rather than the more common ends of military and/or economic dominance. Several of the richer worlds in the Federation, such as Gallente Prime, are in a state of post-scarcity, all due to pursuing technological advances to increase quality and ease of everyday living. The pioneering of and subsequent reliance on AI, drones, and other forms of automation on these highly developed worlds decreases the working week significantly. The pursuit of automated perfection is a constant search in many Gallente societies.
Much of these scientific applications overlap with leisure activities detailed above, but the same technologies are often used for political and economic purposes as well. Indeed, the Gallente are known for having societies with accessible and highly-integrated domestic technologies.
The first instance of the ethnic Gallente inventing a unique social technology was during their Information Age, constructing a global telecommunications network. Although initially utilized by military forces, it would gradually be accessible by the everyday citizen. As a result, cross-cultural communication exploded, with people interacting with one another across the planet on an individual (rather than national) basis. It took only a few years for this technology to become portable and miniaturized, with citizens staying connected wherever they were.
Only when Faster Than Light Communication was invented in 23146AD, was Luminaire able to export such technological concepts across entire planets and systems, creating the modern day GalNet. Soon after the invention of Military Drones in the Gallente-Caldari War, the technology became prevalent in industry, and then as municipal and domestic services within cities and homes.
Implant technology has allowed individuals to connect to the FTL networks, but this is only accessible to the wealthy. Gallente Prime sets the cluster's standard for technological integration with everyday living, being decades ahead of its closest rivals. Other worlds in the Federation vary in infrastructure.
Outside of the below, the ethnic Gallente have countless other technologies that assist everyday living, many exclusive to individual cities or planets who may hold the patents. Use of implants can be common, especially for social networking and augmented realities, but the price of this technology keeps the availability of such items amongst the more well-off societies. A couple of other examples include efficient automated transport to new urban development proposals being holographically projected in its desired location for the electorate's approval, though exact forms of implementation may be inexhaustive in the wake of new technologies being discovered each day. Part of the appeal in exploring the Federation is seeing how each of the millions of communities utilizes technology in its own way.
Drones and artificial intelligences
Drones are the most common examples of a uniquely prevalent and near-ubiquitous social technology in the Federation, varying immensely in design and purpose. Advanced models resemble humans, though many jurisdictions require by law that there be key indicators to differentiate these drones from actual humans. These models are most commonly used as companions, housekeepers or secretaries, and can only be afforded by the very rich, or within large corporations and government institutions. Others are humanoid only in shape, with two arms, a torso and a head with a "face". Some have legs for locomotion, but many use treads or antigravity lifts for more efficient movement. Caretaker Drone are one of the more common applications of these type of drones.
Other drones vary immensely in shape and size, depending on their purpose. From street cleaners to gardeners, to cooks and bartenders, any mundane activity that requires doing can be potentially covered for by a drone. Gallente starships are noted for having the lowest crew requirements of any empire design, due to the extensive use of drones and automation onboard.
Anthromorphic weak AI independent of drones are common across the wide breadth of the Federation, from digital secretaries and retail assistants to popular celebrities and military staff. Hi-tech cities can be run by a single personable AI or a group of them, appearing across city notices and boards when needed. Simpler programs exist in personal property such as Planetary Vehicles and Hovercars.
Virtual environments are commonplace as well, but again are only available in the well-off societies. Many are utilized as interplanetary forums by billions of citizen-users for the purposes of popular political discussion, typically hosted via FTL or GalNet. AIs are used to gateway the massive amount of information passing through, and act as moderators and overseers of any discussions or engagements. This is a key element of modern Gallente democracy, with citizen-users capable of organizing entire revolutions through these virtual channels. Governmental transparency and accountability is relatively higher in the Federation thanks to citizen participation in these digital arenas.
Virtual Entertainment is an off-shoot of the above, varying from inserting oneself as the protagonist of a computer game or as a background character in a feature movie, to living in an alternate reality. For enhancing the feedback of the experience (especially for sexual purposes), narcotics are sometimes used, as a way to tune the body in perfectly with the simulcra present in the encounter.
Enhancing individual comfort with technology is identifiably Luminaire in origin, setting the standard for products such as luxury planetary vehicles. In hostile environments like space, the Gallente often seek to provide the illusion of not being in that environment at all, believing this to generally improve the inhabitants' welfare and happiness. Gallente-designed space stations and Underwater cities often emulate planetside environments. They can house entire skyscrapers, townhouses and apartments similar to planetside dwellings, and streets or highways for hovercars. A handful of Gallente space station designs are constructed around massive biodomes, which house entire cities in a natural climate and ecology. Only the richest of inhabitants of such a station could ever dream to live there.
Domestic convenience is included in comfort enhancement technologies, using holographics for gesture-based manipulation of various devices and appliances remotely. Again, the specific applications of such concepts may very well be limitless in the wide Federation.
It is generally considered that the Gallente have a greater understanding of genetic engineering than other groups, manifested most notoriously in practices such as the above bodymodding. However, other times, it mostly relates to pre-natal gene therapy. Well-off and expecting parents will typically invest in genetic alterations to favor certain traits and a healthy, beautiful, and fashionable child. These practices are not universal, but common enough amongst the wealthy for many to notice similarities in children born around the same date - similarities reflecting which genetics were the rage at the time.
Cloning is considered a Gallente expertise, with Poteque Pharmaceuticals holding the largest share in the clone market. Immortality and post-humanism is a major part of Gallente futurism, but the fact that the average citizen does not have access to cloning leaves such concepts a pipe dream to the masses.
Starting in Luminaire's Information Age, the ethnic Gallente have put much stock in pursuing a concept they call the 'future society', where professionally-employed futurists engage in conceptualizing the far future or an alternate version of the near future. It is their belief that achieving a state of post-scarcity through technology is the end point and ultimate goal of an advanced civilization, including the minimization of mundane human labor, and the maximization of free time to pursue other endeavors, such as science or philosophy (or simply to just be free from commitment altogether). For this reason have the Gallente pursued automation and ease-of-living technologies. The anthropomorphizing of drones and AIs is seen as necessary in keeping a human element within this equation, lest the society become cold and detached from those who still make a living in the lesser occupations.
Though the ethnic Gallente have subscribed to the idea of the 'future society' for centuries now, they have never believed to have ever achieved it, especially true with the perception that technologies can continuously be improved. New technologies would enter the scene, altering the public mindset as they scramble to integrate that advancement into their community, sometimes creating the perception that the pursuit of the future society has been reset. That particular technology, not the previous, is suddenly considered the actual harbinger of the future society, starting the process all over again.
The slowdown of technological advances for the general populace in recent years across New Eden has only increased the desire to pursue the future society, even if millions are left unsated. With the joining of the capsule and the clone, many Gallente feel that the true future society involves all of humanity becoming immortal capsuleers. For now, the Gallente pursuit of the future society will continue to be just a pursuit. Some dismiss these individuals as dedicating their purpose in life to a pursuit of ideals that simply don't exist.
Luminaire-style systems have a unique take on the value of education for its populace. Unlike in other empires, it is not simply a case of training the workforces for future employment. Rather, the level of education is seen as synonymous with the level of civilization (the Amarr have a similar approach as well, albeit with devoutness involved). These systems recognize that political democracies need an educated workforce. They believe that an individual must be encouraged (but never forced) to improve, educate, and civilize oneself, not only as personal duty, but a social one, stating that the health of a society depends upon the civilization of its members. According to this doctrine, a community which upholds this duty has begun to realize that its culture is an organic unity and its civilization a heritage.
The exact form of this particular education style is defined as the individual being politically aware, philosophically knowledgeable, and being able to constantly question the status quo. Seeing the individual as the sole actor of human civilization means that Luminaire-style education seek to discourage group think and encourage thinking for oneself. Early on, this ideology led many ethnic Gallente to have the habit of 'civilizing' smaller races, such as the Caldari, Intaki, and Mannar, via direct and sometimes heavy-handed means.
Over time, the unpopularity of this colonialist approach led to the education systems becoming its own independent force. It values political neutrality and not giving in to forces such as pressure groups. It is sometimes the case that the individualistic focus combined with academic independence leads to teachers and educational authorities pursuing their own agenda, sometimes against the government line, or more commonly because the tutor in question has their own idea of how to educate and thus civilize their students.
The emphasis on individual initiative and strong social education goes as far to influence the Federation's military culture and doctrine. While individual discipline may not be so strict as in other empire forces, having highly-educated soldiers and officers is emphasized for the purposes of having a civilized military. As the Gallente armed forces is as much a political force as it is a war machine, soldiers who know when and when not to fire their weapon is an important part of Federal foreign and defense policy.
Although the systems in Gallente societies vary widely, there is a small list of Federation guidelines and directives that the central government believes are human universals when it comes to education. The Luminaire-style of education is popular, and the most successful in New Eden, with the University of Caille being the largest education institute in the cluster, and the Minmatar's Republic University being modelled off of it. It is also notable for being New Eden's longest education system, with the youngest graduation age of eighteen at the very earliest, and twenty-four at the latest.
Childhood and adolescence
In this particular system, children are largely left alone with their families for the first few years of their life. Parents are given ample government-regulated leave to spend with newborns, and childcare exists to care for older children where parents are otherwise occupied. During these years, many children spend much of their time engaged in playtime activities designed to promote individual thinking and, in better programs at least, identify any aptitudes or interests.
Primary and secondary schooling is public and free, though quality varies widely between schools serving different social strata. In poorer and/or more rowdy worlds and states, it is not uncommon for education to be handled entirely through technological means, even remotely from the home, with human teachers few and far between. At the other end of the spectrum, many private institutions exist for specialized education aimed at those who can afford it. Children focus in areas where they excel, though get grounded in other subjects as well.
Though the fundamental purpose of the Luminaire-style system has not changed much in terms of its end goal, teaching theory nonetheless cycles in and out of fashion every few years. One class of students might be encouraged to design their own lessons and set their own schedules, while another might have more traditional uniforms and set curriculums. Choice and challenge must be balanced. Regardless of setting, individual initiative is emphasized, and every child is taught the benefits and pitfalls of the freedoms in the Federation.
A student in this system will typically graduate from both primary and secondary education at around sixteen or eighteen. Even though they are at working age in many jurisdictions, most will attend a university or academy. There are thousands of such institutes available, some run by member states, while others operate privately. The rich often enroll their children in expensive and very prestigious institutions, though in many cases a few scholarships exist at these schools for talented students of lesser means. The vast majority of students attend governmental schools or a variety of moderately-priced private colleges. It is perceived as unfair and unjust for the destitute to be excluded from education, and those from poorer societies will often enroll in a basic program at a local community training center.
Completing education at a university or academy takes from two to six years depending on the program. During this time, students not only work to future careers but often become involved in political or social groups. Students are encouraged to experiment and find the right lifestyle and career path for them.
Socialization is encouraged greatly, being viewed as an art, skill, and an absolute necessity. The rich and most elite students join secret or at least private societies, while most other students settle for a variety of fraternities, sororities, political groups, and organized social circles. It is intended that the friendships and connections formed during this time will last a student's entire life and across the stars, leading to a better connected (and thus better civilized) interstellar society overall.
Upon completion of advanced education, many graduates from this particular Gallente education style are considered full adults, far past the average age of majority in the Federation (and even further past the threshold of adulthood in most other cultures). Many join corporations or agencies at entry-level positions, while some become freelancers or emigrate to jobs in one of the other empires. Those who cannot secure quality employment join the ranks of poor laborers at their society's bottom rungs, if not the jobless and disenfranchised, where those who failed their education for whatever reason also reside. Some financial aid exist for these individuals, as social exclusion would be seen as an embarrassment to the education system.