The Path of Self-Focus
Virtues: Conviction and Instinct
Bearing: Balance. Those around Internalists are relaxed by their peaceful presence. Their bearing modifier affects rolls to avoid confrontation or calm others down.
Basic Beliefs: Purpose is an illusion; the universe is a stream proceeding of its own accord and the rock that stands opposed is swallowed. Attempting to change a thing will only change you. Conscious inaction and acceptance of all things is the Path of Self-Focus. Where there is no conflict, the Beast is quiet. To be free of the Beast, one must welcome it or invite misery and failure.
Answers are irrelevant; they are an end and the universe is a way. Questions point to the way. The universe must work through each being. By interfering, one rejects the universe and assumes responsibility. Saving a being from pain robs the universe of a lesson and the being of a teacher. Actions align with the universe only when spontaneous, natural and the result of the moment.
Planning for the future is foolish, and acting for the past is wasteful. The work is done and then forgotten. And so it lasts forever. Only the ever-present holds the way of things. Focused, undistracted attention leaves no room for angst, passion, or consideration for anything other than the moment.
The Ethics of the Path
• Exist only in the moment. Pay no mind to what has been or what is to come. Only the now can be affected.
• Nothing is exclusive or separate. The intellectual and the visceral are equal parts of your nature. Know yourself and the Beast utterly.
• To mourn suggests the universe is wrong. When hungry, feed. When threatened, kill.
• It is better to be underestimated than overestimated. The overconfident do not know their limits, and the weak are underestimated by all. Weakness is strength you have not mastered.
• Meaning is an invention of the heart. The mind compromises with meaning through words. Actions are the language of the universe. Meaning is immaterial; words are paint, but actions build a house.
• A being’s responsibility is to itself, not others.
Dating back to the 6th century CE, the Path of Self-Focus emerged out of cultural appropriation between Asian and Middle Eastern vampires trading in goods and ideas. Muslim Cainites learned the secrets of manufacturing paper and the philosophies of the Far East, and Zen Buddhism and the mortal teacher Laozi’s concept of “Wu Wei” spread amongst the Ashirra courts. However, the foreign precepts were never fully adopted. Were it not for the attention of the Nagaraja, who then nurtured the basic concepts within the Tal’Mahe’Ra, the Path may not have materialized at all. While the Path never gained popularity with the Western Hand’s European Cainites, it has a small but dedicated following in the Eastern Hand and a growing interest in the Americas.
Followers of the Path are renowned for their intelligent introspection and tranquil, balanced nature. The Internalists’ ethical doctrine does not promote evangelizing or a desire to increase their influence inorganically by intention. The Path’s pursuits tend to be solitary; outside of mentor-student relationships path adherents rarely have any contact. Age, Clan, or Sect normally do not factor in determining who an Internalist will teach. Internalists commonly spend their time making observations on the “way” and discussions with prospective students who grasp the basic ideas.
Description and Followers
Many Kindred encountering Internalists dismiss them as slow and passive, but understand all too quickly that the Path’s followers are more than capable (and willing) to defend themselves if pressed — a stream, after all, does not have to destroy a rock to engulf it and uses as much or as little force as needed to do so. Patient and perceptive, all seek out new sensations to glimpse the unfolding “way” of the universe in action and would never reject or insult someone based on beliefs or words. Unlike the Unforgiving, Internalists are pure subjectivists — how circumstance relates to them as a whole is what captures their interest, not the minute details therein. Whereas the Unforgiving absorb whatever knowledge they can, Internalists learn skills that complement or contrast their inherent strengths and weaknesses.
Path of Self-Focus Hierarchy of Sins
|10||Accepting everything||A bowl filled to the brim will spill.|
|9||Accepting nothing||Oversharpen your knife and it will break.|
|8||Laziness||An ant on the move does more than a sleeping elephant.|
|7||Interfering in the universe||I In order to lead, walk behind.|
|6||Restraining the Beast||Struggle creates conflict and moves you out of line with yourself.|
|5||Failure to treat others as you would be treated||Act as your own master. Even a teacher must be questioned.|
|4||Allowing the universe to interfere with you||You alone control your actions.|
|3||Overconfidence||To know strength, harness weakness|
|2||Rejecting nothing||Water is gentler and more flexible than anything, and yet nothing can resist it.|
|1||Rejecting everything||By not changing direction, you always arrive where you are headed.|
Following the Path
Internalists are introspective in the extreme. New sensations (such as a different method of feeding or suffering a wound from a different source) are always fresh soil for contemplation. Existence is a series of spontaneous and perpetual changes, and to resist will only sow failure. Things must flow forward in whatever way they choose. To Internalists, dichotomies such as life and death, or the Beast and Cainite, are a single thread viewed from different sides.
Common Abilities: Anything that assists in “knowing” the universe through oneself (and vice-versa) while avoiding unnecessary stress is popular among Internalists. Empathy, Expression, Etiquette, and Survival offer followers the means to reflect and navigate on experience.
Preferred Disciplines: With the ability to drift in the ether, transcending the body through the higher levels of Auspex pairs well with the Internalist philosophy of “non-doing” or conscious inaction. Disciplines that rely on changing the self (such as Protean or Vicissitude) are valued. Most Internalists aspire to Celerity for its day-to-day utilitarian qualities as well as its simultaneous offering of both offensive and defensive uses.