Irran laughed humorlessly. "Kind of hard to ignore something that big."
"That didn't stop them from trying."
"Yeah. And I'm worried that our group may fall into the same trap if we don't do something about it."
"Oh? Like what?"
"I think we ought to gather the team and pay our respects to the former residents of this world by laying out their narrative as best we can. It's the closest we'll come to a proper funeral."
Kharlin gaped in disbelief. "Surely you're joking, Irran. Do you honestly believe they deserve a eulogy? And even if they did, what would you say? They had dozens of competing narratives, so whichever one you chose would be a disservice to the others. And then there's the problem of integrity. Once the people in power realized that they could manipulate narratives, they fabricated stories from whole cloth to provide cover for the wars they wanted to wage, the desecration of the environment, and a whole raft of other horrible things they did."
"Well, then, we could craft our own narrative. It's not like---."
She crossed her arms in frustration. "Think about Wendl. Do you realize that early in their 21st century, the leaders of their one remaining superpower demanded that climatologists dumb down their findings?"
"They ordered their scientists to eliminate all of the subtlety and nuance of reality in a vain attempt to convince the moronic pawns of powerful interests that there even was a climate problem? And it didn't stop there, either. The same tactic was used to shackle scientists in other fields as well. They didn't want narratives. All they wanted was to appease their critics and retain power. What praise could you possibly offer about a people like that?"
Irran swallowed hard and looked away. "Couldn't we," he said in a controlled voice, "at least honor the intent of this place? After all, they did build it in an attempt to bring all those embattled factions together in common purpose. It's on that fallen façade out there --- "the spirit of compromise'."
"Common purpose, perhaps, but not with anything approaching a shared set of principles. They couldn't even agree to use the same words to mean the same thing!"
"Yeah, yeah," he said dismissively. "We've been through that. Like their inability to agree on what to call what was happening to their climate."
"No," Kharlin said flatly. "I mean they meant different things when they said the same words. And in point of fact, that was the core of their undoing. That's what killed them all."
"Wait, wait, wait. Are you saying that the people in this hall gave the order to blow up the planet, to kill all of the people and most of the animals, because of a misunderstanding" a language problem?"
"That's right. And it started with that façade. Their so-called "spirit of compromise' was nothing of the sort."