At the edge of the comprehensible world, where darkness sculpts itself an active form, where death is the constant and life the except, what kind of good can exist?
In the delicate curves of their hidden cities the Svirfneblin feel a purpose that strikes like lightning in the tempest of their daily lives. The flame to live is quickened in them and they feed it on the pure rhythms of light and space and nothing else.
They are a people without shouts, without tears, without hopes, without regrets, They value only four things.
Svirfneblin prize any living thing above any non-living thing in any circumstances. To them, life is the justification for the world and its true continuity. The spine of reality. All is a fiction. Only life and its laws are authentic. Kings and wealth both fade and die, but life is strong and grows and time goes on in its real continuity. Life is what is real. Life knows neither good nor bad nor justice as a measure of morals. It simply is and it must be preserved.
Svirfneblin culture is built around doing. Speech, description, planning, these are tertiary concerns. The word is just the bodyguard to the deed. Svirfneblin are unimpressed with oratory and difficult to persuade. Even rational description and analysis are sometimes not as effective as might be wished. Deed is the highest and surest of all truths.
Svirfneblin see the Veins as pure space and light, only highlighted by mass. They consider themselves lucky to live here. From their perspective no-one from the surface could understand what space and light truly are. They drown in both. They use space to 'keep things in', they use light to 'see' other things. Space is not a piece of luggage. Light is not an errand boy. Light is, space is. They have their own quality.
Svirfneblin value gems but only for the light within the gem, not the gem itself. Gems are a construction of space and light, not mass. To them, the light is active, alive, it races faster than a waterfall, soundless and eternal.
Their cave-cities are all beautifully carved in unpredictable, yet harmonious curves. Being there fills the observer with a sensation of lightness, despite the difference of scale for larger beings.
To Svirfneblin the body is superficial, accidental. Tone, brightness, occluding or refracting, that is all. The eyes matter to them, not the face. Though they do value worked beauty, they think beauty has all the properties of a real force like gravity or heat, and they treat it as such.
Svirfneblin are present-minded to an astonishing extent. They are intelligent and capable of both planning for the future and interrogating the past, but they do not value these processes for themselves. They are things to be got out of the way. They stand between the Svirfneblin and direct experience of the present moment.
To Svirfneblin the past is dead. It is carrion, the future is nothing. Can you eat it? What is its taste? It is impossible to speak of the future without lying, so as little as possible should be said of it. Today is the deed. They take the present day.
The Svirfneblin Gnome Gabo