The Way is the code which governs the life of the zetii. All the known zeta species have some version of the Way, usually expressed at a level of complexity appropriate to the sophistication of their culture. The version that the Ka-Tse have evolved is probably the most detailed with the longest heritage.
Although the Way may appear to bear resemblances to a religion, it is not, for the zetii do not worship a god or gods. They are not sun-worshipers as some observers have claimed, although they do venerate Senx, in the sense that they believe him to be the source of all life. Within zeta society, there is a spectrum of individual interpretations of the Way, with some individuals taking a very spiritualistic view of life while others having a highly pragmatic approach. A fundamental concept of the Way that is shared by all mainstream zetii, however, is that they are an integral part of Ocean, not separate from it.
The main thrust of the teachings of the Way concerns the zetii’s proper integration with, and duty to, Ocean. Their approach over the millennia embodies what some humans understand as “sustainability”. As a highly intelligent race, they long ago realised the importance of preserving their habitat for future generations. There are even legends supposedly dating back long before the Great Alluvion that the forbearers of the zetii forsook limbs that could manipulate their environment deliberately, as they foresaw the damage this would eventually cause. Probably this is a myth that grew out of a popular story, but the fact that it is widely believed is instructive in respect of the attitudes of contemporary zetii.
All young zetii are instructed in the Way to some degree. In truth, it is so much a part of their everyday life that no instruction is necessary. Some take their studies much further however, sometimes in the form of apprenticeships to experienced sages, or more commonly as Novices in a larger clan’s Academy. Those who complete their studies become known as Initiates of the Way. The ultimate goal of an Initiate is to achieve “oneness with Ocean” or the First Level of Consciousness.
The zetii realise they are probably the most sophisticated creatures in Ocean but do not consider themselves superior to other species, just that they are further along the path to unity with nature. They view this process as a natural one and one that all creatures should be exposed to as their minds expand.
The Way teaches that, in fact, the simplest organisms already have unity, as they have no sense of self and therefore do not have to deal with the conflict between the individual’s version of the world and the real world. So the basest creatures start off with unity. Then with the gift of awakening consciousness, they have to try to cope with the first basic types of non-instinctive thought (I am an individual). They reach an understanding that they are a separate organism and are different from the rock on which they grow. As thought processes become more detailed they will normally lose their sense of unity with the universal as they struggle to handle the concept of self. The zetii have gone past this stage and now try to reach unity again. The aim is to have a sense of one’s own being and yet to be truly a part of the whole. Without conscious effort; just an acceptance of being a part of the universal.