Dabrovit, the key figure of the Commoner Caste

The story about Dabrovit

The history books are full of royals and nobles, as these castes are the ones ruling over the Kingdom and generally believed to be deciding the course of history. So it is interesting to discuss the most famous historical figures from the commoner caste – Dabrovit.

Born in The Dams to a wealthy family

Dabrovit was born in The Dams to a wealthy family of beaver woodworkers. His father Drvovit was an engineer well versed in woodwork and the science of lumber. He was so good at it in fact, that the bear owner of the lumber mill almost never interfered with him. To young Dabrovit, and others living there, it might seem that the Dam was run by him. And to keep on top of the newest developments in the industry, Drvovit had many books imported from the nearby capital to study and keep informed. As the oldest son, Dabrovit was expected to continue his father’s legacy and was given all the books and papers to read and research.

When he came of schooling age, he was sent to hone his skills in Blackbark where he excelled under the tutelage of the turtle Methus. His works were of such good quality that they soon started getting sent to all the major lumber towns, and Dabrovit also showed interest in other fields – botany, anatomy, history, physics…

In the service of the King

When it was time to return to The Dams, King Michaël actually petitioned to keep him there, as a royal tutor to his son and grandson, and as the overseer of the royal library. Never has such a young animal received such a big honour, much less from the commoner caste, but this was only the beginning of his long life of success.

Sadly, Laurent died young while Michaël was still king, but Michaëls grandson Valent, who received the same tutelage as Laurent, was impressed by Dabrovit’s ideas. Dabrovit was adamant that the scholarly pursuits were slowed down by tradition and wrong beliefs.

The scholar’s manifest

Thus, Valent, when he became king, tasked Dabrovit to write the Scholars Manifesto, a paper that would be the bedrock of what is now known as the scientific method.

In this time, it was often so that the research from animals of the higher castes were always given more weight than those of the commoners. He was also frustrated that many of the debates at the time could be easily solved by finding the right evidence instead of endless debates. Thus, he created the three maxims of scholarly pursuit:

  1. “The proof is not the prover.” – This meant that it didn’t matter if the proof (mathematical, scientific, historical) was found by a vagabond or a king, that good science should separate who wrote a paper from what the paper actually concludes, and how. He famously said: “The laws of nature act the same to tigers and snakes alike.”
  2. “Words are but chisels on the stone wall of proof.” – Unlike many scholars up to that time, Dabrovit believed discussions alone cannot bring us closer to the truth. When a dilemma is shown, words are only tools that shape the evidence we found into an argument.
  3. “To part with doubts, doubt each part.” – Similar to our own concept of “Cartesian doubt”, Dabrovit believed that any information should be questioned, and broken down to smaller parts that are easier to question and ascertain their truthfulness.

During King Valent, the funding of scholarly pursuits achieved never-before-seen levels. The discovery of the southern continent and new plants and animals brought new life to the scholarly pursuits as well. A craze of scholarly pursuits struck everyone from the noble families to commoners lucky enough to have learned to read. Soon, a Royal Academy was formed in Blackbark where animals could come and learn and research together.

How many feet does a horse have on the ground when running?

An interesting anecdote concerns Hyeronimus the horse who wrote a treatise on horse movement. In one part, he wrote, “as can be attested from personal experience of any horse, during the gallop, when all our legs are facing inward there is a short time when all of the legs are above ground”. This infuriated Dabrovit, as it clashed against all three of his maxims, and yet every horse knew it to be true.

To put this matter from the hands of horse experience into the realm of science, Dabrovit petitioned the King to fund the research and discovery of a “photograph”. Thus, after many years and funds, the first simple photographs were created at that time. These were used to answer many questions that have puzzled scholars for years, and, finally, brought proof of horse movement that wasn’t reliant on personal experience of the ‘prover,’ but evidence, not by looking at a horse in motion, but by looking at parts of that motion frozen with a photographic machine.

Created a “peer review” system

While maxims two and three were adhered to, and well respected, there were still problems with the first maxim. When Dabrovit created a system of “peer review”, where scholars were financed by the crown to read and critique every published scholarly paper, it wasn’t what he expected. Whenever a rich noble wrote a treatise, rarely anyone was willing to disprove it even if it was complete nonsense, since nobles mostly funded the other scholars’ efforts.

Dabrovit was increasingly frustrated at the end of his life by this. He was also growing old and took ill soon. He famously wrote his last book, “The Revised Maxim”, on his deathbed. He wanted to change the first maxim to: “Words are untied to worders.” He wished to make all scholars submit papers anonymously, and hoped this would stop the problem of highly reputable scholars being given “free rein.” However, many scholars have by then reached a lot of fame and fortune by doing this, and he was too old to fight them, so the last maxim was left unchanged.

Reportedly, as Dabrovit died, and his Revised Maxim was not accepted at all in the scholarly circles, king Valent believed not intervening in this aspect to be the one flaw of his otherwise perfect rule.

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