Grand Philosopher Hyberos Actatus
The public square was packed; Actatus had come to speak on the dais again, and the audience was latched onto every word. At the top of the last set of stairs, Alistair and Siegfried stood, arms folded. "It is NOT ENOUGH that your lives are better. The Principality has done us no wrong that we have not inflicted upon ourselves, COMPLACENCY!" Actatus jabbed at the air with a finger. "The great progress we've made over the last hundred years is a mere SHADOW of what could have been accomplished, had each and EVERY one of us taken up the mantle of Progress." "Not everyone is capable." Siegfried muttered under his breath. Alistair sighed. "The point is that not everyone who was capable, acted." "But to what end?" Siegfried shifted, his armor a poor fit for the collegiate environs. "He's not answering the basic question - is Progress a viable end in of itself?" "The people here seem to think so." Alistair glanced around at the crowd. "You can't deny the world is happier and wealthier." "Wealthier, yes. I don't know if this self-actualization schtick is going to make people happier."
Hyberos Actatus is the current Grand Philosopher of Etoile, a title won by acclamation in the Academy of Rhetoric. Formerly a student and academic of little note, his Treatise on Political Morality was a landmark work in political thought. Prior to the publication of his work, the political legitimacy of the Principality was generally founded on the ideals of the First Princeps; though never summarized in a single work, the principles espoused were straightforward: Progress begets improvements in the lives of the People, and it is the State that must drive forward Progress. Actatus chose a different thought process, with his views summarized as thus: all Progress derives from the People, and it is the People who must shepherd their own improvements, irrespective of the will of the State. The People must therefore be empowered to the level of the State. This is a radical enough proposition to create great consternation in the Academy and mark Actatus as a potential agitator; but enough citizenry have been influenced by the idea that the state monopoly on meaningful technological research is being actively challenged in dinner-table conversation. Regardless of their support or denial of his philosophy, it was clear to the Academy that Actatus had significantly changed the state of public discourse, and his entitlement was assured.
Hyberos Actatus was identified as a precocious talent from a frontier village and brought to Etoile Capital City to further his education, completing his course of study at the Academy of Rhetoric.
The title of Grand Philosopher comes with a state sinecure; prior to this, he was a lecturer at the Academy of Rhetoric.