Observations of atevi cultures, sociology, and psychological makeup, including world-views built into the primary Ragi language.
Numerology and Mathematics
Atevi have an innate skill with numbers and mathematics. This enters into basic grammatical concepts built into atevi languages such as Ragi, the primary language of the Western Association.
Atevi have a world-view involving numbers and logical, factual order as they perceive things. There are at least two schools of philosophy or belief, the Absolutists and the Determinists. The Determinists are thought of as a "rebellion" or reaction against the Absolutists' point of view. (Source: Foreigner 03: Inheritor: Chapter 01.)
The concept of FTL, faster-than-light travel, was viewed as impossible in atevi thought until introduced by Deana Hanks, who discussed it with various atevi in Foreigner 02: Invader. Then an elderly atevi astronomer, Grigiji, conceived in atevi terms a mathematical explanation of how faster-than-light might be understood. Nand' Grigiji was said to be quite old and perhaps "a bit daft" or possessing some unusual philosophical views, but he became well respected from his theory. (Foreigner 02: Invader; Foreigner 03: Inheritor.)
Astronomers had been in disfavor among atevi sciences, following their failure to predict the human Landing. (Foreigner 02: Invader; Foreigner 03: Inheritor.) But they came back into favor as a result of Grigiji's theory and advances in aerospace, and popular interest (and concerns/anxieties) following the return of the human ship Phoenix.
Atevi have a preference for odd (not even) numbers. Certain numbers are "felicitous" or lucky or fortunate, while others are "infelicitous" or unlucky or unfortunate. Combinations and numbers enter into atevi concepts of beauty and order and properness, good custom, such as how objects may be arranged in a room, flower arrangements, or buildings and streets in a city, or among a group of people. These preferences enter into popular thought on a benign level or on a superstitious level.
Numerology and prediction based on it enter into everyday culture to the point that people are consulted for the proper numbers auspicious for some occurrence, for new associations, and so on, and some people avoid things if the numbers are infelicitous. However, others regard this as unnecessarily superstitious, though they may still refer to such predictions to adhere to common customs.
There was (and still is) a popular doubt regarding introduced computers and codes, because some atevi fear there are hidden and inauspicious numbers and meanings within computer coding.
Atevi languages have additional grammatical classes besides singular and plural, and possibly dual, that may be specific to given classes of things. These must be accounted for, along with felicitous combinations, when composing sentences.
Shape, Form, and Color
Atevi are dismayed at human preferences for rectangular grids and shapes and right angles as used in human architecture, city planning, and arts. Atevi prefer curves and non-right angles in such things. The circle is viewed as an appropriate shape. Rooms may often be multi-sided polygons, such as 3, 5, or 7. Pies, cakes, and pizzas may be produced in circular or polygonal shapes, but are divided in pieces or in sectors (pie slices) that are odd-numbered in total.
Atevi Ragi culture held white connoted death or supernatural beings, during the early period around the Landing.
However, white is also the traditional, historical ribbon color that denotes the neutrality of a paidhi. Bren adopts beige and other very neutral colors as the human paidhi-aiji, to avoid seeming too confrontational or challenging when that's not intended.
Heraldry and Ribbons
Atevi have a preference for black, silver, bronze, and bright or strong colors in heraldry and logos, symbology.
Ribbons, typically one or two colors, are used to show clan and guild colors for communications and personal adornment. Ribbons are attached to formal documents or similar marking preferences. Ribbons are woven into the braided queue worn by both males and females, and indicate clan or guild or occupation.
Message cylinders are traditional, used to transport and protect rolled up, sealed documents delivered among senders and receivers. The message cylinder indicates the sender of the message, and may be a generic, common pattern, or may be specifically and elaborately marked to show the sender's colors and status, or the sender's artistic, stylistic preferences.
Atevi are organized into clans consisting of one or more families. Multiple clans then form an ethnic group, such as the Ragi, the Edi, or the Maschi. Some ethnic groups are matrilineal; some are patrilineal.
Marriages are by contracts and may be temporary or for a specified period to be renegotiated at the end of the contract, if desired. Marriages are for formal association between two people and their clans, for the birth and raising of children, and for man'chi between two people.
Occupational or class-based guilds exist. These provide social protections, standards to go by, and associations.
The Assassin's Guild is prominent among the guilds. Assassins function to ensure fairness and security, and function analoguous to lawyers in some ways. This is an acceptable alternative to lawsuits in atevi society. A party may File Intent in a disputed matter, which says what the party intends to do, up to and including the intent to hire an assassin to remove the problem. Atevi society seems to prefer people to settle disputes between the two or more parties, before it gets to a larger conflict involving large numbers of people and rivalries between clans.
Man'chi and Association and Aijiin
Atevi do not feel "love" or "liking" in the human sense. They have emotions, passionate feelings of all kinds, but atevi do not have words for things like "to like" or "to love" or "friend" or "beloved". It is a dangerous error for a human to think of atevi as having any such feelings. But atevi do have feelings and emotions, sometimes subtle, sometimes intense.
Atevi instead have "associations", "associates". One has an associate. One forms associations. These may be quite strong, even lifelong, and one's life may depend upon one's associations with others. However, associations may end if there is sufficient cause, just as human relationships may end. Association has rational and logical components, as well as instinctual and emotional components, one's feelings. This is hard-wired at an instinctual, biological level, just as are human feelings like loving, liking, friendship, and so on.
Atevi have "man'chi" to one another. Man'chi does not flow downward. Man'chi flows upward. Man'chi is a feeling of loyalty, an instinct to follow another, to associate with another. One has man'chi to one's associates, to one's family members, particularly to one's children and mother and other close family. One has man'chi to one's clan and to one's leader. One's man'chi varies among people. That is, one may feel strong man'chi toward one person and weak man'chi to another person. The ties of man'chi may change if given sufficient cause, and this is an instinctual, emotional response as much as or more than it is a reasoned, thought-out response.
Singular: aiji; Plural: aijiin; Noun. A leader, elected and hereditary components. Leadership, an aiji, is regarded as a quality of personality, a singular disposition, an internal quality of being expressed externally in actions, and admired. Aijiin tend to have aijiin children. Aijiin may be hereditary, but in the Western Association particularly, the aiji of the Association, and lesser regional, provincial, and district aijiin are also elected.
A notable distinction of aijiin, leaders, is that they are leaders and do not have man'chi as such to others. That is, they don't follow someone else. They are independent by personality, by psychological makeup. They lead. However, they do have ties of some kind to other people, such as followers, dependents, children, family and clan members, or toward other persons or groups with which association is of benefit. They have associations. They form alliances. [ N.B.: One is unclear on the man'chi of aijiin, and this paragraph should be re-drafted. — Ed: BCS ]