Finding Your Path To The Good Life: Philosophy Of Tales Of The Frontier

What I’ve come to love about philosophy is that it can be reinvented and reinterpreted throughout history. It can be moulded into countless mediums and be seen through different lenses. So, it was only a matter of time before I introduced philosophy into Tales Of The Frontier, a horror universe based on the wild west that contains monsters and magic.

I also recently published my debut horror novella AT THE DEAD OF DUSK that is set in the world of The Frontier. The philosophies that are explored in this article are inspired by worldviews like Epicureanism, Stoicism and Skepticism. 

What’s the right way to live? That’s a question that’s asked by many people on The Frontier. Some turn to religion for the answers, others to politics. And then there are those who use philosophy as a way to guide them.

There are three main philosophical schools on The Frontier: Mottelism, Indifferentism and Dubism. Each philosophy is focused on finding a path to the good life and each relies on different methods to get there.


One of the oldest and most well-known types of philosophy in The Frontier, Mottelism derives from a man called Charles Mottel. An early settler on The Frontier, Mottel was a seeker of wisdom and wished to understand the new land that’d been discovered.

Like many of his brethren Mottel encountered the kamuni and their way of life. Over time, Mottel came to be fascinated with the kamuni tribes and their connection to nature. He spent years with different clans, studying how they lived and what he learned became the inspiration for his philosophical school.

Returning to society, Mottel preached that a life worth living should be free of pain and spent communing with the natural spirits of the world. He proposed that one could achieve enlightenment by withdrawing and foregoing all contact with society and live freely. 

A charismatic figure, Mottel’s ideas proved to be popular and he was joined by many disciples who wanted to leave behind the chaos of an uncertain future. 

Through the centuries, Mottelism evolved to fit the purposes of the people who studied it. The connection to the kamuni was eventually lost and Mottel was hailed by his followers as a genius and prophet ahead of his time.

This shift created some negative aspects of the philosophy. Some practitioners perceived it as a way to live in excess or to use the idea as a way to tempt people out of their money in exchange for living virtuously. 


Indifferentism was founded by a merchant called Ainsley Metclaf, who lost his fortune sailing in a storm and washed up in the Province of Frithland. Destitute and seeking a new life, Metclaf wandered the area, searching for a way to get back on his feet and turn his adversity into something better. 

As the story goes, Metclaf fell in with a group who practiced a version of Mottelism and it transformed his thinking. Metclaf was struck by the idea of living virtuously in connection with nature and a simpler lifestyle. 

However, he didn’t agree with the notion that one should remove themselves from the world completely to be virtuous. He believed in being a part of a community and that living in accordance with nature meant that it should include human nature too.

So, Metclaf returned to the settlement that would become Harbour City in Frithland and became an influential member of the town. He cultivated a philosophy of being indifferent to externals such as fame or money and instead chose to focus on doing good works. 

Metclaf could be found in the town market passionately debating with like-minded people on the question of how to live and his ideas attracted a following. But unlike Mottelism, which bore the namesake of its creator, Indifferentism was named for the actions of its founder. 

The name led to confusion about the philosophy and the image that to be indifferent is to not care at all. This didn’t deter Metclaf’s apostles and they worked to put his teachings into action. 

To be an Indifferent means to not see anything in life as either good or bad. It’s to accept what can’t be controlled and still work on improving society through the role that’s been assigned. 


The third major philosophical school is credited to a woman called Evera Vandeberg. A woman of humble origins who came to love books from a young age, Vandeberg was always questioning things and wanted to learn as much about the world as she could.

Her intelligence and talent earned her a scholarship at The Medico College in Crest City, where she learned medicine and encountered the philosophy of Indifferentism and Mottelism. 

Vandeberg questioned both schools like she did everything else, forming her own opinions. She believed the best way to live was to reserve judgement on things and take no part in any controversy so she could continue to learn. 

This attitude rubbed many people the wrong way. Who was this woman to think she could question traditions that were centuries old? But question she did until her detractors accused her of witchcraft and she was burned to death for her beliefs. In the years following her death, her school of thought became known as Dubism.

The philosophy has been twisted in different directions. Some associate Dubism with witches, even though Vandeberg was a human woman. Others take a harder line and use Dubism as justifications to live in denial and remain sceptical about anything that can’t be physically proven. 

At The Dead Of Dusk by Jamie Ryder.

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