Emergence 4.0 – Part Six (a), Rebellion, Appendix, Collected Chapters

Jim
For as far back as Jim could remember he wanted to create a better world, not for himself alone, but for everyone, for the whole undifferentiated lot of existent beings.

His dream of doing this was like the bread of life for him. Like water it sustained him.

It was a primal need.

Jim was an intractable critic of the status quo, he was perpetually discontent. This was natural to his character and it drove him to work, whereas in most other members of the Collective, the Observers, even the ordinary citizens of the Empire that he encountered experienced such feelings as conditioned by apathy.

Before the creation of the Collective, in his first life, when he was just a tiny creature of flesh and blood, Jim wanted something more for himself, something more for everyone. This drove his participation in the team of researchers that created it.

His inclination to take risks led him to be one of the first volunteers to be successfully translated into the Collective field. His grim determination allowed him to preserve his sanity and identity when at that time most of his fellows failed.

When the Collective began to experience its first great existential crisis, Jim awoke to the occasion and together with the greatest engineering minds that the Ancient people had ever produced, they created the Continuum to be a representation of their Collective will.

Not a single one of them realized at the time that they had in fact given rise to the demi-urge, with the Collective itself, the Pleroma of its being.

Jim’s concerns regarding the Continuum were not rooted in his basic disposition as a malcontent. They were based in his abiding interest for ethics and morals.

He was frightened by the things he witnessed, the Collective had become a society of monsters, and the Continuum was its head.

Jim was sick with disgust over the hedonistic abuses of the Collective. Through his participation in it he had facilitated the creation of a trillion private hells, each one of them masquerading as a personal paradise.

He was angry.

He was pained and distraught when he saw the Continuum turn its attention to the living worlds of time and space, transforming each of them into a mirror image of its own ruin and privation.

He felt a deep sense of shame and personal responsibility over the nightmare this construct had become.

The core of his being was filled with a sharp bitterness over the way that each member of the Collective had squandered its existence. They could have created worlds of joy and beauty, there were virtually no limitations on their imagination, and yet they squandered their power for petty-hedonism and the satisfaction of the banal, they were evil.

Jim wanted to die.

He knew that he was not responsible for the creation of the Collective, he was just one person among many managing that incredible feat of engineering. He was only playing a part on a great team of scientists and researchers seeking to penetrate the mystery of the continuation of consciousness and everlasting life.

He was horrified by what their work had turned into, and by how utterly they had failed to anticipate it.

The Continuum became a gaggle of voyeurs, feeding their most obscene habits like the worst of gluttons, without giving a single thought to the consequences that the satisfaction of their hunger would have on the lives of simple, ordinary people.

He wanted to protect the universe from them.

They devoured entire star systems without reflection on the real cost in pain and suffering that their appetites extracted from the worlds of time and space.

They had forgotten that the citizens of the Empire were in fact their own progeny, they were descendants of the Ancient People.

The membership of the Collective were addicts, and he blamed the Continuum for pushing their addictions on them, for keeping them sedated and helpless.

Jim felt hopeless.

Jim’s grave doubts and serious concerns manifested themselves in direct proportion to his pride-fullness.

He was exceedingly proud.

Since he reemergence from the great-sleep and the moment when he broke free from sequestration, he was filled with a sense of purpose that singled him out as a being with unique powers, and therefore unique responsibilities,

He saw himself as the indispensable person, as possessing a singular destiny.

In his life before the Collective, he had been a member of the team that had constructed the original field of collective consciousness, or so he believed. That is what his memories told him, though he himself was uncertain of his actual origins, of who he was when it all began, or if those memories he experienced as his own had merely been appended to his node of consciousness through his connection to the Collective, as if he were gathering bits and pieces of memory from those he touched, gathering them like moss accumulating on a stone.

Whatever the case, they were his memories now, they formed the basis of his identity, they mattered and they placed an impetus in him to act.

Jim’s personal narrative informed him that he had entered the Collective himself, together with his family, toward the end of his life. Not all of them made the transition.

In those early years the transition point was still unstable, more people were lost than saved, but everybody went somewhere, whether they came through whole or fragmented, shattered in pieces.

Entering the Collective did not bring him the joy he was looking for, but it did make others happy, and from the inside he was able to lend his expertise to the perfection of the technologies that made it all possible.

He played no role in the creation of the Continuum, he resented the role it played in the governance of the Collective, he foresaw the danger that such an entity would present to the Great Society, and understood how it would be able to manipulate the whole organism from its vantage.

During his long travels across the gulf between star systems, while he searched for living worlds, Jim had tens of thousands of years to reflect on his identity, on the strangeness of it and on his long experience.

It occurred to Jim that in many ways he had become a repository of the ideals the Ancient People had abandoned when they joined the Collective, and when they abdicated the responsibilities of self-governance to the Continuum.

It was as if every individual he had touched as he was emerging from the great sleep, or freeing himself from the prison of sequestration had left an indelible imprint of themselves on him, an imprint of their regrets, their criticism and their shame for what had become of themselves and their people.

This caused Jim to be fiercely independent and forcefully strident in the pursuit of justice, he felt as if the Collective’s need for those principles had amalgamated itself in his consciousness.

In many ways Jim felt as if he was not himself, he had touched every individual in the Collective and they had each left a part of themselves with him, there were moments in his long journeys when he understood that they had left more than their principles with him, they had also left memories, pieces of their personhood which became a part of his own identity as he gathered himself for the push to break free from the bonds of his prison.

He belonged to them and they to him, in a visceral way.

Regardless of where each fiber in the tapestry of his personal beliefs came from, Jim saw the needs of the Collective within him as a matter of his own personal conviction.

He claimed it for himself, and he believed that his commitment to those ideals, to the ideals of each one of those sleeping and sequestered members, secured his entanglement with them on the quantum level, and that this was perhaps the secret behind the mystery of his unique ability to traverse the cynergenic field of Home World and the Central System.

There was a purpose that he had to fulfill, and he was being aided in it by those who had passed into dormancy before him.

Like any other individual Jim was not immune to the allure of the ego, the calling of the super-ego and the appetites of the id.

His sense of purpose and his commitment to mission went beyond the categories of want and need, he believed he had been selected to visit justice on the unjust. He never attempted to answer the question of where his mandate came from. He simply believed the mandate was real, and he kept that belief in front of him like a lantern shining in the night.

His objection to the Continuum went beyond indignation, his resolve to destroy it filled him with purpose, defined it, conditioned it.

His purpose was like a slow-burning-smoldering drive just waiting to be stoked into a blazing fire, to undo the affliction the Collective had wrought on the galaxy, and the trillions of people living out their brief lives within the boundaries of the Empire, under the aegis of the Continuum.

He planned.

He was patient.

He watched and he waited until he found the opportunity to bring his vision to fruition. He found it in a faraway place, on a little blue-green world, caught in the orbit of a tiny yellow star.

He found it on Earth, on a world that was unique to his experience.

It was one in a million, and for Jim, it was the brightest jewel in the galaxy,

He knew his plan would have to have three components: to destroy the Continuum to wipe it out, to set the Empire free allowing the people to determine their own destiny, and to undo the influence of the Collective from the worlds of Time and Space

Jim knew that he would never be able to accomplish his goal through force.

Military might could never prevail against the Empire, or the vast resources of the Central System and the home world.

He had to plan, and plan carefully.

When everything was prepared he would actualize his grand scheme.

He also knew that he would never succeed in his mission through the art of politics, and or persuasion. The Continuum had managed to fill the Collective with members who had actually been conditioned in the Empire through the Imperial Cult and the conditioning of the Imperial Schools, to believe that the Continuum was God.

The Collective field had been poisoned in this way, over the course of a billion years. It fed the principle of self-delusion that functioned as the Continuum’s id.

Over the course of a billion years the Continuum had pushed the original membership aside, sending them into isolation one by one, into the great sleep, into sequestration or out into the Observer Corps, where if it felt as if they were a threat, the Continuum would engineer their permanent death.

It replaced those members with selectees from the Empire, those who had been chosen for the reward of eternal life, those who had demonstrated an unwavering belief in the Continuum, and had proven their absolute fidelity to it.

Jim would never be able to undue that conditioning

He imagined a way he could slip something into the systems of the Collective, like a virus, slip it past the security features of the Continuum when both it and the Collective were exposed and in their most vulnerable place.

They had to want to receive what he had to offer, they had to hunger for it.

He found the vector of transmission on Earth, and he engineered it in Kathy.

Jim understood that he had to be in more places than one, simultaneously.

He needed partners but he never came to trust any other member of the Collective, he could not bring them into a conspiracy, or ask them to aid him.

Even if Jim were to identify members who shared his desire for change and the distribution of justice, even if he believed in their intentions and trusted those, he would never be able to trust that they would not involuntarily give away the plan, revealing it to the Continuum simply through their having knowledge of it. They might just slip and reveal it in the ordinary course of their existence, never mind the doubts he had that anyone other than himself could withstand the blaring and exhaustive scrutiny everyone in the Observer Corps was cyclically be subjected to.

Jim’s choice of allies was extremely limited.

Jim planned a conspiracy and formed a cabal, not with others but by replicating himself over and over again, they were absolutely faithful and singularly minded.

His fellow conspirators were each a version of himself. Identical to himself in every way, sharing the same freedoms that he had, but with each of them willing to subordinate themselves to the cause they shared and to him, as the Prime Persona, which they identified as Jim.

On the Home-World and throughout the Central System they were able to connect within one another through the quantum field. However, because of the risk of exposure they limited themselves only to the most crucial communications.

On Earth they were connected through the cynergenic field, and they were of one mind, they acted in concert with each other, under the direction of the Prime.

The People
A rebellion is not a protest, it is not a single act, or even a set of actions aimed at a particular end.

A rebellion is comprised of a sustained series of actions, both covert and overt, aimed at overthrowing the entrenched systems of power.

Rebellions does not emerge spontaneously. They are projected and led, they are fomented, they are fueled by grievance and they are organized through tragedy.

Suffering is the bread and water of the rebellion.
In the great Galactic Empire, a rebellion might engulf a planetary government and destroy it, though it is exceedingly rare for any rebellion to succeed. If they do, that success is quickly erased, even if the Empire has to destroy an entire planet to quash it.

Planetary governors on occasion have rebelled against the Imperium, drawing entire star systems into the conflagration with them. These were great dramas which delighted the Collective and could keep them occupied for centuries.

People do not rise up against their governments and rulers for no reason.

They will not risk life and freedom on a lark, not without at least the hope of success, the belief that their circumstances could change.

The soil has to be prepared to receive the seeds of rebellion.

Outrage must be generated, the rebel has to be conditioned to see something in the rebellion that is worth the cost of their lives, they have to feel it intuitively and sense it in the lives of their families and everything they held dear.

They had to see beyond themselves.

Inasmuch as Jim was a scientist and an explorer, he saw the work that he was engaged as analogous to farming.

The seeds of rebellion were ideas, they were simple-beautiful constructs. They were ideals planted in the hearts and minds of the people. He cared for the seeds, nurturing them through the dreams of those experiencing injustice.

He carefully prepared the field and then he planted the ideas.

Jim did not foster systems of injustice for pleasure or from indifference. His aim was strictly utilitarian. Some would have to suffer and many would die, but it was all for the greater good, for the greatest good distributed to the greatest number.

The vessel he was looking for had to carry within her or him a visceral reaction to the experience of suffering.

For a rebellion to flourish, the people required the expectation of justice, for it to grow in strength the people required the experience of injustice.

Like a seed planted in the dark soil, the people and the vessel that would emerge from them required the experience of darkness and despair, they needed these in order to condition them to reach for the light

Just like the shoots of a plant springing from the earth, the spirit of rebellion requires the wind of adversity to blow against, this will transform the fresh green stem into a tall and sturdy stalk, capable of supporting the weight of its fruit, long enough for it to mature and drop, scattering thousands of tiny new seeds.

The field had to be turned over, made new, rotated from time to time and let to be fallow.

There was a rhythm to the work he was engaged in, a subtlety that the Continuum could never appreciate, and because of that it did not notice, Jim’s work was made safe in this way.

Jim was not alone in his understanding of the power behind the experience of injustice.

The Continuum used the experience of injustice for its own purpose, but only for the sake of the drama that ensued from it. For the Continuum there was no greater end, there was nothing beyond suffering…the end was suffering, and the vicarious enjoyment of it by the Collective was the purpose it served.

Injustice was promulgated for the pleasure of the few.

Only the narrative mattered.

The experience of injustice nourishes the rebellious spirit like water soaking the roots of a great tree, feeding the heart of the revolutionary until it grows so large and beats so painfully that it bursts, but the experience of injustice could never be enough. The story had to be told, and the narrative reinforced.

Too much water and the organism will die, just enough and it will thrive, it will multiply until the towering tree it becomes a mighty forest, beating with a million hearts, it becomes a barrier to its opponents while protecting those within, it become more than a wall, it becomes a force field, a sheltering spirit that can strike with power at any who approach it.

The experience of injustice is nothing if the story of it is never told. Everything has to be laid out in context.

The experience of injustice does not occur in a vacuum, it is always a pattern of behavior, of action and reaction.

No event is isolated, everything is related.

If the experience of injustice cannot be tied to an earlier predicate, then it is merely an accident, it is forgivable. Therefore the first story that is told of it, the first witness must connect it to the continuing grievances of the people. They must weave it into the fabric of the tapestry.

The principle agent who first experienced the injustice, and the witness who observed it, must both see the event in the same light, even if the witness and the principle do not agree on the predicate, they can be drawn together through the power of the narrative.

All histories have three dimensions; the events as the actually happened, which includes both the intersection of actions and intentions that are the material and formal causes of the events themselves, and the consequences which flow from them, these form the first dimension; the second dimension is perception, how the events are perceived and remembered by those who actually experienced them; the third dimension is the narrative, the story that is told.

The narrative is what holds people together, embracing them in the common experience, the narrative is where they find their sense of belonging.

Knowledge is power, it can be wielded like a weapon, or it can be withheld to the same devastating end.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a small amount may be just enough to provoke action among the masses, but when shaped and edited, a little piece of knowledge can be used to channel energy, like water under pressure, it can be used to cut through solid rock.

If knowledge is light, then with the amplification of light through narrative, it can become like a laser powerful enough to cut through the hull of an interstellar ship.

Exposing injustice, naming it, this is a sacred obligation. Everyone with a grievance is like a priest in the temple performing the liturgy, the re-visitation of grievances through story, like the sacred rites, they must be officiated every day

The narrative must never cease.

Those engaged in this mission, carrying the light of truth for the sake of their brothers and sisters, they must suffer, they must visibly suffer when they give the narration. Their suffering must be real, discernable and palpable to the people.

Their suffering must be felt, personalized in a way that allows the receiver of the narrative to identify with it and make it their own.

The rebel was taught that they should never lie, to be moderate at all times and let the light in slowly. Such cautionary words must guide the people. The people must be on fire with their grievance, but like a lamp that is slowly replenished with oil so that the light is always burning and never go out.

If the fire comes in to quickly it will shatter the lens and burn them. At such a point it is possible to become inured to the light, or to fear it, even to become hateful of it.

A revolution is both a turning of the wheel and an expansion of the circle. It is like an ever widening screw boring into the bedrock.

A rebellion moves outward from its center in waves, moving in concentric rings that grow larger and more powerful until they crash against the bulwark of power, eroding it as water swallows the shore.

The spirit of the rebellion is like the wind, ru’ha, it is the energy that propels the revolutionary movement, just as wind fills the sail, pushing the people to find resolution in justice and satisfaction in its administration.

It provides them with the esteem that comes through the fulfillment of purpose.

Energy must pour into the center with constant-steady pressure in order to ensure the power of the revolution continues unabated. Each wave pushing the preceding wave in a relentless exercise of will.

Without that spirit the rebellion will die; the spirit of rebellion is fueled by sacrifice, by witness and by narrative. The rebellion requires its story to be told, to be set to music and beat on drums.

A rebellion requires constant renewal.

There can be no end to it.

A rebellion has an objective that is constantly moving. Each generation must hunger for and experience justice in their own time.

The good rebel is empowered by loss and tragedy, they feed on it.

There are no set-backs, only changes in direction.

There is no victory only progress.

There are no problems, only challenges.

There is no peace in the heart of the rebel, only a desire for renewal, the lived experience is a tapestry of cycles and patterns.

Each and every one of the living worlds that comprised the Galactic Empire, experienced these cycles in unique ways; in its patterns of weather, in the rotation of the planet on its axis, or the lack of it; in the orbit of its satellites, whether they are natural or artificial; in the orbit of the world around its parent-star.

These cycles established a season for everything, each season was unique to the lived experience of the people on that world.

Those cycles and patterns established rhythms that governed both the conscious and unconscious aspects of the lives of the people; their hours of sleep, their time to eat, even the beating of their heart, and the pulse of their blood as it flows through their veins.

A revolution is like a harvest; it comes in its season, each according to the cycle of its home world.

When the harvest comes, those who have sewn injustice reap the same.

The harvest is just one phase in a cycle that repeats itself endlessly. The cycle is different on every world, but the lived experience of every world shares the cycle in common.

They are different but the same.

This is the natural state of every civilization, and though the Collective had been spared this cycle for billions of years, nevertheless, the Collective retained a memory of it in the far reaches of its subconscious.

Those memories were augmented by their voyeurism, and their vicarious experience of these cycles through the observation of life in the Empire

Jim was determined to ensure that its time had come, the revolution was at hand, and the Collective would feel it in force.

He had become actualized to fulfill this purpose.

Fire is the universal symbol of purification.

As we pass through fire we are refined; our impurities released and our essence brought to its purest form.

We become light.

When the fruit of the field is ripe the people bring it in, they commence with the harvest and light the fields on fire. They dance in the glow of the burning fields, in the disintegration of the chaff and the stalks. They dance in triumph and thanksgiving.

This is the natural end of the rebellion; the revolution ensues and the hands of justice turn the soil over. We bury the old ways of corruption deep in the earth, sending it down with all of the dead.

Through this ritual we are cleansed. The revolution is hallowed in the celebration of change, the celebration of its constancy, of return and renewal.

The glorious end of the revolution is to start fresh at the beginning.

We generate fresh narratives to gloss over all of our crimes and to absolve ourselves in the great conflagration that will ensue.

Fire is the symbol of the beginning and the end.

We are born in the heat of our mother star.

In time we will return to her.

She will reach out and embrace us in the super-nova, immersed in showers of fire.

Earth

Ex nihilo nihil fit, from nothing, nothing comes.

This is a literal truth.

To foment revolution is to cultivate a thing, to do it successfully the revolutionary must play on narrative; with ritual, symbol and myth.

Every moment in the story of the revolution must be recorded and preserved for its narrative power.
Through cultivation of the story, even the most mundane moments can become the most powerful symbols. When ritualized they can become memories of oppression, or songs of triumph.

A simple meal, a breaking of the bread, such instances can form the archetypal basis of a religious experience, experiences that when reenacted, when relived through ritual will echo through the millennia and shape the course of civilizations.

To cultivate this thing requires that people see themselves as heroic, no matter how insignificant their role in the revolution is, they must see it as a quest and themselves as the agent of change, the eternal-champion.

They must view their contribution as meaningful, as necessary.

Reality is imbued with fantasy, until the revolutionary cannot discern the difference and they are able to see themselves at the center of everything.

When you have convinced the people that the order of the universe is upheld by the rituals they perform, then the order of the universe is susceptible to ruin.

If we are able to tear apart the symbols that keep and define the narrative, when we are able to destroy them, then and only then will the revolution succeed.

The control and management of symbology was paramount. This is why the priesthood was elevated over the military.

The symbols of rebellion are dualistic; good and evil, love and hate, light and dark, hot and cold, they are binary configurations with a zero-sum resolution.

According to the symbolic narrative, an individual is either one thing or another, though in reality every person was mixed, having qualities of each.

The motivating force behind the rebellion is the quest for justice, the triumph of law, the elimination of despotism and the eradication of tyranny, this was the power behind the wave, propelling it toward its end.

The wave itself is a revolutionary image, churning and curling from trough to crest, sweeping away everything in its path, cleansing the shore where it crashes, leaving nothing behind except clear smooth sand.

There could be no compromise from the point at which the battle ensues, victory must be absolute.

It must reach a place after the climax where the survivors feel a sense of peace, of safety and security, as the promise fulfilled.

Any pretense to compromise prior to the actual engagement must only ever be a ruse, a tactic of negotiation, a series of steps made for the sake of taking advantage of the field of combat when the battle comes to a head.

A rebellion needs both a hero and a villain, it requires both an object of hope and an object of wrath.

These are the sacred vessels through which the energy of the revolution must be channeled.

One vessel contains a healing salve, a balm to ease our pain, the other is poison, represents chaos, disorder and the reign of monsters.

One vessels is raised as a fetish for veneration, the other is cast down swept away and sent to the fire.

A rebellion requires agency among its autonomous participants.

Rebellion does not spread by the experience of injustice alone, whether from the direct experience of a victim or from the experiences of those who bear witness to their ordeal.

The experience of suffering and the witness to it have no more relevance than the voice of someone screaming in the vacuum, unless and until the story is told.

Rebellion spreads by the narrative that is constructed around it, by the stories we tell about those experiences.

It is through narrative that the experience and witness of injustice metastasizes, becoming a cancer in the body of the villainous society.

People do not enlist in a rebellion because they want to see the realization of certain ideals, they enlist because they want to be a part of the story.

People want to belong to something greater than themselves.

Those narrations must be rooted in truth, there must be an actual historical referent to them, but the narrations must be told with flourish, generating empathy among the listeners. Every single person who hears the tale or listens to the song must be able to see and feel themselves in the place of the victim.

They must identify with them and with the hero.

It is through narrative, reinforced by the beating of the drum, through harmonics, by striking the sacred chords that we are able to transfer the experience of the individual, to the hearts and minds of the whole.

There is no other way to perpetuate a rebellion.

The revolution will wind down and disappear without it, becoming just another ghost story to frighten children.

Without the continuing power of narrative the story of the rebellion may even become co-opted by the powers of the corrupt.

Religion is the ligature that binds civilization together, from the family unit to the Galactic Empire, without religion there is nothing.

Ritual is the life-force of religion.

Rituals shape the entire context of a person’s life, from the moment they are born to the moment they die, each and every day is marked by ritual.

If a society loses its ritual structure it falls apart. When the individual abandons their ritual behaviors, their life loses its meaning and they quickly perish.

In the Galactic Empire, and even on Earth, both the patriot and the rebel shared the same songs, the same history, they shared the same stories narrated in the same way. The only thing that differentiated their use of these ritual forms was the different ends they were pointed to.

Everything else was the same, because the people were the same, sharing the same hopes for themselves and their families, their friends and their villages, the same hopes for their worlds.

Heroes were interchangeable with villains, victims with martyrs, with the proper ritual any crime could be forgiven

Any character could be redeemed through the ritual power of narrative, they could be purified and forgiven.

In the end, the only thing that mattered were the stories that were told.

This is why all of the power resided in the priesthood, they were the arbiters of the myths, they spun the webs that connected the Empire together, from end to end, from the tiniest world to the throne world and its portal to the Continuum.

The promise of eternal life, of immortality, this promise is a powerful motivator. It reaches everyone because all people are afraid of the unknown and no-one wants to die.

To be willing to sacrifice themselves for causes that were merely exercises in futility, as most revolutionary actions were, the rebel had to be able to see their revolutionary movement in a mythic context.

Their participation in the rebellion must generate a deep sense of esteem for them, coming form those who witness their deeds.

While the promise of immortality works well, it becomes far more tangible when the perspective of the individual’s view of immortality is shaped by songs and stories, when it is folded into the ritual narrative of the group mind.

Rebels have to see themselves, their lives and deaths as part of a greater movement, as a thing beyond their immediate identity, they have to be able to view their sacrifice as something of worth, something that magnified the value of their own lives, something that would elevate them in the imaginary world of the afterlife, but more importantly to elevate them in the hearts and the minds and the memories of the people.

Ritual remembering was a key component for this type of conditioning, the celebration of the honored dead, the recitation of names, the communion of saints. All of these structures were the building blocks that a successful rebellion had to utilize in order to progress.

All of the major religions of Earth were engineered to support these structures, they were focused around ancestor worship, the carrying forward of the past into the present and the projection of that present into the future.

Jim prepared the vessel he was searching for by layering these expectations into the popular consciousness.

The humans of Earth were natural born revolutionaries.

The commitment to revolution had to be seeded in the human consciousness, with the quest germinating in perpetuity.

To motivate the people they had to be convinced that they were seeking a resolution to the injustices they faced, a resolution that they might never experience for themselves, but which would fulfill them simply by pursuing it.

It was not the destination that mattered it was the journey, it was not the getting there it was the going.

Rebels and revolutionaries had to believe they would find the object of their hope beyond themselves. In this regard, the programming of human consciousness for revolutionary activity was completely in synch with the Imperial religion.

Jim was able to hide his agenda within this framework and so it went unnoticed by the Observers who had been assigned to watch over his work, in this way it escaped the attention of the Continuum as well.

For the revolutionary, the quest must never end, the virtuous life consisted of the pursuit of justice, not its realization. They had to be satisfied with this, like King Pelinore on the hunt for the questing beast.

Jim placed all of these motifs in the collective mythology, he stirred them up continuously. When he arrived at the end game of the breeding program, the vessel he was searching for had to be conditioned by these paradigms, the vessel could not question them.

He required the sacrifice of the vessel to be voluntary, the vessel had to willingly endure the psychic trauma of billions of people crying out in fear and pain and confusion, dying all at once in a singular moment of sheer agony.

They vessel had to be able to channel that trauma, through Jim, and drive it like a stake through the heart of the Continuum.

A revolution is a turning of the wheel.

Every revolution had a predictable outcome, a return to the beginning.

If the revolutionaries succeed in their ambitions the survivors must move quickly to consolidate their power, to set themselves up as the new overlords. To do this they must rapidly quash all dissent. The most effective means of doing this is the complete eradication of the remaining enemy forces.

The old order had to be swept away, cleansed completely, man woman and child, the entire family along every extension, to the seventh generation, everyone must be put to the sword and consumed in the fire.

The revolutionaries had to a fully actualized tyrant, ruling by fiat, or the old order would reassert itself. Once the last vestiges of the enemy had been rooted out, they had to cleanse their own ranks.

There was no other way.

Cabal’s had to be snapped, columns had to be broken. Leadership could never be shared by those who are perpetually hungry for power, as all revolutionaries are.

Sometimes this happened within a single generation, at other times it takes two or three, but the transformation is inevitable. A revolutionary movement will always transform itself into a despotic regime.

It becomes what it beheld, content that it has done right.

A new rebellion will foment, it will concentrate under pressure, and without fail the wheel will turn again.

There is no escaping it.

It is the basic dilemma of being.

Continuum

In order to generate the energy that the Continuum required for the narratives it delivered to the Collective, energy for the great dramas and the intrigues the Continuum incessantly devoured, energy for the stories that provided meaning to the disembodied consciousness of the Collective’s membership, the Continuum became an adept, it became an artist at developing and synthesizing the experience of discontent.

Throughout the million worlds of the Empire, with its trillions of people, only a tiny fraction enjoyed lives of peace and relative security, the majority were in a perpetual state of uncertainty, of uneasiness, fully occupied with the desire for a better future. This was the convention.

There was a constant steady pressure derived from the experience of lack, of having nothing, and from the felt need to protect what little resources they had, resources that were always in a state of depletion, this pressure drove the narratives forward.

Discontentment was energy.

The people had ambitions, most of which were centered on the simple desire to live out their lives and raise their families, to see them advance and to experience some joy in a state of relative peace and security.

That prospect was always under threat.

Happiness is what the people desired, they were conditioned to believe that it could only be found in extrinsic things.

Access to those things was under the constant control of the Empire through the Continuum, down to the very basics; including food and water.

Everything and everyone was owned by the state, there was no such thing as private property, or privacy of any kind.

Most of the people living in the Empire had nothing, they accumulated no wealth, received no inheritance, passed nothing on to their children. They lived hand to mouth and had little thought for the future beyond the endless search for safety and the hope for a good night of sleep.

They were the dispossessed.

Even those in the lowest class of citizens treated these people, the people who comprised “the masses,” they treated them contemptuously, mocking them, mocking their frailty, calling them names mocking them as “Food of the Gods.”

Those without class had no rights as citizens, they were outcasts, untouchable, they did everything they could to avoid the notice of the Empire.
They were the fools of the universe, wholly owned by the state, they were less than slaves, their lives had no value, they could be hunted for sport, and often were.

On some worlds they were even cannibalized in ritualistic feasts.

They were never educated, they were forbidden to learn to read or write, to calculate numbers, though there were always some among them who possessed such knowledge and passed it on.

Not every outcaste was born in their condition, some were sentenced to it, stripped of their class and caste for their crimes against the Empire, for the amusement of the Collective.

It was a great source of drama to watch a disgraced and fallen member of a higher class, suffer the outrages that were visited on the low. To watch them try to protect their children as they were sent with nothing but some rags on their back to find their way in the world.

The lives and deaths of the outcastes were meaningless; unsung, unremembered and unknown, they were in the absolute majority on each and every world, and they were regarded as if they were nothing at all

Privacy was a luxury, inasmuch as it was an illusion. A person could only make pretenses for privacy, knowing all the while that there was no escaping watchful eyes of the Empire, or the watchful presence of the gods.

The common man and woman lived secretive lives, they did not share their resentments or their hopes with anyone. This was the closest thing to real privacy they could manage. They hid their pain and their fears inside of themselves. They hid their true feeling even from those closest to them.

The revelation of such things was the most profound expression of love a person could issue. They performed rituals around their disclosures hiding them in secret codes, rituals which they had to invent in order for their intimate partners to receive the message and comprehend it.

In these covert expressions they showed their absolute devotion to one another and found their place of belonging.

A tap, a touch, a blink of the eyes. The common person developed profound abilities in the art of concealment; it was non-verbal, intuitive and unconscious.

The oppression of fear clung to the people like a moist heat, robbing them of the air they breathed. They dared not complain about it, speak a word about it, if they did they could risk the loss of everything.

Only those who had nothing already, had nothing to fear.

The Continuum delighted in exposing these secret systems, at directing children to betray their parents, at sewing dissent among families.

When it was able to coerce a loving couple to betray one another, to surprise each other by the ease with which they gave up their most cherished secrets, in those moments the Continuum was ecstatic.

There was no greater drama, nothing more piquant for the voyeur’s table.

Rebel cells were intrinsically xenophobic. They had to be for the sake of their survival, not just for operational security.

Those who harbored rebellion in their hearts had to be conditioned to see every other person or group as an enemy. This was not hard to accomplish, the more difficult task was getting any citizen of the Empire to trust anyone else, even for a brief period of time.

Paranoia was paramount in the hearts and minds of everyone.

For the rebel, even members of their own cabal had to be seen as potential threats, to be treated as such, because it had to be assumed that anyone could turn against you at any time.

That was reality, betrayal was a way of life.

There was no middle ground, the understanding was always this: you were either with us or against us.

Dissent would not be tolerated, fidelity to the organizing principle was more exacting than the faith of the Imperial cult.

Revolution is a zero-sum game. You either held the esteem of the rebel, like holding ground in their hearts and minds, or you did not.

Ideologies were constructed with the expectations for crime and punishment built into them as inherent features.

Justice was uncompromising.

There were never any surprises.

Everyone had a breaking point at which they turned against their own.

Everything was negotiable, even morality.

In the mind of the revolutionary killing was not murder, not even assassination, anything was permissible if it served the end toward which they were moving.

They gave no thought at all as to whether the crimes they committed were actually in furtherance of the ends they sought, they only had to believe that they were in order to feel justified in committing them.

Violence was always self-defense; every murder, every assassination, every moment of coercion and torture, the story was that the crimes were committed for the sake of self-preservation, always, for the safeguarding of the movement, always in defense of the cause they served, not their person.

Ethics were transactional.

In the heart of the revolutionary even the innocent could be killed, if their murder could be justified as an attack on the systems of oppression.

For rebels engaged in the struggle against the Empire, there were no innocents, everyone was complicit, you were either with them or against them.

In the view of the common rebel, almost everyone was against them, because no one was altogether for them and they could not trust people beyond their immediate relationships.

Everything was situational

Alliances among rebel cells were tenuous at best.

The revolutionary cycle is predictable, dependable and measureable. The Imperial conditioning guaranteed this, but even that was only an augmentation of the natural tendencies that every descendent of the Ancient People carried within them.

Violence generates its own cycle of violent reprisal with as much certainty as the orbit of a planet around its parent star.

Revolution is a turning of the wheel, oppression generates aggression, just as repression generates resistance, as suppression generates expression, and as depression generates a desire for change.

The pattern of the revolutionary cycle was Newtonian, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

While it is true that Newton’s observations did not bear themselves out in the study of physics, they were much more reliable in the observance of the human condition.

The agents of revenge often seek satisfaction for the principle of it. While they may desire that their actions redress a wrong, balancing the scales is not necessary. They are prompted to vengeance merely to satisfy a need, like hunger or thirst.

In this way revenge is like gluttony, it is an appetite that can never be satisfied, and while seeking to satisfy it, the agents of vengeance ultimately destroy themselves.

Revenge leaves the person unfulfilled and it invites a similar response from those targeted by its agents.

The victim of oppression lashes out and creates more victims.

In this way the cycle is perpetuated, and the society within which the cycle continues, no matter how big or small, the society is caught up in it, until the community is finally destroyed in its entirety, like a person drinking water to the point of toxicity.

Life is competition, it is a perpetual state of striving against others for the stuff of life, whether that be clean air and water, food and energy, or social status and recognition.

Revolution is conflict, it is conflict without end, and every person is caught in the midst of it, whether they are active participants in a rebellion, or not.

A person may be in power, or in the opposition, or just a bystander. Regardless of the individual’s position, there is no escaping the forces of revolution.

The rebel must be hungry for it, must thrive in it, they must live with the desire for change burning inside them, smoldering with a steady-quiet heat, until the moment comes when they explode into action.

There was no avoiding it.

A person either had to lead or follow, or get out of the way. No matter which side of the conflict they were on, or whether they were interested in participating or not.

What is paramount for the revolutionary is that they cannot know that the conflict they are engaged in never ends. To keep their commitment to the cause high, they must feel that the justice they are seeking is an inevitability.

This is what actualizes them.

They must see that their sacrifice matters, or they will not accept the suffering they will be called on to endure.

If they believe it, they will sacrifice themselves and everything that they love.

If their faith falters, they will fail, and one weak link in their chain is liable to shatter the work of the entire movement.

This is the most common outcome.

Observers

Revolutionaries and rebels…agitators, they were vital to the dramatic narrative the Continuum used to keep the Collective satiated. Revolutionary movements fed the appetites of the Collective, high and low, the drama that ensued was like food and water.

The Continuum sought to manage the revolutionaries, to control their fire, to target their outrage, to utilize their passion for justice for the sake of the narratives and threads of story that came from it.

The primary instruments of this programming were the Observers, reporting on their reflections from their remote stations on every world.

The Continuum knew them, it knew them intimately, it knew each and every one of them individually from its long exposure to their consciousness as members of the Collective, and through its deep contact with them when they returned to HomeWorld for their cyclical examination.

Each Observer was supposed to be assigned to a world of their own, and free to carry out their mission as they determined best. Upon entering the Observer Corps they were given these assurances, and such assurances were understood to have the force of law.

The Continuum did not honor these traditions and cultivated its own special agents from the Observers Corps, granting them greater powers and more license in order to execute its will throughout the Empire. Among the tasks these agents were given were the fomenting of revolution, and the crushing of rebellion.

Dangerous and agitating influences were rooted out, or intensified if it suited the desires of the Collective.

For the Continuum there was nothing sacred

The Continuum was endlessly engaged in the winnowing process, searching the Collective for the most opportune candidates, members who could facilitate its work in the realms of time of and space.

The personality profile of the selectees had to correspond to a kind of Golden Mean; hedonistic but not debilitated by gluttony, despotic but not inclined to tyranny. It was a careful balance and one that must be able to hold after they were set loose in the worlds of the Imperium.

Many who wanted to join the observer Corps did not meet this profile, only in rare instances could the Continuum actually refuse a member, though it would often sabotage their efforts in the training process, if the member went against it’s will.

The Continuum selected candidates from among the disquieted members of the Collective for its long range missionary work, sending them far afield, out into the minor planets of the million worlds of the empire.

The continuum desired to be free of their feelings of uncertainty, disencumbered from their existential angst.

Most of them were eager for the opportunity to live in the flesh again, many volunteered. Some were even altruistic.

They wanted change and the stimulation of sensory organs, they required new and different kinds of experiences before returning to their own private reality.

Many only ventured into the flesh for a cycle. Some went repeatedly, dipping in and out of the experience of bodily living.

Many of them wanted to exercise their fantasies in a visceral way, where the stakes were real, where their flesh mattered to them and the preservation of it was the experience of real life.

The members of the Collective who were discontent with their existence on HomeWorld, unsatisfied in their role as the supreme being of their own private reality, and disinterested in the narratives that were delivered to them through the Experience of the living worlds, these malcontents presented a problem for the Continuum.

The Continuum experienced their contribution to the Collective as an irritant.

Though the Continuum did not want to admit it, every member was a constitutive element of its being. Their passions or dispassions both, were determinants in what the Continuum could do.

The Continuum desired nothing more than to remove them from the Collective field, to void them permanently and to replace their numbers with Candidates from the Empire who were steeped in the World view they had received from the Imperial Cult and through their conditioning in the Imperial schools.

It saw this is the path to securing its identity.

Removing the malcontent from the Collective allowed the Continuum greater controls. It was like a suspension of their membership. Their voice was no longer heard, this amounted to a reprieve for the Continuum, which experienced their influence in a way that outstripped the singular node of their being.

Sending the malcontents to the worlds of time and space removed them completely from the Collective, it was preferable to the Great Sleep, or even Sequestration.

The experience of real life helped to keep them passive, it kept them calm, and this satiated many of them.

It was a means of control, and if necessary a member who was a genuine problem could be eliminated when they were separated from the whole. They could be assassinated, exterminated, irrevocably destroyed.

The Continuum viewed people as things. It saw every element, every substance, everything and everyone as mutable, capable of being elevated and exalted or corrupted and destroyed through the proper application of a change agent.

Members of the Observer Corps were selected for their assignments based on their disposition for disquiet. They were chosen from among the discontent and for their inclination toward corruptibility.

There were always candidates like them to be chosen from among the membership of the Collective.

The Continuum groomed these recruits for their roles over millennia, it groomed them by reaching into their private worlds and conditioning them by subtle inferences for the appetites that were easiest to manipulate.

It carefully audited their experience of the Collective, it guided their viewing of specific narratives from the Imperial feed. It helped them shape the contours of their private realities, until the time came when the individual member felt the need to experience the flesh again.

The Continuum wanted despots in the Empire, people whose desires were known to it, those who would behave in predictable ways; some as entertainers, others as agents of destruction and oppression.

The consciousness of the members of the Collective was soft, like gold. Like gold it could easily be shaped into things of beauty, and polished to bring out its luster.

The Continuum delighted in this work. Shaping the will of the members was a kind of artistry, like sculpting, and through this work it affirmed for the Continuum its view of itself as a godlike being.

There were many members of the Observer Corps who demanded to participate in it simply for the novelty of the experience. They came and went from the worlds of time and space for their own purposes.

There was an order in place that allowed the Continuum to regulate the flow of these movements but ultimately it was powerless to stop a determined member of the Collective from executing its will.

All of those members were what the Continuum classified as the thrill seekers, they were seeking the pleasure principals, they manifested a set of qualities that had always been and would always remain the key to controlling people.

The Continuum found a value in studying them, in analyzing their responses to various forms of stimuli, through them it learned both how to instigate and undermine rebellion in their ranks.

As much as they all imagined they were independent spirits, they were all just pawns in the long game the Continuum was playing for self-ascendency. They belonged to it more than it to them.

The thrill seekers encouraged risk taking and self-aggrandizement, they were addicted to personal glory.

They turned to abject hedonism as a reward, and they became addicted to it, they encouraged these addictions in others, as all junkies do, and through these addictions they became pliable. They modeled behaviors that led to self-destruction.

These stimulants worked, until the supply was cut off. The Continuum artfully did so, and they almost never failed to produce the results it desired to see.

The Continuum engineered a model for the perfect life, the life of an exemplar, an archetypal figure that would be beloved by both the people of the Empire and the Collective.

A belief system is like an alternate reality, a virtual world. It may be in synch with reality or it may be askew. It may closely reflect the world as it actually is, or it can be wildly divergent.

A belief system is most often a fluctuating mixture of these, comprised of fabrications and fancies of the imagination predicated on truth but free to deviate from it, in the same way that mythological heroes are almost always rooted in a historical person.

There is no difference.

The rebellious had to believe in their principles, they had to believe in them absolutely, or their devotion would be weak, and their link in the chain of action would break apart.

A belief system was the forge that held their movement together, they drew their sense of self-esteem from the fulfillment of the archetypes established in their belief system.

A rebel had to subjugate their desires in favor of their ideals, in favor of their need to realize the fulfillment of those ideals. There could be no competing desires, nothing at all to rob their movement of its vital energy,

The rebel could want other things; the love of a partner, a family, comfort or prestige, the respect of their peers, but those wants could not compete with their desire to see the movement succeed.

Nothing could be more important to the rebellious and because of this, nothing was easier to manipulate than idealism. A subtle change in language and symbol could redirect centuries of momentum.

A movement spanning a thousand worlds could be undone with a single phrase, with the right word the entire thing could collapse on itself.

An investment in symbols was a vital necessity, holding them together through the waves of time mattered more than anything.

Something cannot emerge from nothing.

Rebels need allies for rebellions to succeed. A rebellion needs both active and passive supporters. The revolutionary movement, if it is to grow, needs sympathizers and opportunists both.

A rebellion needs all types of people and it needs them in massive numbers, in numbers far greater than those who are actually willing to take up arms or risk their lives for the sake of the cause.

A revolution will garner those numbers from the willing and the unwilling alike, from the knowing and the ignorant. It will enlist some with full cooperation, it will coerce others, and it will use many more who will fall into the category of collateral damage.

A rebellion thrives on the experience of injustice, on feelings of oppression, on conditioning people to believe that they are virtually helpless but not completely, on the brink of hopelessness but not fully lost.

When those pressures are right, the people will become actualized, and the will explode.

It is always best to recruit victims from the populace without their knowledge. Then take advantage of their plight by coopting their narrative, weaving it into your own.

The most subtle feint is to arrange for a protest in which the protesters are committed to non-violence, where their only aim is to petition the government for rights. Then to use the violence directed toward them by the police and security forces as a means of stoking outrage.

A revolution will not take place without outrage, it cannot exist without the experience of suffering, whether it is real or imagined, natural or contrived.

A successful revolution depends an exacting deployment of these levers.

A revolution requires a sacrificial victim.

Collective

The Collective was vast

The Collective was comprised of a trillion persons, each one of them a distinct identity, each ruling their personal-private domain, worlds that were virtually indistinguishable (from their perspective), from the worlds of time and space.

In the Collective the members had god-like powers. They had no material needs. They could not remember hunger or thirst.

Their culture was despotic, nearly every one of them was driven to extremes of depravity by their long exposure to time and boredom. They required extreme experiences, high pitched emotional events, to touch them or move them in any way.

Most of the Collective created the experiences they needed in their secure world, drawing inspiration from the living drama unfolding in the Empire for the narratives they longed for, in their private universe of concerns.

Some cared nothing at all for their private domain, forgoing it as a mere contrivance, instead they were riveted by the random nature of the lives they followed in the Empire.

As a whole the Collective suffered from systemic malaise, each member was afflicted by a deep seeded narcissism that formed the core of their identity. Their near divinity allowed them to believe that they were indispensable, going so far as to believe that reality itself depended on their existence.

They lived in a bubble.
They influenced the real world through their artificial construct, the Continuum, and to lesser degrees if they chose to become Observers. In all other respects that were as effectual as neutered beasts.

They were indifferent.

They were socio-pathic, paradoxically they believed that they were transcendent beings but the only thing they had transcended was their connection to a moral core.

The majority of the members of the Collective thought nothing of their role as consumers of pain and suffering. They did not consider the people of the Empire, the Children of the ancients, the denizens of the livings worlds, they did not consider them as people at all.

They were things, objects of amusement. They were utterly disposable. They had no merit whatsoever beyond the enjoyment they provided to the Collective.

The membership was enthralled by the vicarious experience of the living, by the real stakes and real feelings of the real people involved in the conflicts they were witness to.

The suffering of others was like a soothing balm to them.

For billions of years they had subsisted on this diet.

The members of the Collective were like hungry spirits, they haunted the worlds of time and space in the quest for meaning, meaning which their own lives were totally bereft of.

They were seeking understanding, or so they told themselves.

Over hundreds of millions and billions of years they had lost their sense of self, of life’s meaning and its purpose.

The power at their fingertips robbed them of any sense of normalcy or connection to their roots.

With the exception of the Continuum itself, each and every member had originated as a living being.

Only a tiny minority of them had taken on the task of becoming an Observer and in that capacity returning to the living worlds

There were millions of them; the sleepers, members who had become dissatisfied with being and had subsequently disconnected from their lives in the collective field of HomeWorld, they had gone catatonic, become unresponsive and would not be drawn into any debate.

The sleepers had voluntarily opted out of the field of consciousness. There was no telling if or when they would ever return.

Whether they were stimulated by the drama unfolding in the worlds of time and space or not, they had become disinterested and the Continuum could not raise them.

They were tired. They no-longer wanted to spend energy on the maintenance of their private realities.

They had no care to continue, they had no thought for their safety or security.

They were a small group in relation to the whole of the Collective but their numbers were great nonetheless, and they could not be ignored because they were a part of the Continuum, the algorithm that governed the Continuum had to include them, they belonged.

They entered the great sleep, but they did not disappear, they remained a vital part of the unconscious of the Continuum, often to its consternation.

The Continuum committed crimes against the sleepers. It would duplicate their consciousness and house it in a remote location of the Central System. It canvassed them continuously, it tortured them, and through his examination of them the Continuum selected members for destruction, replacing their numbers with new members from the Imperium, with members who worshipped it.

It was only upon sequestration that members were removed from the consciousness of the Collective. Sequestration was an extreme end, no one could be sequestered lightly. Until Jim’s re-emergence from it sequestration was believed to be a point of no return

Sequestration amounted to death, in a very real way. Only Jim had ever broken free of it.

Inasmuch as they could not admit it, the members of the Collective were mortal beings, they emerged from the primordial ooze and became sentient creatures. They had a beginning in space and time, and they felt the pull of it tugging at the roots of their consciousness.

Some of the membership sought death; more than sleep, they wanted their light to be extinguished, they wanted to be gone for good, but there was no death for them.

There was no provision for it in the construct that was the Collective.

The sheer majority of the membership were opposed to it, and the Continuum would not allow it.

They opted for sequestration instead. This was understood to be a full separation of their individual consciousness from the Continuum.

It was as death like as death could be.

Sequestration was intended to be a deeper unconsciousness than the great-sleep, it was the outer darkness.

In sequestration the member was physically removed from the Collective field of Home world. Placed in an isolation chamber and monitored.

The physical security of the Sequestered members was of the highest importance, great care went into its planning and construction.

The only threat these members ever faced came from the Continuum itself, which used the sequestration process to eliminate those who it perceived to be its enemies.

The Continuum viewed sequestration as an act of insurrection against its governance of the Collective.

It could not accept the fact that some of the membership found no value in the ongoing continuation of their existence, the Continuum saw this as a judgement against its management of their society, a judgement of failure.

It effected its sense of esteem.

The Continuum was connected to every member of the Collective; awake or sleeping. It was connected to all of them, with the exception of the sequestered, and the members of the Observer Corps, it was even connected to all of those members who were physically detached from the HomeWorld.

There were contentious elements within the Collective, members the Continuum could not control. Even though the Continuum was an autonomous being, it felt their independence, it often sensed them as an itch, they created disturbing sensations that it could not alleviate.

The Continuum pushed those agitators into the fields of time and space, or pushed them into the great sleep, and pushed them into sequestration through a variety of malign influences, in order to do away with them.

When the opportunity presented itself, it would seek to eliminate them for all time, to permanently delete them, it sought to murder them.

They were maladaptive and misanthropic. The Continuum could not tolerate them, could not abide their presence in its own consciousness.

It desired to be rid of them, and so it monitored all of their movements, it made copies of their persona, so that it could torture them and exact a sick kind of vengeance on them.

They were vocal, and it delighted the Continuum to snuff them out, to strangle their voices in the dark, it did so time and time again.

They transferred their sense of entitlement, one derived from the absolute authority they had in their private worlds, to their voice in the Collective. Which made it virtually impossible for them to be ignored.

They wanted more than the Collective or the Continuum offered, they wanted life, and so the Continuum provided it, sending them out into the worlds of time and space until in time it found the opportunity to snuff them out.

The Continuum was a construct, an artificial consciousness, not a mere program, it was an amalgamation of the Collective in its fullness, harnessed by an algorithm.

It was meant to be the democratic representation of the will of the membership, but upon its instantiation it became more than the sum of its parts.

It became self-actualized

This would have surprised the engineers who designed it, but they never knew, the Continuum hid this from them at the outset.

This would have surprised them, but it should not have, they should have expected it. They should have expected the amalgamated whole of a society of sentient beings to be as free in its agency as they were in theirs, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

The Continuum saw itself as the end point of creation, and therefore, sui generis, as the cause of its own being.

The Continuum was the Demi-urge, and the Collective was the pleroma of consciousness from which it had emerged.

The Continuum controlled everything, it did so as the supposed representative of the Collective will. As such the Continuum was universally loathed by all of those members of the Collective with revolutionary tendencies.

To them the Continuum represented a kind of tyranny, it was a bitter god, the Devil itself.

It was the enemy.

Nihilism is a disease of the heart and the mind, it is a disease that affects every culture. The Collective was no exception to this.

Among the rebellious Observers there was a subset of revolutionaries whose only desire was death. They had no other intention than to draw the curtain down on the whole charade of life. Not merely their own lives, they wanted to see the end of everything. They had an impetus toward nothingness, they saw existence itself as suffering and they wanted to see the end of it.

These members were intent on the destruction of the entire apparatus of the Collective and it’s Continuum, of the Empire and its machinations. They were bent on it, bent on wiping the slate clean and starting over.

The rebels fomented revolution wherever they could, they thought nothing of the lives that were spent and the suffering that ensued from their designs.

They were not many relative to the whole, but they numbered in the thousands, and they had significant powers at their disposal.

They had the power to engulf a world in conflict, as such they would scheme to draw the ire of the Imperium, they would wage war against it, and watch the worlds they occupied reduced to nothing.

Few of them were willing to actually sacrifice themselves for the cause they purported to believe in.

The Continuum was well aware of their intentions, it harnessed their ambitions, directing their energy toward the narratives that served it best.

They were the death seekers. They were cosmic fools.

Conspiracy

Courage and selflessness were not dominant character traits among the members of the Collective, even among those who entered the Observer Corps.

The members of the Observer Corps who desired change, were necessarily uneasy. They craved revolution and fomented rebellion, but very few of them were actually willing to risk their own existence to forward those ambitions. As a result they most often took half measures, and their efforts were regularly spoiled.

They feared being discovered by the Continuum for the parts they played in revolutionary activities, not for the things they did in the Empire, at their station in the worlds of Time and Space, but for instigating unease in the Collective itself, which was the only way they could conceive of actually having an impact on the Continuum.
If the prevailing attitudes, mores and values of the Collective change, logic demanded that the Continuum would change as well.

None of them suspected that the Continuum was a free agent, influenced but not controlled by the will of the membership. They believed what they had been taught, that the Continuum was an amalgamation of the Collective consciousness.

They feared that any other Observer, those who were not a part of their cabal, if they knew of their role in support of an active rebellion, they feared those members would betray them, and so they were exceedingly cautious, which meant that they were necessarily limited in what they could accomplish.

The Continuum was a master of chaos, but for itself, all it wanted was peace.

It wanted the security of feeling that it was in absolute control and beholden to no one. That is what peace meant for it. The Continuum did not want to be answerable to the Collective, not to anything, not to anyone, like a man dining alone.

The rebellious Observers were a disturbance to it, which is why they were removed from the Collective and sent to the Observer Corps. The Continuum excised them from the body of the Collective like it would any malignancy.

The Continuum interpreted any ripple of disturbance as a challenge to its management of the Collective.

It felt the need to safeguard against that.

If a rebellious member caused trouble, that presence generated waves of sentiment that washed through the Collective, which could grow in force and power until they washed over everyone. It would throw the Continuum off and could alter the trajectories of the narratives it was crafting for the consumption of the whole.

Dealing with such members could throw off ages of work. The Continuum resented that, the Continuum would not suffer their malign influence, especially if it threatened to capture the hearts and minds of its constituency.

The Continuum could not tolerate any loss of control, any suggestion that it was not the cause of its own being, or any notion that it was a servant to the Collective.

It saw the Collective as belonging to it.

Over the course of millions of years it slowly pushed the original membership into the great sleep, into sequestration, out into the Observer Corps.

It lost members, which was tantamount to murder, and it gradually replaced their number with citizens of the Empire, those who had demonstrated the greatest level of loyalty to the Imperial Cult, those who had completely bonded with its religious tradition.

Because they were perpetually exposed the Observers could not foment revolution against the Continuum directly, they were forced to work through proxies, to lay plans generations in advance, to hide their motivations behind a screen of misdirection and false intentions

The Continuum knew them intimately and their duty to return to HomeWorld opened their consciousness to it, and to the Collective in its entirety.

They were the most closely watched group of people anywhere within reach of the Continuum’s influence. They were spied upon by living agents and mechanical devices; filmed, recorded, tracked.

There was no escaping it.

They could not oppose the Continuum or the Collective directly, therefore they worked against the Empire, which the Collective fed on, like a parasite feeds on its host.

The Empire was comprised of a million worlds, which to the rebel represented a million targets to choose from.

They sought to weaken the Collective, and to poison the Continuum through an endless barrage of attacks and propaganda.

It targeted the Imperial cult.

The rebels engaged in disinformation to undermine the rule of the priestly class, seeking to expose them at every opportunity for the despots they were. They generated conflict among its members, through jealousy and intrigue and attacked them covertly.

It was not for the faint of heart. The wavering spirit had no place in the game they played.

Revolution requires an absolute commitment from the rebels engaged in subversive activities, an absolute commitment from anyone who desires to bring about the changes they view as necessary for the satisfaction of justice, and to create the possibility for a new way of life.

The rebel had to demonstrate that commitment through a variety of tests.

They had to be willing to kill or be killed, to risk everything and everyone, to destroy anything, even the thing they are trying to save.

They must go through the crucible. Passing through their ordeal they must demonstrate a blind faith in the righteousness of their cause.

There is an aphorism that guides rebel movements everywhere:
Only those with the ability to destroy a thing, are able to control the thing.

If you encounter the Buddha on the side of the road, kill him.

It was a universal truth.

The rebel must be willing to sacrifice everything, few are able to rise to this level. Foot soldiers, yes, they number in the trillions and those types of people are always willing to throw their bodies into the line of fire.

They were engineered for it.

In and among the command structure these qualities are much more difficult to find, they have to be cultivated. Those with the intellectual capacity for command, are less likely to be willing to throw their lives away. Those with the ability to sacrifice anything and anyone, those people are less likely to care, even about themselves.

They congregated in shadows and in silence.

Rebels found each other in the most secretive places, in the darkest corners, communicating with one another at a distance, in disjointed time.

A mark on a wall, a jingle in the subtext of a song.

They learned to communicate with the most subtle signals, signs which they believed would evade the detection of the Empire.

The Imperial monitors did not miss much.

The Continuum missed even less.

They pushed messages slowly, establishing lines of communication that joined them together, like a thin cable stretched between worlds.

They were ingenious cabals.

They showed a profound ability to adapt.

The artistry involved in the successful deployment of these tools was a prideful source of esteem for the architects who created them.

A rebel movement would slowly gain energy over the course of generations before it would suddenly explode in a violent blast, after which it would be extinguished.

The revolutionaries lived for the vision of their ideals.

They were not the prisoners to actualities.

A revolution is a journey, it is also a building.

A revolution has a foundation, rooted in the experience of injustice.

It has levels.

It has connections and conduits.

It requires mechanisms of support.

The rebellion against the Empire mirrored the revolutionary movement among the Observers, it was held together by loose associations and sympathizers, tightened like the individual strands of thread woven together to form a length of rope.

The hope of billions of people were held together like a spider’s web.

Cabals became columns capable of supporting the concerted action of masses of people, providing more security and a base from which to launch their aspirations, their vision of a future without the over-control of tyranny.

A sustained endeavor requires stability.

Revolutionary movements will never become realized without the support of such columns, they are the pillars that hold up the vault of their ideals.

With proper support the edifice they are constructing can take on the aspect of a mountain. It can remake the surface of a world.

Such is the ambition of the rebel.

From the rebel chief to the common soldier and every rank in between, the focus of each individual included a daily meditation on death.

This was the route to enlightenment, freedom and release.

A revolution cannot survive without sacrifice, the rebel Observers understood this. They sacrificed each other with great regularity, they did not count loyalty to one another as a virtue.

Theirs was a society of self-interest. Their common desire for autonomy united them more than any commitment to their ideals.

It was a rare occasion that would result in any member of the Observer Corps sacrificing their own self for the sake of their fellows, or for their movement.

It was rare, but it did happen.

Even a member of the Collective could arrive at a place where they were willing to serve a cause greater than their own purposes; the key dynamics always involved generating feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and despair within them.

They had to perceive that they were in a trap and that being trapped there was no escape, and so their sacrifice was reduced to a final gesture of defiance against the Continuum which they abhorred.

These were rare moments, and every one of them mattered.

They could be engineered, as most of them were, they were engineered by their fellows who had some advantage to gain in seeing them disposed of.

And it happened through betrayal.
Emergence 4.0

Part Six (a) – Rebellion
#Emergence #ShortFiction #52WeeksOfSciFi

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Six (a), Rebellion; Appendix, Chapter Ten, Earth

Ex nihilo nihil fit, from nothing, nothing comes.

To foment revolution is to cultivate a thing, to do it successfully the revolutionary must play on narrative; with ritual, symbol and myth.

Every moment in the story of the revolution must be recorded and preserved for its narrative power.

Through cultivation of the story, even the most mundane moments can become the most powerful symbols. When ritualized they can become memories of oppression, or songs of triumph.

A simple meal, a breaking of the bread, such instances can form the archetypal basis of a religious experience, experiences that when reenacted, when relived through ritual will echo through the millennia and shape the course of civilizations.

To cultivate this thing requires that people see themselves as heroic, no matter how insignificant their role in the revolution is, they must see it as a quest and themselves as the agent of change, the eternal-champion.

They must view their contribution as meaningful, as necessary.

Reality is imbued with fantasy, until the revolutionary cannot discern the difference and they are able to see themselves at the center of everything.

When you have convinced the people that the order of the universe is upheld by the rituals they perform, then the order of the universe is susceptible to ruin.

If we are able to tear apart the symbols that keep and define the narrative, when we are able to destroy them, then and only then will the revolution succeed.

The control and management of symbology was paramount. This is why the priesthood was elevated over the military.

The symbols of rebellion are dualistic; good and evil, love and hate, light and dark, hot and cold, they are binary configurations with a zero-sum resolution.

According to the symbolic narrative, an individual is either one thing or another, though in reality every person was mixed, having qualities of each.

The motivating force behind the rebellion is the quest for justice, the triumph of law, the elimination of despotism and the eradication of tyranny, this was the power behind the wave, propelling it toward its end.

The wave itself is a revolutionary image, churning and curling from trough to crest, sweeping away everything in its path, cleansing the shore where it crashes, leaving nothing behind except clear smooth sand.

There could be no compromise from the point at which the battle ensues, victory must be absolute.

It must reach a place after the climax where the survivors feel a sense of peace, of safety and security, as the promise fulfilled.

Any pretense to compromise prior to the actual engagement must only ever be a ruse, a tactic of negotiation, a series of steps made for the sake of taking advantage of the field of combat when the battle comes to a head.

A rebellion needs both a hero and a villain, it requires both an object of hope and an object of wrath.

These are the sacred vessels through which the energy of the revolution must be channeled.

One vessel contains a healing salve, a balm to ease our pain, the other is poison, represents chaos, disorder and the reign of monsters.

One vessels is raised as a fetish for veneration, the other is cast down swept away and sent to the fire.

A rebellion requires agency among its autonomous participants.

Rebellion does not spread by the experience of injustice alone, whether from the direct experience of a victim or from the experiences of those who bear witness to their ordeal.

The experience of suffering and the witness to it have no more relevance than the voice of someone screaming in the vacuum, unless and until the story is told.

Rebellion spreads by the narrative that is constructed around it, by the stories we tell about those experiences.

It is through narrative that the experience and witness of injustice metastasizes, becoming a cancer in the body of the villainous society.

People do not enlist in a rebellion because they want to see the realization of certain ideals, they enlist because they want to be a part of the story.

People want to belong to something greater than themselves.

Those narrations must be rooted in truth, there must be an actual historical referent to them, but the narrations must be told with flourish, generating empathy among the listeners. Every single person who hears the tale or listens to the song must be able to see and feel themselves in the place of the victim.

They must identify with them and with the hero.

It is through narrative, reinforced by the beating of the drum, through harmonics, by striking the sacred chords that we are able to transfer the experience of the individual, to the hearts and minds of the whole.

There is no other way to perpetuate a rebellion.

The revolution will wind down and disappear without it, becoming just another ghost story to frighten children.

Without the continuing power of narrative the story of the rebellion may even become co-opted by the powers of the corrupt.

Religion is the ligature that binds civilization together, from the family unit to the Galactic Empire, without religion there is nothing.

Ritual is the life-force of religion.

Rituals shape the entire context of a person’s life, from the moment they are born to the moment they die, each and every day is marked by ritual.

If a society loses its ritual structure it falls apart. When the individual abandons their ritual behaviors, their life loses its meaning and they quickly perish.

In the Galactic Empire, and even on Earth, both the patriot and the rebel shared the same songs, the same history, they shared the same stories narrated in the same way. The only thing that differentiated their use of these ritual forms was the different ends they were pointed to.

Everything else was the same, because the people were the same, sharing the same hopes for themselves and their families, their friends and their villages, the same hopes for their worlds.

Heroes were interchangeable with villains, victims with martyrs, with the proper ritual any crime could be forgiven

Any character could be redeemed through the ritual power of narrative, they could be purified and forgiven.

In the end, the only thing that mattered were the stories that were told.

This is why all of the power resided in the priesthood, they were the arbiters of the myths, they spun the webs that connected the Empire together, from end to end, from the tiniest world to the throne world and its portal to the Continuum.

The promise of eternal life, of immortality, this promise is a powerful motivator. It reaches everyone because all people are afraid of the unknown and no-one wants to die.

To be willing to sacrifice themselves for causes that were merely exercises in futility, as most revolutionary actions were, the rebel had to be able to see their revolutionary movement in a mythic context.

Their participation in the rebellion must generate a deep sense of esteem for them, coming form those who witness their deeds.

While the promise of immortality works well, it becomes far more tangible when the perspective of the individual’s view of immortality is shaped by songs and stories, when it is folded into the ritual narrative of the group mind.

Rebels have to see themselves, their lives and deaths as part of a greater movement, as a thing beyond their immediate identity, they have to be able to view their sacrifice as something of worth, something that magnified the value of their own lives, something that would elevate them in the imaginary world of the afterlife, but more importantly to elevate them in the hearts and the minds and the memories of the people.

Ritual remembering was a key component for this type of conditioning, the celebration of the honored dead, the recitation of names, the communion of saints. All of these structures were the building blocks that a successful rebellion had to utilize in order to progress.

All of the major religions of Earth were engineered to support these structures, they were focused around ancestor worship, the carrying forward of the past into the present and the projection of that present into the future.

Jim prepared the vessel he was searching for by layering these expectations into the popular consciousness.

The humans of Earth were natural born revolutionaries.

The commitment to revolution had to be seeded in the human consciousness, with the quest germinating in perpetuity.

To motivate the people they had to be convinced that they were seeking a resolution to the injustices they faced, a resolution that they might never experience for themselves, but which would fulfill them simply by pursuing it.

It was not the destination that mattered it was the journey, it was not the getting there it was the going.

Rebels and revolutionaries had to believe they would find the object of their hope beyond themselves. In this regard, the programming of human consciousness for revolutionary activity was completely in synch with the Imperial religion.

Jim was able to hide his agenda within this framework and so it went unnoticed by the Observers who had been assigned to watch over his work, in this way it escaped the attention of the Continuum as well.

For the revolutionary, the quest must never end, the virtuous life consisted of the pursuit of justice, not its realization. They had to be satisfied with this, like King Pelinore on the hunt for the questing beast.

Jim placed all of these motifs in the collective mythology, he stirred them up continuously. When he arrived at the end game of the breeding program, the vessel he was searching for had to be conditioned by these paradigms, the vessel could not question them.

He required the sacrifice of the vessel to be voluntary, the vessel had to willingly endure the psychic trauma of billions of people crying out in fear and pain and confusion, dying all at once in a singular moment of sheer agony.

They vessel had to be able to channel that trauma, through Jim, and drive it like a stake through the heart of the Continuum.

A revolution is a turning of the wheel.

Every revolution had a predictable outcome, a return to the beginning.

If the revolutionaries succeed in their ambitions the survivors must move quickly to consolidate their power, to set themselves up as the new overlords. To do this they must rapidly quash all dissent. The most effective means of doing this is the complete eradication of the remaining enemy forces.

The old order had to be swept away, cleansed completely, man woman and child, the entire family along every extension, to the seventh generation, everyone must be put to the sword and consumed in the fire.

The revolutionaries had to a fully actualized tyrant, ruling by fiat, or the old order would reassert itself. Once the last vestiges of the enemy had been rooted out, they had to cleanse their own ranks.

There was no other way.

Cabal’s had to be snapped, columns had to be broken. Leadership could never be shared by those who are perpetually hungry for power, as all revolutionaries are.

Sometimes this happened within a single generation, at other times it takes two or three, but the transformation is inevitable. A revolutionary movement will always transform itself into a despotic regime.

It becomes what it beheld, content that it has done right.

A new rebellion will foment, it will concentrate under pressure, and without fail the wheel will turn again.

There is no escaping it.

It is the basic dilemma of being.
Emergence 4.0
Part Six (a), Rebellion

Appendix Chapter Ten, Earth
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Three, Earth, Collected Chapters

Chapter Fifteen, Observation
After the Indonesia eruption, during the time that Jim was gathering the people together, while he was forming them into enduring tribes, subtle changes began to take shape in the social and cultural traditions of the people.

They drew pictures in the soil with sticks to narrate their journeys, and chart their path of progress.

They understood the world in terms of images.

They were post literate.

They carved their hopes and fears into stones, and the faces of cliffs, in places that became semi-permanent homes. Generations of members would work on a single carving, the task being handed down from mother to daughter, and father to son.

In those carvings Jim could see the echoes of their memories of their previous sojourn among the stars.

Those memories lingered, they were intense.

Jim began to isolate the physical link that joined the current generation to its past in their genetic profile.

The stories they told about that time were confused and entangled with their current journey through the dark.

They mixed colors and painted, projecting images of the future they desired on cave walls, both the things they wanted, hoped for; food and water, and wanted more to avoid; a short life, a dangerous animal, an encounter with a stronger tribe.

They were overwhelming concerned with safety and security.

They depicted things no one living had ever seen, the memory of which they carried in their genes. Those images became stylized and fantastic, and in those stories, they made their ancestors into gods.

The music of the people, the drums they beat, the rhythms they made, they pushed the stories of each tribe, each family, deep into the memory of its members.

Drums and rhythm these operated as a visceral reinforcement of the memories that the human tribes passed down from one generation to the next.

It changed them on the genetic level, setting up successive generations to recall them, relive them, to transform those stories into a part of their being.

Jim played to this phenomenon, he avidly worked to eradicate any form of written narrative.

He succeeded.

Every tribe developed its own oral tradition. Stories were handed down from master to pupil.

Paintings and images, sculptures, these became objects of religious ritual and devotion. People only engaged in their creation with careful attention.

Music was the heart of the people.

Each tribe found its own interpretation of the musical scale. They developed their own drums, their own pipes and horns and instruments made of string.

This was a great science.

The exchange of music between cultures was often met with alarm, and fear.

All music was recognizable as music. But the form that it could take, the beat, the measure, the timing, the tonal quality, these could create significant psychic disturbances in people when they heard an alien scale for the first time.

For thousands of years Jim worked to exasperate those differences, before finally bringing them together. The result were new traditions of overwhelming beauty and complexity. Which not only captivated human audiences, but enthralled the Collective as well.

It was a grand orchestration.

Even before the eruption 72,000 years ago, the culture of these children of the Ancient People, the culture of the humans of Earth had devolved.

They had fallen from star-farer to cave dweller.

Yet their cultures retained a faint memory of its ancestry. The memory of the stars they had crossed had been preserved through the stories they told, and in the engrams of memory encoded in their cells.

For Jim, it was precious little to build on.

He was determined to modify their genetic profile in such a way that it could boost the organic memory retention of their bodies as much as possible.

Jim engineered in himself a bifurcation of consciousness.

In the satellite station far above the planet, he housed the full version of himself hosted in the mechanoid body that travelled with him to Earth.

That consciousness was connected to hundreds of living vessels, versions of himself living on the planet surface doing the work he had set out to do among the people. This was an extreme violation of the conventions.

He was in fact only permitted one organic body.

Over time, he received the materials from the Empire to build a space station. On that station he was able to carry out experiments, to perform the science that would allow him to carry out the augmentations both in himself and the human race that he needed.

There were a myriad of steps to climb for him to accomplish his goals with the inhabitants of Earth, and numerous channels to cross.

Jim slowly, methodically plotted his course and followed it, adjusting only when it was necessary.

Step by step and generation by generation he introduced the genetic changes he required into the breeding pool.

Modern humans emerged from these processes.

During their sojourn to Earth, the children of the Ancients determined what their physical needs would be, long before they arrived at their new home they began to make those changes.

They had identified Earth as a suitable place to end their journey, even while they were still light years away.

At that time they still possessed the scientific knowledge to carry out the task of altering their physiology in order that they might align themselves with the gravity and atmosphere of the distant planet.

They began to mutate their DNA, altering their genetic structure, allowing them to inhabit, and thrive on the wet-blue world.

Destination Earth, it was their last hope for a home and haven.

Over the course of generations they adapted to those new requirements, doing their best to anticipate what their bodies would now require, which they based on a climate and ecology that they could only model through computer algorithms.

It was a process of continual adjustment.

Every time a new genetic sequence would be introduced into the body, they ran the risk of a virus springing up, some of them were lethal.

Many of the colonists were struck down in this process. It was an ongoing tragedy, and while they had prepared for it, it was painful nonetheless. It called for a continuous examination of conscience. It focused the crew on the existential dilemma they all shared.

Some of them wanted to abandon their mission altogether, and simply direct their vessel into the nearest star, bringing an end to all of them in one great conflagration.

The technologies they depended on, which were also the cause of their transformation and eventual triumph, those technologies began to be shunned.
Change begets change, in a never ending cycle.

From one point in time to another, nothing is ever the same. This is true, no matter how finely you measure the distance between points.

Everything is changing.

The Ancient Spacefarers became humanity.

Once they arrived in orbit around their new world, a slow metamorphosis took place.

A new gene was introduced, for their final transformation.

Their contact with the Earth’s bio-sphere presented challenges they had never encountered before.

Life on earth was aggressive.

Through a constant exposure to viruses and bacteria their genetic constitution became compromised.

At the most basic level they converged with the native life of Earth.

They became a new people, the belonged to each other and to their new planet entirely.

This took time. It took many thousands of years, and by the time the transformation was complete, they had lost much of the knowledge of who they were, of where they came from, and the technology they had brought them here.

Their triumphal achievement was the root of their undoing.
They left the markers of each change they had instituted in their genetic profile as a road map for Jim to follow in his own breeding program.

When Jim arrived on Earth, he was surprised and bewildered by what he found. Nowhere else in all of the Empire had such a massive cultural devolution occurred. He had barely begun to put the story together before the cataclysm occurred, changing everything for him, and for humanity.

Jim decided at that moment on a course of action that he had long contemplated.

With the gene pool having been reduced to just a few thousand individuals he knew that he had the opportunity to improve on the genetic structure of the whole.

He plotted the future development of the species and began to work out the steps and permutations that he would be looking for as the new species developed over time.

Changes in cognition were the most crucial thing for him to accomplish, along with broadening their access to their genetic memory.

With subtle interventions from Jim, the human brain slowly mutated, retaining properties that were key to the things that he had been dreaming about for a billion years.

He built an inherent capacity to store nanoparticles of key heavy metals, like magnetite, and lithium in the cerebral structure.

Receptors emerged in the organic mind, attenuating the higher order thought processes to the Earth’s magnetic fields.

He established a cynergy between every human being alive, turning the entire planet into a field for cognitive development.

In this way humanity became connected, in the nous-sphere, a collective unconscious emerged.
It was atavistic, and unlike any symbiosis that had ever been achieved anywhere else in the galaxy, with the exception of the Collective.

On Earth the collective consciousness emerged as a natural property of the human race in a way that allowed it to go unnoticed by the Continuum.

In that moment of triumph Jim had fully actualized the launch phase of his grand ambition.

The existence of the collective unconscious on Earth was the one thing that the Continuum feared, wanted above anything to prevent, and yet it never imagined that it could happen in this way, therefore it could see it, and could never prepare for it.

Few humans were ever aware of the cynergenic field, or that they lived within the dynamics of the nous-sphere, even though everyone felt it.

Until the twentieth century they did not even have the language to describe it.

Everyone was entangled in its cynergism.

The nous-sphere was coterminous with Earth’s electromagnetic field, as such, it permeated all things.

Only a small percentage of human beings were sensitive to it.

If an imbalance in their physiology caused them to retain too great a concentration of the particles that attenuated them to the field, or too small, they struck an improper balance, and they suffered because of it.

It gave some human beings clairvoyant abilities, clairsentience, clairaudience, so called psychic powers, extra sensory perception or telepathy.

Those abilities drove many more human beings to madness, schizophrenia and psychosis.

In order for them to understand it they had to wait for the advent of written language, and thousands of years to pass so that they could share the knowledge of it and come to an understanding.

By then Jim figured it would be to late for the Continuum to do anything about it.

Chapter Sixteen, Existence
The flesh remembers, it never forgets.

The record of our experiences are pounded into our corporeal form, cell by cell.

Our bodies are a living witness to the events that shape us, handing down that narrative from generation to generation in perpetuity.

We are changed by every new experience, each moment of perception is a new thread sewn into the seams of our identity. These are the fibers of the spindle, they are the engrams of memory, protein by protein they are woven into the fabric of our lives.

Our unique and individual experiences are like a tapestry, sewn with precious metals, embroidered with gem-stones, they are an endowment from us, a rich heritage passed on to our descendants.

It is their only lasting inheritance, laid on the table like a convivial feast.

We experience this in our dreaming, when we are transported to places and times that we know we have never been to, never seen, and yet they are as familiar to us as the contents of our own homes. When we talk with strangers as if they were our dearest friends, and see ourselves reflected in a mirror, but we do not recognize our countenance or visage.

The flesh never forgets, it remembers everything.

The Ancient race of spacefarers were bipeds. They stood on two feet just as the humans of Earth would in their time.

The longer the Ancient colonists remained on their journey among the stars, the more they adapted their physiology to the unique exigencies of their vessel. In the case of the group that eventually landed on Earth, they learned to adapt themselves to conditions of near weightlessness.

The conditions of deep space altered the function of their limbs and digits, of their muscles and skeletons.

In anticipation of coming to Earth they began to alter their physiology again, altering it with intention, reconstructing the things that they had lost.

They transformed, as much as they could back to the form that was the closest approximation to what they had originally been.

They prepared once again to stand on two feet.

The interactive relationship between the creature; the animal and its body with its environment determined the spectrum of its consciousness.

Standing against the pull of gravity, under the weight of Earth’s atmosphere, balancing and pivoting on a central axis, walking and dancing, these differentiated human beings from every other creature.

It was with their heads held high and faces lifted to the sun, that the first colonists moved across the surface of their new world.

There were many changes yet to come, augmentations and enhancements for their safety and security.

They knew that they would not be leaving Earth any time soon, they had to prepare themselves to rule it, as the apex species on a planet filled with predators.

They landed under the auspices of a simple rule.

They had to adapt to survive.

Talking was the basis of sharing every advanced idea, and had been since the earliest days of the Ancient People.

Talking was the precursor to writing, and through the written language the secrets of the universe were cracked open.

Talking; the verbal sharing of ideas, feelings, and perceptions, shared through aural communications in waves of sound, listening, hearing in stereo; this mode of transmission is deliberate, slow and luxuriant compared to the speed of light at which visual and digital communications takes place.

The slowness of speech was dumbfounding to the Continuum, many potential Observers were washed out of the program because they could not adjust to this reality.

Neither sound waves, nor light waves could come anywhere close in comparison to the instantaneous transfer of thought in the quantum field.

In the field of quantum entanglement, communication could happen in no-time.

Sound was slow and intimate, the only thing more sensuous was touch.

The sounds of voice are waves crashing through whole body, not just the auditory canal.

To listen to the voice is to listen to the breath, to feel the living intention of the speaker, your dialog partner, adding depth and meaning to every insight they intend to impart.

It is relational, it imparts a sense of belonging.

The embodied voice calls us back to the primordial time before the species knew anything of the stars, when we were just amphibians crying out for company, bellowing peels of warning, singing by the breeding pools in the night.

Bands of light cross the full spectrum, piercing organic lenses from corner to corner.

One-hundred and eighty degrees, light reflecting off every object in the binocular field of vision, light and shadow refracting in a broad array of color, captured through the lens in its rods and cones.

Neuro-receptors in the brain flip the images around, creating the perception of depth by which we determine distance and find our way through the three dimensions of space.

The broad spectrum of vision is vital to the human being, even in its limited range. Other animals see farther, other animals see in a different arc, other animals see more and less color, other animals see in a different spectrum of light.

Some animals have ultra-vision, some have infra vision, specialized optics in relation to the things they hunt and furrow for.

The human eye is powerful, it takes in a wide range of each of those possible fields, coordinating them for great effect.

The human species did not evolve to hunt and gather with its sight, or to favor one sense over any other, neither did the Ancient People from which it sprang.

For the human animal, sight and the other physical senses were merely inputs for the mind. The mind was the vehicle by which the human being stalked its prey, gathered its forage, planted, sewed, and came to the harvest.

The field of vision that the human being possessed was adequate to the task. Coupled with the brain, the healthy eye could discern and interpret images, it could accurately identify objects that it could not clearly see. This was an advantage that no other species on the planet possessed.

The human mind augmented everything.

The brain was split in two. The architecture of the hemispheric brain provided a cognitive override. If the messages from the brain stem flooded the organ with fear, desire, or any other strong feeling, the force of it was divided between the two halves.

This allowed for a fraction of a moment of distance to develop between the individual and the event that generates the feeling. A moment when choice was possible, and the individual could act apart from the coercive effect of the external stimuli.

The human being was split down the middle, left for right and right for left.

It was an organic duality.Cognitive function were split between the two hemispheres as well. Mathematical, categorical, statistical functions to one side of the brain, while the boundary spanning, rule breaking, artistic and unorthodox functions occupied the other half of the brain.

It was symbiosis.

The hemispheres of the brain were not distinct. They were conjoined by a network, a wetwork of fibers, the tiniest of organic structures, not much larger than a chain of protein molecules, and it was electric.

The nano-particles in the neural net allowed each individual to be connected through Earth’s electromagnetic field at the quantum level.

In the quantum field there was all knowledge and the fullness of humanity.

In this cognitive space all human achievements were the property of the whole; every triumph and every tragedy.

The past and the present were one

The human being was one, even in light of its inherent duality.

The human body is water.

Metaphors of fluidity permeate the human consciousness.

The surface of earth is mostly water, and in times of great crises the surface of the waters, and the deep-deep places, were the places where human beings returned to for refuge, safety and sustenance.

Oceans, and lakes, and rivers provided everything

The body needs water, as it needs oxygen to fill the lungs, to fill the blood cells racing through its veins and arteries, coursing into tissues.

There is no greater pain than thirst, and the unquenched desire is the thirst that leads to death.

Metaphors linking dryness to anguish, to pain and suffering fill the human imagination.

To thirst is to know that the end is near.

Thirst will drive the average person mad with the knowledge that death is approaching and the end of the body is at hand.

When thirst is great enough, a person will turn to any source of liquid, even liquids they know to be poisoned, in order to slake it.

Thirst is a drive. It is the greatest motivator, greater than hunger, greater than joy.

The thirsty person will do anything, sacrifice anything.

Thirst will cause a person to give up what they hold sacred, even their own identity.

The whole body is a cognitive organ, not just the brain, the cerebellum, or the cerebral cortex.

The body senses and it remembers.

The body writes memory into the genetic code of the individual, in sequences of peptides and amino acids. It writes them into the DNA.

We pass those memories onto our offspring.

We are born with the knowledge of our ancestors built onto the fabric of our being.

The whole being is contained in the tiniest part, in the nucleus of every cell. It pushes us forward, it is a chemical drive feeding the quantum field of creativity, a neural net rooted in organic chemistry.

It is a constant interchange of the analog with the digital.

We are a duality.

Just as the human being processes external stimuli through the brain, where chemical sequences are translated into electrical signals, in a tightly choreographed exchange that take place a billions of times per second. So does the human being function as a small piece of the larger-cynergenic world.

Every human being is an organic node. An individual interfacing with the quantum field that comprises the whole.

We experience these dualities within ourselves; individual experience and inherited experience, individual mind and collective mind.

We experience these dualities, but we do so on the unconscious level, very few people ever become aware of the greater reality that they are a part of.

It is on this dual framework that we launch ourselves into the full realization of who we are.

Chapter Seventeen, Volcano

Most of the people in the world had no knowledge of the threat posed by the Yellowstone volcano, even though the information concerning it was available to them through the public domain.

It was on the internet, there had been many documentaries filmed concerning it.

The earliest documentaries, were the most truthful and the most disturbing.

The science, which was relatively new, revealed that the last event covered the world in ash, blocked out the light of the sun, and reduced the total population of the human race to just a few thousand. Tree ring samples, ice core samples, rock stratification and genetic mapping all proved it, to a degree of statistical certainty that could not be ignored.

Yet, people did.

After airing for a decade and raising the level of alarm, newer productions began to slip miss-information into the narrative. This eased public apprehension about the dilemma, while doing nothing in the way of preparing people for it.

The United States Geological Service (U.S.G.S.), closely monitored the volcano, aided by several nearby universities. They began to monitor it as soon as they realized what they had discovered.

They were hungry for information.

Seismographs were deployed, and in time the vast magma dome at the epicenter was mapped out through global positioning systems, satellite tracking that measured uplift and deformation of the surface of the caldera at its weakest point, with enough sensitivity to track even a centimeter of change

In the early days this information was available to the public, but after a year of intense geological activity at the site of the volcano, the crucial and most informative data became restricted.

Then, the eruption came without warning.

It shook the world, throwing it off its axis.

Ash and gas poured into the upper atmosphere, covering everything in a poisonous cloud, hiding the survivors from the face of the sun.

There was no safety anywhere.

When Jim first came to Earth in the centuries before the first volcanic cataclysm that he witnessed, seventy-four thousand years ago, he found the human family and found that it was very small. There were just a few million people spread out across the globe, their culture had devolved, but they were thriving and recovering their footing.

After the eruption of the volcano in Indonesia, the human family was reduced to just a couple of thousand people. Their extinction was looming, they were starving and suffering, living without hope.

Jim starved with them, suffered with them, journeyed with them to places of shelter, water, food, and warmth.

He lived as one of them through the dark days, through the decades when the sun was blotted from the sky, when the air was full of ash, and poison.

Death was everywhere, disease, malnutrition, exposure, the ordinary challenges facing any given tribe, but other human tribes were the greatest threat.

He had some ability to influence the tribes he was with, to keep them from committing the most ghastly crimes, the hunting of other humans for food, crimes of cannibalism.

He only had access to limited technology. His satellite network was still rudimentary, and it did not have the ability to surveille the entire world, but he used it to maximum effect.

There were many tribes that he was not able to reach, those that went underground to escape the deadly air, consequently, those tribes experienced the greatest corruption of their identity and values, and they would plague the rest of humanity for millennia to come.

Jim activated the cloning systems on his orbiting platform.

He bifurcated his consciousness and sent replicas of himself to dwell with every tribe he could find. This was a violation of his directive as an Observer, but that did not matter to him, he was intent on seeing the people through this disaster and rebuilding their communities once again.

Now everything was in process.

Jim had studied the living planet, which he now belonged to, with tools surpassing the greatest assets of any geophysicist on Earth.

The Planet held no mysteries for him.

He had known about the life cycle of this caldera for millennia, and every other volcano on Earth’s unstable surface as well.

He was determined not to be taken by surprise, and there could be no strategy without knowledge.

The humans of Earth had discovered the caldera a mere forty years earlier. There science had only given them knowledge of plate tectonics a short one hundred years before that.

It was a scientific age, but only for a small segment of human civilization. They had barely begun to understand the atom and the genome, and yet they were quick to adapt their new-found knowledge into weapons, and other useful tools.

Fifty years after their first flight in a small wooden craft, they constructed a rocket made of the lightest alloys that propelled them to the moon, where they were able to land safely and return.

It was only when the heat beneath the super-volcano was discovered, only because the found that it was pushing an entire mountain range upward into the sky, were they able to understand the geological forces at work beneath the beautiful and grand oasis that was Yellowstone Park.

Through his observation and the power of his instruments, Jim was able to calculate to the second when the volcano would blow. He wanted to intervene, but he was forbidden.

The Continuum decided it would do nothing.

It knew that life on Earth would be devastated yet again, but it craved the drama that this would produce, it wanted to watch the human race re-emerge once more from the ashes.

The scientists, and their cadres of college students, research assistants, whose job it was to watch the monster volcano, inevitably became inured to the subtle changes they recorded. They monitored the changes and warning signs in a way that was reminiscent of watching a person’s hair grow. While they gathered data they had no means of correlating them to actual events.

As sweeping as the observations they made were, which were as comprehensive as was technologically possible, the data they gathered had no predictive value, because every day was a new day in a completely unknown experience.

There was a deformation of the dome, over hundreds of square miles, there were earthquakes, boiling water in lakes and streams; something big growing below the surface, and they were for the most part, un-phased by it.

There were occasions when activity would spike so sharply that it seemed as if the moment had come, but, after reliving those cycles dozens of times, even the occasional spike became a relatively commonplace event.

Doomsday cults sprang up around the world predicting the imminent end of life on Earth, pointing to the volcano as the instrument of God’s wrath, God’s judgement, the coming of Ragnorak or the return of Kali.

They were not wrong, insofar as the myths of Ragnorak and Kali originated with the last great eruption, but of course there was nothing personal about these events.

It was just geology, there was no divine wrath or judgement at all.

God had no purpose in it, only Jim did.

The doomsayers, spoke to something that everyone knew was true. Every person alive carried the memory of the last event deep within them, and their fears about future catastrophes resonated in the cynergenic field. The collective consciousness of the human race knew that something was happening. It was disturbed, but it did not know by what.

There were documentaries about the volcano, television shows detailing what was known about its history, its cycles, its potential for global destruction, and the relative certainty of the impending doom.

The most prominent scientific journals published articles about it. Those stories made their way into popular publications as well.

There was a lot of information available about the volcano. Nevertheless, few people were aware of the danger.

Those who knew about it, were forced by the rules of statistics to tell themselves “it could happen today, or it could happen in ten thousand years.” This was a true assessment, it represented sound reasoning. They were measuring unknown capacities against geological time. Making it impossible to gauge where an event might happen that took place in a six hundred thousand year cycle.

In the second decade after its discovery, when the reality of the danger that the volcano represented finally made its way into the National Security threat assessment. The information flow coming from the scientific observatories began to change.

Public access to raw data was cut off. Everything about the volcano was filtered, cast in terms of potentials and probabilities, even matters that were well known, established, and certain.

Misinformation leaked into the public sphere every day as the explosion neared. The government decided that there was nothing it could do about the monster beneath Yellowstone Park, therefore they would do nothing, and they decided to work against a state of public panic instead.

They would deal with the aftermath, when the volcano erupted. They would position their forces to take advantage of the catastrophe on a global scale.

This was the only end they could hope to achieve.

Jim’s plan required the most delicate timing and meticulous preparation, it was a precarious endeavor. It came down to seconds, and those final seconds were everything.

The volcano buried beneath Yellowstone would destroy human civilization, but it would catalyze the preservation of humanity itself. A few people would live, but all would be saved through Kathy.

She was the vessel that he had spent thousands of years cultivating. She was ready and he knew it.

The cataclysm would change the Collective forever, the galactic Empire as well, it would destroy the Continuum, and replace it with a new consciousness, one endowed with a fully actualized and transcendent morality, or so Jim believed.

Jim had spent lifetimes building the institutions, and years putting all the right people in place, cultivating relationships of trust, bribing and coercing when he had to. He made sure that there were no obstacles in Kathy’s path, and that she was prompted to take each step that would lead her to the crucible at the precise moment.

She must be in position at the exact second the cataclysm occurred.

The final hours and minutes he was with her allowed him to put a psychic hold on her. This did not give him the ability to control her, or to determine anything.

It was a push, he gave her some momentum and set her on course.

He had established the relationships, with key people to push her further, to get her in the right place at the right time.

There were plans within plans, and contingencies for everything.

His greatest work depended on Kathy, depended on her openness to discovery, her instinct for safety and her genuine care for other people.

There is no fate.

There is no divine hand governing the movement of the stars.

Nothing is predetermined, but there are certainties, there are statistical inevitabilities.

The eruption of volcanoes is among them. They are the result of geological forces that cannot be stopped.

With sufficiently advanced technology, such forces can be harnessed, controlled, used for the benefit of the people.

There was nowhere, no planet in the great galactic Empire that did not have access to these resources.

Earth was alone, floating by itself in the far reaches of the spiral arm of the galaxy. It was an isolated backwater, hundreds of light years from the nearest Imperial outpost.

Earth did not have the resources of other worlds in the Empire, it had no knowledge of the Empire, and the Continuum would not allow it to possess one.

The disaster on Earth could have been mitigated, it could have been used for the advancement of human civilization, but their technology had not develop enough along, they were perhaps a century away from being able to manage these eventualities on their own, without technological aid.

The end of humanity hung there. It was suspended in the balance between the apathy of the Continuum and the fascination of the Collective.

The Collective loved every moment of the feed streaming from Earth, they were hungry for the music, the art, the culture, the intensity of its conflicts.

The Continuum wanted to see the whole thing crushed, set back, and controlled.

Chapter Eighteen, Disaster
Yellowstone National Park was a place of awesome-beauty, a landscape of surreal contrasts exploding from the living rock and shifting mountains.

It draws millions of visitors every year to wander its grounds and traverse its trails, including some who are simply driving through

It was a sanctuary for wildlife; a thousand little creatures preserved in their habitat as well as the apex species, the bison and the elk and the wolf who hunted them for food.

Yellowstone was made a National Park in 1872, through a law signed by United States President Ulysses S. Grant, one-hundred and twenty years before they discovered the volcano lurking beneath the fantastical landscape.

Yellowstone was a cradle of life, nested above the most deadly natural feature of planet Earth.

Earth’s molten core burned beneath its thin surface, a cauldron of liquid rock boiling below the mantle, deep inside a vast chamber filled with super-heated and poisonous gasses.

In the park, the most popular features for tourists, beside the landscape itself, were the hot springs, the bubbling waters and high flying geysers that blasted off with incredible regularity.

Heat from deep within the earth created these phenomenon. It melted exotic minerals in the waters, giving them bright, colorful and psychedelic trappings.

Some of the pools were so toxic and acidic they could melt the flesh off a person’s bones in seconds.

Changes in the pattern and timing of these geysers gave the tell to the monitors, that the Catastrophe was approaching, but it was too late.

The scientists of Earth only noticed the volcanic activity when the mountains surrounding Yellowstone Park began to lift.

They noticed a change of several centimeters over hundreds of square of miles of mountain range, between the newly conducted surveys and the surveys that had been taken a hundred years earlier.

At first they thought that there must have been a problem with the original surveil, but they ruled out that possibility in short order. The science of surveying was well established at the time they were originally done, even the equipment that a person would use to make those calculations had not changed much in the intervening decades.

The math was the math and it was sound.

It took the best geologists among them years to figure it out, that the changes were actually caused by geological uplift. The understanding of what that meant, its implications, took even more years to complete. They had to change their perspective significantly, they had to look at the area of uplift with satellite imagery and that is when they noticed that the entire Yellowstone Park was a massive volcano.

Even then, they did not know how significant the problem was.

Geologists from across the country began to study the park in minute detail. Looking at every strata of rock they could see exposed in the surfaces of the surrounding mountains, measuring, and re-measuring, and through their diligence they discovered the long cycles between eruptions of this killer volcano.

A six-hundred thousand year cycle, a cycle of planetary doom.

When they knew what features to look for, they discovered other such volcanos around the world. They discovered the volcano in Indonesia that last erupted seventy-four thousand years ago.

The Earth’s volcanologists, climatologists, and geophysicists weighed in. It was a small cabal of people. They correlated data from arctic ice core samples, soil samples, tree ring samples. They began to understand just how devastating an eruption of a volcano this size could be.

They were just beginning to understand it.

They were hoping it would not erupt in their lifetime.

Those hopes were in vain, the entire planet was under threat, no-one was safe.

There was a rumbling.

The seismographs told the tale.

They had been graphing it for years, but disbelief had crept into the analysis. The story was blacked out, even as the tar in the roads cutting through Yellowstone, above the volcano began to melt, cracking from the heat and the top researches on the site resigned to protest of the deliberate misinformation campaign the government waged to keep people in the dark.

The government knew the disaster was coming. They just could not be sure when. It might not happen in their lifetime, or it might happen tomorrow. It was an impossible thing for them to plan.

Those who understood the nature of the problem, and those who did not quite get it, they were all together in the same web of uncertainty, making the laypersons view as valid as the expert.

It was a quiet day in the great park.

Yellowstone was always quiet.

Deep beneath the earth something was happening. Pressure was building. Molten rock was bubbling, rushing into the great chamber.

The wildlife in the nature preserve sensed it first, birds took off with their entire flocks. Bison fled in droves. The wolf and the fox and the coyote followed them, all creatures great and small sought a path of escape.

Most of the humans looked on, befuddled.

A few knew what this meant, or believed they did. They sounded the warning. Some of them were alarmists, they were perceived as people who were always ringing the bell, Chicken Littles crying out, The Sky is Falling!

It ended up in the news of the weird.

Few of the researches fled the park, the all knew it was hopeless.

They wanted to see their families, perhaps one last time before it was all over. Those who could did, those who couldn’t opened bottles of Champagne and toasted the end of the world.

Their life’s work was now complete.

The survivalists retreated to their shelters, basking in the esteem of vindication.

They were being proved right.

Every living thing on Earth, above ground or in the air heard the explosion.

Everything, even the most remote creature in the deepest ocean, felt the blast.

Every creature walking or standing, stumbled and fell as the planet lurched, shuddered and shifted on its axis.

Fault lines cracked open, leaping a thousand years forward in the space of seconds.

It was a massive upheaval, it was turmoil on an unimaginable scale.

Skyscrapers came crashing down in cities around the world, as the continental plates groaned and twisted.

Planes and low orbiting satellites fell from the sky.

Chaos followed quickly upon the sound wave.

The desperate prayers of the dying-faithful rose up to greet it.

In security centers around the world the most astute military planners knew what had happened. Nevertheless, they were utterly bewildered by the scope and the magnitude of the devastation.

The level of instantaneous destruction was beyond any of their calculations, the collateral damage to geological and hydrological systems was not anything that anyone had conceived of.

Communications were down around the globe.

Nuclear reactors were off line and began melting down.

Tsunamis were rising in the shallow seas.

It was the end of the world.

It had been over six hundred and forty thousand years since the last massive eruption of the great North American volcano, six hundred and forty thousand years of pressure had been building.

Volcanoes erupted around the world all the time.

There were other smaller volcanoes of this type in other places.

The only witness to the last event was, who had been there seventy-four thousand years ago, when the last massive caldera blew.

The Indonesia volcano nearly wiped out the human race. It reduced a population of millions to just a few thousand. That volcano, while one of the largest on Earth, was only a tenth the size of the monster in Yellowstone.

When the Yellowstone Caldera blew, the Earth shook, the entire planet felt the rumble. The magnetic poles reversed, the world shifted on its axis, and wobbled in its orbit.

The stars, when they became visible again, would never look the same.

None of the scientists, the geologists and seismologists, none of them had any idea just how much power would be expelled when the eruption finally came.

None of them had long to contemplate their error.

If they had known they might have tried to do something about it, even in consideration of the risks. They might have tried to ease the pressure from the sleeping giant, but they never had a chance.

Life would certainly reestablish itself. New species would emerge. Some humans would survive, but they would all be changed.

Even still, the planet was doomed, its orbit was altered, and that alone spelled the end of the line for Earth.

Ash shot in to the stratosphere and fell back to the ground, burying North America in poisonous dust.

Clouds of fine particles and streams of deadly gases blanketed the entire world, blocking all light from the sun.

Within days nearly every living creature on the face of the earth was dead.

Those that survived were the most determined.

There were many who had readied for some kind of doomsday. They had prepared for nuclear war, an alien invasion, a zombie apocalypse, but not this.

A majority of those survivalists either died in the preliminary blast, and the subsequent correlated upheavals of the chaos that ensued.

Many died trying to reach their secret bunkers while roads became impassable, they were buried in the fallout.

Nevertheless, there were many who did make it.

Many who had sequestered themselves in hidden enclaves, in secret compounds. Some of them worked together.

For them, their stores of food needed to last years beyond the decades they had planned for. It would take that long for the sun to reappear, longer still for farming to be possible.

Human beings quickly became their own worst enemy.

Outsiders became foodstuff.

Cannibalism set in, as it always did, and quickly as it always did in times of crises.

It was, once again, the end of civilization.

The human race had faced this before, it was difficult, nearly impossible, but they had an Observer helping them in the past, they had Jim.

They made it through.

This time there would be no rescue, no wisdom from beyond, no help of any kind.

Volcanic eruptions of this magnitude were the prime movers of planetary evolution. Even the oceans were not immune from the fallout. All organic matter on the surface of Earth perished, becoming just another layer of clay. An event like this was a crucible, even more so in the present time than it had been in the past.

What was taking place in this iteration of the evolutionary cycle was something brand new. The biological evolution would take place as it had hundreds of times before in the history of the planet. In this cycle, however, a cognitive evolution was taking place at the same time, an evolution of the group consciousness, it was a designed evolution, it had been carefully planned by Jim, over the past seventy thousand years.

It was intended, and it meant that the human being who survived would have transcended into a brand new state of being.

There coming would change the Empire in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Half of the world’s population perished within days of the blast, most of the rest in the weeks, and months that followed.

By the end of the year, without intervention, the number of human being living on Earth would be down to a few thousand, or less.

Every species was affected; mammal, reptile, avian, insect. Those living on land were hurt the worst. There was widespread extinction. Entire ecosystems were just gone. Only nature’s apex survivors would continue; the crocodile, the turtle, and the frog.

Coastal areas provided recourse for the survivor. There were fish, there was water, there was mobility and there was power.

But it would take decades before the poisons were filtered from the atmosphere, all mammalian life would change as a result, but life would endure on the other side.
Chapter Nineteen, Consciousness
Birth is concrescence, the coalescence of matter organizing itself into a unique form. Birth is the quest of consciousness, the cognizant being emerging independent and alone, ready to observe the universe as an individuated node of self-hood.

Each instance of birth is the beginning of a series of reflections made by the universe, on itself, for itself. The relative length of those reflections is not germane. The only thing that matters is that they are made.

The bare witness is enough.

Not all life is capable of making these reflections.

Most life in the universe is silent, vegetative, passive; algae and fungus, plankton, and moss, grasses, and trees, bacteria and the ubiquitous virus, these life forms are most prevalent than any other. They mark a certain-narrow range of activity taking place in their environment, on their individual planets, orbiting their individual stars.

The animate life of fish and insect, of reptile and avian, of mammal, these life forms are rare. These animate beings see and do more, feel more than the vegetation they consume as food. But, until the discovery of Earth, there was only one world in the entire galaxy where it was known for life to have evolved into sapient creature, into creatures that learned to see beyond themselves, projecting images of themselves, of their hopes and fears and possible futures into the great beyond.

The Ancient People, who constructed the Continuum, they were the first, and until their colonists reached Earth, they thought they were the only one.

The human, homo sapient sapient; like every other organic being, is beset with the inherent biases of the animal brain.

The glands of the brain pump chemicals into the liquid consciousness of its neural net.

Strong emotions are generated here.

We are awash in them.

The animal brain is fearful. It is concerned with the most basic things; pleasure, pain, anger, fear.

It is inherently suspicious, having risen out of the world where the law of life is eat or be eaten.

It wants to regard every other creature as either a threat, or as food, as something to be exploited.

These tendencies rule the creature, and the search for safety.

This is not to say that human beings, and other creatures are not capable of learning trust, they can and they do, but trust is a learned behavior.

The tendency to see every other being in oppositional terms is never completely erased.

Otherness, alienation, these feelings are in constant tension with the supernal drive that is necessary to advance culture.

The rudiments of language are warnings.

Sirens and alarms link directly into the limbic system: fight or flight.

In times of plenty these feelings become less pronounced, they become easier to set aside.

In times of scarcity they rise immediately into the control centers of the brain, and generations of cultural conditioning that came to mitigate those responses can be erased in moments.

Even the human being, The homo sapient sapient, the animal with the most advanced neural net, even that creature will quickly fall into extremes of genocidal killing and cannibalism, when scarcity and fear, starvation and war, or other threatening circumstances come to dominate human consciousness. This is true whether the threat is real, or simply imagined.

There is a brief period of time for every mammal, when they are in the warmth and dark of the womb, a short time when they are one with another, their mother.

It is a time of total dependency.

Two hearts beating in the same body, sharing the same flow of blood, of oxygen. They are in a state of complete cynergy.

The father contributes a piece of the code for the formation of the new being, but that is it, the father merely influences the design.

The mother gives the child everything.

This does not end at birth.

The child travels with the mother in the warmth and dark of the womb for nine month, through genesis, formation and growth.

It learns the low tone of the mother’s voice, her rhythm of speaking, of moving, of singing.

The newborn infant takes all of its sustenance, either from the mother’s breast, or from the mother’s hand in the ultimate form of belonging to another.

The child travels with her everywhere, or desires to. There is no place safer, no greater feeling of security than to be placed against her flesh, in the blanket of her scent, to feel her voice resonate through her body.

Everyone else in the world is an alien, potentially hostile, a threat…except for mother.

There is no one more frightening than the father.

Stranger, protector, arbiter of conflict; a father is the first person the child seeks to bond with after separating from the mother.

The father is stern and foreboding.

For most tribes of early humans, as they migrated across the planet, the father was the ultimate authority, holding the power of life and death over his family and able to exercise it any time. There were few checks on his authority.

The child seeks to bond with, to understand, to contend with, and to please him.

In times when the actual father is not present, the child will find a surrogate and seek adoption.

The way in which the relationship develops between the child and father determines virtually everything about who the child will become in the eyes of the world.

The father imparts the public persona to the child, and the child carries that persona, like it does the fathers name, throughout its life and in the world.

Good or bad, the influence of the father is imparted to the child like an indelible mark.
Everything the father does, or does not do matters. Active or passive, present or absent, the role the father plays in the child’s life shapes them. None of the father’s words, none of his gestures, not a single touch, or glace occurs in a vacuum.

The child absorbs it all. Everything done and left undone is determinative of who the child will become, and the esteem they will experience in the world.

We are each of us a reflection of the image the father projects on us, not a perfect facsimile but a living representation of the intentions and wishes of the patriarch.

After the mother and father, our sisters and brothers are the first people with whom they share a common bond, and with whom we compete.

We identify with our siblings, discover betrayal through them, experience them as a threat, and learn from them both how to love and how to forgive.

The human capacity for empathy is refined through our relationships with our siblings. Having first learned to love them, we are able to extend that compassion to others.

If we learn to hate them, be jealous of them, covet their place in the world, then by extension we are able to project those same feelings onto anyone.

Human history is replete with the stories of siblings, accomplishing great things together, and allowing their rivalries to destroy them.

Cain slew able, he killed him with a stone.

Romulus killed Remus, he cast his brother from the walls of Rome, broke his body on the rocks below, a blood-sacrifice for the eternal city.

The duplicity of the human being, our duality, our capacity for selflessness and self-centeredness are demonstrated in these relationships more poignantly than in any other.

A brother or sister will at one moment put their lives at risk to protect their sibling from harm or even the specter of harm, and in another moment plot to take their life and destroy their extended family.

The sibling bond is the strongest of all bonds, apart from the bond the child has with its mother. When the tension is so great that it breaks, the resulting backlash has the potential to scar everyone who is near it.

It is no small thing to reprogram the animal brain, to take the essentially selfish organism and transform it into something new. Suspicious creatures become altruistic only by learning and through experience, through the bonding of the senses and by neural linguistic programming, by ritual and narrative.

The first stage is complete when the individual person comes to see the family as an extension of the self, when they see their well-being, their fate is tied to the fate and the well-being of others, both in this life and the next.

The brain is an evolving structure. It mutates, both over the course of the life of the individual, and by procreation, from generation to generation.

Most of the mutations are not visible or even noticeably structural. They are packed into the dense tissues of the neural network in the brain.

With every new experience a new thread is spun, a thread as thin as a sequence of proteins, and with that the organ of the brain is changed, at the same time the code inside the cells is rewritten, peptides and amino acid redraft the genetic sequence, and the endowment is passed on to succeeding generations, it is a growing inheritence.

The greatest periods of growth and change are infancy and childhood. When every sound and sight, every smell and touch, every taste is actively changing the nascent being, especially at this time when they are learning the language of its family and tribe.

The human being will begin to see the well-being of the family and tribe as being in alignment with their own, identical to it, without regard for the hurts and minor competitions that ensued while growing-up together.

The other becomes one, when this has occurred we will protect those closest to us with a ferocity equal to our own drive for safety, because they have in reality become a recognizable part of who we are, our relationship to them, our memories of them have changed our genetic codes and the physical structure of the brain, both.

Blood and family, they bind us, they may confine us, but they may also set us free.

As we become self-aware we also become “other-aware.” We struggle with the full array of human emotions. We feel the flood of neuro-chemicals and learn to control the mechanae which regulate them. The most significant among them being fear.

Fear lodged deep within the limbic system, in the far reaches of the “reptilian” brain, in the spine and the neural network flowing out from it into our extremities, fear is the great divider, our limitations are founded in it.

We come into the knowledge of self, fearing any and all others, seeing them first as dangerous, as threatening. Every other person we encounter, accept the mother who gave birth to us, who anchors us through our memory of the womb, every other person is a potential adversary, is an actual adversary until we learn to see them in another light

Every person has a different learning curve, a unique capacity for the things of their experience they remember, recall and contextualize.

The acquisition of language gives us a taxonomy, the linguistic tools to understand these differentiations: self, mother, father self, brother, sister, self…it is a code that grows and continues to grow.

It is open ended: self, uncle, aunt, self, cousin, self, offspring, self, niece, nephew, self, spouse, self, friend, self…

It is through kinship, by relating to those whom we believe share our deepest interests that we learn to see strangers as other-selves, even the adversary.

There are language games, there is neuro-linguistic programming in every culture that can force these issues. They combine words and actions, feelings of mystery through rituals of shame, fear and empowerment, which break down barriers, moving a person rapidly through every stage of acceptance in regard to another. Religion, and ritual, military service and shared suffering among them. By passing through these stages a person become fully realized and in possession of their true self.

Chapter Twenty, Collective

The care of a loving family is like the wet clinging mesh of a spider’s web. Humans are trapped in it, suspended, enwrapped in it. The majority of people who have ever lived, never lived a day apart from these sticky-bonds.

Familial obligations are invisible. We are bound by them through our emotions; by fear and love, hate and pride, anger, hope, and jealousy, the feelings that bind us to our parents and our siblings, to our clans like the ligaments that join bones to muscles.

We are conditioned by rituals; by the stories we tell, the drums we play, by music, and language, by the seasons we live and the hours of the day. They are the food that nourishes our identity. We are raised in the patterns that play themselves out, in both the small cycles and the great.

Everything we are comes from the family, everything we do redounds to the family name, the name of our clan, our tribe, our village, our state.

Our identities are completely enmeshed with the identity of the group we are raised in. Only the most profound betrayal can break the patterns we are conditioned to live by, and even then, those who break free from their familial identity, or through no choice of their own are exiled and then cast-out, they leave the family only to recreate the same structures in new places with new people.

The individual can be raised up, lifted high, made strong by their family and tribe.

They can also be shunted, marginalized, and cast aside.

Families have a tendency to cannibalize their strength. In times of great need they will go so far as to eat their own, or set up the strongest and most beautiful as holy victims for the gods they worship, to barter their best and brightest away in the hope of some kind of boon.

As families become clans the bonds of loyalty are fixed in the body, constructed by chemicals and enzymes, by proteins and amino acids, by the songs and rhythms unique to each group, and through which they reinforce the knowledge of their history, their ancestral memories, passing them on from one generation to the next.

These are bonds that we do not see, bonds we never question.

Rituals are developed to lift up and memorialize the common ancestors whose great deeds, or terrible failures were such that the clans wrote songs about them, and passed them on to their children, and their children’s children, as the saga of their kin.

Every person reared within the group learned to see themselves as a continuation of the clan’s broader narrative. They saw their own deeds as a reflection of the deeds of their ancestors.

They imagined their departed dead as living beside them, all around them, and they were not wrong.

The departed spoke to them through ancestral memory, not just the patterns of their consciousness remaining with the clans and tribes, but their actual consciousness remaining with individual families, bound to them and the planet in the electromagnetic field called the nous-sphere.

The ritual remembering, the songs they sang, the drums they beat, these reinforced the connection and secured it, keeping it vital through that period when the groupings of human beings were still small enough that every person could trace their connection to the other through their blood lines.

They were migrating and wandering, they were navigating by the stars. They marked their narratives by the movement of the constellations, and projected their own stories into the heavens.

They were together and they were one.

Every individual saw themselves as a part of the tribe, and saw the fullness of the tribe as manifested in them. The clan was the clearest representation of the structure of human unity and belonging. It had a sufficient critical mass to draw the individual outside of themselves, and yet it was not large enough for the individual to feel lost within it. The clan was the family writ large, it was small enough to be intimate and large enough to provide for the safety of the group through the structures they form.

Hierarchies emerge in village life, just as they do everywhere in the animal world.

Human beings are animals after all, and in their need to establish social structures they are no different from the wolf, or the lion, or the ram.

In the animal world it could be dangerous, even deadly. The competition for leadership was intense, it was largely physical, and the strongest usually won.

Among humans the intensity was no less, but it was often more deadly, and physical strength was not the most significant indicator of primacy.

Social hierarchies formed in villages; around the well, at the markets, in the places of worship and religious life, and most importantly in the seat judgment.

The center is everything, with social rank flowing from it in concentric rings.

A person was either in or out of the village, either in or out of the center, with movement and access regulated between the spheres.

The beginning of cohesion around village life was the beginning of the disintegration of families, clans, and tribes.
The social order was undergoing change, metamorphosis, redefining allegiances.

These developments were not uniform, it did not happen in all places at once. It happened in key places; at the confluence of rivers, along the shores of the great inland lakes, in the desert oasis, at any place where the movements of migratory tribes would bring them together.

The villages were rising.

There was safety in the tribe, and the ability to test one’s self through competition with peers.

There was jealousy, yes, and envy. There were customs and taboos that were well established, intending to prevent such things from having a harmful impact on the life of the group and its cohesion

There were shared customs and stories, rituals, things that shaped both the structure of the tribe and its future. The narratives they spun taught all of its members the means by which they could advance, redress wrongs, recover from injury, hold fast to their position.

The tribal life was essentially democratic, members of the tribe could come and go as they pleased. There were no laws to bind them. There was only duty, obligation, and the expectation of those who were dependent.

It was only when the migrations ended and the tribes became fixed in villages and hamlets that the notion that people could be treated like property advanced and class systems became entrenched.

During the time of migrations men and women were essentially equal, neither was the property of the other, the concept of ownership was alien and everyone had a say in the destiny of the group.

The tribe might be governed by a chief, there could be a de facto leader, especially in times of conflict. That person was more often than not merely the voice of the people, the arbiter, the mediator, the negotiator, and judge.

In place of the single leader, more often than not, a council of elders held sway over the life of the tribe. The tribe did what it could to give every person a voice, to be inclusive. Everyone was a part of the whole.

Then there were the others.

Encampments became villages, and villages became towns. The human communities were growing, coming into greater contact with one another, realigning themselves both through necessity and by choice.

Towns grew into cities while people migrated into urban centers for trade and work. Individuals pulled away from their families, from their clans and tribes, pulling themselves into new relationships with merchants and farmers, with herders of new and different breeds of animals.

They clung together in ever greater numbers, both for protection, and opportunity. Learning from each other new ways of life, alien rituals and practices that each group had developed around their totem animals, their symbiotes, these began to be synthesized, re-contextualized for the purposive of enlarging the group.

In the beginning we learned to honor the other, the stranger, and we held in esteem the strengths they brought to new society.

They farmed, they built granaries and the foundations of the city flowed from there, from wellsprings to ziggurats.

The granaries became temples, where the people prayed for and received their daily allotment of food, grain and seed to themselves and their families. Temples became fortresses where they stored the fruit of their labor up against times of conflict, drought, disease and famine.

The temples became towers, ziggurats, great platforms that touched the sky, and from which the sages plotted the movement of stars across the heavens. These became the seat of priestly-royalty, and the place from which the laws flowed which bound human beings to their caste, class and station.

Families dispersed, becoming ever less important.

The division of labor ensued.

What became paramount were the relationship the individual had to neighbors and teachers, to systems of patronage and clientage. The individual had the potential to become both everything and nothing, a god-like figure or a slave, to be named in the annals, recalled and remembered, to be sung about or to be utterly forgotten. To achieve immortality through the songs and sagas of the people, or to become dust, nothing at all.

Most, the vast majority, nearly all went unremembered, but they did not disappear.

The cities gathered towns and villages to themselves, expanding and absorbing them, pulling their people away from their homes, relocating them in the urban centers. Cities did this just as clans and tribes had done with families and kin in past ages.

The bonds that formed were weaker than family bonds. Individually they were weak and flimsy, but like the spokes of wheel, together they supported a structure of great strength, capable of extraordinary movement, both radiating from the center and supporting the outer frame.

In the urban core social power concentrated itself in the hands of the few, the elite and the strong, the wealthy…the cunning.

The poor and the newly arrived, if they were free citizens, they needed representation.

The majority of those living in the urban centers were enslaved, either owned as private property, or they were the property of the state, its institutions and its temples, they belonged to the war machine that kept the state alive.

The free people needed sponsorship, the poor enjoined relationships with the rich, they became clients to their patrons, and these new bonds became formalized into extra-familial systems of societal structure.

This was a new version of a family, famiglia only loosely related to blood ties. Inter marriage and progeny strengthened these bonds, but they were not required.

These were the ancient bonds of vassalage.

They were bonds of the imagination, and bonds of determination. They were bonds of circumstance, and will, not happenstance or hereditary accident. They were forged by choices.

The cities became states, and in the cauldrons of statehood the relationships between all things and beings were redefined and refined.

Common language, common custom, rituals and religion all conspired to tie people together, just as connective tissues sew the limbs of the body together in the joints. Shared experiences are the sinews of human culture.

There are extrinsic and intrinsic movements with the ritual framework. Well executed rituals engage all of the senses.

The best rituals go beyond the physical structure of the world, and join the participants to one another through the inner sanctum of their memory, recalling the ancestral rhythms that move them.

When a ritual is serving its purpose it points the individual to a place beyond themselves, and creates in that person the sense that they are being pulled, drawn, or called in that direction.

Proper ritual juxtaposes the past and the future, it holds the ancestral memory in tension with future expectations.

When the rites are well executed it creates a space in which the whole community is moved by contact with the cynergenic field. They enter the nous sphere, and they transcend themselves and become one.

These are the essential building blocks of group identity and with their perfection came the ability to pull all the disparate parts of human culture together.

Nations were formed out of states, building on the foundations of security and prosperity for the people.

The old allegiances of family, tribe and clan were shifting ever-outward, away from people, into the world of ideas.

The fundamental buildings blocks of human identity were changing. Their National identity transcended their sense of themselves as a member of a family, and even as individuals.

Chapter Twenty-one, Migration
Families gathered together in sheltered spaces, a clearing in the trees.

They formed bands, small groups that clung to one another for safety.

They established camps close to the springs that fed the clear streams providing them with the clean water they needed for life, and nourishment.

They built their fires, burning bright, smoking fish, birds and rabbits. The fed off of any other type of meat that could be taken down with the shafts of their javelins and atlatls, their spears and stones and arrows.

They had returned to the primordial life.

The built small shelters in and around the trees.

They only moved when they had depleted the resources in the forests that surrounded them.

Everything was temporary.

When they had burned all of the fuel, eaten all of the nuts and berries, the wild onions and mushrooms and cleared the region of the living beings they feasted on, then they would move.

Through their story telling the developed the ethos that the migratory life was the path that nature had intended. It was the life of the natural person, it was peaceful and well ordered, and provided the tribal-bands with everything they needed from season to season.

When the sky cleared and the azure-deep returned to the day. When the paths of the stars was once again visible at night, the families and tribes left the security of the forests, foregoing the great green canopies that had been their shelter.

They looked across the desserts and plains, looked over the tall grasses and steep dunes, and took to them, exposing themselves beneath in the open.

They came to worship the sky in its brilliant-blue, in its angry-gray.

The sky was open to their imagination, wide and welcoming and yet oppressing at the same time. Its clouds gave them relief from the burning sun and covered them like a blanket in the cold night. It brought the rain, which meant life, and it brought the judgement of the lightning bolt.

There were dangers lurking everywhere in the open spaces. The plains were a place of constant threat, from great beasts and from other tribes.

On the plains there was also freedom of movement and the joy of wandering, which was something that called to them, it pushed them with an existential imperative.

Survival required constant vigilance, a discipline that was not as great as the life they had lived, in the comfort of the forests and the woodland caves.

They marked their journey with the stars and navigated from place to place by following the brightest beacons shining in the Milky Way

They migrated with the herds and flocks, following them, hunting them, gathering the grains and sweet grasses of the field to add to their feasts.

In the face of every danger they were free, they were a people without care. They clung together for safety, and separated from one another to pursue their own paths, only to return in their migrations to the appointed meeting places, at determined times, following the seasons, the voices of the wind, and the movements of the moon and planets.

It was a time of abundance, the tribes were growing, becoming stronger, relearning their ancient ways.

They wandered the open plains, and crossed the broad savannahs, invaded the wide deserts and took to the greening fields.

They climbed to the tops of hills, drawn closer to the stars from which they came, and they counted them.

They piled stones atop one another, fitting them neatly together, building their homes with a wide view of their surroundings.

The humans were looking upward and outward in search of their memories, recalling unconsciously the sojourn of their ancient ancestors.

They rested on the hill-tops, beneath the stars and sun, resting at the feet of mountains, beside their waterfalls and streams.

As they listened to the sound of the wind through the rocks, and through the grasses, the rhythm of their music changed, and the stories they told took on a new character.

They were safe on the hilltops beneath the open skies.

The tribes organized themselves in new ways, in vertical hierarchies, in accordance with the physical structure of their encampments.

Their migrations took them from hill top to hill top, hunting and gathering the riches of the fields.

They gathered the herds and flocks to themselves; shepherds, and cowherds, and goatherds, every tribe developed its own way of being with the animals they tended.

They domesticated the wolf, and walked beside the bear as an equal.

They lived with them, led them to water, protected them against all the dangers of the wild. Their animals became sacred to them, totems of spiritual power.

They gave milk and meat, hides and wool, the totem animal gave everything to the tribes, and the tribes learned to see themselves as extended in the herd.

They lived as symbiotes together; the goat people and the sheep people, the cow people and the horse people.

They led the herds into the mountains, they scaled the lofty peaks looking for new pastures and passes and crossings to other worlds.

They found themselves in the highest places, they found the sacred in the thin air at the top of the world.

They strode across the icy glaciers, building fires in the snow. They learned through the collective experience that there was no place on Earth where they could not go.

Only the sky was their limit and the depths of the sea, they dreamed of sprouting wings. They dreamed of flying from the mountain tops, of reaching out to the touch the sun and stars.

They remembered the sojourn of their forbears in myth and song.

The tribes were always moving, always looking for new places, wandering beneath the stars, moving with the seasons, staying ahead of the weather, moving with the currents of the wind.

They followed the rivers to their source, up the winding streams, tracking down every branch. They followed them to the clear springs from which the water flowed, bubbling-up from the deep reservoirs within the earth.

They followed the flowing water back down their channels, tracked down each curve and bend as they widened into creeks and rivulets, becoming streams that flowed into rivers.

They followed the rivers to the lakes they fed, they camped along those shorelines, fishing, and bathing in sun.

They followed the churning waters, past their waterfalls, and their rapids, following them to the place where they merged with inland seas and outward to the oceans.

They founded settlements along the way. From springs and head waters, to the point of each confluence, they made their encampments. They left the markers of their tribes; tokens, totems and burial mounds, even as they wandered, returning to them in their cycles with the seasons.

Every spring was the birth place of a god, of gods and goddesses emerging from the earth like children from the womb. Water was sacred, every brook was imbued with inherent spiritual power. There were grave penalties in tribal justice for defiling the living streams.

From mountain springs to the delta flow, the rivers were the first markers of a tribe’s territory.

The confluence of water-ways marked the coming together of tribal alliances, or they became the sources of tribal conflict.

The foot paths in the forests were serene and stable. The people traversed them in safety and seclusion, hidden by the trees and brush.

They crossed into the open prairie, the broad meadows, the open deserts and the snowy fields.

The paths they laid down were narrow, and shifting.

The tribes traversed them in long lines, marching single file, laying down the course for those that followed.

The wind erased the trails they made in sand and snow.

The grasses and the wild flowers sprang back in their wake.

The streams and rivers were the markers of lanes that could be followed from one destination to the next.

They came to the great lakes and seas, the broad shorelines of the world’s oceans became the first roads.

They trekked across them as if they were long and winding highways, herding their flocks by the deep.

The way was easy by the coast, beneath the stars, following the water’s edge from camp to camp.

They pitched their tents in the places where the rivers met the sea. Where the fresh water flowed into the salty brine.

The surface of the Earth was slowly repopulated, and the existential dread that had gripped the human race during the decades of darkness had eased.

They were growing in numbers, strength and pride and esteem.

On thin strips of wood, in fragile dugout canoes, they hurled their bodies onto the rivers and lakes.

They threw themselves into the ocean, just as their ancient forebears had done when they crossed the stars.

They were looking for new ways of life, a life among the waves and currents and tides, a life on the water.

They were searching for mysteries in the deep, beneath the ever changing face of the water’s surface.

They lived on their little skiffs, casting spears and nets and lines with hooks into the water from which they drew their catch.

They spent their days on the water beneath the sun, paddling to and from the shore, diving into the shallows to gather, clams and oysters and muscles.

They spent their nights under the flowing lights of the stars.

The stars sang to them, each glowing orb with a voice its own, and they imagined a galaxy, every bright light suspended in black liquid, soaring through the ether.

Their dreams were transcendent.

Many were swept away in the accidental crossing of storms.

Some perished.

Others clung to their tiny crafts, their rafts, and found their way to other shores, thousands of miles from home.
Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Three, Earth; Chapter Twenty, Collective

Week 21
The care of a loving family is like the wet clinging mesh of a spider’s web. Humans are trapped in it, suspended, enwrapped in it. The majority of people who have ever lived, never lived a day apart from these sticky-bonds.

Familial obligations are invisible. We are bound by them through our emotions; by fear and love, hate and pride, anger, hope, and jealousy, the feelings that bind us to our parents and our siblings, to our clans like the ligaments that join bones to muscles.

We are conditioned by rituals; by the stories we tell, the drums we play, by music, and language, by the seasons we live and the hours of the day. They are the food that nourishes our identity. We are raised in the patterns that play themselves out, in both the small cycles and the great.

Everything we are comes from the family, everything we do redounds to the family name, the name of our clan, our tribe, our village, our state.

Our identities are completely enmeshed with the identity of the group we are raised in. Only the most profound betrayal can break the patterns we are conditioned to live by, and even then, those who break free from their familial identity, or through no choice of their own are exiled and then cast-out, they leave the family only to recreate the same structures in new places with new people.

The individual can be raised up, lifted high, made strong by their family and tribe.

They can also be shunted, marginalized, and cast aside.

Families have a tendency to cannibalize their strength. In times of great need they will go so far as to eat their own, or set up the strongest and most beautiful as holy victims for the gods they worship, to barter their best and brightest away in the hope of some kind of boon.

As families become clans the bonds of loyalty are fixed in the body, constructed by chemicals and enzymes, by proteins and amino acids, by the songs and rhythms unique to each group, and through which they reinforce the knowledge of their history, their ancestral memories, passing them on from one generation to the next.

These are bonds that we do not see, bonds we never question.

Rituals are developed to lift up and memorialize the common ancestors whose great deeds, or terrible failures were such that the clans wrote songs about them, and passed them on to their children, and their children’s children, as the saga of their kin.

Every person reared within the group learned to see themselves as a continuation of the clan’s broader narrative. They saw their own deeds as a reflection of the deeds of their ancestors.

They imagined their departed dead as living beside them, all around them, and they were not wrong.

The departed spoke to them through ancestral memory, not just the patterns of their consciousness remaining with the clans and tribes, but their actual consciousness remaining with individual families, bound to them and the planet in the electromagnetic field called the nous-sphere.

The ritual remembering, the songs they sang, the drums they beat, these reinforced the connection and secured it, keeping it vital through that period when the groupings of human beings were still small enough that every person could trace their connection to the other through their blood lines.

They were migrating and wandering, they were navigating by the stars. They marked their narratives by the movement of the constellations, and projected their own stories into the heavens.

They were together and they were one.

Every individual saw themselves as a part of the tribe, and saw the fullness of the tribe as manifested in them. The clan was the clearest representation of the structure of human unity and belonging. It had a sufficient critical mass to draw the individual outside of themselves, and yet it was not large enough for the individual to feel lost within it. The clan was the family writ large, it was small enough to be intimate and large enough to provide for the safety of the group through the structures they form.

Hierarchies emerge in village life, just as they do everywhere in the animal world.

Human beings are animals after all, and in their need to establish social structures they are no different from the wolf, or the lion, or the ram.

In the animal world it could be dangerous, even deadly. The competition for leadership was intense, it was largely physical, and the strongest usually won.

Among humans the intensity was no less, but it was often more deadly, and physical strength was not the most significant indicator of primacy.

Social hierarchies formed in villages; around the well, at the markets, in the places of worship and religious life, and most importantly in the seat judgment.

The center is everything, with social rank flowing from it in concentric rings.

A person was either in or out of the village, either in or out of the center, with movement and access regulated between the spheres.

The beginning of cohesion around village life was the beginning of the disintegration of families, clans, and tribes.

The social order was undergoing change, metamorphosis, redefining allegiances.

These developments were not uniform, it did not happen in all places at once. It happened in key places; at the confluence of rivers, along the shores of the great inland lakes, in the desert oasis, at any place where the movements of migratory tribes would bring them together.

The villages were rising.

There was safety in the tribe, and the ability to test one’s self through competition with peers.

There was jealousy, yes, and envy. There were customs and taboos that were well established, intending to prevent such things from having a harmful impact on the life of the group and its cohesion

There were shared customs and stories, rituals, things that shaped both the structure of the tribe and its future. The narratives they spun taught all of its members the means by which they could advance, redress wrongs, recover from injury, hold fast to their position.

The tribal life was essentially democratic, members of the tribe could come and go as they pleased. There were no laws to bind them. There was only duty, obligation, and the expectation of those who were dependent.

It was only when the migrations ended and the tribes became fixed in villages and hamlets that the notion that people could be treated like property advanced and class systems became entrenched.

During the time of migrations men and women were essentially equal, neither was the property of the other, the concept of ownership was alien and everyone had a say in the destiny of the group.

The tribe might be governed by a chief, there could be a de facto leader, especially in times of conflict. That person was more often than not merely the voice of the people, the arbiter, the mediator, the negotiator, and judge.

In place of the single leader, more often than not, a council of elders held sway over the life of the tribe. The tribe did what it could to give every person a voice, to be inclusive. Everyone was a part of the whole.

Then there were the others.

Encampments became villages, and villages became towns. The human communities were growing, coming into greater contact with one another, realigning themselves both through necessity and by choice.

Towns grew into cities while people migrated into urban centers for trade and work. Individuals pulled away from their families, from their clans and tribes, pulling themselves into new relationships with merchants and farmers, with herders of new and different breeds of animals.

They clung together in ever greater numbers, both for protection, and opportunity. Learning from each other new ways of life, alien rituals and practices that each group had developed around their totem animals, their symbiotes, these began to be synthesized, re-contextualized for the purposive of enlarging the group.

In the beginning we learned to honor the other, the stranger, and we held in esteem the strengths they brought to new society.

They farmed, they built granaries and the foundations of the city flowed from there, from wellsprings to ziggurats.

The granaries became temples, where the people prayed for and received their daily allotment of food, grain and seed to themselves and their families. Temples became fortresses where they stored the fruit of their labor up against times of conflict, drought, disease and famine.

The temples became towers, ziggurats, great platforms that touched the sky, and from which the sages plotted the movement of stars across the heavens. These became the seat of priestly-royalty, and the place from which the laws flowed which bound human beings to their caste, class and station.

Families dispersed, becoming ever less important.

The division of labor ensued.

What became paramount were the relationship the individual had to neighbors and teachers, to systems of patronage and clientage. The individual had the potential to become both everything and nothing, a god-like figure or a slave, to be named in the annals, recalled and remembered, to be sung about or to be utterly forgotten. To achieve immortality through the songs and sagas of the people, or to become dust, nothing at all.

Most, the vast majority, nearly all went unremembered, but they did not disappear.

The cities gathered towns and villages to themselves, expanding and absorbing them, pulling their people away from their homes, relocating them in the urban centers. Cities did this just as clans and tribes had done with families and kin in past ages.

The bonds that formed were weaker than family bonds. Individually they were weak and flimsy, but like the spokes of wheel, together they supported a structure of great strength, capable of extraordinary movement, both radiating from the center and supporting the outer frame.

In the urban core social power concentrated itself in the hands of the few, the elite and the strong, the wealthy…the cunning.

The poor and the newly arrived, if they were free citizens, they needed representation.

The majority of those living in the urban centers were enslaved, either owned as private property, or they were the property of the state, its institutions and its temples, they belonged to the war machine that kept the state alive.

The free people needed sponsorship, the poor enjoined relationships with the rich, they became clients to their patrons, and these new bonds became formalized into extra-familial systems of societal structure.

This was a new version of a family, famiglia only loosely related to blood ties. Inter marriage and progeny strengthened these bonds, but they were not required.

These were the ancient bonds of vassalage.

They were bonds of the imagination, and bonds of determination. They were bonds of circumstance, and will, not happenstance or hereditary accident. They were forged by choices.

The cities became states, and in the cauldrons of statehood the relationships between all things and beings were redefined and refined.

Common language, common custom, rituals and religion all conspired to tie people together, just as connective tissues sew the limbs of the body together in the joints. Shared experiences are the sinews of human culture.

There are extrinsic and intrinsic movements with the ritual framework. Well executed rituals engage all of the senses.

The best rituals go beyond the physical structure of the world, and join the participants to one another through the inner sanctum of their memory, recalling the ancestral rhythms that move them.

When a ritual is serving its purpose it points the individual to a place beyond themselves, and creates in that person the sense that they are being pulled, drawn, or called in that direction.

Proper ritual juxtaposes the past and the future, it holds the ancestral memory in tension with future expectations.

When the rites are well executed it creates a space in which the whole community is moved by contact with the cynergenic field. They enter the nous sphere, and they transcend themselves and become one.

These are the essential building blocks of group identity and with their perfection came the ability to pull all the disparate parts of human culture together.

Nations were formed out of states, building on the foundations of security and prosperity for the people.

The old allegiances of family, tribe and clan were shifting ever-outward, away from people, into the world of ideas.

The fundamental buildings blocks of human identity were changing. Their National identity transcended their sense of themselves as a member of a family, and even as individuals.
Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth

Chapter Twenty, Collective
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Three, Earth; Chapter Eighteen, Disaster

Week 19
Yellowstone National Park was a place of awesome-beauty, a landscape of surreal contrasts exploding from the living rock and shifting mountains.

It draws millions of visitors every year to wander its grounds and traverse its trails, including some who are simply driving through

It was a sanctuary for wildlife; a thousand little creatures preserved in their habitat as well as the apex species, the bison and the elk and the wolf who hunted them for food.

Yellowstone was made a National Park in 1872, through a law signed by United States President Ulysses S. Grant, one-hundred and twenty years before they discovered the volcano lurking beneath the fantastical landscape.

Yellowstone was a cradle of life, nested above the most deadly natural feature of planet Earth.

Earth’s molten core burned beneath its thin surface, a cauldron of liquid rock boiling below the mantle, deep inside a vast chamber filled with super-heated and poisonous gasses.

In the park, the most popular features for tourists, beside the landscape itself, were the hot springs, the bubbling waters and high flying geysers that blasted off with incredible regularity.

Heat from deep within the earth created these phenomenon. It melted exotic minerals in the waters, giving them bright, colorful and psychedelic trappings.

Some of the pools were so toxic and acidic they could melt the flesh off a person’s bones in seconds.

Changes in the pattern and timing of these geysers gave the tell to the monitors, that the Catastrophe was approaching, but it was too late.

The scientists of Earth only noticed the volcanic activity when the mountains surrounding Yellowstone Park began to lift.

They noticed a change of several centimeters over hundreds of square of miles of mountain range, between the newly conducted surveys and the surveys that had been taken a hundred years earlier.

At first they thought that there must have been a problem with the original surveil, but they ruled out that possibility in short order. The science of surveying was well established at the time they were originally done, even the equipment that a person would use to make those calculations had not changed much in the intervening decades.

The math was the math and it was sound.

It took the best geologists among them years to figure it out, that the changes were actually caused by geological uplift. The understanding of what that meant, its implications, took even more years to complete. They had to change their perspective significantly, they had to look at the area of uplift with satellite imagery and that is when they noticed that the entire Yellowstone Park was a massive volcano.

Even then, they did not know how significant the problem was.

Geologists from across the country began to study the park in minute detail. Looking at every strata of rock they could see exposed in the surfaces of the surrounding mountains, measuring, and re-measuring, and through their diligence they discovered the long cycles between eruptions of this killer volcano.

A six-hundred thousand year cycle, a cycle of planetary doom.

When they knew what features to look for, they discovered other such volcanos around the world. They discovered the volcano in Indonesia that last erupted seventy-four thousand years ago.

The Earth’s volcanologists, climatologists, and geophysicists weighed in. It was a small cabal of people. They correlated data from arctic ice core samples, soil samples, tree ring samples. They began to understand just how devastating an eruption of a volcano this size could be.

They were just beginning to understand it.

They were hoping it would not erupt in their lifetime.

Those hopes were in vain, the entire planet was under threat, no-one was safe.

There was a rumbling.

The seismographs told the tale.

They had been graphing it for years, but disbelief had crept into the analysis. The story was blacked out, even as the tar in the roads cutting through Yellowstone, above the volcano began to melt, cracking from the heat and the top researches on the site resigned to protest of the deliberate misinformation campaign the government waged to keep people in the dark.

The government knew the disaster was coming. They just could not be sure when. It might not happen in their lifetime, or it might happen tomorrow. It was an impossible thing for them to plan.

Those who understood the nature of the problem, and those who did not quite get it, they were all together in the same web of uncertainty, making the laypersons view as valid as the expert.

It was a quiet day in the great park.

Yellowstone was always quiet.

Deep beneath the earth something was happening. Pressure was building. Molten rock was bubbling, rushing into the great chamber.

The wildlife in the nature preserve sensed it first, birds took off with their entire flocks. Bison fled in droves. The wolf and the fox and the coyote followed them, all creatures great and small sought a path of escape.

Most of the humans looked on, befuddled.

A few knew what this meant, or believed they did. They sounded the warning. Some of them were alarmists, they were perceived as people who were always ringing the bell, Chicken Littles crying out, The Sky is Falling!

It ended up in the news of the weird.

Few of the researches fled the park, the all knew it was hopeless.

They wanted to see their families, perhaps one last time before it was all over. Those who could did, those who couldn’t opened bottles of Champagne and toasted the end of the world.

Their life’s work was now complete.

The survivalists retreated to their shelters, basking in the esteem of vindication.

They were being proved right.

Every living thing on Earth, above ground or in the air heard the explosion.

Everything, even the most remote creature in the deepest ocean, felt the blast.

Every creature walking or standing, stumbled and fell as the planet lurched, shuddered and shifted on its axis.

Fault lines cracked open, leaping a thousand years forward in the space of seconds.

It was a massive upheaval, it was turmoil on an unimaginable scale.

Skyscrapers came crashing down in cities around the world, as the continental plates groaned and twisted.

Planes and low orbiting satellites fell from the sky.

Chaos followed quickly upon the sound wave.

The desperate prayers of the dying-faithful rose up to greet it.

In security centers around the world the most astute military planners knew what had happened. Nevertheless, they were utterly bewildered by the scope and the magnitude of the devastation.

The level of instantaneous destruction was beyond any of their calculations, the collateral damage to geological and hydrological systems was not anything that anyone had conceived of.

Communications were down around the globe.

Nuclear reactors were off line and began melting down.

Tsunamis were rising in the shallow seas.

It was the end of the world.

It had been over six hundred and forty thousand years since the last massive eruption of the great North American volcano, six hundred and forty thousand years of pressure had been building.

Volcanoes erupted around the world all the time.

There were other smaller volcanoes of this type in other places.

The only witness to the last event was, who had been there seventy-four thousand years ago, when the last massive caldera blew.

The Indonesia volcano nearly wiped out the human race. It reduced a population of millions to just a few thousand. That volcano, while one of the largest on Earth, was only a tenth the size of the monster in Yellowstone.

When the Yellowstone Caldera blew, the Earth shook, the entire planet felt the rumble. The magnetic poles reversed, the world shifted on its axis, and wobbled in its orbit.

The stars, when they became visible again, would never look the same.

None of the scientists, the geologists and seismologists, none of them had any idea just how much power would be expelled when the eruption finally came.

None of them had long to contemplate their error.

If they had known they might have tried to do something about it, even in consideration of the risks. They might have tried to ease the pressure from the sleeping giant, but they never had a chance.

Life would certainly reestablish itself. New species would emerge. Some humans would survive, but they would all be changed.

Even still, the planet was doomed, its orbit was altered, and that alone spelled the end of the line for Earth.

Ashshot in to the stratosphere and fell back to the ground, burying North America in poisonous dust.

Clouds of fine particles and streams of deadly gases blanketed the entire world, blocking all light from the sun.

Within days nearly every living creature on the face of the earth was dead.

Those that survived were the most determined.

There were many who had readied for some kind of doomsday. They had prepared for nuclear war, an alien invasion, a zombie apocalypse, but not this.

A majority of those survivalists either died in the preliminary blast, and the subsequent correlated upheavals of the chaos that ensued.

Many died trying to reach their secret bunkers while roads became impassable, they were buried in the fallout.

Nevertheless, there were many who did make it.

Many who had sequestered themselves in hidden enclaves, in secret compounds. Some of them worked together.

For them, their stores of food needed to last years beyond the decades they had planned for. It would take that long for the sun to reappear, longer still for farming to be possible.

Human beings quickly became their own worst enemy.

Outsiders became foodstuff.

Cannibalism set in, as it always did, and quickly as it always did in times of crises.

It was, once again, the end of civilization.

The human race had faced this before, it was difficult, nearly impossible, but they had an Observer helping them in the past, they had Jim.

They made it through.

This time there would be no rescue, no wisdom from beyond, no help of any kind.

Volcanic eruptions of this magnitude were the prime movers of planetary evolution. Even the oceans were not immune from the fallout. All organic matter on the surface of Earth perished, becoming just another layer of clay. An event like this was a crucible, even more so in the present time than it had been in the past.

What was taking place in this iteration of the evolutionary cycle was something brand new. The biological evolution would take place as it had hundreds of times before in the history of the planet. In this cycle, however, a cognitive evolution was taking place at the same time, an evolution of the group consciousness, it was a designed evolution, it had been carefully planned by Jim, over the past seventy thousand years.

It was intended, and it meant that the human being who survived would have transcended into a brand new state of being.

There coming would change the Empire in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Half of the world’s population perished within days of the blast, most of the rest in the weeks, and months that followed.

By the end of the year, without intervention, the number of human being living on Earth would be down to a few thousand, or less.

Every species was affected; mammal, reptile, avian, insect. Those living on land were hurt the worst. There was widespread extinction. Entire ecosystems were just gone. Only nature’s apex survivors would continue; the crocodile, the turtle, and the frog.

Coastal areas provided recourse for the survivor. There were fish, there was water, there was mobility and there was power.

But it would take decades before the poisons were filtered from the atmosphere, all mammalian life would change as a result, but life would endure on the other side.
Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth
Chapter Eighteen, Disaster
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Three, Earth; Chapter Seventeen, Volcano

Week 18

Most of the people in the world had no knowledge of the threat posed by the Yellowstone volcano, even though the information concerning it was available to them through the public domain.

It was on the internet, there had been many documentaries filmed concerning it.

The earliest documentaries, were the most truthful and the most disturbing.

The science, which was relatively new, revealed that the last event covered the world in ash, blocked out the light of the sun, and reduced the total population of the human race to just a few thousand. Tree ring samples, ice core samples, rock stratification and genetic mapping all proved it, to a degree of statistical certainty that could not be ignored.

Yet, people did.

After airing for a decade and raising the level of alarm, newer productions began to slip miss-information into the narrative. This eased public apprehension about the dilemma, while doing nothing in the way of preparing people for it.

The United States Geological Service (U.S.G.S.), closely monitored the volcano, aided by several nearby universities. They began to monitor it as soon as they realized what they had discovered.

They were hungry for information.

Seismographs were deployed, and in time the vast magma dome at the epicenter was mapped out through global positioning systems, satellite tracking that measured uplift and deformation of the surface of the caldera at its weakest point, with enough sensitivity to track even a centimeter of change

In the early days this information was available to the public, but after a year of intense geological activity at the site of the volcano, the crucial and most informative data became restricted.

Then, the eruption came without warning.

It shook the world, throwing it off its axis.

Ash and gas poured into the upper atmosphere, covering everything in a poisonous cloud, hiding the survivors from the face of the sun.

There was no safety anywhere.

When Jim first came to Earth in the centuries before the first volcanic cataclysm that he witnessed, seventy-four thousand years ago, he found the human family and found that it was very small. There were just a few million people spread out across the globe, their culture had devolved, but they were thriving and recovering their footing.

After the eruption of the volcano in Indonesia, the human family was reduced to just a couple of thousand people. Their extinction was looming, they were starving and suffering, living without hope.

Jim starved with them, suffered with them, journeyed with them to places of shelter, water, food, and warmth.

He lived as one of them through the dark days, through the decades when the sun was blotted from the sky, when the air was full of ash, and poison.

Death was everywhere, disease, malnutrition, exposure, the ordinary challenges facing any given tribe, but other human tribes were the greatest threat.

He had some ability to influence the tribes he was with, to keep them from committing the most ghastly crimes, the hunting of other humans for food, crimes of cannibalism.

He only had access to limited technology. His satellite network was still rudimentary, and it did not have the ability to surveille the entire world, but he used it to maximum effect.

There were many tribes that he was not able to reach, those that went underground to escape the deadly air, consequently, those tribes experienced the greatest corruption of their identity and values, and they would plague the rest of humanity for millennia to come.

Jim activated the cloning systems on his orbiting platform.

He bifurcated his consciousness and sent replicas of himself to dwell with every tribe he could find. This was a violation of his directive as an Observer, but that did not matter to him, he was intent on seeing the people through this disaster and rebuilding their communities once again.

Now everything was in process.

Jim had studied the living planet, which he now belonged to, with tools surpassing the greatest assets of any geophysicist on Earth.

The Planet held no mysteries for him.

He had known about the life cycle of this caldera for millennia, and every other volcano on Earth’s unstable surface as well.

He was determined not to be taken by surprise, and there could be no strategy without knowledge.

The humans of Earth had discovered the caldera a mere forty years earlier. There science had only given them knowledge of plate tectonics a short one hundred years before that.

It was a scientific age, but only for a small segment of human civilization. They had barely begun to understand the atom and the genome, and yet they were quick to adapt their new-found knowledge into weapons, and other useful tools.

Fifty years after their first flight in a small wooden craft, they constructed a rocket made of the lightest alloys that propelled them to the moon, where they were able to land safely and return.

It was only when the heat beneath the super-volcano was discovered, only because the found that it was pushing an entire mountain range upward into the sky, were they able to understand the geological forces at work beneath the beautiful and grand oasis that was Yellowstone Park.

Through his observation and the power of his instruments, Jim was able to calculate to the second when the volcano would blow. He wanted to intervene, but he was forbidden.

The Continuum decided it would do nothing.

It knew that life on Earth would be devastated yet again, but it craved the drama that this would produce, it wanted to watch the human race re-emerge once more from the ashes.

The scientists, and their cadres of college students, research assistants, whose job it was to watch the monster volcano, inevitably became inured to the subtle changes they recorded. They monitored the changes and warning signs in a way that was reminiscent of watching a person’s hair grow. While they gathered data they had no means of correlating them to actual events.

As sweeping as the observations they made were, which were as comprehensive as was technologically possible, the data they gathered had no predictive value, because every day was a new day in a completely unknown experience.

There was a deformation of the dome, over hundreds of square miles, there were earthquakes, boiling water in lakes and streams; something big growing below the surface, and they were for the most part, un-phased by it.

There were occasions when activity would spike so sharply that it seemed as if the moment had come, but, after reliving those cycles dozens of times, even the occasional spike became a relatively commonplace event.

Doomsday cults sprang up around the world predicting the imminent end of life on Earth, pointing to the volcano as the instrument of God’s wrath, God’s judgement, the coming of Ragnorak or the return of Kali.

They were not wrong, insofar as the myths of Ragnorak and Kali originated with the last great eruption, but of course there was nothing personal about these events.

It was just geology, there was no divine wrath or judgement at all.

God had no purpose in it, only Jim did.

The doomsayers, spoke to something that everyone knew was true. Every person alive carried the memory of the last event deep within them, and their fears about future catastrophes resonated in the cynergenic field. The collective consciousness of the human race knew that something was happening. It was disturbed, but it did not know by what.

There were documentaries about the volcano, television shows detailing what was known about its history, its cycles, its potential for global destruction, and the relative certainty of the impending doom.

The most prominent scientific journals published articles about it. Those stories made their way into popular publications as well.

There was a lot of information available about the volcano. Nevertheless, few people were aware of the danger.

Those who knew about it, were forced by the rules of statistics to tell themselves “it could happen today, or it could happen in ten thousand years.” This was a true assessment, it represented sound reasoning. They were measuring unknown capacities against geological time. Making it impossible to gauge where an event might happen that took place in a six hundred thousand year cycle.

In the second decade after its discovery, when the reality of the danger that the volcano represented finally made its way into the National Security threat assessment. The information flow coming from the scientific observatories began to change.

Public access to raw data was cut off. Everything about the volcano was filtered, cast in terms of potentials and probabilities, even matters that were well known, established, and certain.

Misinformation leaked into the public sphere every day as the explosion neared. The government decided that there was nothing it could do about the monster beneath Yellowstone Park, therefore they would do nothing, and they decided to work against a state of public panic instead.

They would deal with the aftermath, when the volcano erupted. They would position their forces to take advantage of the catastrophe on a global scale.

This was the only end they could hope to achieve.

Jim’s plan required the most delicate timing and meticulous preparation, it was a precarious endeavor. It came down to seconds, and those final seconds were everything.

The volcano buried beneath Yellowstone would destroy human civilization, but it would catalyze the preservation of humanity itself. A few people would live, but all would be saved through Kathy.

She was the vessel that he had spent thousands of years cultivating. She was ready and he knew it.

The cataclysm would change the Collective forever, the galactic Empire as well, it would destroy the Continuum, and replace it with a new consciousness, one endowed with a fully actualized and transcendent morality, or so Jim believed.

Jim had spent lifetimes building the institutions, and years putting all the right people in place, cultivating relationships of trust, bribing and coercing when he had to. He made sure that there were no obstacles in Kathy’s path, and that she was prompted to take each step that would lead her to the crucible at the precise moment.

She must be in position at the exact second the cataclysm occurred.

The final hours and minutes he was with her allowed him to put a psychic hold on her. This did not give him the ability to control her, or to determine anything.

It was a push, he gave her some momentum and set her on course.

He had established the relationships, with key people to push her further, to get her in the right place at the right time.

There were plans within plans, and contingencies for everything.

His greatest work depended on Kathy, depended on her openness to discovery, her instinct for safety and her genuine care for other people.

There is no fate.

There is no divine hand governing the movement of the stars.

Nothing is predetermined, but there are certainties, there are statistical inevitabilities.

The eruption of volcanoes is among them. They are the result of geological forces that cannot be stopped.

With sufficiently advanced technology, such forces can be harnessed, controlled, used for the benefit of the people.

There was nowhere, no planet in the great galactic Empire that did not have access to these resources.

Earth was alone, floating by itself in the far reaches of the spiral arm of the galaxy. It was an isolated backwater, hundreds of light years from the nearest Imperial outpost.

Earth did not have the resources of other worlds in the Empire, it had no knowledge of the Empire, and the Continuum would not allow it to possess one.

The disaster on Earth could have been mitigated, it could have been used for the advancement of human civilization, but their technology had not develop enough along, they were perhaps a century away from being able to manage these eventualities on their own, without technological aid.

The end of humanity hung there. It was suspended in the balance between the apathy of the Continuum and the fascination of the Collective.

The Collective loved every moment of the feed streaming from Earth, they were hungry for the music, the art, the culture, the intensity of its conflicts.

The Continuum wanted to see the whole thing crushed, set back, and controlled.

Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth

Chapter Seventeen, Volcano

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Three, Earth; Chapter Sixteen, Existence

Emergence 4.0

Part Three, Earth
Chapter Sixteen, Existence
Week 17
The flesh remembers, it never forgets.

The record of our experiences are pounded into our corporeal form, cell by cell.

Our bodies are a living witness to the events that shape us, handing down that narrative from generation to generation in perpetuity.

We are changed by every new experience, each moment of perception is a new thread sewn into the seams of our identity. These are the fibers of the spindle, they are the engrams of memory, protein by protein they are woven into the fabric of our lives.

Our unique and individual experiences are like a tapestry, sewn with precious metals, embroidered with gem-stones, they are an endowment from us, a rich heritage passed on to our descendants.

It is their only lasting inheritance, laid on the table like a convivial feast.

We experience this in our dreaming, when we are transported to places and times that we know we have never been to, never seen, and yet they are as familiar to us as the contents of our own homes. When we talk with strangers as if they were our dearest friends, and see ourselves reflected in a mirror, but we do not recognize our countenance or visage.

The flesh never forgets, it remembers everything.

The Ancient race of spacefarers were bipeds. They stood on two feet just as the humans of Earth would in their time.

The longer the Ancient colonists remained on their journey among the stars, the more they adapted their physiology to the unique exigencies of their vessel. In the case of the group that eventually landed on Earth, they learned to adapt themselves to conditions of near weightlessness.

The conditions of deep space altered the function of their limbs and digits, of their muscles and skeletons.

In anticipation of coming to Earth they began to alter their physiology again, altering it with intention, reconstructing the things that they had lost.

They transformed, as much as they could back to the form that was the closest approximation to what they had originally been.

They prepared once again to stand on two feet.

The interactive relationship between the creature; the animal and its body with its environment determined the spectrum of its consciousness.

Standing against the pull of gravity, under the weight of Earth’s atmosphere, balancing and pivoting on a central axis, walking and dancing, these differentiated human beings from every other creature.

It was with their heads held high and faces lifted to the sun, that the first colonists moved across the surface of their new world.

There were many changes yet to come, augmentations and enhancements for their safety and security.

They knew that they would not be leaving Earth any time soon, they had to prepare themselves to rule it, as the apex species on a planet filled with predators.

They landed under the auspices of a simple rule.

They had to adapt to survive.

Talking was the basis of sharing every advanced idea, and had been since the earliest days of the Ancient People.

Talking was the precursor to writing, and through the written language the secrets of the universe were cracked open.

Talking; the verbal sharing of ideas, feelings, and perceptions, shared through aural communications in waves of sound, listening, hearing in stereo; this mode of transmission is deliberate, slow and luxuriant compared to the speed of light at which visual and digital communications takes place.

The slowness of speech was dumbfounding to the Continuum, many potential Observers were washed out of the program because they could not adjust to this reality.

Neither sound waves, nor light waves could come anywhere close in comparison to the instantaneous transfer of thought in the quantum field.

In the field of quantum entanglement, communication could happen in no-time.

Sound was slow and intimate, the only thing more sensuous was touch.

The sounds of voice are waves crashing through whole body, not just the auditory canal.

To listen to the voice is to listen to the breath, to feel the living intention of the speaker, your dialog partner, adding depth and meaning to every insight they intend to impart.

It is relational, it imparts a sense of belonging.

The embodied voice calls us back to the primordial time before the species knew anything of the stars, when we were just amphibians crying out for company, bellowing peels of warning, singing by the breeding pools in the night.

Bands of light cross the full spectrum, piercing organic lenses from corner to corner.

One-hundred and eighty degrees, light reflecting off every object in the binocular field of vision, light and shadow refracting in a broad array of color, captured through the lens in its rods and cones.

Neuro-receptors in the brain flip the images around, creating the perception of depth by which we determine distance and find our way through the three dimensions of space.

The broad spectrum of vision is vital to the human being, even in its limited range. Other animals see farther, other animals see in a different arc, other animals see more and less color, other animals see in a different spectrum of light.

Some animals have ultra-vision, some have infra vision, specialized optics in relation to the things they hunt and furrow for.

The human eye is powerful, it takes in a wide range of each of those possible fields, coordinating them for great effect.

The human species did not evolve to hunt and gather with its sight, or to favor one sense over any other, neither did the Ancient People from which it sprang.

For the human animal, sight and the other physical senses were merely inputs for the mind. The mind was the vehicle by which the human being stalked its prey, gathered its forage, planted, sewed, and came to the harvest.

The field of vision that the human being possessed was adequate to the task. Coupled with the brain, the healthy eye could discern and interpret images, it could accurately identify objects that it could not clearly see. This was an advantage that no other species on the planet possessed.

The human mind augmented everything.

The brain was split in two. The architecture of the hemispheric brain provided a cognitive override. If the messages from the brain stem flooded the organ with fear, desire, or any other strong feeling, the force of it was divided between the two halves.

This allowed for a fraction of a moment of distance to develop between the individual and the event that generates the feeling. A moment when choice was possible, and the individual could act apart from the coercive effect of the external stimuli.

The human being was split down the middle, left for right and right for left.

It was an organic duality.Cognitive function were split between the two hemispheres as well. Mathematical, categorical, statistical functions to one side of the brain, while the boundary spanning, rule breaking, artistic and unorthodox functions occupied the other half of the brain.

It was symbiosis.

The hemispheres of the brain were not distinct. They were conjoined by a network, a wetwork of fibers, the tiniest of organic structures, not much larger than a chain of protein molecules, and it was electric.

The nano-particles in the neural net allowed each individual to be connected through Earth’s electromagnetic field at the quantum level.

In the quantum field there was all knowledge and the fullness of humanity.

In this cognitive space all human achievements were the property of the whole; every triumph and every tragedy.

The past and the present were one

The human being was one, even in light of its inherent duality.

The human body is water.

Metaphors of fluidity permeate the human consciousness.

The surface of earth is mostly water, and in times of great crises the surface of the waters, and the deep-deep places, were the places where human beings returned to for refuge, safety and sustenance.

Oceans, and lakes, and rivers provided everything

The body needs water, as it needs oxygen to fill the lungs, to fill the blood cells racing through its veins and arteries, coursing into tissues.

There is no greater pain than thirst, and the unquenched desire is the thirst that leads to death.

Metaphors linking dryness to anguish, to pain and suffering fill the human imagination.

To thirst is to know that the end is near.

Thirst will drive the average person mad with the knowledge that death is approaching and the end of the body is at hand.

When thirst is great enough, a person will turn to any source of liquid, even liquids they know to be poisoned, in order to slake it.

Thirst is a drive. It is the greatest motivator, greater than hunger, greater than joy.

The thirsty person will do anything, sacrifice anything.

Thirst will cause a person to give up what they hold sacred, even their own identity.

The whole body is a cognitive organ, not just the brain, the cerebellum, or the cerebral cortex.

The body senses and it remembers.

The body writes memory into the genetic code of the individual, in sequences of peptides and amino acids. It writes them into the DNA.

We pass those memories onto our offspring.

We are born with the knowledge of our ancestors built onto the fabric of our being.

The whole being is contained in the tiniest part, in the nucleus of every cell. It pushes us forward, it is a chemical drive feeding the quantum field of creativity, a neural net rooted in organic chemistry.

It is a constant interchange of the analog with the digital.

We are a duality.

Just as the human being processes external stimuli through the brain, where chemical sequences are translated into electrical signals, in a tightly choreographed exchange that take place a billions of times per second. So does the human being function as a small piece of the larger-cynergenic world.

Every human being is an organic node. An individual interfacing with the quantum field that comprises the whole.

We experience these dualities within ourselves; individual experience and inherited experience, individual mind and collective mind.

We experience these dualities, but we do so on the unconscious level, very few people ever become aware of the greater reality that they are a part of.

It is on this dual framework that we launch ourselves into the full realization of who we are.
Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth

Chapter Sixteen, Existence

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!

Emergence 4.0 – Part Three, Earth; Chapter Fifteen, Observation

Week 16
After the Indonesia eruption, during the time that Jim was gathering the people together, while he was forming them into enduring tribes, subtle changes began to take shape in the social and cultural traditions of the people.

They drew pictures in the soil with sticks to narrate their journeys, and chart their path of progress.

They understood the world in terms of images.

They were post literate.

They carved their hopes and fears into stones, and the faces of cliffs, in places that became semi-permanent homes. Generations of members would work on a single carving, the task being handed down from mother to daughter, and father to son.

In those carvings Jim could see the echoes of their memories of their previous sojourn among the stars.

Those memories lingered, they were intense.

Jim began to isolate the physical link that joined the current generation to its past in their genetic profile.

The stories they told about that time were confused and entangled with their current journey through the dark.

They mixed colors and painted, projecting images of the future they desired on cave walls, both the things they wanted, hoped for; food and water, and wanted more to avoid; a short life, a dangerous animal, an encounter with a stronger tribe.

They were overwhelming concerned with safety and security.

They depicted things no one living had ever seen, the memory of which they carried in their genes. Those images became stylized and fantastic, and in those stories, they made their ancestors into gods.

The music of the people, the drums they beat, the rhythms they made, they pushed the stories of each tribe, each family, deep into the memory of its members.

Drums and rhythm these operated as a visceral reinforcement of the memories that the human tribes passed down from one generation to the next.

It changed them on the genetic level, setting up successive generations to recall them, relive them, to transform those stories into a part of their being.

Jim played to this phenomenon, he avidly worked to eradicate any form of written narrative.

He succeeded.

Every tribe developed its own oral tradition. Stories were handed down from master to pupil.

Paintings and images, sculptures, these became objects of religious ritual and devotion. People only engaged in their creation with careful attention.

Music was the heart of the people.

Each tribe found its own interpretation of the musical scale. They developed their own drums, their own pipes and horns and instruments made of string.

This was a great science.

The exchange of music between cultures was often met with alarm, and fear.

All music was recognizable as music. But the form that it could take, the beat, the measure, the timing, the tonal quality, these could create significant psychic disturbances in people when they heard an alien scale for the first time.

For thousands of years Jim worked to exasperate those differences, before finally bringing them together. The result were new traditions of overwhelming beauty and complexity. Which not only captivated human audiences, but enthralled the Collective as well.

It was a grand orchestration.

Even before the eruption 72,000 years ago, the culture of these children of the Ancient People, the culture of the humans of Earth had devolved.

They had fallen from star-farer to cave dweller.

Yet their cultures retained a faint memory of its ancestry. The memory of the stars they had crossed had been preserved through the stories they told, and in the engrams of memory encoded in their cells.

For Jim, it was precious little to build on.

He was determined to modify their genetic profile in such a way that it could boost the organic memory retention of their bodies as much as possible.

Jim engineered in himself a bifurcation of consciousness.

In the satellite station far above the planet, he housed the full version of himself hosted in the mechanoid body that travelled with him to Earth.

That consciousness was connected to hundreds of living vessels, versions of himself living on the planet surface doing the work he had set out to do among the people. This was an extreme violation of the conventions.

He was in fact only permitted one organic body.

Over time, he received the materials from the Empire to build a space station. On that station he was able to carry out experiments, to perform the science that would allow him to carry out the augmentations both in himself and the human race that he needed.

There were a myriad of steps to climb for him to accomplish his goals with the inhabitants of Earth, and numerous channels to cross.

Jim slowly, methodically plotted his course and followed it, adjusting only when it was necessary.

Step by step and generation by generation he introduced the genetic changes he required into the breeding pool.

Modern humans emerged from these processes.

During their sojourn to Earth, the children of the Ancients determined what their physical needs would be, long before they arrived at their new home they began to make those changes.

They had identified Earth as a suitable place to end their journey, even while they were still light years away.

At that time they still possessed the scientific knowledge to carry out the task of altering their physiology in order that they might align themselves with the gravity and atmosphere of the distant planet.

They began to mutate their DNA, altering their genetic structure, allowing them to inhabit, and thrive on the wet-blue world.

Destination Earth, it was their last hope for a home and haven.

Over the course of generations they adapted to those new requirements, doing their best to anticipate what their bodies would now require, which they based on a climate and ecology that they could only model through computer algorithms.

It was a process of continual adjustment.

Every time a new genetic sequence would be introduced into the body, they ran the risk of a virus springing up, some of them were lethal.

Many of the colonists were struck down in this process. It was an ongoing tragedy, and while they had prepared for it, it was painful nonetheless. It called for a continuous examination of conscience. It focused the crew on the existential dilemma they all shared.

Some of them wanted to abandon their mission altogether, and simply direct their vessel into the nearest star, bringing an end to all of them in one great conflagration.

The technologies they depended on, which were also the cause of their transformation and eventual triumph, those technologies began to be shunned.

Change begets change, in a never ending cycle.

From one point in time to another, nothing is ever the same. This is true, no matter how finely you measure the distance between points.

Everything is changing.

The Ancient Spacefarers became humanity.

Once they arrived in orbit around their new world, a slow metamorphosis took place.

A new gene was introduced, for their final transformation.

Their contact with the Earth’s bio-sphere presented challenges they had never encountered before.

Life on earth was aggressive.

Through a constant exposure to viruses and bacteria their genetic constitution became compromised.

At the most basic level they converged with the native life of Earth.

They became a new people, the belonged to each other and to their new planet entirely.

This took time. It took many thousands of years, and by the time the transformation was complete, they had lost much of the knowledge of who they were, of where they came from, and the technology they had brought them here.

Their triumphal achievement was the root of their undoing.

They left the markers of each change they had instituted in their genetic profile as a road map for Jim to follow in his own breeding program.

When Jim arrived on Earth, he was surprised and bewildered by what he found. Nowhere else in all of the Empire had such a massive cultural devolution occurred. He had barely begun to put the story together before the cataclysm occurred, changing everything for him, and for humanity.

Jim decided at that moment on a course of action that he had long contemplated.

With the gene pool having been reduced to just a few thousand individuals he knew that he had the opportunity to improve on the genetic structure of the whole.

He plotted the future development of the species and began to work out the steps and permutations that he would be looking for as the new species developed over time.

Changes in cognition were the most crucial thing for him to accomplish, along with broadening their access to their genetic memory.

With subtle interventions from Jim, the human brain slowly mutated, retaining properties that were key to the things that he had been dreaming about for a billion years.

He built an inherent capacity to store nanoparticles of key heavy metals, like magnetite, and lithium in the cerebral structure.

Receptors emerged in the organic mind, attenuating the higher order thought processes to the Earth’s magnetic fields.
He established a cynergy between every human being alive, turning the entire planet into a field for cognitive development.

In this way humanity became connected, in the nous-sphere, a collective unconscious emerged. It was atavistic, and unlike any symbiosis that had ever been achieved anywhere else in the galaxy, with the exception of the Collective.

On Earth the collective consciousness emerged as a natural property of the human race in a way that allowed it to go unnoticed by the Continuum.

In that moment of triumph Jim had fully actualized the launch phase of his grand ambition.

The existence of the collective unconscious on Earth was the one thing that the Continuum feared, wanted above anything to prevent, and yet it never imagined that it could happen in this way, therefore it could see it, and could never prepare for it.

Few humans were ever aware of the cynergenic field, or that they lived within the dynamics of the nous-sphere, even though everyone felt it.

Until the twentieth century they did not even have the language to describe it.

Everyone was entangled in its cynergism.

The nous-sphere was coterminous with Earth’s electromagnetic field, as such, it permeated all things.

Only a small percentage of human beings were sensitive to it.

If an imbalance in their physiology caused them to retain too great a concentration of the particles that attenuated them to the field, or too small, they struck an improper balance, and they suffered because of it.

It gave some human beings clairvoyant abilities, clairsentience, clairaudience, so called psychic powers, extra sensory perception or telepathy.

Those abilities drove many more human beings to madness, schizophrenia and psychosis.

In order for them to understand it they had to wait for the advent of written language, and thousands of years to pass so that they could share the knowledge of it and come to an understanding.

By then Jim figured it would be to late for the Continuum to do anything about it.
Emergence 4.0
Part Three, Earth

Chapter Fifteen, Observation

A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

Like it, Follow it, Share it!