Week 46, 2019
The Imperial system did everything it could to sew divisions among the people; to sew division between individuals, families, tribes, and worlds, between castes, and between ranks, keeping them all in competition for the most basic things, all the way down to food and water, whatever each class and caste needed most to survive.
The Empire was masterful at it.
Paradoxically, it managed to foment all of that division, by dogmatically focusing the attention of every person on the things that actually united them.
Many things united the people of the Empire, such as; language, cult and custom.
Brothers and sisters, cousins, they might compete tirelessly with one another for position in their family unit, but they would reflexively protect the social status of the family itself, just as families would do within their tribal and national structures, or as tribes and nations would relate to their home world.
Fear, and hope were among the most powerful forces establishing this mutuality, and commonality throughout the worlds. There was perpetual conflict, politicking, and maneuvering for gain.
The children of the Ancients evolved in different ways, on their disparate worlds, developing different genetic endowments to manage with differing gravity, differing atmospheres and sources of nutrition. They looked up at different stars, and each world contemplated a different fate.
Their genetic similarities united them.
Remaining unified was a critical component of survival, but the things that differentiated people from one another remained primary.
Nobody was satisfied with their position in society.
Everyone dreamed of advancing to the next level, it was the constant preoccupation of the masses. They desired advancement, either in this life or the next, every detail of their lives was subordinated to this ambition and nothing else mattered.
The people lived in a perpetual state of fear, or unease. They believed their safety and security depended on it.
Even the highest ranking members of the Imperial family were caught up in the notion of advancement, only they knew the truth concerning the end game and their desire was eternal life in the Continuum.
Complacency was abhorrent. Advancement was incumbent on the individual, to push themselves and their families forward. It required cooperative effort, and it could not be done alone.
They referred to it as the ladder of divine ascent.
People were conditioned to loath their own place, but when threatened they would reach out to those closest to them for safety, their sameness reflexively united them.
There was safety in numbers.
The people were united by tribe, clan, village and world; as well as by class, by rank and station, by fear and loathing. This was the result of the Imperial conditioning.
The Imperial schools and the religion of the Empire were extremely adept at concretizing this divisive mode of ideation.
Nevertheless, in every generation, on every world and in virtually every tribe there were those who were born seemingly immune to the coercive controls of the Imperium.
These precious few were motivated by love and altruism, they cared little for their rank, they saw themselves as a part of the greater whole and it did not require effort for them to think this way
It came to them naturally.
The Continuum saw them as dangerous. When it identified them it used them as the key figures in its dramas.
The Empire was vast, stretching like a net through the center of the galaxy.
It was comprised of a million worlds.
The Empire was a necklace of planets strung like gems among the stars, each of them was the locus of identity for the ordinary citizen who inhabited it.
Outcasts were never sanctioned to leave the surface of their world, unless it was to serve in the off world mines.
The serving class; merchants and bureaucrats, farmers and laborers might leave their own world for another in their solar system, but such travel was rare.
Soldiers and priests ventured into deep space with regularity in the performance of their duties, both for combat and for holy pilgrimages.
Every person was marked by the world they lived on, they were genetically aligned to its exigencies; to their planet’s gravity, the composition of its atmosphere, the unique threats rising from a planet’s closed biological system and to the light of their star.
Every person was marked by their world in ways that were both obvious and hidden. In ways that were clearly discernable to the naked eye, and in ways that would only be revealed in an autopsy or under the microscope.
Every person on every world was a descendent of the ancient race of people who first explored the stars, of those who engineered the Collective.
In this way they belonged to one another, and that belonging was constantly reinforced through the Imperial Cult, and the Imperial Schools.
Life had been found on millions of other planets, the Ancient Race had seeded some of it in advance of their colonists arriving there but people, sentient people had never been discovered anywhere else in the galaxy.
Every person was uniquely formed by their own planet, and they shared that common core with their fellow citizens. It superseded everything including language, which itself is amorphous, changing all the time.
The Imperial Schools attempted to normalize linguistics throughout the million worlds of the Empire. They were continuously falling short of their goal.
People speak in codes, in patterns constructed from shared experience, patterns that change rapidly in both space and time; from one village to the next, from planet to planet and generation to generation.
It was a prime example of the chaos inherent in civilization
The mission to normalize languages never ended. The Imperial schools were in a constant state of reaction to the new patterns of linguistics that developed from one era to the next; encountering it, learning from it, reacting to it, influencing it if they could.
Change was the only constant.
Despite the continuous efforts of the Imperial Schools, variation persisted, colloquial patterns bonded people to one another, those patterns were an unconscious manifestation of shared suffering; of triumph, of joy, of anger and of esteem.
Language was the architecture of hope and of resentment both, and that is why the Continuum wanted so badly to control it. Citizens projected their desires for themselves and their families with language. They organized their resistance to the powers that ruled them with the same.
Every rebellion was hidden in secret language, and the full weight of the drama was contained therein.
Language patterns were buried in the ganglia of the central nervous system, they were transferred from one generation to the next as a genetic endowment, and it was a language game that allowed the ancient people to develop the science that created the Collective, with the Continuum as its ultimate end.
The bonds between people, even members of the same family were flimsy, they were unreliable, but some were stronger than others.
People found one another through the things they desired most, bonding with each other through their joy and pain, they gravitated toward the same places. They were even shepherded to those places, to encounter one another through the ever-watchful eyes of the Continuum, which knew the secret musings of their hearts.
There were often elements of contrivance behind even seemingly random encounters, the manipulations behind them were so fine and remote that the individuals involved in them had no ability to detect them. They were doing the bidding of the Continuum nonetheless.
They were cultivated for the drama they would deliver to the Collective.
Shared experiences were the strongest ties, and because of this people unconsciously sabotaged themselves, undercut their hopes for advancement, so that they could remain in proximity to those they loved.
Some would sacrifice their health, their freedom, their future for fleeting moments of pleasure, temporalities that were gone and forgotten as quickly as they came, and the satisfaction of their desire.
Through this medium, incredible tragedies would unfold, as ephemeral as the petals of a flower opening in the moonlight, when for a few brief seconds with no one there to witness it, the flower opens and petals drop.
Children would destroy their parents.
Brothers and sisters would plot against each other.
Parents would sell their children, would devour them to satisfy their hunger for the thing they desired.
Desire would lead a person to walk with open eyes through the gates of hell, embracing their own destruction.
The Collective thirsted for this drama and the Continuum delivered.
Fear was the great lever, the most commonly used instrument in the tool chest of the Imperial conditioners for the coercion and manipulation of the masses.
Fear made the lives, the choices and behaviors of the citizenry more predictable than any other factor.
The Continuum relied on the power of fear more than any other device to achieve its ends in the great dramas it created.
The Imperial Cult had conditioned the people into an absolute belief in the laws that governed death and rebirth, so that even the prospect of death could not overcome the power of fear.
The people projected the dilemmas they faced in this life through their present circumstances, carrying them forward into the world they believed was coming.
Even the most ordinary person believed that every choice they made would echo in eternity.
Fear poisoned the body and it shaped consciousness in the electromagnetic field. Its power was a weight that pressed down on everyone and everything at every moment of a person’s life.
No one could escape it.
Fear was the most powerful emotion, it was stronger than hope, stronger than desire, stronger than hate, virtually every thought and feeling would bend before it.
The influence of fear was all pervasive, its force was like gravity.
Fear catalyzed all of the lesser emotions, tainting them. It conditioned every feeling so that every expression of emotion was a reflection of it.
The one-and-only force of emotion that seemed to be stronger than fear, was love.
The power of love was tested time and time again, every possible manifestation of love was scrutinized by the Continuum.
It was proven.
Love is stronger than fear, stronger than any power that the Continuum could set against it, and true love was exceedingly rare, but through the power of love a person came into their true self, and was able to transcend all the limitations which they had theretofore been beset by.
The love of a mother for her child was the greatest and most genuine source of love, but as children grew into adults and left their families it began to wane.
Competition and desire ate away at the bonds of familial love, more often than not, leaving it in shreds and tatters.
Among every one of the million worlds that constituted the great galactic civilization, the Imperial cult worked tirelessly to frustrate the reality of love, while the Continuum documented in the most intimate details the methods by which love could be undone.
These machinations produced the greatest dramas, the most intense experiences for the Continuum to share with the Collective.
Love is a feeling, like fear, and joy, but love is more, it is a choice made freely by an individual.
Love is the exercise of a fundamental option.
The loving person has made a commitment to see the world and their relationships in a certain way, when this choice is true, it becomes interwoven with the identity of that person.
Fear and hate, anger and desire these were powerful motivators of people, motivating them through coercion, whereas love is choice made in freedom.
Part Seven, War
Chapter Forty-four, Loyalties
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week
#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek
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