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The Pilgrims of Tranquility
By Raymond Greiner
My name is Caleb. I am sixteen years old and documenting my life thus far. I have no parents or siblings. I was scientifically created and live in a barracks facility among one hundred males my age. An adjacent facility houses one hundred females. We are genetically engineered. Guides define goals to expand population. I am inspired to record this eventful, historic time.
It has been two hundred years since global devastation ceased, creating present day conditions. Our population expansion team is assigned to Peace School located in a central region of what was previously the United States of America, but currently, this country does not exist. History dominates our curriculum, intending to circumvent repetition of events nearly destroying earthly life. Even after two hundred years, residue from this cycle of destruction hinders restructuring. Events occurring over two hundred years ago were unimaginable.
The United States bears responsibility for the catastrophic events that destroyed it. This allegation is because the United States was in a position of prominence during this era, but social erosion slowly developed within the country, crushed by greed-oriented fiscal profit objectives. Large industrial enterprise and banking-controlled government disregarded welfare of the general population in favor of self-serving interests. The American economy fragmented. Companies relocated manufacturing facilities to foreign countries, exploiting economically-depressed countries that offered lower cost labor and higher profit yield. These relocations diminished American middle class society. Consumption fell dramatically, and tax revenue dropped, leading to economic collapse, which negatively impacted foreign enterprise and manufacturing dependent on American consumerism, resulting in an overall global economic decline.
Simultaneously, Muslim extremists threatened bombing the United Sates, seizing opportunity caused by a weakened economy to inflict further damage. Lacking tax revenue, America’s defense systems were reduced, although the country maintained and escalated its atomic weaponry programs, conjecturing extremists would be constrained by fear of these weapons. Then a triggering event occurred. A Muslim country developed nuclear weaponry, and these weapons were heavily used against the United States. New York City was reduced to ashes.
Immediately the United States began launching nuclear missiles, randomly bombing Muslim countries, reacting without clear knowledge which Muslim country was responsible for the nuclear attack. Other anti-American nuclear powers viewed the United States as a wounded lion, and, like jackals and hyenas, pounced. North Korea destroyed the American West Coast and also Japan, an ally of the United States. The tipping point was breached, igniting a frenzy of relentless atomic attacks as the United States unleashed every missile in its arsenal. Washington, DC was annihilated and with it, United States leadership.
The nuclear attacks killed millions. Only those in isolated geographic locations survived, and millions more died over the next year from radioactive fallout. Nuclear winter developed and many froze to death. Populations became sterile, some living another five years developing cancer or other health failures from extreme radiation exposure. Food production stopped and what little food remained was without transport. Most early deaths were the result of starvation.
The world never experienced such horror and despair. Bedlam dominated; among the few survivors, food acquisition was the highest priority, since what food remained was contaminated from the atomic attacks. Clans formed in an attempt to survive, but failed quickly from either conflict or starvation. The country was nearly void of human life six years after the attacks; more people died after the attacks than during the attacks themselves.
The United States became a barren landscape. The recurring atomic explosions damaged the ozone, producing erratic weather patterns weakening the atmosphere, allowing meteor penetration with frequent strikes throughout the world. In an intense final battle, the United Stated destroyed North Korea and Muslim countries were in ruin. Some areas of the world felt less impact.
Though hunger was widespread, countries not directly hit regained order. Our group was formed in an attempt to discover new directions for population expansion. We seek a social design that engenders higher ethical standards and a community void of propensity for supremacy, which historically provoked war and its consequences.
Teacher Benedict greeted us. “Good morning to all of you. It has been my great honor to serve as your teacher to this point in your journey into the future. As you know, the alliance has strived for nearly one hundred years to arrive at this time. Studies and analysis during early stages of the alliance concluded social order lost balance with Earth. Even in the early Fertile Crescent era, humankind’s thirst for conquest using war was evident. Population growth and border establishment initiated confrontational opportunities. Sumer had a standing army as early as 3000 BCE, a composite leading humanity to the brink of extinction.
“Artifacts of ancient cultures reveal less confrontational and societal dysfunction. Neanderthal tribes lived harmoniously for three hundred thousand years. Very early social orders were not plagued with high population densities, which intensify complexities. Hunter-gatherer tribes displayed social compatibility, embracing earthly cycles in cadence with nature.
“Alliance planners envision an experiment meant to discover a peaceful future and those of you sitting here today represent the beginning of that experiment. Until now, your curriculum concentrated on historical events leading to warring eras. From this point forward you will be encouraged to engage socially, establishing male and female partnerships. You have been raised as a unit, to build insight to assist toward developing lifetime partnerships. You have studied and worked together in preparation to confront your future.
“The alliance has constructed five communes located within various geographic temperate zones. Geodesic dome structures will house partners allowing space to expand to a family of four. Twenty residents will occupy each commune. This design replicates ancient social grouping, melded with limited modern conveniences. One partnership assigned to each commune will receive medical training and properly equipped to provide health services. During your formative years, you worked in the school’s vegetable garden every day, learning sustainable agricultural techniques. Gardening will become your routine. Each household will raise its own garden, and a larger garden shared by communal members. Garden yields will be your sole source of food. In the communal garden will be large section to grow hemp to be processed for clothing and other needs. You will have no weapons and killing animals is forbidden.
“Your scientifically created genetic profiles were carefully planned. We used selective gene banks to provide sources to produce specific and compatible character qualities. These qualities include love, compassion, work ethic, and intelligence, combined with innate non-confrontational behavior. During your communal experience you will have access to technological devices and a daily journal will be maintained communicating with the alliance. This daily record will be assigned to one individual; however, all participants are encouraged to document thoughts conveying them to the alliance as a method of enhancing future programs.”
Teacher Benedict was correct regarding our bonding. We knew each other, and typical and daily physical work together formed trust and respect, and a natural unity was created. Since my earliest years I have been very close with a female member. Her name is Marlene and she is strikingly beautiful. We have shared long discussion for as long as I can remember. One experience is vivid in my memory.
We were seven years old and just beginning to learn gardening; Marlene happened upon a garter snake and became extremely frightened. I picked up the snake explaining it was harmless and she need not fear it. She looked at me in an odd manner but said nothing. A few days later she beckoned me to the storage shed. Inside the shed was a box with five garter snakes.
“I captured these garter snakes so we can share the joy of their release. It will be delightful to watch them regain freedom. I don’t fear these harmless life forms now.”
This event became fixed in my mind. Although simple and seemingly of little importance, the incident revealed Marlene’s generous heart and connection to nature. She overcame fear through knowledge and understanding, displaying compassion. We shared profound love and closeness, craving deeper connection. We agreed our life together would be meaningful, sharing life with fellow students taught by alliance guides. We became partners, and ventured forward.
After the partner selection process we were transported to assigned commune sites. We were not given an exact location only told it was south of where we were born and educated. The average yearly temperature and rainfall were major factors selecting locations. Upon arrival, domes were in place, with ample space for gardening and also a larger dome to serve as common space for group interactivities. Dwellings were furnished, including two computers allowing opportunity to communicate with alliance leaders and guides. Two natural springs flowed through the area and a well with a hand pump was installed. The alliance provided a year’s supply of food while our group establishes self-reliance. An array of solar panels supplied power with satellite connection relaying computer-transmitted messages to the alliance. In our communal garden, in addition to food, we grew hemp to be stored, accumulated and processed as material for clothing. It seemed possible to be self-sufficient within this arrangement.
Soon day-to-day functions fell into place, and Marlene and I were escalated to a higher plane. It was a glorious feeling. No government controls were applied. Our group met frequently in the common area for discussions on achieving and refining sustainability. Work sharing became routine. Much labor was required, making compost for soil enrichment and cutting firewood for cooking and heat. Communal unity heightened the entire undertaking.
The Alliance sent a message: “The combined opinion of alliance members is one of great pride and appreciation for the sincere effort your group exhibits. You have been given a title. You are referred to by our alliance as ‘Pilgrims of Tranquility’. As you progress, personal gratitude will expand, inspired by physical efforts revealing higher self-awareness, an element largely lost within what was historically termed ‘modern society’, which shunned physical chores. Frugality attached to manual tasking allows sensory capacities to permeate your lives, elevating introspection, stimulated by natural environmental dynamics. Materialism and hedonistic social design is absent in your regimen. This experiment strives to gain knowledge regarding humankind’s ability to blend less intrusively with the Earth applying minimal, amiable practices. Although premature for accurate analysis we are encouraged at this early stage.”
Marlene’s reply to the Alliance: “Caleb and I have become intensely attached while adjusting to communal life. We feel fortunate and grateful to be given this opportunity.
“In our discussions, questions have arisen. From our studies previous to communal placement, it was revealed how global ethical standards and values slowly eroded. This erosion was not solely government indiscretion; the collective society was mired in dysfunction far adrift from principles taught by our mentors and teachers. Our experimental group was scientifically created choosing selective gene banks. We were taught from our earliest memories the importance of high personal standards, emphasizing peaceful coexistence and altruism, combined with simplicity. It is apparent to the alliance and also apparent to those of us participating in this experiment that absence of these characteristics bore responsibility for mayhem destroying much earthly life.
“Our root question is: How has this changed? It seems unrealistic to imagine global populations scientifically created on a large scale, duplicating our guidance and learning. Has society made progressive adjustments toward betterment? Does propensity for war remain? Are selfishness and greed continuing during restructuring? If so, how will our small scale experimental lifestyles implement sweeping change?
“We agree our simplistic life, tending crops, and embracing basic elements of living offers higher personal balance; however, studying the historic failure period reveals these elements were not in place and without recognition. Materialism and monetary status formed a god-like presence, creating ubiquitous corruption touching all levels of social structure. Cities infested with crime, poverty and social separation as the wealthy lolled in extreme comfort pressing toward gain beyond necessity and those with less were ignored and often chastised. It seems unlikely to us our example can alter such large-scale historic revelations.”
The alliance responded: “Marlene, your points of discussion are worthy, meriting response. Since its inception, the alliance has addressed these issues becoming an ongoing debate regarding the experiment’s long-term viability. Currently, many oppose the alliance and its goals. Social restructuring does not reflect teachings you and your fellow pioneers received. During the rebuilding cycle repetition of dysfunctional activity during the historic self-destructive period regained momentum. Although, no major wars have erupted and atomic weaponry is absent. Anger, mistrust and convoluted disposition have returned. Selfishness, greed and materialistic goals have reemerged.
“We agree it is not a feasible to attempt genetic engineering on a large scale, quite an impossible task, creating uncertainty regarding progress. However, we do sense headway via this communal demonstration. If social order continues downward, again becoming destructive, your group will demonstrate value as harbingers; exhibiting peaceful coexistence is possible. Your success is germinating seeds of change. The alliance’s philosophy and purpose is presently a minority view with limited range of acceptance, which may ultimately lead to failure. Your group is nearing self-sufficiency and if our alliance is broken your success will become a beacon, displaying a better course away from ubiquitous social flaws. Your group shows alternative to the materialistic ‘grab bag’. The vista is clouded at this point, but as time passes it is possible that your precedent exhibiting solidarity, compassion and self-sustainability may be just enough to tip the scale exhibiting proof that cannot be ignored. It is our hope. The looming reality is humanity must change if longevity is to be attained. It cannot endure cycle after cycle of destructiveness.”
My name is Caleb. I am forty-five years old, documenting my life thus far. I was scientifically created and have no parents or siblings. I was created to participate in an experiment forming a new approach to human development. I have a loving partner Marlene, who is the stalwart supporter of my life and equally responsible for our achievements. Our teachers and mentors were organized by an alliance offering opportunity to prove peaceful, compatible life is possible aspiring toward symbiosis with Earth.
The alliance that formed us failed because of reemergence of social dysfunction that nearly destroyed humanity; however, participants in this new design of peaceful coexistence succeeded and remain. Established partnerships grew into families and our communal concept spilled over influencing others away from chaotic social function. Our new approach expanded beyond what many predicted. Without alliance support we progressed, gaining knowledge, building shelters from natural materials opening opportunity for expansion duplicating patterns of our success. Even though materialistic, dominating society continues, some are becoming influenced by our simplistic life discovering worth outside overt consumption and control. Those participating in the foundation of this new direction are gratified. We had dubious thoughts of success but encouraged by teachings during alliance years. The alliance named us “Pilgrims of Tranquility” and now we are many.
The alliance spoke of the necessity for humanity to discover equanimity or perish and this wisdom has proven correct.
Marlene writes in her journal: “I am communicating with students entrapped in the old disconcerted culture. They admire our effort but plagued with skepticism. Some feel humanity is incapable of large-scale change embracing our model, perceiving the pursuit of dominance as an inbred human trait. Questing power over those viewed as weaker spawns from instinctual mechanisms derived from the axiom of survival of the fittest. From our philosophical viewpoint, displaying wealth and dominance as superiority forms false perception of balance, graphically obvious in wealth worshiping cultures. Within this concept the most affluent are distinguished, recognized as the most revered.
“My argument is, as with all earthly life forms, humans adjust to environmental conditions. If social development induces shallow values of materialism this design becomes prominent. Through teachings by alliance mentors our cohesiveness opens new direction enhancing purpose. Dominance is absent, we have no monetary system, and wealth is not recognized with the same ascendency as the historically destructive culture. Our ability to work in simplistic union, sharing subsistence efforts, represents wealth. We are master gardeners, students of the Earth and its myriad of mannerisms. We view fellow communal members equally without necessity for individual power and control.
“It is encouraging to see so many joining us bringing added dimension to the commune’s structure and future. In our curriculum at Peace School it was taught that even during the high point of the destruction period, a minority sought peace, but were overwhelmed by warring forces, driven by intent to dominate. This knowledge reveals similarities to our philosophy existed during the destructive period.
“Our curriculum did not include exposure to the arts or music. We have learned of the joys of music and art using our computers. Recently a young man appeared from the woods after a very long trek to locate us. He was carrying a guitar and serenaded us in the common area dome. This event was extraordinary, a spiritual awakening. A former alliance member has become our benefactor, as much as he is able. He shipped us twenty guitars and now the musician appearing in our lives is our teacher, and we are experiencing great joy from learning to play the guitar. It is such a wonderful feeling.”
Epilogue: The five communes established by the alliance remained intact. Learning has been expansive and continues. They integrated with others seeking change from historic social flaws. It is unknown if this proven harmonious culture can expand, creating global balance. The communes have maintained their original direction based upon early teachings as additional residents opened freshness, with music bringing dimension to the pilgrim’s mission.
So, the world is at a crossroads. Tranquility is the option to chaos. Life in the commune is tuned to the Earth and its natural functions, synchronizing with universal consciousness. Humankind evolved in concert with Earth’s tides, then strayed nearly destroying itself. Nature’s vast, immeasurable patterns of progression must be embraced in order to secure humanity’s future. Alternatives are infinite in nature’s progressive timeline, continually adjusting. The voice of destiny sings in varied rhythmic tones, often off key and out of tempo, like a catbird singing in a thorn bush. Then the sky opens and darkness becomes light, as clouds of doubt vanish. The Pilgrims of Tranquility have unfolded an Earth story.
#Unreal #Fiction #PilgrimsOfTranquility #SciFi #RaymondGreiner
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