Fiction

Pilgrims Of Tranquility

By: Raymond Greiner

Science reveals humanity has occupied Earth in excess of two million years confronting incremental challenges in a quest for survival and longevity. 

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 the population, and I am inspired to document this eventful, historic time.

It has been two hundred years since global chaos ceased forming present day conditions. Our population expansion team is assigned to Peace School located in a central region of what previously was the United States of America. Currently this country does not exist. History dominates our curriculum designed to circumvent events nearly exterminating all terrestrial life. What occurred two hundred years ago was unimaginable. Even after two hundred years residue of this horror lingers.   

The United States held a position of prominence during the era of its catastrophic demise and through a series of errors generated momentum toward its decline. Greed oriented industrial profit objectives were implemented without communal planning. Industrialized manufacturing enterprise and banking controlled government, and disregarded future welfare related to cultural needs within the general American populous. Ruling powers imposed self-serving fiscal interests. The American economy fragmented, as major industry relocated manufacturing facilities exploiting economically depressed countries seeking greater profit yields through lower wages. This adjustment devastated American middle class economy, which historically supported major manufacturing as primary consumers. The loss of American middle class economic status caused severe decline of government tax revenue. American employment statistics declined dramatically, and the United States government was forced to function with a lower revenue base. This downslide revealed a need to reduce military spending which weakened defense system against attack from war oriented opposition countries that viewed the United States with loathsome mentality and desire to destroy the country. American military was reduced, but the government maintained and escalated its atomic warfare capabilities.

This atomic weaponry escalation was installed, as a psychological deterrent tactic against attack from opposing countries calculating enemy forces would hesitate to attack for fear of American atomic weaponry retaliation. Then a precipitate event occurred. One of the radical terrorist hate groups developed atomic weapons and released several strategic atomic attacks on the United States. New York City was reduced to ashes.

Immediately the United States retaliated and launched nuclear missiles randomly bombing suspected countries, without clear knowledge which country was the perpetrator. Other anti-American nuclear powers viewed the United States as a wounded lion, and pounced like jackals and hyenas. North Korea launched a barrage of missiles and destroyed the entire west coast of the United States, and also Japan, a United States ally. The tipping point was breeched causing frenzied ignition of retaliation as the United States released every atomic weapon in its arsenal toward destruction of designated attackers. Countries with atomic weapons immediately retaliated and Washington D.C. was completely destroyed including United States leadership.  

These extreme and widespread nuclear attacks killed millions globally.  The United States became a no man’s land, with remaining human life only in isolated geographic zones and these survivors were thrust into ultimate survival conditions. The majority of the survivors from the initial attack would die within a year, caused by the affects of radioactive fall out. It became an apocalyptic scene. Food was contaminated and thousands starved to death. Nuclear winter set in and the United States became a barren landscape. The recurring atomic explosions damaged the ozone causing erratic weather patterns, and increased meteor penetration. A few isolated global areas were less impacted and maintained higher survival rate, and these areas regained some semblance of social order and function. In an effort to discover methods of population expansion our group was formed to seek an improved cultural design void of propensity for supremacy by means of war. Social order was reestablished and formed an Alliance to begin an experiment to discover methods for humanity to become more peaceful and balanced, and avoid large-scale conflict, which dominated human history for thousands of years.   

Teacher Benedict, “Good morning to you all. It has been a great honor to be given opportunity to be your teacher and guide on your journey into the future. As you know, the Alliance has striven for nearly one hundred years to arrive at this point in time. Studies and analysis during early years of the Alliance concluded human social order lost balance and fell away from its historic attachment to natural earthly connections. Human social structure changed course when agriculture advanced, and animals were domesticated adding a new approach to food availability and distribution. This was necessary as a method to accommodate population expansion, as urban areas developed becoming reliant on agriculture for survival. Prior to this historic redirection hunter-gatherers were completely self-sustaining, functioning in small, but highly efficient harmonious units. With food requirements provided by agricultural advances this new social format drifted toward profound changes. Money was invented as a means for efficient food distribution and desire for material goods expanded within this new social concept. Areas in nearby geographic areas also conformed to urbanization’s popularity, and instilled fear of encroachment causing borders to be installed. As borders were established government inclusions advanced, and evolved into mechanisms of control by enforcing a wide range of regulations. This combination formed an escalating fear associated with the close proximity of nearby duplication of this new order, and eventually developed into a perceived need for armies to be formed as a force to discourage invasion from adjacent areas. This redirection occurred simultaneously with the evolution of the Bronze Age. Sumer had a standing army as early as 3000 BCE. Agriculture was the first to benefit from results of Bronze Age influence allowing advanced planting and harvesting tools, which added to agricultural efficiency. Eventually, harvesting sickles were transformed into swords and hauling carts became chariots of war. This composite has lead humanity to near extinction. War soon became a dominant presence and weaponry development has never ceased from this time forward.     

“Artifacts from ancient cultures reveal far less confrontational and societal dysfunction. Neanderthal lived and functioned harmoniously for over three hundred thousand years. Very early human societal structures were not plagued with high population densities, which intensifies social complexities. Hunter-gatherer tribes displayed compatibility, embracing earthly cycles in cadence with nature.

“Alliance planners envision social redirection forming communal configurations designed to embrace higher dimensions of unity, with primary goals directed toward a peaceful future. Those of you seated here today represent hope, and you’ll be challenged to activate and prove this equation of change.  

“Until now your studies have concentrated on historic events, which created warring eras. From this point forward you’ll be encouraged to interact socially, establishing male/female partnerships. You’ve been raised as a unit creating insight toward the development of lifetime partnerships.

“The Alliance has constructed five communes located in 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 format replicates ancient tribal units, melded with limited modern conveniences. One partnership assigned to each commune will receive medical training, and properly equipped to provide medical services. During formative years you have worked in the school’s vegetable garden and learned sustainable horticulture techniques. Gardening will center your daily routine. Each household will raise a garden, and a larger garden will be shared and maintained by assigned communal members. Crop yields, and harvested wild plant gatherings will be your sole source of food. You’ll have no weapons, and killing animals is forbidden.

“Your scientifically created genetic profiles were carefully planned with application of selected gene banks to produce specific compatible character qualities. These qualities include love, compassion and work ethic combined with innate non-confrontational behavior. During your communal experience you’ll have access to technological devices and a daily record will be assigned to one individual; however, all communal members are encouraged to document thoughts conveying them to the Alliance as a method to enhance knowledge to be applied for future communal programs.”

Teacher Benedict’s assessment was correct as it pertained to our bonding, we knew each other exceeding typical, and daily physical work formed trust and natural unity. Since my earliest years I’ve been very close to one female member. Her name is Marlene, and she’s strikingly beautiful. We’ve had long discussions since I can remember. One experience is vivid in my memory. We were seven years old and beginning to learn gardening. Marlene happened upon a garter snake and became extremely frightened. I picked up the snake, explaining that it was harmless. She looked at me in an odd manner but said nothing. A few days later she beckoned me to the storage shed. Inside she had a box with five garter snakes.

“I captured these snakes so we could share the joy of their release. It will be delightful to watch them regain freedom. I don’t fear them now,” Marlene said.   

This event became fixed in my mind. Although, simple, and seemingly of little importance, the incident revealed Marlene’s generous heart and natural connection to nature. She overcame fear through knowledge and understanding, displaying compassion. We felt powerful love emotions toward each other craving deeper connection. We agreed our life would be meaningful living with fellow students taught by Alliance guides. We became partners and ventured forward.    

After partners were established we were transported to assigned communal sites. We were not given exact site locations only told these sites were south of where we were born and educated. The average yearly temperature and rainfall were influential components regarding location selections. Upon arrival, domes were in place, with ample space for gardening, and also a larger dome for group interactivities. Dwellings were furnished, including two computers to allow communication with Alliance leaders. Two natural springs flowed through the area and also a well with a hand pump was installed. The Alliance provided a year’s supply of food to allow time for our commune to establish self-reliance. An array of solar panels supplied power with satellite connection to relay computer-transmitted messages to the Alliance. In our communal garden we will grow hemp to be accumulated and processed as material for clothing. It seemed possible to become self-sustaining with this social arrangement.

Soon day-to-day functions fell in place, and Marlene and I were spiritually connected causing our bond to enhance. It was a glorious emotion. No government controls were installed. Our group met frequently in the common area for discussions toward achievement, and to refine self-sustainability. Work sharing was the theme applied to our daily routine. Much labor was required to make compost for soil enrichment, cutting firewood for cooking and heat. Communal unity added dimension to the entire undertaking.

Message from the Alliance, “The combined opinion of Alliance members is one of great pride and appreciation for the sincere dedication your group exhibits. You’ve been given a title. You’re referred to by our Alliance as ‘The Pilgrims of Tranquility.’ As you progress, personal gratitude will expand influenced through physical efforts revealing higher self-awareness. These elements were lost during previous historical modern society. During the social decline period physical work applications were shunned. Frugality creates an ascetic social format combined with physical tasking, which allows sensory capacities to permeate your beings elevating introspection stimulated by natural environmental dynamics. Materialism and hedonistic social patterns are absent from your daily regimen. This experiment’s purpose is to gain knowledge as it relates to human ability to integrate less intrusively with Earth’s natural functions and offers minimal environmental encroachment. Although, premature for accurate analysis we are encouraged at this early stage.”

Marlene replied to the Alliance: “Caleb and I have become intensely bonded as partners. Our team effort as a group is functioning well, escalating camaraderie to a higher level than when we shared our lives at Peace School.

“During discussions questions are presented. From our historical studies prior to our communal placement it was exposed how social ethical standards and values slowly eroded. This erosion was not solely influences by government indiscretions; the collective society was mired in dysfunction far adrift from principles taught by our mentors and teachers at Peace School. Our experimental group was scientifically created using careful gene selection. We were taught from our earliest memories the importance of high personal ethical standards, with emphasis toward peaceful coexistence and altruism, and instilled simplistic applications. It’s apparent to the Alliance, and to those of us participating in this experiment, the absence of these characteristics bore responsibility for mayhem destroying much earthly life.

“Our question is, ‘How has this changed?’ It seems unrealistic to imagine global population conceived scientifically using selective gene pools duplicating our guidance and learning. Has society made progressive adjustments toward a more cohesive social structure? Does propensity for war remain? Does selfishness and greed continue to dominate? If so, how will our small, experimental living design influence sweeping changes on a large scale?

“We realize our simplistic living pattern, as we embrace life’s basic functions, offers higher personal and collective balance; however, studying the historic failure period reveals these elements were not in place, and without recognition. Materialism and fiscal status formed a God-like presence resulting in ubiquitous corruption influencing every level of social structure. Cities were infested with crime. Poverty and social separation was widespread as the wealthy lolled in extreme luxury pressing toward gain beyond necessity, and those with less were ignored and chastised. It seems unlikely to us our meager example can alter such vast historic revelations.”    

The Alliance’s response, “Marlene, your observations are worthy and merit response. Since inception the Alliance has addressed these issues, and this has become an ongoing debate related to the experiment’s worth and longevity. Currently many oppose the Alliance, and its goals. Social restructuring does not reflect the philosophy you and your fellow pioneers embrace. During the rebuilding cycle repetition of dysfunction during the destructive period regained momentum, although no major wars have erupted, and atomic weaponry is absent. Anger, mistrust and convoluted dispositions have reemerged.

“We agree, it’s not feasible to consider genetic engineering on a large scale, creating uncertainty related to perceived progress toward a better world. However, we do sense headway via your communal demonstration. If global society continues downward, and again becomes self-destructive, your group’s success will clearly define an alternative, which cannot be ignored, and will represent a harbinger via exhibition how peaceful coexistence is possible. Your success germinates seeds for change. The Alliance’s philosophy is presently a minority view, with limited range of acceptance, which may ultimately lead to its failure. As you near self-sufficiency, and if the Alliance is broken your success will become a beacon, showing a course directed away from societal disarray, and materialistic ‘grab bag’ logic.

“The vista is clouded at this point, but as time passes and your group continues to represent solidarity, compassion and self-sustainability it may be just enough to tip the scale in a more beneficial direction. It is our hope, because humanity must change if longevity is to be attained. It cannot endure cycle after cycle of destructiveness.”

Caleb’s journal, “Marlene and I often discuss our good fortune to be given this opportunity to share life with communal members working in unity toward established goals.

“Our commune has gained self sufficiency, and communicates regularly with the Alliance leaders. The Alliance is funded through a dedicated group of private benefactors who feel the world is in dire need of finding a new direction applied to population growth using a more simplistic social design, emulating success demonstrated by ancient tribes and bands, with limited inclusion of modern technology.

“We’ve lived within this communal social structure for five years and we have a son, Christopher. The joys of this blessing are beyond what either of us could have ever imagined. We take Christopher with us each day during work hours and observing his development emanates magical sensations.”

Marlene’s journal entry, “I communicate with students entrapped in the old disconcerted culture. They admire our effort, but are skeptical. Some believe humanity is incapable of large-scale change embracing our model, because pursuit of dominance is an inbred human genes and the quest for power is an instinctual mechanism, spawned from the axiom survival of the fittest. From our communal philosophical viewpoint, wealth and dominance forms false conception of balance, graphically displayed in disarray attached to material wealth worshiping cultures. Within fiscal precedent social conception the affluent are most distinguished and revered.

“My argument is, as with all earthly life forms humans adjust to environmental conditions presented. If social development induces shallow values of materialism, selfishness and social separation this pattern moves to dominance and consequences evolve from this base. Through teachings of Alliance guides and mentors our cohesiveness and achievements gaining self-sustainability demonstrates options. Dominance is absent within our social arrangement; we have no monetary system, and wealth is not recognized with the same ascendency as it was during the historic destructive culture. Our ability to work in simplistic union, sharing subsistence efforts, represents wealth. We are master gardeners, student of the Earth and its myriad mannerisms. We view communal members equally without necessity for individually appointed power or control.

“It’s encouraging to have so many joining us, bringing added dimension to the commune’s structure and future. In our curricula at Peace School we were taught even during the high point of the destructive period a minority embraced peace as a solution to the chaos, but were overwhelmed by warring forces. It’s encouraging to know our philosophy of life was rooted in many during the decline period but they were unable to gain footing toward change.   

“Our studies at Peace School did not include music or arts. We learned of these creative cultural qualities using our computers as reference tools. Recently, a young man appeared from the woods after a long trek to locate us. He was carrying a guitar and serenaded us in the common areas dome. This event was extraordinary and perpetuated an awakening to music’s power. One of the Alliance benefactors was a musical director and shipped us twenty guitars. The musician appearing in our lives has become our music teacher, and we’re experiencing great joy learning to play the guitar. It’s such a wonderful feeling.”

Caleb’s journal, “Christopher is now twelve years old, and engrossed in daily tasks within communal life. He’s developed a propensity for studying Earth’s ancient history. He finds natural objects, and has accumulated a collection of unique stones and fossils discovered in nearby creeks. His education is a combination of Marlene’s and my effort, and he also is taking computer-accessed studies, organized and presented by Alliance assigned teachers. He demonstrates natural academic ability and requires no supervision or stimulation. It is satisfying to observe his growth physically, mentally and spiritually, as is embraced among all commune members. Earth and its wonders represent our spiritual center.

“World conditions remain tentative. The Alliance experienced a period of decline and then regained influence. Alliance leaders activated a cyber outreach network and published descriptive passages from journals written by the five commune’s residents describing the structure of their lives. The result yielded more reaction than perceived. We’re encouraged by the response and prompted a surge of interest among the youth segment with ambition to participate in the Alliance’s efforts to expand its philosophical social design. The original Pilgrims of Tranquility proved the concept’s viability as a workable alternative offering redirection. All five communes are self sufficient, and display opposition to the old dysfunctional social design.      

“Our commune has ten new members who made great sacrifice to arrive at our location. We are in the process of building shelters for these new members and as much of a task as this is; the intangible rewards outweigh the challenge, and offer the sense of a new beginning.

“Time has passed quickly, and Christopher has been awarded a degree in archeological science. Next summer he will join an Alliance sponsored research team and will travel to various parts of the world to participate in hand excavation among ancient ruins including Neanderthal cave dwellings, seeking to uncover mysteries to expand knowledge of ancient cultures. He’s completely beside himself with anticipation. We discuss this exciting event during evening meals. This is a massive undertaking and the Alliance believes valuable knowledge gained will expose details of how ancient cultures thrived and often faced similar circumstances confronted during our current attempt toward social redirection.”

Part two: Oracle Earth

Christopher’s journal, “Working as an archeological researcher unveils discoveries mixed with complexities. I was summoned to this learning institution as an instructor conveying knowledge attained from data gathered in relationship to humankind’s historical pathway. Time and archeology fuse in a manner to solve mysteries of the past. Since humanities earliest times changes have been ongoing and monumental, adjusting to evolutionary momentum.   

“The learning institution I am assigned is Elysium School located on an island in the South Pacific. It’s a magnificent place offering refuge from the smoldering remnants of the dysfunctional previous modern era social design, which imploded as a result of an intense war oriented global culture. Weaponry advancements combined with moral degeneration spiraled out of control and caused death and ruin far beyond what could have ever been imagined.”    

I greeted my new students, “Good morning to you all. My name is Christopher. I prefer to be addressed using this name. I am not a professor, and wish not to be addressed as such; I’m here to learn also. We’re all students.

“I’m fifty years old and have been an archeological researcher since age twenty and traveled the globe to gain detailed comprehension related to human development and its evolutionary journey to this place in time, uncovering details of related historical events. The most profound goal of our research team was to gain understanding of reasons why, and how, human evolution was able to advance for such a long period of time reaching a pinnacle of what was perceived to be a superior species, and then declined into a completely chaotic state nearly destroying itself. The devastation from global warfare was unprecedented, and populations were greatly reduced as entire countries were annihilated. Over time, areas not severely damaged regained social footing and reestablished order. Private benefactors formed an Alliance to implement a new approach to human development using genetic engineering to establish a pioneer group to embrace the Earth more directly in similar manners as ancient cultures performed. This effort revealed social harmony the modern technical era failed to discover. This experimental group became identified as The Pilgrims of Tranquility, and I was born to a couple from this group, Caleb and Marlene. I was raised and educated while I lived with my parents. It was a wonderful and rewarding time of my life. My parents, and members of our commune were extraordinary people and dedicated to prove viability of this new social direction. I’m grateful beyond expression to have been given this life’s pursuit.     

“To stimulate discussion I propose to begin each lecture with opportunity for student questions and will design presentation content based upon these questions. If I’m unable to answer a particular question it will become our collective effort to research and discover answers. Today is our introduction day and tomorrow we’ll begin in earnest sharing what is known, what is speculative, and how we can gain from our interactive union as students. I anticipate this to be a fruitful experience.”

The next day I asked students with questions to rise and identify themselves.

The first student stood and spoke, “My name is Jerrod. Christopher, our class welcomes you and the opportunity you offer us. We have lived at Elysium School since age six and are aware as we near maturity we’ll return to our places of origin. We’ve received curriculum exposing historical events radically altering planetary physiology causing intense social decline and disarray. War-dominating eras using massive atomic attacks triggered destructive cosmic events, which lead to widespread social disorder including loss of food production and distribution. We seek clarity explaining why and how this severe decline was initiated and evolved.”

Christopher responded, “I should say, Jerrod, your question is complex and may end our question period, at least temporarily, because it will take quite a time to detail what our archeological teams revealed relating to your question. However, I won’t discourage continued questions because as data unfolds new thoughts emerge to form additional questions and all inquiries must be addressed.

“The genesis of the warring era is a good beginning. My colleagues and I conclude as human evolution gained momentum opportunity opened for change, which provoked errors, affecting social cohesion. Ancient cultures displayed minimal conflict compared to occurrences after civil redirection, which was perceived as an improved concept. Human’s resembling us today are identified as ‘modern human species’, and represent a fraction of the human timeline. Early hunter-gatherer cultures were small in number, and geographically dispersed. Successful hunter-gatherer models required unity with natural criterion, sustained by earthly provision. This system worked extremely well for a very long time. Neanderthal thrived in excess of 300,000 years, existing long before modern human species appeared. Modern social design changed course, identifying earlier social cultures as primitive. I feel the term primitive is inappropriate because ancient hunter-gathers infuses behavior equal to, or greater, than the new approach, which fell away from early human unity. This new direction opened a series of complexities, and imposed a downward spiral toward social collapse.

“Efficient commodity distribution became a necessity. Barter was used in early stages, and then money was installed, and created radical changes. Housing and land attached monetary values as a demonstration of wealth, or lack of it. Over time, the power of money evolved into limitless influence. Government taxation was placed on property, goods and services increasing the power of money. The original, new civil concept became misguided, shifting to governmental control and ambitions. Money became a lever of influence, placing the overall benefit of the populace on a lower rung of importance. Government leaderships became manipulative. Fear of border encroachment fostered need for military enforcement, marking the beginning of large-scale warfare. These newly infused social intricacies penetrated, and occupied prominence for thousands of years into the future, expanding far beyond what early humanity could have ever imagined. Are there any more questions at this point?”

A young woman stood and identified herself, “I’m Samantha. Christopher, what I gain from your presentation is the door toward war and convoluted social disorder opened when agriculture expanded sufficiently to support urban lifestyles, which, by design, lent itself to a need for a monetary system leading to perceived need for government. The inclusion of border identity establishment fueled predictable results. How could this new social design not recognize this series of changes would develop into chaos and instability?”

“Samantha, your question and comment are worthy, and I often ask this question. However, beyond the outlined presented are underlying complexities, causes and reasons why military power was deemed a necessity. War, was a method of quelling border encroachment, and worked reasonably well in early stages on this new social pathway. War’s success caused opposing cultures to react by escalating their war capabilities, and this progression inspired development of more sophisticated weaponry. This direction carried on, and eventually lead to the most extreme destruction imaginable, which caused humanity to realize war, was the main reason for its inability to harmonize as a species. So, as a species we did eventually recognize what your question addresses, but the change was painfully long in coming, because war had become a cultural addiction, and more or less continued to escalate from its own engine of ambition even though the majority of humans knew this was not the solution, war continued. In your history studies you’ve learned of the near global annihilation and how The Pilgrims of Tranquility became an important pivotal event toward present day conditions. War and the influence of money have been removed from the new format for those living in this current Alliance sponsored social design; although, our ideology remains as a minority it continues to expand and as our scattered small communities are proving to be self sufficient the future looks positive.

“At this current stage of history similar communes and small villages are solidly in place in hundreds of global locations emulating the base format created by the Pilgrims of Tranquility long ago. The original pilgrims are gone now, but the pilgrim’s legacy remains and the world has slowly become oriented toward lasting peace and tranquility. Present day communal participants have read the many personal journals of the original Pilgrims of Tranquility, and this entire element and experience has created an oracle of its own design through demonstration, forming an Earth story. It’s our hope this new social design will continue. I’m pleased to share this time with you.”

From Marlene’s journal, “Earth’s natural life rings in various rhythmic tones, often off key and out of tempo, like a catbird singing in a thorn bush. Then the sky opens, and clouds of doubt vanish.”                 

Categories: Fiction

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.