The World of "Vision Speak"
The story is set three and a half centuries in the future, after devastating wars and terrorism have plagued the earth and a controlling world government administers many aspects of citizens' lives, including their spiritual practices.
When I was first writing “Vision Speak”, I was plagued by questions like: Why are we here? Why can’t we live in harmony? Why is there so much senseless violence in the world? Why do spiritual practices, cultural background, religious beliefs seem to be at the heart of this? Since then we've experienced a global pandemic and frightening polarization and dissension even in areas we thought were stable and democratic.
Following are summaries of key institutions or cultural norms at play in "Vision Speak". Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Dystopian fiction or whatever you want to call it, aside from the entertainment value, can help us look at what is happening in our world today and extrapolate into the future. What might be the consequences?
People's United Republic of Earth
The People's United Republic of Earth (PURE) has world governors in regions throughout the planet.
PURE society and laws were constructed to protect man from himself, to ensure that never again will fanatics and terrorists reign. Their governance ensures citizens are oblivious to the criminals that seek to disrupt their orderly life.
With control of the media and covert agencies that suppress information on the dissidents that are contained and often executed, no radical group has gained attention by the general population in centuries. However, one has become more powerful than anyone realizes - the Cult of Armageddon.
The Republic is governed by a council of World Governors located in regions throughout the globe.
Sharon and Craig are the World Governors in CanTor. Their dynamics as leaders carry into the bedroom where they are also life partners. When Craig discovers that Sharon has kept secrets from her past, he is shocked.
Sharon is forced into action to protect herself, not only from the sealed entries in Elzabeth's journal. She discovers Willow's special abilities and recognizes the threat this represents to the Republic more than anyone.
The Cult of Armageddon
The Cult of Armageddon was born in the dark days of post-nuclear holocaust when millions around the world were sick and homeless, searching for answers. Out of the anarchy, Samuel was born, the original leader and author of the Holy Journals of our Trial - their bible.
According to the fanatical leader of the cult, Samuel prophesied many things including the coming of their messiah and the End of Times.
Among their secret rituals and practices, they train their initiates in the "Sacred Trance", something that Elzabeth discovered and brought to the Republic as "Vision Speak".
End of times prophecies have been a fascination of many cults over many centuries. If there had really been a near-apocalypse, imagine the groups that would spring up in the years that followed.
The Spiritual Centers
At the heart of the Republic is the Spiritual Center which houses every great religion, philosophy and belief system in the history of man - or at least the version of those beliefs that conforms to the PURE governance.
Citizens must attend sessions at the Spiritual Center and variety is encouraged. It is a violation of the Citizen's Spiritual Contract to practice these activities outside of the sanctioned centers.
The guiding principles of the “The Spiritual Contract, ensuring everyone’s right to Tolerance, Freedom and Choice”:
I am free to practice any religion, philosophy, or spiritual quest of my choice so long as it is a sanctioned offering of the Spiritual Centers.
I will never speak against a sanctioned Spiritual Offering nor of a citizen’s choice to follow an offering.
Exclusivity is forbidden. There are, and have always been, many alternate paths to enlightenment. I will never declare any offering to be the only way.
- Religious rituals, sermons, and formal gatherings are forbidden outside of the Spiritual Centers. I will participate in these traditions only within the confines of the Spiritual Centers.
Vision Speak Group
Vision Speak is offered at the Spritual Center, thanks to the manipulations of Elzabeth. As a group, the official leaders are Jill, Aaron and Simon (who replaced Elzabeth when she became ill).The catalog entry at the Spiritual Center describes Vision Speak as: ''..a personal exploration of human spiritual potential. Through deep meditation and training, participants may experience an enlightenment achieved by reaching into the unconscious mind and ultimately, the symbiotic spiritual realm to which we are all connected.
Those who have followed Eastern Philosophies and Religions should find it consistent with those teachings.”But as Elzabeth and the others know, they have reached far beyond meditation - to the point where their sanctioning by the Republic could be revoked if it were understood... Willow's first explanation from Elzabeth involved reference to the collective unconscious and the language of visions: “... a basic understanding of dreams and myths, imagery and symbolism will help you to understand the language of visions. But beyond that we can, with training – initially through deep meditation – and with practice, reach that level in our waking state, or maybe even at will, and in so doing, transcend into realms that cannot be described with our traditional languages and logic… but only for those that are ready, and open. Although the possibility exists within everyone, there are some that are more able to make this leap now. Perhaps someday, it will be easier for everyone… as it was so very long ago…”