Friday, May 11, 2018

Wavefront Spirituality

I'm writing a science fiction serial and in addition to the actual stories I'm posting occasional bits of background. In this case it's how people within the Deep Patrol setting respond to being in a universe designed for maximum space opera, specifically by asking - is there a supernatural explanation for all this?

Wavefront Spirituality

Supernatural explanations for the Event and the Wavefront remain popular. Indeed they are inevitable. More than half of humanity scattered amongst the stars, previously empty space suddenly filled with strangeness and wonder, dimensional gateways, faster than light travel, strong AI. All this was one minute fiction, the next reality.

That they were changes implied an intentionality, though whether one with anything so comprehensible as to be a motive is another matter entirely. As such the placeholder term Unknown Powers to describe whatever is behind the Wavefront has become popular.

Cults and heresies rose and flourished on Earth, and to a lesser extent on Minerva (Earth’s twin had already incorporated a number of unexplained changes to their state of existence into its belief systems). Most flared and died within a few years; a handful were suppressed when they turned violent such as the notorious sinking of New York at the hands of the Transformed Church of the Remnant.

Formally describing the Unknown Powers as supernatural is not a bar to joining the Deep Patrol, nor to being commissioned as an officer. Most Patrol members are open to the idea, being agnostic on the topic. Exploring space in the wake of the Wavefront and understanding its effects are commandments of some sects, making them fertile recruiting grounds. In practice, membership of one of the Churches of the Unknown Powers is a bar to the highest ranks and positions, such as Carrier command or research division lead. There is a fear, perhaps justified, that followers might too eagerly seek out and unsceptically accept claims by aliens or AIs to be the Unknown Powers.

Worse still, what if the Unknown Powers made themselves known? There would be no resisting them, even if the full extent of their abilities is a random scattering of peoples and machines across thousands of light years. In that case simple worship and obedience could be the only rational choice.

Meanwhile those who are regular worshippers amongst the Patrol, both churches of the Unknown Powers and older ones, show a small but significant decrease in the rate of damaging psychological instabilities.

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