Time on My Hands Chapter 74 - 540-675 CE: Building World Peace

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Time on My Hands
Chapter 74: 540-675 CE: Building World Peace

In the newly assimilating areas, the Clan Corvo crushed the rigid class systems that existed in the overwhelmed empires. Those striated societies were totally dominated by the elite upper classes consisting of about 5% of the conquered peoples. Another 5-10% formed a sub-elite class. Beneath them were the lower classes, totally beholding to the upper classes. They had no opportunity to advance and no means to do so even if they tried. Those downtrodden masses, 85-90% of the conquered, eagerly allowed themselves to be swept into the classlessness of the Clan Corvo. For the first time, those long downtrodden people had hope of improving their lives. They eagerly accepted the education opportunities offered by the Clan Corvo since it meant a way to improve their lives.

Fiach understood that historically, warfare had been a powerful catalyst in innovations. Since warfare was effectively eliminated, she used the inquisitive minds of the young students to be the catalysts and innovators. The universities provided the resources and financial backing for experimentation. The universal open sharing of knowledge inspired scientific breakthroughs that had taken the real world centuries to make happen in months. A lot of technology became obsolete within a few years. The creative juices were flowing and the young innovators flourished.

In 561 Fiach spent a week in the small cabin in Barmaz to commemorate her 400th birthday. Her hopes for world peace were realized. War had been eliminated. She wasn’t foolish enough to hope the propensity for fighting had been erased from humanity. Greed and the lust for power were still very much parts of the human race. It was a daily task to weed those corrupted by greed and lust out of the general population, a task that would never be done. At the same time the Clan Corvo developed sports and competitive games at all societal levels to channel and focus humanity’s aggressive spirit. Music and art was strongly encouraged and supported at many levels. Everyone was a member of the Clan Corvo, which after 75 years of the end of Operation Harmony, provided a worldwide common identity along with the single merged Celtic-Germanic-Latin melange language.

The world population had grown to 765,000,000. As technology advanced, Fiach stressed that mankind had a responsibility to care for Mother Earth. Factories and mines were required to limit and control pollution. Not doing so was considered treason. Trees were planted wherever possible. Dams were being built to generate electricity and to divert water into canals to water deserts adding farmland and forests. Garbage was composted or otherwise recycled. Roads, railroads, and canals crisscrossed the lands. Primitive automobiles, buses and trucks utilized the roads. Gliders were successfully soaring in the skies and some inventors were installing the primitive internal combustion engines into gliders. Telephones were being strung everywhere with plans to lay cables across the oceans. Large iron and steel steam ships were sailing the seas.

Fiach marveled at the tremendous changes that had taken place since her birth. Fortunately she was able to grasp the basics of most of the technological and scientific advances, and the others she could at least follow the logic. One thing was certain, she was not bored of life! She occasionally wished for more time to herself, but that was a luxury she couldn’t indulge. When the Clan Corvo absorbed the Indian subcontinent they discovered the various practices of the yoga schools in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism; Fiach studied them all and spent time studying the differing techniques to develop a personal style that fit her. She also became a devotee of Tai Chi. To her amazement, the two techniques enabled her to relax and maintain her physical prowess. They also provided an easey and efficient manner of getting into a meditative state. It amazed her how the techniques helped her understand the various faiths had their own validity, and that once past their walls of exclusivity, they shared many basic truths. Now, thanks to her in depth studies and meditation, she understood the reality of faith. She was ashamed of her past efforts to subdue and replace the many faiths with Corvo Christianity. She was relieved that she realized her errors in pushing Christian exclusivity before it was too late to salvage that which would have been lost to humanity.

Fiach did schedule a weekend a month where she had no traveling or appointments, simply relaxing and meditating in the free time wherever she happened to be. In addition she scheduled the anniversary week of the founding of the Clan Corvo to relax in the mountain cabin above the farmstead of Barmaz as a chance to recenter herself. While the pace of her life was hectic, she easily handled it.

One thing Fiach didn’t miss was her Raben persona. Raben had not made an appearance in a bit over a hundred years. She was glad she’d shelved that identity. As a female it was much easier to be compassionate with her people. She certainly didn’t miss the need to ‘man up’. People found it easier to talk to and even confide in a female. Most importantly, children were unafraid to approach her. She loved hugging and just cuddling with children.

Fiach returned to her near constant travels keeping the Clan Corvo true to it’s purpose of eliminating warfare, greed, corruption and political and religious megalomania. Everyone knew of the Curse she bore, that she was virtually immortal and unchanging yet looked like a prepubescent girl. Her wrath, though seldom triggered, was still legendary. That she cared for the world was undisputed. With the self-centered self-important elite leeching upper classes eliminated, the number of slaves dwindled. The only source of slaves was punishment for crimes. Local jails were used for short term minor incidents like brawls and drunkenness. Prisons {as we know them} did not exist since long term punishments consisted of terms of hard labor slavery. There were few whose sentence was for life. Most were given specific sentences of between 3-10 years. However, their term didn’t start until they openly and sincerely repented and admitted their crime and the error of their lifestyles that led to the crime. While trained psychologists did their best to determine the if the slaves were sincere in their repentance, occasionally some slaves were able to fake their way past the psychologists. As part of her travels, Fiach regularly visited the slaves at their work sites. She did this to give them hope. Using her poweful emphatic abilities, if a slave was truly repentant, and consistently working to the best of their abilities, she could commute their sentence to time served. At the same time if she found a slave had buffaloed the psychologists into thinking they had repented, Fiach would change their status to slavery for life. At the same time, her abilities allowed her to ferret out overseers who were overtly cruel or corrupt, with Fiach determining their sentence to be slaves. All three actions were done publicly before the slaves and overseers so all could see the consequences of their actions. The slaves who had been overseers suffered at the hands of the regular slaves, since they’re terms were served with those they had overseen. That alone greatly reduced sadistic overseers.

The world was at peace. The melange of mainly Celtic/Germanic/Latin with the addition of unique words adopted from many other societies was the language of the Clan Corvo. It had become the world’s first single unifying language. Thousands of scholars were translating the tens of thousands of books, scrolls and manuscripts in the Corvus Scriptorium Library in Champery as well as translating and adding the voluminous written material from China and India to the massive library. Fiach made sure the translations were accurate by having at least a dozen scholars do independent translations. Then the scholars read/verify the translations of the others. Because the definition of many words change with time, they had to be sure to use what the word meant at the time the document was originally written. {Up until the 1960s the word GAY meant someone who was happy and carefree. By 1970 the same word meant someone who was homosexual. Thus in a document written prior to 1960 as compared to a document written after 1970, there was a drastic change in what the word meant. The theme song of THE FLINTSTONES [1960-1966] demonstrates this in the last line of the chorus: “We’ll have a gay old time!” They were not talking about the homosexual meaning.} Finally they met together to review the translations. Differences were ironed out by scholarly comparing the origin of each translation before settling on the most accurate versions. As a precaution, any fervent disagreements in translations were published using the majority opinion translation while the disputed translation was noted in the document’s notes.

Kinks and bottlenecks were being ironed out in the governmental administration. Fiach understood this would be a continuous process since the government had to be responsive to the people and the rapidly changing technology. She firmly believed that government and education, like faith, had to be constantly evolving living entities since both were human centric, serving the people. Laws and rules had to be commonsensical, flexible and broad. An individual’s rights were to be respected. In return an individual had to be responsible for their actions. If a person did not shoulder their responsibilities, some rights could be abrogated. A prime example was a man who fathered children from various women but failed to support them. Once a court determined his guilt, the man’s right to reproduce was abrogated with castration.

As with faith, government was not a one size fits all deal. Due to differences in climate and locations, different aspects had to be emphasized or minimized. The overall governmental outline was the same, but had to be altered to accommodate the various needs of the regions. Just as faiths had to be living, changing and adapting to the times, government and schools had to do likewise.

The biggest challenge facing Corvo University was instilling the ability to accept and adapt to change in the students. Traditions were to be respected but could not be allowed to stifle progress. The Clan Corvo thrived because of it’s ability to change and innovate and to openly disseminate information. Just as important was the ability to report the changes and innovations back to the main Clan Corvo World Government in Barmaz. With the ever changing administrators, neither stagnation nor corruption could get a foothold. The deadly words: “But we always did it this way,” were banned at all levels of Government, faith and education.

With world wide peace, the already daunting rate of change and evolution of concepts and ideas swelled exponentially as scholars from all backgrounds met and exchanged ideas, building off of and expanding the ideas and concepts of others. Innovators were recognized and praised, but never allowed to unduly profit from their creativity. Corvo University supported and encouraged the open communication of ideas and inventions. As a result many new ideas and inventions could easily be outdated in a few short years. Research was certainly fast paced and challenging. Think tank teams were set up, idea people, tinkerers, science, philosophers, engineers and many other specialists worked together to bring forth the new.

One of the benefits of these innovations that Fiach liked was the cleanliness initiatives, started centuries before by the creation of the Rat Patrol and greatly expanded as knowledge grew. The ever increasing standards of cleanliness and hygiene had virtually eliminated the deadly world wide plagues and pandemics. The diseases had not been eradicated, but had been greatly reduced with effective quarantines preventing the illnesses from spreading. Vaccines were developed to eradicate may prolific diseases. Everyone had to be immunized, the only exception allowed was if the immunization would elicit an fatal allergic reaction.

In 563 a natural disaster occurred in the Upper Rhone river valley just 7 miles south of Monthey and 2 2/3 miles south of St. Maurice at the town of Evionnaz on the west bank of the Rhone. The site was the mountain peak l'Aiguille {GM 46.189590, 6.981650}, just 2 1/4 miles northwest of Evionnaz and 5 1/4 miles east of Champery and Corvo University in the valley of the Vieze River just south of the original farmstead of Barmaz. Champery was situated on the northwest mountain ridge above the Vieze. The mountain peak l'Aiguille was the easternmost peak of the mountain ridge situated to the the southeast above the Vieze. The southeast side of that mountain ridge drained into the Torrent de St Barthélemy which in turn flowed into the Rhone. The main watchtower fortress, Tauredunum, was part of the original walled area of Barmaz which was situated on the high ridge above the Rhône. It had been a winter with heavier than normal snowfall with even heavier spring rains.

In April an intermittent ominous groaning/bellowing sound emanated from deep inside the mountain. The noise was heard off and on for more than 60 days, at times echoing 20 miles through the mountain valleys. The locals were unnerved and the local Pathfinder commander ordered the fortifications, towns, villages and farms on the southeastern slopes and in the valley below to the Rhone evacuated as a precaution. On the 60th day the whole eastern hillside split open and with a tremendous earth shaking roar, separated from the mountain. The landslide scoured everything in it’s path. All buildings, fences, roads, paths, fields and forests were swept away with impunity. The cascade of rock and debris was so immense it slid into and over the Rhone river 4600 feet below. The riverbed was totally blocked to heights of 30 feet causing the suddenly swirling damned water to flow backwards. Because of the evacuations, only a handful of people lost their lives.

The location of the landslide was one of the narrowest sections of the fertile flat Upper Rhone river valley, just 1 mile wide at that point. The stoppered water flooded upstream and either submerged and carried away everything which was in the flood path. While the inhabitants and animals of the collapsed area had fled the initial catastrophe, most had gathered in the flat valley. Those upstream were sent fleeing a second time as best they could as the eddying Rhone waters pushed over it’s banks. Everyone came out to gaze in astonishment at the total destruction. Fortunately there were few casualties although the rushed evacuations necessitated the abandonment of personal possessions. The trapped flood waters swirled for several hours as it steadily rose until the accumulated water forced its way over and then through the jumbled rocks and debris of the massive landslide. The power of the pent up water was so great it quickly gouged a wide path and the voluminous escaping waters flooded much of the flat valley north of the landslide. The advance of the wild flood waters was so rapid many humans and animals downstream were swept away to drown, destroying houses, and carrying away and overwhelming nearly everything in it’s violent and unexpected inundation. But even greater devastation soon occurred.

The Upper Rhone empties into Lake Leman {Geneva} and the Lower Rhone river drains it. The lake is in the shape of a crescent, with the horns pointing south, the northern shore being 59 miles and the southern shore 45 miles in length. In a previous but recent geological period the lake extended southeast 11 miles up the Upper Rhone valley to a line near Bex/Monthey. Over the centuries detritus of the Upper Rhône filled up this portion of the bed of the lake. The greatest depth of the lake, in the broad portion between Évian-les-Bains and Lausanne, where it is at it’s maximum width of 8.1 miles, has been measured 1,020 feet deep. The lake is divided into three parts from west to east because of its different forms of formation. Petit Lac, the most south-west, narrower and less deep part starts at the Rhone river’s exit from the lake at Geneva, ran northeast to a line between the towns of Yvoire/Promenthoux is a deep 14 mile long glacial gouge erosion. From there is the 22 mile long Grand Lac, the largest and deepest basin with the lake's greatest width is due to tectonic plate folding. Haut Lac is the eastern most 7 miles of the lake starting at the line of Meillerie–Rivaz is primarily sedimentation.

The impact of the Tauredunum earth shaking landslide destabilized centuries of sedimentary deposits at the mouth of the Upper Rhône where it emptied into the lake. The sudden stop of water into the lake aggravated the destabilization of the earthquake, when the flooded water broke through the landside debris the sudden high powered overwhelming onslaught of water, boulders, dirt and debris caused those underwater sedimentary deposits to catastrophically collapse. The result was a large tsunami. A wave about 52 feet high was created by the collapse, traveling the full length of the lake in 70 minutes. At a height of 43 feet the tsunami wave struck Lausanne in only 15 minutes. The damage there was limited as much of the city stands on a steeply sloping shoreline. Much greater damage was caused at Geneva, where the wave was about 26 feet high. As it exits the lake, the Rhone flows between mountains that hem it in closely and being so closely shut in there was no place for the water to spread out and turn aside. The mass of water was so great that it went over the walls into the city creating mass havoc killing many of the inhabitants. The tsunami occurred quickly with no warning so for those in the path there was no way to escape the inundation. Other towns along the lakeside were also hit by the wave, which would have been about 26 feet high at Evian-les-Bains, 20 feet high at Thonon-les-Bains and 13 feet high at Nyon. The tsunami traveled at about 43 mph, giving those on the shoreline no time to flee.

The Clan Corvo came together, as they did at every natural or manmade disaster, to aid the survivors and begin rebuilding. Members of the Raven Raiders and Pathfinders were the primary disaster relief teams. Regional Disaster Response Centers were located about 150 miles apart around the world in Clan Corvo territory with more being added in the newly acquired areas. Fully equipped response teams could be dispatched within 24 hours of notification of a disaster. Tents, food, medicine blankets, clothing, even animal feed were kept ready for such emergencies.

The unexpected landslide spurred research into geology. Up to this point earth studies had centered on locating mineral resources, underground water, crude oil and natural gas as well as determining safe places to build infrastructure. Landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were difficult to predict. Could their scientific research result in stabilization measures to secure precarious land forms? If so, each location would need to have it’s individual stabilization needs determined. To do that required careful investigations and analyses, a comprehensive plan to stabilize slopes had to be worked out and implemented. Each plan had to include drainage of excess ground water which could act as a lubricant allowing the overburden to shift. Their postmortem investigation showed that was what had occurred during the Tauredunum event. Another aspect was cutting back overburden material, construction of retaining walls and, most importantly, anchoring of the potential slide rock mass with rock bolts and prestressed cable anchors. From the computations based on potential failure of a rock mass that required stabilization was often found that the destabilizing force was very high and could not be tackled by installing only rock bolts and dressing of the slopes at feasible locations. Therefore, it became necessary to provide prestressed cable anchors of higher load capacities along with other measures. This was especially important in the Vieze river valley, the home campus of Corvo University and it’s massive archives. Steps were implemented to insure the stability of the mountains around the school.

Over the next decades the assimilation of the vast majority of the human race progressed. A few aboriginal peoples wanted to maintain their simple way of life and were allowed to do so. Some of the ‘civilized’ Clan Corvo people wanted to return to a simpler life. The official policy was one of benign attention offering medical expertise when needed as well as aid during natural disasters. The world population now spoke one language. Although preserved, the old languages were rapidly fading. Photography had developed into motion pictures so people speaking outmoded languages were preserved.

Fiach returned to the Barmaz retreat in August of 675, the 500th anniversary of receiving the Curse. She accepted that the state of faith in the Clan Corvo was still in flux and would continue to be so since all faiths were living, changing and adapting to real life. The living Corvoian Christianity was the dominant faith but had incorporated many meditative and physical exercises of Tai Chi and yoga. Her original desire to blend all faiths into Corvoian Christianity had proven to be impossible without serious compromises, deletions or corruptions which would be unacceptable losses for all. However as the years past, most faiths adopted aspects and practices of other faiths such as Tai Chi and yoga.

It had been 220 years since the purveyors of all other flavors of Christianity had been pulled from their pulpits and monasteries to be re-educated. Several aspects of those now defunct beliefs had been incorporated into Corvoian Christianity, improving it. Other aspects that had been considered heresy were kept alive in the knowledge base for reference purposes as well as sources for possible future reconsideration as the living faith evolved. Thus the proscribed beliefs survived in the thorough documentation of the Corvo University School of Religion.

Fiach was successful in molding Corvoian Christianity into a living faith that was capable of constantly adapting to the rapidly changing world. It successfully accommodated the rapid growth of human knowledge and lifestyle changes. Dogma was strongly discouraged while morality was foremost. Corvo Christianity was best summarized by Christ’s admonition that humanity should love God with all their heart, soul and mind and that they should love their neighbors as themselves.

While Fiach believed Corvo Christianity was a true faith and the best faith to commune with the triune God, her life experiences and knowledge also told her that for some people, Christianity in any form simply did not meet their faith needs. For those people, non-Christian faiths had validity and truths so were considered valid and acceptable.

Taoism differed from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics generally tended to emphasize action without intention, naturalness, simplicity, spontaneity, compassion, frugality and humility. The roots of Taoism went back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the School of Yinyang (Naturalists), and was deeply influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the I Ching, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature.

With particular emphasis on the importance of the family and social harmony, rather than on an otherworldly source of spiritual values, the core of Confucianism is humanistic. Confucianism regards the secular as sacred. Confucianism transcends the dichotomy between religion and humanism, considering the ordinary activities of human life and especially human relationships as a manifestation of the sacred, because they are the expression of humanity's moral nature, which has a transcendent anchorage in Heaven and unfolds through an appropriate respect for the spirits or gods of the world.

Hinduism is a fusion of various Indian cultures and traditions. Among the roots of Hinduism are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, itself already the product of "a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but also the renouncer of traditions of northeast India, and mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation, Dravidian traditions, and the local traditions and tribal religions. This "Hindu synthesis" emerged after the Vedic period, between 500 BCE and 300 CE, the beginning of the preclassical period, and incorporated Buddhist influences and the emerging Bhakti tradition into the Brahmanical fold via the Smriti literature. From northern India this Hindu synthesis, and its societal divisions, spread to southern India and parts of Southeast Asia.

Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, and their specific teachings and practices. Widely observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism, meditation, and the cultivation of virtues.

The Corvo University School of religion had the writings and rituals of all faiths and rituals documented. All were included in the courses of comparative religion taught in the schools. The priests of each faith were allowed to practice their faiths. What was forbidden for ALL faiths was to condemn other faiths since all were valid. All faiths were expected to respect all other faiths. Anyone pushing exclusionism was quickly shut down. Another tough standard was that human rights trumped Faith. Gender equality was paramount. People were free to be homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, transsexual, genderfluid, asexual or non sexual. While a faith could have beliefs that limited gender expression, they were not allowed to attempt to enforce it. Discrimination of any type was forbidden. People were free to choose their faith or to choose no faith. Any attempt to intimidate or force another person to swear fealty to a faith or follow the tenants of a faith was a major offence punishable by a minimum 5 years in slavery. Everyone had free will.

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End game is close,

Wendy Jean's picture

Many events in our past are in their future. If extraterrestrials ever did visit humanity in our past and left because we were not a civilized species. Such a scenario may play out quite differently under Clan Corvo. One thing is for certain, If they choose to develop space travel, By the time of the 20th Century, the Solar System may well be colonized. Another fundamental difference between their science and ours, the curse is a proof about the supernatural that can not be ignored.

Experience: the test isn't always once you've learned the stuff.

Beoca's picture

So many disasters, in real history as well, were simply a result of something that the scientists of the time weren't yet aware of. We learn from our failures as much if not more than from our successes.

It'll be interesting to see what continues to happen here in this world, though. I suspect keeping this world on track won't always be as easy as it might appear to be right now.

On matters of religion

Beoca's picture

I do hope that Fiach, in the midst of all her shame at her own previous decisions to replace other faiths with Corvo Christianity, doesn't lose sight of why she made those decisions (and the information that she didn't have at the time). It was a decision that did make sense at the time given what she knew - and she's hardly at fault for not realizing the unintended consequences at the time. It is just like how the deaths in Geneva can't be blamed on the Pathfinders; having seen nothing of the sort before, and having nothing to go off of, how were they supposed to know what was going to happen?