The Velvet Schism. Chapter 1.

1 Feb

Raxis Absum was given the title of “the Deliverer” by the mass movement he had founded.

But as years passed, a grave new problem began to trouble his leadership of Velvet’s psychics. A group of dissidents started to form within the organization he headed, producing an internal division that was unforeseen.

The founding Deliverer had always practiced nonspecific generalism in psychic communications. A signal or message usually could originate from any possible source and be received anywhere, by anyone at all. No limitation of either source or target was provided for. But now a different, opposing philosophy of telepathy had arisen on planet Velvet. It was full of potential problems.

Focusism held that transmission and reception had to proceed with clear identification and concentration. The mind of the originator had to center itself upon the single, particular mind of one concrete individual, a definite person. Communication was not meant to be broadcast universally, to all or anyone. It was to be purely private.

Raxis had from the beginning said that the networking of human minds had to remain open and unrestricted. He feared that Focusism tended to narrow the broad range he had from the start advocated and applied to psychic linkages. The new ideas appeared dangerous to him, because their end stage was to turn all telepathic ties into private, separated ones between lone individuals.

These divisions in thought threatened to split the psychics of Velvet into two opposite camps. How could the human mind’s capacities be limited and channelized with only single sources and receivers of messages? The founding Deliverer argued against such restriction of possibilities for the future. Lines of communication should not be predetermined and prearranged. Permanency was never meant to be the cardinal feature of the new mental makeup of Velvet. The factor of spontaneity must not be needlessly sacrificed to efficiency, he opined in the press. Patterns of connection were not to be predrawn for every participant. These had to stay open and flexible, available to everyone.

Raxis came to fear that the young dissenters from his old system meant to mold what he had created into a narrow, rigid pattern. He was unwilling to allow such dogmatism into what he had constructed as free and open. All psychics on Velvet were meant to have full opportunity to experiment and set up innovative arrangements. The rigidity of the newer, younger faction was full of perils, believed the man who had been the first pioneer in their field. He opposed what he saw as a different direction from the one he had first taken.

The Deliverer went about the planet speaking out against the erroneous ideas of the Focusists. He accused them of distorting the principles of the telepathic movement that he had built. His conception of the system was to keep it democratic and general, not formalized and elitist. Its possibilities must never be foreclosed, he proclaimed to his audiences. Openness was an idea that was not to be compromised or watered down. He attacked his Focusist critics as fanatics who misinterpreted his discoveries, trying to put telepathy into specified, preplanned channels. That had never been his aim or dream.

But the rebellion of the new faction grew and expanded. Raxis decided to retire from office and was replaced as the active administrator of the psychic organization. Slowly there was a diminution of the position and standing of the old Deliverer. But even greater fragmentation occurred. The Focusists were unable to agree on a single person to lead them or the overall movement they had managed to split. The insurgents started to divide into separate cliques. Each one had a different leadership and acted on its own.

How was this burgeoning disunity among the mentalists of Velvet to be resolved? The entire planet hunted for an answer to that.

The exclusiveness of the younger group of Focusists caused apprehension among the older veterans of the movement. How far did they wish to carry their rigidifying of an extremely fluid system of telepathy? How restricted would their success make the original vision of Raxis Absum?

Grave problems faced the realm of telesthetic communication.

Raxis, remembered as the Deliverer, met often with Dr. Gaen Fortus, especially after the death of his wife, Jeca. They had a most serious problem within the Telesthetic Association to discuss and deal with. There was no way they could ignore the widening schism.

The two veterans, both in their late seventies, did not enjoy the freedom of complete retirement from duties to the movement. There were unending responsibilities of both men to others who depended upon them. Sitting opposite each other in the small cubiculum used as an office by Raxis, they pondered aloud the troubles stemming from the dissidents called Focusists. Neither of them had ever expected such a stream of thought within their organization.

“They totally misread all of your teachings,” moaned Gaen. “Why do they twist simple basics into intellectual pretzels? They are sophisticated adepts at clever casuistry, able to find what they want in the most innocent of statements made by you years ago. There is a lot of harm done the people of Velvet by these cockeyed deep thinkers. Everything comes out the way that suits their personal, selfish interest. They are despicable in every way.”

Absum frowned. “We dare not restrict their freedom to preach and expound their nonsense.”

“Yes, that is true. But I feel an obligation to debate and refute these young fools.”

“Why bring more attention to them, though? Why confer new status and attention upon such obnoxious characters?” asked the Deliverer with a slight laugh.

The veterinarian who had discovered hinny hormone and first injected it into human bodies in order to multiply psychic potentials now sprang to his feet. He knew from long experience it was useless to try to argue with Raxis.

“I am planning to attend a public meeting of the Focusist faction tomorrow night. The featured speaker will be their most influential thinker, the engineer named Uxor. He is the best known and most prominent member of that group of troublemakers. I go there merely out of curiosity.”

“Tell me what you find out,” quietly said the Deliverer. “We should always keep an eye on what they say and are up to.”

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