The Plan

“In the future there is one history. To focus on the vast expanse of what may unravel ahead of us, we had to simplify what came before. An immense canvas of block colours laid on in the broadest strokes. There was no good; no evil. Just before and after. Before was conflict and struggle. After came innovation and growth.” Notes On The Future Vol. II

The future had grown out of the hardships of its past. People no longer starved or suffered needlessly. Wars were no longer waged for power or resources or any other reason. Everyone had a place. Everyone knew their place. There was a plan.

The Plan allowed for no deviation — any slight alterations to its trajectory might have ramifications beyond the scope of the Planners. But there was no need for deviation. Everyone had a place. Everyone knew their place. They were each a piece of a puzzle; all necessary in completing the picture. Some were notable features — a ray of sun or a leafy branch — while others filled a nondescript square of ground, or the white of a cloud. Though some pieces seemed more integral to the picture, the truth was, every one was needed — for without even a single piece, the puzzle could not be complete. There were people who catered and people who created; people who delegated and people who did, everyone judged on their merits for the role that suited them best; their plan laid out within the Plan. But everyone was equal. Everyone went back to the same planned housing units and ate the same planned meals. Everyone acknowledged that in the grand scheme, no one was more or less important than anyone else.

It was also acknowledged that not everyone was happy. But what was happiness compared to the Plan? — the knowledge that you were a part of something bigger; that through your actions, however seemingly big or small, your legacy was guaranteed. Happiness was eclipsed by certainty, and even death couldn’t contest that. And when certainty wasn’t enough, there were suppressants; medication to help people adhere to their plan; the dosage dependant on the disassociation. Everything considered, even the unhappiest of people were still satisfied; content; contained.

Of course, there were those who believed themselves outside the Plan — even railed against it — but they too, were pieces of the puzzle — the majority of insurgents instigated by the Planners themselves, like a controlled burn; a small minority of revolutionaries to give a sense of threat, one which the Planners could regulate, manipulate and extinguish if necessary. The Outsiders were in fact as essential to the Plan as everyone else. They tempered it; strengthened the resolve of the people within it; unified them against the menace of chance. Though the majority of the populace didn’t know the particulars of the Plan, they found comfort knowing there was a plan. They knew the rough outline — that it was ultimately for their contingency; that, for humanity to survive indefinitely, they had to colonise the stars, and to do so, they had to be as one. That wasn’t to say individuality was discouraged — the Plan strived to realise the unique strengths of all people — but emphasis was always on the whole. They were each individual parts of something bigger. Together they looked to the horizon.

As the people were definite of where they were headed, they were definite of whence they’d come. As per the Plan, history had been simplified. There was no need to get caught up in the particulars of the past, nothing more they could glean from the imperfect passages of the people before. They knew there had been a world of chaos and strife, and now there wasn’t. As infants, the people learned how the Plan came to be; how the great Thinking Machine had shown humanity the way. They learned that the first Planner, through the machine’s data, had seen the Plan laid out before them, and thus given birth to a new era. Initially there had been a period of unrest, but soon the world accepted its destiny — borders were lifted and nations dissolved, leaving in their place one race, one goal and one plan. The newly established Planners were tasked with interpreting the machine’s data — analysts-cum-technicians-cum-prophets, perpetually pouring over the readings while maintaining the machine’s monolithic body.

Over the millennia, the Planners held fast the course, steering humanity through countless calamities. All the while, the people remained faithful they would reach their destination. However, the destination had not been specified in the Plan. When was the diaspora dispersed enough? When was humanity’s contingency guaranteed? Or could it ever be truly guaranteed? How long could the species last before its inevitable decline? How long was long enough? The universe surely had a plan of its own — eventually set to fold in on itself — or could the Plan project past even that?

Opinions on these variables varied, and as time went on, the cracks in the Plan began to show. By this point humanity had established itself as a prominent force in the universe, inhabiting more systems than could be controlled by one ideology. Many, believing the Plan was complete, found other callings, allowing chaos to inhabit their lives once more. But there were those who were sworn to follow it to the end. Whatever that may be.

And so the Plan winds through the cosmos still, occasionally shedding parts of itself — birthing new plans — as it propels itself towards its unknowable inevitability.

“Nothing is over.” — Notes From The Past Vol. XXIII