The book of quantism
By Darren Cleave
Fight or Flight
The Seraphim mind, especially that of the Angels, has achieved an unprecedented level of sophistication, which the UCC finds most intriguing, because its format is nothing out of the ordinary.
As with all mammalian brains, the most established section is the autonomic nervous system. Its functions are ancient, therefore very stable. It does most of the mundane operational tasks from within the subconscious mind, while remaining in one of two states: parasympathetic, where it is rested and calm; or sympathetic, where it is defensive, alert, and highly active. A system that has been working successfully since the very first animals.
For advanced alpha-species, living conditions and social activities bear no resemblance to the circumstances that existed when the autonomic system came into being. Day to day life is neither dangerous nor challenging, and procreation is more of a pre-planned option than a spontaneously instinctive action.
However, although life is no longer physically dangerous, it can often be psychologically stressful. It is a distinction the autonomic system struggles to make. It is efficient, but crude. It identifies stress as an indicator of danger, so it reacts in the only way it knows how, by triggering the sympathetic state.
Unfortunately, as effective as the instinctive fight or flight response may be when survival is paramount, when dealing with social stresses, it is often entirely inappropriate. The amygdala triggers the release of hormones and stimulants to heighten the body’s ability for rapid response, while slowing, even disabling, secondary functions such as digestion, reproduction and relaxation. The body enters a state of high alert, anticipating imminent defensive action, but because the stress is being caused by circumstances that do not require fighting or fleeing… nothing happens. There are no actions to dissipate the stress chemicals, so they remain actively in place, entirely unbalancing the body’s karmic state.
The surrounding circumstances do not perceptively change. Therefore, without any indication that the perceived crisis has passed, the autonomous system continues to react. It overloads the body with stress hormones and maintains a state of extreme alert, which is both toxic and exhausting.
There is a minor glitch in the relationship between the autonomous system and the conscious mind, which also applies to the Seraphim. When faced with a challenging or dangerous situation, the autonomous system goes into action, but not always immediately. Sometimes, if circumstances unexpectedly turn stressful, the conscious part of the mind can become slightly unstable and unpredictable.
When placed under extreme stress, the neocortex is prone to freezing; a malfunction that temporarily stalls cognitive processes. Control is instantly passed over to the limbic brain and autonomic system. In most cases, it lasts for barely a moment, but during that moment, rationality is lost. The mind freezes. It becomes momentarily dependent on the Primary Instincts, which make it quite unpredictable. The reaction can vary to the extreme, ranging from near paralysis to unrestrained irrationality.
In the Seraphim, it occurs only occasionally, therefore is not considered a problem, and accepted as an odd but excusable instinctive reaction. However, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the UCC.
The Seraphim have made some medical advancements of their own. They haven’t established what causes the Condition, but they have created what they are calling a cure. It is prescribed in the form of medication, and rapidly silences the relentless white noise. There is no subtlety in its application. The treatment is crude and brutal. It works by effectively deactivating the Pineal gland through a process of calcification; completely disabling any capacity for either telepathic reception or transmission.
The Demons don’t care about the details. Any form of cure is a major relief. At last, they can return to a life representing something close to normality. The treatment offers a rapid solution, freeing them from a tortuous condition they have never accepted as anything more than a viral infection.
Amongst the Angelic population, the newfound solution is acting as a filter, with all but the most committed Angels embracing the opportunity to rid themselves of the torment. Only the dedicated Angels are maintaining their vigilance. They remain convinced the Condition is a gift. So much so, that is what they have named it: The Gift.
A Brief Return to Peace
At first, the Condition enraged the Demons, and then it depressed them. Now, it’s sudden and abrupt eradication has elated them and restored their confidence, along with their belligerent arrogance. Consequently, the Angels have begun to lose their psychological advantage.
The balance of power is shifting. The Demons are taking control away from the Angels, whose numbers are rapidly decreasing. They can’t even depend on the Angels that accepted treatment, because they are re-adopting Demonic tendencies.
The situation intensifies further when scientists announce they have identified a section of DNA that if removed will prevent the next generation from being infected. The Demons now have the means of entirely eradicating the Condition within a single generation, guaranteeing it will not return… but there is a caveat: To be certain there is no risk of re-infecting the population, everyone, including the Angels, must accept the treatment. It isn’t true, but the population is happy to believe it is.
End of chapter 19
The Book of Quantism
by Darren Cleave