Endless Blue – Week 48 – The Synesthete Synod and the Art of Sensate Divination   5 comments


The Synesthete Synod and the Art of Sensate Divination

Just as the oceans of Elqua have water currents layered over gulf streams over deep see undertows, so to have the political forces that govern the Fluid Nations.  Local territories vying for dominance under the province of  homesea governments conducting détente and espionage among their peers.  But above this level of intrigue run the currents of secret organizations — groups of faceless, nameless pisceans with the power and resources to guide the Known World in the direction of their choosing.  Under their self-interested direction, they influence the policies and cultures of the Endless Blue from afar, bringing about a new world order that the few aware of this interference want to succeed.  The organization’s adherents are known as Sensates, and the name of their governing council is whispered among the free pisceans: The Synesthete Synod.

What is Synesthesia?

Those precious few blessed with the gift of innate precognition experience the world quite differently than the majority.  They see the world around them in all its beauty and horror, but their senses are intertwined.  Stimuli that would normally only trigger a single sense for the average piscean can trigger multiple senses for a synesthete.  A certain sound would trigger a taste on the synesthete’s tongue, or a brushing touch elicits a scent on their gills.  This condition has been described as a “union of senses”, and intrinsically alters the individual perception of events and the world.

But synesthesia need not manifest in such generalized reactions.  The most common form of synesthesia — at least 60% of those that possess the condition — expresses itself as a cross-linking between two forms of sight.  When reading letters and numbers, these synesthetes automatically associate color to each grapheme.  One letter would be seen as written in blue while another penned in green, regardless of the actual color in which the text is printed.

Synesthesia is an additive condition, meaning that extra sensory input is invoked in response to proper stimuli.  It has been described by some that experience its effect that the world around them has an “overlay of color” or other form of sense.  Artistic interpretations of the condition have revealed a synesthete experiences the world as an ongoing masterpiece of art, sound, and other senses.  However, not every experience from synesthesia is pleasant.  Jarring sounds that would trigger the fight or flight reflex in a normal Elquan would take on an additional layer of disruptive sensation in a synesthete, such as visual flashing of color or a sharp taste of bitterness.  And since synesthesia is an autonomic process, there is no respite to the negative sensory overload — it cannot be turned off.

The addition of color to one of a synesthete’s senses is the most common expression of the condition, but not the only expression.  Not only could symbols trigger the association of color, but flavors, scents, touch — even emotions of the self or the personalities of others.  The additive information is not limited to color, but can invoke tastes, smell, temperature, or touch.  It is this matrix of sense-to-sensation that makes the condition powerfully potent in the use of divination.

Divination of the Synesthetes

Divination expresses itself through the minds of those both bemused and addled with synesthesia’s sensory feedback. When all the aspects of synesthesia are in harmony — ie. the extra sensations other than the knowledge itself are pleasurable.  The more pleasurable the sensations in contemplation and completion of an action, the more beneficial the result.  However, even if two different individuals share the same kind of synesthesia, rare do the associations coincide.  In sound/color synesthetes, while one might see red when hearing a bass sound, the other might see violet.  As pitch increases, the first may see a lighter shade of red at one octave higher, while the other may instead see yellow for the same note.  The same applies to the other sensations, and it is this difference that leads to personalized divination.

For example, through number/color synesthesia patterns can be found.  The following pattern represents the input of stimulus that anyone experiences daily without the gifts of divination or synesthesia:

For those that are not fortunate to have their senses in union, divining the future would look much like this:

Obscured Information

At first glimpse, the field is a blurring tapestry of light and dark.  Even looking closely, a piscean can barely make out that the pattern is composed of 5s with some 2s intermixed.  But to a synesthete, the pattern jumps out vividly with but a glance:

Information discerned through Synesthesia

The clues for the hidden data are there for any diviner to see, but it the comprehension of that encrypted information that is unclear.  Such is the way of most divination.  But when coupled with the insights bestowed by synesthesia, patterns not only become clear but reveal their meaning more implicitly.  Now, the future is rarely ever so simple.  The following pattern is more random, where the threads of numbers become more diffuse just as the threads of fate are unfathomable:

Data hidden amongst greater complexity.

The same data is being convey as the first message, but now the ancillary data further obscures the divination.  But coupled with synesthesia, even corruption of the pure message becomes clear:

Information interprated through Synesthesia

It is this “corruption” that the Sensates are attempting to resolve with their influence over Elquan life.  By small applications of their art, a nudge here and a urging there, they hope to maneuver events into a pattern that is more syncopated with their senses.  They hope to guide the anomalous sensory input (such as the green digits in the above example) into a more esthetically pleasing sensation, thereby altering the course of events by way of  personal taste.  Through their actions, they would alter the dispersal of 4s and 6s, reducing their presence so the inherent message came through clearer.

The particulars of an individual Sensate’s expression of synesthesia (be it grapheme/color, number/form, or even emotion/flavor) are personal, and so personality is a factor in what is considered pleasant.  As such, two Sensates may end up working at cross purposes when their synesthesias manifest in contrary manners.  Due to this, most synesthetes eschew working directly with others of their ilk, especially those with the same sensory pairing.  In rare occasions the synesthesia of two individuals meshes seamlessly, and it is the Synesthete Synod’s ongoing mandate to find those whose gifts compliment each other and support the resultant divination.  It is the dream of the five seat inner council to uncover a set of five special synesthetes whom all work in unison.  In this way, the Synod is as much a victim of Sensate manipulation as the conspiratorial-minded pisceans accuse them.

The Sensate World Order

To enact their alterations on the passing of history, Sensates must make a very hands-on effort.  While they will employ others to carry out their edits to current events, they themselves still must take an active role in order to gauge the effectiveness with their synesthesia.  This has led to the second reason they are called Sensates, and this time in a negative connotation.  Sometimes great lengths must be taken to enact change, and indulging in the urges of others — a form of leading the way — is one of the surest methods.

A direct result of this approach has synesthetes participating in the same seductions they are using on their target.  The have developed a reputation of hedonism and indulgence that the Olyhydran church has decried, and the two influential parties have become bitter enemies.  The totalitarian edicts of Olyhydranism are diametrically opposite of the perceived decadence of the Sensates, and the church has begun a doctrine of vilifying synesthesia as corruption and divination as sin.  One of the most difficult challenges for the Synesthete Synod and the pursuit of their New World Order is the interference of the Olyhydran religion.  To seduce a mind that has dedicated its soul to servitude requires a steady hand and a light touch else their machinations may collapse around them and irrevocably destroy any hope of synesthetic harmony.  The Matron of the Waters has decreed to her flock that the veniality that Sensates wallow in is unforgivable, casting those whom succumb to the Vastness for eternal damnation among the aberrations.

“From the flavor of music to the caress of thought, the cacophony of existence can be conducted to suit one’s taste…”
— Dogma of the Synesthete Synod.

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