Visionary Park

Dystopian Playland on Harmony

In a yet to be published part of Whispers I wrote “Where do the others live, the ones who sent us here? The ones who exiled us to the earth?”

One restless night, I dreamed about a dystopian planet named Harmony. All the poets, writers, artists, and seers of Harmony had been banished. Eventually they all died out and nobody grew up to replace them.

After a very short time, that alien world with a desperate name withered and almost died.

After a very long time Harmony’s dominant species finally realized their terrible error so they tried to manufacture new artists and poets. Sadly, nobody could find any books on “How to Make an Artist” or “How to Make a Poet,” and definitely not “How to Make a Prophet.” Their people flew from Harmony out to the faraway stars but they found no thinkers they could understand. Too long ago Harmony’s rulers had exiled their visionaries to alien worlds that were long forgotten and out of their reach. At the time nobody thought much about it.

Harmony built effigies and habitats. Harmony made studio replicas. Harmony put desks covered with pens and notebook computers in a place of memory and reverence. It was a theme park complete with carousels, a roller coaster, and ice cream stands.

They named it Visionary Park.

People thronged to see the effigies of the long-gone creative souls but all they saw were wax statues. The walls were all bare. There was no art, no poetry, and there were no books. Nobody remembered what books were, what purpose they had, or what might have been in them. Nobody knew how to make new ones anymore.

So, it was too late. And not long thereafter everyone was gone. The planet Harmony became a desert. It was dead.

The End

Is this poetry or is it history? Remember the Stalinist Purges, the Maoist Cultural Revolution, the Cambodian Killing Fields, the Nazi book burnings, the Holocaust, the Inquisition, endless Jihads still raging today, the exiles of every Prophet and the martyrdoms of many, the persecutions of the Baha’is in Iran, and oh, so many more on a smaller scale, all in the name of maintaining the status quo and social harmony.

“Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.” (Marshall McLuhan)


  1. Kim · August 29, 2013

    Obviously the people in Harmony had no children, for if they had children, there would have been doodles, silliness, rhymes and all kinds of stuff that is “wrong.” This happens even when parents do not solicit it!

  2. Kathryn Justman · August 30, 2013

    Along with everything else, they forgot how to have children.

  3. enochsvision · August 30, 2013

    Harmony’s children are forced to color only within the lines. In its bleak and soulless world children grow up without knowing anything of the arts, of independent thought, or even the right to ask questions. Imagination is stifled in the name of conformity and order. You see that scenario play out in certain dictatorships around the world –here– on earth –today.

    “Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. Through a word proceeding out of the mouth of God he was called into being; by one word more he was guided to recognize the Source of his education; by yet another word his station and destiny were safeguarded. The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

    The Harmony scenario represents a place or a fanatical faction within it that exercises absolute power over its members or inhabitants. It denies poets, seers, and thinkers the right of free expression. An ideology of oppression reigns. It dominates education. It controls all areas of culture. The state or sect also controls the media. It forbids access to outside thought. It is a crime to question the social order in any way. Punishment for dissent or nonconformity is swift and severe. There seems to be little hope of raising a generation that will bring about change because they don’t know what freedom is like, having never experienced it. Whatever freedoms existed in the past were purged from history books and records. Thus, Harmony’s Order is normal to its inhabitants.

    Change only comes from upheaval in worlds like Harmony or from the outside. Harmony took control in various guises and with many names in parts of our own cosmic neighborhood. I needn’t mention them directly by name. Outsiders refer to one of them as the Hermit Kingdom. Other examples are where ultraconservative theocratic ideologies hold absolute power. They enforce their dystopian vision of Harmony. Sometimes those worlds experience revolutions that are either brutally crushed or appear to succeed yet soon become the very thing they claimed to fight against.

    There is hope. Where will it come from? Who will bring it?

    “The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

    “We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.

    “Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty proffereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

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