Interview with Vincent from Tree of Life

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My book, Tree of Life, is going to be published soon, so I’ve been doing interviews with the characters for interested individuals (and myself!). I’ve done interviews with Cole, Hesper, and David (3/4 protagonists), but today, I’m interviewing my main antagonist, Vincent Phaiah.

Vincent, several readers have expressed a strong dislike for you. Do you understand why, and is there anything you would like to say before others dive into Tree of Life to read about you?

  • Sometimes, I don’t like what I have to do, and it’s to be expected that others will feel the same. So, yes, I understand.
    Anyone who chooses to read the story needs to consider that life is not simple. We all have choices to make, and each of us will make decisions that are perceived as wrong or evil by someone else. It’s subjective and determined by an individual’s goals.

Tell us something you’re proud of.

  • My mother and father neglected my training in early childhood, but a Kyrios member became aware of that and sent me to train in a Kyrios-supported region of the east for correction and discipline. I completed my schooling there privately. I was a teenager before I began serious training apart from a basic education. Normally, we start that in our formative years, but I managed to accomplish much after having a stunted beginning.

You’re a member of the Kyrios. One of the two Glorious Ones–the ultimate religious and political authorities in Theocracia. What kind of training did this require?

  • All military are trained in some form of martial arts. I chose to study Aiki-jujutsu and Kenjutsu. 
    Every child in a Kyrios family needs to learn a second language and an instrument. I studied Japanese and I learned what I had to of piano, but we emphasized my voice as the instrument (baritone). Glorious Ones are also required to master communication arts.
    However, anyone with a family who can afford an education will get the basics of mathematics, grammar, psychology, science, and history. Kyrios families can afford other classes and the tutors necessary for in-depth study of philosophy, literature, etc.
    After basic schooling, children from Kyrios families must attend university. The most common and advantageous courses of study are in law, psychology, and business. I went with psychology and, to a lesser extent, business.  I study history as a hobby.

Why is psychology there? Most of us are familiar with the other subjects, but for psychology to be one of the core subjects in a child’s curriculum is unusual.

  • Ooh, good question. It’s like this . . . psychology is the study of the soul. If a person continues on beyond their basic education, they take time to study the handling of a soul more than just the soul itself.
    The soul is who we are. Our essence. It reaches into every aspect of life. Studying psychology helps us to communicate effectively. It enables us to be more likely to facilitate inner healing, guide the confused into safety and certainty, and handle disputes gently and quietly. No one enjoys negative consequences. and we use our knowledge of the psyche to avoid them. If they’re necessary, we use our knowledge to deliver them in the most palatable way possible.

Tell us about what science is like in Theocracia.

  • Science! We study science the way they did before unnatural measures and godless ideas were introduced to the nation. We make no effort to know the unknowable. We’re not cutting people open or wasting money the way the Unified did two centuries ago, building vehicles to take us to other planets. It serves no purpose. We study what we can observe without dishonoring God or risking lives.

What does your average day look like?

  • I wake at five in the morning and exercise. Then I have some green tea or mugi-chai. I have a strong preference for the breakfasts I had overseas, so I try to eat that way as often as possible. My favorite breakfast is usually steamed rice, nori, natto, broiled fish, and umeboshi (pickled plum). Though, beni shoga (young ginger pickled in plum vinegar) is a close second to the plum.
    Afterward, I spend time in my reading room to meditate and pray. By then, it’s about 8 o’clock.
    The Kyrios convene in the morning to discuss urgent matters requiring our attention. After that, we meet with the successors (our younger brothers and sisters) to get a quick statement concerning the welfare of their jurisdictions.
    I may have any number of fires to put out and phone calls to make concerning international affairs as other countries are failing and rather wild and desperate these days.
    On a good day when everything is calm, I can pray, study, and enjoy a quiet, light lunch until someone finds me to tell me something or another has gone to the dogs and requires my assistance.
    At least a few times a week, we may have a trial to bother with.

What are you passionate about?

  • People. Whatever I do, I’m most interested in reactions and limits. What will a person do if I say some strange thing to them? Hug them? Let’s find out.
    I like to test my self-control and that of others. So, above all: people. Interesting creatures we are.

If you were not a Glorious One, what would you do with your life?

  • I would be a teacher. Of all my duties I most enjoy teaching conversion classes. I’m an effective, patient teacher.

Photos by rawpixel, Cecile Hournau, Alexander Krivitskiy, Daniel Curran, Pavan Trikutam, Leslie Jones, Vitalii Pavlyshynets, Richard Jaimes, Lucas Filipe


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