“We are gathered here because we share an acknowledgment of the Observers. Whatever we think of them, or indeed whatever we call them, there is a baseline acknowledgment of their existence.
“We are not here to agree on a definition, or a term. We must be careful with any language forms because of the biases which they impress upon our intended meaning. Let us be warey before the words calcify our living sensitivity, before words become litany, fresh thoughts become canon, and our future selves and those not know to us yet find themselves imprisoned by our misrepresentations.
“Or indeed any representation. Any re-presentation is to be handled lightly. We must use words, and images, and the like, but only as reflections, to improve our ability to perceive and engage and witness and resonate with, the Observers.
“The Observers may return here as many times as they wish, or return to the origin or the end as they wish.”
They stood in silence, huddled around a candle, the world dark around them, their shadows thin as ghosts against the rosy candlelight cast on the plaster walls, wooden beams and leadglass windows.
“It goes without saying they are present now.
“One is present.
“One as the only ever possible.
“One as the many, those who were, and those yet to be, each in their time here and now.
“Returning here as many times as they wish.”
They spoke in turns. One phrase or sentence at a time. A pause, and continued by themselves or another. It was not important who was doing the speaking. It was the listening which was important, and at any instant the listeners outnumbered the talker.
“As each of us talks, so the others listen.
“And in our listening well, we may increase in number without restriction.
“Listening. Just as the Observers are listening, watching, thinking, breathing.
“What may be said that brings us to shared attention?
“The troubles we individually face? No.
“The troubles we face collectively? Not just us here, but the Observers.
“What do we share that the Observers share in their world, of which we are but a small part?”
Silence brought them closer.
“Of the Observers there is an original, just as the talker gives voice.
“The original is not important just as the talker is not important.
“Everything is given for our mutual benefit, as service.
“And to what end?
“We have differences as to what we serve. Some of us God, others country, others work. Is this the same with the Observers?
“Can we be of service to the Observers? While maintaining what is needed here to maintain ourselves as individuals, what more we do, is in service to the Observers.
“And what purpose do the Observers possess?
“Our guesses conflate and collapse back to our own objectives. How can we discern the purpose of the Observers?
“Unless the Observers face problems themselves, that they can not resolve in their world. Which is why they are here, following us.
“For them to follow us, they must have sufficient to maintain their own personal needs.
“All Observers who witness this. But perhaps there are Observers who are not capable of joining us here, just as a homeless person can not attend the royal court. They do not possess the particulars, the privileges.
“Is our objective to unify the Observers? Such that there is no homeless amongst them? Everyone has the capacity to witness us, here and now.”
They stood contemplating, the flickering of the candlelight between them. A single candle. One flame. One flame pushing back the darkness. One flame bringing edges to the furniture, surface to their clothes, expression to their shrouded faces. Their quiet wording like a lone flame between them, bringing voice to their intent, shape to their personality, and form to their future.
“There is a mirror. It has many faces. Like tiles of a mosaic. Each tile mirror reflects an individual’s mind. And the mosaic mirror embodies the collective reflection.
“The Observers brings the world which they live in, in reflection to the tile-mirror we present.
“We present multiple mirror-tiles. Into each, the Observers looks. And some reflections they like, others they don’t. Some match their world, others don’t.
“It is not the mirror which is accurate, it is their looking in the mirror. A combination of how the tile operates, and how the mind of the one looking operates.
“A compound mirror.”
They were hovering around the construction of something like a compound eye, but instead of a physical eye, like the compound eye of a dragonfly, a psychic all-seeing mind’s eye. Like the operational psyche which created primary attention, the ability to focus on things not seen, on memories of events past, or images of events yet to be. Just not of one person.
“There is such a mirror. I have heard of it. It exists in this world, but in a city far from here. It exists in multiple worlds at the same time. And it has a strange property. Once touched, it resets all the worlds to that world.”
There was silence. Waiting. The speaker continued.
“Once touched, as soon as the finger is removed from the surface of the mirror, all worlds become the same. As the person in one world decides to return home, in another world they decide to go for a walk. Or some event befalls them. The one world separates into these multiple worlds. In some worlds, the person dies, through accident or perhaps because they take the risk of performing some difficult task. They see someone getting mugged and intervene, in another world they pass by. And in the world which they intervene, in one world they successfully protect the victim, in another they fail and the victim dies, and in another they die themselves. All these different worlds multiply.”
The image was difficult to stabilise, for the speaker, but on listening it was easier. Freed from the effort of putting thought to word, the listener could apply all their ability to allow these worlds to multiply in their mind, wordlessly.
“And at the end of the day, they would return to the mirror. If any of them touched the mirror, all would reset to that world. So, in the worlds they died and did not return to the mirror, those worlds would be lost as all worlds would reset to the single touched world.
“Making it almost impossible for the person to die. For only those who survived that day could touch the mirror.
“And the question facing each of them — standing before the mirror and knowing all the other versions of themselves standing before the same mirror — who amongst them should touch the mirror?
“The person who had decided to go for a walk, or return home? The person who saw the mugging and intervened? The person who intervened and saved the victim and they themselves were unhurt. This one?
“But what if there was another person who saved the victim as well as disarmed the attacker, and did more? Took them to a foodhall, bought them a meal, listened to their story and decided to help that mugger overcome the poverty which had instigated that mugging. If the person who touched the mirror who had only saved the victim and not the transgressor, this world of even greater success would be lost.”
They stood and pondered. It was a difficult one. Faced with such a mirror what would they do? How would it reflect their lives? What had they done that day that deserved they touch the mirror? If they had this mirror, what would they have done differently that day? Would it make them more courageous?
“It would be essential to have a means of communication between versions, so they could decide who was best placed to touch the mirror.
That one word was enough warning for them all to avoid that path. Discussion was noisy, full of submerged conflict which could easily erupt into open heated debate, argument and escalation of wills. Their route was listening, silence, acknowledging the truth of each other, and being sensitive to difference, cultivating a diverse ecology while recognising similarity. A union of differences.
Each was left to their own devices, making their own decision.
“Submitting what their own result was. And upon hearing another, acknowledging the priority of the other.
“The removal of their submission.
“Submission. To submit. Two meanings. One is passive, the other active, in my mind. To acknowledge the power of another, submission. To propose for another with power to decide, to submit.
“The temporal aspect of this requires examination.”
They were moved to silence. One thought that they each faced their own internal mirror. They took a journey in their minds and returned. Was their journey worthy enough to be shared? Should they submit it? Or withdraw it? They chuckled to themself.
“If we were faced with such a mirror, we shared the same mirror, how would we determine who should choose to touch the mirror? Let’s say one of us does not arrive here before the mirror. Perhaps they have been killed. So by touching the mirror….
“We can not touch the mirror if one of us is not present. They have taken a risk and failed, so we must share that failure. We must wait for those in another world where all of us return.
“So, we must revoke our world from those to be chosen from? Submit to the worlds of others for they are in a better position than ourselves.
“Leaving only those worlds where we are all present.
“And of these present worlds, how do we decide amongst ourselves which world should we all reset to? We are faced with the same question.”
They stood ahead of their shadows, the candlelight between them. The light of their souls shone, and drew light from their companions.
“Upon hearing one of us talk about their achievement of the day, I would compare it to my own and decide whether to remain silent or submit my own. Promote my own.
“Listening may be done in parallel. If we each submitted our own, it would soon become unworkable. With a thousand of us, we would spend the entire day sharing and not doing anything.”
There was amusement within them. They all knew this was the way of the world. So much sharing, so much gifting, not enough listening. The feeling passed. The candle continued to burn, the limit of time was set as always on the length of the candle, just as the limit of daylight was set by the sun.
“Depends on who speaks first.”
Waiting filled the dark room.
“Once a group becomes practiced, know each other well enough, trust one another sufficiently, that they can regularly evoke the occurence that the first person to talk happens to be the one who touches the mirror. Such a group may grow.
“If a second or third person is required to talk, and a second or third submission is accepted, there is still work to be done.
“Reflections are required to ensure that events are not harboured which should be submitted, voiced, for others to evaluate and compare.
“As a matter of record which can be reviewed by one or other of us.
“Not in the medium of standing before the mirror. Such reflections can be conducted by one or other of us, and shared before standing before the mirror.
“I have heard of this practice. Our ancestors. The reason why we stand.”
They considered in silence. They knew why they had decided on standing in their meeting. A rather crude reason. Sitting was too comfortable, too easy to rest, spirits flag, like the wind of the day gone, they would go limp and sleep. Standing forced an alertness. And they were all strong enough to be able to stand for the duration of a candle’s burning. What was being suggested was that there was a deeper reason to standing, and they contemplated the truth of it now.
“With such a mirror present, we might sit beforehand, and those who wish to be active may do so, to remind others of the brightness of their day which they neglected to present at a previous meeting.
“Or to reflect on our own evaluations, requesting others touch the mirror because we ourselves know in reflection that our submission which was used to touch the mirror was inferior, and discounted the greater truth of others who chose to remain silent.
“We face a dilemma similar to the individual before the mirror. How do we know what the others have experienced? Once we touch the mirror, all the histories of other worlds are gone too. The only history of alternatives are those of the reset world.
“The trail of history bypasses all those which were not chosen, like a single stem headed by a bud, and all the flower buds unblossomed along its length. The only living bud is that which leads. It may grow in any direction as we face the mirror, but only one of us touches the mirror.
“If there was only one world each, this is manageable. But so doing, we lose the multiple world privilege, and we must choose between those present or else those who are not present are lost to us forever.”
They reflected on the situation. It was still challenging to get lost in the maze even when their mirrors were kept to a minimum. Their alignment and continuity and resonance was strong, but it was easy to lose track. Their only real tool, silence.
“If this is challenging to us, here and now, then it may be too challenging for the Observers.
“We must have faith that our explorations are moving things forward. That at least our skills improve.
“We need results, for as the candle burns down, so another day comes to an end.
“Civilisation continues full tilt to the fall. The cities swell, the earth whithers and dies.
“Words multiply. I will apply greater discipline.”
The candle was almost spent. Around the remains of the wick, a pool of wax. It spat once then was snuffed out by the melted wax. No smoke of an extinguished candle. An immediate switch from a lit room to a dark room. They stood still in the pitch darkness, before the sensitivity of their eyes could trace the faint outlines of the furniture silvered in the moonlight from the window. Navigating the still shadows, they left the room.