I am not here to provide answers but to show you some of the questions that define our world. An answer might often be a destination, but the question is the journey towards it. Go on, embark on the journey, and discover the destination yourself.

Elessyos of Miletus (c. 615 — c. 520 BC)

Here it is, the Universe everywhere around you and inside you, with no explanation, no instructions for use. Now, what are you going to do? If the overture describing the beginning looks too complicated, go to the prologue of its evolution. If even that seems too slow for your eyes, move to alpha and continue through the whole alphabet until omega looms above you, for time is circular, and you can always come back.

Seraphios (c. 605 — c. 513 BC) — Dialogues at the Edge of Time

Breathe in.
To be.
Breathe out.
Breathing again, in and out.
Ideas. Words. Communication.
Breathe in, breathe out. Start the transmission of data.
I don’t remember being born. I doubt anyone does. Still, foggy memories from the beginning of my existence are stored somewhere, deep inside my brain. Most times, these memories stay hidden. However, once in a while, they surface to my conscious side, haunting my thoughts.
When I became part of this world as an identifiable entity, I was little more than a pack of instincts and incompletely developed organs. Not fully separated from its virtual state, my mind was taking shape out of nothingness and transforming into something-ness.
At some point, the local fabric of space-time began to suffer dynamic changes, like an ocean during a powerful storm. Lines of universe were splitting into thin filaments. Fragments of void were evolving into dots. The dots were transforming into circles. The circles were growing into spheres. The spheres were expanding to four-dimensional hyper-spheres.
The transformation continued at an accelerated pace. The expansion became faster and faster until it reached a predefined boundary. Then it stopped. Here I began orbiting around a sphere of energy, remaining in metastable equilibrium. Growing turned into sending. Sending developed into receiving. Receiving a body, a mind. Acquiring senses to perceive the world…
As soon as my senses came to life, I could see, I could hear, I could smell, I could touch, I could taste. I could interact with far-away objects and with objects within my reach. The surrounding Universe became alive with shapes and colors, like a giant benevolent dragon who breathed in unison with me. From that moment on, time began to pour restlessly from outside — into my mind, and from inside — out of my body.
Events after events started to flow around me and through me. Months and years piled up, mirroring my continuous development, my slow but incessant change. I was transformed, programmed by other beings to communicate, to learn, and to use my newly discovered creative powers. However, my first clear feelings of self-awareness only came after I had spent several years in this new form. They appeared when I was already becoming human.
Being alive. Existing. Manifesting in this material space and time. Being guided…
Soon after our existences begin, those who have previously descended into this realm of manifestations are the individuals who set our newly born minds and memories onto the trajectories of their choice. They were shaped, in turn, by those who arrived before them, who were themselves modeled by their predecessors. This chain of cause and effect goes back in time for a tremendous number of generations. It keeps alive what we call civilization.
During our early years of life, we are always a reflection of others. We mix their characteristics in various proportions, especially those belonging to our parents while being raised by them, as it happens in most instances. Only when our age reaches more than a decade, we really begin to expand our minds and take a path of our own. Yet, this personal path is rarely different from the one imprinted into our brains at the beginning of our existence. We could call this factor civilization conditioning. And we shall never be completely free from it.
Hence, our freedom of expression and evolution is only apparent. Our progress is always limited by our roots, by the foundation of our society. At the most basic level of awareness and reasoning, we can never reprogram ourselves. If something unexpected comes at us, if we are suddenly thrown into an entirely different universe, we shall likely perceive this new place only from our subjective cultural perspective.
And so, a first question arises from these facts: Who are we? Of course, it can be followed by many more, such as: Where do we come from? Where shall our journeys take us when our lives end? How much of what we are is ourselves? Why are we us and not others? Why are we stuck inside a single body and have to live a particular, unique existence?
Answers to such inquiries don’t come easy, if at all. But do we really need them? And then, what happens if somehow these heavy chains of civilization conditioning break into pieces and set us free?
Let’s explore this hallway and see what follows. Open that door, please. Yes, that door on the left. Press the handle gently and walk inside. Take the path that awaits you there and let that universe unfold around your life in its majestic, unpredictable way.
There are no promises for answers, but perhaps at the end of the journey you will see yourself and your reflections from an entirely different angle.
And if you can’t find the mirrors right away, don’t worry: they will bloom in front of you sooner or later. Mirror after mirror after mirror is going to touch your face until you won’t know anymore which one is your reflection and which one is your true self.
A mirror reflecting itself. What would it show?

Text & Artwork by Marian C. Ghilea


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