"ANYONE CONTINUALLY KNITTING HIS LIFE INTO CONTEXTS OF INTENTION,IMPORT AND CLARIFICATIONS OF MEANING WILL IN THE END FIND THAT HE HAS LOST THE SENSE OF EXPERIENCING LIFE,"
- JOSEPH CAMPBELL
A Carney, of sorts, travels the continent with his magical house of mirrors. His mirrors are magical because they represent all the ways in which man could judge him or herself. Each mirror- a standard for which purpose is usually derived.
There is a mirror of Morality, Society, Capability, Purpose, Strength and many more. The traveling man sets the mirrors along the edges of the room surrounding an empty center. Standing alone in the middle of the room is a four sided mirror that reflects Success.
Visitors are encouraged to look in each mirror individually and then use each mirror to angle its reflection into the Success mirror so that both reflections are revealed in one frame of vision. At the end of a trip through the perimeter mirrors, guests are directed to walk slowly around the four sided mirror of success in the center of the room and "re-read" the reflection of the numerous perimeter mirrors in the reflection of the the Success mirror.
Some hover in the Success mirror with it reflected against Morality. Others read the reflection of Success against the mirror of Capability. As people vary in taste, they also tend to value the amount of time spent in each mirror differently.
Some cry when they view the mirrors, some cheer, some are awestruck and some get angry at what they see. The Carney does his best to be a good host to his guests and always offers to adjust the lighting and change the angles of the mirrors to best suit his customers' preferences. Should a woman feel wronged by the Societal mirror, for instance, years of experience allow the Carney to adjust the lights and add props, such as clothing and lenses, to satisfy her. As a disclaimer to those who may be offended by the mirrors the Carney proclaims, "My mirrors are not calibrated for every height and proportion so please ask for assistance should the mirrors not accurately reflect the requisite standard to your satisfaction and I will be happy to make the necessary adjustments."
Over the years, the Carney is engulfed with observing his guests encounter the mirrors. He rarely takes a break from his work. The Carney actually rarely even goes into the outdoors. Rather, he keeps a detailed journal of all of that happens and every unbelievable encounter that occurs in his house of mirrors. There aren't many days that the Carney doesn't feel like the luckiest person in the world for being the possessor of such important and fulfilling items.
Queens, socialites, Wall Street billionaires, mystics, artists, musicians and clergy come and go. The responses of these people seldom disappoint the ever watching Carney. In fact, as time passes there are two fairly predictable occurrences: 1. When in the house of mirrors people tend to distance themselves from other guests, whether acquainted, related, in love, best friends or strangers, and 2. People spend disproportionate amounts of time at each mirror. That said, a line always forms at the coup De teat- the Success mirror.
One day a very simple and normal looking man pays his admittance and enters the mirrors. The simple and normal man acts peculiarly once inside the the room. He first weeps and then proceeds to scream. The Carney finds this simple and normal man's behavior to be extremely odd as the man had yet to even reach the first mirror. The simple and normal man walked towards the participants and began to plead with them. He proclaimed:
"Leave this place. It is not you in and of yourself, by yourself and thinking of yourself, that determines your relevance."
The customers began to work their way away from the simple and normal man attempting to create space from him and still find the answers they sought with their admission ticket. The simple and normal man continued his mission by walking in front of many of the guests and blocking the mirrors. He said:
"Your worth, your answers, your self, is not found this way. It is not the reflection of light that is reality, it is the light itself."
Having disturbed the client base substantially, the Carney came out of his perch high in the rafters and demanded the simple and normal man to leave. After restoring order, the guests once again began to gaze and pose, smile and frown, turn and shift in the mirrors as they always had. The magic of the mirrors was restored and all was calm as the Carney liked it.
After that strange day many more years passed in the manner they had always passed in the Carney's world. The Carney had grown quite wealthy through providing his service of magic mirrors. Then one night at closing time the simple and normal man from many years ago appeared at the door. The Carney greeted him cordially but cautiosly by saying, "I want no trouble please let us be."
The simple and normal man looked deep into the Carney's eyes, something the Carney hadn't experienced since he was a child, and gently said:
"Walk with me through the mirrors. You and I will come to an understanding."
The two entered the room as the simple and normal man took the Carney's hand. He looked at the Carney as they walked the perimeter in a forced, but even, pace. As they walked, the Carney's eyes filled with tears. His skin prickled with anxiety and sweat began to surface on his back and coat his skin beneath his clothes. The Carney felt the tears come on even stronger and his throat close down as the simple and normal man made no reflection in any mirror. The two reached the Success mirror, one in blithering tatters comprised of red wet eyes and shuttering- the other calm and compassionately resolved to finish the gauntlet. The Success mirror bore no reflection of the two men, one supporting the other as a soldier carries the wounded to safety on the battlefield, the mirror only reflected the lights of the room. With this the simple and normal man, while staring forward into the mirror bearing no image and essentially holding the Carney up, said:
"Our Journey is to comprehend and find happiness in the light, not it's reproduction."
Crying and chilled to the bone the Carny finally broke the simple man's grasp and fell to his knees. The simple and normal man knelt directly in front of him and stared into the top of the Carney's bowed head as if speaking into his soul directly and whispered:
"One must let go of self to find bliss. In the world it is impossible to truly see one's self if it is isolated from its place.... the web that connects all."
The simple and normal man then left the room never to return and the Carney followed him into the wilderness.