Twilight To Authority

It isn't clear why but for some reason the Council of a Thousand Minds was called to deliberate over the situation.

And such a minor case at that. Why we all remember when the Council used to sit in semi-permanent session and occasionally publish proceedings.

Weighty tomes, multiple-volume sets issued over the years; we saw them in obscure libraries and appreciated the habit we have of surrounding ourselves with excuses for awe "Here," we might say, "is the assembled wisdom. Here is where the great have dealt with the Questions."

And we all knew that while some people are cut out for it, we just couldn't afford to read that stuff. We flattered ourselves that with the sort of effort it takes to quit smoking we could master some portion, but this never proves necessary when popularizers make a living at translation.

The Council hadn't sat, for.... well, how long now? Not being newsworthy, it drifted out of focus, and the king had his ministers.... There's rarely much of a market for bearded old men from around the world who mutter to themselves and slowly, delicately come to the conclusion that while Yes has its benefits on the other hand No certainly merits consideration.

Now, inexplicably, the eyes had turned. Perhaps it was the spirit of the hour, and something you did not without realizing it had caught the attention of a major figure who lived in secret exile from what he regarded as distracting bustle. You were living simply, unacquainted with the extent to which you had assimilated vital currents, unaware of subtle implications that charged your every act with an elegance invisible to the monoconscious.

Once, during different days, a fashionable notion had currency: that it were possible for certain individuals to embody a world idea or personify some key cause; -sometimes they were right-- but now.... it is a new Time.

It is the sort of time, perhaps, when the embodiment of a world idea can live in squalor and possess grace without knowing contrast. Maybe when obscurity and fame no longer cancel but complement each other; when, mysteriously, those few that can Know begin rediscovering fine distinctions which the busy and trivial most invariably miss.

However, it may be you didn't suspect that your manner was likely to attract attention. It always seemed that everyone acted more or less the same in certain fundamental respects and that we all made mistakes of about equal importance, and for the most part this is true, except that your mistakes were correct mistakes somehow.... they were exact, precise. You were calm in the face of their consequences, wielding an invulnerability.

Then came the arrest, the ordeal. Your trial would be approaching and your innocence may have been spent by others to buy a form of surety, perhaps. The prosecuting attorney began calling at night to offer abuse; the stress of complicity in fraud showed even in the cracks of his face. But the defense was cavalier, distant, unreachable, possessed of a confidence he couldn't communicate.

During this same period you were spotted, and it seems at times as though there is a conspiracy of people trained in arts next to which sub-rosa CIA recruitment looks like dancing when compared with making love.

Some group vaguely infiltrates the social matrix, going native; then forgets itself automatic like a virus of indeterminate periodicity.

Potential crosses a gap somewhere, triggering a shifting cascade of contingencies, catalyzing metamorphosis into another obscure high definition. The latticework shivers and then re-crystallizes, suddenly aware of the mission intrinsic; from imp interstitial to keystone of arch in one quantum step; among other things, lines of influence reopen as might ancient riverbeds taste new rain....

With the trial coming up and the degradation it would entail, you couldn't imagine what use it would be to you for some peculiar party of conspirators to find you and whisper; but then we all heard that the Council had been called, with astonishing mandates of speed, unanimity. There was a connection.

They gathered and held the Chess tournament which determined who would serve as moderator. Days passed. Hermetic sessions were held while the countryside buzzed with rumor.

Data was requested and at one occasion you were summoned to present yourself for questioning which was smooth and polite: the Council won your heart with the charm of old men who know that what they do is of paramount irrelevance.

They treated the upcoming trial almost as an afterthought but as weeks passed and the courtroom scene approached you suffered. Would this Council never be done exploring the exigencies of Catastrophe Theory?

Word came; a messenger was sent. You didn't need a cryptic note and didn't get one, but the content was not meant to be revealed. You told me, but I guessed.
(Ah, Melpomene.)

Gerry Reith