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Plate II: "The Hall of Reflection"



ACT II: The Hall of Mirrors (The Moon)



- In which the boy encounters a hall of reflections


"I collide with transparent walls. I see mirrors upon mirrors: a great hall of the image. I become many selves, multiplied in the silvery song of reflection. A city do I make in an instant as my mold is cast again and again from one mirror to another, down the long hall.


"These mirrors are eyes, eyes of the world, coldly creating me in their image. Their stare is bright and perfect, unforgiving. I am presented to myself unceremoniously: just another strange object to be reflected. No joy, no uniqueness, no pain, no pleasure. Just another boy, and unremarkable for being just another boy. These mirrors are eyes, and these eyes that are others rob the soul of self, they name each thing with numbers - they ask questions and give answers about the untamable and unnamable.


"Who is to disagree with the primitive: does not the mirror steal the soul? Do not we become lost in the usurpation by our double, reflection? Is not the self fragmented by the gaze of mirrored conformity? Each image down the hall of mirrors casts back the same myopic vision. These eyes are mirrors, but also tyrannical and insistent creators of their own world. Unwilling to forgive, to play, to open new vistas, this hall of mirrors is the death of self in the uncompromising, pitiless name of the ever firmer creation of reality.


"Pristine doppelgangers replace the weird with an image of perfection. All is surface. Each image is my twin, yet they are not me. In the conflict, I realize that these perfect reflections are indeed perfect inversions. The mirror creates a world in reverse, telling a complete and total lie about everything it reports. For reflection is the vassal of the Outside, of surface. Reflection mocks truth, which is the Inside, the oness of being. Light engages and mocks the reversed self. Shadows play among what would be real.


"In this sphere of the image, who is to say what is once and for all what is, and what is not. Where all is perception, echoes have a touch and foggy ghosts become solid when cast out from the silver eye. Where the reverse is spoken of as real, those who are slaves to the mirror begin to create and perpetrate that reversed lie. In a house of mirrors, reality is in the reflection of the massed beholding eyes.


"So, as the mirrors cast about for subjects, I ask you: are you not truly afraid, my friend? Are we all not truly afraid to one day look in a mirror and perhaps see indeed who one truly is? Is not the self hiding somewhere behind the silvery pane? Are we not afraid to see in one blinding instant the sum total of our past, only to find it senseless - just reflected light? Or perhaps we wiser fear becoming that which is offered as real - of becoming an empty reflection in the power of the mirror's unblinking stare."


Clamping his hands over his eyes, the boy ran on deeper into the house.