There is a line in George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch (1871) about a mirror:

“Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaid, will be minutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but place now against it a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! The scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round the little sun. It is demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially, and it is only your candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentric arrangement, its light falling with an exclusive optical selection.”

This parable does not tell us that all things are connected. It tells us that we are each made of the same material. You have led a life with as arbitrary a shape as one of the thousands of scratches upon the screen of the mobile telephone which even now sits inside your pocket or handbag, holding this parable on its surface. Seen in a certain light, all things form a pattern.

This has been a candle

Jo Livingstone is the editor of Web Safe 2k16.