6 Billion Billiard Balls

by Martin Auer, Austria

Here I am, right in the middle of it all.

 Here I am, right in the centre of the web.

 Not because I'm so special.

It's just that I'm in the centre, because the centre can be anywhere, and everywhere is the centre. Here I am, right in the middle of it all, right in the centre of the web. The night is dark and I'm sending out signals to anyone out there who happens to see them.

 I know you are out there. I know you are there, there's six billion of you, and any of you might receive my signals, but most of you never will. And most of you never will know I even existed, and most of you wouldn't care anyway.

 So here we are, six billion souls who don't know each others name or address, and couldn't remember even the thousandth part of alle the names and addresses, even if we cared to.

 But yet - anything I will do will in some way affect each and every one of you. We are 6 billion billiard balls on a round table with no borders. Whenever I hit any one of you, this will cause you to change your course, so you will hit yet another one, whose course will also be changed and so on and so on and so on. And we all are players and balls at the same time, trying to make our way, but never knowing what will be the outcome of our moves, always wondering why it never is what we planned it to be, only sure that one day we will end up in one of those little holes in the corners of the table which is round but still has a corner with a hole in it for each and every one of us..

And this is because we are too many balls on the table, so we never can follow the paths of all of us, never can figure out what the results of our moves will be. I don't know which child will starve, just because I decide not to buy coffee from Mexico any more. I don't know if maybe, by buying a Japanese car instead of a German one, I help build up a tension which will, among other things, cause a war between Russia and Poland in two years time. No, we are too many to figure out where this giant snooker game will take us, 6 billion balls and 6 billion players, all playing simultaneously.

 But still - if you were all lined up in a row and I would shake hands with four of you every second for 12 hours a day, it would only take 95 years to do it. It just could be done.

 Or one person can speak to 10.000 other persons in a concert hall without the aid of even a microphone. So if I were to hold twenty meetings a day, each lasting half an hour, with 10.000 people attending each meeting - it could be organised - I could talk to 200.000 of you a day, without using a microphone, just from person to person. After 82 years I would have talked to each and every one of you.

 But what would I tell you? And would I ever have time to hear you answer? Of course not.

 But what if you were to send me messages? Each of you a single line of 25 letters just to state how you are feeling. Like: "Hi Mart, I'm fine, thanks", or: "I've just lost my husband" or: "Hi, just dying of malaria". That would be 150 billion characters or 75 million pages. Well, even if I read 20 pages an hour for 16 hours a day it would take me 600 years to read all your messages. But if you would only send one message per family (and there are some large families out there, I know), than maybe I could read them all in my lifetime.

So you see: we aren't that many really. We aren't so many we couldn't talk to each other. or care for each other, or consider what it is we are inflicting on each other.

We just could take our lives in our own hands and talk things over with each other and see what it is everybody needs and dreams about and see what we can do about it.

Here I sit right in the middle of it all, right in the centre of the web, sending out signals into the dark.

I would like to know how lighthouses feel. 

This text has inspired:
"Smaller Things" by Michael McNeilley
"And Yet" by Cynthia Scher
"Lighthouses and Billiard Balls" by Jerry Dreesen
"Power on" by Dominik Tröger
"Rambazamba" by Guntram Balzer
"The Man on the Moon" by Evonne Fenn
"momentum" by Laura Smitt
"Anstoß" by Andreas Bäcker
And maybe your story?

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