The All is the Ane mental network, cohesive existence, and physical place of being. It is spoken of in several contexts.
In the broadest sense the All is the extra-physical space of the 11th dimension that the Ane are connected to. The thing that allows them to teleport and the anima that holds their minds after death. Some have argued that it is not so much that the Ane go to the All in death, but that they stop being here. They were always part of the All.
The All is the network of the Ane in life. Some have said the Ane are a mass mind. This is incorrect. They are a well connected series of individuals. It is possible for information to travel through the All at rapid speed, or for it to never get there. It depends if the Ane that has the information "uploads" it. Ane are not endless chatter boxes. They do have private thoughts and private feelings they do not share with everyone.
One way tp look at it is if every Ane has an instant messenger box or a dozen open in their head. The various "chat rooms" could be to three, a dozen, a couple hundred or to a billion. Each of those Ane will likewise be chatting with however many that are not an equal set to the those of the first Ane. In this fashion a bit of information can quickly travel to potentially every Ane alive, if they choose to pass it on. Likewise you can "send an all-mail" to someone specifically that you know.
Because of the nature of the All that someone doesn't even have to be "sensate", or alive. Ane converse and deal with minds that have been insensate for generations, even eons. The collective experience of the race is never lost.
The All is what little government the Ane have. It is the reason the Ane can have a state that appears to be an anarchy from the outside. Ansisi who are themselves part of the All call it an Ad Hocracy. They point out that the Ane, who are a Handicapped non technological race have traditionally had little need for the mechanisms that government as we humanoids understand it was developed to handle. The answer to how they get "anything" done is that there is little of "anything" that they need to do. How do they handle city operations is answered with "what cities?" What few cities that do exist on Ane worlds are operated under that is called the "Glade Outsider Government", by humanoids.
The All is the Ane ReligionEdit
The All is where Ane souls or Aspects go when they die, the large majority of the time. Exceptions are rare and tragic. The All is unique in that the Ane can prove it. Other people have experienced this as well, but see below. The Ane can speak with the souls of their dead.
Although this has certain similarities to the Vulcan Katra and Katra Storage at Mt Seleya, Access is much, much easier and more casual for the Ane.
Some claim that this is the memory patterns or "Engrams" stored, and not truly a soul. The Ane ask "What's the Difference?" and the discussion becomes incomprehensibly philosophical for normal people.
The Ane assert that humans have souls and these souls have some sort of fate that the Ansisi can only see with vagueness. Ane do not note this.
One thing is clear - Ane who die are still available for contact "inside the All"
The All is the Ane Mass Communication SystemEdit
All Ane are in telepathic contact with/through the All. There are levels of telepathic contact. Ane near each other just think at each other. It is unclear how much The All facilitates or is involved with this.
An Ane may "Raise their Aspect" - this puts him in deeper contact with "The All" There, any Ane may speak with any other Ane who is so engaged. Ane "chat rooms" hold large discussions. There are telepathic art forms that do not translate well to aural language. And of course they share music, and thoughts about music. It has also been noted that Ane do this with ease. Ansisi struggle a bit with it lacking the Overmind.
So The All is the Ane telepathic version of the subspace data net. Those Ansisi who have been willing to talk about it use this analogy. Within the All you can either be aware of the vast scale of billions of beings, or subsets of that whole down to a single aspect, living or dead.
A common misconception about that All is that "every Ane knows what every other Ane knows". This is dead wrong. Their minds are their own. They must tell a thing to the All for it to become common knowledge. However memories thus shared are never lost. Even among bondmates one's private thoughts are private.
The existence of the Speakers of the All are known. The Ane have been unwilling to discuss exactly what the Speakers do except to state they have no governmental authority. If pressed they will say they have a function in the cross dimensional interface with the All. Not something that can be described in words. There is a First Speaker, Falan. She became First Speaker some time in the 22nd century. She wryly describes her job as "network administrator". Speakers are reluctant to speak with non telepaths. Apparently they are constantly in full contact with the All.
The All is the Ane GovernmentEdit
Because of the nature of communication in The All, the Ane are able to practice real-time culture-wide democracy. Debates within the All can become intense and very involved. Or decisions can be rendered with stunning swiftness.
It also means that Any Ane engaged with a situation can call to The All and become the ad-hoc representative, expert, voice of The All in regards to that situation. Ane consider this a civil duty, like helping to clean up a park or helping someone who's drunk home safely. It also means that no Ane is an official representative of the All, while on the other hand, they all are.
In order to avoid confusion or misunderstandings, sometimes the All selects, or ratifies a volunteer to act as a more long term "Face Ane". In this way, outsiders know who to go talk to to speak to the "official" All. An example is Anderban, a native of Oz who currently holds the Title "Great and Mighty Wizard" and when needed fills the role of Mayor for the Emerald City, or Planetary Governor. A large fraction of his duties are to tease and play practical jokes on people who don't read the source material on Oz and the Ane before they get there. Sometimes bribes and grafts are accepted.
The one major exception is Falan, who has respect of almost every member of The All. If Falan says it, most of the Ane will back her up sight unseen, because Falan carries that sort of credibility. Another exception is Jerry LaSaille.
The Council of Seelas is another example of adhocarcy at work. While the seelas hold no more governmental authority than Momlan down on the corner those people with a governmental bump are more than willing to buy the theater the Ane exhibit. The Ane Representative to the Federation Council now uses The First Speaker and Council of Seelas like other planets refer to their governmental bodies and head of state. It is a convenient interface.
"Seela" is a term of respect among the Ane. It is borrowed from the original Ansisi language. It is a declaration meaning "This I know to my innermost heart". To say someone is Seela is saying "That person really knows his stuff." Einstein would be considered a Seela of General Relativity.
The "title" Seela. is awarded by acclimation. No one seeks the title and asking for it is the quickest and most direct way to guarantee you'll never see it.
A Seela becomes a Seela because his subject calls to him. If you told Einstein-ban he could never be a Seela of Physics and he invented General Relativity anyway just because he was having that much fun doing physics - then he'd be a Seela of Physics.
A Seela speaks with great authority on his subject. When the All has a question about Physics they look to a Seela of Physics to speak to the background of the question. There is seldom a single Seela of any subject. It's not a position. But if you need to know about something you look for the Seelas
So the proper use of the term Seela is "Seela of X", although addressing an Ane so designation as "Seela" generally accepted, or not using any title or honorific at all.
Council of SeelasEdit
A Council of Seelas is a fiction invented by Admiral Jay P. Hailey when a body of Ane was required to deal with a non trivial matter with the Encarta. A council is 20 to 40 Seelas that show up and deal with an issue. They present themselves"In the All". You are dealing with beings that have a great deal of personal gravis. Dramatic lighting and a deep subsonic hum are added when possible.
Peoples that look for leaders geek to this hard. Ane have made it a permanent part of the tool kit.
Truthtellers and Fair WitnessesEdit
Ane have the ability to Psionically detect lies and prevarication. Note that this isn't fool proof. Someone who'd seen a stage magician make a bird "disappear" would be speaking truthfully if asked "What happened to the bird?" and he replied "It disappeared." The subject would be speaking the truth as he knew it, but his perception of the incident would lacking critical details. A mad man might claim that the Federation Intelligence Bureau had placed a chip inside his head. because of the malfunction of his brain, this would read as a truthful claim, even if it were objectively false. "Truth" and "Fact" are not equal. However, in business disputes and some criminal matters, it is very handy.
Fair Witness the Fair Witness is a role played by specially trained people. Such are known on Earth and among Vulcans. Other societies have equivalents as well. The person uses a variety of mental tools and disciplines to become essentially a living recorder of sight and sound. The purpose is so that an objective account of an event may be recalled for testimony. (The Fair Witness is a concept in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.
Truthtellers are Ane that have honed the "detect lie" ability and trained as a fair witness. These individuals often become active in Ane business and criminal justice endeavors. The Ane set great store in the objectivity and attention to detail by truthtellers, and the Ane fulfilling this role is strive to worthy of that confidence. Historically the Ane don't use them. They were a reaction to Outsiders and one doesn't tend to find them unless there is Outsider contact.
Note that the testimony of a truthteller about the truth or falsehood of any given statement is considered equal to the Verifier in Federation courts, Terran courts and Vulcan Courts. Use of a Truthteller as a verifier is limited to the conditions imposed on the use of verifiers. However, a truthteller may testify as to what they themselves witness.
The Ane expect these people will be taken seriously in their role as analogs of judges, mediators, and cops in Ane society. The All will usually back a truthteller in a dispute.
Others in the AllEdit
The Ane are not the only species in the All. Other telepathic races may join as well. Most of the other people in the All are Humans.
There may be rare examples of other beings participating in the All, they haven't been detailed, yet. One Zhodani is know to be in the All.
The All is a one-way ticketEdit
Once a telepathic being makes full contact with the All they are committed to it. They are tied in forever.
A Human member of the All exists as a "non-sensate" member of the All after death. The Ane assert this is, in fact the soul of the Human All member - that any other afterlife described in religious beliefs has been superseded by membership in the All.
There is no known method of disentangling from the All, once the step of joining it has been taken. Membership in the All is permanent and irrevocable.
The first human members of the All were a Bantu Tribe which formed an alliance with the Ane in Africa circa 16,000 BCE. This tribe took the name "Ansisi" after the name of the woman that dared ask that first question and end Earth's first interspecies conflict. The aspect of Ansisi is still in the All and she is more than willing to talk about it.
The Covenant is the code of conduct and agreement between the Ane and their Ansisi All-mates. Humans who become members of the All are considered Ansisi. There are no rituals or acknowledgments - entering the All is considered ritual and commitment enough. People who become Ansisi are not expected to uptake any cultural practices or habits. It simply means you are Human and part of the All.