090: Poetry, Prose, Music

The crowd of us (we were all wearing robes, different colored robes) all came to different conclusions about the poetry, the prose, and the music. Our task was simple and we were to draw from the archives.

Imagine a stone. One of the ancients saw opportunity to engage the history of the earth from the stone, to determine its physical parts, and from these parts infer the age of the earth and its entire geography; another saw markets, exchanges, and needed to know only from the first of them the stone’s composition; and yet others of them, those ancients whose societies with which we were currently charged, saw weight, pattern, color, and considered the meaning of these things.

But we could only imagine the stone from this strange parable (it was recited to us and thus we had to memorize it). I asked the teacher what we had of the stone, what evidence other than its description, the equations, the estimations of its value and the lists of credentials of those ancients who had moved the stone from place to place, and the poetry and the notes on the staff that had generated an image of the stone in unknown audiences. The teacher said these were all we had as knowledge of the stone and from each of these pieces we were to reconstruct it as a physical object and from this reconstruction reinvent it and thus know it.

One of my companions said that we could travel into the desert and bring a stone back and merely present it to the teacher. But this would be a guess, I said, a lie, and would tell us nothing. One of our friends drew a stone on paper. He said given the data presented that the stone had to have been composed partly of gold, other parts silver, yet other parts composed of human flesh and yet other parts manufactured of grief as so much evidence pointed to these elements and so the stone he drew was round, the surface rough, and out of his imagined lapidary he formed spines and grasping the spines were human hands, each supposedly using the spines as handles.

He said: This is a swift rendering of the stones from the prose, poetry, and music. The ancients pulled it apart, using these handles. One of them took what he needed to prove ideas contrary to beliefs at the time; yet another broke the stone into pieces to determine their value and sell them for riches; and yet others felt the stone for its texture and the way the stone made different sounds when tapped with a rod and explored the effects on the human mind, and so this is how I imagine the stone, what do you think?

Our companion shook his head and insisted we embark into the desert. We will find a stone and bring it the teacher and be done with it, he said.

My friends turned to me and said that I should decide. I said, we could do both. We have some stones out in the desert I’m sure with which we could trick the teacher or we have this drawing of the stone, which is a more concrete rendering of the evidence, which comes in the form of description, value, and effects, and this also is a point of departure to our studies. Recall, however, the video we found of that mysterious place called Tupper Lake. The teacher is fixated on the stone, which does not appear in the video and is, I believe, a mere invention of the teacher. What I found interesting was the hand we saw, the hand that went from note to note, article to article, surface to surface. But whose hand was it? That’s the dangerous question, and so I propose this: that we forget the stone, forget the poem, forget the music, forget the imprecise calculations of the geographer. I propose that we reconstruct the creator, the owner of that hand, and my first question to him or her will be how from that one stone, that one little article, did you make so many things, so many things unlike the original such that the original was lost or forgotten, leaving behind only words, sounds, and the deaths of millions.

My friends saw the wisdom in this and we got to work.

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