Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Men in Dignified Attire
When he was in that moment of the processonal in which he was just about to reach his chair, he was gripped with a terror-inducing vision that gripped all of his wholly-dignified being with great horror. In this moment he eyes no longer looked intense, but merely big and wide open; his beard no longer strong and grizzly but rather bushy and fizzy. In his mind's eye his royal Dining Hall was suddenly cleaved in two, with him and his present condition taking up one half, and the other half of being filled with the vision that so disrupted his feeling of comfort and supremecy that came with his recent victory. It was as if the very fabric of the cosmos had split in two, and from some strange place at either it's center or its most outer limits extended this strange thing he was seeing in his mind's eye as if from another land and another time.
The other side of his hall was suddenly filled with a crowd of light-hearted, normal looking people, laughing and eating and carrying on as if they had not a care in the world - at least not a king to fear. And these people he saw - they were his very subjects who lived under him around his great castle (but they looked so different!). But because the Hall was split in two, and because the vision seemed to be from some strange and distant place of the cosmos, but yet right here in either his Hall or his mind, he no longer had any control whatsoever over his subjects.
The floor, walls and ceiling in his vision, rather than being of cold earthen stone, looked like some strangely comfortable and yet cold man-made material that he had never yet seen. The seats were red, just like the seats on his side of the hall, but rather than cushiony velvet, they were that strange un-placed material that he could not understand (merely a different color). And the food. It seemed even more abundantly available than the food that was about to stream from his great kitchen! And there were so many of his very impoverished subjects eating without limit, seeming not to care that the food might have any sort of possiblity of running out at some point in a not-too-distant future. The king heard one of the smily people in the vision say, "This is a good burger, I like Burger King." This, for the king, was a puzzling statement.
Then, the strangest of all the sights in his vision - he saw a little child wearing a crown just like his! But cardboard! And no one was listening to a word he said! How dare them - they should all be hanged. He was talking and carrying on and it was as if not one of his words were of one bit of consequence to anyone but himself.
Next to the boy with the crown the king saw a man in some sort of dull grey attire that looked, despite it's immense lack of beauty or glory, as if it was supposed to be dignified just like the King's current attire. The man in the attire did in fact have some semblance of dignity about him, or at least it looked that way in his posture and in his mannerisms as he ate the strange piece of meat with bread on each side. What made the king think especially that the man must have had some level of dignity among his people, was that the man seemed to have the right to ignore everything that everyone did and said around him, including the cute little boy beside him who was foolishly babbling away at no one. But what was striking to the King was that, as far as the king could tell, there was not that much that was actually dignified about the man in the grey attire. It made the King wonder about his own dignity. Was he really dignified as he looked? Such invalid and unvain thoughts were rightfully pushed back to where they belonged - the land of the forgotten (strangley, 'tis a highly populated land to be inhabited only by what isn't around anymore).
The king saw between the two halfs of the hall a grizzly and gruesome sight. The vestiges of some sort of sacrificial ritual - as if the guts of unknown men sacraficed to some great new cause like the sacrificial goat prior to the great theatrical plays of ancient Athens whose guts are layed out by the priest at the crossroads between the stage and the audience - had been strewn across the floor of the hall. The king was not sure of who these sacrificial men were, whether they were from his own land and age, or possibly some distant past or future one. But it seemed obvious to him in his mind that these intestines, forming the threshold between his world and the terror-inducing, horrifying one he could not recognize, had contributed in some way to the formation of what it was that the King was seeing.
Laying in the center of this linear pile of vestige intestines was a big, heavy, wooden cross. It seemed almost as if that cross had born the possibility for his smiling subjects - an uneasy feeling for the King. What was this cross, and what power did it hold? It spoke to him in some way, but exactly how he was not sure. He could sense that it was speaking to him about his relationship with his subjects, but he could not tell if it represented a lustful and greedy desire for all of his subjects to be unjustly just like him (after all, those people in the vision, just like him, seemed to have so much freedom and power and not much burden), or if it represented some deep inner calling for him to be more like his subjects (which he could not quite understand - he had the passing thought that it would make him a better king).
At that moment the vision disappeared. He turned toward his royal dining seat, uneasily smiling and nodding to his Queen, who was now standing to his side by her own chair, forgetting as best he could about the crazy vision he had just seen. He smiled proudly as a man from the infamous Culinary Guild of the King's own patronage walked out briskly from the kitchen in order to describe the coming meal.
Then, the strangest of all the sights in his vision - he saw a little child wearing a crown just like his! But cardboard! And no one was listening to a word he said! How dare them - they should all be hanged. He was talking and carrying on and it was as if not one of his words were of one bit of consequence to anyone but himself. The unrecognized autonomous self, the "inner child" who cannot make himself be heard in the adult representational world of language? And the grey-suited man: the father who controls the world of language and who does not acknowledge the boy? What made the king think especially that the man must have had some level of dignity among his people, was that the man seemed to have the right to ignore everything that everyone did and said around him, including the cute little boy beside him who was foolishly babbling away at no one. But he's perhaps not as dignified as he looks, not as lordly. And the grown-up king, who is the child king emulating the grey-suited man: perhaps he isn't so regal either. Such invalid and unvain thoughts were rightfully pushed back to where they belonged - the land of the forgotten (strangley, 'tis a highly populated land to be inhabited only by what isn't around anymore). ...which is also the land of lost childhood, of the preverbal, of the unconscious.
The guts of unknown men -- I think I know who that man might be whose entrails divide the two realms of the king. And I think I know who killed him. But which side is the stage and which the audience? Ah, and then there is a Queen after all.
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