I have grown quite despondent, friends, associates, enemies, readers-who-remain-none-of-these.
The catalog of questions is deadening to mine optically perfect eye, for it is diverse and yet static, a venerable and veritable map of my own loneliness. There are constantly arriving questions, new in temporality. and yet not-new in spirit or intent. This has left me to ponder my place here, on the interwebs, as your Oracle.
I have thus returned, as I do often in private, to the dialogues of Plutarch as he sat with comrades at the mouth of his age's great Oracle, that spoken by the pythia of Delphi, who crouched shaded behind the veil, obscured by the smoke of the brazier atop the tripod, above that great crevice of the earth from which belched fumes most luxurious in meaning.
For those too inebriated or imbecilic to remember, there were inscribed upon the walls of the temple of Delphi three important admonitions:
'Nothing too much'
'Go bail and woe is at hand'
Of course, from the first two we have derived the much quoted and oft ignored maxims of Greek life: self-knowledge and sacred moderation. From the third, though less widely quoted, we have of course learned that a brother-in-law, as Robert is quick to remind me, is a man best left in the custody of the police.
But above these three perfectly sensible admonitions, (which, I might add, are all the more sensible when you consider that, as I have learned, advice is most often sought from an oracle by intellectually stunted vagrants), there is a fourth most cryptic of all inscriptions.
Plutarch alone reports to us that high upon the wall of the temple was the Greek letter Epsilon.
It was to Plutarch's dialogue on this most esoteric of comforts that I turned when faced with the poverty of my inbox.
Why was this lone letter inscribed upon the walls alongside these most practical, most Greek, of admonitions? And to what purpose might we put its wisdom in light of the current question, and the paucity of insight such questions elicit?
Among Plutarch's cohort, there was much learned discourse about the nature and history of the letter, which is pronounced 'EI' in ancient Greek.
At first, they meditated on its meaning if its read as EI, "if" or "whether", the standard opening to questions asked of the oracle. In this sense, the inscription was a great and open-ended "If". One of the lovers of wisdom says, ""If this is, that will be". and in the phrase he encapsulates the simplicity of oracular searching.
The second observation to be made is that epsilon, like your grimly insufficient letter E, is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, and therefore the letter stood in for that sacred Pythagorean number Five (5). And much wonder is made in the dialogue out of the divine properties of the number, and how this links the oracle to the wisdom of the celestial and divine spheres, transcending the simple material plane. The Pythagoreans, for example, called Five "marriage" for it was wedded of the first even (2) and the first odd (3) numbers, producing an odd number, and thus prefiguring the pattern of numeration thenceforward on into eternity.
(As an aside, the evens were constructed as feminine because, when split, they vacated their space and left a cavity; by contrast, the odds, when split, would always have two equal parts on each side, but in the middle would always be a persistent, phallic one. It makes much more sense, from a pornographic standpoint, to remember that Greek numerals up to five were composed of simple singular line digits such that 2 = || and 3 = |||. If only Robert were here to opine on the Orifices and the Members...)
However, for my purposes, I am most sustained by the pronouncements of Ammonius who offered an alternate translation for the word embedded in the letter.
I shall quote him, partially, for while he cannot easily be summarized he also cannot fully be quoted. Only a fleeting fragment can be used to capture best the wholeness of his pronouncements:
"'My own view is that the letter signifies neither number, nor order, nor conjunction, nor any other omitted part of speech; it is a complete and self-operating mode of addressing the God; the word once spoken brings the speaker into apprehension of his power. The God, as it were, addresses each of us, as he enters, with his "KNOW THYSELF", which is at least as good as "Hail". We answer the God back with "EI" (Thou Art), rendering to him the designation which is true and has no lie in it, and alone belongs to him, and to no other, that of BEING."In this we find the true puzzle facing the petitioned, and posed by any petitioner, and specifically the petitioner above, whom I have answered before, if not personally, than certainly in spirit.
"For we have, really, no part in real being; all mortal nature is in a middle state between becoming and perishing, and presents but an appearance, a faint unstable image, of itself. If you strain the intellect, and wish to grasp this, it is as with water; compress it too much and force it violently into one space as it tries to flow through, and you destroy the enveloping substance; even so when the reason tries to follow out too closely the clear truth about each particular thing in a world of phase and change, it is foiled, and rests either on the becoming of that thing or on its perishing; it cannot apprehend anything which abides or really is. "It is impossible to go into the same river twice", said Heraclitus; no more can you grasp mortal being twice, so as to hold it."
For what surety might we bring to the task of fixing an answer, a conclusion, on a process as yet unfolding? Shall I reply with calculus?
To update Ammonius, should we not instead reply with the "om", the ever present name of your monkey God?
But it was at this moment that Robert did intrude upon my thinking, leaving all at its half point, unfinished, without completion or fruition, on the path but stunted, misdirected, spinning and spinning...
As was his wont, he did slam his iPad to the glass of my tank and play for me the following video:
"What the mother-fucking motherfuck do you think of this motherfucking shit?!" Rob exclaimed!
I could make no response. I literally was in the process of exiting my corporeal self as I viewed the video. I was in a state of true becoming, for the essence of the video had shocked me out of any earthly process of thought or existence.
"That shit is like watching porno with a condom on, and then, like, not even touching yourself. Watching a VIDEO of that motherfucking shit literally makes a black hole inside of my motherfucking pineal gland!"
Robert was, once again, correct. This application is a Zeno-like paradox. It's relation to the history of printing exists on an event horizon, and looking at it in a video puts my own consciousness in a state of vicious infinite regress.
It occurred to me then, on the topic of size, growth, being:
What then really is? That which is eternal, was never brought into being, is never destroyed, to which no time ever brings change. Time is a thing which moves and takes the fashion of moving matter, which ever flows or is a sort of leaky vessel which holds destruction and becoming.
The Giant Squid
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