Panel the First: First we are asked by the artist to gaze peacefully and with some amount of affection upon the misshapen and nobly savage visage of our Hero, Monkey-of-the-Zen. We are asked, by the omission of all other detail, to contemplate his being and his achievements alone. We are asked to wonder on the previous episode, replete as it was with eschatological import of a thermonuclear variety. We are also asked to consider full the length and breadth of his semiotic depth, his relation to tragedies both ancient and new.
Panel the Second: In our second panel, we are asked to re-orient our mindeyes and contemplate the Equine-tale and rump of a women and her police car. Only in the distance, atop some blank and terrible monolith, do we glimpse the shadowed and vague image of the Zen-to-the-Chimp as he teeters on the precipice. He is Distant both visually and spiritually, having withdrawn so dramatically from our gaze and therefore from our contemplation. He is replaced by the Mother and by the Order of civilized society, the gently, ululating hills of the jungle exchanged for the harsh corners of structures made. He is an ape upon the edge-part of knowing and understanding, like and unto a bonobo at the forest edge, staring into the swirling Congolese waters, contemplating the fornications of past and of future.
Panel the Third: Finally, like lightning, we are thrust back close into the visual embrace of the Enlightened Monkey as he hurls himself from the precipice, down from structure and toward structure, toward Order and Motherhood's savage and terrible ultimata. It is asked, in a fractured way, if this shall be our Monkey's finish, dangling as he does in death-like space, unknowable, his tail curled, preparing for the plummet earthward which may well be his doom.
Brief Interpretation: It was my good friend and confidante Shroedinger who first proposed this most deeply feared conundrum of life: at the edges of all being, in the dangling space, can we know finality? Reflect now upon the Blackened Hole of space, so brute of gravitation that time itself is bent askew. Although the observer without sees the hole form with a quickness, the observer within, held to the Hole's embrace, experiences a time that asymptotically slows as the Hole reaches actuality. From the Blackened Holes own perspective, it itself never forms. There is no knowing completion for the Hole.
Like unto the Hole Ebon, MonkeyZen asks us simply, in that forest-empty, when the arboreal stalks tumble and ears are absent, does the fall have a perceived length or is it infinite?
And when the sumptuous cat, rich in fatty proteins and tasty bezoars delectability, sits unseen within the box of Atomic Cyanide, do we salivate at our coming feast, or are we left in a forever hunger of flesh and knowledge?
At each stage we see, we hope, we fear, the finality of the coming and ever approaching
Like a bark of laughter which has, half-way to emission, been swallowed and a lump in the throat
Short, we stop, at the edge, but on
Well, my gentler readers, fear not, for there is indeed finality in this world, even if only in the perception of a single, narrow life. Next week shall be the last MonkeyZen. In that we may not find an answer to Shroedinger's more provocative macro/micro di-lemma, but at least we simple mortals may find a kind of false comfort.
The Once and Future Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson