Aesop’s Masquerade Ball

Once there was a bird who got so lost that it didn’t know that it was a bird.  And this bird came upon a nice lake and found a tree by the lake with a low-lying branch to rest on.  As the bird perched there, a fish swam by who had traveled so far from the mountains that it had forgotten that it was a fish.  

When the fish swam by the branch, it saw the branch move.  So the fish swam back to look again.  And the bird saw the lake move and saw that it had a mouth and eyes.  So the bird stared at the fish and the fish at the bird.  The fish asked the bird if it was a part of the tree.  And the bird asked the fish if it was a part of the lake.  

Some other birds came and landed on the tree and asked the bird why it was talking to a fish. And some other fish swam by and asked why the fish was talking to a bird. The bird asked the others what a bird was and the fish asked the others what a fish was. The other birds told the bird it wasn’t a fish and the other fish told the fish it wasn’t a bird so that they’d stop talking to each other. Then the others flew and swam away.

The bird said “I guess I’m not a fish.”

The fish said “I suppose I’m not a bird.”

So the bird asked the fish what makes a fish a fish.  And the fish said a fish is a fish because it swims in the water.  And the fish asked the bird what makes a bird a bird.  And the bird said a bird is a bird because it flies in the air.  And both asked each other to prove it.  The bird flew in the air.  The fish swam in the water.  

But the bird said that it could swim too.  And the fish said that it could also fly.  And so the bird dove into the water and swam and the fish jumped over the bird and flew through the air.  So they said that sometimes a bird can be a fish and a fish a bird.  

And then a bug flew by who had gotten so lost that the bug had forgotten what it was and the bug asked the bird and the fish and they both said they knew exactly what it was, food.  And they ate the bug.  Then the bird told the fish that it wished it were a fish.  And the fish too wished that it were a bird.  The other birds came back and asked the bird if it had figured out who it was and it said it was sometimes a bird and sometimes a fish.  The other birds laughed and flew away again.  The other fish swam back, too, and asked the fish who it was and it said sometimes a fish and sometimes a bird.  And they laughed and swam away.  

Then the brother of the bug they ate came by and wanted revenge so it told them that they were what they ate and escaped before they could eat it.  

The bird asked the fish and the fish asked the bird if they were in fact bugs. And when the other birds and fish were coming back, they buzzed off together convinced that they were indeed bugs being hunted by the other birds and fish.

Since they were bugs now, they refused to eat their own kind so they starved and without food they became lightheaded. When they witnessed the sun rise on their last day, they believed that they had become reflections of that light dancing on the water and did not notice that they left their bodies behind.

interlocked and honey-coated

Honey seeps through the interlock of trees that the bear must enter to find what is swirling in his mind. Is my consciousness not flowing like the honey-coated saliva of a bear? Am I not chasing after myself as desire feasts on the honeycomb of memory? Is the interlock not a wood of evaluations projected by my mind?

Some inviolate frame that I cannot access exists outside of this interlock but I can only catch a glimpse of it oozing its heavy sap into the frames like a glue that seems to make sense until the search for more honey brings me to the edge where a chasm of infinite regress yo-yos. The fractal portals demarcate this interlock floating on quantum foam.

And then I fall back into my honeycomb again and swirl back to a part of the interlock where I can carry on with the feast as any other good bear would.

Swinging Wishes

Once there was a magical swing deep in the woods and whenever someone swung on it, one and only one wish was granted. 

A girl swung on it and wished that she were a beautiful princess and as the swing swung she found herself in a castle with everyone calling her their princess.  But she was immature and not ready for such a life. And when the king expected her to marry the ugliest man she had ever seen for some territory to add to his kingdom, she ran away and stumbled into a hard life of trading things for food and a place to sleep and she quickly got a burning illness and died wishing she had never been granted her wish in the first place.

A boy swung into his wish to become a hero.  And the boy found himself thrust into battle for which he was not ready.  The only thing he could think to do in the heat of battle was to throw himself in front of the king and he took an arrow to the heart and died a hero but lived such a short life without savoring any hard won accomplishment.

An old man swung into his wish to be young and healthy again.  And he went with other young people but they didn’t like him because he acted so old.  He went with older people and they didn’t like him either because he looked so young and it reminded them of what they had lost.  And when he witnessed his children pass away, his heart broke for he hadn’t thought of going through that when he made the wish and so he jumped off a cliff.

An old woman swung into her wish to be the most powerful king.  As king, she handed over her power to the queen and commanded the kingdom to obey the transfer of power.  And when the queen assumed the throne, she had the king executed so that he could not try to regain the power he lost.

A man swung into his wish to be the horse of his unrequited love.  He galloped when she requested. He trotted for her. He shook his handsome mane in her radiating presence.  he savored every brush stroke and when she gave him a little heel kick in his ribs he yearned to lick her beautiful toes.  Every sugar cube tasted like bliss as she gazed into his eyes. But when he couldn’t hold it back anymore and advanced on her in the barn, they had to put the crazed horse down.

And there was a woman whose mother always said to be careful what you wish for.  So she swung into her wish to not become anything she wasn’t prepared for. Her wish came too true.  Since she stuck to only what she was ready to do, she couldn’t progress or gain insight through the mistakes her wish forbade her from making.

miniature tree

We see miniature trees everyday off in the distance. Such a common site gets easily dismissed. But a photograph can cross back over that threshold and aside from any tilt-shifting emphasize this feeling of the miniature.

I think this taps into feelings I have for what is smaller than me. And the tendency to see small things as cute. Protective feelings arise over these baby trees. It’s the deep satisfaction that can come from caring for an aquarium or crafting a train diorama.

Whenever we peer into a microcosm, the observations run simultaneously with the realization that we just might be in a microcosm to a perspective beyond our awareness. Perhaps this is at the base of the religious belief in a higher power. I often wonder about beliefs as side effects or reactions to such phenomenological occurrences as an optical effect.

Would we take better care of things if we saw them as miniature? Maybe it’s time to walk around looking backwards through binoculars at things that are difficult to have compassion for, in order to help out.

Next time a conflict arises, should I just miniaturize the source and care for it instead of miniaturizing myself into an unnecessary struggle? Just like a Buddhist monk might miniaturize desire itself in order to miniaturize suffering?

Or maybe in the future, AI will read our emotional responses and adjust them to a calmer state for better decision-making by employing this feeling of the miniature, while controlling our evaluations so that the decisions made are best for its purposes. The same kind of therapeutic brainwashing seen in cults only turned into an algorithm, for our own benefit of course.