Deep within the chamber, wrapped in the gloom of night and the glow of fire, the words echo from the rocks, words which might be spoken on a street and never marked, words which hold secrets few have imagined. Far above you, in the distant galleries, the masses hear those words.
"Of course." They whisper. They have penetrated the mystery. They are masters. The need is to understand danger and find bounty, to prevent themselves from harm, to keep them safe. The rest is folly. The point is safety. The goal is safety. The need is safety. And they are correct, and they have penetrated the mystery before you. They know that they must understand these codes for safety, for security, to cope, to live. They are righteous in their rejection. But beneath them, in column-limed passages trek the initiates who know.
"Of course." They whisper. They have penetrated the mystery. They are masters. The danger includes the dangers of other people. The codes can hide critiques of the user, the codes can hide malice, the codes might even hold the essence of those with whom the user might become one. They know that the codes must be understood; to provide safety, physical and social, and to search out that which we need, and those who we might love. They have penetrated the mystery. All else is folly. They are righteous in their rejection. But beneath them, and deeper, in toward your chamber, are the cells of the academics.
"Of course." They mutter. They have isolated the mystery. They are masters. Beyond social safety are the truths. The safety of knowing what to think, of knowing how to deal with the world, knowledge is wrapped up in the codes, and it is for this reason that we must explore them. They have penetrated the mystery. All else is folly. But they are timid in their rejection, having learned from their experiences. They do not scorn those who labour beneath them, those who claim knowledge of a deeper mystery.
"Maybe." They ponder. They guess at the mysteries. They are apprentices. Beyond the truths are the possibilities and opinions, the questions which must be answered, the considerations which must be pondered. The unknowables, consideration of which is necessary, to understand the environment, to cope with the questions without answers. And they cannot reject anything, frozen in the consideration of all possibilities, of unsifted dialectics, of unresolved dangers and opportunities. They wonder at you, who has sunk deeper within the rock, to this chamber, where the rock thrums in the light of the fire.
"Of course!" You whisper, as the years focus in the words, and play about their points, as the ideas revolve about each other and shatter, to reform in new kaleidoscopes, the whisper turning to a laugh, as the years of study boil into the maelstrom, as the experience of discovery turns to effervescence and bubbles through the rock around you, as the enjoyment cascades upward through the galleries.
And in the caverns of the mystics, the bubbles are the experience of unknowing, the marvel of being held in balance between the poles.
And in the cells of the academics, the bubbles are the playful tug of ideas, the games of back and forth, the word-play and the leap-frog, the ruled creation, the spectacle of creation.
And in the damp passages of the initiates, the bubbles are the social games, the hunt and capture, the testing of mettle, the establishment of status, the creation of reputation, the bluff, the indirection.
And in the galleries of the masses, the bubbles become the glory of survival, the magic of triumph, the power of power, the safety attained, the hardship conquered.
Wiping a tear from your eye, and still chuckling, you blow out the candle, turn off the stereo system and head home to a good dinner and a warm bed.
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This work is Copyright (c) Mike Fletcher 1997