Archive for duality

New World

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2012 by javedbabar

“It’s time for dinner, sweetie,” said Bobby. When there was no response, he said loudly, “It’s time for dinner Naomi. Your mom is coming in half an hour and I’ll get into trouble for not feeding you.” There was still no response. “Naomi, can you please come into the kitchen?”

Bobby found her sitting on the floor of the lounge, still drawing. They’d been drawing together all day – starting with a jungle, which they’d erased to make a village, which grew into a city that was in danger of destruction by strange black spots, which seemed to be bombs. Naomi had averted war by entering the drawing and somehow defusing, and not diffusing, the bombs. But she needed to stop drawing now to avert another war between him and his sister, who would say that he was an irresponsible uncle for not feeding his niece.

“Naomi!” he said sharply. “I’ve been calling you for ages. Why haven’t you come for dinner?” He softened his tone. “It’s your favourite – rainbow roast.”

She was rushing to finish the drawing; to colour the world that she had just saved; to make it cheerful. The botanical gardens at the edge of the City were lovely already, filled with exotic, strong-smelling blooms, but a large bed of flowers still required shading. She was blitzing those blooms in red, blue, purple, tangerine, and gold.

“Naomi!” he called again.

His niece’s hand jolted and knocked a glass of water that she’d been using to dip her pencils, whose colour acquired a special consistency when wet; their shades became softer and richer, and according to Naomi, “lovelilicious.” These were special fat pencils, natural wood coloured, with only their leads indicating their colours. They had been given to her by an old man called Dada who she met in the park, walking his black and white wolves who he said were “the best pets possible”.

Some water spilled from the glass onto the drawing. Nothing too serious, but when Naomi tried to wipe it off, she knocked and spilled the whole glassful. The drawing didn’t smudge but its colours faded and disappeared. The bright botanical gardens suddenly became a black and white world.

Naomi called out, “Uncle Bobby! What shall I do? The colours are disappearing!”

Bobby rushed towards the drawing and helped her brush off the water, but it was too late. What had been a beautifully drawn and shaded city, filled with golden marble temples, red brick houses, verdant parks, with a turquoise river snaking through its middle, was now composed of hard lines, like a gothic graphic novel, with no shading at all.

Bobby’s attention returned to the room. He realized that Naomi was missing, and wondered if she’d slipped into the drawing again, like she’d done when it was jungle, and periodically during its development. She had been easy to find in the rainforest, which, despite its dense vegetation, was still and quiet; it was easy to spot leaves wobbling. It had also been easy to find her in the village, for it had only one main square and one main road, and she was generally somewhere along it. But she was impossible to find in the city, a vast anonymous place, even more so without colour. In a sense the essence of the city was now revealed – soulless monochrome.

He’d better go and find her. Her mother was due in half an hour. Boy, he’d be in trouble if she wasn’t washed and brushed and fed – and most importantly – here!

Bobby pushed aside some lines in the drawing. They had a consistency like heavy pasta and moved easily enough. In places they were tangled, and needed to be pulled apart. Thin lines could be hauled in and reused, and made into pathways, and climbing ropes, to reach tricky vantage points from where to look out for his niece. Then he remembered that he had a pen in his pocket, and could draw his own lines too.

He wrote her name to attract her – first as graffiti, and then in a speech bubble. Where was that girl! He had a bright idea – why didn’t he call her using his smartphone? Signals would travel as lines along every possible pathway until they found her phone.

This was a big mistake. The phone’s electrical signal transformed the drawing’s analogue world into a digital world. It moved from a spectrum of possibilities to duality. One and zero. Binary code. Bobby and Naomi were just numbers now. In the distance Bobby heard black and white wolves howling.

Naomi’s mom knocked on the door but no one answered. “Naomi?” she called out. “Bobby?” But there was no one there. Where had they gone? she wondered. She’d told Bobby she would be back at eight to pick up her daughter. She saw a notebook sitting on the table. What great drawings, she thought. The wet paper on top would ruin the other pages though. She tore it out, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it into the garbage.

Naomi and Bobby felt a sudden wrench. They were now trapped in their monochrome world. “Let’s built a shelter,” said Bobby. “I think we’ll need it.”

Village People

Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , on May 6, 2012 by javedbabar

“Okay, we’re in the jungle now,” said Bobby. “What shall we do?”

“Let’s make a village,” said Naomi. “Like the one we live in. We’ll make it really nicely.”

Bobby wondered if he was really here. It seemed so real, but where was he exactly? The last thing he knew for sure was that he was babysitting his niece Naomi, who was making a crazy drawing, and then somehow they were in that drawing. She seemed to think that this was quite normal, and the obvious result of “colouring it in nicely.”

The jungle was overwhelming. Thick green and deep browns filled his vision. There was only one gap, containing a large tree that he’d drawn himself and in whose roots he’d become entangled until rescued by Naomi.

How do you start building a village? How did pioneers pick a good place to plant their seeds of habitation? The obvious answer was to steal it from the extant inhabitants, smart people in touch with the earth, who knew a good game trail or a clean water hole when they saw one. So why not just give them a little push and take their spot?

The problem was that there weren’t any natives in Naomi’s drawing. Or maybe there were and they’d seen settlers already – the usual parade of explorers, missionaries, and traders, performing cartographers’, God’s, and kings’ works. They bore gifts for natives, always undesirable ones, as there was no great demand for bullets, beads, or smallpox. The natives here may well have disappeared.

The village would need some basic services. “Shall we put a shop here?” said Bobby. “And a clinic, and a jail?”

“No!”said Naomi. “Those come later. We need infrastructure first. We want a village that will survive.”

Bobby asked how she knew about infrastructure.

“Every place needs it. We need hard infrastructure like roads and railways, and soft infrastructure like education and health systems.”

“How do you know that?” said Bobby. He was in an imaginary jungle talking to a child about industrial organizational structures. He shook his head in disbelief.

“I go to school, Uncle Bobby. Didn’t you?”

I guess my school wasn’t as good as yours,” he said. “Well, what shall we start with? A road?”

Naomi’s expression showed that she took pity on him. “First of all we need to name the Village. I think we should call it Lucerne. I know that might get confusing for you because there will be the real Lucerne and the one in the drawing, but you’ll get used to it. It’s just like the difference between home and wo…. school.”

He knew that she was about to say “work” but didn’t, knowing that it was a sensitive topic.

She said that to make big changes they needed to get out of the drawing. Trying to build infrastructure while in there would be really hard, as they must do it step by step. For a road, they would need to draw a quarry, then an excavator and crusher, dump trucks to transport the rocks, another excavator to dig the road bed, rolls of filter cloth to line it, then large, medium, and small sizes of gravel, and a compactor and grader to finish. That’s just for a rural road. To seal it would need more machines, tarmac, road cones, construction signs, and traffic personnel. To make it from outside the drawing required you to just draw a road – the quality of the road depending on the quality of your drawing.

To make sense of his situation, Bobby thought back to a seminar he’d attended about the Law of Attraction. It’s obvious really; focussing on positive thoughts causes you to manifest positive outcomes. Like attracts like. The process was popularized by the New Thought Movement of the early 1900’s, but its origins are ancient. Prophets of God performed miracles, and the Law of Attraction has been visible throughout history in the practice of magic. Many are illusionists rather than true magicians, but even they make things appear from nowhere.

“Uncle Bobby, now you can draw a road,” said Naomi.

He drew a paved road a hundred kilometre long, heading along a fertile valley, with a dark volcano at one end, and a white mountain at the other.

“Uncle Bobby, draw a railway,” said Naomi.

He drew parallel tracks running along rivers, creeping around hills, and snaking through mountain passes.

“Uncle Bobby, draw power lines,” said Naomi.

He made poles and pylons, and sub-stations and transformers. Even bright yellow “Danger of Death” signs. Then he drew what he had first wanted to – a store, a clinic, and a jail. Naomi drew factories.

“What will they produce?” he asked.

She said, “I haven’t decided yet. Now can you please draw some more trees? Your poles and sleepers have used up all the jungle.”

The Debaters

Posted in Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by javedbabar

It was Lucerne Museum’s Annual Debate. Dimpy (Dimples) was pleased with herself. Who would have imagined, five years ago when she became Director, that an event at the Museum could be sold out – jammed! There was a waiting list for tickets, even a small black market she’d heard. She was a natural bringer together of people. It was her gift from God – or gods if there was more than one.

Dimpy was inspired by many sources. She recalled watching parliamentary debates in her childhood. Though the subject matter was generally uninteresting, members’ logical strategies and emotional appeals were fascinating. She had always enjoyed the Massey lectures – presenting original points of view. Recently she’d been impressed by a radio show called The Debaters, where pairs of comedians tried to provide the best combination of “facts and funny”.

Topics of debate were chosen by the Museum Board. In the past four years they had included, “Is Lucerne Village an independent entity or a slave to Strattus?” It was felt that Lucerne was basically a big bedroom for the local resort town of Strattus. “Should Lucerne Village retain its capacity or double in size?” It was felt that Lucerne should double in size. “Should Lucerne Village support old farms or modern industry?” This was declared a tie. Last year’s debate was controversial: “Should Lucerne Village create population quotas, or remain laissez faire?” The audience supported gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, religious, disability, and age-related quotas. People asked Dimpy why she had promoted debate on such a divisive issue. She said “That’s exactly why. People should speak freely, and think fiercely.”

Today’s topic was safer. More abstract. “Who is the true guardian of Lucerne Village: St. Lucy or Cernunnos?”

It was traditional for debaters to dress up. They did not disappoint. St. Lucy entered. She had long, blonde hair bound in plaits, topped by a wreath of greens which held seven lit candles; she wore a plain white dress, belted by a red sash; she bore a golden platter on which were small biscuits shaped like eyeballs. These symbolized the eyes that she had herself removed to be rid of a pagan suitor. She offered the biscuits to audience-members. Dimpy felt that this may be unfair, but let it go. Being eight months pregnant – the less effort expended today, the better.

Cernunnos danced in to cheers. He was dressed head to toe in a woolly brown goat skin, and bore twisting black horns. His long black boots gave the impression of hooves, and both arms and legs bore heavy golden bracelets called torcs. He carried a goatskin bag of liquor, and criss-cross belts filled with shooter glasses, which he rapidly filled and passed to audience-members. This was definitely not allowed, but Dimply also let it slide.

It was time to begin. She addressed the audience. “Welcome to the Museum’s Annual Debate. As you can see, we have a pair of very engaging characters present this evening. So without further ado, let us debate the motion of who is the true guardian of Lucerne Village. There will be four rounds in total. The first is their Arguments.”

St. Lucy wondered why they were even discussing this topic; the answer was apparent in her name. “Lucy comes from lux,” she said, “meaning light. What is more welcome in this land of long, cold, dark winters? Lucy brings light and warmth to your frozen souls. In Central Europe on St. Lucy’s day, bands of fortune-telling boys sing her songs of life; in Scandinavia, eldest daughters make warm breakfast for their families, and join processions of moon-girls and star-boys, lighting up the streets. Her Italian form, Juno, is goddess of childbirth, bringing babes into the light; and throughout Christian countries, she is the kind-hearted patron of the blind. Wherever she goes, Lucy brings joy and light.”

There was great applause from the ladies in the audience. Cernunnos made obscene gestures and leered, before beginning his Argument.

He said, “Cernunnos is a mysterious god. He moves in dark ways. His name comes from kornan, the Gaulish word for horn. His having horns or antlers shows his kinship with beasts, of whom he is Lord, and he sits cross-legged, surrounded by stags, bulls, serpents, dogs, and rats. His horn is both a ceremonial trumpet and military horn. He loves all kind of adventures, and the wealth they lead to – both as tribute and as experience. But most of all, he is horny, period. His horn shows his love of life – symbolizing its cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. So good people, be horny and vote for me!”

Every man present cheered. St. Lucy averted her eyes.

Dimpy said “Now the Bare Knuckles round,” This became pretty heated, with Cernunnos calling St. Lucy a prude, and her calling him a pervert. He didn’t seem to mind this moniker and made further obscene gestures. The Firing Line round involved questions about Lucerne Village. St. Lucy fared better on social issues and family affairs; Cernunnos performed well on leisure and economic matters. Then their final Summations: St. Lucy spoke of brightness, faith, and culture. Cernunnos extolled self-expression, darkness, and nature.

When Dimpy asked the audience to vote, there were big cheers for both sides. She requested a re-cheer. Again it was impossible to decide. A third and final round of cheering caused her water to break and her labour to start early. Fortunately Dr. Bungawalla was in the audience and took charge. It all happened in a flash, and a babe emerged before them.

St. Lucy said that as goddess of childbirth, this miracle was hers. Cernunnos said that as a fertility god, the credit was all his. Dimpy ruled that the baby was crying out for them both. Lucerne Village was a place of light and dark. They were both her newborn’s guardians.