By Brian George
In “Working Notes,” Merleau-Ponty writes, “Meaning is invisible, but the invisible is not contradictory of the visible: the visible itself has an invisible framework, and the in-visible is the secret counterpart of the visible.”
There is a disconnect between the software and the hardware of the human consciousness project. The creative will has withdrawn to a dimension of its own, as have the earliest races. We cannot motivate the inanimate god to dance.
It would be hard to understand a Beethoven symphony by taking apart the radio through which it had been broadcast. The music has no one meaning; they are many. Communication follows on the self's attunement. Love helps also—to a degree.
As detached observers we have inadvertently become members of a cargo cult. Ceremonies of innocence ensue. Dreams explode with promises of apocalyptic contact. Drums imitate the oceanic movement of the symphony, which the seer, at the end of a three-day, torture-induced trance, once heard in a transcription for kazoo.
Like the eye of god, a great propeller turns at the center of the airplane altar. Oil burns in the tin-can lamps that adorn the blackened fuselage.
In the cockpit—or rather the few jagged shards that are left—the eight arms of the pilot are left to decompose where they fell. Row upon row, other canned goods have split open. Flies buzz to celebrate the superabundant wealth.
In awe, and with decontaminated hands, we lay out the components of the radio on the beach. There is no climax. A wave of melancholy washes the high spirits from the cult. Contact with the alien relic brings no illumination.
(Illustration: Alberto Savinio)