Friday, September 25, 2009

The Boy Who Would Be A Fable — The People Who Are Just Mundys

One of my daughters found this image somewhere on the web, and we both think it's really quite enchanting. It's one of those pictures that has an obvious backstory and will have an obvious after-the-moment story as well. Look at all the details and bits and pieces about the room, and see what they tell you about the boy, and his character and dreams.

And, yes, it is an ancient motif, this thing about going into the world in the picture, but the implicit characterization of the boy—a picture here does indeed speak a thousand words and more!—might make some of you remember back to when you weren't completely inundated in the mundane. In other words, when you weren't Mundys, but thought you might actually be Fables.

(Actually, I read that Fables might actually make it to TV. I don't know if that'll work, but it's a great thought. The comics are basically storyboards anyway! Who needs a damn scriptwriter! All they have to do is shoot the film! But, of course, that's not the way they're going to do it... Damn idiots.)

Anybody out there remember that? I assume that it's a part of growing up: dreaming of being a Fable—in the sense of being somebody who is beyond the mundane. But then again, and thinking about it again, I wonder if this assumption is really justified. I wonder if those who have those memories shouldn't actually consider themselves very privileged; touched either by fate or by an appropriate and necessary disposition that isn't necessarily present in everyone, or even in 'many'.

The more I think about, the more this becomes almost obvious, and my initial assumption becomes unjustified. This, by the way, is the case with many assumptions, if only one allows oneself a few moments to recognize it as a potentially questionable point from which to proceed.

Thing is, I know people, with some close and some more distant, who have never known anything but mundane-ness; whose world view was always colored by that which is, or appears to be, and who have never looked beyond the façades of what is readily apparent. Some, I've come to think, simply are incapable of doing it; congenitally so. Others have been rendered incapable of doing it, through a mix of predisposition and/or upbringing and/or life's contingencies. Yet others have chosen, with more or less deliberation, not to look—or even to admit that there's anything to look for. Yet others—those having 'religious' faith, particularly of the monotheist kind—have decided to postpone looking until they're dead, and meanwhile pretend that 'worship' either provides a guarantee of sorts that they'll actually get to look after they die, or that it provides a suitable substitute, and indeed an improvement on, looking right now. Plus there are uncounted variations on those themes, of course.

It would be easy for me to say that these people are somehow impoverished, but that would be arrogant. But it is true that between those who look while alive—and, yes, that includes the real weird ones, because the spectrum of any human activity tends to range from one extreme to another—and those who don't look, there is an abyss of what some call 'life philosophy', or what might be termed 'cosmic cognition'.

Often, when I visit people, I try to sneak a peak at their collection of books, movies and music. Discreetly, of course, if at all possible; but sometimes 'discreet' is difficult, so it's easier to ask straight-out if they mind, and since they never say 'no'...

The first thing to note is whether they actually have books, movies and/or music, and then how many. Secondly is where they put them.Thirdly,one has to figure whether they are 'display and/or collection' items, or whether they are for actual reading—or both, which tells yet another story. Then there's the type of book (fiction or non-fiction) the general tenor or level (low-brow or high-brow or eclectic), the subjects, and so on.

What kinds of books do people hide in places where visitors, even close friends, can't see them? That's really fascinating!

And then, for the likes of me, I look for books that suggest that the people involved have daydreams and secret desires, aspirations, regrets, yearnings that they might not even admit to themselves. But what they have on their shelves—what they considered important enough to buy, or record/download maybe and burn to CD/DVD, because they wanted to own it, rather than merely having it 'available', with more or less notice and effort required either through libraries or the internet—that stuff tells me just about everything I need to know about their state of 'cosmic cognition'; and what we share and just exactly where lies the bottomless cognitive and philosophical abyss that separates us.

So, back to the real point of this blog entry:

Mundy or Fable? Which would you rather be?

, I mean. Now that you're obviously not a child anymore, but have to live and fend for yourself in the world and all that stuff.

You can, of course, dismiss the question as quixotic or just plain dumb, completely irrelevant and therefore not even worthy of answering. But that in itself is a kind of answer—and a revelation of yourself to yourself, like it or not.

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