A group of men and women sitting out in the fresh evening air. Even as earthquakes and floods and disasters happen all around them, they find some time to contemplate the moon. Rising over the eastern horizon it glows a dusty yellow. Through the evening maturing to its silver sheen. There is a hint of magic to be seen in its light.
Is it a rock floating in space, as we were told at school ? A remarkable mathematical co-incidence – a lump in space that happens to appear as the same size as the sun. An anomaly there before our eyes. Is it really made of green cheese ? Is it true that the man in the moon lives there ? Perhaps it is indeed a hollow shell, dragged there from another place beyond our sky. They talk about what they see, and what they know to be true. They also talk about what they cannot see and what they don’t know to be true. In spite of the numerous conflicting views, each knows that they are right, and that the others must be wrong.
It is decided that they will appoint an adjudicator for their discussions. To avoid undue influence of existing bias, a few of them are appointed. A team of them – half of whom are women and half of whom are men – to appease those that keep a tally on proportionality. So too, representatives of every caste, cause and creed. Persons of every imaginable colour and tribal tendency. Representatives from the scientific community. The religious community are represented too. Some from the legal fraternity, and members from the academy. Then a few farmers, merchants and those who fix leaking pipes. Some artists and artisans, some members of the body politic, and some representatives from the world of lunatics and fools too.
If they so desire they can investigate for themselves, peruse the written evidence, and make a judgement based on that. Perhaps not though. They might choose to ignore it all. Perhaps they might make a determination based on what they don’t know, which is almost everything. Hearsay, myth, tribal traditions, familial belief systems, wishful thinking and the old favourite fear. Perhaps they might base their conclusions on what their mother said to them when they were young, or perhaps something that just seems novel and interesting. Adding a bit of sauce and a bit of spice.
Ultimately the evidence leading to any sort of conclusion is thin and a bit weak. It would appear that there is something there. That is what our limited perceptual facilities tell us. But what they don’t tell us is what it is that they don’t perceive. Perhaps in some way what they don’t tell us does matter. Those who might see that this the case might ask if there is more to it than what can be seen at a glance.
Thus the arbitrators and adjudicators find themselves in the same position as those that they represent. With no consensus, no single unified view, how will they ever come to any sort of unassailable and authoritative determination. Is it possible, and is it desirable. There is, of course, the time honoured tradition of rolling up the sleeves and slugging it out to see who is right. Or paying somebody to support the validity of your own personal view and particular interest. Or finding someone who will speak knowledgably about their position, and if there is no evidence to support it, then to invent that too. Or one who can most effectively arouse fear in others, threaten and intimidate them to lead them to the proffered view. Together acting as a chandelier made of glowworms. Not penetrating very far into the darkness.
But what of the moon hanging there in the clear night sky ? In every story it is mentioned, as though it were an intrinsic part of the plot. Everything seems to happen when the night is lit by the full-moon – or when there is none at all. Conspicuous in its presence, conspicuous in its absence. If there is a house where something dramatic happens, then probably the moon is outside. Somewhere just beyond the reach of our realm of exploration, but just within reach of our eyes. There it is behind the human race, driving them in everything that they do, and everything that they don’t do. Driving the great tide of history and events and cultures. Driving them all towards todays day.
The dramatic moment – perhaps it is like a thunderstorm spitting out lightning bolts. Perhaps it is just a dull and uncomfortable day. The moon will not be far away from this scene, for sure. In every sunny scene, with a storm coming over the horizon, there it will be, influencing the proceedings from behind the scenes. The moon pushing the clouds away and clearing the sky. And the moon pushing them near. A crush of clouds gathering overhead. The wind pressing, the waves crashing on the edge of our world, and sea foam being carried on the tempest. The moon this, the moon that. Finding it involved in every imaginable and unimaginable thing.
The moon, the moon. The moon, La Lune, a silvery spoon. On a good day and on a bad day, there it is, shining on our lives. Shining inside the body of life. This spacious body. In the fullness of the night it shines until all of the features of our selves are reflected and seen clearly in the scene that is life. Reflected, projected, acted out in the fullest detail until the script is mastered from beginning to end. The moon shining, amplifying every bit of movement that stirs in the heart. Each movement leading to the next moment, the next and the next. Always leading us to the heart of life.
The moon, projected into our combined imagination. Always appearing in whatever scene happens to appear before us. Each and all. Arranged as it is, this scene for us to see and to be. Although we know it to be solid and true, we might know it to be not-solid too. A quantum apparition. A figment and fixture of the imagination. A seemingly solid reckoning of a movement in the mind of minds. A shared dream, a dazzling delusion. A cacophony of accord.
The evening becomes night, and one by one those who would contemplate the scene leave. They each return to their habitat. Some somewhat the wiser, and some nonewhat the wiser. There they will return to the tending to their habits, and let the stream of life sweep them along. But there will always be some whose resolve is to find out for themselves. They will stride off into the world and discover it afresh for their own fund of knowledge, not being deterred by whatever is required for them to do so. They will find out all about the moon. They will look at it in every way that they can, observe and carefully notate their findings. They will come and tell all who will listen, and also tell those who don’t want to hear. Their task will then have been completed, and they are freed of any further obligation.
Amongst those who have heard of their findings there will be some for whom this news fills them with only the desire to find out for themselves. Not just about the moon, but about everything else that they were told. They too will take their leave and venture beyond the comfortable and known world. Thus it will become known, the moon, La Lune, the silvery spoon. That and anything else that they might happen to ask.
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