Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Miniature Sun

Have you ever played the Question Game? The last time I did was after the funeral of the mother of a dear friend of mine. Cho was a beautiful spirit, a straight-talking, tempura-slinging lady who liked to sing "Danny Boy" and loved her daughters something fierce. She wouldn't have wanted us to be sad, so the Question Game, middle name: gleeful and inane, was a fitting tribute. The rules are deceptively simple: You look at someone and ask them a question. That player doesn't answer the question, but instead looks at a different player and asks another question, but it has to be completely unrelated to the question they were asked.

So… on that day it went something like this:

P to R: "How do you want your eggs cooked?"

R to S: "What's the speed of sound?"

S to M: "Can we talk?"

M to entire group: "Does the cat have an ass?"

Does the cat have an ass?!! Where the heck did THAT come from? It was so outrageously silly that it immediately put an end to the game, and poor M. got chastised for being so ridiculous. But you know the best part? He truly wanted to know if the cat had an ass and, come to think of, that's a REALLY good question.

Consequently, I have a soft spot for what may or may not be cat butts large or small, including the leonine glutes of steel shown here. This mighty dude was one of four to act as my guides during my recent trip to DC, affording me safe passage by the light of a honkin' mo-fo of a moon. A rare one that shone on things known/unknown.

When I studied the photo later, I was delighted by what I didn't see at first--the big cat basking in the sun/moon/street light, a three-way inversion that somehow still left you standing upright.

And a week later, back home in NYC, the whole thing hit me on a deeper level, when the image cued up Plato's cave and his use of the sun as a metaphor. Basically, he says, we human beans are all prisoners in a cave, chained and immobilized so that the only thing we can see are the shadows of what goes on behind us. Not the real thing, of course, but since that's all we see, we think it to be the big-T Truth In other words, we're pretty stoopid. And slow, too. Were we dragged outside into the light, we'd still think the shadows were more real than the sun. But Plato's not a total buzzkill--read the Republic if you want to know how we gain enlightenment.

As for further Plato exploration, well… I recommend the Symposium, especially the part about how we were all cut in two long ago and go around searching for our other halves, and NOT the paper I wrote as a college senior on Plato's philosophy of aesthetics, which I cobbled together based on random stuff he said about art and beauty. The professor returned my paper, not with a particularly bad grade but with the comment that Plato didn't have a philosophy of beauty.

Yeah, and he'd probably say the cat didn't have an ass.

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