Stories — particularly fairy tales — are like arithmetic or electrical circuit diagrams. They are about reality but at an abstract level. 2 +2 = 4 is true if it’s two eggs or two elephants. A story about a boy who kills a giant and marries a princess is true for any situation where a person overcomes a threat to his integrity and wins fulfillment. How are they different: the equation and the story? The equation appeals to our mind, the story to our emotions, imagination, and body. We feel the fear of the giant and the joy of winning the princess as we are reading it.
Human beings are an evolving synthesis of “soul” and “body” that cannot be conceptualized. One of the reasons it can’t be conceptualized is that it’s evolving. Soul is also infinity as opposed to finitude, eternity as opposed to time, civilization as opposed to drives, metaphor as opposed to the literal, and — you guessed it — animal as opposed to human. So the dogs like all animals are symbols of the body, the lower, and the uncivilized. Why dogs specifically? Dogs are pets. They are animals that are deliberately allowed into the human family, and treated with affection/eros. But the affectionate/erotic relationship between humans and their pets are always paradoxical. They are animals but we imagine them to be human. In a sense all the people posting pictures of their cats on the internet singing are engaged in the age-old struggle of making something human out of nature.
Why FOUR stories? Four is a traditional cabalistic number for increasing levels of synthesis or unity. If you know Vico you can think of the four stories as representing levels of human historical conscious evolution from caveman times to civilization. As civilization progress Archetype gives way to individual. The primitive father is All Fathers, the civilized father is Joseph Cooper, father of Mary and Edward. That’s why the dogs in the beginning are Capitalized and the dogs later are specific.
Tofo the Dog invites fairies into the house, they kill the people and make their homes in their skulls. Later, they family members souls are re-incarnated as moths who flutter around the light on the front porch.
This story describes a very archaic mode of consciousness.. The house is human being — not yet individualized into individual or social. Fairies are irrational images of transcendence but in animist form — entirely particularly, not yet rationalized as “gods” or a “pantheon”. There’s a direct line of communication between the dog-level of humanity — animalistic being — sex, war-, life, death — and these images of transcendence or living metaphors if you prefer. The line between life and death human and animal is crepuscular. Even the death caused by these massive, crude primitive forms of religiosity is not death as we know it: the personalities of the ancestors still exist within the house as moths.
Al the Dog saves a Native American spirit or Wajiru from the forest. It possesses the doctor who commits atrocious acts of cannibalism.
How many empires and churches lay their origin at the feet of a single founding collaboration between the body and the spirit, a bloody tearing of the boundary between nature and culture? Once this is done the highest members of that tradition become doctors — learned in the Law that was laid down in that original Crime and commit “atrocious acts of cannibalism” — literally incorporating other human beings into their system. You can still read about this story in the paper every day.
Two dogs who live across the street from each other have a feud. They brain-wash their family members using mind-power to become murderers. Later, when the human race achieves the power of genetically-augmented wings, they fly towards the moon in an effort to achieve mind freedom. High in the sky a teenage boy from one family and teenage girl from another meet in a kiss and plummet to Earth.
Competition and war, but now in the context of individualism. Two houses facing each other — two human beings locked in a struggle for pre-eminence. Each house could be a community or an individual because we are in late morning and these distinctions are becoming clear for the first time. The two people facing each other? They could be Microsoft and Apple, the Allies and the Axis, capitalism and communism, or just two neighbors who don’t like each other. But history has begun. Evolution is moving forward and the highest (which is not to say best) parts of each dueling system are subliming off. Genetically engineered wings — what is that but all art, all civilization, all the engineering that avoids atrocious acts of bloodshed? The highest part of the two systems joins together in love but tragically plummet. It’s only a dream of a future fulfillment, it can’t yet be achieved in the context of brainwashing, war, and unrefined animality.
Raja the sheep-dog will not stop digging. To teach him to behave himself his family-members tie a bell around his neck. The bell drives him mad. He haunts the graveyards of the town waiting for a miscarried child to be buried. The child’s soul removes the bell.
A bucolic tale. The dog-part of humanity has been incorporated into agriculture — it is a sheep dog — the dog has been trained to make sheep part of a working social ecosystem that includes human beings and animals. But the dog is digging — seeking an even deeper level of integration. (Note that for the human spirit transcendence is flying, for the dog it is digging. One goes higher one goes deeper. But both extend the range of the possible!). But every system has to exclude things that would upset the system and the dog is limited by the bell. It drives him mad. So being a smart dog he waits for a moment of deliverance — an aspect of the human that this system does not bring to fruition — that is stillborn. The dog digs so he goes to the graveyard where we bury our undigested and unfulfilled possibilities. The soul of a miscarried child removes the bell.