The Proverbs

The King Miltiades of Lydia in Asia Minor asked the wiseman Zoxis for a talisman that would gladden his heart when overly oppressed and make it grave in times of overweening exuberance and the sage responded by giving him a golden ring upon which were inscribed the words “This too will pass.”

Plato criticized any attempt to transcribe wisdom in books, because books, unlike men, cannot change their response based upon their interlocutor. Yet the talisman of Zoxis shows that this criticism, though it may be correctly leveled against books of the usual support, fails in its condemnation against other instances of writing. For example, Heraclitus had a mirror made of polished silver and above it inscribed αυτός ο άνθρωπος θα πεθάνει — This man will die.

Rabbi Bag Bag, one of the sages of blessed memory had a bell set over the house of study with a trip wire so that anybody who crossed the wire caused the bell to rang, whereupon the visitor would look up and see the form of an eye inscribed upon the metal of the bell and the words “Remember the eye above.”

The artist James Ensor formed a mobius strip made of the skin of his mother, who had lost a leg in an accident, and tatooed upon it “The one who comes is the same as the one who goes is the same…” and so the expression, looped back upon itself.

Li Po wrote the character for important as a tiny hair that could be mistaken for a smudge, growing out of the character for obvious. 中央明顯

A sage of Cambridge who does not wish me to divulge his identity wrote a program in LISP whereby an address would be made to each person based upon his name, inviting him not to throw love away.

There have been fragile sayings written on tough materials and tough saying written in smoke and in water.

Some have created phosphemes by pressing the thumb upon the closed eye and then straightaway devised a graphical dictionary where the phosphemes had meaning and the meaning was: repent. Others have done the same technique for the images of clouds, or the distinct smells arising from a pineapple tossed into a fire. In the first case the clouds said: behind the flow of thoughts remains the one true consciousness. The smells of the pineapple say: change your life, but first change your thought about what constitutes a change.

And when the smell of the burning pineapple mixed with the sea breeze the people did as they were told.


3 thoughts on “The Proverbs

  1. “…tough sayings written in smoke and in water…” beautiful. As it should be. Let the negative float away, away, away. And yes, I’ll have a double order of burning pineapple, please.

    Nicely done, Eric.

    P.S. the inclusion of phosphenes is a brilliant, and educational, use of how important sense is to the memories we retain. Bravo!

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