14 November 2005

Two Gates - Variations

Further explorations into the gates of the palace. See the notes at the end of the previous post for context. If I recall, these were written on a plane from Israel to New York. The flight touched down in the clear, sharp, blue calm after a snow storm, in a field of white, surrounded by dancing snow spirals.

There are at least two doors into the palace. One of them is watched at all times by guards who mechanically plunder everyone who passes. What is stolen is thrown away. In this way, the palace is deprived of much of the riches of the kingdom. The other gate is watched closely by the highest ranks of the kingĂ‚’s ministers, sometimes by the king himself. They watch not to censor, but to experience. Much passes through this gate. In this way, the kingdom is enriched, and corrupted. I passed through this second gate as a storyteller.

There are two doors into the palace. The one is constantly guarded, and even the kingĂ‚’s family can not always pass with ease. The second is open to musicians, jugglers, comedians and fools.

There are three gates into the palace. I can not speak of the first, but the second is a maze. Half of the people who enter it never leave, and a third of the rest go crazy. Those who pass through its corridors are in the end turned either into madmen or fools. The third gate is wide open to anyone who enters, but no one dares, knowing well of the second gate. Only jesters and musicians make the journey, and that is why the life of the city is in its music.

No one has ever entered the palace unchanged. The experience of entry itself is an ordeal. Even when it is quick, it is transforming. Entering through the main gate, a person will be lucky to find himself with his eyes and ears. Oftentimes, when a person tries to enter the main gate, only his name makes it through. This is announced in the palace, but the person is no more. Through another gate, all who enter are enriched. A simple musician will be loaded with silks. A storyteller will be painted in shades to match the taste of the court. The king has often ordered that a simple gate be created, where a person can pass unaccosted and unadorned, but there has always been some lesser minister who can not help but exercise his influence on the passers by. Still, the king holds out hope.

There are no gates to the palace. Though it deigns to have commerce with the entire realm, nothing has ever really made it in or out.

The palace is riddled with gates. Everywhere a person turns there is someone coming or leaving. It is difficult to say where the palace begins and where it ends. Fools believe that the palace is defined with clear borders, but those who have undertaken even the simplest of investigations know that it is far from clear. It is a fractal problem. Just like every poet is a thief, so too is everything both inside and outside of the palace. The Talmud says it best - Each person has to say "The world was created for me," and simultaneously, "I am dust and ashes."

The front gate is well guarded, but most who are turned away dress themselves in disguise and sneak through any of a thousand other gates. The may be discovered and welcomed in the palace, or they may operate for years as insurgents in the kingdom.


MC Aryeh said...

Sounds like a Rebbe Nachman story. My brain is interpreting quickly - and probably incorrectly, while simultaneously imagining dancing snow spirals pirouetting in tutus...

'laizer said...

Your interpretation is fitting. I wrote them quickly - and probably incorrectly.