1. The Tortoise and the Hare
“All is flux,” said the tortoise, who fancied himself a philosopher. “Here I stroll one day in the brown light of February, to my destination which will have changed already when I do arrive, and the dead trees will again be green, and blossom. I will then leave, and when I do return in October, things will have changed again. How fickle is life! Even we cannot rest unchanged, unmarred by the sorrows and ecstasies of life!”
Indeed, in that revolutionary October, he was indeed changed, as he found himself then a Soviet tortoise.
“Tout passe,” the hares had also once decreed, until Napoleon gathered his six hundred thousand and crossed the border. After that the use of French was discouraged, and the Russian winter heard only the dry sound of Russian. The hares, like so many Autumn leaves, were blown away, and in their inconstancy like that of Dante’s windswept lovers they flowed across the landscape, writhing.
Even today there are hares, and there are tortoises, who hold that life is but a race, and that though the victor may be the swift or the steady, that the teleological impetus is ineluctable as death.
I suppose that I have long been lost, and to them, a lost cause. Perhaps it is a recollection of Nero in his fire sermon. But I pause, and remember the old saying: semper eadem, ever the same.
2. On Solipsism
“There are only two means of avoiding the heartbreak of the world,” said the crow. “In both the act of degrading is necessary. The first involves the degradation of others, so that they are as flies, and insignificant. In this way the sting of their words may be lessened, and one may learn to not care. The second entails the degradation of the self, so that all criticisms are taken not merely as true, but as platitudes, so that the bitterest venom is but trite. Does any soul take grief that the sky is up, and the ground, down?
“If one were to adopt both methods, it would be the ultimate selfishness. Suddenly the universe is cast into focus, and one stands as both the highest and the lowest point. In this way, one can encompass all. After all, what is God?”
“That is very well,” said the fox. “But as for myself, I am partial to Nietzsche.”
And with a smile, he ate the crow up.