What a nice stream, thought Ditto. I wonder where it’s going? I wonder where it’s been? I wonder if it’s happy or sad? I wonder if it started as a small stream and made friends along the way, or lost friends along the way? It’s hard to tell… if a river is laughing or crying.
It occurred to me today, said Bonny, that everything in the universe can be described by a single word. What? said Pablo. Yes, said Bonny, all the diversity, all the different perspectives, all the different realities that people believe in. What word is that? said Pablo. The word “or,” said Bonny. Or? said Pablo. Yes, said Bonny. I don’t understand, said Pablo. Well, said Bonny, do you agree that existence is based on perception? Perception? said Pablo. Yes, said Bonny, that everything that exists is a relationship, that is, everything I hear, touch, taste, and smell is some kind of vibration interacting with my brain, which translates that vibration into what I know as light, color, sound, and smell. And without that relationship those vibrations would be no more than “one hand clapping”. Yes, said Pablo, I believe that’s true. So apart from my brain, said Bonny, or some type of brain, the world is devoid of light, heat, weight, motion, space, and time, because, like a current that won’t flow through a wire until the positive pole is connected with the negative, the vibrations of light and heat do not become light or heat until they have a point of arrival, until they interact with some type of organism. Yes, said Pablo. And because they interact differently with different organisms—the bumble bee’s perception of light is not the same as the donkey’s, or the human’s… the dog “hears” vibrations that donkeys and humans cannot… and though all donkeys are born with similar organs, some hear better or see better or smell better than others—the experience of “reality” is different for all living things. Yes, said Pablo, I believe that. So if someone asked you, said Bonny, to define reality, you would have to say that reality is this “or” that “or” that “or” that, depending on who is experiencing it and how they are experiencing it. Yes, said Pablo. Well, said Bonny, that is the philosophy of “or”. I like it, said Pablo, the universe reduced to a word. Too bad, said Bonny, it can’t be reduced to a letter. It can, said Pablo. It can? said Bonny. Sure, said Pablo, the Spanish word for “or” is “o”. O? said Bonny. Yes, said Pablo. That’s wonderful, said Bonny, a perfect circle, except… Except what? said Pablo. Our circle is incomplete, said Bonny. Why? said Pablo. Because, said Bonny, the universe consists of all the perceptions of all the organisms, so it is not only this “or” that, but this “and” that, “and” that “and” that “and” that. Yes, said Pablo. So a better philosophy, said Bonny, would be the philosophy of “and”. Yes, said Pablo, and “and” is still a single word. Too bad, said Bonny, it can’t be reduced to a letter. It can, said Pablo. It can? said Bonny. Sure, said Pablo, the Spanish word for “and” is “y”. Y? said Bonny. Yes, said Pablo. Well, said Bonny, “y” isn’t a perfect circle, but it looks like two rivers flowing into one… diversity flowing into unity. Yes it does, said Pablo. Of course, said Bonny, by its very nature “and” would have to include “or”… so the ultimate philosophy would have to be a combination of “and” and “or”. You’re right, said Pablo, and “y” and “o” make “yo” which is Spanish for “I”. I? said Bonny. Yes, said Pablo. That’s wonderful, said Bonny. Why? said Pablo. Because, said Bonny, it brings us back to where we started, to reality created by individual perception, except that this new “I” or “yo” is not the individual, separate “I” that we started with, but a comprehensive “I”, a “yo” composed of all the perceptions of all the organisms from all perspectives. That is wonderful, said Pablo. Yes, said Bonny, is there any more popcorn?
Hey, said the tourist, you didn’t sign this one. No, said Bonny, I didn’t sign any of them. Why not? said the tourist. Because they don’t belong to me, said Bonny. Who do they belong to? said the tourist. They don’t belong to anyone, said Bonny. What do you mean? said the tourist. Does the snow belong to the clouds? said Bonny. No, said the tourist. Do the flowers belong to the sun? No, said the tourist. Does anyone own the grass in the field? Well, said the tourist, if someone owned the field, they might think they owned the grass. Yes, said Bonny, but they would be wrong.
Why aren’t you painting? said Pablo. I ran out of paint, said Bonny. I guess you’ll have to go to town, said Pablo. Yes, said Bonny.
How much for this one? said the tourist. This one? said Bonny. This one is eight tubes of paint and four canvasses. What? said the tourist. Eight tubes of paint and four canvasses, said Bonny. Don’t you accept cash? No, said Bonny. American Express? No, said Bonny. Where can I get eight tubes of paint and four canvasses? said the tourist. In the Arts and Crafts store around the corner, said Bonny. O.k., said the tourist, I’ll be right back… Hey… what colors? Two Winsor Lemon, said Bonny, two Cadmium Red, three Quinacridone Magenta, and one Ultramarine. French Ultramarine? said the tourist. Bien sûr, said Bonny.
Feeding the fish? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, from the edge of the river, there must have been a dozen people doing it. You mean “fishing,” said Pablo. Fishing? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo, they have a hook on the end of their line which they bait with something tasty, and they try to get the fish to bite it. The hook? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo, so it will push through the lip of the fish and they can pull it to shore. That’s not very nice, said Blurtso. What if you did it without a hook? Without a hook? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, just put some food on the line and throw it in the stream so the fish can eat. Well, said Pablo, you wouldn’t catch anything, but you’d probably make a lot of friends.
“Blah, blah, blah,” said the schoolmarm, “blah, blah, blah, blah.” This lesson is so boring, thought Ditto. I wonder what the schoolmarm is saying? It’s hard to focus with that little piece of corn between her teeth. I wonder if she knows it’s there? I wonder what else she had for lunch? There’s a spot on the sleeve of her blouse… maybe she had a Salisbury steak with gravy… or a donut with chocolate icing… or maybe it’s blood… maybe she smashed a mosquito with her elbow… or leaned against a freshly painted barn… the spot matches the color of her shoes… I wonder if she ties her laces with a single loop or bunny ears through the rabbit hole… one of the laces is loose… and an ear has come undone… I haven’t seen many bunnies this spring… maybe I’ll see one on the way home… if I’m lucky… maybe I’ll see a bunny… or a turtle… or a giraffe…
“Blah, blah, blah,” said the schoolmarm, “blah, blah, blah, blah.” This lesson is so boring, thought Ditto. I wonder how the schoolmarm gets her hair like that? It’s almost like a block of clay… or a wasps’ nest… or a bunch of cowpies stacked on top of each other and glued with construction paste… I like the smell of construction paste… but I don’t like the taste… I prefer the taste of alfalfa… that’s an interesting word… alfalfa.. three a’s… two l’s… and two f’s… hmm… it’s almost a palindrome… aflafla… I wonder if it tastes just as good when it’s spelled backwards… or when you eat it upside down…