Magic Double

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Institutions /
2004 06 03

Magic Double
The magician shows a card: the King of Spades. At the climax of the trick he shows it again; only it’s now the Queen of Hearts.

The magician shows a property, says it’s an ordinary box. That of course is a lie: it’s not ordinary. There’s the compartment the audience assumes is there and there’s another compartment: a secret compartment. The magician shows his assistant: blond perm, skimpy outfit, decent bod. The magician puts her in a box, spins the box, raps it, opens a door the audience thinks is the same door the assistant had gone into. The audience doesn’t see the assistant. The spotlight shines on the balcony: the audience sees the assistant: same perm, same smile, same skimpy outfit … Only it’s the first assistant’s identical twin sister, identically garbed and coifed: having rehearsed just when to unzip her disguise, to stand, to smile …

Lies are given broadband.

You see, there’s always two of something: two cards, two compartments, two doors, two assistants … If there’s only one, there’s still two: the truth and the lie: the reality and the illusion.

The democracy shows us an election: See? You vote … we count.
The school board shows us a school: See? We teach … you learn.
The democracy shows us a Justice Department. … I want the Mohawk, the slaves, the Chinaman handed the dynamite … to show us the Justice Department.

Even when the magician shows the King of Spades again, it’s not necessarily the same King of Spades. Even in a friendly poker game where there are supposed to be fifty-two distinct cards in play, it would be very hard to be sure that there are only those same fifty-two distinct cards present at the table.

Princeton showed us that they had Einstein. (Of course Princeton didn’t have him in 1905 when he was doing his work.) You go to Princeton: do you get Einstein?)

Heroin labs regularly use only naked women for workers. The women’s crevices are searched on their way into the lab and again on their way out. How many poker games have similar searches? When the US wants to get an astronaut safely to the moon and back, the astronaut is treated much like a heroin worker. Cape Canaveral has a Clean Room. There’s not a germ that’s supposed to be there unauthorized.

But in a human society, a Clean Room is the exception, not the rule.

The Church shows you an altar. In the center of the altar is a box: carefully wrought of precious materials: gold, silver, jewels … In the box are wafers.

Jesus broke bread, said “This is my body.” Is it his body or is it bread? (Could it be both?) The Church says this wafer is that body, that bread.

The Jews said that they had God in a box. The Church says that they have God in a wafer: God is the wafers in the box. Even if they have a god in a wafer, is it the same god that “made the world”?

How do we know that the world was made?

Seems to me that it’s made. Seems to me that it’s made by the magicians, by the “democracy,” by the Church, by the school board, by the vote counters …

And that world seems to me to be utterly distinct from the actual universe: about which we know very little: and are not likely to learn well while we’re so busy fooling and being fooled.

The Chinaman Handed the Dynamite:
The references to the Mohawk, to the slaves, should need no elaboration: I’m less sure how many know that the lowest paid, most despised immigrants were used for the most dangerous jobs in mining, in railroads … Chinese workers were given more than their share of the dynamite: the most dangerous of all the jobs. Holding the rail spike while the guy with the hammer drove it was no picnic either. That job went to the blacks: though another black might be wielding the hammer. John Henry. (As an apprentice, even the hammer master might have known the receiving end.) (By the way, I hope everyone sees the pun in “John Henry died with his hammer in his hand”: and the pro-John Henry significance of the pun.)


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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