The Practical and the Poetic—redux

"Being set on the idea
Of getting to Atlantis,
You have discovered of course
Only the Ship of Fools is
Making the voyage this year…"
---W.H. Auden

The variety of inventive ideas---and ideologies---that people can come up with never ceases to amaze me...

"The desert is a lot brighter than they portray… Some say the glare can even penetrate your skull and affect the pineal gland---that deeply buried "third eye" old-time mystics used to call a direct link to the soul. Searing light is said to reveal hidden truths. Or else make you delirious enough to find cosmic meaning in stark simplicity. No wonder deserts are the traditional abode of wild-eyed ascetics, seeking the face of God."
---David Brin, KILN people

Hidden truths or delirium? Does it truly matter? Not really.

"Words are secrets known to all. However true, nothing is really told. Freud suggested that the unconscious enters into each mental act. Dreams the rags of God, strewn to our most wakeful activities."
---A.A. Attanasio, The Answerer of Dreams

"Truth is a point of view about things."
---Marcel Proust

But, you've got to ask yourself,

"…what exactly it is that bring them together...the "music makers" and the "dreamers of dreams"...

"…wandering by lone sea breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams"

"They came because they were afraid or unafraid, happy or unhappy. There was a reason for each man. They were coming to find something or get something, or to dig up something or bury something. They were coming with small dreams or big dreams or none at all… There was comfort in number."
---Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicle

But are they "the movers and shakers of the world"?

Or are they only one half of the coin? And if so where is the other half?

This reminds me of an intriguing traditional English nursery rhyme:

"The Lion and the Unicorn
were fighting for the crown;
The lion chased the unicorn
all round the town.
Some gave them white bread,
some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum cake
and drummed them out of town."

Charmingly, the rhyme is featured in "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll ("Well, if you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you.")

Reportedly, the rhyme had to do with the Lion of England and the Unicorn of Scotland which can be found supporting the shield of the arms of the United Kingdom. But I much prefer the turn James Huneker gave it in "Unicorns":

"[The Unicorn] has always fought with the Lion for the crown, and he is always defeated, but invariably claims the victory. The crown is Art, and the Lion, being a realist born, is only attracted by its glitter, not the symbol. The Unicorn, an idealist, divines the inner meaning of this precious fillet of gold. Art is the modern philosopher's stone, and the most brilliant jewel in this much-contested crown. Eternal is the conflict of the Real and the Ideal; Aristotle and Plato; Alice and the Unicorn; the practical and the poetic; butterflies and geese; and rare roast-beef versus the impossible blue rose. And neither the Lion nor the Unicorn has yet fought the battle decisive. Perhaps the day may come when, weariness invading their very bones, they may realize that they are as different sides of the same coveted shield; matter and spirit, the multitude and the individual (…) The dusk of the future is washed with the silver of hope. The Lion and the Unicorn in single yoke. Strength and Beauty should represent the fusion of the Ideal and the Real. There should be no anarchy, no socialism, no Brotherhood or Sisterhood of mankind, just the millennium of sense and sentiment. What title shall we give that far-away time, that longed-for Utopia? With Alice and the Faun we forget names, so let us follow her method when in doubt, and exclaim: "Here then! Here then!" Morose and disillusioned souls may cry aloud: "Ah! To see behind us no longer, on the Lake of Eternity, the implacable Wake of Time!" nevertheless, we must believe in the reality of our Unicorn. He is Pan. He is Puck. He is Shelley. He is Ariel. He is Whim. He is Irony. And he can boast with Emerson:
'I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar's hand and Plato's brain,
Of Lord Christ's heart and Shakespeare's strain.'"

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