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A grey wolf runs through snow in Wyoming. Photograph: Corbis

It was well into the afternoon when the Artist lifting his head from writing saw the Dog coming in the solemn march towards him with head to the ground as if in the contemplative mood. The Artist halted from writing and waited beneath the tree where he laid. The Dog came without looking up and sat next to the Artist. The Artist drinking tea offered some to the dog. The Dog accepted without looking.

The Artist said, “Excuse me Dog, is there something going on with you?” The Dog, again without looking up, answered, “There is a lot of things going on with me. I tell you these days it is not easy being at the Night Watch.”

By the word ‘Night Watch’ he slowly lifted his head and now looked at the Artist with an almost sad and questioning look. The Artist confused by that look produced on his face a questioning look. They almost seemed like the mirror image of each ‘In questioning’.

The Artist began, “There is something definitely going on with you, you need to tell me.”

“I would tell you,” answered the Dog, “but before I tell you I would like to ask you for a favor if I can hold on to your notebook a little longer? The poems are so fascinating I don’t know what to make of them and I feel my heart is attached to them somehow. I can’t stop thinking about them even after I read them over and over again. Each time I get something different; each time I read it it sounds something different. I read it, I took a walk, I came back, I read it again – it sounded different. I had different images, I felt different about them. I shortly felt asleep. I found while I was sleeping my dreams where like them. They were moving from image to image very quickly in the panoramic immensity. I woke up, I read them again and I felt completely different. It sounded completely different, my emotions where entirely different. There were so many images passing through my mind and in my spirit. They were leaving before I could get hold of any of them. At the same time there were forming together a great images in my mind and in my spirit. The very image itself, just I was grasping it - it was also moving forming another image on and on. So, I know that I need to discern why they make me feel that way and I would like to have sometime with them if you don’t mind.”

The Artist replied, “I suspected something to that effect would happen, so I was prepared for that; that is why I am writing in my other notebook.”

“Thank you,” the Dog replied; this time with certain kind of humility and respect. There was none of that sarcasm that underlined his interactions and exchanges with the artist.

The Artist said, “So, now that we got that out of the way what is it that is bothering you?“

The Dog said, “’What is bothering you’ was the reason why I came in the first place earlier while you gave me the poems.

I came to speak to you about it and then I was blindsided by the poems. And what it is is this. Earlier you were talking about the Cypher, remember?”

The Artist replied, “Of course, how can I forget?”

“After explaining it to me,“ the Dog continued, “you also said that its’ form is the image and that it bends everything into itself, is that correct?”

“Yes, that is correct.” “Well, when I was at the night watch I kept thinking about it and as I kept thinking about it. I eventually tried to reconcile how the Cypher which is really the circle that is the image of something that is nothing. If that is the case I though how do I fit in? I mean how do I fit in myself as the Dog? Or to say more precisely how do the species, my species fit in? And for that matter all the other species and all the other things? How the Cypher represents all of them including me? “

Siberian Husky

“Wow!” said the Artist, “that is the good question and the answer is this. It is the form of the Image because it describes what becomes an image, how an images configures. For instance, in order for it to appear an image components must come together and as components must come together they must fit into each other somehow in the hierarchy of position and distance. That forms the structure of that which is being configured and when these come together they must by nature form a whole, and that wholeness has to be pictured somehow. And the most appropriate image that could be given to describe how the process of configuration comes together to make a thing or an image it is a form that could describe how the configuration is made. That is by curving into each other always bringing back to itself in order to make itself thereby fitting into itself to bring about itself. And the circle that Giotto drew illustrates this very fact. That is why the circle is a perfect image to represent the image because the image is the only thing that can describe itself and the only image it could have is an image that describes the shrinking and the expanding which is the natural cause that holds all things that appear. Does that make sense to you?” the Artist asked the Dog. ­­

Dog portrait by Melinda Copper

The Dog replied, “Absolutely makes sense. That is what I was actually reasoning through during the Night Watch as I came upon a very interesting musing that for the feel of me I never thought about, and now I am seriously thinking about it and I have a strange feeling not unlike the feelings of your poems. What the musing was is this; the description of the image you gave me is what I was riding on when I began thinking about how did the species of Dogs came about? I mean, where does Dog come from? And how did the circle bend all Dogs to fit one image of a Dog? And how is that Dog represents all Dogs? And what would that image look like? So, that took me moving through memories of stories I have heard told from here and there, passed down from generations to generations, moved from corner to corner and the stories that all Dogs came from Wolves, the Wolf, you may say. So, I guess you can say that my great great great forever great to infinity great ancestor is the Wolf and from what I know about Wolfs they are fierce, top Dog if I may say so, but as I look around me through my memory about the species of Dogs what I see is very tame species. Then I ask myself, ‘How did that come about?’ I mean I walk down the street these days, what do I see? I see Dogs in skirt, Dogs in jackets, suits, wearing sun glasses, wearing jewelry, gold chains, sweaters, shoes. Can you imagine? Dogs in shoes, I can’t believe that? And look at me, for that matter, I am so pampered I drink tea! I talk to you and I read poems.”

Belka and Strelka, Soviet Stemp

The Artist couldn’t stop laughing, but the Dog continued seriously obviously shaken by these thoughts.

He said, “You know some other things I have seen the Dogs do. I mean we are species coming from Wolves, fierce species and yet we are reduced to reading poetry and going on the quest for the Ancestor, for whose Ancestor I don’t even know.“ The Dog continued, “So, with all this moving through my head I began to think ‘what was the turning point? How did that happen and what is the image of that and how that fit the Cypher?’ Then the thought occurred to me ‘How did Dogs and humans come together in the first place?”

The Artist answered, “Would you like me to tell you?”

The sarcasm returned to the face of the Dog mixed with indignation.

The Dog said, ”I think I know but for curtsies sake why don’t you go ahead and tell me.”

“Well, it is very simple. Humans; us, we, humans. The Dog was the first created creature. Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to call you a creature. I mean animal.”

The Dog looked sharply with almost like slightly angry teeth look as if saying to the artist, “You better watch it.”

The Artist felt this and began retracting again by saying, “ I didn’t mean to call you an animal.”

Now, there was a deep silence sharply falling between them. They both spoke at the same time. The Artist saying,” Well, what should I call you?” At the same time the Dog is saying, “ Just go along with the story.” So that just ‘go along with the story’ and ‘what should I call you’ overlapped in the mash up of symphonic disagreeable affirmations.

So the Artist said, “Well, we humans, we did it. It was our trophy, our pride.” The Dog began growling. The Artist looked sharply at the Dog dumbfounded not knowing the reason of this growling, almost about to ask when the answer downed on him that he has said something stupid. He retracted again. But this time he said in the very labored sincerity, “Well, that is how it was. We, humans made the Dog our slave. For luck of the better word ‘Our bitch’. I mean before the Dog was the Dog. I mean the Wolf. The Wolf was our enemy just like everything else in nature being an enemy of everything else, but some clever ancestor of mine from some remote remote time in the past was able to study the behavior of the wolf and through this study figured out how to use the desire of the wolf to tame the wolf and of course what is the main desire? Food, of course, food; after my human ancestor saw that the wolf is really all it is after is a meal that ancestor of mine began sharing some of his own catch with the Wolf by throwing meat to the Wolf. Now, I tell you the part of this taming business has greed somewhere hidden in it. You see, your ancestor was greedy.“

New sound of growling started to appear. This time there was no retraction. The Artist pressed on. “Yes, he was greedy and that was his downfall – Greed. You can imagine that, right?” The Dog didn’t respond either way. The Artist pressed on. “Imagine, the Wolf, your ancestor, getting the first freebie; you know, I mean the meet thrown to him or her. I don’t know it could be a female Wolf. You can imagine it devouring the meal inwardly feeling like, “Wow, I didn’t have to do anything for this. I didn’t have to chase anybody, call a council to come up with the attack plan or anything like that. All I did was just growl a little bit which I do all the time. You can imagine your ancestor thinking of these things. Like I am saying you can imagine it saying that to itself while chowing down on the meat he just received from my ancestor who was probably at that point was trying to save his life. Now, imagine two things happening at the same time. My ancestor is thinking, “Oh, this is peculiar, I think I have got something here. Your ancestor is thinking, “Wow, this is awesome. I didn’t even have to work for this.”

Now, you can imagine your ancestor, the Wolf, skipping away happily. You can imagine my ancestor running away happily thinking, “Wow, what a close call.” But then, you can imagine my ancestor waking up in the middle of the night finally given the full range to a gnaw of the idea lodged at the back of his head coming into the full bloom in front of his head. The idea is this. “What if I were to give the Wolf some more meat. Would it not want to eat me? Would it think it needed me to get it more meat and if that is so can I use that to control him thereby making him work for me giving me an edge, you know, adding his strength to my strength”. Now you can imagine my ancestor thinking these thoughts in the middle of the night. Now, imagine your ancestor, let’s say at the same moment, thinking in the middle of the night. “Would I get more free meat if I go back there? Because getting this free meat staff has sure given me enough time to just relax. I can watch my brothers and sisters plot and skim for their daily bred while I can just go the a place and have a human throw me some meat. All I have to do is just threaten him a little bit; I don’t even need to kill him. And I think it makes me a good guy because I didn’t kill anybody, I just got my meat. That is all. Dog,“ the Artist said.

Dog portrait by Melinda Copper

The Dog answered, “What? “

“I mean,” the Artist continued, “You can see all this, right? I mean imagine it.”

The Dog said, “Just continue.” So, the Artist continued by saying, “The next day you can see your ancestor hurrying to the scene of the crime, or shall we say the scene of the time of his life. Or, shall I say, the scene of his doom. You could see him going there, you could see my ancestor also going there each repeating the same dance the day before: one throwing the meat, the other devouring and skipping the meat, just the same. You can see this with one difference. My ancestor didn’t run this time. He sat down and contemplated.

He said, “I think this will work. I am going to make the Wolf my bitch. I am going to turn him into the Dog.”

The Artist began laughing, incredibly so was the Dog. The Artist took this as the license to reach a little higher with some remark by saying, “If you come to think of it, if the Wolf has not made such a move you would not be here. “

The Dog laughed again surprisingly and said, “You damn right.”

The Artist continued, “Now, fast forward a few times to were you can picture your ancestor after receiving several of this freebies began to relax the growl. Then, a little later instead of leaving just hung around. Then, a little later instead of hanging around came along. Then, a little later instead of just coming along stayed. Now, mind you, all of this was perfectly planned by my ancestor who now used your ancestor to make other people afraid. Now his power doubled, he has the power of your ancestor and his own. Now, imagine this very scene repeating all over. After a few of my ancestor saw the power that it brought to one who first did it. Now, after a while imagine my ancestors now are trading your ancestor with each other based on strength, fir, and obedience. You could see the market place, right? You can see one of my ancestors saying, “My Wolf is so powerful his off springs will create powerful off springs for the generation. So, I want three of your Wolfs against one of mine. Of course your three Wolves are all female Wolves because now I am going to make more Wolfs to sell to my other friends who were too lazy to make their own Wolf. You can see this becoming the business, you know that people live on, they no longer go hunting they just make wolf for a living by trading them and getting some kind of return from them. Eventually, this kind of inbreeding and trading breed down the power of the Wolf by slowly producing your direct ancestor, the Dog, and from there all the different Dogs that you can every imagine as you well know proliferating the whole earth came about. But as you have well stated, “ the Artist continued, “The process didn’t stop there and it has not stopped now. You yourself just said, ”There are Dogs that are wearing shoes and you yourself are having tea being with me on the quest for your ancestor.

The Dog was very quiet listening to all of this having nothing to say yet because of course he agreed with everything that has been said, but not the way it was said, so added still in the sarcastic tone, “But now there is the pay back.”

The Artist said, “What do you mean by pay back? What pay back?”

“Yeah, pay back,“ the Dog repeated. The Dog said, “Who is making whose bitch now?”

The Artist said, “I am still not following you.“

The Dog spoke with the satisfactory tone saying, “I mean we, Dogs, are now making you human our bitch. “

The Artist started laughing uncontrollably saying, “You definitely have a point.“

The Dog continued, “I mean, you guys worry about us in the middle of the night the way you worry about your own children. You take us to the doctor; you built us nice houses to live in. You buy us really really good food! You take us to park every time we want to go to the park. You play with us whenever we want you to play with us. Now, you are buying us clothing like you are buying for your children. You even have life insurance for us. And all we have to do is to love you, but what you guys don’t understand is that we love you because you do all these things for us. You saw how quickly I came away with you after having being with my former master, the gentlemen for over fifteen years. He swore to his friends I have all the love for him.

Dogs portrait by Melinda Copper

Sometimes I am on his lap, other times I am laying right next to him, other times I am just in the same room with him. I know he thinks because I love him I want to be near him, so I let him think that, but really what I was really doing, I wanted to be in the same room where he is, so I could hear what they are talking about. That is what I am really interested in. I want to hear about the news of business, about the latest inventions, latest technologies, the new Art shows, and whatever else goes on in the world. But as soon as something better comes along you see me gone. Now I mind you not all dogs are like me. Some dogs are too week to leave their masters.” The Dog chuckled and said, “I can’t believe I just said ‘their masters’ because as soon as I said that the question has occurred to me ‘who is the master of who? Anyway, the Dog who are afraid or too weak to leave their masters are the ones who in our communities are called the ‘Hangers on’. They hang on to their dear life. So, not all Dogs are like me, but they are all like me in this way. They are there because you, humans, serve them. So, you are their servants, which makes us your masters even though it may look the other way around and that is precisely the plan. It is Sun Zi. So, well”, the Dog continued, “all of this I thought about last night at the night watch and while I was thinking about that because of the cypher, I have realized that the life of the dog and the life of a man describes also the cypher. It is a full circle as the expression goes. First, man tames wolf to make dog and dog tames man to make a servant.

Full circle. And now it feels to me that you and I are the beginning of the new circle because now you and I are both having tea and we are on the quest together to find the ancestors. Who would of thought that such a thing would occur and yet here it is. And the amazing thing is as soon as I realized this I realized it is Neoillusion. I began rejoicing in the middle of the night thinking that I have understood Neoillusion, but just when I thought that I completely forgot it again and as soon as I have reasoned through I have remembered it again. Then, I soon as I have remembered it again I forget it again and this has been my experience with this and this is why when I cam to tell you about it then you have read me your poem then I have read them for myself I realized that it is also a Neoillusion. That is why I wanted to hang on to them because I want to probe into them to see if I could really understand Neoillusion because I am having a feeling of something life changing happening to me.”

The Artist listened and said, “ that is the thing with Neoillusion. It is and it isn’t, it is and it isn’t. It is and it isn’t, on and on and on. And this is the process and this is how it makes itself and this is now it shows itself, and this is how it lives itself. Like one minute you are alive and the next minute you are not. Where did you go? Where did you come from? And why aren’t you not back? The answer is Neoillusion. That is all we can say about it, but of course all is all.”

The dog was shaking his head up and down in agreement and saying the artist, “Can you teach me about Neoillusion?” The Artist says, “Wait a minute? You really want to know about Neoillusion?” The Dog says, “Absolutely.”

#theartistandthedog #Discourse #NEOILLUSION #Neoillusion #Angel #DogStories

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