A Truth-Seeker

I stood in a cave. The walls were as black as the vastness space itself – but in my mind I perceived that there was a wall. I watched an old man sitting on a stone in a pond. His convoluted posture reflected the struggle of a man who attempted to solidify an impossible thought – frozen in place atop that disfigured piece of rock. Should he try to unravel himself he would but fall into the waters – shallow or deep I had no way of knowing.

There was a hum in that cave. Echoed from the walls, you could not hear from whence it came, but the deep guttural sound resembled a never-ending groan of a man. The depth of the vibrations resounded in my own throat, but it was not from me – it was from that strange man I have come to see.

I called to him – and minutes passed. Echoes dissolved into the same, deep, throbbing sound. I was skeptical that he could hear me, but I tried again.

This time, after that displaced roar of a human speech had subsided, the groan had stopped. He did not say anything – but suddenly I noticed that I could hear every breath and every sweat drop, amplified, unforgivingly. He could hear my thoughts.

We paused. We listened. We watched – two animals locked in each other’s gaze. The man had deep, ancient wrinkles and brows as white and twisted as the clouds of the Starry Night. There were cracks on his stone that I have not noticed before. I wondered if they were always there.

For the third time, I asked,
“What have you come to know, wise old man?”
The walls shook. Sand and pebbles fell from the invisible ceiling into my face, my eyes. It was then that I noticed that the cracks in the stone were getting bigger. I was causing this to happen.

I was resolved to never speak again, in fear for the fragile rock upon which he stood – but then I heard the parting crack of dry, sticky lips. The man spoke so softly at first I could not hear what he said, but each echo rung louder and louder until it seemed as though he was whispering directly into my ear:

“There are things so subtle that in the act of knowing that thing you change the very thing which is being known, which in turn changes what it is to know that thing which is being known.”

Without even thinking, I replied
“HUH?”
That was it. Maybe if I kept quiet or whispered, things would have been different. I heard a loud “CLOP!”, and a rustle of cracking. His rock started splitting, surprisingly slowly, teasing his immanent death.

With a sudden twist of expression from eternal rumination into one of ultimate defiance, his brows unwrinkled and his hot iron eyes penetrating into my treacherous soul, he shouted:

“THERE IS A TRUTH SO GREAT THAT THE VERY ACT OF KNOWING THAT TRUTH CHANGES WHO IT IS THAT IS KNOWING THAT TRUTH, WHICH IN TURN CHANGES WHAT IT IS TO KNOW THE TRUTH BEING KNOWN BY HIM WHO IS KNOWING THAT TRUTH!”

The rock broke into two, complex, geometric shapes. The man held one rock in his left hand and the other with his right foot – paused in a comic moment of yogic triumph – then fell, ultimately, into to the watery abyss.

The echoes of the splash dissolved into the a deep, throbbing sound. This time it was my own groaning. WIth a desperate realization I looked down onto that which I was standing.

I was standing upon a small rock in the middle of a pond.

A Truth-Seeker

Asher Davidson

Los Angeles, United States

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Artist's Description

A Kafkaesque short story on the nature of what it means to know.

Artwork Comments

  • ellamental
  • Asher Davidson
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