The Seminar on Advanced Reasoning
After many years of study, the student perceives the window, which is on the other
side of the window. This has been happening for centuries but every occurrence is unlike
every other occurrence.
The student had been applying himself with the discipline of a spoon, to which he
felt a deep and universal obligation, which he fully intended to repay.
He had also been reading a How-To manual on rest and relaxation, which put him to
sleep. He was not sure which kind of death this sleep was, and therefore, did not yet
desire to awaken. His teacher’s white robes were soaking up the blood from the
thumbscrews, which had allowed him to reveal the universal truths necessary for his
vision to penetrate the outer window.
After a while the teacher politely requested that his thumbs be disguised so as not to look
“Which thumbs might those be?” queried the attentive student, having learned his
lesson from years of deceptively phrased test questions.
“I believe it would be safe to assume that I was in attendance when the
thumbscrews were applied to certain aspects of my being visible in the physical realm
and appropriate to the function of the aforesaid specialized research device,” ventured the
“Since we have failed to provide an adequate control group, the norm cannot be
taken for granted. It might very well be that the particular thumbs which appear to be
attached to my own opposable pivoting devices are the ones which are in need of
disguise,” ventured the student. “If I were to be presented with a reasonable quantity of
evidence of the abuses visited upon, for example, the common mosquito, while dining, let
us say, in his usual manner, by numerous members of the four- and/or two-footed species
of mammals which appear to find the aforesaid creature annoying, would it then be
reasonable to assume that it was only the mosquito’s dining etiquette which was
responsible for those abuses?” furthered the student, becoming more and more
self-assured in his presentation. “And if I were to assume, upon receiving anecdotal
documentation alone, that one of your testicles had fallen into a bowl of tomato soup, and
further, concluded that said testicle was no longer attached to any part of your body,
would I not be, through omission of sufficient comparative data, guilty of presumptuous
reasoning?” pressed the student.
Whereupon the teacher, opening the distorted window to his fearful soul, fainted,
illuminating the difference between the particular variety of “sleep” he was thereby
engaged in and the variety to which his all-too-dedicated student would later more
naturally succumb without anxiety or coercion of any kind. The teacher at very nearly
that same later moment, realizing he was, indeed, not dead, woke up from one variety of
“sleep” and quickly fell into another, where he found a window that looked out upon yet
another window, whose dimensions could only be fully understood, he was certain, after
many years of study, to which he now dedicated himself without the aid of any instructor
at all, overlooking entirely the meaning of the abandoned spoon which had been placed upon its dusty windowsill.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.