Friday, September 3, 2010

Amongst the Stones; Amidst the Sin.

At the height of my delusion in regards to joining the Explorer's Club, I felt compelled to join another association that had looser standards towards their members - the American Museum of Natural History.

Where the Explorer's Club is exclusionary, the AMNH opens its large feathery wings and gathers all sorts under its large umbrella.

Most of you may have visited and enjoyed the fruits of Theodore Roosevelt's scorched earth policy to spare no expense in bringing New Yorkers awkward stuffed specimens of grand beautiful beasts that roamed free half a world away. The Museum was the perfect moral foothold to cling to as he slaughtered his way across the world. The body count at the end was close to 12,000 beasts!

In his defense, Roosevelt said "I can be condemned only if the existence of the National Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and all similar zoological institutions are to be condemned."

So there. We ALL share the burden of those six rare white rhinos that were blunderbussed.

But one must still live even when crushed by the collective weight of our evils and the moral uncertainty of it all. 

Deep in the bowels of the Natural History Museum, there is a room that may at first seem lifeless and dull, but has a hidden virtue.

It is the Hall of Gems:
Waiting to be Zardoz-ed.

It's not very easy to get excited about ancient rocks and pebbles when there are two floors of monstrous dinosaur reconstructions immediately above you and, unless you are taking a Geology class, the act of looking at samples of anthrocite, feldspar, and granite loses its luster pretty quick.

But it is not the content of the Hall of Gems that makes it so inviting. Rather, it is the low lighting, the carpeted ampitheatre steps, and the severe unpopularity of the room that makes it the most appealing  place to study. 

It's all so very Senatorial or, actually, it's the distinct feeling one has that may be similar to the Acolytes of Plato when they lounged at his Academy, plumbing the depths in a way that only lounging lets you do.

Not unlike this:

Don't mind me, I'm plumbing.


  1. Great post! One of the best.

    My desire to get blunderbussed at that museum is growing pretty quick ( ly ).

  2. Great mirth and great acumen on the proper posture for plumbing, particularly at the Symposium. But what I can't understand is how you managed to intrigue me with the allure of the misanthropic and gratifyingly unpopular geology wing. Now that, I must think about. But if this is not dinner table ribaldry, then I'm not interested in whatever else that delicate art it might be.

  3. The depths of my soul were certainly plumbed with this transfixing post. As I lay on my divan looking at my ipad, I see the likeness of myself distorted around the tears saturating down the minute immaterial screen. Beauty, as I am sure that you will reflect upon at some end, is an expression that cannot enclose the pits of affecting voyaging that you have subjected me to. Bravo. You are a man among men, a voice of purity in a dark globe, a free soaring bird in a planet of sluggish reptilian humanoids. Had this post not been happened upon, I am confident that I would have agreed with the aged Aristotle who penned “It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.” I now know that desire can be fully satisfied, fully achieved, never seeking further gratification. I now live free of desire and I will be able to fully plumb the depths and delve into proper knowledge as I continue to study at your worthy soles.

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  5. Very naughty, EqualRightsNow! Your metaphors were not deep enough to be presentable today.