The Unfortunate Idioms of Cognitive Dissonance and the Music I cannot Hear
By Paolo Greer
The following was written by a friend. I asked his permission to publish the writing and he gladly gave it. I enjoy the rich description and the meandering path the essay follows. Thank you Paolo.
There is an old brichero or gigolo, long hair, dressed all in black, who sells jewelry on the steps of Siete Angelitos just opposite the Healing House. He betrays his ulterior motives with a series of young puppies that he apparently cares nothing about save they serve as a chick magnets.
Nearby, is a grizzled white dog that inhabits the doorstep of a master who probably does not feed it. The hound is mostly feral, ignoring everyone and everything except another cur that invades his territory, an area which he defends savagely.
The other day, the mutt, who has seldom looked at me over the years, repeatedly rubbed against my legs, begging to be embraced.
Down the hill, just across Choquechaka, there is a boy who has down syndrome. I have never seen him speak or acknowledge anyone, although he is especially attentive to the noise from his radio.
Often, words defy communication and maybe this lack of perception is why we love life inadequately.
Charles the Fifth is reported to have said, “I speak French to my ambassadors, English to my accountant, Italian to my mistress, Latin to my God and German to my horse.”
Charles, King of the Conquistadors, only learned Spanish well late in life and his horse probably didn’t understand his crude German. Nor I suspect did the king, who also bore the title of Holy Roman Emperor, comprehend which came first, the chicken or the egg.
It is important and I will tell you the answer; neither.
Chicken and egg are words, conventions of dialogue among like speakers to convey an idea. However, the map is not the territory and the inherent danger of such misconceptions is that, once we learn a language well, it speaks us.
We are manifestations of guttural expressions, the nonsense of provincial likes and dislikes, of prejudices and other limitations … for beauty, like ugliness is inculcated into the mind of the beholder.
Perhaps, it is preferable that I have been so deaf in this life. Still, I sometimes wish that I could hear well enough to fathom a better idiom and sing the songs that might give my soul the ability to appreciate the greater mysteries of the world around me.
I know they are out there but I have no words for them …
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