Subject to Scrutiny

This clown is filled with vagaries like hot air within a balloon.

Men are truly like balloons. The more content they fill themselves with, the greater does the blown up linings take form. One grows to resemble a horse, another a dog, and the third a rat. The animal is shaped by some basic tendencies, perhaps inherent enough to be thought of as something essentially real. The content, though, is mere hot air, filled with properties which decide whether it will take flight or sink down heavy like an object which is a slave to the oppressive force of gravity. Analogies such as this can take us down a path ripe with rich symbols, offering insights which otherwise are locked away from us by a veil of ignorant mystery. If a man is indeed like a balloon, it would be fruitful to walk down the steps of this colourful simile so as to unlock all of its hidden implications.

The lining of the balloon and its qualities of elasticity refer to a man’s traits: whether he has, for example, a tendency towards the arts, if he mocks proprieties, or possesses a penchant to negative daydreams. It is true enough that every person houses within them all of the characteristics found in all of daily life or Shakespearian dramas. That is, a man has in him all of the good and evil archetypes and can either be said to be, more or less, a balanced mix of all of these, or a caricature of a minority of them. It is the latter which gives bizarre forms to the balloon, where instead of a hearty rounded figure, it has its shape skewed into something quite uncanny. To bite one’s nails would in this case contribute to a jagged feature, immediately available to sight by the length, width and breadth of the balloon.

The size of the balloon and its capacity to float and flutter or, on the other hand, trail against the ground, refers to the quality and nature of the content a man has fed on since his birth. In this case it should be acknowledged that a man’s capacity to eat and digest content from life is far greater at the beginning of his journey than at the end. A diminishing rate, dictated by a logarithmic scale, makes it that a man consumes material from life experience 1,000 times slower at old age than to that of infancy. His mouth, for lack of a better term, becomes ever more constricted, and ever less able to chew and masticate the crude into the fine. So the content which filled the child will always impact him tremendously more in later life than do any great volumes of experience in his more respectable years.

If a man is enamored by the hot air which forms his reality, and to which he attaches his sense of identity, than that content — which isn’t real — will weigh on him like anchored rules and laws which turn the clown into stone rather than flesh. Realizing the fate of such a heavy balloon, he may be struck with the notion that it would be better to disbelieve and devalue the hot air and place his attention purely on the tendencies which make him one way and not another. He will wonder, why do I have this tendency, why do I walk, think and feel in such a way? He will struggle to see and realize what bearing all of these patterns of behaviour have on his past, present and future. “Does it really objectively matter”, he wonders, “if I am this way or that way?” The shape will seem ever more arbitrary, and the tendencies which determine the shape will become ever more subject to scrutiny.

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