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The Museum of Vestigial Desire


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By Nachiket Joshi

Ancestor worship is not what it used to be. No longer a dubious path to glory, it represents a slow, accumulative process, like stringing together the slightly withered flowers offered by the past. Kneel at the altar all you will, but not as a devotee blinded by a bruising form of faith, but as an artisan kneels in his workshop, tools at hand, an itch in the fingers, and sweat crawling down her temples. There is no existence beyond signs some say, and thus no value other than that designated through signification. And yet, somehow, aside from this unending game of references (poker? Chess?) the past bellows forth with its singular voice, and with it the world does too. Leave theory aside, for a moment, if you will; and strain your ears towards those voices that rustle gently like leaves in the autumn wind. They are not here to torment you. Their only vocation is to resonate. To resonate and to teach. What is it that they say? That right down to your bones, to the chain of observers reflecting each other in your head, to the quiver in your throat before you unleash a song upon the world, there is always a precedent lurking somewhere across the swarming layers of time. Heed to them, whether as an ocean of scribbled text from which a few currents reach your doorstep, or merely as the shade of an oak tree that has stood firm on the beach since the time Kronos abdicated his throne. The past is not a foreign land. It is you, glimpsed through the sinkhole of memory, genealogy, knowledge and forgetfulness.

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