|Phonebook Volume #7|
|Collects Issues: 151 - 162|
|1st Printing||5000 copies|
|Date of 1st Print||March 1993|
|# of Pages||246|
1/04: Q1a. The Coins: We see coins decaying at the bottom of the ocean. Is it correct to assume the nine bubbles emanating from one of the coins are meant to represent the nine spheres?
DAVE: Yes. And the planets in the solar system. Mercury, Venus, the Earth, etc. The first coin basically just lets off a shower of sparks and the second coin generates these perfect spherical shapes. I was labouring under the misapprehension that the planets were formed of matter "thrown off" by the sun. Which I'm not sure isn't at least partly true. The planets coalesce in much the same way that the sun coalesces and a planet, it seems to me, signifies a greater level of coherence than does a ring. I suspect that's one of the messages of the solar system. Out of the nine planets, only Saturn and Uranus have rings (or is it Neptune?). Planets and moons are more common. Of those entities orbiting the sun, only the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is largely incoherent. The system which we inhabit is 80 to 85% coherent and 15 to 20% incoherent. There is hope.
DAVE: It's certainly one of the prevailing belief systems which dominate Estarcion. As to whether you should or shouldn't believe it, you might as well ask "Are we to believe that there was an historical Jesus?" The core nature of belief is choice.
DAVE: That would be a far less commonly held belief than the belief that Tarim, when he walked the earth, minted coins. The fact that the title character is an aardvark would tend to skew belief in that direction on the part of the reader, which isn't to say that it's insupportable as belief systems go.
Q2a. Strange happenings: Underwater, the coins are still rising - orbiting each other and glowing. At a Chico painting session (great painting!), the nude model sees tiny Cerebi. Just as Cerebus orders the villagers to attack the Cirinists, Thatcher sees part of the city wall grow in a penis-like shape. I guess overall we're supposed to think that Cerebus rousing himself to action and becoming a player again has the effect of causing weird things to happen over the world. Is there a specific pattern?
DAVE: The idea that I was trying to get across was of a transformational state that was so widely dispersed and so various in character that no pattern could be readily discerned-it was impossible to stand far enough back to see the Big Picture (which prefigures the trip through the solar system-a genuine try at standing far enough back). I was already aware that that was the nature of reality-that, in our own world, each day's newspaper essentially documents the fitful progress of the global storyline as it has changed since yesterday. It's the reason I think the news is so compelling. Our higher natures recognize the larger pattern and are absorbed in studying that while our human natures are interested in what we perceive to be disparate and unrelated episodic chronologies. I tried to hint at the former while documenting the latter. It's a tangential observation to the old "if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a noise?" How many things happen that we aren't around to see? How much of the debate between unresolvable dualities takes place outside of the realm of human perception?
Q2b: Is it merely a case that with Cerebus charging and slaughtering Cirinists, his amplified energy is spreading out, along with the action of the Black Lotus (another amplifier)?
DAVE: It's certainly partly that, but it's also the fact that he has accidentally achieved a dormant and quiescent state over an extended period as a result of the profound shock that he's experienced. What is the net effect of catatonia upon whatever the thing is that inhabits him/he is inhabiting? My best speculation was that the spirit enlarges under such a circumstance and effectively begins to seep outward-like the fog created by a dry ice machine-and to permeate all aspects of its surrounding reality: that is, that catatonia has a great deal in common with meditation and other transcendental states: the difference being the respective catalysts, in the first case a psychological trauma and in the second case an imperative toward self-improvement. The danger in the former case is that a comparable trauma is apt to hurl the subject out of the transcendental state with the same force that he was hurled into it. So everything he's become hooked up to through the seepage becomes subject to the same form of whiplash. Depending on the severity of the reaction (which in turn hinges on the extent to which the connection has been made) everything in the spiritual vicinity abruptly begins to rise above or in one sense or another move outside of its previous state and discharges or extrudes or divides one part of its intrinsic nature centering on The Other from the other part of its intrinsic nature centering on Self because Jaka's presumed death is the initial catalyst for the seepage and Jaka's mistreatment becomes the secondary catalyst for breaking out of quiescence. All you need is love to trigger a series of peculiar and occasionally catastrophic episodes over a wide geographic area.
Q2c: Are the circling coins attempting to re-create the sphere, and make what seems to be a physical representation of Einstein's formula E=MC2, precursor to another "big bang"? (i153)
DAVE: The circling coins are enacting, rather disinterestedly by the looks of things, the two dichotomous political positions in the debate on the preferred nature of The Other-whether it is better to just hurl off a bunch of sparks (the spermatozoa/masculine/masturbation position) or to generate small imperfect replicas of oneself (the egg/feminine/procreative position).
Q3a. Po: Suenteus Po is revealed as the third Aardvark. Were all (or some) of his previous incarnations (ex. Goldsmith Po who was burned at the stake) also aardvarks?
DAVE: Well, that would be a position worthy of a certain amount of debate. It depends on what you think distinguishes Suenteus Po from others and whether you think he's right or "right" in his viewpoints. Is it better to live your life in isolation so as to avoid having negative effects on the world and is that what distinguishes Suenteus Po from others? Is Po's largest over-arching reality monasticism or aardvark nature? He would hold to the former view, I think. He would be of the Gandhi school in that regard, passive resistance and so on. Buddha nature. Cirin, on the other hand, is of a more activist breed. You have to get out there and improve things...even if you make them worse. Po is an aardvark and he imparts as much of the history of aardvarks to Cerebus as he deems necessary, but I don't think he feels any special kinship with his genetic predecessors. How he chose to live his life was, to him, more important than the physical qualities he shares with this particular strain of mutation. It's an interesting philosophical construct: "If I'm so different from everyone else, what possible justification could I have for interfering in their lives?"
Q3b: Po states that "capricious aspects" of his consciousness have a habit of interfering. (i158) Does this mean all (or some) of the earlier Po's whom Cerebus met in Mind Games I-VI were just capricious aspects?
DAVE: It depends on whether capriciousness in this case is a reason or an excuse. If you are pledged to non-interference presumably you don't have any capricious aspects. You just don't interfere. The Buddha scrupulously just sits there. I think it's more likely that Po wasn't completely sold on non-interference and consequently interfered a lot more than he could comfortably accept as an intrinsic reality. Just telling Cerebus what his history was and showing him some of the implications of his own choices couldn't help but change Cerebus' nature. A more well-informed Cerebus was a different Cerebus, potentially a more dangerous Cerebus and he became well-informed through Po's interference. It was one of the net effects of Cerebus going from a catatonic and quiescent state to an active state and going in search of reality. He was going to corner Suenteus Po, another The Other, essentially driving him out of his own catatonic and quiescent state and causing problems for everything that he was hooked up to from his own extended period of quiescence. Interfering a little bit never works because it's impossible to limit it to a "little bit".
Q3c: Could one of these "aspects" have been involved with Claremont in the fake elf caper?
DAVE: Could well have been. One of the problems that I imagine attaches itself to spiritual levels of existence is that the "higher up" you go and the longer and more effectively you achieve a quiescent state, the more things interconnect and the less possible it becomes to limit the effects that you have. What is a stray thought in your own reality can become a transformational insight to someone you are connected with. If the transformation is a negative one, what is your level of culpability for your stray thought? In a lot of ways, Suenteus Po was just trying to get Cerebus to calm down. Calming down as a choice works, calming down as an instruction or a direct order won't. Showing Cerebus the implications of the actions he has already taken as a means of getting him to stop taking action only unsettled him and amplified his discordant effects.