The third Chapter Freeing the Paradise Bird
What is beauty? What is the difference between one who bursts at the sight of the years’ first daisies
into jubilant dithyrambs, and one who doesn’t give a fart about blooms at all?
The Third Performance differs from the first and the second by a number of inconsistencies. A lovely,
somewhat exotic young lady with a large tattooed rose on her bosom is perched on a cage which in turn
stands on the huge leaf of a water lily that floats on a mountain lake. In reality all three should have
foundered some time ago, but did not do so because, as we know by now, the artist doesn’t give a damn
neither were the objective truth is concerned. The same may be said of the paradise bird whom the
young lady has given its freedom, because it has grown by now so big that its marvelous form covers
most of the evening sky.
the reason why an important detail must be considered, namely the apple laying at the feet of the young
lady. She has eaten from it, and we are thus reminded of another apple which has played an important
part in the annals of mankind, allegedly with the most serious consequences.
Icarus dived with widely spread wings into the sun and was destroyed by her immense beauty. Whereas
his old father, much more experienced, drifted along at a reasonable altitude and had his bottom
warmed without endangering the wax of his feathers.
This is what the Third Performance is in fact all about, namely artificial ecstasies which open doors
into regions of such joy and beauty that in the end the mind cannot sustain them anymore. In other
words: once the tide has turned, the whole fantastic show will be nothing but epitomes in distorting
mirrors, pitiable reflections of the pure and immense reality, dried poppies in nocturnal gardens were
wild beasts with burning eyes lay in wait.
The old master comedians, those who wrote some of the finest stage pieces for our Traveling Company,
have always warned against dangerous shortcuts on the long and perilous road to the ideal performance.
The brains of present-day humans do not, morphologically speaking, differ much from those of our
forebears who lived in a world that still looked and smelled they way our generous Maker had it
planned a long time ago. The Free City of Frankfurt, for example, counted during the poet Goethe’s
boyhood about thirty thousand souls, yet was one of Europe’s most important economical and cultural
centers. People lived somewhat cramped within the high walls, but had vast gardens outside which
provided fruit and wine and vegetables in abundance. Today, only a little over two hundred years later,
the place has changed into a deafening, stinking, unstoppable giant kraken with millions of more or less
shaken inhabitants who are assisted by a phalanx of equally shaken psychologists, psychiatrists, social
workers, therapists, gurus, Valium quacks, false prophets and other mountebanks to make bearable a
strictly manmade existence which has no roots in God’s Creation anymore. During Goethe’s time the
many sounds and smells were still natural. Horses clip-clapped over the cobblestones, artisans were
busy with their different crafts, town-criers made their news known, musicians played, bells rung, dogs
barked, children played, the neighbor’s young wife sang a little tune because she was happy. The smells
were anything from newly baked apple pie to fermenting wine, charcoal fire to a fresh turd dropped out
of a window. Today the din is nasty, monotonous, penetrating and unnatural, just like the smell of the
petrol fumes. Small wonder therefore if man, who is a mammal like all others and thrives best in a pure
and intact nature, will slowly but surely turn illogical, obstinate, melancholic, hysterical, aggressive or
And now it must be considered what happens if someone, who lives already in an a precarious
environment, leaps straight into the heart of the sun: sooner or later a moment will come when the
artificial paradises begin to fade, replaced by a different perception that shows with glaring clarity the
terrible crimes done to mankind and the planet in the name of profit and progress. And it is quite
possible that some find the realization a little to heavy on their shoulders and buckle under.
Hieronymus Bosch, matchless lumen of the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Lady, has exposed the
different stations, agonies and chimeras of acute schizophrenia with an urgency, vividness and enormity
never reached again. The fact that he added here and there a little toad to the terrible tale surprises
nobody who has studied the Flowers of Evil. That king of frogs who received such a passionate kiss from
the lovely princess revealed himself after the honeymoon as a bloody liar and murderer.
With respect to the afore mentioned second apple it must be said that nobody, unless it is identical with
the first, has broken any law by eating from it. This strange story has been invented long ago on the
shores of the Dead Sea by a melancholic Bedouin who knew nothing but shifting dunes, sand-fleas and
tall pillars of salt. The true Expulsion from Paradise has begun only recently with the invention of
concrete and steel.