For this waystation, I played "Spectre," a song I wrote for the Imaginary Town of Moses collection. The lyrics reference a Taoist metaphor for the void: the night-colored pearl. It's from a parable by Chuang Tzu where an emperor receives the gift of the night-colored pearl not from 'Logic' or 'Analysis,' but from ‘Nothingness.’
Based on what the sages say, Nothingness is the source of an emancipartory state of being where one sees the world in a more interconnected way. According to quantum physics, the matter we conceive of as solid and tangible is really mostly empty space. On a molecular level, this empty matter is one undifferentiated, continuous field. In that sense, Nothingness is a kind of quantum fabric that connects us all.
And get this: according to the latest research in magnetoreception, the monarch butterfly likely uses quantum physics to sense the earth's magnetic field. Author Ed Yong describes it as an intricate “dance” between quantum particles which orchestrate chemical responses in the monarch’s antennae. In sum, the monarchs are already hip to our quantum reality of emptiness.
This brings us to a working hypothesis developed by the inhabitants of the Imaginary Town of Moses (ITM): that while we have vastly different ways of moving through and sensing the world, Nothingness, in its ability to show us the night-colored pearl, just might be able to jolt us into a new geological era of peace and multispecies flourishing. Considering all the heartbreaking events occuring in the world right now, it’s hard to imagine that’s even a possibility. But as Donna Haraway writes, "think we must" — in this case: "imagine we must."
Imaginary futures are like seeds. ITM inhabitants believe in pairing them with what Nicolas Bourriaud calls "ways of living and models of action within the existing real, whatever the scale." This is how the seeds germinate. So here are some more seeds — oscillating through the air and scattered along this bike path.
If my eyes loosen up and I start seeing double, if you bring your night-colored pearl, if the weather is fair, let’s meet down by the river and I’ll dance with you tonight.
If the bush is still burning and the mountain’s still standing, if the sea is still parted right, if your flesh turns to fire and my eyes to diamonds, I’ll dance with you tonight.
If sorrow’s a landslide and joy is a feather, and you meet me halfway between, in the full moon’s light, I’ll see you at the river and I’ll dance with you tonight.