Larger Than Life


The Mummery Book
— part 2

Mummery Book

In keeping with the scale of The Mummery Book's core myth, every scene is painted larger than life to illuminate a reality far more profound than the one we normally perceive.

For example, when Raymond is ready to undergo the familiar rite of passage of leaving his parents to go out on his own, he and his father visit a barbershop in the city.

The scene starts out as an amusing parody of the archetypal male habitat, with slick, at-your-service barbers and "prettified women" manicurists. There are only pleasantries back and forth and a general feeling of good will.

But suddenly the mood changes, becoming more serious, then ominous, and ending with all the barbers and manicurists together brandishing their sharp instruments to attack Dad in the barber's chair.

This is no ordinary life-transition then — or at least here that rite of passage is rendered in starker colors.

For we understand that the world of Mom and Dad is itself an archetype for the limited egoic vision of life that all of us inherit and would otherwise be doomed to replicate, like the black-and-white checkerboard squares replicating on the floor of the barbershop.

Still the scene is by no means over. There is more horror when the barbershop walls fall away and "The long-expected Flash! And Gunning! Of the democratic Neighbor-Wars began!" As the Narrator describes it:

The billions of the Nations of every ego’ s claim, were kniving one another— tusk-to-tusk! And every man was man-to-man! And every woman did her part! And every household’ s weapons were Amazing! on the street! And every single body was Cut! Down—to its own size of mind! And every individual declared a separate State!

And all of humankind, as one-by-one, became a mob of Mummery. A Clacking! Pattern of mere and Clicking! "individuals"—with murderously reasonable demands!

So it goes throughout The Mummery Book, which not only tells the story of Raymond's unique journey but helps us understand the mummery of our own world, with piercing, archetypal scenes that lay bare the reality of our search for truth, love, pleasure, and the consolations of religion and spirituality, in episodes that are by turns — and, often, in rapid sequence — comic, heartbreaking, erotic, devastating, ecstatic, horrific.




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