Untitled - ROLAND TOPOR
E X C E R P T S
From page 19 ...

My experience the night before had awakened, it seemed, a new faculty of vision within me and I felt as a blind man must feel when he sees for the first time. I saw deeper meanings in everything around me and felt that I suddenly understood the secret interconnectedness of the universe. I saw that the world I'd lived in my whole life thus far was a deceitful place, that the real truth lay hidden beneath the surface appearances. And I was aware that I too had been wandering around in an ignorant slumber. I felt like I'd been battling endlessly with some sacred cosmic puzzle and now, in an instant, I had caught sight of how it all fitted together.

From page 70 ...

The question I was looking at was, "Why?". An extremely interesting question, it stands alone in a unique category, apart from the wheres?, whens?, whos?, whats?, whiches? and hows? of the world. These questions merely provide information on the co-ordinates of an entity or event in space and time. They do not give any real meaning about the thing itself. "Why?", on the other hand, digs deeper. "Why?" seeks reasons and reasons are more meaningful than co-ordinates.

A good way to illustrate the unique nature of "Why?" is to apply the full spectrum of questions to evolution (a fitting topic because it surely rates as one of the greatest theories of western science). Evolution explains when life began, which life began, where life began, and even how life began. But ask an evolutionist why life began and you will be met by a stunned silence.

From page 73 ...

I suppose it was understandable that I should become obsessed with the question "Why?" after my hospitalisation. After all, what is insanity, other than irrational behaviour resulting from the loss of your faculties of reason? That's the link - reason. Asking "Why?" leads to reasons and reasons lead to Reason. When someone has experienced a total loss of reason, it's not surprising that, at some stage, he would embark on an extensive search for reasons. It seemed the sane thing to do.

From page 93 ...

At first all of these insights didn't seem to have much bearing on my Quest. But then I stumbled upon the fact that besides vowels and consonants, there existed a third, smaller group of three letters in its own special category. Although these letters were considered consonants, in certain situations they could also serve as vowels: W H and Y! The uncanny coinciding of these three letters in the Tetragamaton has not gone unnoticed and there is a respected school of thought that believes that the semi-holy quality of the letters (by virtue of their being semi-vowels) is the exact reason that they are contained in the Tetragamaton.

Of the three, it is Y that has most closely retained its vowel status. The only English words that exist today without vowels are those that contain Ys (e.g. sky, fly and why). This is significant because it finally secures this enigmatic letter a unique role among the 26 letters of our alphabet. And this role was about to lead me to one of the greater breakthroughs of my Quest.

From page 106 ...

The poem provided the bridge between the letter Y and what had happened fifteen years earlier. Was my poem not essentially about a dilemma, and the inability to solve this dilemma? Had this inability not led to a split occurring, so that the individual could no longer retain the condition of "undividedness"? Was the state of "split mind" (or Schizophrenia) not inevitable after that? Was the branch in the professor's office not only a symbol for coincidences, puns and dilemmas - but a perfect symbol for Schizophrenia?

From page 134 ...

My curiosity aroused, I made my way to the intriguing looking shop. This end of the street was a little quieter than the rest and, besides the odd cat curled up in a pool of sunlight on the sidewalk, there was not much sign of life. In the distance the majestic snow capped peaks of the Himalayas gazed down on the city.

I peered through the windows into the dimly lit interior. The inner walls of the shop were lined on either side by rickety bamboo shelves and on these shelves was a strange assortment of articles: jars containing orange and brown powders; prayer mats; embroidered cushions; and peculiar amulets. There didn't seem to be anybody about, but a collection of books on one shelf caught my eye. One or two titles were in English and I pushed open the lilac painted door and went in.

Inside there was the subtlest hint of incense and once the door closed behind me the hubbub of the city completely disappeared. I became aware of a striking stillness, and remained motionless as I peered at the books. There was a rustle and I sensed that somebody had emerged from a doorway at the back. I turned and my eyes engaged with those of a Bhutanese woman. She must have been in her late fifties as her long, dark hair was streaked with grey, and she had deep laughter lines at the corners of her eyes. Otherwise, though, her skin was remarkably smooth with that soft, golden-brown sheen common to the Bhutanese people. More than anything else I was aware of her eyes, for they possessed a sort of lucidity I have seldom seen, a look that seemed to penetrate right through me. "Can I be helping you?" she asked, in a very soft voice, which seemed incongruous with such piercing eyes.

PURCHASE