the emperor’s robes

Words put together into a sentence are supposed to mean something. They’re supposed to communicate a meaningful concept or a coherent thought. Poetic images and psychobabble may sound good, but if it doesn’t mean anything then its only objective is to ensure our mute and complicit acquiescence. You may recall the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. Everybody knew that the Emperor was not in fact wearing robes of the finest imaginable quality, even him. They risked his displeasure if they were to say so, however, but the fact that they surrendered en masse to the delusion did not change the true nature of his wardrobe. It took a small boy to point that out.

Who is our guru in this fanciful tale, spouting this rubbish? Is he the vainglorious and ridiculous Emperor, or the unscrupulous tailor convincing all that only the worthy and perceptive can see the invisible cloth? Surely he is the tailor, and the cloth is the phrase. It’s easy enough to dream up such stuff, too, I can assure you. “The transcendent quantumality of the soul’s divine tone harmonises with the world-spirit’s fifth dimension fundamental,” for instance. I made that one up just now. Without coffee. “Quantumality” isn’t even a real word, but it sounds impressive. It has that trendy scientific ring to it appropriate for this 21st Century.

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