The Peasant George and the Sun

Let’s assume, for the sake of convenience, that we know a peasant named George: Is George more or less George when he is wearing his clothes or is he only George when he is naked? He is obviously more George when he wears his clothes, for how could you know George was a peasant without his peasant’s garb? It would be an abomination for George to wear women’s clothes or a crown like the king: Because the clothes would then be lying about him. Immodesty is much the same: It tells the world that one is something we shan’t mention in polite company. And what of society? Is George really George when he is bound to his family or is he only George when he is free and alone? Truly, George is more fully George when he is with his family. For how could we say we know George who have not seen him joke with his brother or dance with his wife? How could we ever know George without having seen his army of children following their patriarch like the merry men once followed Robin Hood? And, once having seen these things, how could we think of George without thinking too of the others? Just as it would be a lie for him to wear the wrong clothes so it is also a lie for him to assume another’s position: Either bachelorhood, by removing his wedding band, or the husband of a different wife, by a forbidden kiss or glance: And to assume the position of George’s wife or child would be to attempt to look upon George from a perspective that is not ours to look from. To see George as a father or husband is a privilege relegated to those who are his wife and children. Only they are allowed to enter into his home as, not guests, but his very own family.

In the same way the Sun, for we men, is more the Sun when it is robed in the heavens and circling the Earth; when it rises in the East clothed in radiant splendor and sets in the West in a pyrrhic blaze. So too the Sun is less the Sun in the absence of the Moon and the planets: It is the privilege, or perhaps more accurately the duty, of the Earth itself and the other planets to see the Sun as that which they circle and follow. For us as men to look at the Sun in isolation, as a flaming ball of gas which our own Earth orbits is to strip the Sun naked and shame it in front of the whole world. Perhaps it is not wrong to look upon the Sun through a telescope or from our own fabricated satellites. But we must always remember we are guests in that great gentleman’s house and not presume upon his hospitality by claiming a privilege that is only proper to his wife, the Moon and his children, the stars.

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