The officer lost in thought approaches cell no. 12 after a rather disheartening intercourse with the prison warden.

Officer: A visitor came to see you today, he couldn’t come in, as you know the warden has closed doors to your pleasure *sigh* He came with this aphorism, hoping to discuss it with you – seems you’re quite popular out there – “there is no talent, only desire”. What do you make of it?

Prisoner No. 12: That is an interesting aphorism that runs far and wide. I have seen something similar under one of the numerous portraits of the architect of our dear penitentiary.

Officer: You call it ‘dear’ after all it does to you? Come on, have a heart.

Prisoner No. 12: I cannot deny that this is my home, can I? I did things and according to the definitions of the day, this is where I qualify to be, and this I accept. That is a reason that trumps all others and keeps this prison dear to me in spite of what happens. Also, home is where the heart is – I put my heart here, it doesn’t get sad, Thirdly, last but not lastly, the foregoing tells you the conditions will not give me distaste for this place. It is this people who constitute and create these conditions and the people will change, either psychologically or they will physically be transferred – I can’t be bothered by them. It is the people who do the distasteful stuff not our dear penitentiary though I allow that in a certain sense ‘penitentiary’, as a concept, is empty without people to populate it.

Officer: That’s interesting. Are you not just tricking your heart and mind into believing something else?

Prisoner No. 12: My dear friend, we are always tricking ourselves. What we tell ourselves is responsible for our reality. I can only re-interpret again and again and again, I can’t tell you about the reality or unreality – for that to be done, I will be telling you silence.

Officer: I have often seen you stentorianly silent. Is that something like what you mean?…interesting..I don’t know if I should be sucked into this that you’re saying. I just don’t trust it, it might just be self-deception.

Prisoner No. 12: (scoffs in disregard of the officers misgivings and to change topic) What he means by ‘desire’ is simply direction of flow of the mind. A ‘disposition to’. With poetic fervor, it is a turning of the Beloved upon her suitor – Beloved is mind, object is suitor. Like a light turning upon and focusing on a particular thing – idea or physical object. He meant ‘talent’ as the individual strength of a person in a certain area of human experience. Normally, talent is what one is naturally good at. I will extend talent to cover what a person naturally does or ‘instinctively’ does. So, we put that interpretation together with that of desire and we get something looking like a tautology. We just combine the interpretations and kick out the common terms and we get “a disposition to do a particular area of human experience”.

Desire, here, is simply ‘directed flow’. It is not founded on any reason or any premise. There is no ‘because’ here.

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