Monday, November 24, 2008

The Archive

The Archive is complete. Nothing is missing from it. Its tomes have been catalogued with absolute precision, with meticulous care, and a detailed index has been constructed for all time. There is nothing more to add. To subtract is a capital offence. The task of the Master Archivist is to maintain the order of the Archive; to ensure its completeness; to eternalize its perfection; to preserve its integrity and purity. In fact, his title is misleading. His not truly an Archivist, for he does not archive anything. As said, the Archive is complete. It contains everything that is to be contained. Nothing exists, or is allowed to exist, that is not already there. Therefore, the Archivist is more like a guardian; or a keeper, a watcher, a minder. He exists in order to guarantee that everything remains so forevermore. That nothing will be either lost or added. So that the balance may never be disturbed. If however, as it occasionally happens, a new piece of material is created, by some paradoxical twist of misfortune, then the Archivist must initiate the process of it destruction. He must order a message to be sent to the prefect agent and thereof to the field agents in the area of creation, who in turn will have to make sure the material gets eliminated immediately. You could say that the order of things is incarnated in the watchful preservation of the Archive. The Archive is all there is.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


In the disturbed village of Saint Horribilum, in the northern borders of our empire, the clock that one finds in the rather faceless central square comprises a series of noteworthy technical oddities. Such has been the apparent intent of its makers, to elucidate the vanity of existence, that they have – most strikingly - omitted the dials. Then, they introduced a functionless  automaton, a self-negation of a machine that does not work, cannot work, will never work, but nevertheless creates to the beholder the feeling of imminent working. Eyes closed, limps hanging, a diaphanous skeleton which may, if awaken, speak the time. No one lives in the central square since the clock was brought to the village, installed in the church tower and inaugurated by the Emperor’s envoy. The villagers abandoned their homes soon afterwards and all access to the square has been blocked ever since. The visitor (alas, one has to be a believer in miracles to imagine anyone wanting to visit Saint Horribilum) will have to offer considerable bribery and swear secrecy to the gods, in order to be taken to see the notorious clock. One such visitor, probably the only one ever, has written to me recently with his report. There are aspects of the report pertaining to matters of imperial security which I must conceal for obvious reasons. But I am at liberty to disclose one more interesting aspect of the village’s engineering anathema: its cunning resemblance to a miniscule globulin first encountered by the great English polymath Robert Hooke. Perhaps then, the clock is not made of nuts and bolts. Perhaps is not man-made. Perhaps it is an animal.