Alexandre's Notes: The Fountain
Some say that humans are perfect creatures, molded in the image of some foreign god and granted all the blessings of reason, emotion, and soul. We know this to be false. Humanity is supremely imperfect, at best a corruption of the form of Ántou, and more likely simply another one of His creations, specially made in no way and unique only in that we have sacrificed our physical abilities for heightened intellectual capacity.
We know that we are imperfect because, like all animals, we have defects. Some babies are born with disfigured body parts; I have seen some of them preserved in embalming oils in Père Heutine’s laboratory. We have seen, too, that some people have defects of the heart; a weakness in that complex, many-chambered organ which, despite its God-designed genius, lacks certain failsafes to prevent, for instance, the crise cardiaque. And there are other issues, too. Why do we have that unused bone in our pelvis that could, if elongated, become a tail? Why does our skin blister when exposed to the sun for too long, despite the fact that we have always worked and lived in the fields? Why are we blind at night while creatures like snakes and owls have no trouble seeing in the dark?
It is no surprise, then, that our minds are limited as well. A wise man knows that he is un fou — that is, a fool, or one who is blind to his own self. For it is difficult to truly introspect and engage with one’s spirit. Is it even possible to see into the depths of one’s own mind? Or is it, like the darkness, inaccessible to our mortal limitations?
Meditation is one way to look into one’s own soul. In the same way that we meditate in order to commune with Ántou, using powerful drugs and incense and ancient breathing techniques, so too we can use that knowledge to commune with ourselves. For what is the soul if not divine? And who knows our souls better than the Eternal Lord? But meditation has its limits. For one thing, it is impossible to completely ignore the outside world during meditation. And for another, it is impossible for the mortal mind to fully comprehend something divine such as the soul. For this, we need assistance.
There is one place in the world where it is possible to learn the truth about oneself: the Fountain. Its location has since been lost to time, but records tell of its existence and it is mentioned in the Sacrésante several times. During the era of the Order of the Ring, monks would bathe in the Fountain to gain divine introspection into themselves. It was a method of self-reflection, and a way to understand one’s weaknesses and improve upon them.
What must it be like to see oneself? How is it possible to look through one’s mind like a windowpane and see inside, laid bare, one’s soul? I do not know. Perhaps this is how the ancient monks gained access to magic. Perhaps they were better than we are. Perhaps they are more divine. But there is nothing, I believe, that can save a man from being le fou. We are nothing next to the Divine Creator, Ántou.