Newsletter of the LA Underground Art Scene
Master Plate: Archive Photo of "Curiosity Cabinet With Dream Fragments"
Thurs. Oct. 30, 2008, 4:21 pm
deixis

Perhaps one might reconsider spatial temporal
aspects of the problem.  Quickly hurrying to the
same place is not necessarily part of the solution.
Thursday October 30, 2008, 1:47 pm
chew on this ye erstwhile prince of puzzles

So what is Petunia doing ensnared with other
bizarre elements in a curiosity cabinet for dream
fragments? Could it be a mysterious ancient rebus
from the Tyronian ruins?  A fragment from the long
lost prostate stone?  Is that a dung ball she is
doomed to push up the wall forever?  Or something
else entirely--something beyond the comprehension
of ordinary mortals?
Thurs. Oct. 30, 2008, 6:01 pm
The Puppet Master’s Dilemma

The presumption of control is but another of life's
foolish illusions.
First Approximation: A Personal Interpretation of Parts of Odd Jim Dotty's "Curiosity Cabinet With Dream Fragments"
by E. Ike

It is with some trepidation and an initial feeling of inadequacy that I begin this conspicuous narrative, conscious of my obligations to the reader and aware of the limitations of my needle-eyed viewpoint.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say, so while I launch the dark frigate of my thoughts toward some semblance of an interpretation worthy of the ill-repute for which I am justly famous, I
ask only that the reader reserve his judgment until the fates have provided sufficient opportunity for me to explore the vast unknown into which I now venture, unarmed and filled with a deep sense of my
own imperfect humanity...

In his prolific career as an artist, Odd Jim Dotty has achieved a well deserved reputation among the literati on six continents for the sheer range of his artistic vision and the audaciousness with which he
has tackled difficult themes and complicated concepts. That, of course, goes without saying. But what do we know of Dotty’s private and intimate thought processes? The answer is very little. Yet as
fishy as that seems, an analysis of one of Dotty’s more recent works does provide the cautious pedagogue with insight into his peculiar pre-cognitively augmented gymnastics.

Any review of the imagery included in the attached photos, even from one as primitive and uninspired as the likes of Sangfroid Uppity, will reveal clues to Dotty’s pre-conscious cogitations. You see,
essentially, Dotty is a dreamer, a practitioner of the ‘brown study’. Obviously, he spends much of his day preoccupied with spinning his mental wheels while in the act of painting (or carving) this or
that. Images appear and disappear, flow and merge, re-arranging themselves upon his mental tableau as he amuses himself with the host of limitless combinations. Myths merge with encyclopedic data,
distaff images wind around themselves, fuse and re-arrange, memories are juggled and bartered about in conversations with old selves, new selves, selves on the shelves of other selves, notions fuse with
other notions, spinning off ancillary pathways to new preoccupations garnered from a long life of exposure to myriads and myriads of unfathomable stimuli. And at the heart of Dotty’s work is a grand
and often humorous sense of the fusion of certain of these limitless possibilities.

As we turn our attention to the work Dotty calls “Curiosity Cabinet with Dream Fragments” this preoccupation with fusion will be readily apparent to everyone except Dotty’s harshest critic. As you
know, Sangfroid Uppity has described the painting as “a picture of a sardine tin crammed with ersatz trinkets recycled from a cheap downtown Van Nuys good will store.” And Uppity has even gone on
to claim “the degree of Dotty’s artistic befuddlement is amply illustrated by his violent yoking together of bugs, fish, fruit, frogs, birds, eggs, clocks, hats, chairs, umbrellas, flowers, thorns, ghastly
humanoid shadows with guts, ladders, drops of blood, primitive boxes, crude stalk legged imitations of flamingoes, crummy puppets, clouds, fences, globes and bloated acromegalics.” Needless to say,
the accuracy of Uppity’s descriptive cannon cannot, in itself, be disputed, as anyone can see. But that’s about all one can say without violating traditionally accepted standards of social decency. In any
case, why anyone would print the words of a moron whose only occupation in life is to manufacture irrelevant lists (the items of which occur in no particular or logical order) is beyond me.

It is interesting to note that Dotty has constructed his Curiosity Cabinet of eleven separate boxes. Presumably, this is not a coincidence, and we can further assume that the relations existing between
these boxes and their contents are also relevant. Perhaps, then, as we proceed along the trail of symbolism boxed for our particular entertainment, we shall discover what those subtle conjunctions are
meant to convey.

The Historical Perspective:

To assail the full range of implications, both impractical and otherwise, of Dotty’s audacious symbolustic maneuver, we must return briefly to the year 2008 when news of an impeding conundric
carbuncle first emerged upon the video screen of Eucalyptus Ike in late October of that year. Some appreciation of the disturbing chain of events under examination here may be gleaned from a close
examination of the historical record—as it has been preserved, naturally, in the digital catacombs of the Eucalyptic Brotherhood’s Email Archives. At 1:47 pm precisely, on that fate-filled Thursday, Ike
was sitting (as usual) at his comfortable bedroom computer station (wearing his warmest jumper and Bugs Beany slippers) when his email indicator began to blink with a notification of incoming data.
Mouse-ing his way to the appropriate in-box, Ike was startled to discover that Dotty, after a prolonged hiatus of silent cave dwelling, had finally once again emerged from his dark and dingy den [actually
his garage].  In auspicious appreciation of the moment, Ike clicked on his confidential email transmitter to open the errant missive.  To behold its contents, the reader is encouraged to shift his eyeballs
momentarily to the concatenation of correspondence collocated nearby. There, Ike was puzzled to discover, pushing a dung ball up the wall was the unmistakable representation of ‘Petunia,’ his
eponymous pet fly [see plate I]. Now, this might seem to be of no particular significance to the typically ill-informed outsider, but Ike sensed immediately (knowing Dotty) that something strange was
afoot, something cunning and devious, slippery with Snopsian scutage, and scutate with horny plates or scales. Any examination [post-mortem] of the Tyronian ruins was simply bound to be mortifying
if not embarrassing to Ike, to say the least, and God only knew what might emerge from a fly dicking around with a chard from the ‘lost prostate stone.’ And those ominous words-- “chew on this ye
erstwhile prince of puzzles”-- rang with a lingual chill all up and down Ike’s grizzled spine like the song of locusts breeding on the wing over prairies rich with fertile swill. Things were about to get even
more interesting when Ike realized that just to the left of Petunia’s now graven image was the fragmented view of another box, indicative no doubt of even more astringent astral revelations. [Readers
unfamiliar with the Legends and Sagas of Tyrone are encouraged to imagine an offspring the result of carnal relations between SinBad and the Bride of Frankenstein.]
Thursday October 30, 2008, 2:42 pm
New fragment found, mystery deepens
So what is Shybird hatching up?  Certainly more
than meets the I.  Could there be meaning in this
madness?
Thurs. Oct. 30, 2008, 4:05 pm
warning

One should be very, very careful.  Some careless
novice busybody got pricked--but who, and where,
and why?
Collector's Special On-line Edition
January 2011
Fri. Oct. 31, 2008,
6:36 pm, Conundrum
"I know exactly where
it was, I just couldn't
find it," he said, gazing
at the far away nearby
open door.
Thurs. Oct. 30, 2008, 6:21 pm
Warning #2

Do not feel you can relax.  This is a timed test.
Fri. Oct 31, 2008, 5:52 pm
Omen

Perhaps it would be of value
to recall "The Eagle's Gift."
Fri. Oct. 31, 6:16 pm

Feeling a bit disjointed?  Dance divination reveals
sprightly thoughts which may otherwise lie dormant.
Historical Emails from the Archives of the Eucalyptic Brotherhood
Known as the "Cogent Cojones Conundrum Sequence," this bevy of emails has achieved
apostolic status among devotees of the Dotty Cult, who maintain that a sudden path to pure
enlightenment is deftly concealed within the striking progression of rebus images. The numbered
Plates are presented precisely in the order that they were received by Ike, rather than in the order
Dotty sent them, which is indicated in the time stamped on the emails themselves.  
Plate I: Petunia's Dung Ball...
Plate II: Solemn Nest of Shybird
It is, of course, a well known fact that Tyrone was an eccentric of the first order of magnitude. And among his many eccentricities, aside from the long list of his vices, was a preternatural fascination
for insects. Nobody knew why. Not even Tyrone...Nevertheless, as I say again (for emphasis), it was a well known fact. Dotty himself had numerous occasions to observe this buggish propensity,
including the rare moment when Tyrone's formidable Morman Cricket [some say potato bug] escaped one night from its tiny bamboo cage and crawled across the hardwood floor in the front room of
the Silverado house to terrorize Barney the cat. Dotty had also made the acquaintance of Sticky, the walkingstick [family Phasmatidae], that lived for a while in one of the bedrooms used as a library
there. Thus it is entirely consistent with the historical record that Dotty would play upon these details not only to suggest a chronology of events [the Silverado period] but to hint at "something beyond
the comprehension of ordinary mortals."  Furthermore, by depicting Petunia, it was clear that Dotty's intention was to suggest familiarity with Ike's exclusive website, the home page of which features a
photo of Ike with Petunia perched upon his shirt. Hence there could be little doubt about much of the referential material the image of Petunia would evoke in Ike's mind, leaving Ike to wonder just what
that ominous dung ball was all about...notwithstanding the myth of Sisyphus...the greedy king of Corinth doomed in Hades to roll a heavy stone uphill--forever. Finally, by evoking the notion of Ike's
website, in conjunction with the ominous imperative "chew on this ye erstwhile prince of puzzles," it seemed apparent to Ike that Dotty was about to deliver additional epistles packed with even more
colon puckering potential.       
Fifty-five minutes later the next fragment [now referred to as the "Solemn Nest of Shy Bird," with its portentous hint of conjugation, arrived. Now there could be no doubt about it [according to Ike]. No
one could possibly mistake the full range of splendiferous implications inherent in this pithy pastiche because the bits and pieces were unmistakable, at least to Ike. Shybird was not only appropriately
crook necked from his laborious preoccupation with egg hatching, he was also ringed, bent, broad beaked and dressed in plumage as carnal as carnelian red. And then there were--obviously--the two
eggs themselves, still unhatched, ensconced under that single, open, levitated umbrella. "Yes, indeed!"  There it was captured in a way that only Dotty and Ike would probably ever see. For who could
guess the contents of those two indelibly speckled eggs, linked below the umbra of that little brown umbrella? Surely no ordinary mortal, preoccupied with his own worldly calculations. And who could
ever hope to assemble the incomprehensible chain of events that led to this inspired artistic outcome? Why, no one else could; that was surely obvious. So that left Ike, only Ike, to fully appreciate what
Dotty had done: "Certainly more than meets the I." And there was absolutely no contradiction in the question: " Could there be meaning in this madness?" In fact, for all intents and purposes, the nested
image now lead Ike to the certainty that "There was absolutely no logical limit to the amount of meaning any conceptualized image might contain," because the proof of that axiom was now self evident,
also hinted at the self responsible for the egg laying in the first place. Egg laying would never have been the province of the Norwalk Peacock, Dotty alone knew that [with the exception of the one and
only dark prince...of puzzles]. What a clever and magical conjunction he had achieved: the fly pushing the dung ball which evoked the notion of Hades, the image of egg hatching, the references to
something hidden but pregnant with meaning [and madness], the clustering of the egg shells under an overarching umbrella...and that long slender leg terminating in its taloned claws...      
Then, at 4:05 pm, came the cryptic warning now called the Rebus of the Rose--with its trinity of prickly interrogatives. What a cunning measure of misdirection this ominous sign held for Ike. Until
some months later he remembered the movie entitled “The Name of the Rose,” [based on the novel by Umberto Eco]. The following plot summary is echoed from the entry in Wikipedia:

In Northern Italy, during the early 14th Century A.D. Franciscan monk William of Baskerville and his
novice Adso of Melk (narrating as an old man) arrive at a Benedictine abbey where a mysterious
death has occurred ahead of an important theological Church conference. William, known for his deductive and analytic mind, confronts the worried Abbot and gains permission to investigate the death –
a young illuminator appears to have committed suicide. Over the next few days, several other bizarre deaths occur, and the two gradually discover that not everything is what it seems in the abbey. The
monk (played by Sean Connery) and his young apprentice (Christian Slater) also make the acquaintance of Salvatore (Ron Perlman), a demented hunchback who spews forth gibberish [Dis-spiranto] in
various languages [or dialects], and his handler and protector, Remigio da Varagine (Helmut Qualtinger) who, as events prove, also has a
shady past. William quickly deduces that Salvatore had once
been a member of a heretical sect and infers that Remigio likewise had been involved. He suspects that they may have been involved in the killings. Meanwhile, Adso encounters a beautiful semi-feral
peasant girl who has apparently sneaked into the abbey to trade sexual favours for food; she seduces him, [i.e. he gets pricked] and he falls in love with her. Investigating and keen to head off accusations
of demonic possession the protagonists discover and explore a
labyrinthine medieval library, constructed on multiple levels [sound familiar?] in the abbey's forbidden principal tower. William is
astonished to find that it is "one of the finest libraries in all Christendom", containing dozens of works by Classical masters such as Aristotle, thought to have been lost for centuries. William deduces that
the library is kept hidden because such advanced knowledge, coming from pagan philosophers, is difficult to reconcile with Christianity. It becomes clear that the only remaining copy of Aristotle's
Second Book of Poetics is somehow related to the deaths. William deduces that all of those who died under mysterious circumstances had read the book [again, the book, the book, the book]. His
investigations are curtailed by the arrival of Bernardo Gui (F. Murray Abraham) of the Inquisition, summoned for the conference and keen to prosecute those he deems responsible for the deaths. The
two men clashed in the past and the zealous inquisitor has no time for theories outside his own. Salvatore and the girl are found fighting over a black cockerel while in the presence of a black cat. Gui
presents this as irrefutable proof that they are in league with Satan [naturally] and tortures Salvatore into confessing. Salvatore, Remigio, and the girl are dragged before a kangaroo court tribunal where
Gui intimidates the Abbot into concurring with his judgment of heresy. But William, also "invited" by Gui to serve on the panel of judges, refuses to confirm the accusations of murder. Gui resorts to
extracting a confession from Remigio by the threat of torture, and clearly plans to take care of William for good, later. When another monk succumbs like the others, William and Adso ascend the
forbidden library, and come face to face with the Venerable Jorge (Feodor Chaliapin, Jr.), the most ancient denizen of the abbey, with the book, which describes comedy and how it may be used to
teach. Believing laughter and jocularity to be instruments of the Devil, Jorge has poisoned the pages to stop the spread of what he considers dangerous ideas: those reading it would ingest the poison as
they licked their fingers to aid in turning pages. Confronted, Jorge throws over a candle, starting a blaze that quickly engulfs the library. William insists that Adso flee, as he manages to collect an
inadequate armload of invaluable books to save; the volume of Poetics, Jorge, and the rest of the library are lost. Meanwhile, Salvatore and Remigio have been burned at the stake, and the girl is soon to
follow, when the local peasants take advantage of the chaos of the library fire to turn on Gui and free her. Gui attempts to flee but they throw his wagon off a cliff, [and he falls] to his death. William and
Adso later take their leave. A much older Adso reflects in his closing narration that he never regretted his decision to continue on with William, and that the girl was the only Earthly love of his life, yet
he never learned her name [hence the title, "The Name of the Rose," and the answer to the questions: "but who, and where, and why?"].

Now, while it is entirely possible that Dotty never intended his ‘warning’ to evoke such a response from Ike, he did place the Rose rebus adjacent to ‘The Solemn Nest of Shybird” and he did ask the
question: “…what is Shybird hatching up?”, and he did know that “Lucifer’s Lexicon of the Dark Design” had emerged from one of those so discreetly speckled eggs… Thus, even if Dotty’s motive was
otherwise intentional, there are simply too many parallels between Eco’s story and the story of the Dark Design to dismiss the chain of correspondences as a mere coincidental coincidence...

Sixteen minutes later the next rebus (Plate IV) arrived, with its ghostly image stalking the severed remains of the trunk of an ancient tree, now partially obscured by the scholarly sign 'ibid' (used to
refer to the book, page, etc. previously cited just before). In this case, if one were reading left to right, the ibid reference would logically refer to Plate II: the Solemn Nest of Shybird.  Lord almighty,
what to make of this rebus? Was Dotty skulking around the roots themselves? Was he hinting that he was stalking the very relations of Shybird's eggy tales, in a reconsideration of the "spatial temporal
aspects" of the potted plot, and that he was now aware of their explosive implications? It was such  a cunningly wrought rebus amenable to multiple interpretations, implications, complications,
explanations etc. After all, the two eggheads themselves were not that far apart, certainly no more than about five miles, if you were to take into account their professional lifestyles. Or was Dotty merely
implying that he too had been to Hell and back? That he had been examining the story of the big trees and the related pieces of the puzzle scrambled up in Lucifer's Lexicon? That was an interesting
possibility which had not previously occurred to Ike, convinced as he was that no one besides himself would ever conjure up either the energy, motivation or the time to read the two tiresome and
ponderous tomes.       
Plate III: Rebus of the Rose
The Puppet Master's Dilemma:

The dilemma of the puppet master can be stated as follows:  he must pull just the right strings (of the many strings at his disposal) in just the right sequence and at precisely the right time. For,  
otherwise, the puppet might get wise to his master and the whole charade then becomes inconceivably dramatic (that is to say, nobody knows exactly what will happen next). But every string has two
ends; therefore, the puppet may himself exert some degree of influence over his master, thus leading one to conclude "the presumption of control is but another of life's foolish illusions."  By logical all,
don't you see?" So where does that leave us? You guessed it! It doesn't leave us anywhere at all, because we were never anywhere at all in the first place, so how could we be in the second? "OK," you
say, "Suppose I buy that. So what is the puppet master rebus got to do with this puzzle anyway?"  And my answer is, "How the Hell should I know. I didn't make up the friggin' puzzle!"
 So let's move
on, shall we? [And that's all well and good, until you recall that it was Renrut who suggested "Lucifer's Lexicon" instead of "The Devil's Dictionary..." for the title of one of those eggs...]
Seating Conditions of a challenge: What's really at stake in warning #2?

What is a Chair that matters to Ike? Dotty knows the answer: The Chair of Symbosophy...or in the historical sense, the Throne of S itself. And who is it whose rightful privilege it is to sit in that chair?
Why, the King, of course! And who is it who presently resides de facto in that August mythical accommodation? According to Dotty (because the chair is empty), "Nobody knows for sure, but
everybody hopes for the best." Unfortunately, it is written that no man may rest for long or find comfort in the notion that he alone deserves that singular honor, for anyone may lay down the gauntlet of
a challenge anywhere, any place and anytime. 'Metonoymy' is the formal term for figurative language in which the name of one thing is used for another which it strongly suggests or is related to. If a
thing is substituted for another thing, one may be led to conclude that the same condition applies. Now, a bowler hat is obviously not a crown, at least not exactly. But if you place a bowler hat
strategically over the symbol for a throne, it is not inconceivable to suggest that hat is standing in the place of a crown, just as "It was written in his own hand," means "It was written in his own
handwriting." Furthermore, given the clue "Do not feel you can relax. This is a timed test." and the clock's strategic placement between the chair and the 'crown,' there is really little doubt about the
implications for the Second Warning. Solve the puzzle...or else... Thus ends
[at 6:21 pm on October 30, 2008] the set of emails received by Ike on that first fateful day...   
The Prancing Augury [Day 2 begins]

Augury is the practice of divination by omen, sign or portent.  In ancient Rome an augur was an official who interpreted omens as being favorable or unfavorable in connection with an undertaking (i.e. a
soothsayer of fortune teller). A 'sprite' is an elf, pixie, fairy or
goblin, and 'sprightly' (which connotes the notion of a sprite) means "full of energy and spirit, gay, lively, brisk." One is therefore tempted
to say that, so far, what we have here is an encouraging sign were it not for the reference to 'disjointed.' And that puppet is obviously dancing to the tune of its master--that's for sure, at least for now.
So why is that puppet disjointed? That depends, of course, on what you think 'disjointed' means. Does it mean merely 'disconnected' or 'out of joint'? Or 'without unity or coherence'? Or the more sinister
'dismembered'? Consider also the reference to "thoughts which may otherwise lie dormant." In other words, Dotty is suggesting that Ike think outside the box about things he may not have thought about
for a long time. Then again, perhaps Dotty has concluded his gauntlet is already sufficiently challenging and is offering some encouragement, albeit somewhat left handed. In any case, it seems clear the
rebus is designed to both define the issue (something has to be figured out, and then approved or disapproved of) and the way forward depends on sifting through memories of actions, conversations or
events which took place at some remove in the past.  
It does not matter if you are fat or skinny, male or female, young or old, tall or short, rich or poor, educated or not, for the real choice for everyone is always the same. Either you prepare yourself as a
warrior in the struggle for freedom or you do not, and you suffer the consequences.

In early Christian symbolism, the symbol of the fish seems to have ranked first in importance. From monumental sources such as tombs it is known that the fish symbol was familiar to Christians from
the earliest times. In the first decades of the 2nd century, its popularity was due principally, it would seem, to a famous acrostic consisting of the initial letters of five Greek words forming the word for
fish (Ichthys), which words briefly but clearly described the character of Christ and the claim to worship of believers: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, meaning, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.

Given this background, it seems reasonable to assume the following interpretation for Plate IX, The Fully Assembled Conundrum. The seated brown youth faces toward a monumental and most
perplexing choice. He must choose between the fish (the Christian religion) or the door that leads into another reality altogether, the separate reality presented as described by the Yaqui Shaman Don Juan.
That is the gist of it, whether you like it or not...Choose the eagle or the fish. And then you must accept the consequences of your choice...  
Shybird’s Simple Reprise to Dotty's Dots

The weight was wrong, the shells too strong, the clutch was long denied
And it was tough to warm the stuff that sat there side by side
His ass was thin, he had no grin, no feathers he could fluff
What could he do to warm the two, one leg was all so rough…

He couldn’t sit upon the twits plot twitching deep inside
The whole of his genetic stew, the future of his pride.
And who would state, to estimate, the journey he had faced
To tell the story of the fall, the modern human waste...

And thus he fussed and fussed and fussed through all that stage of years
Dis-satisfied with that denied, hot recognized his tears
Until at last the die was cast, the plaster crack appears…
Delivered by the crafty eye of Dotty’s Muskateers…

Who took a shot, each little dot, connected in their rows
And what a moralistic plot did Dotty thus compose…  
Plate IV: ibid 5 miles
Plate V: The Puppet Master Rebus
Plate VI: The Second Warning
Plate VII: Sign of the Prancing Augury
The Missing Plate

A careful examination of the Master Plate [whether the actual dot painting is finished is unknown] shows the original design for the painting to have been conceived in two halves, a top and a bottom,
both of approximately the same dimensions. However, the upper half consists of a single boxed Rebus while the lower is composed of ten. This is, I believe, an important distinction to make.
Furthermore, the only set of boxes that remained unrepresented in the original historical emails sent by Dotty to Ike in October of 2008 occur just below the dividing line between the two halves. Plate
VIII, the so-called missing plate, presents, therefore, and additional mystery to the puzzle solver, who is obliged not only to decipher the rebus but also to explain why these pieces were never sent in the
first place. It is, of course, entirely possible that Dotty intended eventually to send Ike a photo of the completed dot painting, in which event Ike would receive the missing detail. Nevertheless, the word
'rebus' means literally "meaning indicated by things." A simple rebus, therefore, is a kind of puzzle consisting of pictures of objects, signs, letters, etc., the combination of which suggest words or phrases
[e.g. a picture of an eye, followed by an L, followed by an ampers
and {&} is a rebus for 'island.' Clearly, you cannot leave out one of the pieces [say, the picture of the eye] and expect the puzzle solver
to get the jest, especially when you are timing him and warning him not to relax...it's just not kosher, if you get my drift. Although it doesn't really matter whether you do or you don't, because, frankly, I
couldn't care less. So, let's get back to the puzzle. That big red apple right there in the center of the painting is surely pregnant with pithy-canthropoid meaning, you can bet on that. Of course, an apple is
what you give to the teacher [both as a reward as well as a bribe] and it was said to be an apple that Satin used to tempt Eve in the biblical story about the fall of mankind from grace. The tale,
chronologically speaking, did not begin there, however, for the Angelic revolt in heaven hatched by Lucifer preceded the fall of man (and woman).  [That does look somewhat like another cracked egg
just to the left of the apple...] And then there's that peculiar little bird with its fluffy tail feathers perched just above the apple
stem, gazing out like some long-legged road runner crossed with a retarded
turkey buzzard (as if to say one thing stemmed from another). Finally, on the right, can be seen what appears to be the moon--like a planet cracked in half--with a second half (almost identical) floating
above the box within the box, within the box...within the box and so on, the whole of which itself is also roughly divided in half. Seems clear as mud to me. There are two tales that follow or are placed
side by side one another. One is more modern told as if it could have been on TV [the box within the box]; the other [to the left in order] from an earlier time and perhaps even an older egg already
hatched long ago, because the shell is already cracked and broken. Finally, one tale is told in many boxes; the other is told in only one...                
Plate VIII: The Missing Plate
We come now to the end of Ike's conspicuous narrative, humbled by the scope of Dotty's painting, facing the ultimate
challenge and the final conundrum. What is it really all about? Why are we here, why must we struggle with puzzles, what
is the purpose for life?  

According to the Yaqui Shaman, Don Juan:

The power that governs the destiny of all living things is called The Eagle…because it appears to the eye of the seer as an
immeasurable jet-black Eagle…The Eagle devours the awareness of all living creatures that have floated to the eagle’s beak
like a swarm of fireflies, to meet their owner, their reason for having had life. The eagle disentangles these tiny flames,
lays them flat, as a tanner stretches out a hide, and them consumes them; for awareness is the eagle’s food. Every living
thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening to freedom and go through it. Warriors have only one
thing in mind: their freedom. To die and be eaten by the Eagle is no challenge. On the other hand, to sneak around the
Eagle and be free is the ultimate audacity…

Don Juan offers, in these words, an entirely different interpretation of reality than is generally accepted by those raised in a
culture nourished by the fruits of Western Civilization and the Christian tradition. In Don Juan's cosmogony there is no
Heaven and there is no Hell. If fact, there is not even a church, a bible, or any of the typical trappings of an organized
religion. All there is is what is and that is the end of it. Either you spend your life getting acquainted with these facts, or
you don't, and you end up being fodder for the Eagle. The choice is yours.  
Plate IX: The Fully Assembled Conundrum