This is a tale of two Masters. Neither knew exactly how the other’s mind worked, for their Masteries lay in adjacent, yet different domains.
One Master knows how to work the Machine. He knows the delicate balance needed to produce beautiful works, full of color, rich in meaning, humble in principle, truthful for rich and poor alike. This Master works with his hands and each of his hands works with five fingers and each of his fingers work with inner strength, a particular way of caressing the Machine, a distinctive register of temperatures, a weird way of folding unto themselves, an unknown way of springing forward to action.
The Master commands his body, which in turn commands its torso, which in turn commands two arms, two forearms, two hands, five fingers, three phalanges. The Master is aware of the many connections between Him and the Machine and remembers how to dissipate this barrier, so that the knobs and levers are also part of his phalanges. Brain commands Machine just as it controls Breath, for they are one and the same Body.
Now that Master and Machine are one, they work in true unison. The Machine cannot produce Falsehoods just as the kidney cannot produce venom. A single Body, sharing air and food and blood. Harmonious parts that are dead on their own, for it is Life that happens between them, and it is Life that binds them, cause and effect of itself.
The Second Master observes, an external being just like the Rest of the Universe, that which is Not Master-Machine. The Second Master’s body is crude and old. It is long since its prime, and even them he never achieved this degree of connections. The Second Master has a box full of minor parts, some crafted and some bought, that he regards as mere tools. It’s true that these tools—through decades of labor—have become an entity in themselves, but they are still a possession to the Second Master. He’d rather never lose them, but should necessity arise, he could go out and fashion Himself another set.
The Second Master observes the First, as he knows what the Result should be this time. It doesn’t take a Master to appreciate the Work in all its majesty, it doesn’t take that much to know the Truth it speaks. But the Second Master doesn’t observe to be the first Depository, for that would be a supreme act of egoism, far below what a Master should do. His aim is higher.
The Second Master observes because he knows how the Machine works.
Behind his decaying mortal body a supremely active Mind exists, and where the First Master knows the Whole, he knows the Parts and their Connections. Some say that the real Blueprint of the Machine exists only in his Mind, to the degree of knowing how the Machine will react to the First Master’s movements. Before the First Master presses this key, the Second Master knows—senses—how this infinitely light touch will impart a slightly tighter tension in a single cable. The Mind has constructed the Machine as a purely abstract object and through its supernatural capabilities simulates its inner workings.
The Second Master anticipates the minute changes and here he is opening his box of wonders, ready to adjust here. Not where the First Master is working, mind you, but far inward, moving a screw inside a cog inside a chain inside a band… The Adjustments are never local: one part always affects another, and a careless move can bring the whole edifice down.
The Second Master observes as the First finishes his Work. Slowly, the First Master lifts his touch and separates from the Machine. Slowly, like a man waking up from centuries of sleep. Slowly, the Work is out and the First Master rests.
The Second Master knows his place as the Seat of Power. And so he bows in recognition of his Equal, and retires for the day. The Work rests upon the First Master, who rests upon the Machine, who rests upon the Second Master. He is neither author, nor creator of future Works. But without him no one—not this Master or his successor—could ever produce and reproduce the Works of Truth. An out of tune Machine can never reach Truth, and only He knows how to tune it.
Verne Edquist, a master piano tuner who spent most of his professional life working for one client – Glenn Gould – died peacefully on August 27 after a long illness. He was 89.