It was getting close to the day that physical work on the 40 by 95 foot
mural would begin, and all the Knights and Ladies of the Round Table were tuning themselves up to the highest pitch of readiness. Part of this tuning up effort included a general
discussion at the Round Table with the Conductor about basic elements of the mural, what it was essentially about. This meeting now in session would also attempt to resolve a
few issues raised at earlier meetings.
After the Conductor had greeted each of the twelve Knights and Ladies in his
customarily cheerful fashion, he gazed around the Table with a curious gleem in his eye, and then began to speak about the momentous crusade they would soon embark upon.
“My friends,” he began, “ I’ve been thinking about
what has been said at our previous meetings, especially that we have to demonstrate to the human race how the wisdom of the heart can prevail. What better way to do this than to
create a Paradise, so beautiful, so compelling, so irresistible that humans will finally understand, in their very bones and blood, that there is still an opportunity to make the
Earth into a Paradise, instead of a dead planet. Nothing but a promise of Paradise on Earth will stop these people from destroying themselves. So that will be the theme and the
title of the mural: Paradise On Earth. I’ve thought, meditated, pondered, ruminated and dreamed, and painting Paradise is the best answer I can come up with. It is not an
easy answer. It is a challenge that will test us all to the limit every moment we are working.” The Conductor stopped and cleared his throat. “I confess that my vision
of Paradise is limited at best. So I thought it might be constructive to hear from each of you something about your own visions of Paradise. Sir Red, let us begin with you. What do
you think should be included in Paradise?”
“Is that a trick question?” replied Sir Red. Sir Orange laughed
and the others chuckled a little.
“I suppose it is,” the Conductor said, “Insofar as it is
designed to make you reveal the utmost depths of your dreams and desires. If we are going to do this right, Knights and Ladies, we will have to be perfectly honest with eachother.
I’m not asking you to confess all your sins, etcetera, I’m only asking you to say what you think should be the essential features of a Paradise on Earth. How would you
depict it if you were the Conductor? I realize you are not usually consulted about these things, but this is an exceptional case, requiring an extraordinary approach.
So….. Sir Red, I ask you again, what does your Paradise look like?”
“Paradise,” said Sir Red, after considering the question for a
while, “is a condition in which the mind and body live intensely at all times, and great energy is constantly exerted on all things to make them become what they are meant to
be.” Sir Red then sat down.
“Wonderful! Sir Red!,” the Conductor applauded “Wonderful!
You inspire me. Now let us hear a word or two from Lady Blue. What say you, Lady?”
It was almost always Lady Blue the Conductor appealed to first in a general
discussion at the Round Table, This time he had gone to Sir Red first, and it had occurred to some of the Colors, including Lady Blue herself, that the Conductor was trying to
shake things up for reasons having to do with the necessity of stimulating adrenalin and thus hopefully putting them all in a heightened condition of awareness and inventiveness.
Lady Blue rose gracefully from her seat and bowed slightly to the
Conductor, who bowed in return.
“I probably won’t say anything that will surprise you,”
she began. “A Paradise on Earth must have lots of sky and water. These are my realms and they are essential to any Paradise. Without my Family there will be neither
serenity nor freedom in Paradise. My Family is made for depicting Paradise, especially those parts of it having to do with peace and love and harmony.” Lady Blue smiled
warmly and reseated herself.
“Beautifully said,” the Conductor approved. “My own
visions of Paradise have you and your Family playing many prominent roles.” Then the Conductor turned to Sir Yellow. “I admit, Sir Yellow, I’m curious to know
what your thoughts are on the subject.” Sir Yellow pushed his chair back and saluted the Conductor. The Conductor returned the salute. “If we are individuals and each
has different ideas, then a Paradise perfect for everyone is probably an illusion. A relative Paradise, however, seems possible, a Paradise in which the unknown and the
undiscovered are constantly being revealed through illumination. The light of Paradise must be its heart and soul. If truth be a part of Paradise it must be discovered through
illumination. My Family will do all it can to bring the light of sanity and reason to this Paradise.” Sir Yellow then reseated himself.
“Thank you, Sir Yellow,” said the Conductor. “Your
devotion to truth and reason have always been a pillar of our Projects, and this time your light and wisdom will play a bigger role than ever, because Paradise cannot exist without
the immense benefits you and your Family will bring to it. Now….. what about a word from you, Lady Magenta? What is essential to your Paradise?”
“I haven’t thought a lot about it,” said Lady Magenta,
rising, “but offhand I would say that it must be filled with handsome and attentive Knights anxious to learn various arts from an experienced Lady.” She turned to Lady
Violet, and winked. Lady Violet returned the wink with a grin. “My Family and I” Lady Magenta continued, “have always believed that warmth and intimacy are the
keys to happiness, love and self-possession. This too should be a part of Paradise. My Family and I are ready, in any case, to contribute whatever we can.” Lady Magenta
paused for a moment and then added, “As I see it, we all have something important to contribute.” Lady Magenta bowed slightly to the Conductor and sat down.
“Yes, Lady Magenta. Yes, Yes! We can only create Paradise if everyone
becomes a part of it, because we are all essential to its completeness. If Paradise were not complete, it would not be Paradise, would it? Your depth of feeling and your radiant
magnetism will be essential and all-pervasive aspects of our Paradise. And now, let’s see….. Sir Purple, what are your thoughts on the subject?”
Sir Purple rose from the Table with a grave and regal motion, and, after
saluting the Conductor, began to speak in a grave and regal voice. “I don’t pretend to know what all should be present in Paradise. However, I do not think I would feel
comfortable in a Paradise that did not have an air of dignity and tastefulness. It should bear the quintessence of the art of discrimination, the inclusion of everything without
including everything. Sir Purple having offered this paradox, bowed to everyone at the Table, and sat down.
“Thank you, Sir Purple,” said the Conductor. “No doubt
Paradise has Its enigmas and conundra. If all things were answered existence would be very boring, and I for one do not envision a boring Paradise, although the question of just
how boring Paradise ought to be is something that needs to be addressed. Peace and serenity, I should think, would be important elements of Paradise, while boredom, tedium, ennui
and monotony should be avoided. Sir Orange! How boring do you think Paradise ought to be?”
Sir Orange rose and gave the Conductor a brisk salute. “Sir,
I’ve been thinking about that very question. Paradise ought to be a place of joy, which means it cannot be a place of boredom. The adventures I have had with the Knights and
Ladies here, and many other Colors, have always been my greatest source of joy, and sometimes ecstasy. Why should Paradise not be a place of full-time ecstasy? If ecstasy is better
than joy, and Paradise is the best possible place, then it should be a place of ecstasy, should it not?” Sir Orange pondered for a moment, then continued. “Our greatest
Projects have been the most ecstatic ones, have they not? There is of course the question of just what formula is needed to produce ecstasy. I only hope that our Paradise will have
plenty of room for adventure and exploration, and an infinite number of things to experience.”
“Thank you, Sir Orange, for your very provocative thoughts on this
subject. A Paradise of full-time ecstasy? What do you think about that, Lady Lime?”
“Of course!” said Lady Lime, standing abruptly. “I’m
all for full-time ecstasy. But is it possible to create such an effect in a mural? I suppose we must all do what we can and hope for the best. My Family and I have always believed
that the potential for ecstasy exists in all forms of life. It is the act of living and growing in one way or another that makes us joyful and happy. I would like to see a Paradise
humming with the best activities of life.” Lady Lime made a little curtsey and sat down.
“Thank you for your thought-provoking insights, Lady Lime,” said
the Conductor. “You have given us another important element to weave into our paradisiacal tapestry. I knew that painting Paradise was going to be complicated. But we now
have several threads we can hopefully weave together. And now….. Lady Violet, I’m anxious to hear your thoughts on Paradise. What can you tell us?”
Lady Violet rose with an elegant flourish, and smiled at all around the
Table. “If I have a vision of Paradise, it is one in which all things are related and know eachother through those interrelationships. It would be a world where all sentient
beings are curious about eachother and care about each- other, where we all use our senses in ways we don’t use them now, to feel empathy with all things, by employing the
subtle and sensual aspects of ourselves to relate to them, the way music has the power to relate to everything. Let us not forget, that Paradise itself must have a great soul. Love
and generosity are the twins who inhabit the soul, and through them shall the beauty of the soul be known.”
“Do you have any ideas on how to depict these qualities of the
soul?” the Conductor queried. “Love and generosity are a form of extravagance, therefore our Paradise ought to be a depiction of extravagance…. at it’s
The Conductor nodded thoughtfully, though a questioning look remained on his
face. “You recently made an example of this yourself,” Lady Violet added, “when you decided to put Lady Lilac and Sir Caperoot together in the Project .”
“That was an unusual case,” the Conductor objected.
“There is something I don’t understand,” Lady Blue
announced. “Is there to be no sadness in our Paradise? Can we really have happiness without sadness?”
“That’s right,” Sir Red acknowledged. “Lady Blue has
a good point. Can there be warmth without cold? Peace without strife? And if we must include opposites and do everything extravagantly, does that mean there will be extravagant
sadness? As well as extravagant joy?”
“Or extravagant intelligence and extravagant stupidity?”
Sir Orange commented.
“You mean will it be just the way it is now?” said Sir Purple.
After the laughter had subsided the Conductor pretended to pull his hair.
“What is to be done, then? The human race is not going to respond favorably to a Paradise depicting things just the way they are now. We must all give some serious thought to
this question of opposites and extremes. Can the things we want in our Paradise exist without the things we don’t want?”
“If we exclude all the things we don’t want,” said Lady
Vermilion, “it’ll just be another fantasy. Humans are not entirely stupid.”
“Thank you, Lady Vermilion, for your modified confidence in the human
race,” replied the Conductor. “Lady Violet, do you have anything more to add?”
“No, Sir,” said Lady Violet, “but we’ll
continue to give it thought.”
“It’s true,” said the Conductor, “we don’t
want to use trickery and deceit that the more intelligent members of my species will see through.” Again the Conductor appeared to be pulling his hair,”I think perhaps
we have gotten off the main subject a little. I’d still like to know what the rest of you would like to have in your Paradise.”
As Lady Violet sat down, the Conductor nodded with great enthusiasm.
“Your feelings about this must certainly be heeded and brought to bear to the fullest extent possible in our creation. You and your Family, Lady Violet, will be present
everywhere to remind us that no Paradise can exist without empathy. Moreover, it will be you and your Family who will be largely responsible for making this essential ingredient
possible.” The Conductor bowed to Lady Violet, and then fastened his gaze on Sir Cadmium, who was considered by several members of the Round Table to be a bit of a
drag. Seated as he was between Sir Yellow and Sir Orange, he was somewhat intellectual and somewhat adventurous, and not a great deal of either. Sir Red had once shouted at
him that he was an anal retentive, which had only brought a smile to Sir Cadmium’s face. In truth, Sir Cadmium was not really very boring at all . He had enjoyed his fair
share of visits from Lady Chameleon. He was an eccentric with some interesting peculiarities.
“Well, Sir Cadmium,” said the Conductor, “you are looking
quite dapper….. excuse me, I mean you are looking quite natty today. And what would you like to have in your Paradise?”
Sir Cadmium laid his napkin neatly on the Table, stood and saluted the
Conductor. “Sir, I envision a Paradise that is to a great extent orderly and predictable. There should be surprises now and then, but not too many. The creatures who inhabit
this Paradise ought to be considerate and civilized. It should be a place conductive to deep and meaningful meditation. There has been a lot of talk about ecstasy. Let us not
forget that there is more than one path to ecstasy, just as there is more than one path to the palace of wisdom. Let us also not forget that there is more than one kind of
“Bravo! Sir Cadmium,” Said the Conductor, rapping on the Table.
“You remind me of several very important things. Paradise ought to be, perhaps above all else, a place of peace and meditation. although Sir Orange has made a good case for
Paradise being a place of great activity. And others of you have advocated a strong interaction between all things.”
“So that love can flourish,” Lady Vermilion interjected.
“Yes, let us hear what you have to say, about this, Lady
The mysterious and vivacious Lady Vermilion now stood to speak. “What
everyone has said so far seems fairly true to me. I would add that there is a certain quality having to do with the conduction of warmth, a kind of warmth essential to the
happiness and well-being of all living things. Lady Chameleon suggested that Lady Magenta and I represent this essential warmth, which must be balanced in just the right way in
order to produce its desired effect. This too, I believe, must be a part of Paradise, if for no other reason than without it there can be no all-embracing sense of love. A Paradise
without that would not be Paradise,” Lady Vermilion smiled and resumed her seat.
“Thank you, Lady Vermilion,” said the Conductor. “You are
right, of course. No Paradise can call itself that if it is not filled with warmth and love. You and your family will be there to make sure it happens. And I think we should talk a
little more about Lady Chameleon, who might well be our guiding angel in this most momentous of all Projects.” Now the Conductor turned to Sir Green. “Sir Green, you
have had many encounters with Lady Chameleon. What role do you think she might play in our depiction of Paradise? And what do you yourself envision for this most difficult of all
things to create?”
Sir Green rose and looked around the Table, smiling. “As for Lady
Chameleon,” he began, “I think she will prove to be a very worthy consultant on this Project. When she visits, I think we should make every effort to understand what
she is trying to communicate. In my own case, I think it would make a fine Paradise to simply paint the wall green.” The Conductor and all the Ladies and Knights of the Round
Table laughed. With the possible exception of Sir Red. Everyone loved Sir Green. He was, after all, the Color of life. And he had once declared to all present that Lady Chameleon
had informed him of the fact that the universe itself had once been green, prior to exploding, or “blooming,” as she had put it. “Actually,” said Sir Green,
“I think Paradise would be the most perfect if all of you and all the members of your Families were a part of it.” For a moment there was a slightly astonished
“Do you really mean all the members of our Families?” Lady Blue
inquired incredulously. “There are some, it seems to me, who would not help to make Paradise the peaceful and serene place we are talking about. But if you want a Paradise
with trouble around every corner by all means include everybody.”
“This is a complex and important question,” the Conductor
interjected. “Paradise should have no taint of elitism, yet it should be composed of those Colors capable of producing the greatest happiness. Those members of your Families
who are habitual troublemakers will not be likely to make trouble if they are happy, at least not the kind of trouble that is hurtful to others. We are speculating, of course,
since Paradise has never yet been created. Or depicted in a way that moves humanity to want to save itself.” The Conductor stopped talking and looked around the Table.
“Lady Ultra, we haven’t heard from you yet. What can you tell us in regard to this difficult matter?”
Lady Ultra rose with her customary grace and sensuality, and bowed slightly
to the Conductor and all the Knights and Ladies of the Round Table. “It seems obvious to me,” she began, “that nothing should be excluded from Paradise, just
because it may be deemed undesirable in the Kingdom of Color. To exclude anything would nullify Paradise. If the Devil existed he too would have to be a part of Paradise.”
“But, Lady Ultra,” Sir Orange interrupted, “how can a 40 x
95 foot mural depicting Paradise include everything in existence? It isn’t possible.”
“So the question,” said the Conductor, “is how to include
everything in our Paradise without putting everything in our depiction. It’s true that we can only use a small number of all the things in existence. It’s even doubtful
that we could include all the Colors in the Kingdom of Color. There are so many who are obscure, even to their own Families. Can any of you, for example, tell me whose Family Sir
Micawort belongs to? No? Well, there you are. We must do the impossible. We must include everything without including the vast majority of things. Can any of you tell me how to do
“I’m not sure, but I have a thought,” said Sir Yellow,
standing to address the Table. “The poets use metaphor to represent all classes of things, including ideas, emotions, etcetera. Some things can be symbolized in light, some
in darkness. This is fairly much like what we’ve done in the past. Each of us here at the Table is a symbol, among other things. So why would a depiction of Paradise not be
like what we’ve done before, only with a lot more of it? Anyway, how can everything be included when we don’t even know what everything is?”
“I have a thought,” said Sir Orange jumping from his seat,
“Maybe curiosity should be a part of Paradise, curiosity about all the things we don’t know. It wouldn’t be much of a Paradise if everyone knew everything. The
things we do know and all the things we don’t know and can’t include in details could be represented in the form of curiosity, whatever form that is.”
“This is all very good, “said the Conductor. “But let me
ask you, Sir Orange…. no, let me ask you all, which of you here at the Table best represents curiosity? Or is curiosity best represented by a combination of you Knights and
Ladies? If we’re going to do it this way, it’s a question that must be answered.” The Conductor paused and scanned the faces around him. “It’s an
important question and deserves a lot of serious thought. Why don’t we adjourn now, think about this, and meet again tomorrow?”
Thus the meeting ended, with much on the minds of all the Colors, and many
things to consider.
“I still think Paradise is solid green,” said Sir Green as they
“Why does it have to be so complicated?” Lady Violet wanted to
“It’s as simple or as complicated as you want to make it,”
answered Lady Violet’s friend, Lady Lime. And the two Ladies glided gracefully away from the Table, arm-in-arm.