The Thirty-Sixth Leaf


And so I left her a paper flower, not a real flower as such would wither and die. But the paper flower will live forever, like a song. And all these things of this world are like the Queen and the rose. But our songs, our poems and our true love are like the imitation. If you think of us, we will be there. And we will be pure, with no fault. Accept this gift, my Queen, for your love made the man that I respect above all others. And though I have betrayed him in this world, my heart never followed this path. No, my heart is like the winter tree.

- Sorren

Sorren is a sentimental servant. That is obvious. The Queen must have been a very special person for him to feel such an attachment, so much love. I wonder if Sorren still has a mother, or if she has died. When I think of my mother I become numb. I was just a lad when I was brought to the monastery of which I belong. My mother was beautiful to me then, and that is how I wish to remember her. After a few years, I knew that she would never come back for me. That is when I learned the truth about her. A young friar, not much older than myself, came to me after Mass one morning and told me the truth. My mother was a prostitute, and she had given me to the Church to protect me. The anger at hearing those words went through me like lightening, and I beat the young friar mercilessly. I had to be restrained by several monks that watched from a small distance, and I was punished severely for my violent outrage. I have since come to accept the truth that I was unable to live with, and my tears have mostly run dry. But even after all these years that have passed, I still love her, and I harbor no angry sentiments against her. How I miss her though. And if Sorren were here in front of me this very moment, perhaps I would beat him mercilessly, or hold him closely for the memories that he has forced me to relive again, I’m still uncertain.
— M

This thought of Sorren, this simple, brief wisp of a thought to me is utterly profound. Here he posits that the imitation of reality is better than the reality to which it represents. I almost hear an echo, though not specifically articulated, of Plato’s theory of forms. Plato thought that the concept, the theory of a circle, was perfect, but that a perfect circle in theory could never be produced. The theory existed only in the mind, and it was inside the mind that the most perfect form of reality existed, and reality existed only as an approximation of the pure form of reality that was archetypal. Yes, this is abstract, and some would say ridiculous, but it does highlight the power of the mind to understand perfection though perfection could never be understood through experience. Perhaps Sorren did not even understand the profound concept about which he espoused, which we now classify as epistemology and write important papers about. Sorren was just a dreamer, and in his dreams he was able to penetrate some of the secrets of the human mind.

Sorren also mentions another world, as if he no longer belonged to the world in which he lived. He lamented to the Queen that he had betrayed the King in this world even though his heart never followed this path. What a strange thing for him to say. Does he live within the abstract world of his mind as does the paper flower that he fashioned for the Queen?

My theory is simple: Sorren has a very high regard for honor, and for his word. He was forced to break his word beneath the intense examination of the Bishop. He cannot forgive himself. Now he is making preparations, but for what, and to what end? It is unfortunate for him that he did not live in these times that I live in today, for lying and cheating and misrepresenting the truth is simply a course of action, and a manner of doing business. People today do not even expect to hear the truth, so their doubt, and their cynicism is factored into every interaction and correspondence. That is the easy way, and that is the way of the world.