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A Bosh-Like World

by Ken Sanes

In the works of Alto Bosh and the School of Metaphysical Possibility he founded, we see the world as it might be if nature catered to our narcissistic desires and our wishes took material form. In one of Bosh’s visions, branches lower themselves politely as people pass by, so they can pick the succulent fruit, while fish jump joyously into nets, and streams offer up airborne fountains of water so passersby can drink and be refreshed. In another vision by Bosh, death makes people younger -- and thinner -- so they wake up from their own absence full of energy and enthusiasm, ready to have a good day. And when, despite all of these wonderful things, life still gets people down, Mother Earth wraps them in her loving arms and rocks them to sleep, while the clouds sing a lullaby, until they waft away on an airy cushion of sweet dreams.

But it is a universal principle that sweetness and light call forth their opposite and so, in other works by Bosh, nature is transformed into an embodiment of nightmare in which everything is malevolent and alive, or folded into the darkness of night. Here, Bosh shows us a world in which the road unexpectedly turns the wrong way to trick the weary traveler so she will move further from her destination. It is a world where the Earth opens its jaws and swallows a city, and ships that travel too far from land fall off the edge, plummeting in the direction of absolute down. It is also a world where the devil pokes fleeing miscreants in the bum with a poker-hot pitchfork, as blood curdling screams and pleas for mercy echo through the caverns of the underworld.

But Bosh’s greatest works of genius, for which he won numerous awards, show us a vision of the world as it might be if nature embodied our spiritual desires. In these magnificent visions, love benevolently bubbles up from a landscape of celestial fountains and people bathe nude in streams of compassion, standing under waterfalls as the liquid cascades around their soft flesh. In this alternative world, not only does the lion lie down with the lamb, but the parasite dines in a civilized fashion with a bib, alongside its host, rather than on and in it. And every morning is bright and clear, with the sun casting rays of wisdom on us as we wake up and see the light. Travelers in this world even pass through the stages of personal growth until they arrive at a state of wholeness and completion. Then, some continue traveling beyond the realm of the fleshly world until they become celestial orbs that float through the ether, merging with the source of utmost radiance and transcendental light at the center. 

Looking back at Bosh’s visions now, we can see that he was a true prophet of the universal state of mind and that he had already incorporated cosmic-cognitivity into his thinking. But like many prophets he was scorned in his own time. As a movement started to form around him, there was a backlash led by one of the most prominent critics of that era, P. E. Hume. To Hume’s dyspeptic eye, Bosh offered “something out of a cold cereal commercial, full of synthetic sweetness and halogen lighting,” in which good and evil are unnaturally separated into different worlds. Hume also famously noted: “Where’s the sex? One of Bosh’s visions is of a world of fulfilled desires, and the best he can come up with is a branch that lowers itself to offer succulent fruit, and a hug from Mother Earth. Pathetic! Why don’t we see men in his vision intertwined with a voluptuous nature that is full of rounded forms and soft openings, transformed into a visible expression of the allure of the eternal feminine? I’ll tell you why. It's because all Bosh can offer is children’s stories masquerading as a vision suitable for adults. Streams of compassion, indeed! This is a view of the world by a sad little gnome of a man who has fled into childish dreams because he doesn’t have the courage to face adult reality, the hard thud of it, where life is work and other people’s opinions of us are hell, and we sweat for our bread and still have to butter and jelly it ourselves. That’s what we should be focusing on, not a world where we waft by on heavenly rafts made of giant daffodils, winding our way around celestial waterfalls of prismatic light.”

Sadly, as we all know, it was the persuasive power of Hume and his intellectual toadies that won the day and, after the early accolades, Bosh's work was ridiculed and forgotten. As Bosh ran out of both fame and money, he was reduced to peddling his wares at outdoor flea markets and once even tried to ride piggyback on somebody else’s garage sale. It was, of course, at one of those flea markets that a customer purchased some of his work, leaving it boxed in a basement where it was unearthed centuries later, along with clippings of reviews, so it could become the guide to living that it is today. Who that customer was, we will probably never know. But in the end, they say, a drunken Bosh, now mostly blind and living in public housing, disavowed his own work, claiming it was the invention of an imposter.

The rest, of course, is history. Having failed to recognize his significance when he was alive, humanity wandered through the wilderness for centuries while it followed the work of other supposed masters who were actually leading it away from the truth. In retrospect, there were also a number of works created during that time that captured the truth in bits and pieces, edging toward it, then shrinking away, without anyone realizing their significance. In fact, in one of those other works, it was all there, fragmented and out of order, buried in various addenda to the main work, which the creator almost didn’t include. Little did humanity suspect, during all those centuries, that there was a prophet who had already revealed the truth about a world in which the products of the imagination are real and everything is a fully developed extension of ourselves.

 


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