Reading the Talks Machina question submissions this week, I
was struck by how many of them asked how Caduceus felt about Melora not talking
to him or not in the way The Traveler talks to Jester. Some asked if this was a
conscious character choice, and they were nearer the mark. Caduceus is heavily
rooted in Zen Buddhism, and his response here really demonstrates it. Melora is
talking to him all the time.
Caleb is wrong that the plants are “not saying anything.”
Fjord is nearer the mark saying he hears nothing, but he doesn’t at all
understand why. Caduceus is trying to show they’re all hearing is the plants
and animals around them. Link
to sounds. He basically gives Fjord a Zen koan.
A koan is “A paradoxical anecdote or riddle without a
solution, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical
reasoning and provoke enlightenment.” (OED) They’re sort of a parable told
as a riddle with the tone of a joke. “What is the sound of one hand
clapping?” is an example of one you may have heard.
A main theme of koans is to demonstrate that we overthink
things, and don’t pay attention to simply what they are. All of The Mighty Nein hear the sounds of life and nature around
them. The others think this means they’re hearing nothing. Caduceus is pointing
out they’re really hearing everything. If they open themselves to listening,
Melora talks to them all constantly.
Scene runs: 0:13:17 to 0:15:04
“I’m gonna politely ask the local greenery and let them know that we’re
going to be coming through and that we’re going to try not to disturb them so long as nothing disturbs us.”
“Do you do that out loud?”
“Yeah, I have to.”
“The local greenery?”
“Yeah, well, I got to talk to a couple trees, and let them know we’re coming
“You guys, ever so quietly, disappear into the jungle brush without issue.
The hanging vines, and heavy palm fronds”
Taliesin mimics petting
intrigued and confused by this.
“around you heavily obscuring your procession deeper into this.”
“Caduceus, can I ask you, what do you hear when you converse?”
holding a finger to his lips: “Shh.”
whispering: “Well, I, yeah, I’m sorry.”
normal volume, gesturing around him: “If you want to hear it, you have to
listen for it.”
Fjord looks completely
hear that? Shh. You hear that?”
“What are you hearing then?”
“Ah, exactly. Yeah, that’s good. Alright.”
Fjord, wide eyes,
silently looks to the others for help.
whispering: “They’re not saying anything.”
with a small, relieved laugh: “Okay, good.”
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