The Trial of Involution-An Odyssey. Opening the Case for the Prosecution.
Judge. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. The Court thanks you for your time and for what will, I am afraid, be a trial lasting several weeks. This is not a trivial case but one which will have a bearing on many other cases in which books subject their Authors to unwarranted pressures, if not seeming torture. In this age of abundant plenitude and a surfeit of books of all qualities and values it behoves this Court to bring a test trial to examination. The essence of our examination will focus upon the following principal questions:
Firstly. How can an Author evaluate the claims made upon her by a Book? Or decide whether the Book in question has a value that justifies not only its creation, but the prolonged energy, time and money required to bring it to birth. (There are attendant issues: Who decides? What Author? What Qualifications?)
Secondly: In the surfeit of books, to what extent is public and professional opinion relevant to the Author undertaking the incubation and research necessary. In short: Can the claims of a Book for serious consideration be separated from the Public to which it is addressed. (Again: Who decides? How evaluate? What about timing?)
I put it to you that the reasons Involution-An Odyssey (for future reference we will shorten to ‘Odyssey’) is a fitting test case is because it lies at the extremes, both in the strength of its claims upon the Author’s life, an entire life, and secondly because of its claims to have written a new World view on the Nature of Science. If the latter is borne out ( and it is a matter yet to be decided by the Court) then the former is explained, perhaps nullified. In short it is the intersection between its value and its demands that is in the microscope of this Court’s analysis. The same would be true of any book.
I make this context explicit so that you are assured that what might seem at first glance to be the trial of an unborn child ( and the analogy is apposite) will have relevant guidelines for other Authors and other books, even fictional works. Society, on the whole expects parents of children to be fit, self-sufficient and responsible, and children to be healthy and disciplined. Although the Odyssey claims to be non-fiction, that too is to be debated. It is certainly creative non-fiction and may turn out to be self-aggrandising fantasy. Its wider relevance is therefore apparent. Odyssey is an ideal candidate to act as a lens by which to examine issues relevant to all books.
Let us Proceed. Will the Odyssey in the dock please stand while the Prosecution reads the clauses of the Indictment.
- That you have persuaded the Author to write a deluded hypothesis in order to humiliate her, knowing she would bear the responsibility of your heedless suggestions. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Not guilty. I do not believe her or myself deluded. As to humiliation I do not believe that can be laid at my door, though I acknowledge it has happened .
- That you acted without deliberation, or discernment in harnessing the Author to a lifelong service and made promises of reward that you have not fulfilled. How do you plead?
Odyssey: I plead guilty to the harnessing, but not to the ‘without deliberation or discernment’ I believe I acted with both. As to the accusation of reward, I made no such promises.
- That you failed to evaluate your claims in terms of bad timing, and inappropriate language upon the Author before enlisting her service. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Not guilty. Both timing and language were the responsibility of the Author. I accept that I approved the language and would have changed the timing were it in my gift to do so.
- That you initiated your inspiration without any invitation, and in a manner that no Author could refuse. In short you subjugated her without thought to her welfare or that of her family or circumstances. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Not guilty. I have an alibi for the Inspiration. I was not present.
- Finally, That at no time since your publication have you made any efforts to modify or adapt to assist your Author to argue your hypotheses, or in fact to assist her in any way. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Guilty in the main, but I would ask the Court to take into consideration my willingness to appear before it, in mitigation.
Judge. The Clark will duly note the mitigation.
The Court will adjourn and at the next appearance the Prosecution will open the case and call witnesses.