He wants the alchemist’s gold…pure unvarnished knowledge of the world as it is. Untainted by bias, perspective, context or ground. Because to him knowledge is ideational, the free-floating reflection of the noumenal. Knowledge is distance, the privileged view from the luxury of dissociation. So he asks a question, and sets about to find an answer. Helter! Skelter! He chases away the critters that confound the experiment. He purges the room of its shadows. He tears down the labyrinthine walls with Occam’s Battle Axe. Only white walls remain. And steady white fluorescent lights yawning awake for yet another go. One cannot risk those pesky yellow bulbs or their influences on his subjects. He sterilizes the air and washes his hands after every sinful episode of touch. All clear. Then he stirs the pot in the center of the room, and drops in the ingredients, beads of sweat hastily wiped away from his forehead with a white kerchief in his white pocket. A crack of fury and a cloud of smoke engulf the room, sending him flying backwards. But when the mushroom cloud clears, there’s no gold. Just regret. Tomorrow, he says to himself, I will re-sterilize the room; perhaps a tiny particle disturbed the experiment. Perhaps nature interrupted. Well, it’s back to the ol’ drawing board! Onwards!
Outside his laboratory, on a nearby tree branch, a spider hangs low from its web, convulsing as its abdomen casually spits out drops of glittering gold.