There's a passage in Rumi where "amazed faces" ask how it is possible that a raven went underwater to catch a frog. But the frog was attached to a mouse, which is what the raven had preyed on. And the mouse was attached to the frog via "a long, a longing! string" which bound the mouse to the frog through the force of friendship, which does not conform to form or the laws of nature: "If a grain of barley approaches a grain of wheat, an ant must be carrying it. A black ant on black felt, You can't see it, but if grains go toward each other, it's there."
In contrast, is the image of the cage - which comes from the very visible lines of interest: calculated by lines of money spent, lines of who's in and out, the black market of favours, in short all that is exchanged beyond the freedom of good will. And I know many people who would laugh at that, and continue to cultivate that which works for their "interest".
But what of the longing string? When I write "longing string" I momentarily think of the familiar concept, often performed in reductionist studies, All Man Wants Is To Be Happy. Of course, that wasn't quite what Rumi was talking about; he was talking about love. I do not know how to answer the question that follows: in the age of the Anti-Aesthetic, is there a place for love, or is public mention of it outmoded?
I've also heard that all the yarns of grand narratives are being cast away like unwanted Victorian furniture. I have understood from my once-upon-a-time college reading that the new literary unit is the fragment, a rhizome.
So, I ask, am I no longer allowed to make grand gestures with a paintbrush, but must scribble in the corner, instead? What if I, like a friend, colour my argument with other people's words, like telling you the story of the fragment being lost in the 'pataphysical disjuncture, until one day it dreamed itself as part of a labyrinth, one of those partial hallways or stunted turns. The fragment develops a longing to be reunited with its other parts, or at least for a string that might lead to ... its own frog.
Clifford, in The Predicament of Culture, ends with an interesting idea: in order to preserve multiple contexts in a shared context, we ought to think of the collage. And a collage, while being an assemblage of smaller parts, creates a new whole. This is quite different from the new story being fabricated today: which cannot call itself story as it seeks to replace the story, so calls itself X and Y, appearing non-hegemonic. Until you try to figure it together: a labyrinth?
Except some strings are invisible. The beginning and end has always been up for grabs.