Chapter 2: Just See It
“Upon this the whole party, of course, gave three vehement cheers, and at the conclusion of the piece adjourned in a great procession with the recovered man, elevated on the shoulders of a half-dozen friends, in the center. A crowd of people quickly assembled round the door, and great excitement and curiosity were occasioned as the intelligence ran from mouth to mouth that a deaf-and-dumb man had come to speak and hear, all owing to the cleverness of Joey Grimaldi.
“The landlady of the tavern, thinking Grimaldi would like to see his patient, told the man that if he would call next morning he would see the actor who had made him laugh so much. Grimaldi, being apprised of the circumstances, repaired to the house at the appointed time, and saw him, accompanied by several of his companions, all of whom still continued to manifest the liveliest interest in the sudden change that had happened to their friend, and kept on cheering and drinking and treating everybody in the house, in proof of their gratification.
“The man, who appeared an intelligent well-behaved fellow, said that in the early part of his life he could both speak and hear very well; and that he had attributed his deprivation of the two senses to the intense heat of the sun in the quarter of the world to which he had been and from which he had very recently returned. He added that on the previous evening he had for a long time felt a powerful anxiety to express his delight at what was passing on the stage; and that after some feat of Grimaldi’s which struck him as being particularly amusing he had made a strong effort to deliver his thoughts, in which to his own astonishment, no less than that of his companions, he succeeded.
“Mr. Charles Dibdin, who was present, put several questions to the man; and from his answers it appeared to everyone present that he was speaking the truth. Indeed, his story was in some measure confirmed by Captain Harris himself; for one evening, about six months afterwards, as Grimaldi was narrating the circumstances in the green room at Covent Garden, that gentleman, who chanced to be present, immediately remarked that he had no reason from the man’s behavior while with him to suppose him an impostor, and that he had seen him on that day in full possession of his senses.”
What actually happened? - just a laughter which shook him from his very roots. For a moment he forgot that he was in the bottle, for a moment he was outside the bottle, for a moment those forty years of deafness and dumbness disappeared. It is a simple forgetfulness.
That’s what happens in the presence of a master. Sometimes it can happen without the master - Grimaldi was not Nansen. Grimaldi himself was surprised, he could not believe his eyes; he was not trying to wake the man up.
It has happened in the past in many strange situations, unexpectedly. In fact, it has happened more unexpectedly than it has ever happened with expectations, because expectations belong to the mind and when you are not expecting anything you are more relaxed, you are more calm, at ease. The goose can slip out of the non-existential bottle more easily if it is relaxed. If it is tense and trying to get out of it, that very tension will keep it in.
That’s what is happening to you. You say: “Why does it feel so impossible to grasp?”