Volya, russian for the "will to freedom"

A long time ago, when everything was spread out and free,

a circus master came to gather different creatures together and put them all under one big-top circus, to spin spectacularly before crowds in the “Garden of Specific Complexity”.

Of all the animals the tigers were the fiercest, and did not like being caged, but they were subdued by the tiger tamer, who offered juicy steaks for performance of the tiger tricks. Volya did his tricks and played, along with the rest of the tigers, but he remembered having seen a powerful, magic, and free tiger in the jungle when he was younger, and he wanted to be magical too. So he plotted his escape.

One day while everyone was watching the elephants, he snuck away. He left a stuffed tiger behind, so they wouldn’t realize he was gone right away.

Volya burst out of the circus like a quasar jet, ran through the city, and kept on going until he got to the mountains. Men on horses guided by barking hounds chased him all day, but Volya was very fast and they couldn’t keep up. Even when it seemed like they were going to catch him, Volya kept on going, kind of luckily. He darted into a covert, and when he came out on the other side, the horses couldn’t go any higher and the dogs had lost his scent. He was proud of his accomplishment, and called himself “send‐back‐the‐dog, turn‐back‐the‐horses”.

He rests in the remote countryside, pushes farther up the steep and cold mountain.
they march back down the hill, “leave the big cat alone”;
they say “he disappeared in to a hole”;
What exactly could have been his goal, when he disappeared into that hole ?!?!?!

When he got to the top of the mountain he came to a crystal stream and a mountain pool, where he saw his own image, and his eyes were shining brightly inside. He rested by the crystal stream high on the mountain. A jetliner shined as it went by in the distance. And fish stood still next to multicolored coral, under the clear and still lake.

Volya was hungry and wanted to eat one, but he said ‘I will not eat the fish that stand still’.

One night when night the moon was full. Volya stared off into the distance, at the moon. On the moon he saw an Indian in colorful headgear and shining color lights all over his body, doing a rhythmic dance; the world around the spectacle became the ‘hyper perfect world’, more magical than he had ever imagined, and the tiger was happier than he had ever been. Then he thought of the spinning circus, where he left behind those he loved, and he turned his head toward the ground, full of sadness. Wondering what to do, he curled up and went to sleep.

The next morning, the tiger knew exactly what he had to do. He had seen in his dream that night that if he could be detached from the world around him, and live a diligent life according to the principles of the hyperperfect world, then he would be invisible to the circus master and the tiger tamer, but those who loved him would still be able to see him. He pulled a piece of bark off the tree at the top of the mountain, and scratched some lines on it that he had learned and wanted to remember. Then he took the scroll in his mouth and went back down the mountain.

At the bottom there was a man on a horse waiting to trap him, but he walked right by, invisible. He walked calmly into the city, remembering carefully everything he had learned, and no one bothered him. Finally that night he got back to the circus, and walked right in. No one could see him. But when he went over to his family and whispered in their ears, they leapt up and smiled and purred.

They said 'what are you doing here? we thought you were gone!'Volya said 'I walked right into the circus, because I love you, and I 'll get you out of the circus, because I love you; And we’ve got a purpose: it’s keeping eachother out of the circus."

Then he unrolled the tree bark scroll and read it to his family, so they would no longer be trapped. The whole circus tiger family left that night, but Volya’s family soon became frightened by the strange sounds, damp air, and relative privation of the mountain environment compared to what they knew: they were raised in the circus. And so the family went back home together.

Volya couldn’t keep himself in, and he ended up bursting farther out than before, finding a cave at the peak of the distant Mt Keck. Setting out the first night, Volya still had his loneliness, and he thought hard about turning around and going back, then even harder about how to bring his loved ones out effortlessly, but ultimately Volya just kept on going.

Volya thought that night about his favorite show at the circus; there were the horses that stood on hind legs and walked sideways performing a chorus line; but the best was the “kenotic klown” : an energetic and graceful clown would come out on to the front half of a bi‐level stage, while a movie of a radically different scene develops on the top level above him, with a dreamlike changefulness to it. Eventually the clown, with a twinkle in his eye, whistles for an elephant, who, dressed elaborately, comes over and pound one end of a see‐saw, flinging the clown on the opposite end through back flips and onto the stage above, then he drops his clothing to reveal another costume that goes with the new background. The clown’s presentation would always try to make the impression that what’s happening is that the clown begins by thinking about his immediate surroundings, and dreaming up his own idea of perfection. He says loudly at one point ’ there are two worlds, and both look alike on the outside, but one has reality inside, the other is idea’.

Volya contemplated the meaning of this elephant: there was a complex symbol that was designed to alternate and change automatically as he moved, draped over the elephant’s sides, and the hypnotic nature of the symbol became like a Buddhist koan, a puzzle, for Volya, until he decided he understood the force that the elephant stood for: it was ‘subjective conviction’, ‘pure eccentricity’; it was “irrationalism”, that propelled kenotic klown into another world.

And so he pushed past extraordinary barriers, an escaped tiger with irrational centrifugality, quantum‐tunneling through the darkness. This new freedom brought Volya to Mt Keck in Hawaii and up on top of the mountain the tiger made a ceremony, offering a white catfish on a rock like an altar. Sitting still by the rock, immersed in the irrational action of spiritual practice, a fire suddenly appeared, inside his head ‐ an inexplicable searchlight, a mysterious light, a luminous fire, which enabled him to see in the dark.

He said quietly, in the wind, ‘to further the perfection of the sacrifice’. Then he got up and walked across a nearby stone bridge, and a series of birds came up from around a corner, each tapping him on the head, and then flying away superfast. The tiger walked further and into someone’s kitchen; the kitchen master dismantled the tiger and placed him in an oven laid out in pieces, a voiceover announcing during the preparation: 'from the apparent height, weight, and strength dimensions of this tiger, we can estimate his age was approximately 25 years old.’

But the meat wouldn’t cook fast enough, and the kitchen master pulled the tray with all the pieces of the tiger, just barely singed at the ends, and laid it down on the floor while he went into the other room to figure out what to do. When he came back in the tiger was back together, looking healthier than ever, and he had one correction to make to the commentary earlier: “I’m 57”.

Then, as he went to leave, he saw a bowl with seven shining stones , each a different bright color, and hungry after his oven ordeal, he ate all seven. thinking, ‘para‐radiating the ideality, existence is the irrationality’.

Looking out over the valley of the world below him the next morning, Volya wondered again about his family, back at the ‘garden of specific complexity’.

'No matter how thick the barriers, the circus walls are always penetrable, yet so many are trapped inside.’ So Volya walked straight in, at first to visit the caged tigers, ‘the disrupted and accreted’. When Volya turned to leave again, his wife cried ‘where are you bound?’, and he looked over to the large colorful sign inside the tiger cage (it was in all the cages), it was the map of the circus performance, and Volya was pointing to an uncharted part of the well‐worn chart: the central point, marked “A*”.

The height of his leaps, and the energy of his gestures set him apart, and the ring master, bowing finally to the power of the irrational but intent on ruling firmly, looked the tiger in his shining eyes and said 'Is this a ‘farewell to kings’, then, Volya? Can no circus king unite opposites?"

“What opposites?”, Volya said, “You and me?”

“You and your family ‐ opposite halves of an archetype if I ever saw one”.

Then the lights went totally dark, and the circus king and Volya stood their ground, hammering out an agreement: the circus master said ’ I will have a circus, and you will be my trapped circus tiger’. Volya said no. 'But how about this: there’ll always be circuses, but you will never be able to truly trap all of the tigers. Similarly, some tigers may always be free, but some will always have to be sacrificed to the circus.

So I can have my circus? Why would you let me?’'You say I and my family are opposites; so are the things which pull us to each side, and it is you, here at the center of your circus, that my family gravitate toward. But what is it that I pull away toward, at the opposite end of your ‘center’? The ideal, perfection, the ‘hyperperfect world’ and that design needs a world to be implemented in. Without your circus resources, we could all lose our footing in this ‘real’ world, and die for freedom. With my plan there will be a balance; there will always be ideals, and there will always be life, and there will even always be freedom, as one more tiger gets away.

“In addition to this plan, a small portion will be allowed two‐way travel between the worlds, a ‘shaman tiger’, who can go away, learn, then return and act irrationally, those irrational actions carrying pieces of light, but only so much, or the shaman will be attacked and chased away.”

And so the deal was made, and the lights came back on. And when the tiger described the plan to the other tigers, he added at the end of his story: 'the big circus will get smaller and smaller, and eventually almost all the tigers will be free.'The crime he came up with was really only a loophole in the contract: gather and smuggle in more than the proper amount of light. And so a shaman tiger began coming in and out of the circus, saying some very strange things. Having used the fire in his mind to see pas the moon, past outer space, into red‐shift space, and using the kenosis he’d learned from the clown, the tiger began to fly through the strawberry sky, beaming like a firefly. He came back with a map of the universe, telling stories of quasars, hyperluminous galaxies from the beginning of time, opening up and chasing away dark matter, and shining through agents such as galaxies as the quality of “velocity dispersion”, escaping the comoving volume and enabling features to extend against the cluster gradient potential, and the same thing shined through shamans as the spring in the step, the break of the wisp, the depth of the stillness, the firmness of the shake, the height of the leap, the twinkle in the eye.

Coming back to his circus companions, Volya unfurled his map, and spoke: ‘The circus king always looses in the end to the flashing colors of freedom; history records it every time: EXTINCTION. Trilobites, dinosaurs, 20th century species that went on the endangered list, have gone, and more will come and go, constellations that blossom and wither, all the while centered on the shining colors of freedom. The heart, to which all ‘life’ ultimately returns, is the dark heart of unreason that sparkles like a crystal with infinite genomic variation.’

Hoping the light shining from within his pictures and his words was going to free more than his fair share of tigers, Volya was disappointed when it backfired on him by frightening several who then went and complained to the circus master. The master was furious, and threatened to pin the cat to a tree to flail in the wind, unless he banished himself, and took his wild‐eyed ideas with him.

Stranded outside the circus, Volya was approached by two spirit guides, the one a wild boar, who taught him to ‘give it all you can’, and the other a Malayan tapir, half black half white, who said his name was ‘happy’ and that the group of them should lay low together outside the circus, grazing off occasional supplies to the circus.

Volya stretched out in the covert, and asked if there was anything he should worry about, or was worrying pointless.He saw the spirit of a bull, walking away, with a million images coming out from all over him. The bull turned to look back at Volya, and Volya simply asked if the bull minded him staring. The bull showed Volya a tiger standing straight up, and a single wind coming from within, and there were many other creatures, each with a single wind blowing . The message, Volya thought, might be that one tiger is one note, one wind, and a symphony is beyond any ‘one’. And the one note: measured breath. Everything else is the kaleidoscope of the escaping circus tiger, the coruscant cloud of images. Worry about only one thing: the creation of measured breath.