With Woya I discussed the nature of the attack by the monstrous organism. The renowned doctor was perplexed by my account. He had never in all his studies come across an entity of the kind I described, nor anything like it. He was puzzled as to the precise nature of the assault the creature had made, but we were very soon into the world of guess and conjecture; any truth of the event was lost beneath the waters of the hot lagoon.

He appeared to discuss with complete frankness the various questions and hypotheses he entertained concerning the events that had befallen me. He wondered what objective the creature might have had when it attacked – was it merely defending itself, perhaps? Was it hunting, but had been disturbed by the arrival of Veka? And what was the aim of the organism’s peculiar method of incision? During my unconsciousness, what had it done to me? Had it injected some substance into me? Or removed some substance from me? Had I been poisoned? Was it intending to paralyse me, and then remove me to its nest or den, to eat at its leisure?

Woya-tsa kept me with him for several weeks. During this time, I understood that he was carefully observing me. Veka-ro, too, was housed in the doctor’s residence, and I believe was instructed to keep watch over me. I did not mind. I was filled with a quite unearthly calmness.
The famous doctor, I could see, was more anxious about my condition than he would have wanted me to know. Eventually, however, he appeared to relax; and then, shortly before my departure for home, and under questioning, he admitted to holding one particularly troubling theory about the attack, a theory he had explored but not communicated to me.

Woya-tsa was afraid that the object of the organism was not to obtain food, or to defend itself, but parasitical: the thing did not see me as a threat or as a meal, but as a nest, and a cradle. The doctor, with his expertise on marine life, had seen instances where one creature lays its eggs within another: and there, within the flesh of the victim, the eggs hatch, and the larvae emerge, to feed upon their own nurse until they are able to break out, leaving their unwitting and helpless host dead or wounded, eaten out from the inside.

Well, it is difficult even for one trained deeply in the serene and beautiful perfect Way to contemplate such procedures of Nature and not consider them vile. Even Woya himself, who in some ways admired the wiles and the complexities of Nature, its inventiveness, its cunning, told me he found these types of parasites peculiarly chilling. Indeed, for most human beings, I believe, even the dumb barbarians of the Eastern Lands, the exploitation of one creature by another in this way seems profoundly offensive. The idea that one creature may live within another, as worms do, feeding off them or using them for other purposes, seems ugly to us, and insults our sense of the deep integrity of individual lives.

To be used by a parasite in this way makes us feel violated, and polluted. And yet, after all, TanZo teaches us to try not to distinguish between inside and outside, or between this piece of the universe or that piece, but to grasp the universe as a single occurrence, limitless and without constraint of idea or emotion; and in a sense, is not a parasite merely proof that we are defenceless against the universe itself? Is not a parasite merely a method by which the universe pitches its tent in us, and dwells there? And what is hatred, after all? Or jealousy? I have long considered these things, aloof in the superstate, when my mind grows untrammelled, and fluent in analogy. One can even see an idea, or a word, as a kind of parasite: an egg, laid within us, growing. In the deluded and dusty circles of an unintegrated one, ideas occur to us, and we speak words – but in the Subtle and lucid condition, we are occurring ideas, and flowering words: it is one process, with neither a here nor a there…

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