…was traveling through the Siberian tundra and found an animal he had long been looking for. It was a more than lifesize cock, made of what looked like thin, colourless glass. But it was alive and had sprung by chance from a microscopic unicellular organism which had the power to to turn into all sorts of animals…or even into objects of human use.… The next moment each of these chance forms vanished without a trace.
—Reported by C. G. Jung in Psyche and Symbol, 295
Chance in its pure form, suggested by the workings of evolution, which nonetheless produces a panoply of things which can be put to use, which have a purpose in our limited human venue.
A cock carries so many rich associations. It is, first, a cock, an animal with deep religious associations and a frequent sacrificial offering. As cock it also plays a double entendre with the phallus and thereby with the figure of castration, the loss of the penis that gives birth to the symbol.
Sacrifice, loss, and generation.
But the generation secured in all of this is fragile. It vanishes without a trace, leaving me on the tundra again by myself. The chance events from which all this springs are, in the final accounting, chance, without a firm basis in the world in which they emerge. They run their course and are gone.
The cock itself is bland, barely there, colorless and made of glass, through which things pass. This is the unfolding and closing of a dream, and the dream circles to encompass the entirety of human society, taking it with it when it goes.
The cock, the production of signs and symbols, the suggestion of all things Mercurial. With the cock we find the Mercurial machine elves in their kaleidoscopic magnificence, but all that the produce occurs amidst a greater emptiness. It parades before me, but I do nothing, only look.
Why do I only look?
What would it take for these seeds to take root and acquire stable life?