This is truly a question that I am frequently asked. ((I’ve answered this before in two mini-essays, the second after the first was destroyed. This is the third attempt. Here’s hoping.)) This is a question to which I would like to hear more answers than the one I’m about to give. It would be pretty cool for people to offer their own conclusions as possible answers: “Is a Sacred Clone… such and such and so forth?” Even that answer is sounds good to me right now. Think of a sacred clone as a clone that is sacred. All too obvious, I know, but it’s that
The fun lies in the multiple layers of meaning. ((A childhood friend referred to these layers as “transparencies.” I am not sure what he meant by that other than the different meanings a thing takes on when you look at it, or through it, in a different light, other connotations and denotations derived in the context of situation and circumstance.)) The term “layers” can be deceptive, implying hierarchy of each meaning, one over the other, disparate definitions insulated with layers of nuance and interpretation. Such is the hazard of bias, inflexibility, rigidity. Words are alive with their meanings. All things alive grow and change and evolve, potentially into something unrecognizable. ((Most people I run into these days do not recognize me if we have not seen each other in more than twenty years.)) And so, sometimes you just have to move on. Some words just don’t mean the same thing they meant a generation or so ago. When one does not accept the plasticity of language one is not likely to accept the inevitable communication failures that result.
Clones are identical, right? I don’t know. Most if not all the sci-fi literature I have beheld seems to emphasize degradation as the common theme. Rule of thumb is that a clone from an original isn’t quite as good as the original. Same goes for a clone of a clone until all integrity is lost and it just won’t hold together. And so, what’s the point? If a clone is not identical to the original, why would you want it?
One of the meanings of the term Sacred Clone could be that that particular is different than all the others. But then, is it a clone? Would the difference lie in mutation or some other fluke that allowed it survivability, that it should not degrade as others of its generation? Again, I don’t know.
All emperor penguins look alike. To me, they sound alike, they act alike, they smell the same. And it is a scent without nuance or subtlety as far as I can tell. But they know each other. Mates know their mates. Parents know their offspring, and can distinguish one from another in the throngs of companions upon returning from weeks away hunting and eating.
A friend and I were playing billiards. She was beautiful as far as I was concerned. But she was a bit older than me, had children half my age. Talking about this she mentioned something, threw it out in our conversation like any other sentence. Yet, I have heard nothing as profound spoken so casually in any conversation since: “We are much more alike than we are different.” And she wasn’t talking about the two of us necessarily. That was when we looked up and noticed a crowd gathered around one of the TV monitors at the Student Union Building. Ronald Reagan had just been shot. He survived. My friendship with that particular beautiful woman did not. However, if you put the two of us together in a crowd after all these years, we would find each other. We would know who the other was from that other time and place and we would enjoy a visit and then move on.
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