This seems like the appropriate time and place to post the following parable by my friend and Master Mentalist Bob Cassidy. It was first published in his shortlived Quintessence newsletter in 1998 and is posted here with his permission.
by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Bob
Nearly two hundred years ago a young man went to a concert where he was startled, amazed and entertained by the virtuosity of the great pianist, Paganini. He was particularly impressed by the adoring reaction of Paganinis audience, especially the women. He decided that he, too, would become a master, and would obtain the same respect and admiration.
He immediately went in search of a music shop to purchase an Amati the finest violin made.
He asked the proprietor if he could buy the sheet music for the pieces he had heard Paganini play.
The shop owner handed him the music and asked, Are you a musician?
Oh, yes, said the young man, I am the next Paganini! I have one question, though. What is the meaning of all of those black dots and lines on the sheet music. I cannot read this!!
Sir, replied the owner, that is the way music is transcribed and written. Before you can be a master you must first learn to read music, you must learn your scales, do your exercises and master the fundamentals. I assume you can play the violin.
Well, it looks pretty easy to play. Paganini had no trouble with it, and it was obvious that what he did was very easy. Besides, I have no interest in learning scales or doing exercises. I simply want to know how to play the pieces I heard Paganini play.
The old man laughed so loudly that the boy took offense. "Listen, old man, he said, Dont laugh at me and give me lectures, just tell me the secret to playing these pieces!!
Unbeknownst to the boy, the old man as also a clairvoyant, a life-long initiate of the Black Arts. My son, he stated, To receive the answer to your query you must first live for two hundred years. You must then buy a device that will be known as a computer and use it to travel into a dimension called cyberspace. There you will encounter a beast known as Internet. Ask to be transported to a domain known as The Music Cafe and all will be revealed to you."
And they wont preach at me the way you have done? They will simply tell me the secret?
Yes. A few you will meet there will preach to you, true. But most will be happy to trade the secrets of Paganini, say, for the secrets of Mozart. I will be happy to sell you a harpsichord and Mozart sheet music so that you will have something with which to barter.
Now you are talking, old man! Sell me the harpsichord and the music! . . . And one more thing where can I buy the secret that will enable me to live for two hundred years so that I may find the Internet?
Not to worry, replied the shopkeeper, People like you will be around forever.
copyright 1998 by Robert Cassidy
Originally published in Quintessence by Robert Cassidy, reprinted here with the authors permission