"She did not look like she was gathering up courage to pet it or imagining it in the role of a chase-able dog or cat. She was just looking at it."The author of the piece appears as a character, but it is not about the author. The other people and the other objects and creatures not defined by their relationship to the author, or indeed by their relationship to anyone else. They're allowed to exist in themselves, as themselves.
"The little girl presented a clearer display of authentic engagement of the parrot than all the adults."What's authentic is the reaction to the parrot. Everyone else reacts to what the parrot symbolizes. "Parrot flits too quickly [past] the face to be noticed, and is replaced by more normal cognitions." In the case of Ithaca, the symbolism is about what the parrot means about their relationship with other things and other people.
"Their carefully layered oversized sports clothes and reversed baseball hats demanded attention. I suppose spectacles, be they man-parrots or a group of swaggering young black men, do not supply attention, but demand it."They don't wear clothes as clothes. They wear clothes only because of how others' relationship to them is mediated through the clothes. They're not wearing clothes, they're trying to wear an idea or a relationship or a role. The problem is that ultimately, they're wearing clothes. The problem is that ultimately, a relationship involves someone else. They're trying to demand a particular relationship, which means they'd have to demand a particular person. Are you like that person? I'm not.
"But you cannot really compete with a parrot. The parrot is entirely unaware that it is competing."The competition is in the minds of the observers, it is not a real thing out there. You can't compete with the parrot because the parrot is not in a competition. To put it in competition, the minds have to create the competition through physical action.
Narcissism, like the obsession with symbols and meaning, shackles the mind. I'll add that obsession with 'should' excludes appreciation of 'is.'
"To my list of profundities, I will add the following: a free mind is one which the parrot can occupy easily, and stay in as long as it chooses."
"Now, the little black children engaged the parrot as completely as the little white girl. So if the little kids are born free and demonstrably remain free until at least age six, as demonstrated by the parrot"I don't think any of my age peers in school survived the trip from adulthood. Though, instead of them being removed from the world, they removed the world from themselves. Rather, had it forcibly removed. Since I went to the same school, and have to spend a lot of my time resisting the habit.
I could go on, but in any case I really like The Parrot.