The Treasure Hunt As Metaphor
by Jayson Wechter
Detective work, like treasure hunting, involves a re-discovery of the world around us. Commonplace things, places and words are re-configured, and seen through fresh, unassuming eyes. The skilled detective approaches his or her work with the wide-eyed inquisitiveness of a child, taking nothing for granted, being open to all possibilities, ready and able to formulate information in an almost unlimited variety of configurations.
This involves approaching every fact scenario, every event, every location with a wide and analytical eye (private or otherwise). This eye perceives everything, filters out nothing, and holds what it sees up to the light of analysis and intuitive insight -- much as one might hold a multi-faceted stone up to the light to study it from every angle. Though the eye's vision may be focused towards a particular goal, nothing is taken for granted; nothing is left out.
The skilled detective is methodical and persistent. He searches for patterns, and departures from patterns, for consistency and inconsistency, for truth and for its shadow self -- falsehood. He divests himself of assumptions, recognizing that a twist in phrasing, the odd omission, a slight alteration of perspective may provide the crucial link. He recognizes the random and entropic nature of the universe, but knows also that man seeks to impose order on his chaotic world. So he must learn the language of order, but be attuned also to the rhythms of chaos lurking just below its surface.
The detective, like the treasure hunter, seeks to discover something hidden and unknown. He quests for the rare and exquisite moment of revelation, when clouded enigma becomes clear truth. It is the moment when order triumphs over chaos, when skilled perception, thought and intuition shine a bright and unrelenting light into the darkness. It is the indelible moment of the "AH HA!", when the unknown becomes known, when we discover the world -- or some piece of it -- anew.
This goal beckons like a grail, but the seeker must remain aware that it is the quest itself which is paramount. It is through the seeking that one has an opportunity to see the world afresh, in a new light, to recognize the significance of nuance and detail, to re-awaken the eye. To streamline the process too much is to cheat oneself. Mysteries may be solved, or may remain clouded; it is in the process of their solution that we can find fulfillment.