The Zoroastrans put their dead in Towers of Silence for the vultures to pick clean. Burning or burying was thought to corrupt the elements. Gold is found pure. It's soft enough to leave toothmarks in, heavier than lead. It combines with few elements, but has an affinity for silence. Spaceships passing through eternities of silence use it for its powers of conductivity and reflection. Where congregations mass, gold rims the goblets and threads through the vestments. The puritans didn't melt it all down. It's so pure that its color is its name. That silence has a name at all defiles it.
In a famous composition by John Cage a pianist plays 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence. The silence is given shape by the coat tails, the raising and lowering of the piano lid, the coughs of the audience. Even a minute's silence gives respect. We ask for it before our final trick. The deafening drum deters conversation. The audience have no choice but to fall silent and watch, then to join in the applause.
Lowly silver backs mirrors, pretends to be everything. Gold is always itself. No wonder it symbolises gods. It was part of an ancient pact that man should return the apple to woman. Paris did the honours. That the apple was gold was sheer chance. But O what blood was shed when Aphrodite's promise was fulfilled. It was not the goddesses' greed for gold, but their wish for beauty that brought war to Earth. And greed for beauty nearly put Snow White's heart into a gold casket. Seekers of gold still drape fleeces across streams, then hang them on an oak branch to dry before beating the gold out like pollen dust. In the end there was precious little for the Argonauts to steal. Only the innocent can take gold from the gods with impunity. Rumpelstiltzkin spun straw into gold for the miller's daughter whose desire for upward mobility matched the king's for gold. Had the elf kept silent in the forest she'd never have discovered his name and the heir to the crown would have been his. Instead, he tore himself to pieces in his anger. Jack, in another satire on social climbing, brought the goose that laid golden eggs down the beanstalk. We don't know the value of the eggs in the giant's land. Worthless perhaps - they couldn't be eaten - but everything can be given an aesthetic value and a monetary one, everything can be privatised or insured. Hoarders and snobs of each persuasion exist. Gold unites them, it is both treasured and treasure, the pot at the end of the rainbow, soft in a lullaby.