emblem blue

On connections unseen but present

Once or twice already you have, and several times more as you continue here you will, come across examples of how you and we (at a remove, yeah, but) may be ruled by G-d and man; true, but everybody's also influenced by a still-existing web of intersecting points or ‘connections,’ all of which once fully existed when we all occupied that first black hole. Makes sense, right? I mean, if we were all crunched into the same volume-less pinpoint, how could it not be true? As the X-iverse expands they’ve broken by the vigintillions, yeah, but many will hang on a while longer. Since I’m the one with the most developed musical sense of us four, I figured the best way to illustrate this ‘web’ that you can’t see unless you think into its existence is to quote a composer I respect who seems to have agreed.

Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) wrote music based on mathematical structures, something he was very familiar with given how after World War II he’d been an architect in the famous French firm of Le Corbusier. In this excerpt from his 1955 C.E. essay “Formalized Music” he says how (just like a bunch of other Greeks thought too) all things are subject to mathematical formulas, including music. [This’ll come up again. Watch for it] Composition in the late Renaissance was, you remember, considered a branch of mathematics –

“Everyone has observed the sonic phenomena of a crowd of dozens or hundreds or thousands of people... the statistical laws of these events... are the same as those of the cicadas and the rain.”

--Iannis Xenakis, from “Formalized Music” (1955)

Xenakis, in fact, often defined a fugue as “an abstract machine” with no visible moving parts -- so Xenakis’ use of transforms, integrals, fractal equations and all that to compose was actually no major leap.

‘I originated in 1954 a music constructed from the principle of indeterminism; two years later I named it “Stochastic music.” The laws of the calculus of probabilities entered composition through a musical necessity… but other paths also led to the same stochastic crossroads – first of all, natural events such as the collision of hail or rain with hard surfaces, or the song of cicadas in a summer field. These sonic events are made out of thousands of isolated sounds; this multitude of sounds, seen as a totality, is a new sonic event. This mass event is articulated and forms a plastic mold of time, which itself follows aleatory and stochastic laws. If one then wishes to form a large mass of point-notes, such as string pizzicati, one must know these mathematical laws, which in any case are no more than a tight and concise expression of a chain of logical reasoning.

‘Everyone has observed the sonic phenomena of a crowd of dozens or hundreds or thousands of people. The human river shouts a slogan in a uniform rhythm. Then another slogan springs from the head of the demonstration; it spreads towards the tail replacing the first. A wave of transformation thus passes from the head to the tail. The clamor fills the city, and the inhibiting force of voice and rhythm reaches a climax. It is an event of great power and beauty in its ferocity. Then the impact between the demonstrators and the enemy occurs. The perfect rhythm of the last slogan breaks up in a huge cluster of chaotic shouts, which also spreads to the tail. Imagine, in addition, the reports of dozens of machine guns and the whistle of bullets adding their punctuations to this total disorder. The crowd is then rapidly dispersed, and after sonic and visual hell follows a detonating calm, full of despair, dust and death.

‘The statistical laws of these events, separated from their political or moral context, are the same as those of the cicadas and the rain. They are the laws of the passage from complete order to total disorder in a continuous or explosive manner. They are stochastic laws. Here we touch on one of the great problems that have haunted human intelligence since antiquity; continuous or discontinuous transformation...’

(from Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition, copyright 1955 by the author; published by Indiana University Press, 1971). [Emphasis added.]

So anyway. Is Monsieur Xenakis wrong? Does free will exist? Or are you a product of a mathematical process? Is it still ‘free will’ if you think that it is? Fancy way of bringing up ‘fate’ again, maybe, but bear with me.

Both. And neither. Even in situations where free will doesn’t apply, it is still an existing concept so it still has what’s called ‘tertiary or quaternary influence.’ Kind of like it was revolving in an orbit a lot farther out than something else that’s closer and a lot more influential. In this quote ‘free will’ is a ‘shadow of the truth,’ or an approximation instead of the actual circumstance. ‘Elsewhere’ it’s more influential, and ‘fate’ takes its place in descent. In still other areas, one or the other holds complete sway. This creation around you has become such a complex existence, you know (and an explanation is on its way about that), that there’s a POV from where you can look into the X-iverse and see nothing. Nothing at all. Keep looking. It’s there. Why is it this way? Not my job to explain that. Keep going!

But hopefully you see my point. It’s kind of elemental to understanding the actual truths we have to tell. More actual than yours, anyway. There are even connections between seeming opposites, largely because they aren’t really opposites. You’ve read something like this from Dave already. Xenakis’ quote is an example of one of the X-iverse’s enormities that (as you read earlier) you really aren’t designed to notice. This is only one facet of the particular enormity you’re in, remember. Xenakis describes above a cross-purpose, a combination of two apparent ‘opposing truths’ that is still true, if you want to be too concrete about it (although it isn’t). This is one of the many, many unseen connections I mentioned before. You have to try to stand outside yourself to see that it’s not really what it appears... even if you can only view it indirectly. You’re playing with your sanity if you do that, yeah, but you have a choice between complete sanctioned madness (your current state) and a more selective kind. Could be of more use soon.

And your reaction to these cross-purposes has been pre-loaded too! Most often it’s “I’ll miss my train” or “I have to get in the corn from the north 40” or “One more minute, please…” and all the while Xenakis challenges (in a subterranean kind of way) the great modern human idea of self. While you indirectly illustrate his point in an attempt not to. So what is more elemental to you, anyway?

And by the way, what of that Theory of Everything that Dr. Hawking (or his successors) was/ were working on in Oxford University, the last time I heard? Don’t you think that once it’s arrived at (and enough people believe it) it’ll start to box in all humanity, the more people start to believe it? You are part of Everything. Are the walls closing in, or is it just you?

You have to have an opinion in order to control your immediate surroundings. That really is all it takes. Differing opinions among your kind is what made this mess, after all, so it’s easy to decide to skip it. But only bewildered acceptance remains if you don’t form your own viewpoint. I’ll remind you again that the worlds we and you occupy are worlds without exact absolutes. All things have to coexist while none actually do, head-on. All ideas will have varying amounts of influence in particular places but none at all elsewhere. Again, it’s the cross-purposes, the connections, the overlaps that create life, arguments, wars, the new and the unwanted. No wonder we want to slash them all apart, cut each and every one of them and watch the X-iverse float away in countless pieces. It was our commission. Really. Sure, it grew over time, like everything else does. We don’t just put you down any more. We dispatch whole worlds when we can swing it. Still our commission, and we’re carrying it out in the only way we can. We’ll tell you more. Soon.

So yeah, as just one example of many, you can have your free will and your Theory of Everything, for this tiny period of time that they’re balancing. Just not all of you, and not at the same time. So, you want to simplify things a little? Is it too late to call up your friendly neighborhood physicist and talk him out of turning most of you into equations? Race you to the phone? --F.

famine@warfampestdeath.net
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