Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Image Source: pinterest.

"How does a man come to know the unknowable?" He can do it through pushing the boundaries, or through some philosophical bridge. Maybe he does it through a woman, or a leap of faith, or a contemplation of the order of the universe that he cannot see. In these respects, I want to thank Dia Sobin at Trans-D Digital blog for permitting me to quote her 20 March 2016 post, The Language of Birds & the Alchemy of Love: The Music Box. She wrote a beautiful passage about the way in which girls keep talismans from their pasts to preserve memories and conjure up love. Women,
"have a peculiar predilection for keeping memorable items in special boxes, especially as young girls. Our little magic boxes ... full of talismanic detritus we've collected over the years ... a coin, jewelry, a shred of hair, a crumbling flower head, a photo, a signature, stones, bones ... whatever. Generally the tokens are kept to remind us of lovers or loved ones ... small trophies for experiences that may eventually retreat into a mental shadowland in the same way the objects themselves have retreated into the shadowy recesses of the box. But, no matter. The box becomes a sort of artificial memory bank... a collection of three-dimensional objects representing transdimensional events in the same way a collection of symbols do. In the end, whether we're talking about musical codes, alchemical codes, or the enigmatic chemistry of love and attraction, some type of hidden language is involved ... as is some kind of communication that lies outside the bounds of what is consciously understood."
Studies confirm that women remember events, especially emotional ones, better than men. Not only is the part of the brain which deals with memory larger in women, but that brain difference prompts female behaviour dedicated to maintaining memory through the organization of material objects. This tendency to tuck away bits of sacred junk in drawers and boxes demonstrates women's semi-conscious need to connect the emotional world and past memories to the tangible world in the present and future in direct ways. Women habitually manipulate time to turn the unreal side of life into something real. With these little anchors, they navigate the course of their lives. If you remember who you were, you don't lose track of who you are, and of the person you will become.

Image Source: Frith Luton.

In her blog post, Dia also related women's mementoes to Carl Jung's posthumously-published book, Mysterium Coniunctionis (1970), his final understanding of how the ethereal psyche and mind connect to visible matter. She noted The Gnosis Archive's summary of Jung's last ideas, in which Jung took this emotional-material nexus one step further:
"In this last summary of his insights on the subject, influenced in part by his collaboration with the Nobel Prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli, the old Jung envisions a great psycho-physical mystery to which the alchemists of old gave the name of unus mundus (one world). At the root of all being, so he intimates, there is a state wherein physicality and spirituality meet in a transgressive union. Synchronistic phenomena, and many more as yet unexplained mysteries of physical and psychological nature, appear to proceed from this unitive condition. It is more than likely that this mysterious condition is the true home of the archetypes as such, which merely project themselves into the realm of the psyche, but in reality abide elsewhere."
Dia's blog, Trans-D, is devoted to 'trans-dimensionality,' that is, to finding keys between everyday reality and transcendent aspects of reality and awareness, including memory, consciousness and virtual reality. In related posts, she described birdsong as a musical expression of the underlying geometry of the world:
She reminded me of my earlier post about a hermit thrush outside my window, The Not-So-Discreet Charm of Lateral Thinking. The hermit thrush is considered to have the most beautiful song of all birds in North America, and ranks worldwide in that regard alongside its thrush cousins, the nightingale, the Malabar whistling thrush, or the veery. Other birds famous for their songs are Asia's shama, the Eurasian skylark, and the African yellow-fronted canary.

Song of the hermit thrush in the Catskill Mountains, USA (2011). Video Source: Youtube.

Song of the hermit thrush in Yamaska National Park, Quebec, Canada (2012). Video Source: Cephas via Wiki.

In early April, the hermit thrush arrives in the northern United States after flying south for the winter, and it comes to Canada a bit later in the month; some birds winter over. Song of the hermit thrush starts at 2:02. This 2009 video is from the Spring Farm Cares Nature Sanctuary, New York state, USA. Video Source: Youtube.

Video Source: Youtube.

Hermit thrushes - tiny, brown-feathered and humble - are legendary because they sing complicated, echoing, water-bell-like songs, considered "the finest sound in nature." See the 2014 scientific article, which found that the songs of this thrush are mathematically constructed, "Overtone-based pitch selection in hermit thrush song: Unexpected convergence with scale construction in human music," in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. From the New Scientist:
"[T]he song of the North American hermit thrush has long captivated the human ear. For centuries, birdwatchers have compared it to human music – and it turns out they were on to something. The bird’s song is beautifully described by the same maths that underlies human harmonies.

To our ears, two notes usually sound harmonious together if they follow a set mathematical relationship. An octave is a doubling of frequencies. Tripling the frequency of sound produces a perfect fifth, quadrupling is yet another octave, and quintupling produces a perfect third.

These relationships define the most common major chords – the ones that, across human cultures, we tend to find most pleasant to listen to.

Early studies sought to determine whether these mathematical relationships also governed the notes in bird song. Studies in the white-throated sparrow and the northern nightingale-wren failed to find the same musical intervals as those used in human music, and deemed birdsong to be something different entirely.

The song of the hermit thrush challenges that conclusion. Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna in Austria and colleagues analysed recordings taken in the wild of 70 full songs from this species. They isolated the frequencies corresponding to each note, and calculated the relationships between pitches appearing in each song.

Lo and behold, the vast majority of songs used notes that fitted the same simple mathematical ratios as human harmony. What’s more, Fitch says the thrush can produce other notes – meaning it must choose to use these harmonic chords.

The study shows a natural bias in the thrush towards certain harmonies, similar to those found in humans and some other birds, says Martin Braun of the Swedish organisation Neuroscience of Music in Karlstad, who says the study is an important contribution to the field."
When this bird's music descends from the branches above your head in the forest, it is like walking into a dream or fairy tale. How quickly mathematics becomes fantasy. The hermit thrush appears in the fifth section of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, read it here, in the cruellest month of April. Dia also quoted Robert Frost's poem, Come In, in which the poet hears the thrush's song at sunset. With a twist, Frost hints that the thrush sings with the voice of the west, and when the west dies, the thrush will sing a civilization's last song in "the pillared dark." As with a girl's music box full of memories, the hermit thrush's song links the mundane to far greater mysteries.

See all my posts on Synchronicity.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting definition of transdimensionalism, TB... and, thanks so much for your reference to the Music Box post! I don't know that women can manipulate time, but, certainly our trinkets make time's passing more tangible.
    As usual, great post!