Rolling Up The Landscape

On Gods & Intervals…

I was a chorister for a couple of years, from the age of about 8. This experience taught me how to (a) sing, (b) walk upright with a bible on my head, (c) the potential power/force of harmony & collective/group performance, and (d) a healthy skepticism, agnosticism, towards the potential existence of God(s).

Witnessing a guest speaker faint & crack their head open on an ornate eagle shaped lectern is an image that still haunts me. In the reverential hushed seconds before anyone responded, a tiny trickle of blood appeared on the stone aisle floor. My immediate thoughts were… How could God or Jesus let this happen in their house? and why didn’t they appear, to at least mop up the blood?

My conclusion was that ‘maybe’ God was a myth, I stress the agnostic ‘maybe’, and for many years my thoughts on religion have best been summed up by Mick Jagger’s line… I “don’t want to talk… talk about Jesus… just want to see His face” (Keith Richards / Mick Jagger: I Just Want to See His Face: lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC). Only relatively recently did I hear a more concise lyrical summation of religion, in the words of George Cockcroft (a.k.a. Luke Rhinehart, my friend & collaborator) “God is an emptiness we fill with us” (Luke Rhinehart: I & God, from “The Dice Man Speaks“: Rhinehart & Weazel; Dice Man Records: 2018) .

As a ‘thoughtful” child, and having thus veered from the path (so to speak), I needed a story (philosophy – creation myth) that might explain existence beyond God, Middle Earth, Greek Mythology, painting by numbers, and an awareness of mathematisation inspired by “Cuisenaire rods”.

The ‘story’ I invented was inspired by a combination of Greek Gods (Gaia like creator deities) & seeing rolled hay bales in the landscape, as follows;

Reality consists of only what we can see & hear (our sensory experience), everything beyond the next hill (or horizon) is being created/formed “on the fly” by large giants who are literally rolling out the landscape before we get there, to make it appear real, and to correspond with our memory of it! Behind us (out of sight), the process is happening in reverse, the landscape is being rolled up (perhaps memorized ?).

Philosophically, this naive (although aesthetically pleasing) simplistic concept is more related to a ‘growing block universe’ representation of time rather than Eternalism; in that, we imagine a future & remember a past, but only exist in the moment. Zeno’s arrow is thus a snapshot of remembered moments landing in the present.

Only when I started reading for my PHD in 2017 did I realise that I have spent the best part of half a century mulling over the same question, & to a certain extent, the only addition I am trying to make to the above scenario is to replace the visual hegemonic reference with an auditory/intervallic one (inspired by numbers), a God of the Gaps, of “MA“, the space between spaces.

Q: (ii) Why are we here and (i) what’s it really like?

A: (i) “Everything is music”, or more precisely intervallic vibration/energy. Maybe reality is a “transition region” within the “Edge of Chaos”, one that may be formed through the vibration of the neural substrates in our cerebral cortex (a participatory universe, Wheeler’s Ear rather than eye), where emergence might be better understood through the information theoretic nature of music, specifically, intervallic perception; perhaps in relation to powers of 2, common to the musical octatonic scale, cellular automata (CA), Octonions & quadratic equations.

A: (ii) We are here to understand, to learn, and to appreciate (act out the consequences of) the connectivity of all things & the concept of a (primarily auditory) collective (un)consciousness.

“The whole is other than the some of it’s parts”

(Kurt Koffka)