Alchemy of Sound
by on March 5, 2017 in sound

Rhythm is a male force. Harmony is a female force. The rhythm punctuates the creation with blocks, milestones, reference points, landmarks. The harmony joins them together filling up the space in between with a colourful flow of creativity.

Rhythm lays down the blueprint. Harmony builds it up. Rhythm traces the straight lines. Harmony rounds up spirals and curves on their vertexes.

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The fundamentals of nature, of growth and of creation are metaphorically experienceable in a musical composition, and ultimately also in natural soundscapes, as rhythm and harmony are everywhere we are ready to recognise them.

Many believe that the almighty power of science and rationality can explain the universe. But the only tools we have always had are the metaphor, the simile and the analogy. Reality itself is vast, immense and immediate like the primordial spot which the big bang exploded from. It is here, now, and can’t be known through the study of it. It can be only known by being it.

The study of reality can only generate connections between parts of it, and a never-ending series of analogies between these parts. Western science claims to be objective. To know something objectively, that “something” has to be other than the subject who is studying it, We can’t take the distance from reality because we are a manifestation of it. If we could step away from reality, we would not exist. So western science studies the mechanisms of the illusory way that humans use to perceive reality. It doesn’t study reality itself because it just can’t. Science studies the singular perspective of human’s individuality and the illusion of being separated from anything at all.

Before I expose how sound can be used “alchemically” to transform ourselves, let me take you through a few considerations about what reality is and what science does.

When I use the tools of allegory, simile and metaphor I am not doing anything less than what science does. Let’s unhinge science from its rigidity and let it flow wherever we feel the desire to cast light onto. The 3D model of the DNA, the structure of the atom and any other concept that we have learned from science are simply models of reality. A way to conceptualise reality. Reality can’t be taken out of itself and printed on books, it can only be interpreted. As I have pointed out in the post about entropy and information, a single fraction of reality contains such a vast amount of information that ends up meaning nothing for us, until we submit that reality to a code of interpretation. Even mathematics means nothing. Mathematics can describe anything in the universe, but can tell us nothing about its meaning. So where does the meaning come from? Does reality have a meaning at all? Our busy lives seem to show that there is a meaning. You make the meaning. What’s the meaning of life? You name it.

So that’s what I do. I highlight the connection between different experiences and I find a bit more of myself along the process. I use metaphor not to do poetry, but to do science. What’s the difference between the two anyway? They use the same tools. The difference is that poets have understood the theory of relativity long before scientists. Poets tend to be more aware of the subjectivity of their points of view, while science tries to show how everything has a unique way to be measured and experienced. 

I understand there is fear when we talk about unhinging science from its pedestal and let anyone use its flag. I can imagine people protesting saying “We need professionals!”. I say don’t worry and trust yourself, and let’s trust ourselves as a community of human beings, each of us capable of diving deep into the core of life and emerging with a priceless treasure for all to see. In the last centuries (or millennia?) we have created a collectivity of disempowered people. We have refused responsibilities of our lives. This is where the fear stems from, when we talk about making science OUR business. We don’t trust ourselves. We have been taught to need an authority to run our life. This is the main purpose of today’s education system. There is no need really to be afraid of yourself. Rather know yourself.

Sound is nothing but another metaphor, one of the many facets of Indra’s net. Sound, music and composition are territories of transformation. In fact you can act on any facet of reality, not only on sound, to produce a concatenated effect that spreads in a domino’s fashion through the full spectrum of creation. I feel particularly comfortable with the facet of sound as a tool and that’s why I keep coming back to it, choosing it over others. You can easily transfer what I write about sound onto any other form of creativity you feel more comfortable with, because any facet is a metaphor and a mirror of any other facet, just like in Indra’s net metaphor.

I give you one exercise you can play with. It comes from my experience playing with sound and composition, and it helps me to look at myself and transform certain patterns and habits, so maybe it will do the same for you.

Bring your attention to an aspect of your life that you want to change. For example, let’s assume there is some behaviour you want to get rid of or you want to transform into something else. Imagine a situation in your day where you express this behaviour that you want to change. Connect with the feelings you experience while in your mind you immerse yourself in that situation. Now, create in the way you feel more comfortable with. Write, paint, draw, create music, build something, act, anything you prefer. Dunk your creation in these feelings. Keep the connection with that feeling that you have recalled while you create. While you create, do like children do when they play with their toys: they imbue their toys of certain meanings, and then they “let the toys play” as if they were just observers had the toys had their own life. In a similar way imbue the parts of your creation of meaning, build the plot, the scenario of your life that you want to transform. If you do music you can for example create a line of melody that signifies an aspect of you, and another line of melody or a rhythm or a sound that embodies another aspect. At this stage you are defining the characters of your plot, the characters of your inner world. If you paint you can use shapes, light and colour and so on. The key is the feelings. Emotions do just what the word suggests: they give motion, moving things to life. Be the feelings and then offer these feelings to your creation, transfuse them into what you have created animating it (give it “anima”). Once you have established this connection, step back and watch it. Watch the unfolding of your play or your drama. Now be aware that you are the creator, and with this awareness come back into the creation, and change it. Move the parts towards the outcome you desire. Now that the connection between your creation and your inner patterns has been established, you have hands on your inner world and you can manipulate it. You have built a bridge towards the scenario that you play inside your mind. In other words, you have linked those abstract feelings to something tangible that you can easily work with. As you move and transform the characters of your creation you also change your inner patterns. So now let them take the shape you wish, and while you do this, feel how the change in your creation mirrors the change inside of you. I call this alchemy.

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