Live streamed at 8:00pm MST. We'll post the recording sometime soon. Thanks to those who participated!
Since we're in a blue moon tonight, we thought it timely to try something different. Since April we've been live streaming our composition process, with all of it's messiness and surprises. Through it we're creating a kind of record of how this period of time has felt to these two musicians, recorded in sound.
Tonight we're bringing in two audio tracks from previous sessions where new rhythm and melodies appeared; intermixing them, and playing live to see what emerges. Instead of just being about writing music, this has turned into a practice that's helped us to focus and get centered. Helpful, in this long vertiginous moment.
Tonight I invite you to experiment with us, and engage differently with this live broadcast. Not as a performance that you are just listening to, but as a process that you're entering into. I've included the transcription of the voice sample we're entangling with the music. Maybe read the transcript below in sync with the voice, and see if you can pick back up on what he's saying when you can hear him again. Or if there are dance-y parts, maybe you'll feel like dancing with it. This is not a controlled experiment, it's an uncontrolled experiment!
Some suggestions: If the music gets agitating, tune it out, and focus on the words. If the music gets enticing, tune into that. Notice what odd or wandering thoughts pop up while you're trying to concentrate in this way. Notice the dance of order and chaos, and how, after some time, we find our way to dancing with both of them. Kind of like the slightly hidden pictures in the image above. Something clicks, then you can see the whole thing at once.
Experiment! And then, please do let us know what it was like to participate.
My loose hypothesis is that rather than just passively absorbing all the sensory input, choosing to focus on one thread in the midst of information or even musical overload and letting the rest pass by peripherally has a distinct effect on our nervous system, which affects our thought patterns. Let's see?
Below is the voice we're tuning into and playing with, excerpted from a discussion group that met regularly back in 2001-2002.
There's a way of understanding - give you a little insight into the experience of the shaman, because what the shaman is doing with his drugs is changing the timing of his clocks, changing the timing of his perception, and turning the world upside down, just by changing the way you time things. So there's a huge - when you say timing is everything you can't emphasize too much what this means. This is an incredible, our whole world can be turned upside down in many different dimensions and directions simply by changing the timing. Deep, deep insight. Profound insight.
And that's the difference between sanity and John Nash. We talked a little bit around this last time, the timing of his internal clocks. Every control system - most biologists generally look at the nervous system as a series of control systems that basically stabilize, keeping us level, keeping us from falling over on our head, allowing us to predict what's going to happen next, allows us to put our hand in front of a baseball and then catch it. All of those things that we do involve predicting the future. Not only is timing everything in terms of what happens, but every control system has got a sort of, because of the little time constants and offsets, it takes time to catch up. When you put your hand in front of a baseball that you are about to catch you are predicting the future. You put your hand there before the ball got there. And an intelligent furnace is one that understands it's got a time constant and tries to predict what's going to happen and lead the outside world so that it doesn't have this, and if it can do that it can make this line really smooth. So a good part of smoothing this line out is predicting the future. Making something be an insulator involves predicting the future.
So the way we get through life is predict the future, which is another way in which timing is everything. And see, at the heart of all of this stuff we've been talking about is the understanding of timing. It is incredible, there's an incredible set of insights here that allow you to make sense out of all kinds of stuff and see magic in your life that you thought was not there. Just to be able to walk down the street and not fall over on your face involves predicting the future like it does catching a ball. When you see a step that's about to happen, you don't fall over at this curb, you anticipate, and put your foot into a different place, and you're predicting the future. You're predicting what that experience is going to be like for a few seconds before you get to it.
Time is at the heart of this. Timing is at the heart of this thing. This is not space, this is time. The magic in our life is full of time, and when we have paradoxes it's full of time. And the things we miss are time. As children, when we grow up, a sense of time is the last thing that we learn to come to terms with. You cannot ask a four or a five year old to come back in an hour. It doesn't mean a thing.
...Well, yea, it is in the process of exploding...
Right, well the thing could be, there are lots of explanations for this, I mean, it could be other dimensions and stuff, and I, at this point I'm not worried about what particular theory you're going to use to try and explain this. The point i'm trying to make is that time is everything. Every one of these issues that we're talking about, where there's a paradox, where we feel the crunch of impossibility, all involves time. And time is the thing we've seen, over and over again, is the thing that we have one of the most, you know, dynamic process, which involves time, change, we're afraid of change, all this stuff in our lives. Timing is everything in spades! Right, these are all issues of time and timing, and yet we are a culture that has sort of created it's identity out of understanding static structures, not process, and that's part of our left turn. It's part of coming to understand the details of this left turn that the culture has made, so it's another way to understand what went wrong.
Well, it's all related. What we're talking about is extra-sensory perception could be related to changing how our internal clocks work so we're framing what's there a little differently and seeing other aspects of the same thing. That's what John Nash and shamans and -
This is hard to think about. We are not given tools, our culture doesn't give us tools. The only tools, really, that our culture gives us to deal with this stuff are things like - this is what partial differential equations is about, is about dealing with time in this way, and it's something that we don't think about very clearly at all.
And knowing, if you look at the equations of motion that describe how a bicycle works, a bicycle is a very unstable, out of balance thing. If you just let it be it will fall, over. If you get on top of it it will still fall over, maybe even faster. It's very unstable. And you, somehow, have got to balance this bicycle, and the equations that describe how this bicycle, the rates of change of various parts of it, are all given in what are called partial differential equations, which is probably the nemesis of every graduate math student and engineer and physicist. But knowing the equations of motion give you no clue about how to ride the bicycle still. So all the tools that we have for dealing with time and the complexities of time do not help us do it any better. They do not help us ride the bicycle any better. The engineers who have all this systems dynamics stuff still miss Thales, still will not see the historical importance of Thales any more than they will know how to ride a bicycle by having these equations which they can understand, and parse, and do all that stuff. So the tools that our culture has given - the lesson here is the tools that our culture has given do not help us, make us feel stupid because having all these abstractions does not help us solve this problem of riding the bicycle or catching the ball, or understanding what Thales did. They're all the same problem. At some level, they're all the same problem. See that? So this is all by way of understanding the nature of the left turn, what we've been calling the left turn, that our culture made back several thousand years ago, and made over and over again with the council of Nicea and all those places where we decided, our leaders decided to simplify our world for us, that we were, that Christ's teachings were too dangerous for us and we needed to simplify. Every time you simplify your world you get bitten by some little thing, and our culture has been sort of the history of being bitten by untruths that have come back to rest and bite us. We're continually seeing this thing that we put our teeth into and it turns out to be our own tail.
That's right. That's right. It has a time constant. It has a minimum reaction time. That's why we can bite into our tail and it may be generations before we...
We're seeing this with environmental issues. Everything has a time constant. Everything takes time to be realized in the world. Everything we've set in motion doesn't happen instantly, it takes a long time. And politicians get to take credit for all kinds of things that were set in motion generations ago, right? So we have a whole culture that is blind to time constants. It's one of the sicknesses of the culture. Understand that. Understand how important this is.
Yes. This relates to that. This is another sort of slice to the pie. What we've been doing in all of these talks is sort of taking a slice of this pie, going through this rat's nest of cultural ideas from different perspectives with different visions. We're crossing back over the same material over and over again, each time with a slightly different perspective. We're cutting through at a slightly different angle through the same material. So we're continually talking about Thales, continually talking about all these stories that we tell - the council of Nicea - all these things are all sort of pivotal moments in history which we are continually revisiting with a new concept.
So it's going to look like we're talking about the same subject over and over again, but we're actually revisiting it with slightly different concepts. We're actually making explicit now, this concept of time, which we've only been dancing around in a peripheral way. We're actually making explicit that all of these issues that we've been talking about all involve time, and when we have conceptions of the world that are different - the culture has taught us all kinds of things that aren't true and that our inner heart of hearts knows isn't true, often the untruth is around the issue of time. These are all pivotal issues that we feel as paradoxical, that we feel as a crunch, all have at their root a timing concept. Something around predicting the future, or something that can't exist in the same place at the same time. There are a whole lot of really interesting paradoxes around time that grew out of relativity, that have never fully been, made sense out of yet, but...there are all kinds of wonderful time paradoxes about what happens to clocks when you travel fast. When Einstein, in the special theory of relativity, says when you travel away from somebody if you can see his wristwatch when you were travelling away, you would see his wristwatch slow down, his clocks would get slower. It's sort of like when the train goes by, and it starts to go away from you, the pitch of the horn goes down -
The doppler effect. Except that with light, with Einstein, the equations all involve a squaring of time. So, when the train comes toward you the pitch gets higher, and when it goes by it gets lower. But with the light effects, and because all the equations squared time, time gets squared. which means that if things are going backwards - if there's a negative sign, when you square a negative with itself it turns positive. So the sign is lost in all of the relativity equations, so it shouldn't make any difference whether they're coming towards you or coming away from you, the clock should slow down if you're going faster, according to Einstein's equation.
So let's say you're on earth. The rocket ship goes out into space, flies all over the place, relative to you it's clocks are getting slower because it's moving very fast, it comes back. Now - this is one form of the paradox, one form of the Einstein time paradox. The rocket ship's clock should be slower than your clock, but, at least from the standpoint of the special theory of relativity in which gravity is not involved, this effect should be the same for the rocket ship. The rocket ship, when it leaves the earth, sees the earth go away, gets faster and faster, it's clocks slow down, so when they come back, each person says your clocks are slower than mine. Here are two clocks. How can this be that this person says the other person's clock is slower?
Well, this is what the special theory of relativity says. It might be wrong...
Yes, Yes. Now they come back together, the special theory of relativity that talks about this time thing has no way of dealing with it.
It's a complicated..yes. There are various ways to resolve paradoxes, and I'm not so much worried about which particular theory, at this point, is the truth. People are sort of looking at this stuff and trying to figure out what's going on, but
Well, clocks come back at a different time. Would the person, if a person rode along with this, would he see time differently? Would he see the other clock- there's a suggestion in relativity that two people can look at each other and each say the other person's clock is slower. Now, we're pretty sure that doesn't happen, because we've seen the difference in clocks, and Einstein predicts that there's going to be a difference in clocks, it also predicts that this might happen - the fact that we see a difference in clocks, it doesn't prove anything. It still could be, it's just you're perspective, it's what you're experiencing. It's possible that you're experience, what you went through, changes your perception of what is. And we've seen that happen in John Nash and in shamans and in a lot of things. Haven't we? And who's to say in John Nash's case who's right, or in the shaman's case, or with the astronauts? I'm just tossing this out - that it's the same issue. These are all the same issue. They may not look like it but they're the same issue and we can think about these in a whole lot of different contexts, but whether we're talking about madness, the truth, how cultures work, these are all the same issues. Exactly the same issue. Let's not worry about what the solution is. What the solution is is going to, is probably going to be twelve dimensions and we're not going to understand it anyhow, all right?
It's going to be like the partial differential equations. It's not going to help us ride the bicycle at all. What's going to help us ride the bicycle is something else, some change of consciousness. Some change of our own consciousness and being flexible about how our own consciousness works. That's what's at the heart of all this stuff. Is that clear? This is at least my view. Now you don't have to accept what I'm saying, but all I'm saying - I'm not worried about the answers just yet. I'm not trying to tidy up this thing, I'm trying to show that there's a mess here no matter where you are, that there's a set of paradoxes, that they're not clear, that we have traditionally as a culture been confused about this stuff, our personal lives are a reflection of all that stuff. We're not thinking clearly about it. I mean, our own picture of the world and what we think is right is defective, is not solving our problems, it's not the truth, don't get wedded to any particular truth at this point. If we're going to rise above all of this we have to somehow have compassion for our confusion as people, as cultures, as individuals, and as societies and everything. Be it, these are difficult things. We have been taught inconsistent stories, we have been told inconsistent stories about how the world works. Most of what we believe, I've been saying this over and over again, most of what we believe about the world is wrong, and we've sort of been documenting this, right? And this is another - we're still talking about how that is, how it got to be, what's the nature of it? How did it get to be that way? And what's at the heart of all that suffering? Why are we so confused and so wrong? And let's give ourselves some sense of compassion so that we can sort of learn to live with all this stuff, and have a sense of humor about it, and not be too crazy. You know, if you're not careful, what we're taught in this culture can - is crazy making. Because, behind all of this, our inner heart of hearts knows the truth. We all, remoter viewing, and all this stuff, the fact of that says that we have access to every truth that's there. We can actually stand in grand central station and train ourselves to listen to every message that's there if we want to.
And that's magic that we do every day when we tune a receiver to a radio station. It's the same thing.
I'm not worried about the truth at this point, about the truth of some explanation that resolves the paradoxes. In the end it's not going to make any difference. It's just competing theories and so on. It's to understand our predicament. Where we are in the history of our culture, what are the issues at this moment in time?
Yes, yes. People get persecuted and all kinds of bad things happen. And it's a problem. Right. And the world should be changed. But the question is: how do you change the world? This question that we keep coming back to is what does it take to change the world?
Well, it's to understand how feedback works. To have a concept of feedback, to understand that all of these things are timing problems and that timing is everything, and then to be looking for the moment in terms of time. Time and tide, knowing that there are tides, that everything that happens in the world is riding on a tide, a cyclical event, a phase, everything has a phase, everything is in some phase, in some frequency, in some cycle, and timing is everything. So changing the world is actually knowing when to step on the roller coaster. The timing of that event is much more important, according to what I've been saying, the moment that you step onto the system- whatever it is - can determine more than what it is you do. The possibility -
The answer to that is never that simple. What you need to know, in order to be able to effect change, to manifest change, you have to understand these things about timing. You have to be focused on the possibility that timing is everything. Now. That the exact moment in which you act, when you decide to act, picking the exact moment -
But you never can tell, but you also can. I mean, because, do you - can you catch a ball? Most of the time? You're predicting the future. You're managing time. You're managing something that is uncertain. And you can't predict the future you say? But you can!
We have tools. You've got tools. You've got conceptual tools. I mean, you've been playing catch for a while, and you've been thinking about this process of, you've been leaning into the process and trying to decide when, you know, to put your hand out, all that stuff.
Everything is timing. In a culture that teaches us that everything is static things, everything is really timing. And it's to understand that, and to compensate for what your culture has taught you. Now you, I mean...You can say you can't predict the future, and that you don't know anything, which is true. But it is also true that you can predict the future and that you can know. We depend on predicting the future all the time. To see that, and to understand, is to have confidence in your ability to catch a ball. And then increase the amount of time - and one of the exercises that you can do in life is to take a look at the ball, as you're playing catch, close your eyes, and see if you can catch the ball. See how long before the ball comes you can close your eyes and still catch it. If you think about the exercise, that's wholly a timing exercise. You are not thinking about doing a thing, you are thinking about the timing of it. So you are learning to improve your performance by thinking about nothing but the timing. It's a different way of thinking about what we are doing than we normally are taught to think. Is that right?
Out of all of this talk become strategies for improving your sense of timing. Be conscious. The first thing is to be aware, that timing does this thing. Timing makes John Nash what he is. Timing Thales what he is. Timing makes everything that we've missed in the culture. So timing is the thing that needs to be honed, it's the thing our culture has made us get dumb about. Part of our stupidity. Part of our illusion of progress has to do with how we think about the timing of events. And so timing is everything, really is a powerful - we've all heard this phrase - but there's a huge amount in that, there's a huge amount to understand when somebody says timing is everything. You say, 'yeah, sure.' That phrase 'timing is everything' includes John Nash. It includes the culture. John, Thales, all the things we've been talking about.
Yes, and it will mean different things to different people.