Archive for May, 2019

The Chromatic Scale of Music

May 28, 2019

All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.

— Walter Pater

I really don’t know much about music theory, but I know I like this chromatic “circle” with solmization center.

Also, if you count out seven triangles clockwise around the rim starting from C you get G, D, A, E, B, F#, etc., which is the Circle of Fifths for chords. (But you get that with any chromatic circle.)

And I imagine if you go counter-clockwise you get the Circle of Fourths, which is important for Jazz chords!

Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_scale

https://www.skytopia.com/project/scale.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths

http://mentalfloss.com/article/53280/why-are-notes-tonal-scale-called-do-re-mi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solmization

Music of the Squares: David Ramsay Hay and the Reinvention of Pythagorean Aesthetics

[*11.68, *11.69]

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Combogenesis: a constructive, emergent cosmos

May 22, 2019

I just finished reading Tyler Volk’s “Quarks to Culture: how we came to be”. In this book Volk outlines an interesting model for what he calls combo-genesis, a “great chain of being” leading from basic physical law up through the highest organizational structures that we know of, human societies. He traces a path through human knowledge: physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, sociology, etc., and I am reminded of E. O. Wilson’s “Consilience: the unity of knowledge” that argued for some of the same things.

But Volk’s work has some good new ideas. He details twelve hierarchical levels, where each level is constructed on a “lower” previous level, and the new “higher” level has new things and different abilities than its predecessor. These levels range from the level of fundamental quanta (the quarks of the title), to geo-political states (the culture of the title).

  • QUA: fundamental quanta
  • PRO: nucleons, which are protons and neutrons
  • NCL: atomic nuclei
  • ATM: atoms
  • MOL: molecules
  • PCL: prokaryotic cells
  • ECL: eukaryotic cells
  • ANI: multicellular organisms, including animals
  • ASG: animal social groups
  • HUM: human tribal meta-groups
  • AGR: agro-villages
  • STA: geo-political states

These levels are within three dynamical realms, the first realm being of physical laws and then those realms of biological and cultural evolution. Each of these realms has a base level that has a capability for great constructive and emergent potential via an “Alpha-kit”. An alpha-kit has two facets, an element set and a cornucopia set, that operate like an alphabet and the myriad combinations that that alphabet can produce.

Dynamical realms:

  • Realm of physical laws: QUA -> MOL
  • Realm of biological evolution PCL -> ASG
  • Realm of cultural evolution HUM -> STA

Base levels and their Alpha-kits:

  • QUA, means for chemistry and molecules (atomic)
  • PCL, mechanisms for biology and its evolution (genetic)
  • HUM, faculty for culture and its evolution (linguistic)

As Volk’s model has each higher level based on or constructed from the previous lower one, I make the following suggestion utilizing my four-fold Structure-Function. The structures of each lower level serve as the parts of the next higher level, and the functions of each lower level serve as the actions of the next higher level. In this way a chain of actions and parts, structures and functions are built giving different entities and capabilities to different operational domains.

In the diagram shown, the sets of structures (S) and functions (F) of level i are used for the sets of parts (P) and actions (A) of level i+1, so S(i)=>P(i+1) and F(i)=>A(i+1). Not all structural information or functional abilities are necessarily accessible in the higher level of parts and actions, similar to the information and method hiding in object-oriented programming, and so reducing overall complexity. And as I have argued before, parts are combined to create the structures and actions are combined to create the functions of each level, so P(i+1)=>S(i+1) and A(i+1)=>F(i+1). In this way we have a bottom-up combo-genesis leading from quarks to culture.

Are we now entering another dynamical realm, perhaps based on some technological or computational alpha-kit? But, unfortunately we have to ask, will it take us forwards or backwards?

Further Reading:

Tyler Volk / Quarks to Culture: how we came to be

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyler_Volk

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/how-quarks-turned-into-cultures/

http://www.integralworld.net/smith56.html

http://www.integralworld.net/visser114.html

https://inquisitivebiologist.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/book-review-quarks-to-culture-how-we-came-to-be/

Tyler Volk and Robert Wright discuss:

mol-2017-09-28-wright-volk

Edward O. Wilson / Consilience: the unity of knowledge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience_(book)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consilience

[*11.98, *11.99]

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Fire and Ice

May 16, 2019

Apologies to Robert Frost.

Further Reading:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44263/fire-and-ice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_and_Ice_(poem)

[*8.128, *11.96]

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You Are What

May 14, 2019

Identity, simplified? Pop psychology? Truth by Google search suggestion? Go to http://www.google.com and type in “you are what you”.

Further Reading:

https://www.blog.google/products/search/how-google-autocomplete-works-search/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Are_What_You

[*11.82]

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The Hero’s Journey

May 11, 2019

Professor of Literature Joseph Campbell [1] popularized the monomyth of the “hero’s journey” [2], a recurring template for the plot arc or cycle of many heroic characters found in mythologies and even popular modern stories. From his most famous book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. [3]

Quite a few diagrams are available showing the generic journey of the hero or heroine; some are more complete than others, and the one I present here is no exception. Campbell’s schema is said to have seventeen basic parts to it, but not all elements need to be present in any specific narrative. I list four basic “acts” (separation, descent, ascent, unification) and twelve basic events, including four thresholds: 1st) crossing into the special world, 2nd) surmounting the supreme ordeal, 3rd) returning to the normal world, and 4th) journey’s end and / or beginning.

  • Call and Refusal
  • ——–< Separation >
  • Meet the Mentor
  • Crossing Over (1st Threshold)
  • Tests, Allies, Enemies
  • ——–< Into the Abyss / Descent >
  • Inmost Cave / Whale Belly
  • Supreme Ordeal (2nd Threshold)
  • Ultimate Boon / Reward
  • ——–< Magic Flight / Ascent >
  • Road Back / Refusal
  • Crossing Back (3rd Threshold)
  • Return with Elixir / Resurrection
  • ——–< Unification >
  • Master of Two Worlds
  • Freedom to Live (or Die) (4th Threshold)

Any hero’s journey must be transformational, and so has associations with alchemical change. It must be of such difficulty that it utterly changes the nature and the mindset of the traveler. Even though many supporting characters may influence, help, and even hinder our hero, it is ultimately about their journey, their sacrifice, and their reward. But what the hero brings back with them is also key to the story, because it is for the benefit of others as well as for themselves.

An interesting dissertation by Richard Warm that I ran across recently proposes that leaders, like heroes, need ordeals and trials in order to bring back the inspiration and wisdom to motivate others. From the abstract:

This dissertation will explore leadership as a mytho-poetic transformational journey toward self-knowledge, authenticity, and ultimately wisdom; the power to make meaning and give something back to the world in which we live; and the necessity of transformation. I view leadership as a transformative process and a transformational responsibility. As leaders we must undergo our own transformation in order to lead change on a larger scale. The dissertation will be both philosophical and theoretical, exploring how the threads of the hero’s journey, transformation, wisdom, and leadership intertwine. …[4]

These ordeals may also be of an intellectual or moral kind, and not just feats of strength or stamina, although those are important too. Warm also has a company [5] for coaching you on your leadership, life, and legacy.

One of my favorite books that I think of when the hero’s journey comes to mind is “Figures of Earth: a comedy of appearances” by James Branch Cabell. It is a bit of a spoof on fantasy tropes, well before its time. However, I’m not quite sure what the “magic elixir” is that the hero returns with except for his story: that life is what you make of it, or what it appears to be to others, or what you can convince yourself that it is, or that it is what it is and must be sufficient to you in the end.

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey

[3] Joseph Campbell / The Hero with a Thousand Faces

[4] https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/113/

[5] https://mythoscoaching.com/

Further Reading:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheHerosJourney

http://www.movieoutline.com/articles/the-hero-journey-mythic-structure-of-joseph-campbell-monomyth.html

http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/Workshop-stuff/Joseph-Campbell-Hero-Journey.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figures_of_Earth

“There are one or two things that I do not fancy the looks of in this torture-chamber.”

[*6.38, *6.133, *6.149, *9.200, *11.70]

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Patrick Geddes and the Notation of Life

May 8, 2019

Over the last few decades, there has been renewed interest in the work of biologist, sociologist, and city planner Patrick Geddes [1]. This is due to his efforts for holistic considerations for the entirety of the modes of human life and the facilities appropriate for their function. That is, he asked what makes a city or a town ideal for life, and how can we plan to bring this ideality into being? To this day, cities fail in many important ways.

Geddes embraced the new (at the time) Victorian notion of evolution in his work and thought of how cities could and should evolve to meet their shortcomings as well as provide environments for future developments. For example, common institutions such as schools, churches, and governments (polity) need to cooperate with family dwellings to provide for synergy and functional enrichment.

Geddes often used grids of words to explore relations between concepts, such as place, work, and folk. Placing these words along the diagonal of a square allowed one to consider the paired concepts of place-work, work-place, place-folk, etc. For example, how does the place-work compare with the work-place? His “notation of life” was a complicated schematic for exploring relations between a city’s facilities and the activities that they should promote.

  • Town / Acts : place, work, folk
  • School / Facts : sense, experience, feeling (alt. lore, learn, love)
  • City / Deeds : ethno-polity, synergy, achievement (alt. polity, culture art)
  • Cloister / Dreams (Thoughts) : emotion, ideation, imagery (alt. ideals, ideas, imagery)

Two locales are objective, two are subjective, two are passive, and two are active:

  • In-World (Subjective) : School and Cloister
  • Out-World (Objective) : Town and City
  • Passive : Town and School
  • Active : City and Cloister

And so:

  • Passive & Subjective : School
  • Active & Subjective : Cloister
  • Passive & Objective : Town
  • Active & Objective : City

Any important thinker is inspired and influenced by those that were previous or are contemporary to them and in turn is inspiration to those that follow. James H. Cousins was an important syncronic influence on Geddes, and please see [2] and [3] for information about him. The integral theory of Ken Wilber [4] is also compared to Geddes in [5]. I understand architect Lewis Mumford was a disciple of Geddes and I hope to find out more at a future time, perhaps by reading my copy of [6].

References:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Geddes

[2] http://hodgers.com/mike/patrickgeddes/feature.html

[3] https://equivalentexchange.blog/2017/07/13/a-study-in-synthesis/

[4] https://equivalentexchange.blog/2010/06/10/ken-wilbers-aqal/

[5] Theodore S. Eisenman, Tom Murray / An Integral Lens on Patrick Geddes, Landscape and Urban Planning,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.05.011

[6] Donald T. Miller / Lewis Mumford, a Life

Further Reading:

http://architectureandurbanism.blogspot.com/2010/10/volker-m-welter-biopolis-patrick-geddes.html

https://www.dundee.ac.uk/geddesinstitute/projects/citythink/

http ://medium.com/@designforsustainability/design-and-planning-for-people-in-place-sir-patrick-geddes-1854-1932-and-the-emergence-of-2efa4886317e

View at Medium.com

https://quadralectics.wordpress.com/4-representation/4-1-form/4-1-4-cities-in-the-mind/4-1-4-1-the-ideal-city/

Patrick Geddes / Cities in Evolution

https://archive.org/details/citiesinevolutio00gedduoft/page/n10

[*9.12, *9.14, *11.92]

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