Reciprocations on Y2K

Montreal, April 14, 1999

Zeus: ... no, no, .... settle down and just relax Emile, ... everyone reciprocates from time to time. You just lie back on the couch, let go of your anxieties, and share with me anything that comes into your mind. Our expressed thoughts are beyond judgement here Emile, and besides, ... there is just you and I and we trust one another, no?

Emile: Ok, Sigmund, ... I am starting to relax, but no more leading questions like that, eh? I want to get to the bottom of this just as much as you do.

Zeus: I hear you Emile, ... no leading questions, ... now let your mind drift back to when this notion of reciprocation first begins to associate with anxiety, ...

Emile: It was perhaps always with me in a shadowy way and I can see it finally coming to the surface and showing itself in about 1981, ... when Manus gave me the 1946 Gabor paper on 'the theory of communications', a foreshadowing of holography, and also the book by Betty Edwards about drawing from both sides of your brain, ... then it began to trouble me that I could not see reciprocal space, and I wondered if everyone elso could and I was the only one who could not. Every day I began to practice looking at the horizon and imagining the sky as a curtain of uniform fabric which met the rising trees and buildings on the earth along a complicated intersection trajectory. In my mind I would try to 'see' that intersection by imagining myself taking a pair of scissors and trimming the bottom of the sky-as-curtain along that curve and then moving the trimmed curtain away from the trees and buildings, so I could refocus on the complicated geometry of the bottom of the curtain.

Zeus: You never told me this before, and all the time I thought you were just enjoying the scenery, ... you poor boy.

Emile: But this was both pain and pleasure to me at the same time, ... but I didn't understand the source of the pleasure at that point.

Zeus: uh-uh, ... yes, tell me more about this pain and pleasure, Emile.

Emile: Well, when Manus died, a few years later, he had set aside some money for his 'wake' but it wasn't the usual thing, ... instead he pre-designed a party at his favorite restaurant, Zorba's, with all the belly dancers, and bazooki music, free-flowing wine, ouzo and banqueting and all. And everybody went along with it out of respect for Manus's wishes, but there was this same mixed feeling of pain and pleasure, which people tried to overcome by drinking more than they usually would, ... which actually turned it into a pretty funky party, as Manus had undoubtedly hoped.

Zeus: And what thoughts were in your mind at that time, as you were feeling this mix of pain and pleasure?

Emile: I felt that Manus' presence was shrinking, .... but shrinking gracefully and harmoniously, and that this shrinkage was somehow reciprocated by the richness of the bacchanalian festivities. Manus was a mathematician, .. a very good one, and as I look back at it now, ... I believe he was celebrating one of his favorite 'equations', ... where the right brain and the left brain met, ... his favorite zone.

Zeus: You're telling me that he was simulating the geometry of 'reciprocation', ... reciprocation between 'being' and 'non-being' with this wake, and that this relationship had been pleasing to him in his life.

Emile: Yes, that's right, ... there's something about the number system that's very arousing, ... don't you think?

Zeus: it's alright Emile, ... we all get our jollies in different ways, ... now for me personally, it just 'doesn't add up', but that's fine too. I could never be a computer person, for example, but many people love to play with the bits and bytes.

Emile: But Zeus, ... this is my point, ... 'it doesn't add up', ... that is, we won't find the sexiness of numbers by adding them up as we are taught to do, ... and bits and bytes and computers in themselves are a turn-off for me. I am talking about a deeper geometry in numbers, ... which goes back to the idea of 'identities' and 'non-entities'.

Zeus: ...go easy with me Emile, .. if I am to be your buddy on this deep dive into the ursprings of your thoughtflow, ... it's best you try to pace your story so as not to lose me.

Emile: ... Zeus, you must have noticed that every time someone is with us when we climb to the top of Mont Royal, I inevitably ask them if those big primitive stone sculptures 'do anything' for them, ... right? .... and there is one in particular which 'turns me on' the instant I see it, ... the one with the huge pieces of rock which fit perfectly together, ... the lower one being of a wedge shape with the apex pointing to the sky, and the upper one being an even huger and kind of 'requiting' or 'fulfilling' of the lower one, fitting perfectly down over the top of it in a powerful and fully penetrating union.

Zeus: ... yes, I know the piece you mean, .. it reminds me of the nights when Galatea comes to visit me in my dreams, ... I am usually lying on my back and, ... and, ummhph, ... sorry, ... please carry on Emile, ..

Emile: .. you see, Zeus, Gabor and Manus were always playing around with the notions of the 'real' and the 'imaginary' and these two 'reciprocal forms' are always lurking around at the edges of the number system, and number seems to come into our lives everywhere, because we choose to see the world in terms of 'countable things' and 'countable intervals', like widgets and minutes, nations and days and so on. ... So you can imagine how all this comes together when I see geometries like that, ... the pain of the 'finished' or 'completed' 'thing' and the pleasure of the requiting of this 'thingness' with the whole, .... in yet a new and imaginative cycle of creation, ...

Zeus: uhhhhhh, ... I,.... ah, .... no, not really.

Emile: You see, this is what that flatspace teaching has done to everyone, and the banning of sexual thoughts, ... the basic geometries of nature. What do you think of in association with the word 'pie'?

Zeus: Emile, I have to warn you that when I took the Rohrshach tests, it was even embarassing for my psychologist who had been practising for forty years! .... but I'll back off to the plane geometry level and say that I see a circular object which is cut into wedge-shaped slices.

Emile: Yes, exactly, ... but there is more here, Zeus, much much more, ... we are talking about the 'whole' and the 'parts', ... the harmony of whole-and-part, .. unity and division, sums and identities, entities and non-entities and their co-evolutional becoming.

Zeus: Phewwwww, ... those were things would could all come into my mind when I ate the special brownies back in the sixties, but then, like fools, we baked them in rectangles and cut them into squares, .... but I really hadn't thought of what we might have discovered if we had baked magic pies instead!

Emile: Zeus, ... you know as I do that the circle is magic on its own, ... the zen circle says 'the void which wants to be filled, .... enter through here'. Suddenly, from a plane flat-lying surface, ... a 'flatspace' concept, our imagination inflates and billows the scene up into full volume curved space, like a parachute catching the wind, and now the void, the invisible, the 'non-entity' assumes the primacy, ... the master role, or better I say 'mistress' role in this enlarged reality.

Zeus: I love the feeling of this dimensional growth, this 'requiting' of the 'finished' or 'completed' object, since 'completion' always gives one a troublesome feeling, whether it is in terms of project life or real life, ... but surely Emile, these notions are far removed from the sterility of mathematics.

Emile: Zeus, ... I know you have opened a math book or two in your time, ... but its also interesting to read what it says inside, ... for example the notion of an 'identity element' is as follows; "an element, such as Zero in the set of all integers under addition or One in the set of positive integers under multiplication, that leaves any element of the set to which it belongs unchanged when combined with it by a specified operation." ... do you see how its speaking to geometric issues? ... now let's think about the stone sculpture on the top of Mont Royal, .... what is it we're really looking at?

When you see a pie, you see it as if on a flat surface, ... as if you are a voyeur looking at that pie in a baker's window. You count the pieces of the pie, perhaps, and you see that there are six pieces and that the whole pie costs $3.60, ... so that you could buy one piece of the pie for sixty cents, .... everything in your voyeur view seems to do with quantification, possession, consumption, ownership, right?

Zeus: Yes, of course.

Emile: But Zeus, there is another way to look at that pie, ... another way that has the same geometry as Einstein used to discover the theory of relativity, .. he sat on a photon and rode the expanding wavefront of the present and was part of it as it performed in its act of becoming the future, ... . Imagine how you might see the pie in this way Zeus, and imagine how your feelings about your pie circumstance might change.

Zeus: ... that's a compelling question but a toughie for me, ... Emile, ... would you mind terribly, .... if I could just recline for a moment on the couch, I think I could get into this, ... you're welcome to sit in my chair here, .... thanks, ... ... ... ok, something is coming into my mind, ... ... my goodness, ... I AM a piece of the pie, and I am lying with my back, or rather, my crust on the bed, .....

Emile: ... yes, go on Zeus, ... what are you thinking and feeling?

Zeus: ... well, uhhh,.... the rest of the pie is coming towards me as Galatea often does in my dreams, ... she is a blueberry pie and the juices are dripping from her as she comes over to me, ... and, ... and yes, .... she is going to sit down on top of my point, ... she's now slipping down over and descending so as to take my widening wedge inside of her, ... and, ... ohhhhh, ... she's right down fully and firmly into place and her sweet juices are oozing over the two of us, ... no, .. the 'us' of 'us', as fit tightens,.... the feeling is one of natural, pure and honest pleasure, ... of requiting, ... wholeness, ..... so this is what you mean by intermogular space-time travel, .... it is definitely first class, Emile.

Emile: Zeus, where you are is in the 'immersed perspective', ..... the 'zero' is the whole, in the mathematics of the number system, ... if you add everything up, from minus infinity to plus infinity, you get zero, the 'identity element' of the set. Each entity in the set, whether a big one or a little one, hungers for its mother, ... hungers for a requiting with wholeness, ... if you think of the negative numbers as 'imaginary' non-entities, then when we bring all the reals and the imaginaries into connection in our minds, what do we get?

Zeus: Halleluja brother, I'm with you now, .... wholeness, .. wholeness in the sense of a Lao-Tsuian Zero, ... a higher dimensional kind of completeness, ... blueberry pie and mathematics will never seem the same again. The zeros I got in mathematics never added up until just now.

Emile: You can see now, Zeus, that reciprocal space-time or 'intermogular space-time' is far more than an antithetical or complementary notion --- the flatspace or 'linear' way we have of thinking of it, ... reciprocal space is to an entity as the non-entititial ether is to an object, it both 'mothers' or contains the entity and co-occupies the same space, .... it brings the part into harmony with the whole. It is what the sky-horizon, the 'wind that was always there' does for the tree-line, ... without boundaries, we couldn't discern objects, but if there is a material boundary, there is something beyond and enveloping the boundary, ... a reciprocal space which also immerses the observer, .... the space the experienced mogul skier 'goes into' when he has had his fill of focusing on moguls as entities in their own right, ... his spirit takes wing and he ceases being a voyeur and rejoins the flow of life in which he is a constituent-participant.

Zeus: .... so many things are becoming clear to me now, ... coming into connection in my mind, ... now I understand what you were saying to Pierre about Germaine ridiculing the Y2K problem, and you still insisting you wanted to be on a team with her on it. ... let me try to play it back to you, ... what I am thinking, and see if I have guessed correctly, ...

Emile: ... go for it, Zeus, ..

Zeus: Last night, you shared with Germaine, the 21 year old barmaid at bar-des-pains, the questions the people had come up with about Y2K at the meeting in St. Hubert you had just come from, and even while she had her books on organizational theory there, even as she was studying systems of organization for her exams, ... she ridiculed the Y2K thing and she ridiculed you, ... in a spirited but friendly way.

Emile: Too true, Zeus, ... it was after 2:00 a.m. and I knew she wanted to close early, and when she asked me if I wanted 'quelque chose d'autre', ... I asked her how much time I had, ... and she said 'at least six months', and laughed and laughed, ..

Zeus: And then you told Pierre in your 3:00 a.m. email, that you admired her spirit and that you definitely wanted to be part of a community team which included individuals like Germaine, ... and at first I thought, ... what's Emile saying, ... Emile has never wanted to be on a team with lemmings, ...

Emile: Yes, ... of course, ... not on a team of lemmings, but give me a spirited lemming who transcends lemmingness, ... who refuses on principle to join the doom and gloom line-up, ... the problem-oriented society, and I'll welcome her on any team I'm on, just as the native appreciation for diversity also suggests, as in Paula Underwood's story 'My Father and the Lima Beans'.

Zeus: This is what I'm understanding for the first time, .. in this 'immersed or reciprocal view', we include the whole 'set', .... that's why you and Tonya are always arguing we should stay away from problem-orientation and go with purpose, ... resilience, ... harmony, ... to allow our communities to become what they are meant to become, rather than to reverse engineer them as problem solving machinery.

Emile: Exactly Zeus, ... we are trapped by the flatspace notion of a problem, ... our reality is an evolving relativistic reality, thus it entirely lacks a 'no-problem' reference base or 'equilibrium state' from which to define our problems, ... we must instead go for the whole pie, .... the harmony of whole-and part which transcends any fixed reference plane, ... and when we do this, ... when we dislodge ourselves from our voyeur problem-obsessing state, and immerse ourselves in the evolutionary flow of our co-evolutionary becoming, then we get that feeling as when Galatea comes to play,...

Zeus: When I saw you buy the April 13th 'Le Devoir' with the front page headline "52% des adolescents vivant en centres jeunesse ont deja tente de se suicider", ... my mind went to your drawing of mogular and inter-mogular space-time, ... or 'whole and unbounded recipro-mogular space-time' as I am now thinking of it. You labelled each mogul with a problem designation, .... Y2K was a very large mogul, ... youth depression, drug/alchohol abuse and suicide was another mogul, ... the Kosovo problem was another mogul, ... Iraq and the middle east situation was a mogul, ... the rapid concentrating of wealth with the growing 'haves' vs. 'have-nots' split, or 'users' vs. 'used' split as Hunter Thompson would have it, ... that was another mogul, and the global economy as global casino instability problem was another problem, .... and the corporation acting as a 'people as means, wealth as ends' strip-mining engine was another mogul, ... and

Emile: Yes, and the health system and so on and so forth, ... and when we organize our 'response' on this basis, what do we get? .... a fear-based ordering principle; .. that is, everyone sees these moguls with a different size distribution because our subjectivity is based on our own personal experience, even though our flatspace acculturation has us assume that it is 'correct' and infallible. Thus the people who show up at Y2K meetings are the ones who are most concerned about the social impact of Y2K, not necessarily just for themselves, but also with respect to their loved ones and humanity, and similarly for the health system and for youth depression etc. Fear does not have to mean cowardice, ... it can also emanate from our cultural resistance to the cyclicity in nature, .... from a need to forestall nature's own seasons, to flatten out the ontogenetic circle into a linear time line which is eternal. Fear can emanate from the denial of death, as Ernest Becker and Jules Henry imply.

Zeus: .... a veritable anxiety-based organizing of society, ... and Germaine's rejection of this, in spite of the possible consequences of negative emergences, ... means that she is not your ordinary lemming, ... she is choosing life and spirit over anxiety, the kind of thing that community really ought to be about, ...

Emile: Yes, the non-dispirited youth of today, want a return to Camelot. You recall that the popular film 'First Knight' with Sean Connery was also giving us a 'geometry lesson', .. right? ... the dialogue between Arthur and Lancelot went something like as follows;

* * *

King Arthur (to Lancelot as he shows him around Camelot) ...if you must die, die serving something greater than yourself... ... (Regarding the round table and his style of politics Arthur says) ...No head, no foot. Everyone equal. Even the King.

Lancelot: (reading the words around the center of the Round Table) IN SERVING EACH OTHER WE BECOME FREE.

Arthur: That is the very heart of Camelot. Not these stones, timber, towers, palaces, burn them all! and Camelot lives on because it lives in us. It is a belief that we hold in our hearts.

* * *

Zeus, ... yes, that captures the pie thing exactly, ... you can look at it like a voyeur, in terms of possessing it and holding on to the ownership of your piece of it, ... or you can look at it in the immersed space-time mode where you are a piece of it and your goal is always to sustain or restore it to wholeness. ... Germaine is of the Camelot immersed-view kind of people, ... she also ridiculed the discussions in the texts she had to study and regurgitate in order to pass her exams, ... finding all the theories of how a CEO rallies his troups towards some trumped up unnaturall objectives as being insane, particularly when everybody knows the dishonesty in it, and the damage which is inflicted by everyone chasing after a bigger piece of the pie while ignoring the evolutionary consequences in human and environmental terms.

Emile: .... yes, it's not that Germaine is a mindless lemming, ... au contraire, ... she is insisting that our notion of community must be something more, something spiritual and spirited, and that this must be in the primacy, ... because if we start from the perspective of problems, this steals our life from us, ... steals our natural ontogeny and puts us in a subservience to drudgery and depression, ... ... it is the very source of rising drug and alcohol abuse and the stuff which suicide is made of.

Zeus: I am in a like mind to Germaine, ... after watching that Y2K video last night, narrated by Leonard Nimoy, ... I was left with a pathetic picture of our society, ... individuals stocking up on water, food, lighting, heating, cooking gear, drugs, ham radios, secured valuables, .... and to top it off, ... copies of all one's bank statements and documents to ensure that you could reclaim the piece of the pie that you 'owned' after 'la bogue' had done its thing. And what else, ... everyone was supposed to call in and write to their community officials to make sure that THEY were preparing, not only for problem avoidance but also for the rescue mission, ... you talk about lemmings, ... I have never seen anything so lemming-like as the behaviors which were being encouraged by this video.

Emile: I agree, ... while there was brief mention of 'reciprocal space', .. a co-reflecting on what we want our communities to be, the 'medium was the message' and the medium spelled out 'fear' and 'problems'. I would have preferred a showing of Camelot myself and a discussion on returning to 'communities of the round table' where 'in serving each other' we liberate ourselves from our anxieties. Starting from this base, a far more natural and harmonic approach to Y2K would be pulled into place. That is the basic notion underpinning 'navigating complexity', ... getting immersed in the flow instead of sitting back on our stockpile of catastrophe supplies and emergency procedures. Camelot undoubtedly had their stockpiles and weaponry, .... but they didn't start from a problem orientation, ... they started from a vision of whole-and-part harmony and fullness, ... the wholeness of the round table where we are all brothers and sisters in our community. Possessions in themselves are not the problem, ... Arthur wasn't intending that we should literally 'burn them all', ... his point was that possessions do not constitute the 'heart' or rallying point of the community, ... the heart is in our reciprocal space belief which we hold inside of us, ...

Zeus: This reciprocation, seen from my position on the couch which I too often look out upon with voyeur eyes, has been a very refreshing thing for me Emile, ... I feel much rejuvenated, and can see the point on the innate ambiguity of our subjectivity in yet a new light. I shall dig out my copy of Paula Underwood's 'My Father and the Lima Beans' and read it again with my new eyes. And as far as 'navigating complexity', ... I couldn't agree with you more on the need to refocus on community purpose first, ... to embrace the intermogular space-time view of a resilient 'becoming' where we become larger than our judgement and loose our subjectivity, letting it float so that we all might come together in harmony 'in the circle'. And when you're next in 'bar-des-pins' I want to be there with you and to buy a round for all, Germaine particularly, and toast the continued soaring of communal spirit through the turn of the millenium, even if our way were to be lighted by the flames of our burning possessions.

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