Montreal, October 24, 1998
Nozyla and Ayzool were on the outwardbound leg of an exploratory expedition from their rocket base on Ozonymool. They had just passed the point where Oxonymool's gravity field dropped to half its normal value when a shockingly spectacular vista began to open up before them. 'Great Grooving Zork', cried Nozyla, as she adjusted her optical synthesizers, 'I had no idea anyflow could be so beautiful!, even though I have been through the simulator course a hundred times!'. 'For me also, Nozi, came back the delightedly happy voice of Ayzul', 'It is a wonder beyond all expectations'.
The two girls had just made synthetic optical contact with a 'planet swarm', the center of whose orbitals was not too far away from their current space-time coordinate. Their view of space was not at all like that of 20 century scientific cultures, most notably because, relative to their respective ontogenetic life-cycles, one earth year corresponded to about one second on Ozonymool, and when Nozyla and Ayzool looked out at space, things appeared to them to be moving rather quicker than to a modern earthling.
'It's time to activate the orbital harmony detectors', said Ayzool, whereupon Nozyla wordlessly reached up and adusted controls on the uppermost portion of the flight control panel, exposing a natural grace of movement in her lithe, attractive body, as she did so.
An cheery tone from the detector now resonated across the spacious and aesthetically pleasing flight control deck, as they turned their thrusters to full force and rocketed up and into the planetary swarm. The detector tone was set so as to measure and make audible the orbital frequency difference between the planet nearest to their approach and the next one out, to help them safely navigate the passage, a process not unsimilar to passing through a succession of skipping ropes without running afoul of any of them. Each time they penetrated the orbital sphere of one planet, the tone flipped to the frequency differential associated with the next outermost orbital pair.
Neither of the two had ever had the chance to go snorkling or scuba diving within the fauna and flora of tropical reefs as existed on earth, but the feelings they now felt, of a dynamic harmony and beauty which circulated all around them, were very akin to the submarine experiences of finned and goggled terrestrials cruising reefal ecologies.
After penetrating four orbital spheres, the detector signal became somewhat confused, and the two space-diving mermaids nodded to each other in unspoken confirmation of a synchronicitous thought, and Ayzool put the ship into a smooth yet firm arc, bringing it around by 180 degrees and putting it on a homeward-bound course, back through the orbital skipping-ropes, for Ozonymool. As the ship came about, the signal from the orbital detector died and now an eery silence flooded into and filled the flight control deck.
As the two concentrated, in their habitual, aestheto-professional manner, in making numerous adjustments to panel settings and entries into the space log, at another space-time coordinate, a swarthy hand slipped stealthily and silently into a long cylinder, grasping urgently but unsuccessfully for something.
'Damn!' cried Emile under his breath. 'I can't believe I've finished the popcorn in the first five minutes of this film.' But Emile's hunger for popcorn, strong as it was, sat like an ant next to an elephant compared with his desire for seeing the ongoing adventures of Nozyla and Ayzool, and the fleeting notion of a trip to the food court was turned around and rudely escorted out from his mind within the selfsame moment of its entry.
This time, on opposite sides of the flight control panel, the grace and beauty and indeed the coordinated harmony of Nozyla and Ayzool showed itself again as they made the needed instrumentation adjustments in a ballet-like movement. 'Orbital harmony detector off, Orbital ratiocinator on', said Nozyla, prompting Ayzool to double check the indicator lights, not as a matter of disciplined routine, but out of the intuitive 'buddy system' which had come to characterize their on-the-job as well as personal lives, reminiscent of the 'buddy system' practiced by scuba divers, who know that predictable routines are innately incomplete for dealing with the uncertainties of immersion within nature.
Thoughts were still rocketing around in his head, as Emile headed home from the movie theatre, and an almost forgotten memory, .... or was it an almost 'memored' one? ... was haunting his mind, demanding to be brought back, or born into, his awareness. It seemed to revolve around the dance of the space-girls in which they so eloquently made the switchover from 'orbital harmony detector' to 'orbital ratiocinator'.
Emile had a hunch about how to fish for the niggling memory, and on reaching the apartment, bounded up the stairs, slammed the door behind him, grabbed his writer's workshop notebook, turned to a fresh page, and began scribbling down the equation for Kepler's third law, the one which described the harmonic relationships amongst the planets in the solar system; ... 'T-squared over R-cubed equals a constant', Emile muttered aloud, as he wrote down the initial equation. Now if I put that into the Ozonymoolian's frequency framework, by multiplying both sides by the orbital period, I get frequency-cubed equals a constant times the orbital period, and taking the difference between two orbitals, I get the result that the cube of the frequency difference is proportional to the difference between the orbital periods.
Emile leaned back and breathed out a long 'faaaaaakkkk' as was his custom whenever insights were triggered. In his mind, he could now see that when the space-maids were looking upward and outward from smaller to larger orbitals, the harmonies of the planetary swarm would be 'complex' or have both a real and imaginary component, while when the two were looking downward and inward from larger to smaller orbitals, the harmony of the differential would disappear since the solution to Kepler's third law would then give back a 'real-only' result. So that was why the Ozonymoolians switched from the orbital harmony detector to the orbital ratiocinator, mused Emile.
Emile went back and redeveloped the relationship again, this time taking no shortcuts and including all the terms and constants of eccentricity etc., finally obtaining the dominant proportionality coming out of the equation. He decided to key it into his notebook computer and in order to do that without messing with greek letters and mathematical operator symbols, he substituted 'df' for the difference in orbital frequency, Tn and Tn+1 for the orbital periods of the nearest and nextmost orbital period, '**3' for 'cubed', '~' for 'proportional to', '*' for multiply and '/' for divide, and typed it into his story as follows along with the first label that came into his head;
df**3 ~ (Tn - Tn+1) / Tn*Tn+1 (An Ozonymoolian Duet)
As Emile scanned this relationship, noting that one would have to interpret 'df' in a positive sense for it to be meaningful, his mind went back to Denis Gabor's findings in his quantum duality compliant "Theory of Communications" paper published back at the end of WW II. Gabor's essential (implied) message was, "... If you want to deal with informational systems which are both physically realizeable and have harmonic (co-resonant) interactions with their surroundings, then you must allow for both REAL AND IMAGINARY components in the elemental signal.'
When Emile looked at the 'Duet', he could see that if one was looking out at things as from the center of a resonant system, 'df', which would then come from taking the cube root of a negative number, would have to be complex and have an imaginary as well as a real component. But if one were looking in at things, as towards the center of a resonant system, 'df' could be interpreted in a 'real - only' sense, without any imaginary component, since the right hand side of the relationship would be positive.
Emile, asked himself if he was perhaps just playing games with his mind, ... and this thought in turn, connected him with something Kepler had said. He interrupted his typing to reach down into the carpetarchive beside him for his copy of 'Harmonia Mundi, fanning through the bent-cornered pages until he hit the following passage;
"... and if you want the exact time, [my third law] was conceived on the 8th of March in this year One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighteen but unfelicitously submitted to calculation and rejected as false, finally, summoned back on the 15th of May, with a fresh assault undertaken, outfought the darkness of my mind by the great proof afforded by my labor of seventeen years on Brahe's observations and meditation upon it uniting in one concord, in such fashion that I first believed I was dreaming and was presupposing the object of my search among the principles. But it is absolutely certain and exact that THE RATIO WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN THE PERIODIC TIMES OF ANY TWO PLANETS IS PRECISELY THE RATIO OF THE 3/2 POWER OF THE MEAN DISTANCES."
This was no mindgame, Kepler had already been through all of this stuff, thought Emile, but Newton had cannibalized it, discarding the really essential co-resonance bits, and had set the stage for western culture and science to do likewise. Emile scanned the book further, picking up on the parts which he had previously underlined;
"And indeed, if we weigh the thing fairly carefully, it will appear to be not very probable that the most, wise creator (Nature herself in Kepler's Neoplatonist mind) should have established harmonies between the planetary journeys in especial. For if the ratios of the journeys are harmonic, all the other affects which the planets have will be necessitated and bound up with journeys, so that there is no room elsewhere for establishing harmonies."
Emile reflected on this statement of Kepler's which said that one could not develop an understanding of resonant systems from 'the bottom up', ... a view which Schopenhauer, Laing and many others had also articulated, in words such as 'you can't understand the world which contains you by looking down the barrel of a microscope.'
It became clear to Emile, that in the outward bound journey of Nozyla and Ayzool, complex learning was taking place; i.e. the nature of the whole harmonic containing system was being updated in their minds, which kept their orbital harmonic detectors humming, whereas, on the return journey, there was no fundamentally new harmonic learning coming into mind, and simple rationating, coming from the base of what was already known, was sufficient.
Emile now understood the difference in feeling he always experienced between those occasions when he felt in a 'shared space' mode with others, as opposed to when he looked out at others in a kind of 'voyeur space' mode. In the former, it was as if he was 'coming from the center', and seeing the world in term of a containing ether which he and everyone including animals trees and stones, were both immersed in and constituents of, ... like a water molecule in a river, as Erich Jantsch had said. And in the latter 'voyeur space' mode, it was more like he stood in darkness outside of, and looking down into a bubble whose illuminated zoo-like interior contained the objects of his attention. And whether they were people, horses or plants, they took on more of a detached object connotation, as if he could pick them up and move them around like chess pieces, and which lacked the empathetic connection of the shared space mode.
Once more, Emile's mind flip-flopped between imagery of the harmonic movements of Ayzool and Nozyla and the word-thoughts of Kepler;
"Furthermore, a great distinction exists between the consonances of the single planets which have been unfolded and the consonances of the planets in pairs. For the former cannot exist at the same moment of time, while the latter absolutely can;"
Emile realized that not only two bodies in dance, but limbs of the same body, when one was not self-conscious and controlling of them, could also manifest that simultaneity of harmony which Kepler was talking about 'amongst' the planets, but not within the single orbitals. This harmony of the whole was a 'simultaneous' harmony and thus it could never be understood by modes of perception and inquiry which were 'real-only' because these could only be described and manipulated chronologically, by linear time. To conceptualize simultaneous harmonic relationships amongst many things, one needed a conceptualizing system which included 'the imaginary', ... the phase relationships which resided in the space between things, which could never come from the properties of the 'things' themselves.
Emile felt an urge to share these ideas with someone. He stopped his typing, closed up his computer and dialed the familiar Texas number, ... it was Nozyla who answered.
* * *
Return to '98 Update Page and Index of Essays