[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

RE: zen and the fluent music

 From: loop.pool [mailto:looppool@cruzio.com] 

'My own intellectual mentor, the late Gregory Bateson,  said that
because of the inherent binary neurophysiology of the human brain and
because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle  that human beings are
doomed to create causal maps of reality with our perceptions."

[Bare with me here, because I'd like to introduce a topic that I'd like
to see applied to looping and free improvisation]

This is interesting, Rick.  I'm curious to see his elaboration on this,
because it isn't self-evident or intuitive to me that the thesis (even
though it makes perfect sense to me) follows logically from inherent
binary neurophysiology or the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (which is
typically only a function of quantum mechanics/physics).  These are
complex systems of thought, and cranking out that conclusion out
requires some explaining and a formal argument. That being said,
however, it is very rare that philosophers, scientists, or philosophers
of science question the principle that "every event has a cause," part
of that causal map you mention, because the entire system of
predictability and the principle of induction is based on this
principle.  German philosopher, Immanuel Kant argued that this statement
(the principle of causation) was one of a handful of universal truths, a
statement that expresses something about the external world, but is
necessarily true by reason alone (as no amount of empirical data can
prove the statement because it would require one to observe and record
every single instance of every single event having a cause). 

However, occasionally, someone does question the principle of causation
and all that comes along with it.  David Hume, on of my favorite and
most inspirational 18th century philosophers, who was also the father of
modern empiricism, argued that we can't deny or affirm the principle of
causation.  He denied that reason by itself could not generate truths,
and empirical data here is of no use either, based on my prior comment.
In short, he argued that we can't have knowledge, and there are no
epistemic grounds for the principle of causation, or a system of causal
maps for that matter.  All sensory data is neutral in this system....no
speculation beyond the data is warranted.  

Moreover, pushing this causal skepticism even further, I read a book
several years ago that I thought was absolutely brilliant, which I now
think can be applied to free improvisation. The book is "Synchronicity :
The Bridge Between Matter and Mind " by David Peat. In this his book he
argues, using Jungian philosophy as a springboard, that there are
certain events (a set of coincidences) that do not have causes....they
are "acausal" in nature.  He sites several bizarre example of
coincidences, and argues that they are examples of Synchronicity,
meaning that they are not caused by any set of events, but are an
"unfolding" from a more fundamental substratum in the universe that is
neither physical or non-physical....neither matter or mind. Very
fascinating indeed positing this third substance.  This source of
"unfolding" underlies everything. This is definitely NOT a system based
on a causal map. It flies in the face of causality, in fact.  For
instance, causality cannot explain when one identical twin has a pain in
his side, and four thousand miles away, the other twin has the same pain
simultaneously.  Causality cannot explain the principle of
"Entanglement" in quantum physics, where two particles can split, one
particle changes its state, and the other changes it state
simultaneously, regardless of whether the particles are 100 feet or 100
light years away.  Fineman himself said that no one understands this
concept.  It is beyond science and the principle of causation.

In any event, what sort if relevance does this type of synchronicity
have in the group free improvisation context?  Trey Anastasio from Phish
once commented in an interview that when Phish improvised, the music did
not come "from" from, but "passed through" them.  This is the first time
I heard someone say this.  It is as if we get in this state of mind when
improvising in a group setting, and events occur, but it isn't obvious
that they are caused by us. Certainly, our fingers and hands are moving
and causing the fluctuation of air pressure, but we are talking about
something more fundamental here. "Passing through" as in "unfolding"?
Not sure, but it's worth some investigation.  I'm now entertaining the
thought that free improvisation could benefit from Synchronicity, if one
can actually harness the principle...which is a whole different matter.

I highly recommend this book by Peats. I think I may read it again and
attempt to put it into more specific perspective with fee improvisation.