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September 21, 2012 at 3:18 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Just An Observation

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This Author

"The more one studies these things, the more one realizes that sound is the creative principle. It must be regarded as primordial. No single phenomenal category can be claimed as the aboriginal principle. We cannot say, in the beginning was number, or in the beginning was symmetry, etc. These are categorical properties which are implicit in what brings forth and what is brought forth. By using them in description we approach the heart of the matter. They are not themselves the creative power. This power is inherent in tone, in sound." - Hans Jenny

Since I began thinking about cymatics, sonic frequencies, and vibrational harmonies I have attempted to place myself in the way of as many sonic events as I possibly could. I have stood by the freeway, at the end of a runway, under a bridge, at a concert, in a restaurant, and much more. I have also, more than I probably should, attempted to isolate myself from sound and vibration as much as possible. Sensory deprivation seemed to be the only way I found to make this possible, or shooting myself into space, but apparently that is frowned upon in certain circles....prudes.

What I found in my constant search for sonic events and vibrational harmonies is that there are certain, "convergent activities" that almost immediately tie entire environments together (sentient species included). During the convergent activities, even the smallest idiosyncrasies in apparent individuals begin to coincide and merge into coherent actions, denoting a harmony that had not existed until the activity began; the vibrations from both the activity and the environment resonating with those participating.

Standing on the fringe of these events and observing was difficult to say the least. When an entire space begins to resonate at the same frequency, a draw occurs that is difficult to resist.

The Sit-Down Meal

On three separate occasions I had the opportunity to view three distinct sit-down meal moments involving more than two people. Two of these were positive experiences, while the third was most definitely a negative experience.

The negative experience involved a family of four sitting down to a nice McDonald's lunch. The family consisted of a father, mother, and two boys, one in his adolescence, the other quickly approaching. I first noticed them when I saw the father actually seek out a loose chair to place firmly at the "head" of a booth table. While he was doing this, the mother lovingly tended to her two boys, making small talk and smiling warmly. That is, until the father sat down. Immediately all three other members of the family averted their gaze, hunched their shoulders, and retreated into themselves like beaten puppies. It was obvious this man radiated dominance and caused great fear in those he "loved."

As the meal progressed, any piece of conversation that was made from the mother or sons was eaten by the overbearing tones of the father. His grasp on his "family" so firm that the two boys actually began to mimic his eating behaviors, taking bites at the same moments that the father would, using a napkin at the same time. The entire "family moment" degrading to a puppet show with a visible master. It was dark, ugly, and made me sick. But, it was an unfortunate example of the strength that fear vibrates with, it's infectious.

The other two meals were an absolute pleasure to observe. One was my family, another a couple with a newborn baby.

It had been a while since I had been present at one of my family's dinners and I had forgotten how warm and glorious they were. I watched as they prepared the table, moving in harmony, dancing to music playing in the background, talking about nothing and everything, truest love resonating between them all. Once we were all set down for dinner, I noticed the largest difference between this experience and McD's tragedy...the form of cohesion.

When the binding force of the moment was fear, the synchronicity took the form of physical movement, the resonance dark and overpowering. When the binding force was love, the rudimentary movements were much more free, it was the speech that began to flow in a discernible pattern. I could see the rise in volume occur in waves around our table, as a joke was told, or a kind-hearted jab occurred, all followed the same path, and freely. There was no inhibition to the pattern, no real focal point, it just existed. Beautiful in its simplicity. A prime example of the power that love vibrates at.

As for the couple with the newborn, that was rather easy. The resonance was centered and subtle, all three parties full of joy. There were very little words exchanged, but enough was being said through silence. The child gazed deeply at both parents as they doted upon him, occasionally glancing lovingly at each other. For such small beings, babies have the remarkable capability to control entire environments with their innocent resonance.

A Sip of Something Pure

A few months back I had the opportunity to go and watch a couple of my old college roommates play a cafe show. As is usual with gigs like this, there is more of a socializing vibe then there is a sit-down and listen attentively mindset. With expert class, the two musicians sat down with their piano and guitar, gently fading into the background, fully accepting their role as ambient entertainment. That is, until they came to their cover of Jackson Browne's "Sky Blue and Black."

As soon as the joint chord of Em9 was hit to begin the song, the room stilled, all eyes shot forward, even the buzzing hub of commerce that was the sales counter stopped. The entire frequency of the room changed to mimic the resonance of these two entertainers. As they progressed through the song, the listeners progressed directly along with them, fingers tapping, heads bobbing, lyrics being mimed, pure musical enjoyment. For those five and a half minutes, there were no longer any individuals that existed in the room. All minds had become part of one gloriously unifying experience, culminating in a cafe-style standing ovation (clapping). It was truly a remarkable experience, and a brief reminder of the power of song.

The Stream

The last experience I'll talk on is a fairly common one....the mall. As much as I abhor these museums of human frailty, certain obligations require that I traverse the gloried halls of shame on occasion. It is during these shame riddled rides into consumer oblivion that I enjoy some mass social observation.

I am continually amazed by the ordered chaos that is mall movement. Everyone has their head in a phone or is talking to someone else while walking, but a collision rarely happens. How is this possible?

Say what you will about those people mindlessly spending money and time at the mall, but they are of singular mind. That mind is not complex, it is simple and narrow. This simplicity is what allows for the perfect human water flow to form.

As they rush to the next money pit, these eager shoppers take the most direct and easy route possible. They avoid obstacles in their path, form eddies when their attention is caught by a fallen branch (flying helicopter), and move quickly when lanes are clear. This cannot be acheived by anything other than resonance. Similar to a busy sidewalk in a metropolitan atmosphere...ordered chaos....but ordered none the less.

Well, that's my thoughts on resonance for this week. Throw down any examples of complete resonance you may have observed in the comments section. Tasty visual morsel below:

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2 Comments

  • Funny, I have observed the same chaos in both malls and rush-hour traffic and wondered how it was possible for things to move so smoothly despite the lack of communication. Call it frequency, intuition, subconscious decisions based on peripheral input, but it is pretty amazing.

    Interesting that you would bring up the resonance of a happy family dinner too. There have been several times in my life that I was present where there were dozens of people who know each other nearby, talking, laughing, being crazy. The overall tone of such a happy crowd very much approaches white noise for me. Seriously, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of happy people chatting unintelligibly in the background. It's nothing like the sound of a riot or mob, it is truly mind refreshing.

  • Sprouty, I do love a good immediate family dinner. There is something so harmonious about people who have blood ties getting along. That being said, the opposite is just as true. When those people turn on themselves, the repercussions can be devastating.

    Both instances are interesting.

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