Monday, July 28, 2008

A Golden Turn

After I heard a discussion of the selection of the recordings to go on
the gold record sent along on Voyager I, it struck me as perhaps a
model for the origins of human speech itself.

There was a genuine effort to reflect on what would be understood by
someone or some being more intelligent than human beings---this sort
of task is not the talent of ordinary mentation. Some real effort
went into the selection of music, and various languages, recorded on
the gold record. Beethoven,Rock 'n Roll greetings in a large number of
languages, like Urdu, and others. The real message sent by earth on
Voyager I seems to be variety, though that is not how Carl Sagan's
crew saw their selection process. But the stretching necessary for
the selection task to compose the gold record resulted in --
inclusiveness and variety. The opposite really of the job of ordinary
mentation which is to divide. Some part of man's mind though
understood the job was NOT to define, divide, but to portray a rainbow
of mankind's variety and genius.

Back to the origins of speech though----surely this involved a similar
but incredibly more massive effort to----transcend the ordinary. The
first speech if I am correct in seeing a hint in the gold record
project, may have been guided by an attempt to comprehend something
above one's grasp. No doubt the ordinary would label that god, but
let us not be so inclined to labelling ourselves, because as soon as
you label something thusly, in fact what happens is you forget the
reality of what you were trying to define.

And another direction for the example of the gold record is the
recollection that, for the persevering mystical tracker, the job is
trying to produce a gold record every minute. One way to approach
this is by rotating the ordinary intellect through as much variety as
you can. Jan Cox used the picture of a rotating lighthouse lamp to
convey this, occasionally. The simple inclusion of variety to counter
the intellect's staring fixation on a single thing could be sufficient
to keep ordinary intellect open to the edge of discovery.

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