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Resonant pattern of associations


Hyperspace Clues to the Psychology of the Pattern that Connects in the light of 81 Tao Te Ching insights (Part #10)


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As implied above, it would seem that the central psychological dimension of this argument can be developed through the notion of "associations", semantic or otherwise, whether seen in terms of the poetic beauty of their symmetry or through the connectivity that they mark. The emphasis to date appears to have been on simple, or first order, semantic associations which are the immediate priority in information retrieval in "second generation knowledge management" and the envisaged "semantic web" [more | more | more | more]. Higher order associations, as now explored by "latent semantic analysis" and "high dimensional conceptual space", are another matter [more | more].

But in the case of the subtleties of poetic associations, for example, Malcolm Hayward (Analysis of a Corpus of Poetry by a Connectionist Model of Poetic Meter) points out that:

In English poetry, the single most compelling discriminator of that genre -- that which defines a poem as a poem -- has traditionally been its meter. Meter defines the length of the line, and thus the distinctive look of a poem on the page, and it sets, for the hearer of a poem, the telling regularity of a rhythm. Whether this rhythm also carries the burden of some of a poem's meaning or whether it is used only for a conventional aesthetic effect that invites the reader to take pleasure in its regularity or variations, meter is one of the central attributes of the genre of poetry.

Magic numbers, or the symmetry of magic squares, point to degrees of organization of tantalizing significance. They may mark mnemonic highways -- like those described in the methods of calculating prodigies for whom numbers "call to one another" in unusual ways. They may be understood as the fine structure of what Gregory Bateseon (Mind and Nature: a necessary unity, 1979) famously described as "the pattern that connects". The question of this paper is whether there is a higher order "pattern that connects" (possibly an "overtone") interweaving the 81 insights of the Tao Te Ching.

Static vs Dynamic: Associations may easily be understood in static terms only -- as networks of various kinds (kinship, information exchange, etc). But they may also be understood more fruitfully as dynamic relationships -- as "resonant" -- suggesting analysis in terms of vibrations, as in string theory. Again, if light can be understood as a vibration in a higher-dimensional space, then perhaps this is also the case with aesthetic and mytho-poetic associations. And, like beauty, perhaps humour is a vibration characteristic of certain symmetries in semantic hyperspace -- evoking laughter as a vibration at another level. This would be consistent with some Zen and Taoist "crazy wisdom" perspectives. It also points to the ambiguity of "a-musing" -- as an inhibitor of a muse or as a characteristic of its activity.

Sense of identity: It might be asked to what extent a sense of personal (or collective) identity can be understood as a pattern of resonant associations. This possibility is indicated, for example, by the manner in which composers are recognized through their music (through their subtleties of "style") -- even in the case of unknown compositions. Would many musicians not prefer to be identified and remembered through the harmonies of their melodies and compositions -- a musical identity or creative style -- rather than through a name (see Raymond A. R. MacDonald, et al (Eds). Musical Identities, 2002 [extract])? This musical metaphor can be extended to the "comoposition" of a person's relationship with the world in daily life (see also Mary Catherine Bateson. Composing a Life. 1989) although the directive dimension of composition (by others in the future) needs to be complemented by "interpretation", "improvisation" and "performance" (play in the moment). Or, using a poetic metaphor, as indicated by Wallace Stevens:

"The subject matter of poetry is not that 'collection of solid, static objects extended in space' but the life that is lived in the scene that it composes; and so reality is not that external scene but the life that is lived in it." (The Necessary Angel, 1951)

Identity could indeed be understood in terms of self-consistency and degree of connectivity. What is lost when a person is described as "losing it"? How is the classical philosophical and spiritual question -- "who am I" -- to be understood in relation to identity established in terms of higher-dimensional connectivity?

Higher dimensional identity is not something reserved for mathematical or creative geniuses -- or for the spiritually enlightened. It manifests variously in maturity, gravitas, humour, charm, etc that are beyond the conventional socio-economic and psychological definitions of humans. It is only "distant" or "insignificant" to the extent that the focus is on the four-dimensional material reality of space-time. Why are some songs widely popular as carriers of the Zeitgeist of a period? Do they in some way sustain a pattern of identity? Can the personality type frameworks of Jung, through Myers-Briggs for example, be usefully reframed in terms of patterns of connectivity across a magic square as suggested by John C. Gonsowski (Personality, Physics and Spirituality: a common geometry, 2001)?


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