“I constantly have three treasures; Hold onto them and treasure them. The first is compassion; The second is frugality; And the third is not presuming to be at the forefront in the world. Now, it’s because I’m compassionate that I therefore can be courageous; And it’s because I’m frugal that I therefore can be magnanimous; And it’s because I don’t presume to be at the forefront in the world that I therefore can be the head of those with complete talent.”
Te-Tao Ching, Chapter 67. Translated by Robert G. Henricks from the Ma-wang-tui Texts. This is a most excellent translation. It incorporates the 1973 discovery, of early copies of Lao-Tzu’s classic, in the village of Ma-wang-tui in Hunan Province – published by Ballantine Books, 1989.
Prelude to my concert in Portland, Oregon, Oct 27, 2012 – 3 pm – at the Sherman Clay Pianos facility (no tickets necessary): Now I’m really gearing up for the concert this Saturday, which is dedicated to the recent discovery of the Higgs boson. I can’t pretend to follow all the scientific details and speculations about sub-atomic particle physics, what’s next in terms of research into the Higgs boson and how it operates, etc. But I still believe that it’s useful for non-scientists like myself to try to follow the gist of it. And also – as a non-scientist artist, I think that it’s important for members of the society at large to contemplate what these contemporary developments on the frontiers of discovery might mean to us. So, I’m dipping into several books on the topic – even one published just after the Higgs boson discovery was first announced out of CERN in Europe on July 4, 2012. You know, (you may know this) the physicist who’s work was central to predicting the existence of Higgs bosons some 40 years ago, particles which are said to go along with and somehow interact with quarks and gluons… a veritable “zoo” of sub-atomic particles… in order to give them “mass”, a fellow named Peter Higgs, was still alive to see this validation of his theoretical work! That alone is interesting to me, that a person might say to the world that such and such a “thing” must be there, according to his calculations and ideas, somewhere in the virtually unseen world, and then to be validated some decades later when the technology and testing procedures catch up with his predictions. So, I’m enjoying some far out reading, and imagining different ways to make music to match…
Sat, March 24, 2012, 3 pm – no charge, but donations welcome
THE COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT: DARK ENERGY – Sherman Clay Pianos
131 NW 13th Ave (parking across the street) – Portland, Oregon
The program will consist of improvisations (although not without much hidden preparation) inspired by the notion of the vast unknown. In cosmology, the unknown can be symbolized by the still unexplained “dark energy” that could account for the evidence of recent years showing that the expansion of the universe is accelerating into the future at a remarkable rate. The unknown is also perhaps exemplified in our own lives, by the experience of the interplay in psychological terms between the various levels of personal consciousness and the great, largely unknown collective unconscious postulated by C.G. Jung. With the help of an attentive audience, I’m hoping to musically evoke a sense of relaxing deeply into these cosmological and psychological worlds in ways both restful and exhilarating… this is an artistic/poetic music meditation, of course, not a scientific experiment. Aside from a few suggestive ideas here and there, I leave it to you as to how you will listen to the piano improvisations I create, and as to how the meaning or experience you create for yourself will unfold. I hope you can join us – and feel free to invite your friends!
The free concert at 3 pm, Saturday, October 29, 2011 – “Into the Dark” – at the Sherman Clay Pianos recital hall in Portland feels quite imminent to me now. After all, it’s been coming together as a musical inspiration for about nine months, initiated really by a perhaps offhand comment from my friend Anthony Blake… but it is part of a much longer arc of creativity:
Beyond what I have written elsewhere, let me try to explain… I am on a long-term journey to create musical occasions in which we can get at something deeper than a “spectacle” or an “experience” – both of which are fine, as far as they go. I hold dear the ancient idea of music in various cultures. For instance, I relish the attitudes of the classical Greek culture, which held that “music is a moral law” (Plato) and the ancient Chinese, who expected the Emperor to “set the tone” – as a musical pitch, literally – for the coming year. I am most inspired, however, by a more modern approach as found for instance in Kepler, who was looking for a “harmony of the spheres” corresponding to the actual observational data that was being collected in his time – for the first time, as far as we know, in human history – about the movement of the planets. For much of my life, I myself have been looking at these things as metaphors for new kinds of self-perception for us as individuals and for even the human race as a whole. Years ago I read in a book by a particular musicologist who I greatly respect, about the usefulness of the Ptolemaic point of view (the earth is the center of all things, with various heavens or layers of reality above it) as an aid to meditation, as compared with the post-Copernican model, which is – according to some – less amenable for most of us as a metaphor or picture of spiritual unfolding. This bothered me; why should contemporary meditation or mysticism be dependent on outmoded models of the universe! I suppose that I have always been something of a mystic, but I am also the son of a scientist… and somehow, I have always, also by nature I guess, been looking for progress in mysticism that could be parallel to, and not divorced from, the development of the sciences of our time. These days, due to the immense progress being made “as we speak” in astrophysics and cosmology, much of it having to do with researches into the nature of gravity, and the application of what is called “gravitational lensing” – which has been poetically referred to now as “Einstein’s Telescope” *– there are whole new vistas of understanding and contemplation opening up that are just waiting for us to enter, to appreciate, and to share.
*”Einstein’s Telescope -the hunt for dark matter and dark energy in the universe” is the title of a fine book by Evalyn Gates