11 October 2010

It is still there, even now...

Sometimes, do you think metaphysics? Read this passage, a passage from an interesting enough book in which nothing happens. Read it through, and think about it.

Within minutes of starting to sing, she was transformed. It was like hearing a girl, dark-haired and lovely as the gopis Krishna had spied on from his tree-top hideaway. I had no idea what she was singing about, could not even tell when the words stopped being words and became just syllables, gliding sound. Her hands reached into the air above her as if the notes were growing there and, as long as they were picked endlessly, over and over, would always be there. Music people talk about perfect pitch, but what her voice made me think of was perfect posture: hair as long and straight as a supple back; bare feet moving so lightly they scarcely touched the ground. Her voice promised absolute devotion; but then the note was stretched further still, beyond this, until you wondered what you would have to do to be worthy of such devotion, such love. You would have to be that note, not the object of devotion but the devotee. Her voice slid and swooped, It was like those perfect moments in life, moments when what you hope for most is fulfilled and, by being fulfilled, changed - changed, in this instance, into sound: when, in a public place, you glimpse the person you most want to see and there is nothing surprising about it; the pattern in the random, when accident slides into destiny. A note was stretched out as long as possible and then a little longer; it continued, somewhere, long after it was capable of being heard. It is still there, even now.

Where’s that sound? Is it still there? Sound is energy. Does a sound wave ever end? Energy can’t be created or destroyed, but it can transfer from one form to another. So, if energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only change forms, into what form does sound change when you can no longer hear it?

And, when a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise?




Note: The book this passage came from is Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer.

6 comments:

Heide said...

Some time ago, running through Fort Tryon Park in a rain storm, I saw a tree fall. And because it fell away from me, and down a hill ahead of me, to steep for me to see down where I was at the time, I didn't hear or see the crash -- simply saw this great, old tree vanish -- and didn't hear it, either.

Heide said...

Next time, I'll proofread before I hit "publish."

Harriet M. Welsch said...

Lovely. Is that from Jeff in Venice? It reminds me a little of something I read years ago written about the Music of the Spheres in, if I remember correctly, the early 17th century. The idea was that there was music that was "always already" out there and the point of performance was to be aware of it every now and then. I wish I could remember what this was.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Metaphysics makes my head hurt--but that is lovely writing.

yogurt said...

Never took a physics class and just now I'm reminded why. Energy into infinity is mind boggling.

Ophelia Rising said...

I love this. It also makes me think about the quality of the sounds that I make, which stream out as energy and become part of the universe. There's might be a certain level of responsibility there. If I last out in anger, or emit something gentle and loving, do these sounds change something according to what they are, inherently? Does it affect what the sound ultimately changes into (whatever that is) - does it have to do with the energy of the sound itself before it goes ricocheting out into space?

And I haven't even finished my tea yet, this morning. My head hurts.