resonance and change

26th March, 2007

Saw this message on my way to work and it reminded me of something Allison Okamura – a mechanical engineer and computer scientist with a focus on Haptics at Johns Hopkins, told me concerning the physiology of grasping and holding.

Upon taking something in hand an interesting pattern of clenching, relaxing, sensing the object slipping (via the ridges/folds on the walls of an organ called rugae, in this case the organ is our skin, the specific location the fingers and hands), then clenching and relaxing, sensing the slippage, repeat, until we no longer wish to hold on to the object any longer.

It occurs to me that much of our nervous system functions along the same line – we respond to changes in state, and if there are either no observable changes in state, or if the changes in state become either noise or a drone (a pattern of change that doesn’t vary) then we don’t notice them.

So, “it” whatever “it” is, is “there” (experienced), because it “bothers” (or calls attention to) us.

So, “it” is an experience of change, and depending on other variables “it” can be: time, love, hunger, art. “it” is a quality of change, and our bodies are dynamically and persistently linked, and a participant in, these fluctuations.

I remember reading something by Dr. John C. Lilly where he mentioned that after prolonged time in a sensory deprivation chamber subjects would emerge without a sense of their name, age, where they lived, etc., and it was only after about thirty minutes out of the tank that this information returned to them.

To me, this indicates that who and what we are is the result of a persistent coupling, a pinging, of the environment that occurs, metaphorically, with each heartbeat – as if “we” are periodically dissipated and reassembled, and the resulting self is always dependant on the fluctuations of whatever we share our space with. The probability that the majority of the dissipation/reassemblage cycles among all of the elements within our environment will have a consistent quality that we experience and express as: time, history, identity, etc… persistence = resonance, in other words, and resonance has specific qualities that we term: time, history, identity, art, love, etc. Perhaps…

The point is that some graffiti I saw on my way to work made me think that we live in a dynamic environment comprised of degrees of change whose forms and experiences seem may be based on probability and a resulting resonance.

Julian Barbour, in his book the end of time, refers to our environment as configuration space.

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