Friday, September 01, 2006

"Music is time travel" or "The Quantum Physicist Neil Young and Singing Cells Walk Through Walls"

(early easy on me)
(builds on Part 1, Part 2)

I had a hunch, I googled it to see if it had been thought online before. The phrase?

"Music is time travel."

I'm not crazy.

I found it!

Oh well, no guarantee those two statements are connected.

Welcome to the latest installment based on the either insane or insanely accurate assumption that the Kingdom of God is in essence...uh, time travel.

Kinda sorta. See previous installments for clarification and/or confusion.

We move on to music likewise being essentially time travel (and therefore a God-Kingdom thing).

So where did I my actual online proposal that this is so?

Not in a physics dissertation, but on " Get Your Groove On," an online music magazine for fans of jam bands..whatever those are.

But of course! It's often the streetwise practitioners, far from the ivory tower and Ivy League, who discover and dissertate intuitively and accidentally.

Jam Bands columnist Erica Lynn Gruenberg (emphasis mine):

Amazingly, some of these CDs have been collecting dust, while others have not
even left the top of my stereo for months on end. Yet I found the representation
of many different periods of my life through this strange pile of CDs, and this
has been such a source of comfort to me. I listened to each and every one that I
picked out from start to finish and relived these periods, and came to the
conclusion I have come to so many times before: music is the most powerful drug
in the world. Music is time travel. Music is...the force

I won't wind up phrasing it so raggedly and ruggedly (and I'm not sure why not, Greuenberg's conclusion is both theologically sound...don't pardon the is intentional....and scientifically sustainable.

This gal may or may not be aware of it, but she is prophetically paraphrasing profound thruths that have only emerged out of painstaiking years of study and laboratory work!

And she is a jam band music reviewer who "wants to get a groove on" ...sometimes that's all the scholar God needs.

For any whose musical taste or scholarly preference requires a source a bit more
uh, classical..

I found/googled the provocative phrase at hand again, this time in an interview with composer László Hortobágyi, who noted:

- In fact, I do not consider myself to be a musician because music is time travel for me. It is the only one among the media available at present which is capable of taking you for a real time travel. Films are not suitable for that since they come out of us. But music comes from outside, too. ...

Really good music is never about health, the yes, the progress, but it always originates from some kind of essence of pain. Music is such a physical "drug" which cannot be replaced by anything else. You get ratios through your ears, constructions fly into you, which do not sneak into you through any other sense organ. These seemingly unanalysable, curious effects can only get into you through your ears in untraceable relations of ratios, rules. When learning music in Europe, it is usual to pay attention to the order of notes, what note is proceeding or following another. I thing that this method is not good as opposed to the ancient Indian approach which, in the first place, is interested when a note is followed by another, that is, music is imagined in its original medium, in time, it is followed by attention in time, it is evaluated and constructed in time, and not according to note height or the type of note series. The difference is essential.

And a third and final spin of the Google netted just one more direct hit of the phrase "music is time travel" (Of course, until I post this article). As you might haved guessed, this third usage appeared in a music review, in the context of...uh, drug use:

" an acid-fried friend once told me, "music is time travel" and this particular album proves that saying to be true like no other album I own."

Since you must know the "particular album" in discussion (Though I have not heard it, I recommend it over drugs any day) , and may want to travel back in space if not time to purchase it (It's cheaper than the time machines for sale on EBay) , it is..

..Withhold judgement, classical fans:

"Cha Cha 2000 - Live in Tokyo." a "cross-cultural pychedelic masterpiece." (Aren't we all?)

Okay, just so you feel a bit more reasonable, let's quote the PhD (whew! Feel better already?) Clifford Pickover, author of "Sex, Drugs, Einstein and Elvis."

But don't let that title trip you up.

This is a man of whom it has been said , "Bucky Fuller thought big; Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both!"

A man who wrote "Time: A Traveller's Guide."

A man and book of whom Scientific American boasted: "Only Clifford Pickover would think of mixing time travel and music. Gripping, clear -- this book could well be his best yet! A must buy for all wannabe time travelers." :

"The fundamental laws of physics appear simpler in higher dimensions.. in the music of time." - Clifford Pickover, "Time: A Traveller's Guide"

Before we bring in the heavy-hitters (like Neil Yound...seriously!) to help buttress this thesis, let's continue with a scientist-scholar or two. Tony Smith:

Music has at least two important characteristics:

Music evolves in time;
Music has mathematical structure.

...Onar Aam has noted that it is IMPOSSIBLE to create a STATIC 4-dimensional image of music. The reason is as that music is essentially a chain of partial gestalts in time, like a flow of
information rather than a single piece. ... Fundamentally, the physics model is LIKE MUSIC. Also like music is genetic information. It can even be represented by DNA sequence music (215k wav). It may take a mind like Mozart's to comprehend a complete piece of music, or model of physics, or a DNA/RNA organism, as a whole at once.

-Tony Smith,

Music is physics, and evolves in time. Thus, time travel.

Or if you're are having trouble connecting the heady constructs like dimensional gestalts, every one of you has experienced a version of what one blogger captured:

Is it just me or is it hear a certain song and you are completely transported to a very specific place in time...down to people's faces, feelings, ambience, even smells sometimes? Alright, they start off with Dream Academy, move on to Elvis Costello, The Cure, Siouxie and the Banshees, R.E.M., Madness....the next thing I know my eyes are completely glazed over and I'm back at WBHS or on the water at TCC...(now it's the Talking Head's "Once in a Lifetime playing) and I'm completely zoned...high, if you will. I'm completely sure that I can associate every single person I am (or have been) close to or different places I have been I can associate with a specific song...and can go right back to where I was. I think I just came back from one of the high school dances I went was Flock of Seagulls' "Falling in Love" that brought that trip on. Too freaky, right ?

Not freaky at all on an intellectual level. Makes perfect sense if music is time travel; and cannot not "take you back"...perhaps not just via memories conjured.

Especially in the West, we have overfenced the table; put too many boundaries between disciplines (which is why some are struggling with my unapolgetic apologetics of juxtaposing Ivy League and acid-head; reasearch scholars and MySpace bloggers).

"Human territory is defined least of all by physical frontiers.' , John Fowles suggested. And to continue the juxtaposition of sources, of course we need to quote another emeinent quantum physicist....

Neil Young .

Who else has crossed as many genres of music, completety unpredictable from release to release (punk followed by rockabilly by folk by techno). Young also helps us grasp that some of the boundaries and walls we need to walk right on through are those we have set around the nature of music itself:

''At a certain point, trained, accomplished musicians hit the wall. They don't go there very often, they don't have the tools to go through the wall, because it's the end of notes. It's the other side, where there's only tone, sound, ambience, landscape, earthquakes, pictures, fireworks, the sky opening, buildings falling, subways collapsing. . . . When you go through the wall, the music takes on that kind of atmosphere, and it doesn't translate the way other music translates. When you get to the other side, you can't go back. I don't know too many musicians who try to go through the wall.''

He stops for a moment.

''I love to go through the wall.''

As if you ever doubted it for a moment.

(interview by Steve Ericson)

Walking through the wall at the end of notes sounds like time travel to me, or at least the train station for time travel.

This the wall-bashing musician who released "Soundtrack to a Journey Through The Past".

Most likely a veteran and inveterate music-time traveler.

No doubt he smiled the same knowing sly smile upon saying "I love to walk through the wall" that someone who could truthfully, by experience, say "I love travelling in time" would don.

So I shouldn't have been so surprsied that when for a long-shot lark, I googled the phrases "Neil Young" and "Time travel" , knowing it result in a "Google-hack" (no results), but encountered. 1975 Rolling Stone intreview where Young predicted that his next album (it would prove to be titled "Rust Never Sleeps" would be at heart, "time travel stuff."

So the holy random bouncing between rocknroll and classical are twains that don't meet enough. Some days I fear they meet only in my CD collection, and in time travel theory.

Bouncing back to classical (in a quixotic Hegelian attempt to synthesize a thesis), Carnegie Hall-playing pianist Jefferey Biegel has written a short story intertwining music and time travel, as if the connection was obvious.

It is.

Witness his "post" from the year 2061 here (Maybe just making that click is time travel).

Also, consider Andrew Penland, who according to his website is "a multimedia artist who in addition to writing, also makes paintings, collages, drawings, zines, and CDs. He also uses the name Andrew Octopus, especially for projects involving music and time travel. "

How about this tongue in cheek (?) ad which matter-of-factly states: "Summer Muse returns to Powell River for an evening of food, local music and time travel. "

Casually connecting food, music ,and a throwaway " by the way", time travel?

Why not?


"The universe is at base, music, " Lenoard Sweet suggests is the short definition of string theory.

"A rock is frozen music," Pyhtagoras offered long ago.

It would seem inevitable that if life/ God is by nature musical, or Music; Himself; that
manipulating and managing (better yet unleashing and un-walling) sound iwould yield divine results. Einstein of course proved that movement faster than the speed of light is indeed, and in time, time travel. Yet it was insights from study of sound that lead to this and other breakthrouigh discoveries and proposals of his. What would it mean to travel faster than the speed of sound..or to travel with/in/as sound/music itself?

Paul Davies, reknowned physicist notes that"The Doppler effect...first used to desribe a property of sound waves..when added to the (Einstein) time-dilation effect" essentially invites time travel.("About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution", p.31) Perhaps manifestations of` such pheomenon..sonic booms, and the delay between lightning and thunder... hint at time travel in microcosm and miniature right before our eyes...if we only had "eyes to hear." And perhaps there is an invisible, embedded "sound" encoded by the Creator, a song somehow sung in the interim that speeds sound up so much that it, and time itself, run "backward." (63)

Davis notes (233),
"Sending a fax resembles the transmission of a sound wave." Sound/music, if fundamental to time travel; and if foundational or parallel to transmission of data;

Brian Clegg's "The God Effect: Quantum Entanglement, Science's Strangest Phenomenon, " Any message travelling faster than light also travels backward in time..If we sould send messages with no transmission delay, at an infinite speed, we would have the technology to build an informational time machine." (127)

Perhaps we have already built such a precursor to that machine; that it's arrival is inevitable:

Instant messaging! ( see Clegg, chapter five).

What if that instant messaging principle were applied, trasnmitted, in sound; more specifically music; more specifically music that was "tuned in" to the Ultimate Music (Of the Spheres)? Would that facilitate humans, and not just data, travelling in time?

It is likely. And is an amost given if string theory is accurate.

So where would we find such God-ordained music? Two places: in the aforementioned spheres of the universe, and in the other primary source of song:


They sing

While searching for the chemical origins of life, Shsumu Onnu found something unexpected: a waltz. Bored with tedious mathematical equations, the geneticist decided to convert chemical formulas for living cells into musical notes. He figured listening to the complex genetic codes, rather than staring at them, would make elusive patterns easier to detect. In the process, Onnu discovered genes...carry a tune. The tunes he found were not just the interesting random notes which other scientists had predicted...Onnu found genuine music...sometimes with an uncanny similarity to the works of great composers.

Translated into sheet music and performed on the piano, a portion of mouse RNA...sounds like a lively waltz. Except for its quicker tempo, parts of the mouse RNA Waltz are dead ringers for passages in Frederick Chopin’s "Nocturnal Opus 55."

The musical score within a cancer-causing oncogene sounds somber and funereal, while the gene responsible for bestowing transparency ot the lens of the eye is filled with trills and flourishes...When Onnu translated a funeral march by Chopin from notes to chemical equations, "entire passages appear identical to a cancer gene found in humans...the same patterns

which govern the movement of planets and galaxies also appear in genes and in music." -Dr. Jill Niemark

Cells sing.... sing the misic of the spheres; of life, of God

So an overall and overlooked strategy in the race to build a time machine, is singing (in an email or instant messagekind of format ) as close as possible to the pitch of our cells; the urythym of the unisvers, and the voice of God?

Sounds crazy; and it may ring too simplistic.

Or not.

Matching the Music of the spheres with a connecting, catalyzing harmony (or counterpoint..Camppbell (The Mozart Effect, 105)notes that in the Renaissance, "an elegant muisc known as counterpoint ebcame teh basic exzpression of the church"....) may well be the ticket.

Let our cells sing the song they intuitively know.

"This news has to encourage the hunt for nature's own time machines, which potentially exist in great profusion within the world inside the atom. They could be very close at hand and finding them may be the quick road to time travel" (Jenny Randles, "Breaking the Time Barrier,"p. 198 ). Randles wonders in the next few pages if recent resaerch with sound; especially "negative feedback, "essentially backward music, offer huge clues.

And in light of string theory (the apparent contradiction of classic relativity and quantum mechanics can only be reconciled if teh "universe is at base, music," it should be no surprise that Einstein was a violinist ("Einstein's Violin"), and today's mots popular populizer of string theory Brian Greene is even more specific in what type of music/instrument is at the heart of all life, and the universe; it is both chilling like; while also pattern-wise, different than:

The vibration patterns of the strings, like the vibrations of violin strings, give rise to slightly more familiar fundamental particles such as quarks and gluons. These, in turn, are the constituents of protons, neutrons, and electrons, which make up atoms and molecules. "The different patterns in string theory don't correspond to different musical notes the way they do with a violin string," Greene says, "but they correspond to the different particles that make up all of the stuff in the world around us, so there can be a richness that emerges even though the basic ingredient is so simple." String theory's ability to tie together general relativity and quantum mechanics with a common language has led some to call it the "theory of everything."

Okay, don't sing your instant messages; play 'em on violin.

I'm surprised Neil Young hasn't tried that yet.

Because "any acousticuan will recognize the importance of the walls and centre of a building in determining it's harmoinies (Julian Barbour , leading thinker in the arae of time, offers.p. 75, "The End of Time")

And watch what Barbour does here (325-27):

"(There is a) heavenly vault in which the music of the spheres is played...the only theory of the universe that makes sense is the muisc of the spheres.."

Dovetal this with inisghts from the groundbreaking "discoveries summarized in "Longing for the Harmonies"
Clles connect to mothr sgip unmivderdes, oberr teh song tgey are sinmginmg toe ach other ride its caottails, soudwaves, teval in time, no just "takes me back" sound-trcak.

"Sound has many mysterious properties. It can, for example., create physical forms and shapes....Cymiatics ist he s cience of how sound and vibration intreact with matter....
cells not only emit sound but react to sound one might be retrained to see sound; even sight the "mystical shape of sound," "hearing it's images". This of course is the territory of synesthsis, which I have explored extensively elsewhere.(33-35)

Dovetal this with inisghts from the groundbreaking discoveries summarized in "Longing for the Harmonies":

" music of the spheres emits not only in sound but in light (14), we should "listen to the light."

"...if our eyes were more perfect, we could see the atoms sing . A race of beings who had this sort of direct experince would no dount include a high propertion of poets and atomic scientists."

Exactly. That's why the MIT doctorate and Neil Young are invited to this party.

Of course, who needs modern theorists to discover what Johannes Kepler stated as flat fact in the 70s...1570s that is, in "Harminice Mundi ":
"The heavenly motions... are nothing but a continuous song for several voices,
perceived not by the ear but by the intellect, a figured music
which ..proceeds through pre-designed clausuras, and thereby sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time.”


Well, in conclusion, how to ame this all practical, whether or not a lteral time machine is ever invented..or better yet, "discovered".

1)Listen to music more.

2)Especially music that "walks through walls.

3)Study cells. Life is cellular. And besides, they sing!

4)Experiment with the violin (at risk of your family moving out!) and violin theory.

5)Finally, get to work on a time machine.

It's technical jargon may be amusing, but here is Willima Pensinger's outlne for how to buidl a tiem machine incororating all the above elemnts. Read it, try it, then meet me at the bottom of the page.

A miniaturized microbarograph would be required for the immediate experimental
task, and this device would have to mimic how the photoacoustic spectroscope is
an analogue of the superconductant DNA model. Essentially, in listening to
photosynthesis [see: Cahen, Malkin, and Lerner, 1978], a chloroplast (which
contains DNA, of course) is put in a sealed plastic bag, bombarded with light,
causing the chloroplast to change temperature, expand and contract, and send out
a pressure wave that causes the plastic bag to vibrate, which the instrument
translates into audible sound. This is exactly analogous to the quantum
properties, not only of superconductant DNA molecules, but also of p-electron
parcels in the p-electron gas environment of the molecule’s p-stacks. Both the
parcel and the molecule itself are pulse-code receivers and transmitters. One
structure to receive the coherent waves transmitted by the DNA molecule’s
p-electron parcel ensemble is certainly the cell membrane; another is very
likely the cytoskeleton. If you want to hear the music of the nucleotide pairs,
you put Jacqueline Barton's DNA sample inside a fractal drum (experimental
analogue of a cell) inside a Faraday cage, bombard it with a photon, use
Catherine Even's instrumentation [see: Even, et al., 1999; and Weiss, 1999] to
read the vibrations on the drum's liquid crystal tympanum, and translate that
into audible sound using the apparatus from the photoacoustic spectroscope. Do
this first with known sequences of nucleotide pairs to map the wave dynamics and
you have a fast track way to read the genome. No viral clipping and pasting, and
so on. I am sure creating such a device would be no mere afternoon's work, but
it seems to me likely doable. You put this together with Lipton's idea about the
cell membrane being a liquid crystal semiconductor for reading frequencies [see:
Lipton, 1986] and you have a good beginning on a wave-effect computer processor
as a light/sound interaction device. Optical logic. Superconducting
bio-junctions. All the buzz words. Moreover, in context of discussion of Isaacs'
ideas on molecular indeterminacy in the 1997 homeopathy paper [see: Isaacs and
Lamb, 1969; and Pensinger, Paine, and Jus, 1997], there is a direct route seen
on how to transform this liquid crystal semiconductor into a quantum processor
utilizing Post’s m-valued logics. That is where microtubules of cytoskeleton
come in, and ideas on Musculpt holography. Quantum tunneling (at synaptic and
ephaptic junctions) is modeled by a multiplexed branching of a fiber optic
microtubule into a pencil of skew-parallels defined in Hilbert space with Post's
m-valued logics. When the optical fiber branches into a pencil of
skew-parallels, it, by definition, leaves 3-space (tunnels), enters
m-logically-valued n-dimensional Hilbert space, wave-effect processes, then
re-enters 3-space at the other side of the neural or perineural junction in
parallel with vesicle diffusion: this being an example of partial redundancy of
mechanisms responsible for functional specificity and functional integration.
Viewed in this fashion, the brain is a device in 3-space for receiving messages
from m-logically-valued n-dimensional Hilbert space. The most cost effective
laboratory for studying all this is a flotation tank, with attached Musculpt
laser projection dome as an experimental model of the dolphin's sonic-visioning
system. Dolphins and whales don’t live on this planet -- although they do
occasionally visit. The whole Carl Sagan Hollywood popular science orientation
to extraterrestrial life is laughably simple-minded. Space travel. Ponderable
space even! Time travel. Passing-time even!

Okay, how did you do?

Barring successful comepletion of the machine; you are free to cycle back through suggestions 1-4.

As time allows, of course.


  1. Nice to see my ideas on music still finding an audience

    Onar Åm

  2. Blessings, Onar.. thanks for posting..keep up the great work

  3. Had no idea your page existed until today - an accident, actually, but that's neither here nor there.

    Just wanted to send you a note, as I am the "jam band writer" in question. While I no longer write music reviews for that online magazine or otherwise, I can say with all certainty that those years were a magical time of my life. I was blessed to experience it and have the forum in which to write it all.

    However, you should think about giving (former) music writers such as I a little more intellectual credit. Why do you assume that I was not a scholar of any sort? Or that I did not study at a top university?

    I guess the most "commonplace" way I can put it is, don't judge a book by its cover! You never know how many hats someone is wearing unless you ask. Or are their personal shopper. Or both :-)

    Best wishes to you.

    EricaLynn Jasionowski (formerly Gruenberg)

  4. EricaLynn: thanks so much for posting.

    i really meant no offense at all. Often on this blog my point is God can speak through people whether they are Christian or not (sounds pretty basic, but sometimes church people don't get that!)..not a comment on education/intelligence.
    So thanks, I really want ti be careful with my language! Blessings


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!