Life Begins at Two
Interestingly, it is the same with music. "A tone," according to Zuckerkandl, is not yet music." Rather, "music actually begins when a second tone has followed the first." Therefore, strictly speaking, "the smallest particle of music, then, the musical atom, is not properly the tone but the connection of the tone with the tone, the interval." So really, it's a kind of threeness: tone 1, tone 2, and the link between them. Presumably, any living thing with ears can hear a tone. But only humans can link tone to tone in a meaningful way.
Like life itself, music is "ordered motion," a "complex kinetic organism." Not only can we perceive its motion, but its direction. Even children can discern "the rise and fall of the tones in musical space." In other words, they can distinguish "high" notes from "low" ones. Which is interesting, because no one looks at violet and sees that it is "higher" than red; nor could you create visual music by presenting successive beams of light vibrating at different frequencies. For that matter, no one would say "that the fourth floor of a house was sharper than the third, the first flatter then the second" (Zuckerkandl).
In music, high notes, such as those played by the flute, are often associated with gaity, with spring, with frivolity, with angels and fairies and similarly fruity things. Is this just culturally conditioned? Would it be possible to use the flute to express deep gravity, like the voice of God? I doubt it; not for nothing is Barney's last name Fife. However, it can obviously communicate an aspect of God, which is no doubt why Krishna is never far from his flute. A quick google search reveals the following:
"Flute is the oldest musical instrument known to mankind.... the flute is very close to Nature and sounds very melodious when played in an atmosphere surrounded by Nature.... For example, if you take a short flute to mountains or a thick forest and then play, the echo of the sound bouncing back either from the leaves of the trees or from the mountains is simply very delightful. Every flute player in such circumstances receives a celestial experience. Nature actually talks back to you."
Back to the twoness -- or threeness -- of music. Like time, music "moves forward," even while retaining and remembering the past. The reason why music is possible is that one tone recalls the previous one and "anticipates" the next; there is a curious lack of fulfillment present to each tone, as it "completes itself" by handing over the melody to its neighbor. Again, very strange when you stop to think about it: "No musical tone is sufficient unto itself; and as each musical tone points beyond itself, reaches, as it were, a hand to the next, so we too, as these hands reach out, listen tensely and expectantly for each next tone."
Therefore, to be "in" music is a phenomenologically complex state, for one cannot merely be in the moment and hear what it is all about; rather, "to be auditively in the time now sounding means, then, to always be ahead of it too, on the way to the next tone." I suppose it's no different than understanding speech. In so doing, we don't recognize the fact that listening only to the individual words will not reveal the meaning of what the speaker is saying. Rather, we must simultaneously listen to and beyond them.
Seriously, it's amazing that unambiguous meaning can be transmitted from mind to mind, except in the case of purely objective information. In order to accomplish this feat, I must have a meaning in mind, reverse engineer it by selecting the individual words to convey it without distortion and with all subtlety in tact, and then hope that the hearer will take those words and reassemble them to arrive at the same complex meaning.
To cite one obvious example of how communication can go awry, I can't think of a single troll who understands my actual meaning before attacking it. Instead, they use my words to construct a monstrous chimera of their own making, and then attack the trollucination.
Along these lines, at American Digest a commenter remarked that "Science is much harder then religion, because religion doesn't have a lot of really hard math." Actually, it's the opposite. Science, especially the closer it gets to math, is an example of information that can be conveyed from head to head in a very unproblematic, undistorted manner -- which is the very reason why it results in such a philosophically simplistic world, a world far too simple for the human mind to exist in it.
In contrast, the truths, say, of Shakespeare, are far more complex and subtle. Who would be foolish enough to compare the intellect of Shakespeare to the typical worker bee scientist? Among other things, Shakespeare, although writing 400 years ago without benefit of modern science, tapped into deep human truths that will always be true. Unlike science, they are not subject to fashion or to revocation by a tenure-seeking mediocrity.
In Our Culture, What's Left of It, there is a chapter entitled Why Shakespeare Is for All Time. Scientists tell us that there is no such thing as "essences," including such fanciful notions as "self" or "human nature." Fortunately, Shakespeare knows nothing of that postmodern nonsense, but "is interested in the essentials of human nature, not the accidentals of human history."
And there is surely a reason why one can pass through our elite universities without ever encountering Shakespeare, but learning all kinds of multicultural nonsense about lesbian poets and post-colonial authors of color.
For, among other things, Shakespeare undercuts the first principle of the left by destroying "the utopian illusion that social arrangements can be made so perfect that men will no longer have to be good." He knows that human nature is inclined toward the temptation to evil, which "will always make a mockery of attempts at perfection based upon manipulation of the environment." Instead, "prevention of evil" will always "require personal self-control and the conscious limitation of appetites" (Dalrymple).
In contrast, one could master everything there is to know about natural selection, but it would reveal no wisdom whatsoever: "Statistics will not lead us to enlightenment about ourselves, any more than elucidation of the human genome will render Shakespeare redundant. Those who think that an understanding of the double helix is the same as an understanding of ourselves are not only prey to an illusion but are stunting themselves as human beings, condemning themselves not to an advance of self-understanding, but to a positive retrogression" (Dalrymple).
This is an example of how the melody of man can be played backward to reveal a hidden satanic message.