Wednesday, July 28, 2004

For every force there is an equal and opposite force...

For us in the twenty first century, this must surely seem a pretty basic law. For many years it resounded in my mind and later I discovered solace in a philisophical idea that somewhat echoes it. I remember it was while I was living in Oxford in my late teens that I first heard the term dialectic. In fact I did not 'hear' I recall I was reading about Socrates, you know him...the Greek guy in 'Bill and Ted's excellent adventure'. At first I was unsure of what the term meant, wondering if it was a linguistic term having something to do with colloquial variation of langauge. Actually this now seems an insightful concept given that I was fumbling in the dark. I suppose I should actually define what I'm talking about before I waffle on anymore. Dialectic is the idea that truth needs to be pursued by modifying one's position through questioning and conflict with opposing ideas. Simply put every idea can be considered a thesis, but as such and considering Newton's law it must by nature have an antithesis, for surely ideas have force. Where people like Socrates, Hegel, and Marx advance from Newton is that they answer the paradox posed his law; 'What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? This answer not solely being 'conflict' as I hear whispered from the marxist in the corner, but rather 'synthesis'.

It was years later during a period of mental illness that this idea formed itself around a language that apparently we have in common, mathematics. I had been reading about the Hebrew mystic oral tradition known as Qabbalah, and this had turned the idea of numbers upside down in my mind. I had an epiphany concerning the nature of numbers and the relationship between them. I contemplated the idea of nothing, and how that idea could become potentially limitless, and in turn how that could become in my mind, though veiled, an absolute. So I began to ponder the nature of Zero, and that rather than being an absence it could also be seen as a potential. Then I wondered about this potential and it became manifest as the number One. I wondered if therefore One was the dialectic of Zero, and I reversed my journey from One to Zero, whereupon I discovered the movement of Negative One. I now had three points; One, Zero, and Negative One. When I considered this further I realised that between Negative One and One, there was a distance of Two. I think I have made my point about how ideas can develop, and it was a major breakthrough as I realised the philosophy behind what I had previously solely considered a basic progressing decimal number sequence.
As I sat in my cell in the pychiatric wing of a London prison, I pondered that maybe the universe was constructed in this way, and lifted my pencil and sketched what became diagramatic renditions of living vortex within which we may find ourself.
I continued along this idea, derived from the diagonal cross, the pyramid, and the name Tetragrammaton, IHVH, and the concept spiralled my mind upward and outward.
Needless to say I used a number of pieces of paper, and every so often a face would appear at the door of my cell, checking that I had not harmed myself. But though I appeared to be silently writing, I was not there I was with the stars and beyond.....