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explorations of consciousness and symbolic references...

by eduardo (Curate)
on Jun 30, 2000 at 07:30 UTC ( [id://20536]=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I was discussing with my fellow monk maverick the bizzarre and almost spiritual powers behind the concept of symbolic references, and the use of the symbol table as a data structure, when a truth came upon me. One can not be strict, and symbolic at the same time, the two, are exclusive. Much like in art and music, strict structure sometimes precludes symbolism and experimentation, while simultaneously furthering rigidness and predictability. Much like the difference between a jazz improv, and a fugue, one based purely on symbolism, and the twists and turns of the mind (which can be thought of as an extended symbol table), the other on rules, and experimentations within the axioms and paradigms set forth, a complex and beautiful melody, however tightly constrained by the designs of some higher deciding force.

In the jazz improvisation, the symbol table is used freely, it is abused, it is turned, it is twisted, it is made to contort itself in forms and functions that it never conceived as part of it's form or design. Whereas in more strict compositions, the symbol table, the mind, is used to explore the infinite microcosm that exists within the lines of the paradigm.

I also realized how this metaphor extended itself, in an improvisation, it is very rare to keep a coherent composition going, and to grow it, and expand it, and to revisit it, and enhance it. An improvisation, is a snapshot in time, a tunnel, directly into the heart of the composer. Much like a script, without strict, is often a solution to a snapshot in time, a one-offer, something that is a solution to a core problem at a time and place. Whereas something like a fugue, or a symphony, can have themes much greater than the state of emotions of the composer at a place and time. A symphony, or a fugue can be written over a great deal of time, revisited, extended, expanded, grown. It can be made to symbolize more eternal questions, such as Beethoven's L'Eroica, a symphony originally tributed to Napoleon, and the great "peoples rebellion" which he lead in france. When Napoleon turned out to be a traitor to the people by crowning himself emperor, or when the system specification changed, Beethoven was able to revisit it, and tribute it to the people who had fought in the revolution.

The strictness which contstrains the music, much like the programs, gives it the strength and the power to grow into something that transcends any one experience, where one would be challenged to attempt such things during an improvisation, purely symbolic, without any strict.

  • Comment on explorations of consciousness and symbolic references...

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
by Melvin (Beadle) on Jul 01, 2000 at 21:40 UTC
    Read the book The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse. (I think that's the correct name of the translation.) It is incredible, describes exactly the same line of thought you are going with.

    It completely changed the way I look at programming, and life in general. (Yeah, I know everyone has books like that to recommend, but if you get a chance, pick it up. I'm sure the translation is a good as the original German).

    (Actually, buy it from Powellsor your favorite local bookseller. Damn the man.)

      it has been bought ;) after reading the customer reviews I realized that this is one of those books that is going to take a lot longer to read than most of the books I read. Over the last few weeks I have taken on some difficult reading challenges, I am most of the way thorugh: "Godel, Escher, Bach" and i just finished Tao of Physics... so, we shall add this one to my list of: "books to make ed smarter" :) thank you for the suggestion!
RE: explorations of consciousness and symbolic references...
by Anonymous Monk on Jul 01, 2000 at 22:19 UTC
    Keith Jarrett, jazz pianist and improviser extraordinaire, has recorded several important fugues (including a particularly nice one by Shostakovich) and is currently recording (IIRC) J. S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. 'Nuff said.
RE: explorations of consciousness and symbolic references...
by Russ (Deacon) on Jul 01, 2000 at 00:21 UTC
    Surely this fits the very definition of "Meditation."



RE: explorations of consciousness and symbolic references...
by Poetic Justice (Monk) on Jul 12, 2000 at 19:11 UTC
    I would like, with the Permission of Fellow Perl Monks to post this meditation to "progstone" mailing list. If you haven't read it, "The Programmer's Stone" is an essay about how programmers and the personnel around them think, and learn. This meditation is an excellent example of non-linear mapping thought processes. It is one of my favorite posts since I was an Anonymous Monk. Great Job Man... Poetic Justice "Licenses.....We don't neeed no steeeekin' licenses....
      Here, here!
      I dont know that I speak for anyone other than myself when I say this, but, I know when I post it's for the world to benefit, read, by amused by, etc.
      That you want to share this with others who arent fortunate enough to be able to come to our monestary and study is commendable, in my opinion.
RE: explorations of consciousness and symbolic references...
by ase (Monk) on Jul 01, 2000 at 12:20 UTC
    All I can say is WOW I never thought about it that way.. and come to think of it you don't hear much fugue improvisation these days do you... maybe I should get out more.
    A great meditation in any case...

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