top of page
  • Writer's picture738

When Ulysee Carrière was right

Ulysee Carrière is a narcissistic French-Canadian from that country’s elite—educated at top universities in classics he has now turned, apparently, trans to facilitate his vanity (a characteristic French vice). Despite his remorseless self-regard he sometimes makes lucid contributions to the debate; hence he observed that people who don’t read Plato in the original don’t really understand Plato. He’s right—in a substantial way, although, of course, it was just another opportunity for him to show off about the fact that he is fluent in Ancient Greek whereas most people today are not (and, indeed, have never been).

The reason Ulysee is right is revealed with help from the cybernetician Gregory Bateson (by way of the Anglo-Canadian, Marshall McLuhan). Bateson observed that cybernetics concerns number as rhythm not as quantity (as in probability). He further noted that an absence can be a message in context { }—the message you didn’t send, the apology you never made…The alternation between content and absence, between 0 and 1 in cybernetic terms, constitutes a rhythm.

The rhythm is the information that is both within and without the system at the same time—it is the “plan that is not a plan”, not God as a man at a drawing board with a plan but God as a Lotus flower that opens in the morning dew (the plan was within it and without it at the same time). It sends messages to you—for example, as I wrote this piece a delivery man came into the cafe with his little wheeled trolly and said, “It’s my music that keeps me alive at the moment.” This is because I wrote this piece about the cosmic rhythm.

It’s the same point as Marshall McLuhan: the medium is the message. It means that if you read or listen to Plato in Ancient Greek you will understand him better than someone who reads an English translation—you might say that you understand him but you do not comprehend him (you do not have a mental grasp as regards what the words mean).

As Ulysee notes, Plato is filled with clever allusions and puns and meta-semantic content (polysemy) that are integral to his message—so that when he comments on Greek poetry the commentary is delivered in a recognisable form-rhythm that provides an ironic comment upon the rational content conveyed. This is why Sanskrit is the “pure tongue”—it allows you to build puns on puns on puns in a recursive fashion, meta-semantic on meta-semantic, to a greater extent than any other language. It’s also why, for example, the KJV is not a Semitic document—when it was translated into English its meta-semantic was altered, the rhythm was re-ordered and so was the information (Jesus did walk on these green and pleasant lands, in ancient times).

It means that documents are more valuable for the way they say a thing than what they actually say: “It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it.” “It’s all about timing—life is about timing, just like comedy.” When women say they want a “good sense of humour” they mean “good sense of rhythm”: comedy is dance too, women like a good dancer (to dance and to be funny are two sides to the same coin)—I dance with my fingers.

This applies not just to languages and the arts but also mathematics and technology, since these follow the same rhythmic rules (the rules of information—of cybernetics). It’s why Newton thought Pythagoras was correct in his religious views about the way there is a cosmic harmony—the lyre of Apollo—that governs reality through harmony. Similar views were voiced by Goethe in his contention that nature should be understood as harmonies—as rhyme—and not broken down into bits. Nietzsche knew too, in a way—he knew about the dancing star, yet when he recovered it he lost it. Lights out.

Hence there is a rhythm to the computer society, to 1 and 0 society—and there was a rhythm to the Greek city-state too. To really understand a subject or a person you must be in a rhythm with them (some are heady destruction, Dionysian—and some do other things). Hence there is no contradiction between religion and science because both rely on rhythms, on information—and this information is both inside and outside at the same time (a Hermetic insight). What a person is is a rhythm—to understand a subject it is only required to listen; and once you listen the pattern will become apparent—if you just try to grasp it, to literally understand it, then you will never get it.


Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page