Friday, January 13, 2023

Mere Locrianism

Yesterday evening, I happened to watch an old Truthstream Media video called "The Secret Power Music Holds Over You," which talked about the supposed psychological effects of each of the seven diatonic modes. Back in my teens I used to compose a bit of modal music, and to be interested in the use of unusual modes by the Beatles, but it's a subject I hadn't thought about in years.

That night, I dreamed that I was browsing Slate Star Codex and read the sentence, "But by that time Jewish mysticism had for the most part devolved into mere Locrianism." Locrian is of course one of the seven diatonic modes -- famously dissonant and therefore rarely used -- and in the dream this struck me as an extraordinary coincidence: I had just been watching a video that discussed the Locrian mode, and here I was seeing Locrianism used in a non-musical context!

Of course upon waking I realized that it wasn't a coincidence at all -- that there was rather a causal relationship between the Locrian mode I had encountered before going to bed and the "Locrianism" I had subsequently dreamed about. But within the dream, not knowing that it was a dream, I had considered it one of those extraordinary synchronicities I so often experience. I guess that means that one possible implication of sychronicity is that waking life is more dream-like in nature than we realize.

Locrianism is not a real word, but I tried to imagine what it might mean as, apparently, a pejorative description of a certain strain of Jewish mysticism. In a way, each of the seven modes is identical -- a diatonic scale is a diatonic scale, and the same set of seven notes (for example, the white keys of a piano) can be used to play in any of the seven modes. The difference, you could say, is how central or peripheral each note is to the composition. In the major (Ionian) scale, do is the tonic and ti is the leading tone. As explained in my post "What does 'do-re-mi' mean?" do and ti historically represent, respectively, Christ (do for Dominus, "Lord") and John the Baptist (originally si, for Sancte Ioannes). The major scale is rightly ordered, with Christ as a the central note of which the whole scale is based, and John "pointing" to him. The dominant (second most important and "central" note after the tonic) is sol, for solve, "set free."

In the Locrian mode, ti -- which should be the leading tone, whose function is to point to the tonic -- is itself treated as the tonic; that is, John the Baptist plays the central role, with Christ relegated to that of "minor second." Taken literally, I suppose this is Mandaeism -- seeing John, not Jesus, as the last and greatest prophet. In the dream-context of the devolution of Jewish thought, "John" symbolizes the whole pre-Christian revelation leading up to Christ, and making ti the tonic is the error of Judaism itself. Even more broadly, it is the error of (as the Chinese Buddhists say) taking the finger pointing to the Moon for the Moon itself and embraces such things as "Churchianity" and Bible-worship.

The main reason the Locrian mode is so dissonant is because the tonic-dominant interval -- which in all other modes is a perfect fifth, one of the most harmonious intervals possible -- is in Locrian the tritone, the most dissonant of intervals. Recall that in the major (do-based, or Christ-based) scale, the dominant is sol, meaning "set free." It is supremely appropriate, then, that the Locrian dominant, fa, stands for famuli, "slaves."

Besides thinking about "Locrianism," the other thing I did after my dream was to check Slate Star Codex -- or, rather, its successor Astral Codex Ten. I hadn't checked it in probably over a year. The most recent post there was "Highlights from the Comments on the Media Very Rarely Lying." Alexander's point is not that the mass media are trustworthy and honest but rather that they rarely literally lie in the sense of just making up false "facts." What they do instead is mislead by selective emphasis, missing context, and so on. This bears some relation to "Locrianism," since the difference between Locrian and Ionian music is not that the former uses any of the "wrong notes" but rather that it emphasizes them wrongly.

I should also mention, I suppose, that any talk of the notoriously discordant tritone always makes me think of this Wordsworth poem:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; --
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Also, after all that badmouthing of the Locrian mode, I should point out that good Locrian music is possible, though it takes Björk-level genius to pull it off.

1 comment:

Ra1119bee said...


William,

You wrote : " I guess that means that one possible implication of synchronicity is that waking life is more dream-like in nature than we realize."


My response : And wouldn't that make sense that our waking world is an illusion?
I think you've validated by your statement, at least to me, my perspective as far as synchronicity being a way for our Soul 'to speak' to us in our waking time, by crossing our paths with odd events and/or certain people (people being symbolic of archetypes ) .

Maybe synchronicity i.e. odd events slung in our paths, are necessary for our Soul so as to get our much needed attention, because perhaps a very integral puzzle piece is needed so as to connect into the big picture of our journey.

Although somewhat rare, ' some sudden' sync puzzle pieces are needed immediately, in a life or death situation for example.
I think I shared my antique barn experience with you in a previous comment.

I believe that We all have had what some people describe as a 'strange feeling( men call it a gut feeling ) that comes over us which makes us not proceed down a certain road for example, or not board a flight at the airport because of a sudden intense feeling not to do so.

In my antique barn experience that's Exactly what happened to me, which much later and looking back on my barn experience ( one of a gazillion esoteric events ) has help me validate that linear time is an illusion and that our Soul can, and does every night, transcend linear time and 'knows ( our Soul ) 'Past ( which includes Past Lives.... Present AND FUTURE.

Even a future which may be only 5 minutes away, as my barn experience was, or 5 years away as the dream I shared with you about having a dream ( in 1990) which tragically came true 5 years later in 1995).

Although our Soul is at the helm and speaks( in the Universal Language ) during our Third Eye time (REM sleep) many times the Soul's 'messages' are simply ignored by the Ego(which
the Ego being at the helm during our waking time ).

Over the years people have said to me; Oh, Debbie, dreams are silly, they don't mean anything .to which I always respond: But what else does your body do that's silly?


Research Tavastock. Research Winfried Otto Schumann and the Binaural beats
and the Monroe Institue.

Although many creators/ inventors/ artists, ( poets, image artists, musicians, writers, etc ) have been given a gift much like a shaman and use that gift to 'tap' that other side so as to bring the wonderment and freedom of possibilities, back to humanity so that we (humanity ) can escape this duality dimensions' illusion ( even for a little while ( through music for example) .... unfortunately, many times that gift and its creator i.e. artist, is corrupted by our Opponents.

Our Opponents know more about us than we know about ourselves, which is how they seem to always 'win' the game by manipulating (into Black Magic) the Sacred Sciences Knowledge and using that manipulation to dominate us through our Ego.

I believe that our Soul (connected to God) has all the answers and knowledge (accumulated over many incarnations) that we need so as to help us transverse through this wilderness/duality dimension/ matrix.
I don't believe that God would ever abandon us to' figure it out' for ourselves.

All we have to do is listen and pay attention.

Wigner and the infinite quarter

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