10 propositions

In the Netherlands the (very ritual) defence of a PhD thesis includes the defence of 10 propositions (stellingen). These are reflections in the form of statements that have emerged from the research as accessible and concise presentations of the main ideas and ethos.

  1. The idea of Musika is based on two assumptions: i) consciousness is fundamental, and, ii) driven by the process of evolution, consciousness evolves in the same way in myriad different forms. Musika is a physical reality frame, which propagates units of consciousness based in sound.

2. Music, like man, musicks within boundaries; excess negates music. Spilling over the perception margins of one’s particular form and exceeding the constraints of one’s reality frame, music becomes mute, non-intelligible, or simply unmusical.

3. The Musikon is a topological entity. Its shapes and forms are derived from a basic set in a multidimensional space with characteristics based in organized sound. Each derivation is obtained through deforming, transforming and performing the original unit. The Musikon demonstrates the virtual potential of music forms, their consistency, continuity and connectedness, as well as their constraints. Upon actualization, each of Musikon’s forms appears on a local spatiotemporal grid with explicate coordinates as a manifold.

4. To understand the Musical in music is analogous to understanding the humanity of man. Like self-consciousness out of matter, the Musical emerges out of music’s physicality and its various media, but is not them. I propose the formula: (self)consciousness is to man what musical(ity) is to music.

5. Ideas roam, free and vague, in the mind and one only sees them with clarity once they pass through the linguistic machine and materialize into words, each one in its proper place in context. Notation in-formes the notated, articulation produces understanding.

6. Musicology and physics manifest similar approaches in their treatment of meaning. While engaging in meaning-production out of abstract, time-defying patterns, both disciplines question the very idea of the existence of meaning in their subject fields (e.g. meaning of music, meaning in quantum ‘reality’). Confronted by the limitations of meaning in regard to what is meaningful, musicology and physics reveal that the meaningful sits beyond meanings.

7. Artists are alchemists. They make capital out of loneliness, boredom, repetition, pretense, failure, and pain. Relentlessly smiting this material’s intensive properties, artists reach critical thresholds, push through the narrow gates of transformation, and, on the other side, if choices are right and stars aligned, they emerge from the golden river of exuberance, connection, belonging, and joy.

8. The Artist is one part musical and the Music work is one part human. These entities evolve and grow by tuning in and exploring their respective media.

9. Neologisms fuel consciousness. Language embodies, expresses, and propagates ideas and is formative to our thinking. Ideas, too, enrich, temper, and expand language. Each idea potentiates a new concept, gestates a new word. The inoculation of language with new logoi pushes further the borders of our thinking and expands our consciousness.

10. A PhD thesis gives a curious glimpse on the reality and relativity of time. In clock-time, the distance between the Introduction and Chapter 1 is nil, while in fact it is four years in linear time. In psychological time the distance between them cannot be measured – they inhabit different dimensions.

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