0 the circle, theAbyss, the Shape of Time
I was re-reading notes on Spengler’s Decline of the West, and found it as opaque this time around as the first time (maybe two times) I’d read it. Nevertheless, what I seem to recall is a progression, quite complex (Spengler was a philosopher after all), which I’ve taken in the following direction: the course of cultural events can be seen as following a sin wave. I always pictured them as waves as seen in profile, and circles as seen from the end. Here:
Although instead of the spiral progressing in a straight line, it would follow a sine-wave path, which in turn would follow sine-wave path and so on – spirals within spirals all the way down, as if they were turtles or something.
And so it makes a spiral. The important thing to note is that the circle is open, it only appears closed from one perspective.
This is definitely how I see theAbysmal Calendar. The gap between the years (see illustration below) is “theAbyss” – in that Leap Days, Leap Seconds, and any other adjustments that need to me made to the Year can be done so at the New Year (dec 21), which does not disrupt the otherwise regular structure of the calendar.
So, tomorrow is Leap Day (imagine a second black circle at the bottom), then the New Year Day, both of which are Days that hang over theAbyss (i.e. the period outside of the 364 Calendar Days of the Year). I think of it like a hinge that allows an otherwise complex, rigid system to shift and stay attuned to the seasons without undue disruption.
I also explored this central image idea in an earlier post. In particular, the zen circle.
In some zen practice, the enso (circle) is open, in others it isn’t. I imagine it’s one of those symbols upon which one could meditate endlessly, as we can project almost anything onto a circle, as much as we can draw from it. Like the emptiness within that is accessible through the opening.
The reason I bring all this up, is that I think this is the essential idea of “0” zero, that I would want to be considered in whatever this new era of history is. The open circle. There are two reasons for this: 1) the calendar, the zen circle, the sin wave, 2) sitting in a circle is a great equalizer when meeting, and having a gap in the circle ensures that there is room for one more. I’m going to just go ahead and call it an “open circle”. This second idea resonates with much of what Rupert Ross wrote in Indigenous Healing. It is an essential part of the way group discussions are held, and there is much to be learned from it. Mostly, gathering in a circle with room for one more. (should one more join, ensure that there is always room for yet one more).
That said if time, or at least calendar time (lunar calendars, the Maya calendars), follows a pattern consistent with a sine-like wave, that’s easy enough. I know theAbysmal Calendar particularly follows wave patterns, which is due in no small part to it combining features of the Maya and Chinese calendars. However, when the sine wave looks like this:
This is a sine wave in full 3D. If this is time, or spacetime, or gravity, or light? What the hell are we measuring, exactly? Whatever it is, it feels like it’s a fundamental driving force in how we behave across levels of scale. I will definitely have to play with this notion further, because this animation is blowing what’s left of my mind.
The ideas of “0” and “1” as symbols, as the basis for any system of mathematics, need to be clearly intuited moving forward into the new phase in history. Once those are properly allocated an appropriate metaphysical role, then the business of applying the rest of the numbers and coming up with a new mathematic (like calculus, trigonometry, algebra, geometry all emerged when they were needed). Give the current processing power available to the world, I can’t imagine what it might be. But we’re at the beginning, so I’m thinking about 0 and 1 less than the results further down the road of civilization.
Here’s how someone once explained this idea to me. These are archetypal ideas, and have little to do with sex or gendre. Female energy is circular energy. Male energy is linear energy. If you combine circular and linear energy, you get a spiral. The problem is that men think they just need male energy, and women feel they need female energy, and so they pair up to complete a spiral. Whereas, if women and men had both, they would individually have a spiral, and together they would be a double-helix.
Mostly what I get out of it is the synergy – how we can be better fulfilled as individuals (i.e. the “spiral” image), and how we are greater than the sum of our parts (double helix suggests all kinds of wondrous DNA-ish things). Furthermore, in terms of identity politics, if everyone is a spiral, then there really isn’t a dominant dichotomy any more, is there?
Given the increased importance of binary as the foundation of the digital world around us, we could define the 0 and 1 as any two complementary elements. I prefer to think not to think so much in terms of opposites, as any dichotomy is a false dichotomy as complements. The view of dark and light as opposites lends one the view that you have to choose one side and oppose the other. So light, up, us are good, dark, down, them are bad. The view of dark and light as complements sets them as ideal extremes between which all of creation happens in all its chaotic nuance.
0 and 1 are complementary. Different in almost every way, yet still of a kind.