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2011: The Dragon Returns

Richard Merrick

Earlier this year, I posted several articles about the number 11 as it concerns harmonic science and symbolism. The first two were about the so-called ‘time prompt phenomenon’ where I discuss the fact that an increasing number of people are noticing 7:11, 9:11, 11:11 and other 11’s on clocks far more frequently than other numbers. I became aware of this phenomenon only after it had begun happening to both me and my daughter about 3 years ago. Seeing Elevens continues to this day for both of us – well beyond any statistical explanation. We just accept it now as a part of our daily lives without any clue as to how it might be occurring or what could be causing it.

Early on, my curiosity about the subject caused me to take another look at the time-of-day commonly associated with the end of the Mayan calendar, which is 11:11 AM. To my surprise, I found a link between the Gregorian/Julian calendar and the Mayan calendar involving 11. Writing about this in The Harmonic Messiah, I found that the zero-year date of our modern calendar occurs as a difference of 11 centuries between the beginning of the Mayan long count around 3113 BC and its end near the beginning of 2013 AD, suggesting the messianic birth prediction of Christianity was the product of a pre-Christian knowledge of harmonic theory and its application in calendar making.

As a point of physics, the 11th harmonic wave partial in a musical tone is called a tritone, which is 180-degrees opposite of the fundamental in an octave (e.g., C–Gb). Known as Diablo in Musica, the tritone interval has been considered an evil interval and musical anti-Christ for many centuries by the Roman Church. Yet ironically, we find the birth of Jesus predicted at just this 11 proportion within the Mayan long count as it aligns with the Gregorian/ Julian calendar in Europe. What should we make of this?

Nearly 500 years before the zero-year date, Pythagoras had discovered something quite significant about the tritone that I think is very relevant here. He found that when he tried to split the octave in half at the tritone using simple harmonic proportions, he couldn’t. There was always an asymmetry in how the math worked out, creating a leftover amount which he called a lemma or ‘comma.’ As he would then try to split the comma in half, yet another comma would appear, and so on. What he found is the tritone represented a kind of illogical and infinite spiral or ‘crack’ in the middle of the harmonically perfect octave, leading him and his followers to believe that all of nature was broken in the same way (think ‘original sin’).

But, what Pythagoras had actually found was natural harmonic damping, the slack or lubrication in nature that allows things to move freely while preventing them from over-resonating and flying apart. This is something like the space needed between a piston and a cylinder in an engine that enables work. Indeed, the infinite spiral in Einstein’s space curvature is a required component for resonance of all kinds, be it atoms, planets, plants or people. Pythagoras had stumbled upon the geometric property of damping in the very physics of spacetime – what we now know as a logarithmic spiral. But, in truth this was nothing new, understood in some sense by priests and shamans much earlier.

Symbolized in mythology as a serpent or dragon, nature’s infinite spiral has long been known as the complement of the finite circle. The ancients saw the spiral as chaos, pain, strife and death in nature while the circle gave order, happiness and life. As a result, most ancient religions were founded on serpent worship in some form, since everyone believed they would have to face the spiraling chaos upon their own passing. Out of such harmonically inspired theologies, Roman Catholicism emerged to purify the dragon-serpent from the world and elevate the holy circle of resonance (‘catholic’ originates in the Greek word ‘katharsoi’, to purify). This purification philosophy led to countless crusades and inquisitions across Europe and into the Middle East to slay the evil dragon of pagan chaos, a matter I discuss in depth in Slaying the Dragon.

Yet, what this spiral purification strategy did was something much worse. Western religion shut out the very idea of balance necessary to sustain life and guide mankind to live harmonically with the rest of nature. Purged from Western philosophy was the tiny bit of slack and lubricating comma inside nature’s tritone that makes it possible for things to move, articulate and live in the first place. Without harmonic damping to temper atomic resonance, life could not exist and matter would simply fall apart. We should rejoice and celebrate our spirals for it is from their infinity that we are born into such a resplendently harmonic universe.

So, as the 111th Congress concludes on this eve of this 11th year of the new millennium, I for one am celebrating the 11th harmonic partial at the tritone. At precisely 11:11 AM on 1 / 1 / 2011, I will be making a toast to all the anti-harmonic dragon-serpents, whether adored or slain. And I will look fondly upon my new Chinese dragon wallpaper and wonder what surprises this most auspicious of years might hold for the world.

Richard Merrick

Richard Merrick was the founder and CEO of Postfuture, a pioneering rich-media communications provider for companies like Best Buy and Microsoft. Under his leadership, the company grew from a tiny start-up in 1999 into the top digital communications company of 2004 and 4th fastest growing technology company in Texas. Prior to this, he was the technology founder and elected CEO of 7th Level, a global CD-ROM game publisher and Internet technology company known for such award-winning titles as TuneLand Starring Howie Mandel and Monty Python's The Quest for the Holy Grail. Merrick's work spans many areas of digital media, including search engines, graphics operating systems, multi-media authoring applications, interactive games, voice-response Web agents and dynamically personalized Internet communications. Throughout his career he has been invited to speak around the world on the future of digital media and cited as an expert in leading publications. He is an improvisational pianist & composer, archetypal artist and independent researcher into the physics, history and social ramifications of harmonic science. He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) and M.S.C.S. degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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