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Richard Merrick

Something very interesting happens when we are inflow with Nature.

Over the years, I have found that the more I trust my intuition, the more things seem to fall into place of their own accord. Rather than try to control or force things to happen a certain way, I came to view events as all interrelated in some way – like harmonics on a guitar string – where my job was to find the potential harmony in them. Living life like a surfer on an ocean of harmonic waves, my philosophy was to catch the right waves at the right time to make the most beautiful music.

While this may sound too abstract or metaphysical to be of use, I assure you that this worldview has proven to be very pragmatic indeed. I have convinced myself time and again through both empirical scientific evidence and firsthand experience that events occur in an orderly way according to harmonic principles and not in an arbitrary fashion, as most believe. Everything in society, from market and financial trends to our daily business interactions, are all synchronized with one another and inextricably bound.

I started noticing this in the late 1980’s when I was hired into a product management position at a leading graphics software company. As this job required greater responsibility and autonomy, I made many decisions every day about what was important to our customers and which features should be in our products. As I began to pay closer attention to market trends, I learned to let the trends flow through me – imagining some as small ripples and others as large waves – while I performed the job of focusing them into a coherent and unified probability wave into the future. I came to call this process harmonic thinking.

As time went on, this intuition about how the world worked became more and more a part of my decision-making, both personal and professional. As I started up an interactive multimedia company in the early 1990’s and then later an Internet company, my harmonic thinking philosophy really made a difference. Not that I didn’t have to work hard at what I did and make some personal sacrifices along the way, but my efforts were tempered by a deep belief in the physics of music. Seeing myself as a conductor, I wasn’t so much forcing things to happen as I was trying to make sense from what was already happening. When I did this, things always seemed to fall into place.

During the final years of my last company, Postfuture, I noticed that things began to fall into place at an increasingly accelerated pace. The order in which various events occurred seemed strangely synchronized, as if everything were being self-organized to achieve maximum potential. The right people would submit their resumes at just the right time or the company would win exactly the right client at the critical moment to move things ahead. Even turns in the financial markets, appearance of disruptive competitors or passage of new federal regulations seemed perfectly timed to help rather than hurt. Recognizing these events as harmonically interrelated, I watched dumbfounded as a chain reaction of what Carl Gustav Jung called synchronicities guided me toward selling Postfuture within an extraordinarily narrow window of opportunity.

But the synchronous events didn’t stop there. I immediately began writing my first book Interference: A Grand Scientific Musical Theory, triggering an even faster pace of synchronicities. I began ‘stumbling’ across the scientific papers I needed at precisely the right time to help me solve a problem. Or, someone would send me a link to an article or website that would open up a new area of investigation, crucial in retrospect. Then the dreams began.

I started having very lucid dreams where I would meet with ‘people’ who taught me things and even suggested what I should do next. I would find myself in a library, a study, in an office, on top of a building or on a street corner talking with characters dressed in everything from medieval cloaks to business suits about what I was working on. In every case, I would wake up the next morning with problems solved or new ideas to pursue, usually with no clue about how it would relate to my book, but it always did.

Whether these dreams were my subconscious (whatever that is!) trying to work through an unresolved problem or a collective of independent intelligences trying to help me did not matter to me. The point was this uncontrolled series of dreams really did help me write a most difficult book.

But if this weren’t enough, one other thing started happening. I began to notice that whenever I would unconsciously glance at the clock, the minutes past the hour was more often than not the number 11.

Now, this would never occur when I really needed to know the time – only when I happened to glance over at the clock. It might read 2:11, 9:11, 5:11 or at unusually significant moments 11:11. I mention this because this eleven synchronicity seems to be happening with other people, including my own daughter.

A few months ago, my daughter of eighteen years said to me:

‘Daddy, why is it every time I look at the clock, it always says something-11? This has been happening to me for months now and I don’t understand how that could happen.’

To be perfectly clear, I had not mentioned this to her or anyone else before then nor had I written anything about it or discussed the subject with her. Needless to say, I was shocked that she experienced this enough times that it had begun to worry her and eventually motivated her to work up the courage to tell me about it.

My only reply to her was:

‘I don’t know, honey, it’s been happening to me daily for about two years now. I think it has something to do with becoming more aware and connecting to Nature.’

To this very day, we each continue to ‘see elevens’ six or seven times a day whenever we glance at the clock unthinking. At first I thought this might be explained as a normal probability distribution, but I calculated the chances as follows:

Probability of seeing the minute hand at 11 in a given hour: 1/60 = 1.6666667%

If we assume:

1) twelve time checks a day, each in a different hour, and

2) six of these occurrences show the minute hand on 11, then

The probability of seeing elevens in a given day is: 1/60/2 = 0.833333%

Base on these assumptions, there is less than a one percent chance of seeing the minute hand on eleven in a given day. This is far more improbable than the 50% random occurrence we might expect. And, if this were to continue day after day, then ‘seeing elevens’ within a given week or month becomes even more improbable. Obviously, something else is going on here.

I would like to suggest the conditions that cause this and perhaps other such synchronicities to occur, but before I do I need to properly define the word ‘random.’

Most of us think random is an unpredictable and purposeless event, totally disconnected from anything else. But the truth is this definition is a myth of Newtonian-Cartesian mechanics. There is absolutely nothing in the universe that is random, even though most everything appears random due to a lack of understanding or information. I discovered this mind-blowing fact during my graduate computer science studies, which I reconfirmed again and again in later years through linguistic analysis and a variety of online analytics. But rather than bore you with these stories, I will tell you another true story that illustrates what I mean.

Early in the morning hours, a hungry armadillo wakes up and decides to go foraging for food. An hour earlier, a bleary-eyed truck driver climbed out of his bed to get ready for a long day of cross-country travel.

As the armadillo happens near a freeway, the truck driver and his big rig appears on the horizon. Then, just as the innocent creature sets foot on the freeway, the giant truck runs him over, adding one to the littered bodies of other animals along the same stretch of road. Sad, but this is not a random coincidence.

If the driver’s passenger had been writing down the locations of the other road kill they saw during the day, adding this armadillo to the list, she might think it all random and disconnected. After all, look at the different kinds of animals and vehicles involved. Consider the different reasons for the trips that day, the number of distractions, number of stop lights, pause to refuel or grab breakfast. If this isn’t the very definition of random, what is?

But contrary to what we might expect, when the road kill data is sorted and charted by the distance between each event, the graph will approximate a known mathematical distribution called a Poisson distribution. With a small sampling of say 25 animals, it would create a rough approximation of a Poisson (or fishtail shaped) curve when graphed. But with a larger sampling of 100 or 1,000 such events, the distribution curve would be amazingly smooth almost as if each event had been timed perfectly to fit!

There are many more such examples of this same thing occurring all around us, but suffice it to say that the distance between events across a population is actually predictable and non-random. In fact, it is impossible for the distribution to be anything other than a Poisson distribution, within some small variance. Thus, we might conclude that none of the events preceding this particular day is random either.

So what is it so magical about the Poisson distribution that it can reliably predict the frequency of something so ‘random?’ Would it surprise you to learn that this is a special case of the more general Gaussian distribution, also known as the ‘Bell curve?’ And would it also surprise you to learn that both human eyes and ears focus incoming light or sound according to a Gaussian distribution and that our brain and body are shaped according to a reflected Gaussian distribution? Would you believe it if I told you that the latest neurophysiological studies have confirmed that neurons in our brains always fire according to a Gaussian distribution inside our brain’s cortex – not ‘random?’ If you stop and think about it for a minute, how else could such statistical models predict so many different things in Nature?

Sounds incredible, but I convinced myself of all this years ago. While developing an early search engine in the 1980s, I noticed that every collection of magazines, newspapers, legal documents, letters and other correspondence (in any language) exhibited a word frequency that always followed the Poisson distribution, creating a remarkably smooth distribution curve. I became so convinced of it that I even input my company’s entire software source code library, finding that programming languages also follow the Poisson distribution and that this curve could be used to predict the number of bugs (software defects). I was shocked to learn that there was nothing I could say or even think that wouldn’t fit beautifully into a predictable Poisson curve after a minute or two.

Again, what I am saying here is that nothing is random, at least how people think of it. Everything happens as a result of other events which then occur as a result of things before that and so on. Where does it all start? It starts with the very first thing that ever occurred – the creation of the cosmos as a single vibration.

So it was because of all this that I eventually found a way to prove that even harmonic waves on a guitar string follow a spatial Gaussian distribution. That’s right, music and our perception of it is directly tied to the non-random distribution of harmonics in all things, from the Gaussian distribution of electrons spaced harmonically in an atom to the Gaussian spacing of the planets in our solar system. In this way, we can truthfully say that nothing is really random, unless we redefine ‘random’ to mean ‘harmonically complex.’ Randomness should not mean things are disconnected or purposeless – only that we don’t know all of the connections involved. We simply don’t have enough data to understand the purpose of many of the things that happen around us, but there is a reason.

This now leads me to my explanation for ‘seeing elevens.’

I suggest that the more aware one is of natural processes and thus guided by a natural ‘built-in’ intuition, the more one thinks harmonically in time and ‘resonates’ with natural cycles. I say this because within a Gaussian distribution the most resonant proportional location is (in fact) a 5:3 ratio, equal to 1.6666667. You will recall from above that this is the exact probability of seeing an eleven in a given hour! When we are at our most intuitive, anyone is equally likely to land on the sweet spot of the Gaussian curve – the region right around the Poisson distribution, as it happens – and start seeing elevens too. When allowed, I would bet that any brain will maximize its potential at this resonant proportion.

Of course, you might well point out that all of this presumes a clock divided into sixty minutes in an hour (and twenty-four hours in a day) and that my argument would fall apart if we divided an hour by one hundred or some other number. You would be correct – however, you would then be presuming no rationale for why our clocks are based on sixty minutes and twenty-four hours over any other division. The fact is a day is divided into 1440 minutes, which is harmonically balanced as 120 x 12 and approximated in terms of the ‘squaring of the circle’ as (Pi / Phi^2)^2 times 1,000.

Fortunately, those Gnostic timekeepers of yore understood something precious few do these days. They understood that harmonic physics forms the foundation for all things and really should be used to create a timekeeping system in accord with Nature.

Maybe this is why the Mayan calendar ends on 12/21/12 at 11:11AM. Maybe someone knew all those market and financial trends, social and cultural priorities, planetary and atomic processes would unconsciously realign themselves at this moment, imploding in time toward a common purpose only to explode back out into something new, something more synchronized with Nature’s cycles. Of this we can only hope and wait.

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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