The Great Dance

From the ballroom of the Heavens to the twinkling steps of the quantum world, there has always been Form and Void…and Music.

The atomic tradition begun by Leucippus emphasized that the manifest world is composed of indivisible objects called atoms, and that these atoms are many and are in motion, which requires room for them to maneuver.

But why do the atoms move?  Lucretius offers the clinamen or swerve. This “most minute of movements” is enough to randomly and frequently initiate the collisions and combinations of atoms that generate the physical world.

Traditionally, the attempt to answer this question splits into two arguments: “it’s a random physical process” and “there is a plan”. Taking a wide berth around the trailhead to that road, there is a third option.

If we operate from the premise that Form does not exist without Sound, we have a basis for atomic motion, a mechanism for the physical process, and an account for the logos observed in the universal dance.

Atoms are moved by the primal Sound that is the Ground of Being. They dance – some more freely and wildly than others, but every atom at the very least is tapping their figurative toe. They dance because the Music of the Kosmos is indivisible from the very nature of the atom.

Since not all atoms are moved in the same way, they behave differently. This leads to the variety of ways they combine to generate the manifest world. There is always an element of randomness – the wildcard. When the conditions are right, a shy atom might take everything and everyone by surprise and swerve. Far from upsetting the balance of the system, this new pattern reorganizes the status quo and shifts the whole system to a new level of complexity. This is happening constantly.

The logos of the Song is more likely an improvisation than a score. Shifts in time signature, key, and style reflect the constant spontaneity and evolution of the dancers. The exchange is bi-directional because the indivisibility of Sound and Form cuts both ways.

I have been referring atoms in the ancient philosophical sense, not the contemporary scientific one. I am aware of sub-atomic particles, strings, and the like. Even so, at the end of the reduction, I imagine whatever is found to be indivisible is going to be moving. Depending on who happens to be observing this “atom” they might see either a medium for the transmission of the Song (i.e. an instrument) or something that appears to be dancing its ass off.

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