23 July 2009

The music itself

Even as I watch, however, I can see things changing. I realize the baby boy is beginning to come together. Already there are hints of small collaborative projects getting under way: his eyes and his hands working together, his face and his voice, his mouth and his tummy. A time goes by, some of these mini-projects will succeed: others will be abandoned. But inexorably over days and weeks and months he will become one coordinated, centrally conscious human being. And, as I anticipate this happening, I begin to understand how in fact he may be going to achieve this miracle of unification. It will not be, as I might have thought earlier, through the power of a supervisory Self who emerges from nowhere and takes control, but through the power inherent in all his sub-selves for, literally, their own self-organization.

Then stand with me again at the rail of the orchestra, watching those instrumental players tune up, The conductor has not come yet, and maybe he is not even going to come. But it hardly matters: for the truth is, it is of the nature of these players to play. See, one or two of them are already beginning to strike up, to experiment with half formed melodies, to hear how they sound for themselves, and -- remarkably -- to find and recreate their sound in the group sound that is beginning to arise around them. See how several little alliances are forming, the strings are coming into register, and the same is happening with the oboes and the clarinets. See, now, how they are joining together across different sections, how larger structures are emerging...
-- Nicholas Humphrey (2002)

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