Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Laminar flow region

Have been listening to the wonderful Hilliard Ensemble recording of Gesualdo' Tenebrae responses (recorded incidentally in the Benedictine Abbey of Douai, Berkshire, England , see picture below).

Supremely beautiful music, but the product of a very troubled mind. In 1590 Gesulado created one of the great sixteen century music scandals when he had his first wife, her lover, and his son murdered.

Hearing the wonderful Sacconi String Quartet (now it is not just policemen that are looking younger...........................


...........it is also string quartets) playing Schuman's Quartet no 3 (opus 41) reminded me of how much great music is written in chaotic regions. After this great work Schumann abandoned the quartet format forever. His latter years were dogged by periods of depression, he began to suffer halucianations, attempted suicide, and died two years later cared for by his wife and the young Brahms

Nick Drake, see A troubled cure..for a troubled mind also spent his last years in the outer regions. One of the most interesting explanations of why life in the outer regions generates such great creativity is found in the book Then We Sailed Away by The Ridgway Family.

"Perhaps the brain has the equivalent of a laminar flow region (like water from a tap), where all the ordered information and processes are well catalogued and indexed. This is our acquired and inherited knowledge, conscious and sub conscious.
Outside this region there is the equivalent of chaos, masses of unstructured data and half-formed thoughts: a swirling mass of unstructured and unintelligible information derived from the incalculable quantities of sensory input the brian receives every second: a region of wild turbulence and disorder. Chaos.
We are only vaguely aware of this chaotic region. Here lurk the demons of madness. Yet isn't genius on the edge of madness? What is actually happening at the boundary - at the edge of chaos? If the analogy of our example of the water flowing from the tap holds true, than at the edge of chaos there is an erratic stream of tiny whorls of disordered thought which comes spinning out of chaos to penetrate the lamina region.
Are these tiny whorls the seeds of creative thought? Does inspiration heighten our awareness of them, and allow us to crystalise the occasional one into a brilliant idea? For so much of our brief time on earth, we are content to exist in the secure and predicatable laminar world. However, when we face the demons at the edge of chaos we can sense the tiny whorls of creative thought as they come spinning out of the blue...."

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