The Pulse: Paris

Equations

Whenever Martine thought of her father, tears welled up in her eyes — as they did now, proving to Kenneth that she couldn't possibly be making it up.

Intuition he could believe. But telepathy — how could that be part of the equation? Part of what equation?

Martine had told Kenneth wildly different versions of the same story. The scenarios shifted this way and that, but one thing that didn’t change was Martine's conviction that somehow — she didn't know how — she knew the exact moment her mother was dead. Kenneth didn't know how, either.

It doesn’t make sense, he told himself, yet there it was: a woman sitting in the 5th Arrondissement knew that her mother was dead in an apartment in the 18th Arrondissement.

Kenneth searched his mind to make sense of it all. Could Martine's brain have somehow made a connection with her mother's brain over that distance? Could some wave or particle — or some combination of waves and particles — have resonated from one body to the next? Did it travel through some fifth essenceether, or akasha of sub-molecular space? Were these the monads Leibniz imagined back in 1714 — fundamental particles that connected everything? Were these the god-strings that physicists made grand unified theories about? Or was this just another way of giving fantastic names — this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestic roof fretted with golden fire — to the quintessence of dust

Kenneth imagined a modern-day alchemist, Stephanus of Trocadero, in his study, with its desk and four white walls. On each wall he had written a triple-layered series of formulae, inscribed eloquently in India ink. It looked something like this:

The jet-black layers ran from one end of the wall to the next. Stephanus layered the functions of algebraic probability so that they could be read continuously. Like a dervish, he twirled on his left leg, as if it were the fixed foot of a compass, mesmerized by the beauty of the spell that he was under, that surrounded him completely. He giggled to himself when he realized that he had circled the square room, and thus accomplished what geometers had long claimed was impossible.

This squared circle was broken only by the door when it was open. The thought of the door disturbed him greatly, even when it was shut. It broke the continuity, even in theory, even after he locked the door with bolts and chains.

And yet it wasn't so much a theoretical gap, an apocalyptic full stop, or even a redemptive beginning, as it was the mouth of an Ouroboros. He saw its alchemy as the deltas and sigmas of integral calculus.

Ouroboros drawing from a late medieval Byzantine Greek alchemical manuscript. The text of the tract is attributed to Stephanus of Alexandria (7th century). From Wikimedia Commons.

Ouroboros drawing from a late medieval Byzantine Greek alchemical manuscript. The text of the tract is attributed to Stephanus of Alexandria (7th century). From Wikimedia Commons.

Kenneth imagined Stephanus in his Ouroboros room staring at the ultralight beams that emanated from the Mac Air on his desk. He softly invoked the lost deity hidden inside the elusive fabric of light. Caught between Science and the Light, he unknowingly initiated himself into the Holy and Consubstantial Triad. 

The Alchemy of Happiness , 1308 Persian copy held in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Wikimedia Commons.

The Alchemy of Happiness, 1308 Persian copy held in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Wikimedia Commons.

Mystical alchemical diagram of Boaz and Jachin pillars of the Temple of Jerusalem, interpreted as cosmic principles. 1782. Author Grant Schar. Image cropped and coloured by RYC. From Wikimedia Commons.

Mystical alchemical diagram of Boaz and Jachin pillars of the Temple of Jerusalem, interpreted as cosmic principles. 1782. Author Grant Schar. Image cropped and coloured by RYC. From Wikimedia Commons.

Plate from  The Song of Los , copy B, in the collection of the Library of Congress. 1795. Cropped and coloured by RYC. From WIkimedia Commons.

Plate from The Song of Los, copy B, in the collection of the Library of Congress. 1795. Cropped and coloured by RYC. From WIkimedia Commons.

Stephanus hoped against all reason that the ancient gnosis would come floating back to him somehow, now that the savages had sacked Rome and the City of God was nowhere to be seen. He hoped that a magic quintessence of dust would reveal itself through the ether.

But nothing happened. Stephanus just sat there, mesmerized by the golden circles that hovered momentarily as the sun fell beneath the chaos of the city. The cave of his study was plunged into darkness. 

 ❧

Or perhaps Martine’s intuition had something to do with DNA. Was it possible that strands could communicate with each other? If so, then wouldn’t they communicate most with strands that were most like them? Genetically, Martine and her mother were as close as could be. They even emitted the same signal: I am the Monarch of Drama Queens. 

Perhaps their uncanny link had something to do with the sub-structures of the brain. If so much can happen with ten million yes and no switches in an iphone processor named Cortex-A8, what might happen with a hundred trillion synapses? Who knows what nonotechnological things might be happening in the minute depths and intricate loops of neaurons in the brain? Perhaps subatomic structures or forces acted on our DNA and neurons even though we had no way of measuring this. Perhaps even smaller structures — forms of force or gravity that we can’t yet measure — were acting on these unseen forces. What frequencies might our brain waves be capable of transmitting or receiving? 

But did he really believe this? What did monads or god-strings have to do with science? Leibniz had the luxury of dreaming up monads because 300 years ago there were no electron microscopes or spectrographs. Did Kenneth really believe that neutrons and DNA were being manipulated by some unseen subatomic force, or that our brains had evolved into wireless transceivers?

And yet there it was: a light blue kyanite ring that spat in the face of Science.

 ❧

In his study, Stephanus looked over to the mouth of the Ouroboros. Above the lintel he saw a figure emerge from the white wall. It was an angel, playing a Medieval instrument of rare device. Perhaps it was some sort of hand organ or dulcimer.

Angel with musical instrument (Château de Vincennes)

Angel with musical instrument (Château de Vincennes)