Symphony of the dissonant dots

Japanophile v.3 (M Domondon via Flickr)

Orchestras have always put me to sleep and it’s not because they bore me.

I focus on the violins then perhaps my friend on the bassoon. Then I might sit back and try and experience the entire orchestra as a whole.

The lights are down and everyone is quiet. I switch between appreciating the individual and the whole. It gets me sleepy.

A sleep born of harmony. My skin goes tingly as I exhale all the tension out. It’s the kind of rest that begets more rest. It’s the first part of a beach holiday that makes you confusingly more tired. It’s winding down and tuning in.

My master always talks about “circle” and “dot” thinking. In my analogy the violinist or bassoonist is the dot and the orchestra is the circle.

I’m very “dot”. I do things. I pick up skills and knowledge. I mostly show up on time to work. I set a budget. I tie a shoelace. I make a decent coffee. I go to gym. I can pick the intro to Nothing Else Matters on guitar. I do many “dot things”. I spend most of my life “in the dot”.

A shipping container is one plain dot in an intricate global logistics network (the “circle”) that enables our modern life. Because of it I can drink Italian coffee, listen to music on my iPhone and turn on a fan on a hot night.

A cheap-arse Broadcom network adapter is one part of a large global Internet that enables me to see photos of my brother at a movie premiere in New York, to write this blog, and to enjoy pornography!

When “dots” are in harmony with the “circle”, amazing things happen: Pyramids. Revolutions. Civilizations. Ecosystems. Solar Systems.

Consider a big “circle”. The country. The planet. The universe perhaps. If you ignore  24-hour news hysteria and your own drunken-monkey mind you’ll notice “things” generally work out. Nature pulls towards something like harmony.

The orchestra is made up of 100 or so instruments. Imagine that one player starts playing out of tune. Would you notice the 99 other instruments playing sweet music or the one playing out of tune?

It’s easy to focus on the annoying guy at work, having to wait 20 minutes for a tram,  overwhelm at work or the struggle for money.

So many things command our attention. It’s like the world is filling up with dots. But no matter how many dots you have it never comes close to filling the circle.

And the circle is indifferent to these dissonant dots. It calls its own tune.

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