"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Non Entropic Time Reversal: the Case of Mozart and Beethoven

This evening, as I was pondering the commentators on the Presidential debates, I accidentally changed the channel to tune into final movement of Mozart's 40th symphony. I have heard this performed many times, but somehow being taken by surprise and unaware like this, I had a startling "aha" moment.

This connected for me two otherwise seemingly incongruous lines of thought. One was that Beethoven's later deployment of thematic material has a remarkable eeriness when performed and conducted wisely that abruptly brings the the listener to a point of closure and then commences immediately through recapitulation to seemingly reverse time.

This is what I heard quite distinctly and though I was not really concentrating fully on it. An idea rather snuck up one me, almost surreptitiously as though out of the corner of my eye, so to speak, to pair a frankly silly "thought experiment" that modern physics proposes about time reversal and entropy with classical music.

Two things come to mind about this train of thought: one is about the universality of what is sometimes designated as the preconscious. For imagine for a moment, if you will that both Mozart and Beethoven were great lovers of the principle of the American Revolution as a beacon and foreshadowing of a most happy potential for the future of humanity.

The idea that the phase space of an inorganic physical process could reverse the "arrow of time" is tediously wacko. It brings to mind all the mental images of the hapless nerd forever ensconced isolated from reality in their own nerdlike "virtual" fantasy world. Very much like the idea that we have now somehow "emerged" into a utopian information age, where we needn't concern ourselves with the rot, which evermore surrounds  and engulfs us... Unless, we have nightmarish qualms that either artificial intelligence will turn on us or worse... aliens will do us in.

However, putting aside such craziness, the real issue of the relativity of time as Einstein approached it is germane to my theme here. For the riddle of the role of quantum mechanics' observer who changes the probability wave function through some magical sort of consciousness. That riddle's solution is just this: time itself is in the perceptual domain only of human intelligence. Thus while we can observe that effects of circadian diurnal rhythm throughout animal life at the cellular level, only we may observe this. 

So returning to the great classical composers, in the line from Bach to Brahms. Their thinking was embrued by a Leibnizian optimistic outlook of the beautiful human potential that we live in the best of all possible worlds. It is only from that highest standpoint that we overcome the revulsion for the current status of American politics.

Time reversal is indeed a singular reality in the realm of human governance. Take Plato's supposition in The Republic that as we age the wisest among us turn to issues of how we may best lay that groundwork for the mode of society's principles of continuing well being. Hence it is entirely lawful that the quality in the compositions of Mozart and Beethoven, et al. of "turning on a dime" to recapitulate on an ever higher plain of development is the secret to time reversal.



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