Resonance: a Bridge between the Spiritual and Physical

In his opening remarks for the 7th annual MysTech conference held in August 2023, founder Andrew Linnell described the American organization’s mission: to facilitate the emergence of technologies that will serve human evolution. The theme of the conference—“resonance as a bridge between the spiritual and the physical”—manifested itself in the incredible synergy shared between the speakers over the four-day event.

Gopi Krishna Vijaya kicked things off fittingly with his talk “Atomism and Homeopathy” by offering a reinterpretation of modern physics that includes the etheric dimension of reality.1 Contemporary scientists dismiss homeopathy as pseudoscience due to the extreme dilutions that exceed what’s known as the Avogadro number—the minimal measurement standard for substances. This deviation leads to the belief that homeopathy’s efficacy is no more than a placebo effect. Vijaya proposed that we instead view the Avogadro number as a nano-rhythm that permeates the physical world, the recognition of which allows us to consciously perceive interconnections. Vijaya then connected the Avogadro number to our daily experiences by comparing the number of breaths a person takes in a day (a microcosmic cycle) with the macrocosmic “breath” cycle of the equinoxes around the ecliptic, known as the Platonic Year or day of Brahma. This comparison yields a difference of 10^7—about the same difference as the speed of light compared to our everyday perception of speed. Vijaya then cubed that number, resulting in a value close to the Avogadro number. He made the compelling suggestion that the Avogadro number symbolizes a condensed rhythm of the stars in our experience of physical substance.

In Vijaya’s expanded perspective, homeopathic dilution becomes a method for releasing a substance from different levels of earthly condensation, releasing its archetypal dynamism into the creative activity of the ethers. Vijaya acknowledged that his calculations are not exact, but approximate, resembling the improvisational yet structured patterns of organisms rather than the rigid nature of crystalline forms. This accords with Steiner’s statements about the lively and ultimately discommensurate movements of our solar system; if they were commensurate, commonly measurable, and subject to precise calculation, said Steiner, the solar system would “be brought to a stand-still”—it would die.2

Vijaya’s description of the physical relationship between microcosm and macrocosm as the most basic form of resonance established an excellent basis for subsequent speakers to speculate about etheric technologies of the future. Monique Pommier’s talk brought the concept of resonance to a further point of conceptual clarity with a metaphysical characterization that issues directly from the phenomena themselves. Drawing from her masterful work Harmony, the Heartbeat of Creation3 as well as her study of Ibrahim Karim’s “Biogeometry,”4 she gave a precise definition of resonance: “a phenomena of sympathetic oscillation that results in information exchange.” For example, if a single tuning fork is struck, nearby tuning forks of the same frequency will begin to vibrate—resonate—in unison. Resonance also occurs with tuning forks that are either half or double (self-similar with) the original wavelength, a fact which structures the phenomenon of the octave. She went on to encompass all earthly and cosmic relations in terms of the musical octave: “Every note resonates with its octaves across all scales of magnitude, so that we have in the phenomenon of the octave a natural pathway of communication and exchange between the lowest and highest range of tones and frequencies, way before and beyond the auditory range.” “And because every form in the cosmos is the manifestation of a tone,” she continued, there must be “resonance between the smallest and the largest form in the cosmos—between microcosm and macrocosm—and between their internal components.”

Digital image by Milad Fakurian

Pommier began her talk by tracing the morphological reversal seen in the historical shift from ancient astronomically-aligned temples resonating with life-giving powers of supernature, to modern structures like cell towers which resonate with the subnatural, inadvertently promoting death. Rather than bemoan this reversal, she embraced these new technologies of death as a manifestation of collective will, self-similar with Earth’s decline, and instead looked for counterbalances. The problem is not our harnessing of subnatural forces but the disharmony sowed by our one-sidedness, our forgetfulness of supernature, and unconscious materialism. We need the medicine of balance—of harmony. Importantly, resonance is always observed as a feature—the “back and forth harmonic interplay”—of tone.

And tone, said Pommier, echoing Steiner, “lies at the foundation of everything in the physical world.”5 Tone is identical to the concept of consonance, which, drawing on Johannes Kepler, Pommier said is epitomized in the threefold musical interval of the fifth (e.g., C to G)—a harmony that manifests throughout the rhythms and geometries of Nature as the Golden Mean or Phi, identified by many since antiquity with the cosmic Logos (λόγος). “Tone,” she continued, “integrates into one threefold unit the polarities of fundamental and octave, of center and periphery, which points to the universal polarities of spirit-source and periphery-matter. It is only because the three consonate together into one tone that they can vessel the oneness of being—the indivisibility of Life—into the diversity of forms.” Tone is thus both the literal and metaphorical bridge—the toroidal integration of centrifugal and centripetal movement—for all potential efforts to harmonize or counterbalance the forces of death with the etheric activity of supernature. In the future, Steiner said, “we shall experience the tone as an opening made by the gods from the spiritual world yonder to this physical-material world, and we shall climb through the tone out of the physical-material world into the spiritual world.”6

Digital image by Milad Fakurian

What was more or less implicit in Vijaya and Pommier’s talks became more explicit in Doug Smith’s. Life, he insisted with Steiner, is metaphysically fundamental—“the first characteristic of the manifestation of the Word [Logos] as it reverberates throughout the cosmos.” As a molecular geneticist, Smith was able to draw important parallels between Steiner’s esoteric portrayal of Earth’s evolution and the hypotheses of contemporary scientists, filling in gaps left open by the latter’s exclusive focus on the physical dimension of reality. For example, scientists are typically surprised to discover how quickly basic cellular organization emerged on the primeval Earth: as soon as temperatures allowed water to condense on the surface, biological life took off. Following Steiner, Smith surmised that this rapid pace can be attributed to the intentional formative activity of higher beings working their archetypal images into the cosmos from beyond space, organizing evolution at the molecular level for the eventual emergence of physical human beings.

“The stars once spoke” verse, a verse which distills so much of anthroposophy’s evolutionary cosmology, naturally came up multiple times throughout the conference. During the Q&A on day three, Ralf Tita from the International School of Cymatics referenced Steiner’s view that the archetypal images weaving the world of the senses had been brought from heaven to Earth as a result of the Incarnation and await rediscovery and creative redeployment through the Goethean method. Andrew Linnell then drew a connection to the following lines of the verse: “In the deepening silence / There grows and ripens / What human beings speak to the stars.” Might our rediscovery and harnessing of these dynamic images constitute, in part, “what human beings speak to the stars”?

Cymatics, an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the study of wave-phenomena—especially the capacity of tone to produce coherent geometrical structures or “cymaglyphs”—was well represented at the conference by faculty from the International School of Cymatics. Officially founded in the mid-20th century by the anthroposophical physician Hans Jenny, cymatics is a discipline that promises to connect phenomena as disparate as embryogenesis and the movements of the solar system, much like what Steiner was calling for in a lecture cycle recently published under the title Interdisciplinary Astronomy.7 Cymatics, said the publisher and poet Jeff Volk in his talk on the history of the discipline, “makes the invisible visible.”

Digital image by mymind

As I re-listened to the conference recordings throughout the process of writing this article, the world around me—plants in particular—radiated more vividly than before with hidden powers, prompting me to recall Volk’s stirring insight: “Once one’s eye is open to the cymatic phenomenon, you see it everywhere.” Indeed. The achievement of what Steiner referred to as “mechanical occultism” will undoubtedly depend on deepening our conscious participation in the etheric activity that cymatic experiments mimic.

The Lautsänger headphone, designed by the artist and founder of the Lautsänger company Atmani,8 is one example of a technology designed with (etheric) insights yielded by cymatic research. By integrating centripetal (implosive) movement in the otherwise exclusively centrifugal (explosive) emission of normal audio devices, Lautsänger has produced a listening experience that approaches the toroidal wholeness of natural tone, with actual health benefits. Perhaps, as Doug Smith suggested, another form of mechanical occultism could be attained through the engineering of light-responsive molecular-motors tuned to the oscillations of our own etheric bodies. However we get there, it will be important to remember, as Michael Howard reminded us, that techne (τέχνη) for the Greeks encompassed any art, skill, or craft that involved practical knowledge and expertise, including theater—in contrast with the machinic connotation that the word “technology” typically evokes for us today. Indeed, as Lautsänger CEO Harold Hobelsberger implied, a reintegration of form and function—art, science, and technology—along the lines of techne will be required—for example, through artistic exercises like drawing cymatic processes (not their end products)—if we are to awaken the organs of perception that mechanical occultism corresponds to. The Greek word for “tool” was órganon (ὄργανον) after all; our devices are always extensions of some aspect of ourselves or the spiritual realities we are conduits for.

Digital image by Simon Lee

Whether we are observing the beings of Nature, attempting to penetrate the metamorphosis depicted in the planetary seals and capital motifs of the original Goetheanum, or contemplating the spiritual significance of the latter’s stained glass windows, what is crucial in each case is the artistic capacity to lovingly empty ourselves so that the being of the other can enter. This point was especially emphasized by Christoph Broens in his insistence that the healing art of Anthropofonetiks becomes effective only to the extent that the singer is genuinely (lovingly) connected with the spiritual beings which emanate vowels, consonants, and tones. Aré Thoresen made an equivalent claim with respect to the elemental kingdom, underscoring the importance of penetrating through oscillations to connect personally with the elemental beings which he believes give rise to them; only then, says Thoresen, will mechanical occultism be possible.

In his potent review of Steiner’s statements about technology and the future of Earth’s evolution, Linnell cited the former’s startling prediction that “in the far distant future, man is to reach the point of projecting his rhythms out into the world again out of the strength of his own inner development.”9 Though startling, such possibilities are no longer inconceivable, given that we occupy a moment in Earth’s history which scholars of all disciplines have been referring to as the “Anthropocene,” the epoch that dawned once humanity became a geophysical force. In light of anthropogenic climate change, is it not conceivable that we might one day become a galactic force? Projecting our rhythms into the cosmos might sound like hubris, but if there is any possibility that the destructive consequences of our emancipation from cosmic rhythms extend beyond the Earth, perhaps these projections might constitute an extension of the same kind of healing and harmonizing work undertaken in biodynamic agriculture—just at a much larger scale.

To achieve this would be, in some sense, to actualize ourselves as microcosm, but, as Owen Barfield acknowledges in a short essay called “Listening to Steiner,” this is a huge burden of responsibility: “not only for man, the microcosm, to believe this but to realize himself as such, implies a greatness of spirit, a capacity of mind and heart, which we can only think of as superhuman rather than merely human.”10 If they are even possible to invent, the technologies that MysTech seeks to midwife will no doubt rely for their manifestation upon the inspiration of individual human beings striving along this and similar paths. It’s like science fiction, but better—a compelling myth to live by, one that we can each participate in. We can never, even as scientific materialists, be without a mythos—a narrative horizon for making sense of the world. And some stories are truer to the fullness of our experience than others. Can you remember who and what you are, microcosm?

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Title Image by Milad Fakurian

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  1. Vijaya’s talk was an adaptation of an essay “Avogadro’s Number: Is the World Granular?”.
  2. From Rudolf Steiner, Lecture VIII in GA 323: the “Interdisciplinary Astronomy” lecture series.
  3. Monique Pommier, Harmony, the Heartbeat of Creation: The Convergence of Ancient Wisdom and Quantum Physics in the Triune Pulse of Nature’s Forms, ‎Lindisfarne Books 2020.
  4. BioGeometry.
  5. From Rudolf Steiner, Lecture I in GA 283: “The Essence of Music and the Experience of Tone” lecture series.
  6. From Rudolf Steiner, Lecture V in GA 275; the “Art As Seen in the Light of Mystery Wisdom” lecture series.
  7. Rudolf Steiner, Interdisciplinary Astronomy: Third Scientific Course (CW 323), SteinerBooks 2020.
  8. Lautsänger.
  9. From Rudolf Steiner, Lecture IV in GA 107: “The Being of Man and His Future Evolution” lecture series.
  10. Listening to Steiner (1984) review in Parabola 9.4, 1985, pp. 94–100.

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