Category Archives: other

All posts that do not belong in the categories of buddhism or philosophy goes in here. Please check tags for more details about what the post is about.

Sacred dance, festival

In the background, others prepare while she performs. The drummer can be seen in the back left.

Back to basics with music – buy a “stereo” stereo

I believe we have forgotten the fundamentals of music.

Sound is three-dimensional, and embodied. We have not one but two ears for a reason. Sure, stereo headphones will produce stereo but not three-dimensional sound. The stereophonic sound remains the same even if you move your head to face any direction. Not so with live performances or speakers spaced apart.

While it can be argued that an all-in-one unit player/speaker is located in a space it does not produce stereophonic sound very well. Firstly, the speakers are too close together. Whatever stereo sound you have it may as well be a single speaker. Secondly, today’s digital streaming music is less detailed and dynamic than the original recordings. The combination of these make for a flat and unenjoyable music experience.

It is a mistake to think playing music loud will make it more dynamic or detailed. If the data is missing detail (and therefore dynamic) no matter how good your equipment is, it will output only what it is input into it.

This means there are at least four factors which will determine how good the music will sound. These are 1) the recording equipment; 2) the amount of data preserved; 3) the processing unit or amp; and 4) the speakers.

I have a recording of Rachmaninoff playing his own Piano Concerto No. 2 but because it was recorded in the early 20th century the amount of detail is low. Similarly, the standard digitally streamed music is of a lower sample rate as well as bitrate. Both of these impact on what can be reproduced. Today while I have a decent stereo in the form of the Kenwood K-515 it still produces, in the eyes of an audiophile, well under the kind of sound that can be considered optimal or perfect. But then again, I am not spending thousands but hundreds of dollars here. For the price I paid that is good enough for me.

Buying a DSD recording of Norah Jones’s Don’t Know Why and playing that on the stereo made it so wonderful that I must say that it was value for money.

white paper from the start

a blank slate
or white paper –
our minds are
from the start
like this.

a mind
without sense-experience
will continue to be
a blank slate.
no perception,
conception, or signification
is possible
unless
we have
the initial
sense-experience.

Life is not without meaning

Life is without inherent meaning, but is not without meaning. It is not meaningless, as in a waste of time or without value. Rather, we make meaning as individuals and as collectives.

Out to lunch

There was a knock.

It was Gabriel. He doesn’t usually come at this time, thought God.

“What is it?”

“The English are asking for Your help.”

It was the French yesterday. Today, the English. They are at war with each other. What a dilemma, He thought.

“Which side do you think I should take, Gabriel?”

“Well, You always take the right side, do You not? I’m sure whichever choice You make You’ll be fine. Besides, You always win.”

Gabriel had a point. He was God after all.

“Very well. Give them my blessing.”

“Which side, Sir?”

“Whichever you feel like Gabriel. I will win either way. No?”

Gabriel rolled his eyes, turned around, walked out and closed the beautifully decorated awe-inspiring Door behind him.

God was glad the telephone hotline had been removed in His room. Peace and quiet, especially on Sundays. But He paused for a moment. Why it is a phone anyway? There were no phones in the days of this war. He decided not to think about this contradiction. It was safer. The thought might drive Him crazy, He thought.

The Door abruptly open and Gabriel rushed back into the room with a look of satisfaction. [So soon! Time had never meant much to Him.]

“We won!” he said.

“Well, that was to be expected. I have never lost, have I?”

Gabriel shook his head in half disappointment.

“Congratulate them for Me.”

Gabriel did as he was told. On his way back he ran into those Chosen People. They needed God’s help. So he went back to tell God. But He wasn’t in. A sign hung on the doorknob. “Out to lunch,” it read.

Gabriel waited and waited, but God never came back.

Brown

“There is a book on the table. The book is brown. I will accept the book exists. But does the colour brown exist?”

Brown is a wavelength. White light bounces off the book. The characteristics of the book absorb certain wavelengths. What is not absorbed is reflected. Let us call this isolated, reflected wavelength (low-intensity light at 600 nanometres) which reaches our eyes “brown”. The eyes, which are receptive to wavelengths, transmits that information from the retina down the nerves to the brain where it is equated to “brown”.

You see the book. I see the same book. The colour which is reflected corresponds to “brown” in your vocabulary and my vocabulary. But whether we see the same colour in the same manner does not matter. As long as we are talking about the same “thing” is all that is important.

In this sense, we have isolated the property “brown” to be the wavelength and given it this agreed-upon name. The wavelength exists as light, as energy. I would say “yes”, it physically exists.