‘Quantum Spin’ (Track 8): When much, much younger – when at university, in fact, and trying to make sense of subjects utterly unrelated to physics – I read just a book or two (or, perhaps, sections of a book or two) on quantum theory. While, it seemed, biological determinism of the most deprived kind can lead to limited/limiting world view (‘lumbering robots’), quantum theory returns us to a mysterious, yet to be fathomed, universe, where small things have possibly indeterminable lives of their own.
‘Spin’ is a concept within quantum theory: part of the understanding that physicists were gleaning during the first quarter (or so) of the 20th Century. Certain particles, it as suggested, (mathematically, within theoretical physics) ‘spin’, though ‘spin’ is an analogous concept, referring not to actual spin but to certain (predictable) angular momentums around the atom’s nucleaus.
All this led to Wolfgang Pauli, an Austrian physicist, who was the author of the ‘Pauli exclusion principle’, regarding ‘spin’ (where certain electrons – fermions – could not share the same quantum space with the same electron). What was interesting about Paul, also, was his correspondence with Carl Jung. They exchanged many letters. Jung referred to Pauli’s dreams in some of his books and lectures. Pauli was intrigued by Jung’s conception of the notion of personal consciousness, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. There is much on the internet about all this (Google it. I have).
Pauli looked towards a link between the physical (for him, the quantum) and the psychological world. He seems to have shared Jung’s idea of ‘synchronicity’ (though he called it ‘meaningful-correspondence’: a link between the psychological state of a person’s mind and activities taking place in the world.
I don’t know what to make of all this, but, sometimes – especially in the world of music/creative discourse – an pen and curious state of mind is more exciting and productive than a closed one. (Interestingly, there was also a ‘Pauli effect’, whereby Pauli, even at a distance (!), seemed to interfere with or break equipment used by experimental physicists in their labs!).
More recently (within the last couple of years), I have been reading many of the books of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. How to understand Murakami in total is beyond me, but his writing is, I think, wonderfully freeing and highly compelling. We become entwined with the (magical realism) of the world he (often) presents. This passage was particularly interesting (from ‘Men Without Women’, a collection of short stories): ‘He picked up a metal pot and poured coffee into a white ceramic cup. The pungent fragrance recalled something to him. It didnot come directly, however; it arrived in stages. It was a strange feeling, as if he were recollecting the present from the future. As if time had somehow been split in two, so that memory and experience revolved within a closed cycle, each following the other. He poured a liberal amount of cream into his coffee, stirred it with his finger, and drank. Although the coffee had cooled, a slight warmth remained. He held it in his mouth before warily allowing it to trickle down his throat. He found that it calmed him to a degree’.
So…the song draws on all these things, in a very unpredictable way! When playing the song, I have always altered the lyrics, from performance to performance – and I don’t plan to sing one lyric or another when the song is started, as some sort of tribute to the ‘quantum act’.