Nearly everybody who practices meditation will have some unusual experience. For instance, they will know that something which is very unlikely is nevertheless about to happen. They have some such experience of predictive power but they also find it passes. The basis of the universe and our experience is not something which is absolutely fixed. It is consciousness adapting itself to particular regulations. It has regularities, but those are regularities imposed by consciousness and the example given is that the things of the world are like notes of music. The musicians play the notes on the score in front of them. You know what they are going to play, you can predict it, but that does not mean the musician is just a machine.
When you get a tape of a concert by say, The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Karajan, his name is there but however carefully you listen you will never hear Karajan. He doesn’t strike a note. Well, what is he there for? Many people who are not musicians do not know why. The players have got the score, they’ve got the tempo marks, why don’t they just play?
If you have ever played in an orchestra, especially when you were very young, you will understand. Your score has a rest of about eighteen bars until you next come in; you are counting the bars: one, two, three, four… and then you notice that the music is slipping on the stand. You put it right but you forget whether you are at bar five or four and you think six, seven, should I be at eight… You try to get a clue from the sound but cannot. Will I come in too soon? Others are following me; suppose I come in too late!
You will start sweating. You look desperately at the conductor but he seems unconcerned, his beat never wavers. He is looking into the air. Suddenly the conductor turns and looks directly at you for a bar, then his baton points at you and brings you in. Then you know what the conductor is for. You also know that without the conductor the performance would soon be a shambles. Somebody would make a wrong entry then another would follow but others would follow the original score.
And it has happened. Conductors have lost control over an orchestra and it was a shambles. Debussy was a very poor conductor and when he came over to London in 1912 to conduct one of his suites, he did precisely that. The piece called Fête has many quick changes and Debussy failed to give some of the essential cues and part of the orchestra finished before the other part. The audience sat in stunned silence thinking that this, incredibly, was the new music that they’d heard about. Then Sir Henry Wood, he was plain Henry Wood in those days, stood up with great courage and cried, ‘Encore, encore.’ Then the orchestra took it up, followed by the audience, ‘Encore, encore.’ They played it again, this time Debussy giving the right cues and there was wild applause. That’s what conductors are for.
Now the world has a conductor and without that it would degenerate into chaos. Even our modern physics tells us that. If you read a modern text book about the conceptual basis of Quantum Mechanics it will tell you that irregularities of the world cannot be explained. We do not know how the underlying chaos, as it is now known to be, is brought into the relative order which we see. It will say that possibly consciousness has to be evoked. And Penrose in his book “The Emperor’s New Mind” calls it the unknown physics that brings the underlying chaos into order. Miracles we think can’t happen, but they do happen. We have little experiences in our ordinary life. Why don’t they happen more often? If we consider, we find that miracles have a paralysing effect. The Jewish defenders of Jerusalem when it was attacked by the Romans actually fought each other. One of the things they fought about was whether it was right to fight on the Sabbath day. It is incredible, but they thought that God will never let Jerusalem fall. He’s got to preserve his holy city, he’s got to….. John of Gischala, who led the breakaway part who was fighting the defenders when he was captured, was taken in chains and paraded as a Roman triumph.
© 1998 Trevor Leggett