Sting's lute, the known universe, and Taoism
I saw Sting playing 16th Century lute songs on PBS recently. Between the songs, he described musical elements in the compositions of John Dowland, who he called the first British pop star.
He spoke about some of the pauses between the notes, and how much he liked the pauses between notes in music. He said that musical notes are really just a kind of framing around the silence.
I blogged earlier about what I learned in Astronomy 101 class. I couldn't conceive of the scale of increasing distances from our sun to the nearest star, from our Milky Way galaxy to the nearest galaxy, and from our local group of galaxies to the next closest gravitationally-bound cluster of galaxies that form another local group of galaxies. There are probably even larger groupings of clusters of galaxies.
But hearing that quote about music framing the silence, I realized that these ever enlarging gravitational groupings of matter are only observed and named as bounded objects because of the vast stretches of almost completely empty space between them. It's the amount of emptiness that forms the boundaries that let us know the extent of a galaxy, the even vaster emptiness surrounding our local group of galaxies, and the dark, cold, almost free of any atoms or particles numberless cubic miles that surround whatever they call the clumping of local groups of galaxies.
Lao Tsu according to tradition wrote the Tao Te Ching when his students or followers asked him to leave something in writing about his teachings. The canonical Western example of the inseparability of opposites yin and yang is the two sides of a coin -- you can't have one side without the other. I think it's the almost empty regions that frame the bits of dust and heat that we can observe and ponder.