virus: Re: Sympathetic vibration

Reed Konsler (
Thu, 10 Jul 1997 12:24:09 -0400 (EDT)

Ken McE comments:

[this is a personal communication, I hope Ken doesn't mind me quoting him]

> Sympathetic vibration is a reasonably well known and understood
>phenomena. It may may considered a part of physics, specifically
>acoustics. For an object to vibrate sympathetically means that it has
>begun to move or vibrate in harmony with some other object that is
>emitting acoustic energy.
> Automobile designers go to great lengths to avoid having one part of
>the care flex or vibrate at the resonant frequency of another part. If
>they mess up you can get odd, permanent, sounds or vibrations that seem
>to have no apparent cause.
> I don't know offhand which frequencies monks, violins, innocent
>bystanders, or Fiats vibrate at. I do know that they may be able to
>vibrate one another, and you don't particularly need to drag in the
>supernatural to explain it.

I absolutely agree. Maybe I should make that clearer? My arguement was
with the statement that the human body is a "better" insturment than a violin
for setting up such vibrations. I think your auto-design example is an
one...the point being that often resonances are set up between objects with very
different structures but with similar "harmonic characteristics".

This isn't anything different than saying that diverse objects might have
chemical characteristics and thus react with a certian chemical identically or
that as a result they all might, for instance, look red.

What a was taking issue with was the implict assumption that things that look
alike have similar characteriatics or "essences" which, as I said before, is the
crux of the concept of "sympathetic magic".

That isn't a perjorative remark. In a sense, everything we do, is a kind of
sympathetic magic. But your spell has got to jive with the intersubective
symphony of science if you want to shift it's magic out of the parts of
meme-space we hold on faith and towards those areas that are well supported.

If you don't want that, that's cool, too.
But then don't whine about how the arts get funded.

In other words:
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.
I don't believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world are the people who get up
and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't
find them, make them.

George Bernard Shaw


Reed Konsler