Sunday, January 29, 2006

What color and shape is Kiki!?

Noam Chomsky believes there is a universal grammar. That is, the way humans learn and create language is innate to all humans. In others words, humans open the door to language with a similar key.

I would agree that there is a sort of common construct over which most aesthetic languages are built.

But that’s not all. A warm-up exercise with Michael Shank before one of his seminars I attended made me wonder how music came into being? In the exercise, the 70 or so participants picked up ambient sounds and everyone copied the sound – and added each new sound to a sequence. Everyone created the sound routine in a chorus. In a few minutes, we had created rhythmic music!

That exercise made me wonder about the first music, and how and where Man picked up music from? Bird songs, running streams, falling rocks and the sounds of the earth and sky must have been the earliest sources of inspirations and the earliest clips of music.

And if that early music was picked up from the environment and the ambience, is there still more music out there? Is there a universal music? And do all people enjoy it in more or less the same way? Perhaps – because most birds have universal musical significance for people of all cultures, which may hint at a universal music.

If there is a universal grammar, and a universal music, there may be a strong case for the presence of a universal aesthetic – which must in fact be the root of the universal grammar and the universal music. Dennis Dutton believes in a universal aesthetic sense. In these times of heightening spiritual and aesthetic awareness, this is certain to generate more interest. Especially as the drive to understand life in a holistic way becomes stronger in humans, a search for a universal aesthetic will become a common sport, not just an intellectual’s odyssey.

Persons who are familiar with the concept of synaesthesia will appreciate more readily the belief that there may indeed be a universal code of beauty. Which is innate to all humans. And other beings included in the web of existence.

As an aside, I just took the shape/sound test available on the Wikipedia page on Synaesthesia. It turned out that I was in league with the 95% - 98% of the persons who associate a certain sound with a certain shape. Take the test for yourself. Hint: go with your first gut response. You may be surprised.


  1. micheal shank... does he have anything to do with the barefoot theatre?

    is he umm tall? like 6 foot-ish?

  2. Aye, that's the dude.
    Oh, the crush! :)

    Ahem. Anyway. The dance warm-up was way cool. In School of Leadership's Young Leaders' Conference, 2005.

    I keep young kiddie cousins amused with it.

  3. haven't met him personally...
    ... but a friend who was forming a peace group some umm 2 or 3 years back mentioned meeting him/calling him on peace conferences :) heard so much about him... :)

    school of leadership...
    planned to attend their thingie's never could...