You Have Only to Sing

The idea that there is fundamental order in the physical world, that when we get to the bottom of things reality will be found to be constructed in a manner that excludes mere randomness, took on new life for Emerson from the work of Ernst Chladni. “Chladni’s experiments seemed to me central,” wrote Emerson. “He strewed sand on glass, and then struck the glass with tuneful accords, and the sand assumed symmetrical figures. With discords, the sand was thrown about amorphously. It seems then, that Orpheus is no fable. You have only to sing, and the rocks will crystallize.”

– from Emerson: The Mind on Fire by Robert D. Richardson Jr.

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