Ming the Mechanic:
Cymatics and group formation

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Cymatics and group formation2007-03-21 14:20
picture by Flemming Funch

Cymatics is the study of wave phenomena. More specifically, the word is used to describe the production of physical patterns by making sound waves interact with a medium. You put some sand or powder on a surface, and make the surface vibrate with a certain frequency and wave form, and the material organizes itself into interesting patterns, like mandalas. Swiss scientist Hans Jenny studied that a lot, and coined the word cymatics for it.

See youtube videos here, here, here or here. Some of them create stationary patterns, others, like #3, create a continuous flow.

Now Max Sandor suggests that this would somehow apply to the study of how groups form and how they behave, and I think I agree.
A group behaviour follows the same pattern as an acoustic resonance on loose particles (cymatics).

1. Formative stages:
formation of a new group out of individual cells that splits in various smaller groups before being 'eaten' by a central organization, except for a renegade colony.

2. It can be shown that even without a modulation (change) of frequency of the group energy, there is a dynamic flux of group members in and out the group and a cross-fertilization (often destructive) of competing sub-groups which were formed from a central group, in turn formed out of a chaos.
But, now, those patterns are completely different depending on what the frequency is, and what the wave form is. Some produce nothing useful, and some produce amazingly intricate and beautiful patterns. Likewise, if you put a bunch of people together, sometimes nothing useful happens, and sometimes amazing synergies emerge. Understanding the keys would be very useful.

What would be the equivalent of the sound wave for a group of people? I'm not sure. Obviously a group has a certain vibe, particularly a well functioning group. There's some kind of resonance thing going on. A good group will continue in a stable pattern, even when members leave and new ones arrive. Some groups would keep being the same group even if you replaced all the members. So, something is holding it together, and it isn't unreasonable to describe that as a wave of some kind. Except for that we can't hear it, so we seem to have no good way of knowing what kind of frequency or wave form, and how it really is created and sustained.

But one could maybe reverse-engineer it a bit. Look at well-functioning groups, and try to establish what the pattern is. What kind of regions of activity do we see, and what is connecting them? Is there a central element, or a certain symmetry? Are the elements staying put, or cycling around in a certain way? And then maybe drawing some conclusions about what kind of vibe must be at work for that to happen.

If it were well understood, it might well be found that it is relatively small things that change the vibe. If you perform a symphony, and somebody drops a stack of plates in one of the quiet parts, that sort of colors the whole thing. But if you did it in one of the louder crescendo parts, it wouldn't make much difference. Or, you might have heard of the "broken window syndrome". If there's neighborhood with just one broken window in one building, or one abandoned car, or something like that, the whole area is likely to end up as a run down, "bad" neighborhood. Because, somehow, people sub-consciously pick up the vibe, "Oh, this is the kind of place this is", and act accordingly, and it is contageous. In some French metro stations they play classical music over the speakers, and they spread a light perfumed scent everywhere. Because they've found that it drastically reduces crime and littering. Doesn't take much.

In looking around for stuff on Hans Jenny, I also ran into this little article, from an Occult Design blog. See, this kind of thing with waves and patterns would be quite a magical thing if one masters it to any extent. Arranging things so that desirable things happen. A sort of feng shui. Move the receptionists desk 3 feet forward, and maybe a different resonance is formed. Would be worthwhile to know.

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21 Mar 2007 @ 14:46 by jmarc : groups form
because of shared ideals. Information sources(waves) would effect those groups in a like manner regardless of who the individuals are, and the tone of those information sources could be classified as a spectrum between absolutist or rabid frequencies and, oh, I don't know, some more relativistic viewpoint, I guess. Just a thought. Not sure if I just repeated what you said, or said something new...  

21 Mar 2007 @ 14:58 by ming : Ingredients
Yes, so shared ideals would be part of it. Sometimes they're explicit, sometimes they're not. And information. I suppose, information about what one is trying to do, and how to do it, and the existing environment. Doesn't even have to be correct information, but obviously the group would share some kind of knowledge. And maybe the group has some kind of rules, written or not. And then there's the look, the look of the group's symbols, it's meeting place (building, web site). And the tone with which one communicates, although that's maybe more the result than one of the ingredients.  

21 Mar 2007 @ 15:28 by jmarc : well
I meant more the tone of the info going in. Same info just different ways of it being expressed and so being recieved, resulting in different patterns. Anyway, I can't begin to understand the full breadth of M. Sandors work, it seems a bit above my intellect, so, I'll just sit back and watch the discussion,.  

21 Mar 2007 @ 22:46 by GeZi @ : what a surprise ...
... when I saw the image at the top of the post!
Because I have seen these kind of cymatic images for two years now - that is how long it took to translate the book "Wasser Klang Bilder" - now "Water Sound Images." Translating this book was a fascinating trip into the world of Cymatics starting with Chladni who started creating these sound figures with sand on a glass plate that he resonated with a violin bow to Jenny and then to Lauterwasser, who did many of his experiments with resonating water, and who is the author of the book I translated.
I will definitely have to forward this to Jeff Volk, who knows everything about cymatics ;-) - publishes the Jenny and Lauterwasser books and is the man behind the first hit on Google for Cymatics.

I just wonder if Max's experiments with soup will find their way into the hall of fame...  

22 Mar 2007 @ 00:03 by ming : Water sound images
Cool. Now, I guess there must also be some connection to that Japanese guy who takes photos of water molecules, that look different depending on, like, if one has just said a prayer, or yelled at each other. ...ah, Masaru Emoto: Messages from Water.  

22 Mar 2007 @ 22:25 by Lionel @ : Gestalt

Reminds me of Kurt Lewin's works (group dynamics), especially related to Gestalt theory.  

23 Mar 2007 @ 00:44 by Bruce Kodish @ : E8 Wave
The E8 graphic could be interpreted as a wave pattern...the two graphics you showed have some similarity of appearance...Not surprising, is it? We live in a universe of rhythm...Feel the beat?  

23 Mar 2007 @ 00:53 by Bruce Kodish @ : Sounded and Astounded
Tibetan Healing Bowls...I think they're from Tibet ... anyway... they are tuned to resonate at certain pitches...a friend of mine (around 87 years old) had a pain in his belly that wouldn't go away...a "healer" felt some spot there that was different...the M.D.'s couldn't find anything...My friend decided to work with the bowls and put one bowl on his belly and ran the wand around the rim to get the tone...he worked for a bit then felt some kind of "pop" inside and the pain in his belly was gone...

He showed me one of the bowls, put it on my belly and started to tone it...I felt an incredible warmth through my whole chest...which astounded me.  

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Cymatics sound healing equipment.  

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Other stories in
2014-11-07 23:12: Welcome to the 5th dimension
2011-11-07 17:22: Notice the incidental
2010-07-14 13:35: Consciousness of Pattern
2010-06-28 00:03: Pump up the synchronicity
2009-10-29 14:03: Convergent or Divergent
2007-08-05 23:45: Perverse incentives
2007-06-22 22:18: Elementary magic
2007-03-15 01:06: Structural holes
2007-02-27 23:50: Leverage
2007-02-24 14:13: Wikipatterns

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