Norman Allan
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Norman Allan : the story

footnotes to chapter 7


1: but then nor does meditation, yet I do that almost every day - because? because there's no other game in town worth playing. [Socrates' unexamined life and all]

2. how dependent I am on approval… that's basic, surely, an evolved strategy built in (a social "must", or best? How many other strategies are there: compel, ask, sneak. Asking is the approval, cooperation, Sesame Street mode.

3.For me "science" was the task of understanding the mind.

4. And as mentioned, at this time I had no great talent, though as a youth when I started filling up little notebooks and there were a few sketches and portraits that showed the begin of promise.(5)

5. David Cooper, an associate of R.D. Laing - ah this is an interesting aside. Whenever Ted found a therapist he estemed, he would invite me to have sessions with them. And David Cooper thought my little notebooks were extraordinary. "You should publish them," he said. Yeah, sure… easy peasy.

6. In my later teens I read W.B. Yeats' poem Leda. The lines, "There burning tower, the falling walls, and Agamenon dead…" rocked me. I had a vision, or more of a sense, of my father, Ted, as a swan, overwhelming, ravishing me (remember I was in therapy being raised as a Freudian). Some while later I assayed a painting (on an old real estate for sale sign - [they are much larger in the UK, where I was growing up then they are in North American] the swan was a boat - the boat was a swan. But I had also roughed out the composition (without the boat) on a piece of plywood, 14 by 14 inches - then many years later, in 1969 [so I'm 26], one night, on amphetamine (and toke) I painted Leda. One night.

7, of which only Leda remains with me, and a photo of the self-portrait from 1971 - at the beginning and end of this chapter.

8. 1992 through 1994

9. see "Spoons: Bear in the seventies, a decade of personal growth"

10: More about that later, but…

11. at the Toronto School of Art

12: short poses.

13: the card game

14: It's 2014, so that would be 2004

15: a bit like that "microfilm" in her thigh

16: I'll tell that story later, perhaps

17: and that's another aside: here in footnote, or later? later.

18: one even told me that it, "Lies…" , was the book that started them reading! [In my case it was Arthur Clarkes' "Childhood's End" that started me reading at 14. The analyst gave it to me, bless her]

19: 416 928 9272

20: A short primer in crystals: remember the old crystal sets in the early days of radio catching the airwaves? It was the Curie brothers (Marie Curie's husband and brother-in-law) who discovered that if you load a crystal, mechanically distort it, it gives an electrical response. They called this phenomenon "piezoelectricity". (The theory, as the Physicist explained it to me, is as follows: if you could bend the electron shells around an atom that distortion would create imbalances of the electrical fields, and these imbalances would manifest as electrical charge. But we can't bend an electron shell. It's too small. When we bend a crystal we do actually bend the whole crystal matrix of precisely positioned atoms, and indeed we distort their electron shells. Electricity is generated, and this is piezoelectricity.)
     Crystals react to, that is they absorb and translate, mechanical forces and electromagnetic fields and radiation. (We're going to be using the word "electromagnetic" a lot, so we'll abbreviate it to EM.)
     Mechanical forces manifest as movement (displacement of mass) and as acoustic behaviour (which is essentially movement, oscillatory, or vibratory movement. Physicists who study crystals, call the mechanical events they observe "phonon").
     Electromagnetic fields (EM fields) pertains to electrical charge, and to its shadow, magnetism.
     Electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation) pertains to photon emission: it is light, radio signals, X-ray, UV, and infrared radiation.
     Crystals are substances that show an essential rhythmicity, periodicity, repetition of pattern, and not surprisingly much of their behaviour is periodic and it is with crystals that we find "coherent" behaviour" (i.e. crystals are used in the production of coherent radiation in lasers

21: that's tiny, tiny, tiny.

22: piezoelectric: when it moves it generates electricity

23: 1989

24: how does the dowser sense water? How do schools of fish turn on a dime?

25: central nervous system

26: who I knew Barry from P.I.G.s. [The Pain Interest Group., which I had been attending for many years with Bruce Pomeranz]

27: Sakada: Physiology of Mechanical Senses of the Oral Structure: Frontiers of Oral Physiology, vol 4, pp 1-32, 1983.

28: A metal probe was fixed to a Rochelle crystal (KNaC4H4O6.4H2O). Current passed through the crystal caused discrete movements of the crystal and thus precisely controlled mechanical stimuli could be delivered to tissues.

29: Orders of magnitude: imagine we you're sitting there with headphones on, and you have a microphone with which you're trying to pick up something very very soft. So you turn up the gain as high as possible to get maximum sensitivity, and them somebody yells in your ear. With a large signal we may lose the information, and just do damage.
     The point about orders of magnitude is this: imagine I was speaking to you, rather than writing. My voice would resonate in your body. Let's go up several orders of magnitude with respect to volume. Imagine you are in a bar listening to that rock and roll pub band. Then you can clearly feel the resonance inside you. Now these resonances, these reflections of my voice in your body, or the music in the bar, they do resonate, somehow, in your bones; and this vibration of your bone, which is crystal, is going to be transduced into radio/light signals. We will, in theory, broadcast all the noise (and not noise) that we are bathed in. But at what magnitude? Small? tiny? infinitesimal? And if these signals are there, why haven't they been observed? We don't hear the ultrasonics that are all around us. Even if we're with a therapeutic "thermal" device, or with the diagnostic device, even though these are many orders of magnitude louder than the sort of sonics we can expect to get off of bones or tissues, still we don't hear these. They are out of our "spectral" range, and we need an appropriate technology to "hear" them. Then, when we look for radio waves, we look for fixed frequencies. All our technology is based on fixed frequencies, and the signals we can expect in biological systems will be varying frequencies, so we're almost bound to miss them given that we're not looking for them.
     Just how important are "orders of magnitude"? What do they mean? They mean the difference between a caress and a blow, and if a stimulus is too small, is it a stimulus at all? Well that's a mute point. Remember hormesis! There was a theory in the earlier part of this century called Arndt-Schulz law which said that weak external stimuli enhance "protoplasmic irritability" or biological responses, strong stimuli inhibit them, and extremely strong stimuli destroy them. Here again orders of magnitude are important: they can excite, dampen or damn a response. We also seem to be accumulating evidence that minute imperceptible magnetic fields (which one would think are of no importance) appear to have sometimes a profound influence on organisms, where larger fields do nothing . Is the key to this a question of resonance? of matching patterns?
     (Note that in homeopathy with its successive "dilutions", the strength of the signal is not diminishing: the amount of "substance" diminishes and disappears, but the "signal" if anything gets stronger.)     
Microelectrode studies of stress generated potentials in bone show that the local electrical fields are one to two orders of magnitude (that's 10 to 100 times) higher than estimates based on macro determination of average fields. That is to say, if we measure the electrical phenomena in bone at a microscopic level we find quite "large" events, but if we measure the whole bone they seem to average out. Then at a gross level it seems that little is happening. But if we go down in size some orders of magnitude we find that the energies involved have gone up several orders of magnitude.
     Okay: so what can we say about orders of magnitude? That they too are a mystery.

30: back in the late 1980's