Photo from Google Images: DancingSky_HarmonyOfTheSpheres.jpg
I took these photographs in Ireland, June 2009.
The following is an excerpt from a paper I presented at the Mid-Atlantic Conference for Irish Studies, in 2007:
Human beings have an inherent need to interact with one another. Yet, they often find themselves struggling with what appears to be the truth of their perceptions. This ambivalence leads to the categorizing of experiences as a way to manage personal reactions. Philosophers, such as John Locke, Immanuel Kant and Carl Jung, as well as mathematicians, such as Pythagoras and Kepler, have clarified this management in terms of music, more specifically, the mystical music of the spheres.
This concept illustrates that human communication parallels strict mathematical components associated with harmonics. To clarify the concept of harmony (music) of the spheres, one can consider a musical tone that contains the original resonating frequency with overtones creating precise harmonic variations.
Pythagoras’s theory contained the idea that there was a distinct mathematical configuration, establishing a relationship of the harmonic distances between the planets. These harmonics were considered the substance of a planetary influence on the human psyche. Centuries later, Johannes Kepler clarified this theory with his discovery that harmonic energy emanates from the sun, and there exists an exact harmonic relationship between each planet. Philosophers of the eighteenth century, such as John Locke and Immanuel Kant, connect Kepler’s theory to the concept of human consciousness.
Thus, music of the spheres represents the harmonics of human thought whereby one idea, emanating from a human being, extends to another throughout the centuries, and overtones or nuances of thought create a new harmonic of the original conception. This new harmonic, then, resonates with another interpretation, and soon, there are many new concepts formed that connect with the original resonating thought.
Although this concept illustrates that human communication parallels strict mathematical components associated with harmonics, iconic realism is a literary principle whereby an artist uses an iconic, yet real figure to represent another aspect of reality within the culture. This principle clearly resonates throughout literature as a means to express truth in a way that contains meaning while maintaining elements of the mysterious. Indeed, iconic realism intones throughout Sydney Owenson’s national tale, The Wild Irish Girl, written from a feminine cultural point of view shortly after the British Act of Union 1801.
Sydney Owenson engages in the construction of iconic realism through her interface with the concept of literary harmony elicited from the initial resonance of Irish revolution. She creates characters as iconic representatives of the consciousness that exists in her historical reality, leading her audiences to a recognizable semblance of truth and a basis for future writers to harmonize with the transitioning, historical significance of human consciousness.
Such resonance, which distinguishes between intense reality and strength of the human spirit through iconic realism, occurs in Owenson’s novel, demonstrating the necessity for humankind to relate to one another on a realistic rather than a symbolic level. As she reacts to her despotic environment, Owenson’s technique of using iconic structures in allegorical representations of Irish reality resonates through such 20th century writers as William Butler Yeats and James Joyce. (Lakatos 2007)