Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Schelling, the 'Secret' Pythagorean?

Sure, his manuscripts (those that survived destruction in World War II) probably don't contain a hidden numerology, but we couldn't let Plato be the only philosopher recently 'outed' for Pythagorean tendencies. In his lectures given in 1802-1804 and later collected under the title of The Philosophy of Art, Schelling writes:
to the extent that the eternal things or the ideas are revealed from the real side within cosmic bodies, the forms of music as the forms of ideas viewed concretely are also the forms of the being and life of the cosmic bodies as such; hence, music is nothing other than the perceived rhythm and harmony of the visible universe itself. 
After noting that Pythagoras was the first proponent of this view, Schelling continues:
People have usually understood Pythagoras's doctrine of the music of the spheres quite crassly, namely, to the effect that the fast movements of such large bodies must cause resonance. Because these bodies rotate with different yet measured velocity and in increasingly expanded circles, this resonance generates a consonant harmony organized according to the tonal relationships of music, such that the solar system resembles a seven-stringed lyre. This view takes the whole affair empirically. Pythagoras does not say that these movements cause music, but rather that they themselves are music. This indwelling movement needed no external medium through which to become music. It was music within itself, or inherently.

No comments: