Paul seems to have a thing about measurements these days. Personally, they get in the way of enjoying music. Today I was looking at some things with audio furthest from my mind, until I read this.
Mr Tyler makes things out of rulers and tape measures. Like this:
I think he’s on to something. Is it that people who live by numbers, have to rationalise everything? Is the perception of sound, like just about everything else, neither rational nor measurable? Is the numbers game just sucking the humanity out of everything? Are numbers for some a form of comfort blanket?
There are as many valid approaches, sensations, and experiences as there are people - none better or worse than the other.
I not infrequently need to be walked back from the edge and learn to be comfortable in the unknown.
It may be blasphemy but I’m reminded of the serenity prayer: Lord grant the the serenity to accept the things I cannot know (change), the courage to know (change) the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I have found a lot of ex-teenage-boys are fascinated with measuring things…
“The world is neither rational nor measurable.” So true, it’s all magical fantasy. Ever wondered how far it is from where you are to your chosen destination? Well, it’s unknown and unmeasurable. You’ll just have to hit the road. Maybe you’ll get there in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette (but wait, how long is that? It cannot be measured!), or maybe it will take so long that you’ll die old age first. But what is old age anyway? It’s not like it’s possible to measure. Anyway, we’ll never know the answers to these incomprehensible questions
The fact that we don’t yet know how to measure something does not mean it’s not measurable.
If it weren’t for some degree of measurements for audio equipment quality validation you wouldn’t be able to simply enjoy the music. Engineering is all about balance and compromise. No need to fear measurements, but they aren’t the end all be all especially if you’re not measuring the “right things”. Or, you’re not even sure what things need to be measured. It’s all about finding the right balance of scientific methods which include instrumented measurements and empirical testing (listening in this case).
All Hitchhikers know the answer is 42, but the great irony is not knowing the question. Douglas Adams was influenced by Lewis Carroll, who featured 42, was a logician and numerologist, and perhaps the greatest writer of fantasy literature. The idea of reducing something we know sounds right to a number seems almost profane given the occasional ability of music to touch the soul.