How revolution might sound. An essay.

Anonymous-Maske/Guy-Fawkes- Maske Symbol der Occupy-Bewegung. Mit venezianischer Halbmaske.

„The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level of consciousness at which we created them…
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humankind is to survive.“
Albert Einstein

Reflecting on revolution as radical change in society we usually automatically call to mind a scenario of violent movement, bloody colors and screaming blue murder – your ears will be resounding with hardly distinguishable demanding voices mixed in with noise created by the turmoil of battle.

Looking back on our experiences with protest, maybe even on a personal level, we often sense an irresistible inner need to shout out our concern, an urgent concern reflecting deep human desires of acceptance and love. Whether we let it come through or not, with a loud, soft or even “silent” voice, doesn’t matter in this concern, it’s the underlying energy, in other words vibration which will essentially operate.

So reacting against those who might block or represent the blocking of the free flow of our needs, we are giving back to them in verbal violence the aggression we may ourselves have undergone or remember through them. In this way we enter into the vibrational frequency of precisely what we seek to get away from, resonating with and so reproducing time and time again what we don’t want. And the circle of violence turning around within living memory will continue, as long as we are not willing to take a deep look within and change our ways – as long as we are not willing to change revolutionary patterns in a radically revolutionary way.(1)

If, then, training for speaking and demanding in a more acute, distinct, loud, sonorous and even ear-piercing way merely replays the perennial war-game, how can we find a way out?

On my path which went round in circles through never-ending personal and political patterns of struggle, through learning, teaching and continually staying in touch with sound, I finally came to perceive a kind of track leading out of the self-perpetuating circle: If responding within the same communication patterns means staying in the same frequency I wish to leave or to transform, one possible way out would be to leave behind or transform the pattern.

Of course that seems somewhat simple, but it is certainly not easy because we all are profoundly programmed into these old patterns in our childhood and even, as modern psychology, sociology and biology are discovering, before birth through the memory of our families and societies. The archaic programming of our mind is still struggling for basic survival, reproducing fear and in consequence aggression and defense. These same programs continue to direct our behavior extensively, even in “progressive” or “alternative” groups claiming or expecting to be different. Our incredibly tricky mind has helped us to survive up to now. But the present state of the world, of humanity and of the environment, shows us dramatically, that a fundamental change is needed, which will require a radical shifting of those “programs” into a new dimension of no-programming.

Some modern scientists have confirmed what so-called primitive and archaic populations always knew and practiced: That there is no fixed matter, but just vibration composed of an infinity of different frequencies which can adapt to or harmonize with each other – and therefore that we are all profoundly linked to each other.

To really realize this fantastic perspective, to become truly and completely aware of this new yet ancient reality, which might appear nothing more than a kind of science fiction, could be a chance we have – a chance of real revolution.

But what about sound and voice in this perspective?

In ancient European and aboriginal extra-European philosophy, in touch with the inner frame of nature, the human being is considered as being really human first as a musical that is to say a vibrating being. This kind of philosophy did not involve a separate abstract level of conceiving or reflecting life processes, but everyday practice from birth to death and even before birth and after death, with the consciousness that life is never ending but just transforms itself in quite different and more or less im-perceptible vibrational qualities. For peak or extraordinary situations there often are or were specialists, sometimes called shamans, gifted or trained to perceive and handle these vibrational transformation processes. The guiding instrument for this has been the human voice, the instrument the human being is by him or herself, comprising, harmonizing and uniting body, soul and spirit of his/her own self and with every being and everything. Making one little sound, whispering one word makes the whole body vibrate from the feet right up to the top of the head. The wit or the wisdom of sound consists in the amazing fact that its power is hidden in its subtlety: the more subtle the sounds are the deeper and farther they can go – infinitely in all directions.

Intimately linked to the art of sounding is the art of perceiving – the art of listening. Whereas our ears have been used to a very complicated musical system within a system of written knowledge and perfectionistic training in the modern European tradition, the ancient oral sound traditions conceived the inner realm of overtones producing one basic sound as the essential material to go inwards and stay listening. Simply listening deeply to the highest perceptible overtones, being lifted up to the limit between the audible and inaudible, up to the gap where a shift to new frequencies can take place.

What appears, or certainly once was, art limited to a minority, is in fact very simple. Overtones, subtle sounds, are perceptible in any and every moment here and now, without any conditions, not even silence. Just stop and listen. Listen to all the noisiness of this engineered modern world, of your body and – louder than all – the activity of your mind. Let them continue what they can’t stop, just let it be and stay in it and with it. You will become aware of a part of you inside all those turning sound movements which is not identified with this noisiness – a silent dimension. If now from within this space you perceive yourself, your body, mind and feelings, your immediate and farther environment and finally other people around, you become aware of a new bigger space and breathing, a gap of silence. Out of this gap new perceptions and hence new reactions you never even imagined before can emerge.

Of course, as you go into this awareness you come into contact with yourself, a lot of old stuff, fear and againstness will appear too, but you can feel that that’s not you. You can look at it with kindness, recognize it and then let it go; with mutual help – listening – it can even go faster.

Every person is – consciously or not – in his or her essence a political which means a social being, the original Greek term of “polis” meaning community. As everyone and everything in life is vibration, we are all deeply interwoven and everyone is inescapably involved in what’s happening or even not, and so far “totally” responsible. So a political revolution in its profound sense needs essentially each person’s individual revolution. We should support each other basing our common political practice on everyone’s awareness practice as a “common sense”, not as a preliminary kind of exercise before proceeding to more “serious” things, but as the very fundament for new openings of so far unknown possibilities of life.

Let’s give listening a try. Maybe a way to true commun-ism…


So, if you now feel a loud or even soft protest against this text, try the following    immediate and simple techniques to integrate into your personal everyday practice.

Follow your breathing: breathing will help you to concentrate and guides you like a safety rope into all physical, psychical and spiritual processes of awareness. Be aware of this very moment, including the mind, the feelings and all the old stuff coming out and turning around.

First try with closed eyes, then experiment to find out your own way.

  1. Just stand or sit in a way you can stay for a while. Feel precisely the ground (structure, texture, temperature…) under your feet. Hum softly into your feet, first the left, then the right one.
  2. Like b). Then put your right hand on the top of your head and feel the humming
  3. Like c) With the left hand perceive the vibration in the upper center of your body – the chakra of the heart. Open the mouth without any tension or intention and let out a very soft “a”. Follow its irresistible power of propagation. Try to realize this basic heart vibration even while speaking.
  4. At any time, allow your own hands to help you to perceive vibrations, even without touching. Take your own voice into your hands.
  5. From b) to e). Close in a very slow and attentive way your mouth. Discover the subtle range of sounds happening – variations of a-o-u-m.
  6. Then turn your listening to your environment. Allow any “new” sounds, vibrations or perceptions to come to you. Be attentive to each one. You will discover your own voice, like anyone else’s, as a highly sensitive seismograph.
  7. Practice listening beyond or inside what you can label, any time you can. You will become calm, attentive and wondering.
  8. When you wish to express yourself in public and you feel too frightened, just feel with love all your fear and heart beating, communicate your fear, then say what you have to say in this very moment. Your authenticity, listening and acceptance, will spread to the audience lifting the common frequency to a more caring communication.

Care for any opening, let go knowingness and labelling go, let wondering emerge.

These exercices can be practiced quite everywhere at any time – unconditionally. And, of course, together. Even one of them done for 5 minutes before beginning a common work will create a different quality of being and communication.

But what about different forms and ideas of revolution and protest? If I apply indistinctively the heated trope of “revolution”, I do it expressively without any intellectual or historical discussion, just in the sense of something we all need for true happiness, but nobody really knows about – something which would shift life in a complete new dimension. Of course, we can continue to detail the terms and forms of revolution for centuries, and revolutions will come and go turning around like the revolutions of the stars in the universe. It could be helpful to remind the first meaning of the Latin term “revolution” (Kopernikus “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” 1507) and later on the model for the endless melancholical turning around of human revolutions, as Louis-Auguste Blanqui, the embodiment of revolution itself, put it out at the end of his life. (Look at his text “L’éternité par les astres” 1871).

© Jorinde Reznikoff London 2012

Siehe auch/ see too:

Sing along with Derrida: Die Stimme ist das Bewusstsein. Fragmentsplitter zu einer Ästhetik des kommunikativen Widerstand. In gwr_369b, S.22/23.

Listen to

How revolution might sound. Radiofeature and interview.