Part 1: Introspections
From a point to a line
In the beginning, everything is simple. In a zero-dimensional space, there is only one point (A) which does not need any coordinates 1 to be specified as a point. The point does not even need to exist at this stage. It could only be an idea like an invisible center of a seed which will later produce a tree with myriad variations of branches and leaves. In the example below, the point is made visible by a dot, though we should remember that the dot and the point are different things. The latter is an abstraction, the former is a concretization of the point.
All there was, is, and will be are on a single point because everything is an extension of a point. Dual state of things, simplicity and complexity, reveal its twofold nature when shifting a point of view of the observer. Dive into the point just like the Earth is seen from the outer edge of the solar system 14 billion kilometers away 2 and we will see the art of nature in its finest details. We can follow sequences of a fabric in space-time to microcosmic levels until we basically reach emptiness. Zoom out, and eventually we will see blinking sources of light, points on a vast darkness. Expand further, and we end to see nothing. This is the other side of emptiness.
We humans on the Earth are living in a mesocosm 3. The mesocosm corresponds to Mesopotamia nicely, remembering to honor that ancient high culture, which is often called the cradle of our civilization. In the mesocosm, we can ruminate a bottomless pit, the microcosm, that opens its mouth beyond the length of Planck 4, the magnitude of 10-35. In the mesocosm, we can also speculate the other side of the universe, the macrocosm, which is expanding its limits up to the magnitude of 1027. Between these two rivers, the smallest scale and the largest scale objectives, there is a whopping 100 novemdecillion levels to research 5. Think of 1 and 62 zeroes:
Indeed, between Euphrates and Tigris rivers 6 inventions and ideas emerged that enabled people to handle, contemplate, and comprehend huge numbers like this. On the side of Ganges, another legendary river further to the East, astronomical numbers were part of the epic around Sita and Rama. The biggest number mentioned in Ramayana 7 was exactly the same number calculated above, 1062. Valmiki, the writer of the Ramayana epic, even gave a definitive name to the number: mahaugha 8, which means “very mighty”.
It is also interesting to note that J.R.R. Tolkien in his legendarium placed men to the area called “Middle-earth”. In his letters he writes 9:
Middle-earth is … not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration … of an old word for the inhabited world of Men, the oikoumene: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and (in the northern-imagination) between ice of the North and the fire of the South.
A sharp point, tip of a needle, can be further opened with a certain sub-study of historical linguistics called etymology. Etymology examines the history and origin of particular words. Proto-Indo-European (PIE) syllables ak-, ok- 10 have many language cognates related to the point and sharpness, and these are spread to numerous Indo-European languages. Of them, an ax, acute, and a peak are obvious in English, but also okra, the pointy plant nicknamed “ladies’ finger” fits well to the scene. In the Finnish language, which is the native language of the writer, numeral yksi means the number one followed by kaksi, the number two with two sharp k-points. In Sanskrit, eka means the number one as well.
Finnish oka (spike), Latin acus (needle), or Greek acis (point) and akesis (curing that happens by stitching a tissue with needles and threads) are all related by word root. Nowadays we are acknowledged how a hammer behind the auditory canal and the eardrum hits the anvil and makes the world audible to us. That is the mechanics behind the Greek word akoustikos (acoustic).
Line and canon
From “nothing to nothing” is a distance that we call the first mathematical dimension or a line. It takes two 0-dimensional points to create the first dimension, a line. Two nothingnesses come into an oscillating relation where the last one, B becomes the first one, A.
Being deliberately paradoxical is not the only fishy thing in this 1-dimensional world what we want to ponder now. Punctures on a line or knots on a rope give a placeholder for different types of canons. The line as a standard measuring rod, a ruler, or a carpenter’s tool is called kanon 11 in Greek. According to Victor Hehn 12, the word kanon is derived from a certain cultivated Asiatic bamboo like giant grass called the cane (Arundo donax 13) which was used for many practical objects like walking sticks, measuring rods, and fishing rods. This plant is a root word for a variety of carrying vessels like canisters or even canoes because of the cane’s light and tenacious property. The cane was used to make baskets, mats, fishing nets, arrows, flutes, and covers.
In a line, the concept of law can be expressed. Similarly, the rule of truth, set of policies in politics or religion as well as arithmetical number sequences, ratios, or human proportions like Polykleitos describes them in his book The Canon 14, can be expressed in a line. Pythagorean monochord, one string instrument with a movable bridge, was called Canon 15. From an Ishango bone, we can find out that already some 20,000 years ago men used to notch and mark counters to a tally stick in the central Africa 16. In a line fishing hooks hang ready to catch monster equations from the eternal dimensionless sea.
Parallel to this concept of canon is a Karelian folklore that tells about the creation of the Kantele or Kannel, the national music instrument of Finland. This harp-like instrument is played by the central character Väinämöinen whose magical power of singing and playing music is similar to Orpheus in Greek mythology. Kannel resonates and amplifies sound so that it finally carries tunes, a free joy of music for all creatures of nature. Canorus (melodious, euphonious) and candere (to shine, to illuminate) in Latin vocabulary seem to yield the same idea of blowing out or carrying out either in aural or in a visual way. A verb “to carry” is kantaa in the Finnish language and it is associated with durable (kantava, kestävä). This brings both the verb and the name of the instrument phonetically very close to the name of the cane, although an etymological relation between kantaa and Kantele is not often recognized, even less so with the cane. According to the lore, the first Kannel was made of a fishbone 17:
Then old Vainamoinen played,
Leading off with delicate chords
On the pikebone instrument,
On the new-made harp (Kannel) of fishbone.
Nimbly rose and fell his fingers
As his thumb moved lightly, lightly.
Now the music rose to joyance
And the joy to high rejoicing;
All the music felt so real,
On from song to song high hymning,
With the twanging of the pike tooth
And the sounding of the fish tail,
All the horsehair strings resounding,
Stallion hairs re-echoing.
So plucked Väinämöinen the five-stringed instrument with his pointy fingers binding 18 five major vowels of the alphabet (a, e, i, o, u), the most dynamic, durable, and sweetest of the sounds to his singing. Three additional Finnish vowel phonemes (y, ä, ö) gave supreme verbal power to the utterances of the lineage of sages and heroes on the epical swamps of Kalevala. By deeper exploration, one can find worldwide myths in these tales, e.g. how sea-monsters rose up from the primordial waters to teach mankind, in good and in bad. Väinö or Väinä, the root name of Väinämöinen 19 means “wide, slow flowing river or strait of the sea”. The meaning of the name of the Kaleva giant can be derived to Norse sea-god Hler, Aegir which means “sea” according to Mikko Heikkilä on his article Kaleva and his Sons from Kalanti 20. The imagery of this epic is so strong that J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired to create one of his first novels The story of Kullervo 21 directly borrowing Kalevala.
Triple word clusters
We all either know or have heard how much mathematics and music have to do with each other. A sequence of notes can be expressed on a line, melodies and whole orchestral composition can be expressed on a staff made of horizontal lines. But also carrying is a fundamental concept of the elemental arithmetics 22 . The positional number system that was already used in the southern Mesopotamia during the Old Akkadian period 2300 – 2000 BC 23, carries numbers to the next magnitude depending on the number base which is used (in their case the sexagesimal or a mixture of bases 10 and 6 to be more exact). Carrying is needed in all basic arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
It is interesting to note how the other PIE root syllable bha- serves as a root for Greco-Latin syllables phos-, phor-, and phon-, namely “to shine”, “to carry”, and “to sound”. A similar cluster of meanings than the cane cognates mentioned before is noteworthy. And again, this triple word cluster is in sync with Finnish words: kaunis 24, kantaa, and kannel as well as with Latin words: canorus/candor, canalis/canistra, and canere respectively. In many languages it looks like the whole group of concepts (linguists might say “a cluster of cognates”) are tied to these two different roots, the cane word and the bha- syllable.
Su’bha in Sanskrit means bright and beautiful which are both expressed in one well-known statement that is probably misattributed, but that is rightly so describing the spirit of Plato:
Beauty is the splendor of truth
Moreover, Bha’rati is to carry, bha’jan is a devotional song, bha’n is to speak or to say, and bha’rtr is to sustain 25. Thus, we see a similar group of concepts emerging from the same Sanskrit root syllable.
Ancient Assyrians wrote Cuneiform 26 signs on a waxed training tablet or final clay tablet with a small reed-like stylus 27. Tip of the stylus is actually a triangularly shaped wedge and the simplest sign we could make with it is a triangularly shaped “point” or santakku in the old Akkadian language. Santakku meant wedge, triangle (sometimes concave), and one/ten as a number. Later in this document, we will see how this triangular point idea is right in the heart of the Flower of Life symbol.
In a womb of all written and engraved things, the FOL bears fundamental ideas of breathing out, sounding, beautifully shining rays, carrying, binding, and living.
Although a plethora of concepts has now been opened for introspection, one point and one line are still too limited to express more advanced forms of the FOL explicitly and unambiguously.