A Lower Bound

This is how Carl Sagan begins the introduction to The Varieties of Scientific Experience.

In these lectures I would like, following the wording of the Gifford Trust, to tell you something of my views on what at least used to be called natural theology, which, as I understand it, is everything about the world not supplied by revelation. This is a very large subject, and I will necessarily have to pick and choose topics. I want to stress that what I will be saying are my own personal views on this boundary area between science and religion. The amount that has been written on the subject is enormous, certainly more than 10 million pages, or roughly 1011 bits of information. That’s a very low lower limit. And nevertheless no one can claim to have read even a tiny fraction of that body of literature or even a representative fraction. So it is only in the hope that much that has been written is unnecessary to be read that one can approach the subject at all.

This arithmetic does, I think, shed an interesting light on the Courtier’s Reply.

It’s rather common practice in some domains of the Blagnet to list one’s current mood or the music to which one is currently listening. I don’t have a handy collection of mood-marking icons (and if I did, I’d break them, because I’m a proud iconoclast), but I should note that my stereo is currently playing Infected Mushroom‘s 2003 album Converting Vegetarians. Stored in MP3 format, the two discs of this album occupy 239,317,690 bytes of hard-drive real estate. That’s roughly 1.9 × 109 bits, about one fiftieth of Sagan’s estimate for all theological writing, for two and a half hours of music. So, one hundred CDs of psy-trance (which could in principle include Goa and Suomisaundi) would take us into the regime of natural theology, content-wise.

The Psychedelic Mind Expander lists 636 different CDs released during 2006 alone, lumping together the Ambient, Breaks, Drum & Bass, Goa, Progressive, Psychedelic, Techno and Trance sub-genres (I get the feeling nobody else knows how to assign these labels, either — has anybody actually conducted a blind discrimination test between Drum & Bass and Neurofunk?).

It’s no wonder I have a hard time keeping up with divinity studies. Good thing we have theologians like Ishkur to organize the information for us.

One thought on “A Lower Bound”

  1. In addition to Dark trance, Ishkur also identifies the separate sub-genre of Death trance. I think I’m in love.

    It’s a little odd that the entire Industrial genre is classified as a type of trance. You listen to some of the electroindustrial samples and tell me that it sounds like the same genre as anthem trance.

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