Monday, 2 August 2010

Eno is God

If my previous posts made you think I was bonkers, let's see where we can go with this one.

Sodium Bicarbonate, The Philosophers' Stone and The Divinity of Composers.

In the old alchemical manuscripts, we are always reminded that the first matter is something lowly and "base" - this is a simple analogue to the unredeemed human soul. We are also reminded to "Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem" which has led many alchemists over the years to seek the first matter from the interior of their bodies (as above, so below - man is a microcosm of earth, the macrocosm) and, indeed, one of my various collection of first matters for this operation will be a bottle of my own pee - concentrated by distillation.

But I'm digressing too far from the point. I have an operation planned out where I start from the lowliest of ingredients except in one case. I just can't find a method whereby I can obtain sodium bicarbonate from the lowly sources that I have constricted myself to. I was listening to an old episode of "In Our Time" the other day where Melvin Bragg and chums were discussing alchemy and they were saying that the philosophers' stone was an exalted ingredient brought into play at a crucial point at the end the operation. Which got me thinking about how I need sodium bicarbonate right at the end of my operation and how, at least with my tongue in my cheek, could be considered as if not the philosophers' stone certainly my one.

This got me thinking some more (which is the point of information and ideas - to make you think more) and this is the rough path that my thoughts took me on.

The stone is a super-magical ingredient that, when normal operations will not produce the required result, catalyses that matter into whatever exalted state you wish it to be in. The stone is able to redeem all by the sheer action of it's presence. In the Christian alchemy of medieval Europe, the stone is clearly an analogue of Christ and, for the less gnostically inclined, Christ is one part of a tripartite entity that they call "God".

Let's leave the divine nature of the stone to one side for a second and let's go back to my difficulties with sodium bicarbonate. Now there's plenty of it around. We use it in baking and it's an indigestion remedy. In fact it is the major ingredient of Beecham's ever popular "Eno".

Now that makes me think of something:


So if sodium bicarbonate more or less equals ENO
And... if the philosophers' stone more or less equals GOD
And... if the philosophers' stone is echoed in my peculiar post-scientific take on alchemy as sodium bicarbonate then the long asked question has finally been answered:
http://music.hyperreal.org/artists/brian_eno/enofaq1.html#God

Yup... after a few lines of NaHCO3 - even this starts to make sense.

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