Take the full range of individual piano tuning forks and stand up them in a row. Take another one, unmarked, and strike it with a mallet. Of the many forks, the one that sounds matches the unmarked fork and identifies it. For instance, f-sharp only sounds when it “hears,” or resonates with, the f-sharp frequency. All the others remain silent. Like attracts like. And like responds to like. I originally made this photograph to see if I could visually convey the sensibility of vibration. Today, it points me to considerations of resonance and synergy.
Two discoveries in quantum physics come to mind. One is the observation that all sub-atomic “particles”—electrons, photons, quarks and so on—are actually interacting and vibrating “fields” within fields. Not solids. None of them, nowhere. The other is the more recent discovery of the Higgs boson, the sub-atomic field scientists believe gives matter its mass. Combining these, Dr. Donald Lincoln, a particle physicist who divides his time between Fermilab and CERN in Switzerland says, “Everything—and I mean everything—is just a consequence of many infinitely-large fields vibrating. The entire universe is made of fields playing a vast, subatomic symphony.”
The description of vibrating fields calls to mind an experience I had where the “vibes” were so resonant they induced synergy, a circumstance where the whole (outcome) was greater than the sum of its parts (participants). In this instance, an astute television producer together with a multi-talented actor who had a vision, assembled a team of like-minded, skilled and creative people to produce a weekly children’s television series that would encourage parents to watch with their children and discuss its themes. Long story short, the thirty-nine episodes of “Max B. Nimble” accomplished its goals, had a long play and won national awards. In many ways, it exceeded expectations.
It wasn’t until much later that I appreciated how this producer, call him Oscar, created a resonant team capable of synergy. Reflecting on his methods, I began to see that they reflect the way nature works. All of nature vibrates and interacts in ways that contribute to cohesion. In a social or business context, it’s the quality of interaction, the personal expressions—fields within fields—that contributes to coherence. To clarify, I offer Oscar’s methodology.
He identified and brought on board the most talented people he knew. In our first meeting, rather than have us introduce ourselves, he went around the table, presented our resumes and made glowing remarks about each one of us. Feeling like we were in the company of giants, we had to live up to his descriptions, which set the bar and established the corporate vibration. His articulation of our objectives were clear and inspirational. To insure that we all understood the nature of the communication challenge, he included a scholar who helped us put theory into practice. I for one, wondered if we could pull it off.
From day one, the process of writing and producing was intensive and exhilarating. We pushed ourselves and each other to perform at our highest levels. Every day. And we loved doing what each of us did best. The entire team met for daily script readings. We had weekly meetings where every detail was discussed—down to the sandbags that secured the light stands so people wouldn’t trip over them. No detail was too small for consideration—and elaborate discussion. Every day we were eager to get to work. And at the end of the day we convened to review what happened and especially, screen what we produced.
With each presentation there was praise, applause, and toasts when things went right. When they didn’t, rather than blame or criticize, the energy went into finding solutions. In this way we could see our progress and how each of us was contributing, thereby fueling our creative fervor even more. Oscar championed the best—advisors, talent, crew, resources and technologies—and he convinced each one of us that what we were doing was both meaningful and significant. As a result, we took ownership of the vision and responsibility for our part in realizing it. Every day for nearly two years, we went to “play” with our colleagues, many of whom became long-term friends.
Rupert Sheldrake, who developed the theory of morphic resonance (The theory that memory is inherent in nature) wrote that “Energetic resonance occurs when an alternating force acting on a system coincides with its natural frequency of vibration.” Applied to a small group with a goal, people in resonance, in love with a vision and engaged in its collaborative realization naturally become synergistic. As a vibration, love and being appreciated makes us capable of transcending individual limitations. Besides the bonding that results, participating together in joyful enterprise heightens our faculties and encourages us to realize our fuller potentials.
High performance techniques and processes, including the “Six-Sigma” techniques used in business to identify and remove the causes of defects and breakdowns within an operating system, result in outcomes where one plus one equals a qualitative two. Clean and neat. Outstanding accomplishment when it happens. But rigorously speaking, synergy isn’t about high-performance, it’s about transcendence through coherence and resonant engagement. And when that happens, one plus one equals five. That’s its signature.
Here’s the formulation in a nutshell:
Like vibrations produce resonance.
Resonance activated and directed to a common goal can produce synergy.
Synergy, through coherence, is capable of transcendent outcomes.
Synergy requires a circle of equals in resonance.
About This Image
Title: Vesica Piscis
File #: 453
One of the fundamental shapes in nature and therefore a component of “sacred geometry,” is the vesica piscis (Latin for “Bladder of a fish”). It’s the space between two equal, intersecting circles. We see it when two ripples in a pond intersect. Historically, it was a symbol with a multitude of meanings in many cultures and was used extensively in church and civic architecture. We see it in jewelry and crop circles. You might even have it in your wallet—the MasterCard logo.
Wanting to make this shape in a way that would convey the sensibility of vibration, I took a heavy gauge steel guitar string and secured it at both ends with heavy-duty clamps. With the string centered in the frame, I positioned a light and “flagged” off the background so it wouldn’t record. I critically focused the camera, set the shutter speed to “T” for time exposure and made the room totally dark. Then, using a cable release, I opened the shutter and gave the guitar string a good tug.