Tachyon Omega: A social parable

Biting the hand that feeds you (in reverse): a social parable with citations from a scientific mashup

What’s a tachyon?

In physics, it’s a hypothetical particle that would travel faster than the speed of light–and you could potentially detect it if it exists [1].
As we (or at least, most of us) know it, nothing can move faster than the speed of light according to the laws of physics!

For physicists, the idea carries plenty of paradox and contradiction. At the same time, many scientists are often willing to consider the idea before ruling out its possibility and without bearing ill judgment on the individuals who contribute to advancing it.

What might “Omega” mean in this tune?
Omega represents the last letter in the Greek alphabet. In common assumptions about how wolf packs work, the first thing people think of is a pecking order from the “alpha” leader to “omega” (last in the hierarchy). People often point to that social dynamic among humans as justification for domineering human behavior. Yet the scientist who created the “order” (for wolves) soon realized people misinterpreted his work:

“The point here is not so much the terminology but what the terminology falsely implies: a rigid, force-based dominance hierarchy” (Mech, 2000) [2]

The idea behind mashing these two concepts (which came together when titling the tune) comes from highlighting a sort of abuse that’s akin to “biting the hand that feeds” in reverse: when an individual discovers something new, and the rest of their community or society as a whole responds with demeaning them and their effort through malevolent stigma.

The ancient Greeks witnessed this with Plato, presenting valid propositions that didn’t yet exist within what others are willing to consider or have yet to understand. We still experience this today: it’s easy to get labeled as a radical, and many people fail to take the time to really know and see where a person has reason to believe they are “right” before casting judgment or calling people names and invoking condemnation.

In the U.S., we often see this in heated political rhetoric between people who identify themselves as very conservative or very liberal. Create or support an idea without enough context, and the stigma to extreme or radical approaches suddenly makes valid propositions divisive and taboo.

At the same time, those alternatives, ideas, or individuals are sometimes crucial for aiding the very organization, community, or society that strives to punish the individual.

Wolves don’t consistently win or lead packs through sheer aggression. More often than not, they tend to just be parents or most the experienced at care taking among their pack members. The wolves he initially studied were in captivity and were forced to compete with one another.

In the wild, breeding members (the members people assume are “alpha”) exist by serving as caretakers to their kin. In other words, the best pack leaders focus more on taking care of their community rather than status.

It doesn’t happen every day, but I see the above happen often enough that I’d be glad to see better understanding for how groups and people can lead more effectively and receive information and opportunities that came from beyond the scope of their own imagination.

For anyone who wants to learn more about tachyons and leadership among wolves, here are my sources:

[1] Tachyons
[2] Leadership among wolves
Almost a comic!


Video notes–the above video is a rough practice/improvisation which I’m using in the meantime since the musical piece (the words “tachyon” and “omega” would come to mind when I first played the initial motif) was what inspired the above contemplations. For musicians or anyone interested in practice/improvisational notes here are my personal notes on what was happening in the video:

Session intentions:
-Test and explore motifs originally written for viola on violin
-Improvise with microtonal modes
-Attempt to blend poly-somethings (rhythms or meters?)

It’s worth warming up with doublestops to re-calibrate one’s acquaintance with the violin if you’re used to playing viola rather than plowing ahead into playing.
Loosen the wrist and increase the bow’s contact with strings before drawing the bow at doublestops for a more immediate (less forced/percussive) and responsive sound.
Practicing/playing an hour earlier would have worked well, doing this at 1:30am after a long day probably isn’t the best time to practice or play.

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