The darkness is suffocating. Your mind buzzes with the dread of the limited light and the enormity of what lay behind you- the edge of creation, the wall of night culled from myth beyond which nothing you or I can comprehend exists.  

At this proximity to the edge of the universe, one’s sense of self becomes transient, because you- as I know you are doing right now- are attempting to contextualize your place in the face of such enormity.

Were I capable, I would wish that I could alleviate your concerns. Regardless, it would be a pointless endeavor.

The real issue becomes not that you are feeling this way, but why you are feeling this way.

***

The genetic memory of music could find its genesis in another area that has been woven into humanity: mathematics.  It is inevitable that, as long as mathematics (and by proxy, science) exist, music will continue to manifest in any civilization that dares to better itself via numeric discipline.

Music, by its very nature, is based upon the idea of numbers. Music without rhythmic structure is analogous to water without hydrogen. The meter, the beats, are all based around a number of instances occurring within a predetermined space of time.  Without numbers- and at its core, mathematics- music would descend into an amorphous cacophony (much like what the Neanderthal music may have sounded like to modern ears, had there been modern equipment to capture and digitize the experience. Never mind the Neanderthals’ reactions to modern equipment and the fate that would most likely befall the hapless time traveler who would attempt such a foolish feat.

Consider that for a moment. A time traveler journeys into the past, having paid the extra fees for bringing back recording equipment such as a digital audio recorder and perhaps one for video as well.  This time traveler is a documentary film maker, working on a new piece that examines the history of music from its earliest beginnings to the present.  The sheer impossibility of the task current task- capturing some of the earliest music clips- should have been apparent before even undertaking the journey.  To record the Neanderthals, he would need to be within close proximity.  Considering that, in all likelihood, a modern day human would look as different to them as apes look to humans, their instinct to hunt and kill him would be strong.

But let’s put aside that point.

The Time Traveler appears, lugging his temporal carry-on.  There are several Neanderthals, bone flutes and stones in hand, hammering out a new piece. The Traveler steps into view.  They stop, stunned at his arrival.  Assuming he is even able to take out his recording equipment, and also assuming that he is able to prevent them from hunting him, killing him, and trashing his equipment, he spends time working to get them to play their instruments again.  As if any such Neanderthal could be lulled into such a calm state by a Traveler from the future (presumably) in a strange spacesuit, the resulting music would still be incredibly disappointing to the Traveler.

This is the most raw of all music, without the thousands of years of refinement and advancement of technique and music theory. The Time Traveler sees the Neanderthals for what the rest of the viewing audience would see- a group of mindless cretins haphazardly breathing into a bone flute and clanging rocks together.  I would suspect the Time Traveler, after about five minutes, would merely pack his equipment up, mutter under his breath, and return to the future, deciding that a documentary on the mating rituals of Tsetse flies would be much more interesting.)

But I digress.

The Pythagoreans of ancient Greece were the first to investigate the relationship between the musical scale and number ratios. Their creed was simple: “All nature consists of harmony arising out of number.”  This examination of harmony- as it relates to physics- expanded over time, and eventually become a branch known as musical acoustics.  When a sound is played, it creates a wave that varies depending upon the pitch.  These waves can interact with others, altering them to create new, unique tones; pianos and guitars operate along these basic principles.

The resonance of strings is the crafting of gods.

***

(Another flash. Large, milky-white hands with four bulbous fingers reach out. Lavender sky. A scream. A star dies. A whisper: “Another universe?”  Static. 1.6180339887.  “Somewhere in the-”

Darkness.)

***

The music resonates. Music is far more than a cultural or creative aspect of humanity.  It is engineered into the very fabric of the universe.  You could no more remove music from the universe than remove the steel framework from a building and expect it to stand. Nature resonates with life, because anything that is no longer moving, vibrating with the thrum of a heartbeat and blood rushing through the roadways of the body is sure to be dead.

Which makes this discussion with you vaguely ironic.

The universe is slowly dying. The strings powering the universe, the underlying framework on which all things are built, are crumbling. Some are breaking down faster than others. Though the heat death of the universe is an unfortunate inevitability, it is happening faster than was anticipated. The acceleration can only be attributed to one thing: the structure is being sabotaged. 

That is why you must accomplish your mission. The Light must move forward with you.

-Continued-

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