Monday, August 15, 2022

That Time Jimi Hendrix Predicted Climate Change

The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967.  From left to right, drummer Mitch Mitchell, bass player Noel Redding, and mystical shaman Jimi Hendrix.

To be sure, none of this is going to save our asses.

Climate change, global warming, whatever you prefer to call it, used to be looming, or maybe impending.  

Now it's here, causing bizarre disasters everywhere you look, and it's only going to get worse.

That's a bummer, but not what this post is about.  This is more fun, and hopefully more interesting than that.

Here goes:

Jimi Hendrix was, by just about all accounts, the best guitar player of the rock era, and probably during the entire era of recorded music, up to the present day. 

In 1967, he embarked on a three-and-a-half-year mission (then he died), which radically overhauled what was considered possible in terms of playing the electric guitar, and making music in general.

Besides being a guitar virtuoso, he was a sensitive and intelligent song writer.  It's clear that he had that outcast and alienated feeling, which many great artists, and quite a few regular people, often have.

That year, he wrote two songs from the perspective of an alien from outer space visiting Earth.  The first of these, Third Stone From the Sun, is by far the better known of the two.

The second of these songs is called Up From the Skies, and appears on the album Axis: Bold as Love.

In this song, Hendrix is an eternal alien who is returning to Earth after thousands of years away.  The last time he was here was during the Ice Age.

And he offers this little tidbit:

I have lived here before,

In days of ice.

And of course this is why I'm so concerned.

And I come back to find the stars misplaced.

And the smell of a world that has burned.

The smell of a world that has burned.

Yeah, well.

Maybe it's just a change of climate.

Certainly, before 1967 scientists were beginning to grasp that the climate was changing (and not for the better), because of humans burning fossil fuels for energy.  

But the extent of it wasn't understood yet, no one was sounding any alarms, and the general public had no idea it was going on.  Hendrix simply intuited it.

Who else has done something like this?

Enjoy Up From the Skies, by the Jimi Hendrix Experience (with Spanish subtitles!).

That Time Edgar Allan Poe Explained the Universe

Poe was a weird guy.

We all know about Edgar Allan Poe.  

He is the visionary American author, whose career in the early- to mid-1800s pioneered the development of short stories, as well as tales of mystery, horror and the macabre.  He is often considered the inventor of the modern detective story.

He also lived in desperate poverty, was a serious alcoholic (as compared to an "un-serious" alcoholic, like this guy), and he displayed symptoms of what psychiatrists would now refer to as paranoid schizophrenia.  

Strangely (or maybe not, considering who we're talking about), in 1848, Poe gave a public lecture called "On the Cosmography of the Universe."

The lecture became the basis for a long form poem known as "Eureka: A Prose Poem," which had an initial publishing run of 50 copies.

Obscure, let's say.  

During this lecture, he proposed that God had created the universe from a "primordial particle," which expanded outward and became the physical universe that we experience.  Nowadays, we would recognize this as the Big Bang Theory, something no one else would suggest for another 80 years.

In 1848, the universe wasn't thought to be expanding.  The accepted theory was that the universe was static.  The idea of a static or "steady state" universe wasn't completely debunked until 1964.

Poe also touched upon the idea that "space and duration are one," which we would now recognize as Einstein's theory of "spacetime."

See related article: The Case Against Free Will

He wasn't done yet.  He also suggested that our universe was one of many parallel universes.  Then he finished up by solving Olbers Paradox.  He is thought to be the first person to offer a plausible solution to this problem.

Quite a performance for a guy whose regular, low-paying gig was making up fake stories.  Poe was not a scientist in any way.  In fact, he was openly dismissive of the scientific method, and felt that knowing the truth through intuition was the superior method.

Even if he wanted to use the scientific method to work on these ideas, he couldn't have.  He was utterly impoverished, had no access to the limited tools of science that existed at the time, and the fields of physics and cosmology were barely in their infancy.

Thee Optimist is endlessly fascinated by things like this.  We have abilities that we never develop and constantly overlook.  

I don't think you have to be Jimi Hendrix or Edgar Allan Poe.  I believe some amount of this is available to all of us.

Words of Wisdom

“The air is full of ideas.  They are knocking you in the head all the time."

- Henry Ford

Hey, big thinkers:

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1 comment:

  1. In the late 1970's, Francis Ford Coppolla predicted the internet at the Oscars.