Hidden musical code found written into Plato's texts
Ancient philosopher's texts double as a musical score, researchers find.
Tue, Jun 29 2010 at 5:20 PM
Photo: Wiki Commons/CC License
Years after Dan Brown's fictional bestseller, "The Da Vinci Code," excited the imaginations of readers everywhere, researchers have been discovering hidden codes in several of history's most famous masterpieces. For instance, recently analysts identified secret images of human anatomy in Michelangelo's art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and now research has unlocked a hidden musical score written into Plato's texts, according to the Environmental News Network.
"Plato’s books played a major role in founding Western culture, but they are mysterious and end in riddles," said Dr. Jay Kennedy of University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences.
Those riddles are finally being unwound, thanks to Kennedy's thorough five-year study of Plato's best-known work, "The Republic". "It is a long and exciting story, but basically I cracked the code. I have shown rigorously that the books do contain codes and symbols and that unraveling them reveals the hidden philosophy of Plato."
So what great wisdom does the secret message reveal? Part of the answer rests in how the code was delivered.
Plato was influenced by Pythagoras, another ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician who is perhaps best known for discovering the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagoras believed that the universe was fundamentally mathematical by nature, and that the planets and stars danced along to "a harmony of the spheres." Basically, since musical notes can be translated mathematically, Pythagoras thought the workings of nature marched to the beat of a grand cosmic mathematical symphony.
Kennedy discovered that Plato had placed clusters of words related to music in his master work, which can be broken into 12 equal sections — a pattern he suspected was related to the twelve notes of the Greek musical scale. If played out like a musical score — locations in the text associated with love or laughter played out with harmonic notes, while associations with war or death were marked with dissonant screeching sounds.
Thus, it's possible that Plato's books attempt to mimic the Pythagorean view of nature by doubling as a musical score. At the very least, the discovery adds more depth and value to text which scholars already consider among the most elegant and artful works of philosophy ever written.
"This is a true discovery, not simply reinterpretation," Kennedy insisted. "The result was amazing — it was like opening a tomb and finding new set of gospels written by Jesus Christ himself. Plato is smiling. He sent us a time capsule."
MNN homepage photo: Image editor/Flickr
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