[Fis] Murakami and Swift

Mark Burgin markburg at cs.ucla.edu
Tue Mar 30 07:54:00 CEST 2021

>From the point of view of mathematics, there is no real continuity in nature! 

From: "Karl Javorszky" <karl.javorszky at gmail.com> 
To: "fis" <fis at listas.unizar.es> 
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2021 3:23:32 AM 
Subject: [Fis] Murakami and Swift 

Murakami and Swift 2021 03 26 

These last, long weeks being very much conductive to staying at home, one would address the task of reading a long novel or two. Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84” and “Killing Commendatore” touch on subjects that are, in this person’s opinion, worthy of discussing in this present scientific-intellectual debating society. 

Let us put Murakami in a connection with Jonathan Swift. The Irishman has presaged with his “Gulliver’s Travels” massive changes in the perception of royalty, authorities, rules and conventions. Although King Charles II was tried and executed in 1649, the Restoration twelve years later has eradicated the positive connotations to getting rid of a ruler. Up to Gulliver, it seems that the common understanding has continuously accepted the religious-mythical connotations of political force. The belief in authorities and their possession of transcendent powers has been the unspoken background of the idea of a functioning society. Swift has challenged the prevailing meme, by substituting it by a narrative, where Kings are minuscule, pompous dotards. The slogans of state get deflated if the common cause is reduced to the conflict of opening up the breakfast egg on which end. You can’t adore a God-Emperor if he is that naïve, completely lacking common sense and decency. Laughing about a mighty ruler is a necessary step towards guillotining the formerly mighty same. As a medicine, Swift’s Gulliver has the characteristics of a depot forte. Its effects establish themselves almost imperceptibly, over a long time period. It took over three generations from Gulliver to the French Revolution. 

Murakami appears to me to exert a similar influence on contemporary thinking as Swift had. It may take another generation or two to be able to speak in rational terms about his ideas. Like the ideas brought home by Gulliver from his Travels, the ideas expressed in 1Q84 elicit in their reader a smile and a wonderment, ending in a relieved realisation: this is only a phantasy, a tale, a story; this is nothing real. Swift has stated, although not expressis verbis, 

· Kings come in all kinds of varieties; 

· There is no unified, general rule of how Kings are to be; 

· Kings maintain their rule by earthly methods of power and by elaborate memes; 

· Almost anybody has more common sense and decency than the Kings. 

Murakami does the same work of destroying, levelling and salting intellectual empires by stating, in the guise of an elaborate cloak-and-dagger sci-fi mystery phantasy: 

· Realities come in all kinds of varieties; 

· There is a specific variety of non-standard reality, which people (not: Murakami) call metaphysics; 

· This parallel reality is actually merged with the common reality, deviating visibly from that only in specific circumstances; 

· There are rules and axioms and protagonists in metaphysics very similar to those in common reality (“physics”); 

· If we had different sensory organs, we could perceive parts of the other (“metaphysical”) reality, possibly losing some perceptions of the normal reality (if we could sense the Earth’s magnetism, we might not be able to distinguish some colors: we would live in a different reality); 

· The density of relations in the other variant influences actual facts in this variant (the density of charge in the parallel world of relations causes an actual lightning in the world of realised facts; the density of desire causes space to conflate/merge and people to synchronise/co-resonate); 

· Both variants are subject to identical axioms of inner consistency of the sequel being a deduction/corollary of the present: both worlds have an inner logic, which deviates only partly from the logic of the parallel world; 

· Time is a recurring element; one who remembers is partly identical to one who is perceiving/had perceived; 

· The continuity is not really continuous, not even for one and the same individual; 

· Aside from one global clock, about which we do not speak, there are local clocks which run at differing speeds; 

· It is possible for the two worlds to merge and to disunite without any problems, the worlds can /and do/ exist alongside each other; 

· The moral of the story on the example of the protagonist heroes is, that a full, ideal life includes the knowledge and ability to surf both waves and to connect with one’s alternate selves, be these laterally or temporally distinct. 

Well, of course, a phantasy is a phantasy. Thank God, thank our Kings, thank our Schools we can well recognise a phantasy from hard-core reality. Heaven forbid establishing Murakami’s unified dual space-time concept as a credible and sensible idea of which the time has come. 

Murakami’s idea of the parallel world appears to me like a smear, lubrication, veil, packaging cellophane foil or skin. It is well attached to the surface of the factual world, and agglomerates only at times into such droplets or crumplets which modificate the actual things, all the while dramatically influencing the properties of the things they lubricate and separate at the same time. One would hope that time and patient research will bring to the surface such rational words, connected by rationally imaginable relations, which support the vision of two narratives running concurrently: one details what are the facts and one details what are the expectations, based on the facts so far. The two rhetorical strands could support Murakami’s vision. In case one had such a story to tell, about facts and expectations based on facts, one could call that what Murakami calls the Q-time/space also the information content of the story. This point makes the literary work a suitable subject for a submission to FIS. 

Happy and healthy Eastern to you all! 


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