Physics and the Cosmogony of Dadaism: The Balanced and Unbalanced

'Give Us Your Dada' by Jay Schwartz“I destroy the drawers of the brain, and those of social organisation: to sow demoralisation everywhere, and throw heaven’s hand into hell, hell’s eyes into heaven, to reinstate the fertile wheel of a universal circus in the Powers of reality, and the fantasy of every individual.”
– Tristan Tzara
“The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot”
– Salvador Dali


Who can argue with the ‘big bang’ theory, except perhaps the creationists … or perhaps the creator? Such a discussion would most certainly use, as an analogy, the making of popcorn: a daring activity that is fraught with danger, not just of an ordinary household nature, but of that with planetary wide significance (i.e., ‘BOOM’).

When popping corn in the confines of a kitchen, it’s the random mix of organic and temporal variables that allow corn kernels to ‘pop’ one or a few at a time. However, it should go without saying that with the right alignment of variables, a single ‘super-pop’ might occur in which all kernels will simultaneously explode together.

Given such an event, it is quite possible, under the right cosmogonical circumstances, for such an explosion to actually rip a hole in the fabric of space and time, creating a mini-black hole, which if left unconstrained will turn us, and all manner of creation in this parsec of the universe, inside out.

Now, I don’t confess to be much of a physicist, but to some extent, you can’t get around certain laws of the related science. Most physicists understand that the study of physics, therefore, is not something that should be practiced at home, and is best left to facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where the art of popping corn can be studied in safety.

Hitlers Unintentional Little Helpers - NARABut it’s not just in the pursuit of science in which our existence hangs in the balance, it is also within our logic where similar danger lurks, especially in the minds of the unbalanced who are prone to narrow- thinking.

For example, as noted in Nazi Germany, ‘groupthink’ is a dangerous phenomenon. It is a psychological condition in which people strive for conformity in regard to achieving consensus within a group. When it occurs in populations undergoing political, social and economic upheaval, it tends to manifest in the following escalating symptoms:

Egocentrism begets nationalism. Nationalism breeds ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism gives rise to censorship (of other opinions). Censorship fathers ignorance. Ignorance results in discrimination. Discrimination induces racism. Racism spawns paranoia. Paranoia prompts discriminate violence (including hate crime, political assassination and especially genocide) … loss of cultural norms manifests and then mutates into loss of cultural identity. Discriminate violence ultimately yields indiscriminate violence, which in turn eventually engenders cannibalism. Cannibalism heralds ‘the end’ of humanity and, in general, our existence.

Preventing the above begs the question, “how is balance best achieved?” Those who have been ‘normalized’ by society and the logic of the times often prescribe thinking and acting in moderation; a ‘middle road’ may be traveled in order to avoid extremism and excess.

Yet, as a non-conformist and creative individual, I am not so convinced of this prescription. Instead, I would suggest that Dadaism holds an answer in its efficacy.

Salvador Dali - Dali AtomicusTo me, dadaism ‘works’ in terms of physics because it represents equilibrium via the balancing of two extremes (art and anti-art), rather than the cramming of similar items onto the central point of a fulcrum. In fact, conformity of thought and action in art (et al) suggests concentrating and centralizing matter which only increases internal stress. After all, there is only so much that can fit in a compact space before the pressure of compressing items together buckles, giving way to an explosive big bang.

The dadas knew better. Perhaps Tristan Tzara suggested as much when he waxed poetic on the ‘dialectic’, “Ideal, Ideal, Ideal, Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge, Boomboom, Boomboom, Boomboom”.

The beauty of dada is that it is both everything and nothing. In terms of physics, it not only possesses elements of matter and anti-matter (art and anti-art), it also blends the two in harmonious fashion. As such, it poses no threat to mankind at large or the space-time continuum. Only academics, the anal-retentive and extremists might be offended by its ‘regularity’. In fact, if not for their puritanical and self-serving egos, even religious zealots of all spiritual denominations would have no qualms embracing Dadaism.

Dada affords breathing space to everyone. It is unconditional and yet uncompromising in its message, but it demands neither temples nor pilgrimages in which the weak may be trodden over. It requires no body parts to be mutilated and brandishes no guilt or talk of sin, heaven or hell. If anything, it champions free-speech and free thought.

Dada Phone No. 7It is defined by its mindless logic and its chaos with symmetry. It embodies both the sentiment of ‘to each his own’ and ‘all for one, one for all’. Without it, the study of string theory and generally, quantum mechanics, would be a climax-less exercise of mental masturbation.

Historically, as Dadaism spread around the globe, it became evident that as much as like-minded artists rallied around its motive, there was little risk that groupthink would take hold. Dada didn’t manifest itself as shades of a single color (a specific art form), but as similar shades of different colors.

The integral ingredient in this glorious artistic anomaly was the capacity to think freely and creatively and the willingness or penchant towards non-conformity in order defy convention. It is attributed to open-mindedness, not narrow-mindedness.

Yes, dada might possess an anarchic nature, but it also liberates one from self-repression and nihilism. Simply put, if I could think with my feet, they’d never touch the ground.


Click Here For My Other Posts On Dadaism

‘Why Not’ Reading Links

Suggested Viewing

Video: 1928 Dadaist Film by Director Hans Richter

Suggested Reading

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The Souljazz Orchestra: Manifesto

“Manifesto” by The Souljazz Orchestra – Help support independent artists!

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