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The Psychoacoustics of "Enthousiasmós" : How to Hear a Cosmopoietic Cantata in a Chorus of Atmospheric Whistlers

Abstract : This paper takes a fresh, unprejudiced look at the testimony and evidence pertaining to the “otherworldly sounds” (θαύματ᾽ ἀκοῦσαι) that “inspired oracles” in ancient Greece were supposed to have heard while in the throes of a “theoleptic fit”. It argues that the available information can be read in such a way as to suppose that there is a “rational” explanation for the pretention. In other words, the oracles concerned mastered certain concentration techniques that had the effect of transforming their bodies into a “remote sensing technology” which gave them the ability to “tune in to” circumambient electromagnetic activity. Hence the “voices” of the Muses and Gods that inspired oracles said they heard while in a cataleptic trance were merely the acoustic signature of a stimulus imputable to electromagnetic activity that is normally inaudible because it is higher or lower than the Hertzian frequency range covering what counts as “effective perceived noise” for the average “abled” human listener
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https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02644029
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 9:08:29 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 19, 2020 - 6:27:45 PM

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Fionn Bennett. The Psychoacoustics of "Enthousiasmós" : How to Hear a Cosmopoietic Cantata in a Chorus of Atmospheric Whistlers. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, Presses Universitaires de France, 2019, Rite et voix dans la philosophie antique, 103 (3), pp.229-246. ⟨10.3917/rmm.193.0229⟩. ⟨hal-02644029⟩

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