Does it happen to you that a certain concept intrigues you, that it occupies you for years, that it keeps you incessantly busy, so busy that you can’t let it go? That happens with me too. To be exact, I have this conundrum with the concept of analog and digital. Perhaps it does not bother you. That is fine. Then you could stop reading and go on to the next article. I am a techy and my earliest memory of the word goes back to the years that digital telephoning suddenly appeared. Up to that time the telephone service was analog. This column is not about telephones but about the fact that telephoning – distance speaking – can be realized in two ways: analog or digital. Of course I already knew for a long time that analog means ‘similar to’, or constant, without steps, harmonic. Digital, on the contrary, goes in steps. To put it bluntly, it goes in fits and starts, abruptly, disharmoniously. By way of example, the transfer from black to white can go analog or digital. This illustration shows what I mean.
I do not know why, but then comes the question of which one is better? Analog, thus gradually, or digital, meaning all of a sudden? In nature everything goes gradually; there are only curved lines and no straight corners, which a person, certainly a techy, really likes to make. And then to think that a human being can’t even draw a straight line or a perfect square without the use of a ruler. And who
has the gift to draw an exact, round circle free hand, or let’s not even mention an equilateral pentagon? Analog is much older than digital also in technique. A clock, a thermometer and a barometer, they all got hands when humans started to interfere. That remained so for centuries until the numerals appeared (digits they say in English), then six o’clock with the one hand upward and the other one down suddenly became 06:00:00 hours. If you look at analog and digital like the climbing of a mountain, then schematically it could be imagined as in the diagram below.
If you want to decide for yourself how big the steps are that you take, you could call that analog. If you take the stairs to go up, the builder of the stairs has decided how big your steps should be. Analog seems to be more natural and you are not dependent on what someone else has thought out for you. Could you also view the path, the steps of initiation that are crucial in the school of the Rosycross, in this manner? I can’t decide what is better. Sometimes analog is more pleasant, because it is more gradual. At other moments digital seems to be more elevated, because, in fact, it is ‘all or nothing’. Change is always crucial. Change between black and white, between high and low, between zero and one, between nothing and everything. Changes indicate differences, opposites. Perhaps I should leave the thoughts of differences alone, and then I wouldn’t have to choose between analog and digital. Then there is no longer zero and one. Then there is only the zero, the circle that encloses everything. The circle whose circumference is nowhere and the point in its centre is everywhere. And then you progress logically from the image of a circle to a spiral. A circle is a beautiful image, but in a way it is closed off, shut, without entrance or exit, while a spiral is always open. If you walk your way with an open mind and an open heart, and grow, then it is as if you follow the way of a spiral. Concepts like analog and digital then fall by the wayside. The way of a spiral takes you simultaneously to the core of everything and to the immeasurable greatness that is one with that.