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First of All,...

The Messages

The Division Bell

But Why?

Douglas Adams



Introduction to the concept

"The signal has been delivered."  
The Division Bell album was released by Pink Floyd in 1994. During the Division Bell tour a self-proclaimed messenger for Pink Floyd, "Publius", started posting messages on the Internet at the usenet newsgroup Publius promised a unique prize and treasure waiting to be unearthed, and spoke of an enigma to be solved. Publius also hinted at a designed solution in The Division Bell. The first messages were followed by real world demonstrations of Publius' validity, or relatedness to Pink Floyd. These include live in concert messages containing the words "Publius" and "Enigma", as well as the inclusion of these words in artwork released with music. Supposedly, the prize was never found and the "Publius Enigma" never conclusively solved, despite great efforts by Pink Floyd fans around the world working together through the Internet.

The unique idea and solution pushed here is that the messages sent by Publius, and the ensuing activities to locate the prize and solve the enigma, were part of a spectacular concept designed into The Division Bell. The concept involves a relationship between:

  • The Division Bell album and artwork.
  • The Messages sent through "Publius" online, and the participation of Pink Floyd fans.
  • The unique vision and ideas in the seminal book first published in 1950, Cybernetics and Society: The Human Use of Human Beings, by Norbert Wiener.

The riches in The Division Bell can only be fully appreciated in light of each of these. The book is the key to thinking in a new way. Remarkably, the creation of the album was influenced by the vision and ideas in the book, and in anticipation of how the messages and ensuing activities would play themselves out through the Internet. The online event itself, combined with the book, become the key to the riches in the music. Applying the basic framework and concepts from the book make immediately clear that the online enigma phenomonen is an absurd play on communication and control of which the participants are a part. More remarkably, the framework, ideas, and themes stemming from the book, together with the online event, provide conceptual integrity and weave together the songs on the album, bringing to light the riches in the The Division Bell, the ultimate prize. [Further on, I'll speculate on why the concept was created, and how the ideas may have originated - from the contribution of author Douglas Adams possibly.]

A word of caution: The Division Bell concept is unprecedented and truly unique. I've tried to make this presentation as short and country simple as possible. More summary than thorough analysis. However, this concept is not easy to grasp. You might need to think hard to get it. You'll need to have some capacity for abstraction, a good sense of humor, as well as an open mind to see The Division Bell in a new light.

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