The Deaths of Hippasus of Metapontum

ARTIST: Sol Rezza
FORMAT: Digital
LABEL: Las Muertes de Hipaso de Metaponto
RELEASE: May, 2023
COUNTRY: Argentina

Hippasus of Metapontus was a pre-Socratic philosopher who is credited with the construction of the dodecahedron as an approximation to a sphere and with the discovery of incommensurability, which in the philosophy of science is the impossibility of comparing two theories when there is no common theoretical language. If two theories are incommensurable then there is no way to compare them and say which one is correct. In mathematics it is not the impossibility of comparison, but the absence of a common factor that can express it.

Apparently, Hippasus unveiled secrets that should not be revealed “to those who were not worthy to partake of such knowledge” according to the Acousmatists, (The Acousmatists were the custodians of Pythagoras’ teachings and their main concern was that they should be preserved as Pythagoras had handed them down).

Hippasus disregarded the warnings of the Acusmatics and said the wrong things to the wrong people. The result was his expulsion from the community and his subsequent death… Some sources cite that he died by drowning, others that he committed suicide or that Pythagoras killed him. It is not known for certain how he died, what is known is that the Pythagoreans themselves raised a tomb making it clear that, for them, he was already dead.

Here is a small tribute to a philosopher of whom little is said and who spoke out at the most inopportune moments.

If something Hippasus left us, honestly, it was not the discovery of the dodecahedron or incommensurability, it is that bitter taste we have when we read history, it is the certainty that Pythagoras was surely very wrong and that most of our beliefs are based on those mistakes. We know little or nothing of the many Hippos who must have existed and who surely had a tomb named after him before his death.

From this corner of the world, in this age of repeated misunderstandings and insurmountable blindness, I propose two different versions of his own death to Hippiasus of Metapontum so that he may finally rest in peace.

Thank you Hippasus for discovering the incommensurability of things. Without it we would not have the capacity to know that another world is possible just because not everything is measurable and quantifiable.

Sol Rezza — 2009


This work, which joins the CALATHEA Experimenta catalogue, has been remastered from its original wav file.

First published in 2009, contained in several repositories under CC-CL licenses and always distributed in lossy audio formats.

For the first time it is released in high quality digital format. The mastering process was assisted by the composer herself.
Mastering for platforms by CALATHEA Experimenta.