The Night Sky: Soul and Cosmos: the Physics and Metaphysics of the Stars and Planets
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Ever since Homo sapiens first looked up at the stars, we as a species have been looking for meaning in the mysteries of the night sky. Over the millennia, as our knowledge, science, and technology developed, the stories we told ourselves about the universe and our place in it developed as well. In The Night Sky, Richard Grossinger traces those developments, covering multiple aspects of humanity's complex relationship to the cosmos. Covering not only astronomy but also cosmology, cosmogony, astrology, and science fiction, he offers us a revelatory look at the firmament through his own telescope, fitted with an anthropological lens.
Throughout his explorations, Grossinger continually reflects on the deeper meaning of our changing concepts about the universe and creation, offering insight into how each new discovery causes us to redefine the values, moralities, and aesthetics by which we live. He also calls into question the self-aggrandizing notion that humanity can and will conquer all, and injects our strident confidence in science with a healthy dose of humility and wonder. Filled with poetic observation and profound questions, The Night Sky is a brilliant reflection of humanity's relationship with the cosmos--a relationship fed by longing, doubt, and awe.
and compounds on them were designed by atomic nuclei, a few murky anointments of which (on Earth) got configured as primitive bionts. As chemico-electrical properties of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen matriculated into chains of molecules, proteins and amino acids graduated to cells, membranes, and matrices, which diverged and individuated into plant and animal kingdoms. Life in the universe was a fluke outcome of trillions of random molecular acts on gravity-bound orbs, bubbling up from a witch’s
universe transcend local tyrannies and cabals while providing more useful practices than paranoia.) Either way, we are several octaves short of happy hour or understanding why any of this is happening and what the fuss is about. Yet total lunar phobia is uncalled for. For all negative things laid on the Moon, Luna is a complex, multi-faceted intelligence with benign, friendly aspects too (as in the protection conferred on Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, a variant of which it conducts nightly for
Lawrence Krause, author of A Universe from Nothing, mocked Newsweek publisher Tina Brown’s explication of the “near death” experience of Harvard neurosurgeon Eben Alexander. Ms. Brown had overseen a recent cover article on Alexander’s best-selling book, Proof of Heaven. In it, the doctor stated that, as a brain specialist, he could validate his own out-of-body odyssey while in a life-threatening coma because he knew incontrovertibly that his cerebral neocortex, having been infected with a rare
into a chaos of unfulfilled messages and failed potential. When we are empty, dark forces use us for their ends: “Oh yes we will find out.” We have not hit the bottom, but we have scraped out the full contents. We are now in need of a new theory of the heavens, complex enough to accommodate all we know—all Pandora’s jars we have pried or dynamited open, all the apples we have looted or genetically engineered from the Tree of Forbidden Knowledge—yet profound enough to encompass all we are; cosmic
Newton: We cannot long observe the beauteous parts of the visible creation, not only of this world on which we live but also the myriads of bright bodies round us with any attention, without being convinced that a power supreme, and of a nature unknown to us, presides in and governs it.5 Immanuel Kant, a contemporary of Wright, intuited that our stellar galaxy must be a part of a greater plan of cosmic evolution. Since nature repeats fundamental shapes, if there was one “Milky Way,” there were