Monday, January 22, 2007

Thomas Wright's Cosmic Hierarchy


In the beginning there was no existence.
Existence appeared and grew.
It became an egg.
The egg broke open.
One if its halves was of silver, the other gold.
The silver half became this earth.
The golden half became the sky.
The membrane surrounding the white of the egg became the mountains.
The membrane surrounding the yolk became mist and clouds.
The blood vessels rivers.
The white became the sea.
And the yolk was the sun.
Indian Upanishad
Thomas Wright was one of the first to suggest how the universe might be constructed. His major work, An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe (1750), contains elaborate engravings illustrating possible cosmic structures. Obsessed by the idea that there was a cosmic hierarchy and that everything must be part of a larger structure, Wright imagined space as consisting of a series of planetary systems, each with a star at its center, stretching into infinity. Pictured above is the level of the structure at which the Milky Way is but one of an infinite number of stellar systems or "island universes", each consisting of a huge quantity of matter organized into a sort of bubble.
Wright's ideas inspired the philosopher Immanuel Kant and the German mathematician, Johann Heinrich Lambert, author of Cosmological Letters (1761).

Quite a bandwagon. And we're still working on it. I wonder if the mystery wants to be known.
Another view:

16 Comments:

Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

Hiya JM! Checking in to see how you are. Had a few minutes to spare. I'm in Lafayette right now at my parents place. My dad is bad off right now. I posted a short piece on it at my place and will do an update soon. He went in for a 24 hour outpatient surgery on his gallbladder and they messed up. He is fighting for his life now. The doctor snipped a bile duct!!!

22/1/07 3:49 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Donnie! This is terrifying. So sudden. I'll be waiting to hear as soon as he pulls out of the crisis.

I've been thinking about fate the last couple of days, and wondering what's behind it all. We seem to have so little say about all these matters when it comes down to the line.

Take care of everybody and get back here as soon as you can to report. I love you.

22/1/07 4:01 PM  
Blogger jm said...

A beautiful, beautiful sunset tonight. I hope all is well for everybody and that a feeling of protection can get in, between the cramp and release that gets us through.

22/1/07 4:25 PM  
Blogger Tseka said...

Donnie, mon cher, i am sending you strong thoughts of wholeness, wellness, may love surround you and yours.

I wait with Jm for your news.

22/1/07 5:41 PM  
Blogger Neith said...

Donnie, if your dad is any where near as tough as his son, he'll make it through this. My boss's dad had a very similar experience with the same operation . . . and he's doing great now. Sending lots of well wishing to you & yours.

Please remember to take care of yourself too . . . :-)

22/1/07 7:22 PM  
Blogger Tseka said...

What an interesting period in history. Just prior to your guys was Leibniz metaphysician extraordinaire. He had some interesting things to say about time / space and illusion. Not to mention the necessity of Evil.

22/1/07 7:35 PM  
Blogger jm said...

The necessity of evil? This fascinates me. Will read immediately.

22/1/07 7:57 PM  
Blogger Tseka said...

(iii) Similarly to the previous argument, and in the best Neo-Platonist tradition, Leibniz claims that evil and sin are negations of positive reality. All created beings are limitations and imperfect; therefore evil and sin are necessary for created beings (see Discourse on Metaphysics, ยง30).

a little tidbit from the article.

22/1/07 8:04 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Oh thank you ever so much tseka. the forces are bumping me offline tonight so it will take me some times to get this article.
This is one of my favorite subjects. Let me see if I can get this posted before I'm 86'd.

22/1/07 8:15 PM  
Blogger jm said...

I am a firm believer that contrast is what it's all about, and that most definitely at this point, we need evil as our gauge. The two complete the whole. Maybe in evolution we will find a synthesis that combines the two. I find that almost no people who are honest with themselves in assesssing the two in their own personalities. So they project and exacerbate something that might be able to be controlled if owned. One of my big things.

Extreme evil probably isn't that prevalent. Just magnified by man.
Must read.

22/1/07 8:21 PM  
Blogger jm said...

There is tons here. I like this way of putting it:

Leibniz claims that one can bypass problems with the intuitive notion of truth, at least for the moment. Truth, according to Leibniz, is simply a proposition in which the predicate is contained in the subject. The predicate is what is asserted; the subject is what the assertion is about.

That about says it.

22/1/07 8:26 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Heavens. I like this. Thank you my curious friend.
I completely agree with this:

Human minds are only only aware of a small fraction of the universe. To judge it full of misery on this small fraction is presumptuous.

22/1/07 8:29 PM  
Blogger Tseka said...

It was a very fascinating time, Newton stole a lot of Leibniz work and passed it off as his own. In my opinion Leibniz is the hands down winner of the era. A brilliant mind. A glorious ego. Newton was a pretty surly fellow. It is all so curious as to how he ended up with the credit, the glory and the "chair"

22/1/07 8:33 PM  
Blogger Tseka said...

Still storming, snowing in CO?

High winds continue to plague us. Tonight finally some calm. The yard looks so dead, i long for some colour, some pansies, some narcissi, maybe some of Juno's yard gnomes.

22/1/07 8:38 PM  
Blogger jm said...

I didn't even know this Leibniz cat. Newton WAS a popstar of his day. How he got the glory? Grabbed it, Needed it, had to have it, do or die. I find that many geniuses are more concerned with the realm of imagination than fame. So Newton dropped a few things to the ground. Big deal! I should go down in history.

Leibie stresses relativity which I think must be a common view in all philosophy, and now science.

The latest storm has blown over. Very cold and calm today. But exceptionally nice.
The pansies are coming! I hear them!

22/1/07 9:07 PM  
Blogger jm said...

The principle of change becomes an original, internal and active power of the thing constantly becoming the thing that it is, as the spontaneous happening and internal principle of the particular order of things which make up that substance.

Gottfried Leibniz calls this order "god".

22/1/07 9:08 PM  

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