Masks of the Universe: Changing Ideas on the Nature of the by Edward Harrison

By Edward Harrison

In mask of the Universe, Edward Harrison brings jointly basic clinical, philosophical and non secular concerns in cosmology and increases concept upsetting questions. Philosophical concerns ruled cosmology within the historic global. Theological concerns ranked most excellent within the center a while; astronomy and the actual sciences have taken over in additional fresh occasions. but each try and clutch the real nature of the universe creates a brand new "mask," humans have continually pitied the universes in their ancestors, believing that their new release has finally found the "real" universe. can we now stand on the threshold of figuring out every thing, or have we created yet one more "mask," doomed to vanish like these previous ours? Edward Harrison is Adjunct Professor of Astronomy, Steward Observatory, college of Arizona, and Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy, collage of Massachusetts, Amherst. He labored as a scientist for the Atomic strength learn institution and the Rutherford excessive strength Laboratory in England until eventually 1966 while he grew to become a 5 collage professor on the college of Massachusetts and taught at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith collage. he's the writer of diverse books, together with Cosmology: the technology of the Universe (Cambridge, 2001)

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Air is flame and fire when rarified, cloud and water when condensed, earth and rock when more condensed. Rarified air is hot, condensed air is cold; and we notice how our breath feels cool when forced between pressed lips and yet is warm with the lips apart. Anaximenes said the constellations of stars were fiery rarefactions high in the atmosphere. C. lacked reliable historical records. The legendary past – when gods performed miracles on Earth – was separated from them by an impenetrable dark age.

More than once in the battle songs of the Old Testament we read of Hebrew armies deliberately kept small in order that victory might manifestly be by Yahweh’s decree and not the efforts of mortals. C. and founded a religion – Zoroastrianism – of ethical monotheism. This novel version of the mythic universe transformed the old Persian polytheism (akin to the pantheistic cults of Hinduism) and became the influential religion of the Medes and Persians. In the new monotheism, the Lord of Light – Ahura Mazda – created a universe in which goodness (symbolized by light) must ultimately triumph over wickedness (symbolized by darkness).

This vast expanse of wretched turmoil and the loss of veneration for the natural world lie on the debit side. On the credit side lie grandiose cosmic concepts, otherworldly visions of harmony and law, and lofty abstractions that organize and unify the universe. While gazing over the familiar historical scene, let us remember: not the gods who caused untold suffering, but human beings who created the gods, and thereby organized and directed the immense energies of the human mind. ∗ ∗ ∗ Myths lack a general definition.

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