Thursday, March 15, 2018

There's Room at the Top of the Cosmos

I caught an article the other day that depicts the entire known universe in a single image:

Boom. Or ¡BANG!, rather. There it is.

Three things: first, that's us in the center. Second, you have to imagine it as a three-dimensional cone, with the central point closest to us. Third, it is not to scale, since it would be impossible to depict the vast distances involved. If it were to scale, our sun, which you see at the center, would be so tiny as to be invisible.

Interestingly, it looks very much like any other mandala, which is a symbolic representation of the cosmos. I wonder if this is because it is a perennial nonlocal form to which humans have vertical access?

Also, the sphere has always been understood as the perfect form, and the cosmos must be a perfect sphere, since it is expanding in all directions from a central point at 68 kilometers per second.

So, what is it expanding into? That's a nonsense question, or at least beyond the limits of the model. Ultimately the mathematical model must be tautologous, forbidden by Gödel to step outside itself. Only humans can do that, not science.

Therefore, there is a strange loop involved in gazing at that model; or better it is like a Klein Bottle, in which yer inside is out and yer outside is in. Again, we are at the center of the model, implying that we are "contained" by it. And yet, we are looking at it from the outside, such that it is we who contain the cosmos, not vice versa.

Is this possible? No, it's necessary: the cosmos is in the soul, not the soul in the cosmos.

Again, consider the logarithmic scale of the image above, such that as one gets closer to the center, things get smaller and smaller. But that is only the "reality," not the Reality. For in real Reality, at the center is the largest imaginable thing in all of existence, which is to say, the human mind -- the same isness that transcends the whole business.

I've mentioned before that I read a novel some 35 years ago called Little, Big. I don't remember anything about it except that it depicts a world of concentric circles. However, unlike standard geometry, the closer one gets to the center, the larger the world, to the point of infinitude.

Here again, this is very much like our world, being that the infinitude is at the center, not the periphery. Think, for example, of childhood. On the one hand, it was a small world -- our house, our family, our neighborhood. Nevertheless, remember the infinitude? It was everywhere and in every thing.

The good news is that there's still room at the top, as man always "opens out" to infinity. As such, it is as if there is a pinhole at the center of the image, with Light streaming in -- the same light that illuminates the image. This pinhole is a window or a door, depending. Jesus said "I am the way," but he might have said ways, e.g., the gate, the vine, the light, the truth.

God has opened a door in the middle of creation, and this open door of the world towards God is man; this opening is God's invitation to look toward Him, to tend towards Him, to persevere with regard to Him, and to return to Him (Schuon).

It is the actual river that runs up Mount Improbable:

the human state is a gate of exit -- and the only gate for the terrestrial world -- not merely out of this world or the formal cosmos, but even out of the immense and numberless objectification that is universal Existence.

Maybe you can't see it, but at the very center of the center -- the beating heart of the cosmos -- would have to be the cross. God is "outside" the circle, but when he condescends to enter, he is cruciform.

Schuon often uses the image of the circle as a point of reference. God is at the center, radiating outward, with each concentric circle representing a world -- for example, worlds of matter, of biology, of mind. In one sense the material world -- or the world of the material ego -- is the most distant from the center, but it is possible for man to plunge right past it, into "negative" spaces of falsehood, evil, and tenure.

In any event, in this view, the spiritual adventure is a journey back to the center:

The subjective principle emanating from the divine Subject crosses the Universe like a ray in order to end in the multitude of egos.... Man marks the limit of the "creative ray" for the terrestrial world that is his; his sufficient reason consists in being this limit, that is, in providing a stop -- after the manner of an echo or a mirror -- to the "ray of exteriorization".... it is at the same time a door open toward the Self and immortality (Schuon).

So, where does this leave us vis-a-vis our picture of the universe? In truth, man cannot be enclosed in any system, whether material, mathematical, ideological, visual, biological, whatever. Rather, the cosmos is in us, and we are in God. And the higher you fly, the deeper you go. So c'mon!

10 comments:

julie said...

As S Lewis put it in The Last Battle, "further up and further in!"

ted said...

Or maybe this image which you've alluded to before also, and I love!

Gagdad Bob said...

I recently read a book about Tolkien, in which he describes a vision in church while seeing motes of dust illuminated by the light:

"I perceived or thought of the Light of God and it was suspended in one small mote (or millions of motes to only one of which was my mind directed), glittering white because of the individual ray from the Light which both held and lit it.... And the ray was the Guardian Angel of the mote: not a thing interposed between God and the creature, but God's very attention itself, personalized.... this is a finite parallel to the Infinite. As the love of the Father and Son is a Person, so is the love and attention of the Light to the Mote a person..."

Petey said...

So, see the I in your own mote.

julie said...

That is lovely. Also, the only way we can see the beam of light is there is by the motes it illuminates. Without them, it would truly be shining in the darkness, with nothing to comprehend it.

ted said...

I agree, lovely perception by Tolkein. Have you ever read Kreeft's book on him?

ted said...

Bishop Barron's interesting take on Peterson.

Anonymous said...

A troll sits down to comment; however, the post is quite elegant. So the troll awaits the next installment....

BZ said...

Thank you for your years of noodging my thoughts and understanding to something better.

mushroom said...

Speaking of the Cross reminds me of Dali's "Corpus Hypercubicus". And people have been talking tesseracts because of Oprah's perversion of L'Engle.