Thursday, November 11, 2021

953: The Origins of Astronomy....

Pythagoras (c. 570 - 495 BC) invented the idea, Plato (c. 380 BC) said in his "Politeia": " The patterns in the sky may be regarded as the most beautiful and most exact in the material world, 


but they belong to the visible things, and therefore they remain in purity far behind the interrelationships between the movements of those heavenly bodies, which in pure numbers and pure figures can be expressed."


Here you read the basics of metaphysics, which will dominate the thinking of homo sapiens for more than a thousand years.


Axiom 1: The purest entities are whole numbers and geometric forms, of which the circle is the purest.


How do you get such a belief, I wonder. Man discovers his mind and what he can do with it: he can count and manipulate his counting. Counting can describe patterns.


Shapes... what is the most interesting, maybe even funniest shape. I'd say a ball. It looks perfect from all sides. It can roll in any direction. Try that with a chance.


A ball looks the same viewed from every angle. Almost a magical shape and its shadow. Let's call it a circle.


Like animals get fascinated by something new, homo sapiens must have become fascinated too, but on a higher level of understanding with numbers and geometrical shapes.


Plato gave these fascinating entities a metaphysical status.


Axiom 2: The material world we live in may resemble these metaphysical purities, but it is not.


Then reality kicked in because when observing the movements of the planets, you saw apparently imperfect phenomena.


The planets may move in perfect circles, but how can it then be that they seem to move sometimes slower and then again faster, or even backward instead of having a constant movement?


The Babylonians already had observed that phenomenon and so did the Greek mathematician Eudoxus of Cnidus c. 410 - 347 BC).


He introduced a model consisting of concentric spheres, a kind of rotating celestial spheres centered on the Earth. 


In Eudoxus' system, the spheres have inclined axes and can move both clockwise and counterclockwise so that retrograde movements of celestial bodies could be accounted for.


Eudoxus postulated 26 spheres. Aristotle (384-321 BC), who also worked in Athens, even expanded the number of spheres to about 55.


In doing so, he also explained his comprehensive notion of the cosmos: a two-world model with a celestial and an earthly mechanic. 


According to Aristotle, all natural motion in the sky consists of circular revolutions moved by an unmoved mover, 


while on Earth all natural motion tends toward rest, toward the center of the Earth, unless an object is kept in motion by an external force. 


Heaven, or the superlunar, is perfect and unchanging, while the sublunar is imperfect and subject to change.


Here are pagans speaking, but if you listen carefully you will also understand why the church of Rome so eagerly absorbed these metaphysics at that time.


The picture was perfect, an unmoved mover, heavenly spheres, the earth in the center. Absolutely perfect.


And then there is the question: Why was homo sapiens so fascinated by those stars and planets? Why not by cloud patterns or the multitude of tree shapes?


My thought on this is that the more and more self-conscious homo sapiens discovered a pattern, a relationship between "below" and "above".


Very simple. For example, the observation, if that star is visible there again, then everything will grow and bloom again, that is, food.


And when that star appears, we must gather and store food, because winter is coming. That may have been the beginning.


Picture these observations and thinking as a process that goes on for centuries, it is hardly surprising that we arrive at Aristotle and his ideas. 

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rens Bod: "Een Wereld vol Patronen".  2019

The Discussion    

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as above so below

[13:15] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:15] herman Bergson: Behind me is a picture drawn by Robert Fludd

[13:15] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano): It is difficult to understand that you are not the center. Like every child discovers.

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also the curiosity of whats out there

[13:15] herman Bergson: Seventeenth century

[13:16] herman Bergson: Yes...there are more aspects to this issue

[13:16] herman Bergson: That feeling of being the center of the universe....yes

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also the curiosity what is out there beyond the clouds

[13:17] herman Bergson: Most interesting is that this metaphysics fit in so well with the catholic church

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the things far away

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what are those

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): things like that

[13:17] oola Neruda: or besides the neutron

[13:18] oola Neruda: serious question right now

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but they did not knew about neutrons back then

[13:18] herman Bergson: Man tried to explain what he wasn't able to explain....

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:18] oola Neruda: and are still questioning it and learning

[13:18] herman Bergson: Don't forget the spiritual inclinations of homo sapiens too

[13:19] herman Bergson: Just add these Aristotelian ideas to biblical beliefs....

[13:20] herman Bergson: Fits like a glove as long as you keep believing in the earth as the center of the universe

[13:20] oola Neruda: nods

[13:20] herman Bergson: and planetary movement in perfect circles

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): which all turned out not to be the case and damn the church got angry

[13:21] herman Bergson: You will be surprised about the ingenuity with which they tried to keep that belief on the table for centuries

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): when someone proposed about eclipses and the sun in the center

[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:22] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano): To be honest, the ellipses aren't that far from circles.

[13:22] herman Bergson: not really'll learn in the next lectures....

[13:22] herman Bergson: No, indeed Sousi, but it is an imperfect circle....

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:22] herman Bergson: and Plato had spoken of perfect forms

[13:23] herman Bergson: Those were hardly empirical times....those were dogmatic times

[13:23] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano): The issue was more that they weren't circling around the Earth. The difference between long and short diameter are about 1%, small enough that you won't notice it without precision instruments

[13:24] herman Bergson: In the Renaissance empirical research just began

[13:25] herman Bergson: That the planets weren't circling around the earth, they didn't know

[13:25] herman Bergson: But an ancient Greek already proposed a heliocentric universe...maybe it was Aristarchus...

[13:27] herman Bergson: Besides that....Tycho Brahe found a trick so that he could have the planets rotate around the sun and sun and planets around the earth

[13:27] herman Bergson: Was ok with the church :-))

[13:27] herman Bergson: Tycho was his name

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa yes Tycho i remember, did a school project about that dude long ago

[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Tycho Brahe

[13:27] herman Bergson: Nice Bejiita :-))

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he had an observatory on Ven.Denmark

[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): an island

[13:28] herman Bergson: But the main reasoning was based on mathematics....

[13:29] herman Bergson: yes he had and went later to Prague....also interesting

[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:29] herman Bergson: Why is this astronomer working at the court of Rudolf I....or II ....not sure about the number :-)

[13:30] herman Bergson: I have my thoughts about that

[13:31] herman Bergson: You'll learn about them after a well deserved vacation for you all :-))

[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): which thoughts?

[13:31] oola Neruda: yes... which thoughts

[13:31] herman Bergson: about why Brahe worked at a court

[13:31] oola Neruda: yes... why

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): dont remember that part

[13:31] herman Bergson: I'll leave that as a cliffhanger for ther next lecture ;-))

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): to be continued....

[13:32] herman Bergson: It is not in the history books Bejiita....they leave that aspect systematically out

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa ok yes i only remmeber that he was an astronomer and had that observatory on the island

[13:33] herman Bergson: It is related to the question why scholars in those days were studying so hard and put so much ingenuity in their work

[13:33] oola Neruda: money

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so that maybe was not in there at all cause dont remember anything about reading about that

[13:34] herman Bergson: We have a completely different interpretation of what science is

[13:34] oola Neruda: need for board and room

[13:34] herman Bergson: Those people had a completely different motivation, is my idea...

[13:35] herman Bergson: money...partly of need to make a living

[13:35] herman Bergson: teaching they did a lot too ofcourse

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): honour of the family?

[13:35] herman Bergson: hmmm....don;t know

[13:36] herman Bergson: So, you have to wait an extra week for answers ^_^

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): have a nice vacation

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): u might get some ideas on YOUR island

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:37] herman Bergson: So...thanks again you all :-)

[13:37] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty Herman and class:-)

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)

[13:38] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....

[13:38] bergfrau Apfelbaum: have a nice vacation on the island, Herman

[13:38] oola Neruda: wondering about the weather at this time of the year... how it might affect what your plans are on the island

[13:38] herman Bergson: Not at all oola

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): a bit chilly and windy next week

[13:38] oola Neruda: will you take your computer

[13:38] herman Bergson: Guess so yes :-)

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): nice weather for an island

[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes I do  oola :-)

[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): perfect weather next week to relax

[13:39] herman Bergson: Computer iPad, e-reader -iPhone.....the whole shop :-))

[13:39] oola Neruda: smiles

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