Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A Telescope For Tartarus

The fall of superhuman beings punished for opposing gods also appears in Greek mythology. Homer's Iliad says Hephaestus was cast down from the heavenly threshold by Zeus and landed on the island of Lemnos nearly dead. Hesiod's Theogony recounts that the gods, after defeating the Titans, hurled them down to Tartarus (the Titanomachy) as far beneath the earth as earth is beneath the sky.

from “War in Heaven” at Wikipedia

“Does it matter,” she asked, “if the Earth is hollow?
“I mean, whether the Earth is hollow or structured,
both of these views just describe our understanding
of the representation we’re confronted with.”

She asked, “Do you hear it? That hum. In the distance.
Is that the sound made by dirigible motors?”

Almost all astronomers now and then
are struck by the appearance everywhere
you look in the sky—craters on the Moon,
jagged rift valleys on Mars, the sideways
axis of rotation of Uranus,
interstellar gas and debris patterns
of exploded stars, even the blazing
so-called active nucleus defining
what are called irregular galaxies—
the appearance of endless evidence
of an ancient vast war in the heavens.

But almost all astronomers just smile
at such an interpretation even
if they themselves find themselves thinking it.

Because regardless of how the sky looks,
how it appears and what it appears as,
physics, that is astrophysics, explains
everything more simply than battle scars.

Craters or planetary rift valleys
are caused by the impacts of meteors
or by asteroids or perhaps even
electrical discharges from immense
interactions of cosmic plasma flows.
Planets themselves can get knocked on their side
when solar systems first begin forming.
Nuclear forces make stars go nova.
Black holes and exotic cosmologies
can shape and reshape entire galaxies.

It may look like the aftermath of war.

But from a distance a small bird soaring
may appear to be an airplane on course.
From a distance a thin branch of a tree
may appear to be an electric line.
From a distance a round boulder dislodged
and sent tumbling by a random tremor
may appear to be somebody running.

From a distance as far as the Earth is
beneath the sky, the sound of wind through trees
or a waterfall or storm thunder or
even dirigible engines humming
I suppose may sound like war being waged.

From a distance as far as the Earth is
beneath the sky, I suppose though also
we might imagine we were listening to
sounds of wind or water or thunder or
even dirigible engines humming
if we were listening to the real sounds of
an honest-to-goodness war being waged.

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