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"the Sleepwalkers" By Arthur Koestler


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I have been renewing my acquaintance with this book, sub-titled "A history of Man's changing vision of the Universe".


I first read it long ago and it gave me an on-going interest in cosmology from a historical perspective. From flat earth to the infinite universe.


The book also debunked my idea then that the progress of science had been gradual and linear, and of those who led the way as being giants amid pygmies. Everyone seems to have been a pygmy in one way or another!


Zeroing in, it centres upon the lives of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. Stepping back, it can be seen to chart the transition from Theology to Biology, from the Soul to Mind; from a walled in flat earth, mutable, snug within an immutable heavenly sphere, to our own infinite Cosmos.


And I would emphasise "cosmos" - not "chaos".


I think we can be detoured from many things that actually matter by asking ourselves "Is there a God?", "Is there an afterlife?" etc etc. Such questions inevitably capture all our own built in bias and presuppositions. Sometimes we need to really clear the decks and ask new questions. Then maybe we can see with new eyes.


There is so much to say but I'll leave it there. I recommend the book. It's a good start. Maybe others here are familiar with it?

Edited by tariki
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Not having read it is as good a place to start as any. I wonder just what the most ardent Biblical Fundamentalist would actually make of the biblical text if found unread, and without a preconceived theology to imprint upon the words.


Koestler speaks of a new synthesis being required. He speaks of past attempts, most simply "one-sided" ( and thus no synthesis at all ) which have issued in such questions as "what is the sex of an angel?" Or "Is man a machine?". Questions that Koestler calls "sick".

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I have now finished the book by Arthur Koestler and it was the above image, of our earth taken from space, that came to mind. Possibly such an image can now be taken for granted, but I would love to go back and show it to those such as Kepler, who would have looked at it with wonder. Thinking that renews my own wonder. This is our home. All human beings now living can be found on this fragile earth.


There is an argument that "religious" violence can be found to originate in scarce resources; in the scarcity of sacred space/places of pilgrimage, of a particular revelation, of a privileged group/chosen people, even of salvation itself. The argument develops that such things are scarce purely and only in dogma and doctrine. Which are outmoded.


Whatever the merits of that, we certainly need not share such doctrine. All space can be "sacred", all Reality seen as revelation, all can be known as being chosen, Universalism Rules OK!


Look at our home. There really is no room for division.


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As much as we may desire it to be different , reality seems to me to have room for both unity and division and what we might consider good and bad, and a host of other labels that may seem opposing. But life to me is a cosmic dance. An interplay of divine dynamic and static energy. In it there seems to be creation , preservation, destruction, illusion and emancipation. Its all part of "man's changing vision of the Universe" as Koestler might put it.

Just musing,


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Thanks for your musings Joseph. A little bit of feedback at times aids me in finding where I am, if not where I am going.... :) It really is difficult sometimes to feel and know some of the events in our world as "all part of the cosmic dance". I think the "self" arises and seeks to take sides, to identify with "the good", to justify itself. Thus the division begins, as we divide ourselves from those who take another side.


We live in a Cosmos, not a chaos. Musing myself, as I see it we are always discrete units, living in the moment, yet the moment is both to what "is" and also "what is to be". All this is difficult to just accept even when having the faith that pure acceptance is the only transformation.


There are many pitfalls, many misunderstandings between "east" and "west".


Late, I love but quietness:

things of this world are no more my concern.

Looking back, I've known no better plan

than this; returning to the grove.


Pine breezes loosen my robe.

Mountain moonbeams play my lute.

What, you ask, is Final Truth?

The fisherman's song strikes deep into the bank.


(Wang Wei)



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While the power brokers of our world drift towards a possible Nuclear Holocaust, and the UK's very own PM prioritises Brexit, and poor Tariki wonders what next, he nevertheless finds solace in another fine poem by Chiao Jan (730-799)....


Spring's songs already quieting,

the ancient source still bubbles forth.


It's a mistake, my modern friends,

to wound the heart to try

to cross that stream.


​Some things never change.



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