Weds. July 22nd plays host to one of our heavens most spectacular features – an eclipse. Here in Thailand it is only partial, with the moon covering about 30% of the Sun. It will occur at about1 pm Universal time.
Apparently people of the North East have the quaint tradition of beating pots and pans loudly to chase the demon away from the sun. They maintain this tradition because, hey, it worked every time before.
Scientists are excited because they can monitor the effects on wildlife, and can also see the suns Corona – the bright sphere of heat and energy that surrounds the relatively cool surface of the sun. In fact the corona is vastly hotter than what we can see when we look through the ‘Sun spots’, which are basically holes in the fiery exterior that sends us our heat and light. Standard Theory of astronomy struggles to explain why the insides of this ‘nuclear fusion furnace’ is so cool compared to the outer layers. But there is an alternative theory.
In the Electric Cosmos theory the sun is a highly charged electrical body that is ‘fed’ electrons from galactic currents. Freely moving electrons are called ‘electricity’ but when in open space, it is more properly explained as charges in plasma. The ramifications of understanding our universe not as empty space with a few gravitational bodies at massive distances from each other, but as a highly self-organising electric plasma, are far reaching. The main consequence is that we live in a highly unstable world. Forget global warming – the planets can change orbits, the sun can heat up/cool down at a moments notice. The earth can dry up or flood, and nagas can dance in the sky (these are electrical discharge phenomenon that have been visible in the sky to our ancestors).
There is a name for such an outlook – Catastrophism. And it is our most ancient theory of the cosmos. Warring Gods could be seen flashing lightening bolts through the heavens. It sounds dramatic, but in the last century, a well known thinker suggested it could be more real than imagined. His name was Immanuel Velikovsky. His book, Worlds in Collision was a massive best seller, much to the consternation of the scientific community. But the growing recent understanding of electrified plasma has put firm, experimental science behind the theory. So much so that cosmological events that astronomers can only guess about can be replicated in the lab by plasma scientists. Velikovsky by the way, was Einstein’s close personal friend.
Velikovsky got the idea of Catastrophism through reading the record of myths and legends, across cultures. Symbols such as fiery dragons in the heavens occur independent of culture – giving him the idea that perhaps the ancients were recording events they were actually witnessing first hand in the skies. One of these records, though it was not available to Velikovsky, is the Buddhist Suttas. The Buddha relates times when the sun is dim and the oceans dry up. Times of flood and fire etc… The Buddha was firmly a Catastrophist.
In this topic however we should take the Buddhist record, which is an exquisitely detailed sanpshot of time, culture and environment from 2500 years ago, together with the religions, myths and legends of other cultures to arrive at a cross-culture impression of the world that the ancients had. This picture is not one of the ‘clockwork’ solar system and galaxy that Standard Theory requires. And it is one that makes us grateful for this period of stability that we have been enjoying the last 2000 years.