Revolution and the “Natural World Order”
Once, a famous scientist named Galileo was punished for publicizing the idea that the earth revolved around the sun.
He was convicted of heresy by the Roman Catholic Papal Inquisition and lived the last 9 years of his life under house arrest.
In this writing, I come to you with an even more fundamental heresy. First is the idea that all of life is orderly. That may sound simple and even uninteresting, but the idea that the earth revolves around the sun may also at first sound simple and uninteresting. Why was it so controversial?
Another heretical idea is the idea that the heretical crime of Galileo was actually heroic, if only in a tragic way. Galileo’s publications implied that there was an authority or influence greater than that of the dominant social institution of humans. While perhaps he did not say things as heretical as the Hebrew prophets Jesus or Isaiah, like that the proud would be humbled and that social institutions would collapse if they did not adhere to the fundamental authority greater than them, Galileo may have seen the dominant social institution in his midst as proud, but not himself. Humility in the midst of pride is quite distinct from two competing prides in the midst of each other.
So, Galileo continued to publish, even after explicit warnings from the military leaders of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1624, he had been directly and unforgettably warned. In 1633, shortly after publishing a composition that was sure to attract controversy, he was convicted of heresy and sentenced.
Thus, let us consider that even the criminal conviction of Galileo was orderly. He recognized a fundamental authority, or at least a fundamental celestial/extra-terrestial pattern. However, he also rebelled against an obviously relevant intermediary human authority, perhaps proudly.
Maybe he was thinking something like this: “they should be humble, too, like me.” That, however, is a perfect example of what I call pride!
I am very familiar with it. The accusative focus of “they should be like me” may have no inherent
connection to “I could be humble and curious, then humbly learn to be responsive and creative.”
Galileo may have been humbled and delighted by the results of his research into the heavens. However, he may have also been naive. Consider that Copernicus had published similar content a hundred years before, but he dedicated his publication to the Pope, and he was not indicted for heresy (or convicted or sentenced). Yes, that publication of Copernicus was decades later condemned as a forbidden book by later Holy Roman emperors, but he apparently died a few months after publishing his findings, perhaps waiting until near his death to go public.
However, Copernicus apparently shared his research among his peers and he had even trained under a professor of Astrology at the University of Bologna. What is forbidden and what is popular can fluctuate over time. It could be that the Holy Roman emperors were simply not as sensitive and threatened by certain information in the time of Copernicus as in the time of Galileo decades later.
In fact, two millenia before Galileo, Archimedes (among others) published similar content, though again not as widely, since that was before the printing press was invented. That publication was again without particular controversy.
So, perhaps the content was not the issue, but the way in which Galileo presented and publicized it, at least in the context of the popular culture at the time. Again, he had been explicitly warned that the research itself and the basic findings were recognized as acceptable by the Holy Roman Emperors (and how could they dispute them), but that it was a delicate practical issue as to how to promote those findings.
Why would they agree with his findings, but not with how he presented it publicly? While this may seem a bit ridiculous of an analogy, I think of the following as an instance of a forbidden secret: the details of how to make a nuclear bomb.
The US government obviously supported that research directly, but they wanted to keep it secret- to use the findings to their own exclusive advantage. Recently, the US is famous as a leading protester against weapons of mass destruction. Why? Perhaps because it is easiest to dominate the world when no one else has weapons as destructive as those of the current dominant emperors.
Now, I’d like to focus for a moment on the word revolution. Since we are referencing the historical events which may be the origin of the popularity of the term revolution, let’s check the popular history of the word revolution.
late 14c., originally of celestial bodies, from O.Fr. revolution, from L.L. revolutionem (nom. revolutio) “a revolving,” from L. revolutus, pp. of revolvere “turn, roll back” (see revolve). General sense of “instance of great change in affairs” is recorded from mid-15c. Political meaning first recorded c.1600,
The term revolution is a reference to the revolution of the earth around the sun, replacing the prior popular theory (or presumption) of the sun revolving around the earth, still referenced in sayings like “the sun rising” or “the sun setting,” as if the earth is stationary and the sun revolves around it. Further the common use of the term revolution as a reference to any major alteration in behavior or thinking seems to fit with the timing of the popularizing of the idea of the earth revolving around the sun, as well as the perhaps related deterioration of the influence of the Holy Roman Empire (and the protestant reformation). In other words, perhaps the first stages of a simple but major scientific revolution led to the first stages of a simple but major social revolution.
In a way, there is not controversy over the idea that all of life is orderly. There can be controversy however over exactly how life is orderly. Amongst the orderliness of life is the orderliness of language. Within the orderliness of language is the possibility of falsehood, whether sincere or insincere, as well as the particular forms of deception known as lying and fraud, plus other issues in language like vagueness and confusion.
Note that deception can be physical, like pretending to be asleep when awake. Deception does not require words. Deception is part of the order of life.
Lying (deceptive language) is also part of the order of life. When popular lies are contradicted by unpopular truth, that can be very controversial. The popular models of how life is orderly may be more or less worshiped by certain people. They may depend on those models being true- or at least being popular.
So, any evidence contrary to what they may know to be inaccurate or unreliable may be deemed a threat not just to the model but to whatever value the model has for them. If, for instance, the US wants some or all people to think of it as a supporter of peace rather than a practitioner of organized coercion worlwide, even certain questions may be deemed controversial or criminal.
But I have another focus of interest for the moment: the fundamental order of life. It is common knowledge that patterns of human activity vary predictably across the seasons of the year, especially in certain climates and for certain professions, like farmers. It is also common knowledge that patterns of human activity vary predictably across the times of day and night, with the vast majority of certain kinds of activity happening during the daylight hours.
So, two predictable variations of human activity patterns correspond to the revolution of the earth around the sun (the seasons) and to the rotation of the earth such that a particular region of the planet faces toward or away from the sun and it’s light (day and night). The study of the correspondence between patterns of phenomena (such as human activity) and times cycles of astronomical relationships (such as the seasons of the year or the cycle of day and night) is called astrology.
The idea that the basic theory of astrology is valid is not at all controversial to the very best of my knowledge. No one disputes the data on the existence of an obvious consistency in cycles, such as between the menstrual cycle of mature human women and the phases of the moon. Each of us however choose to study the data only as much as we do. Some may even choose to forbid others from looking at much of the data (or publishing commentaries on it) perhaps even for the purposes of monopolizing social influence.
Again, the basics of this is not really disputed. Astrology has been specifically condemned in certain cultures while extremely developed and popular in other times and places.
In some cases, astrology was barely recognized. In other cases, recognized, but without much interest. In other cases there was popular interest, perhaps leading to much attention and commercial activity, perhaps with wide variations in the competence of the practitioners- even some just taking advantage of an eager or desperate public. So, there may be no serious reason to think that astrology SHOULD ALWAYS be popular or unregulated, any more than weapons of mass destruction or anything else.
In fact, a popular forbidding of astrology does not require a plot to monopolize on it’s insights. Some people may simply be terrified of the idea of any influence greater than a particular dominant social institution, especially if the influence of that social institution may be plateauing, destabilizing or even disintegrating.
Consider that if a consensus of independent practitioners of astrology universally point to an impending collapse to a human social institution, those irretrievably dependent on that particular institution may be inclined to not just dismiss astrology on the whole, but attack it.
So, let us be humble in how we relate to any cyclic periods of organized violence against astrology, such as by the Holy Roman Empire. “Intermediary” human authorities have occasionally been dominant in various places and times across human history. It might be quite impractical to be haughty or proud in the midst of such patterns of behavioral relating by masses of people depending specifically on a particular central authority.
The central authorities might not want their exclusive dominance threatened. Further, the masses might not want their dependency questioned in regard to it’s prudence or sustainability. They may be terrified. They may not just depend on a central authority, but may even worship it- focusing on how it operates and whether it is providing for them as promised. They patterns of the central authority may be more interesting to them (evident in a focus on political developments and ideologies) then their own patterns (evidenced by a focus on practical spirituality)
I have been dependent on a central authority. All human children begin dependent, right?
However, it is very different to ask “what is dependable” than to ask “how is a particular central authority or human social institution on which I have been depending now (and in the predictable future) reliable as something to depend on.” The second question is quite specific. It is also a natural question to ask at a certain stage, like that of a teenager preparing to depart from the childhood home and exploring life as a soon-to-be financially independent adult. That teenager values exploring “how can I depend on my parents and what responsibilities am I competent to fulfill.” If there is a gap between what one can reliably access independently and what one can reliably access as a dependent of others, that gap calls for attention and action.
In my own personal experience, I find it notable how much the people of my parent’s generation (including my parents) have been depending on the promises and provisions from concentrations of social and financial authority, such as insurance companies and government programs like social security. I also find it notable how unreliable those operations appear to me.
As a trend forecaster, I not only forecast various developments in the recent expansion of the European Union, but an emerging disintegration as certain member nations, such as Greece and Spain and France, face destabilizations of their national governments based on unsustainable financial practices (typically resolving in total or partial bankruptcy). While places like the USSR and Japan faced similar issues in the 1980s, much earlier than Greece, I am clear that the US is en route to experiencing similar developments in the near future.
However, if my parents and their generation (such as “baby boomers” and older) do not perceive anything to be close to as practically reliable as the dependencies in which they are currently invested, then they may be unwilling or at least unmotivated to look closely at the reliability of the dependencies in which they are currently invested. They may be like the loyal Roman Catholic masses in 1600. They may not want to know whether the earth revolves around the sun. They may not want to know what astrology indicates about their futures (if they continue to act as if the models presented to them by certain human social institutions were relevant and accurate and adaptive). They may not want information indicating that their current favorite models even might be incomplete or even inaccurate and confusing.
They may not be proud as a character flaw, though any pride may subject them to tragic risks. They may be merely proud because they are dependents on a particular system, so, as long as they are depending on it, they are loyal to it, even if it is soon-to-be obviously undependable.
They are grateful for the prior functionality of their dependency. They are loyal to the perceived provider and protector of their prior abundance (such as the Roman Catholic hierarchy or the Holy US Empire).
Why would they be receptive to the research of Galileo or other more recent astrologers that assert that a new revolution is already underway? Further, why would I, as their child, be so concerned about their future? Am I so dependent on them (emotionally or otherwise) that I would be anxious about the sustainability of their future? Let them receive the natural consequences of their actions, just as I receive the natural consequences of mine.
Galileo might have been prudent if he were to have humbled himself to the influence of the Holy Roman Empire. However, perhaps he perceived a decreasing reliability of their future influence, a declining sustainability of their power. Perhaps he recognized that loyalty to them was no longer as valuable as it might have been at some other time. Perhaps he perceived that the Medici family would continue to support and defend him, and that their support and defense of him would be adequate. Or, perhaps he was just proud and belligerent toward the emperors, if only in a “passive aggressive” way.
All consequences are natural consequences. Life is orderly. We either perceive the order of some phenomenon or do not perceive the order, but we can presume that order is always operating.
So, some may reject that model and instead worship a model of “religious fundamentalists” (that only some of life is orderly, but with the unknown as a constant threat, justifying an agonizing paranoia, and presuming also that there is a God who is isolated, distant, exclusive, personal, proud, jealous and even insecure and who offers personal favoritism but only to those who ask for help “the right way,” but that this monotheistic and Almighty God’s dominance is inherently unstable and constantly threatened by a competing power, such as “the Devil”). We might proudly criticize such a model as irrational. However, irrational does not mean chaotic. Irrational may simply mean “changing faster than a particular perceiver’s conscious mind can monitor.”
Those who perceive themselves to be unstable in their own operations may predictably perceive the only source of stability (or instability) to be exterior to them, such as in an isolated, remote God or the activities of a distant leader of government. People may worship political saviors to keep hell on the other side of the border and religious saviors to provide access to a heavenly afterlife. Generally speaking, attention is worship.
So, unstable people worship perceived sources of stability. Indeed, who really is independently stable? Who does not inherit sunshine and the fruit of the earth? Who does not at least begin by depending on others completely?
However, what if stability and functionality were possible from within? What if the blessings of a distant intermediary authority were not essential or even relevant? What if, at least sometimes, there is a faith available, a practical way of operating, which allows one who is humbly attentive to the order of life to receive the fullness of the blessings of life? What if now is such a time?
Further, especially if there is an intermediary authority active, what is more practical- humbly adhering faithfully to the actions that reliably receive blessings… or publicizing controversial but possibly heroic insights? As for Galileo, he did whatever he did, and who knows how true the history is anyway? We can be grateful for his research as well as any lessons of his popular biography. After all, who really cares if the earth goes around the sun or if other people believe that or something else?
The practical question is “what is adaptive?” Others can debate “what is true?” and “what is moral?”
Galileo, among other famous astrologers, inquired into “what is predictable.” We can learn from their insights as well as their oversights.
The heliocentric model he explored elegantly explained why, how, and exactly when certain planets appear from the earth to change direction and go backward in what is called retrograde motion, and also explained why the sun and moon do not go retrograde. We can also research what is predictable in regard to investment trends or other trends of human behavior as well as the transformation of human institutions, whether social, political, military or religious.
If life might be orderly, it might also be predictable. We call this conceptual framework “science.” This scientific context corresponds to distinct models and language which we recognize to be nothing more or less than models in language.
Scientific models are always subject to questioning, modification and refinement. However, there is a relevant time for developing new models and a relevant time for applying old models rigorously and even rigidly, even forbidding temporarily any variation from convention and enforcing that conformity through organized coercions.
The particular models are not sacred (or, if they are, that is not a scientific relationship to them). Life is sacred.
Perhaps this is what Jesus was referencing when in Mark 7:7 he quoted Isaiah, emphasizing that some “worship in vain” by focusing on particular models inherited from human tradition and neglecting what is actually sacred. The proud focus on loyal adherence to the details of a particular model, “worshiping it with their lips, while their hearts are far away” and do not know the spirit of a model, missing the practical relevance of a teaching.
Of course, it may just be the order of life that the proud will be humbled by natural consequences, including human interventions. The idea that humans are unnatural, by the way, though perhaps popular, may be irrational or even deluded, and certainly is not scientific. When Galileo took certain actions and then received the natural consequences of the wrath of the Holy Roman Empire, all of that was a perfect fit for the natural order of life.
Human behavior is not an isolated category, though human behavior is unique. It is not chaotic. It is not demonic. However, some might say so, but consider that some people saying so is entirely predictable, or else it would not ever be happening.
However life actually happens is the ultimate “test” of any linguistic, conceptual model of “how life happens.” The holy way of life is sacred, beyond the reach of any words or models or human understanding. If we are ever proud, let us also be grateful. Human institutions arise because of some functional, practical value. Let us be grateful for them. However, let us also be humble in recognizing that all conditional things on which we may depend may at some time become unreliable.
If we are focused on the practical question of “what is reliable,” then we can apply that question even to things on which we have been depending. We honor loyalty, but not above prudence. Sometimes, we may withdraw from prior loyalties (even when they are still dependable) in favor of investing in something we perceive to be even more promising, even more relevant, even more practical.
This may be the beginning of studying the holy way of life. All models are recognized as valid, possible resources. No model is a threat to the holy way of life itself.
However, at first, we may all have to learn one particular model and then demonstrate competence in applying it before it would be relevant to explore other models. Why would anyone satisfied with their own competence in applying their own model argue against someone else exploring whatever other model they are exploring? Satisfied, competent practitioners are not easily threatened. Nor do they require the approval of others, even though they may value an opportunity to share the excitement of their learning and may be quite concerned about sharing the relative value of their model with those they may know and appreciate. However, a proud seeking of agreement is quite distinct from a humble invitation to explore an opportunity, however passionate.
So, worshiping a single model exclusively can certainly be a stage of the holy way of life, and perhaps that is even essential. However, that focus on a single model may only be a first stage of several possible stages of development or maturity. Those who are interested in receiving the benefits available through the predictions I personally am making are welcome to contact me, or even those who are willing to question what those benefits to them could be.
- Galileo arrives in Rome for trial before Inquisition (oup.com)
- Charles: Holy Roman Emperors, Part One of Two (socyberty.com)
- 3/12 Scientific Revolution (dohertyforwesternciv.wordpress.com)
- Holy Roman Empire, Part Two (socyberty.com)
- How is climate change like Copernicus? (boingboing.net)
- Charles: Holy Roman Emperors, Part Two of Two (socyberty.com)
- Saint Valentine, Galileo and the silliness of Rome (reaberg.com)
- Kickstarter – Galileo. Your iOS in Motion. (jamessiminoff.com)
- HAPPY 448TH BIRTHDAY GALILEO! GALILEO was one of the world’s greatest scientific pioneers. He was an inventor, astronomer and a REBEL! (greatkat.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Through (mikehardisty.wordpress.com)
- On Religion: Religion and Science (idigina.wordpress.com)
- Holy Roman Empire, Part One (socyberty.com)
- Galileo Trials (6) (reentanglement.wordpress.com)
- Heresy and a Call for Humility (random reading) (marccortez.com)